G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Friday, September 02, 2016

पण संपूर्णपणानं फेल झालेली कादंबरी आहे ती...V S Khandekar's 40th Death Anniversary

Today September 2 2016 is 40th death anniversary of V S Khandekar (वि स खांडेकर), Sahitya Akademi award winner in 1960 and the Jnanpith Award winner in 1974
“…One night he came to my rooms. They say that a man excited with liquor desires a woman. I had only heard of it. But that night I myself had that experience. He begged me to give myself to him. Worse than a beast. I was unable to bear the foul smell of his mouth stinking with liquor. I stood far away from him. He ran after me and grappled with me. I asked, ‘Have you remembered me today because Sharmishtha is not there?’ He laughed a ghostly smile and said, ‘I am the son of King Nahusha. I want Sharmishtha. I want Devayani. I want every pretty woman on earth. Everyday a fresh woman.’
I was unable to stand it. He was talking like one who had gone out of his senses. I was reminded of his elder brother coming to court. He had gone off his head because of his hatred of women. Was His Majesty going to be unhinged by his lust for women?
He said, ‘My father could not get Indrani. But I will. I am going to take all the pretty women on earth. Pluck one flower, smell it and throw it away. Again pluck one, taste it and throw it away.’
I closed my ears. He was laughing hysterically and coming nearer. I collected all my strength and shouted, ‘Keep away. Keep away. Don’t you know who I am?’…” 
[ 'Yayati: A Classic Tale of Lust' (ययाती), 1959....translated by Y P Kulkarni]

दि फडके, लोकसत्ता, १२//१९९७:
...त्यांच्या हयातीतच खांडेकरांच्या साहित्याचे अनुवाद सात-आठ भारतीय भाषांमध्ये झालेले होते. गुजराती-तामिळसारख्या भाषा बोलणारे लोक खांडेकर हे आपल्या भाषेतील सर्वात लोकप्रिय लेखक आहेत, असे म्हणतात. यातला अतिशयोक्तीचा आणि गुणगौरवाचा भाग वगळला तरी वस्तुस्थिती मान्य करावीच लागते. अनुवादाच्या रूपात का होईना, पण भारतातल्या अन्यभाषिकांना माहीत असलेला दुसरा मराठी लेखक खांडेकरांच्या हयातीतही कोणी नव्हता आणि आजही कोणी नाही. खांडेकरांच्या साहित्याने एकेकाळी मराठी वाचकांना घातलेली मोहिनी आता उरलेली नसली तरी त्यांनी भारतीय साहित्याच्या महानदीत सोडलेल्या कागदी नावा आजही अन्यभाषिक वाचकांचे लक्ष वेधून घेतात. इतके यश तरी अन्य कोणत्या मराठी लेखकाने मिळवले आहे?”

दुर्गा भागवत, 'ऐसपैस गप्पा : दुर्गाबाईंशी', लेखक: प्रतिभा रानडे, पृष्ठ  ५४-५५, १९९८:
"...मला मात्र खांडेकरांचं साहित्य अजिबात आवडत नाही...कारण खांडेकरांमध्ये प्रतिभा नाही...मी पहिल्यापासूनच खांडेकरांवर टीका केलेली आहे. अजूनही करते. आता ते गेलेत म्हणून जास्त बोलायचं नाही...खांडेकरांची 'ययाती' ही कादंबरीच बघ. एवढी मोठी कादंबरी. शेकडो पृष्ठांची. पण संपूर्णपणानं फेल झालेली कादंबरी आहे ती...."

दुर्गाबाईंची  मला मजा वाटते. जवळ जवळ सगळं बोलून टाकतात, खांडेकरांबद्दल, दोन पानात, आणि पुन्हा: 'आता ते गेलेत म्हणून जास्त बोलायचं नाही'!

कै. य दि फडकेंचा लेख सुद्धा गोंधळात टाकणारा आहे. खांडेकरांची तत्कालीन मराठी आणि इतर काही भारतीय भाषांतील लोकप्रियता हाच प्रमुख निकष त्यांच्या निवडीच्या मागे आहे असेच लेख वाचून वाटते. इतरही काही पुरस्कारासाठीच्या अनिवार्य तांत्रिक बाबीत सुद्धा फक्त खांडेकरच बसत असावेत. अन्यथा जीएंचे परममित्र 'इंटलेक्च्युअल' माधव आचवल या निवडीस पाठिंबा देतील असे वाटत नाही. बाकी काही गौरवपूर्ण खांडेकरांबद्दल फडकेंच्या लेखात आहे असे वाटले नाही. 
(आज इतर भाषिक सोडा, किती मराठी बोलणारी लोक खांडेकरांना ओळखतात किंवा खांडेकरांचे पुस्तक किती मराठी भाषिकांनी वाचले आहे?) 

पण खांडेकरांमध्ये इतर  गुण होते...गुणग्राहकता हा कदाचित त्यातला सर्वात महत्वाचा... कुसुमाग्रजांच्या कविता पहिल्यांदा, खांडेकरांच्या प्रस्तावनेसकट, पुस्तकरूपी प्रकाशित झाल्या खांडेकरांमुळे...खाली त्याचे आणखी एक उदाहरण दिले आहे...

 I have never liked anything written by the late Mr. Khandekar. 

In school, we had a couple of his allegories in Marathi text books. I did not like them. I read his 'Yayati' when in school. I did not like it either.

But he was an 'activist'. They say today we can read Kusumagraj's (कुसुमाग्रज) early and often brilliant  poetry only because Khandekar. He encouraged new talent almost all his life.

Some of his observations too were sharp. In a letter to G A Kulkarni (जी ए कुलकर्णी) he wrote : if only some one like brilliant cine-director  Master Vinayak (मास्टर विनायक) were alive, he would have done justice to GA's stories while bringing them to the silver screen.

Once he also was one of the few Marathi writers widely known outside Maharashtra. When I went for higher studies to Madras in 1981, one of my Tamil speaking classmates told me that Tamil language had a writer called Khandekar. On close examination, he turned out be V S Khandekar in Tamil translation! My friend had seriously believed until then that Khandekar was a native Tamil writer.
 


“Yayati” by A Ramachandran, 1986

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