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.”

Shel Silverstein : “Talked my head off Worked my tail off Cried my eyes out Walked my feet off Sang my heart out So you see, There’s really not much left of me.” ~

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."

Sunday, August 20, 2017

पुरुष जेंव्हा स्वार्थी, स्वैराचारी , स्त्रैण व भ्याड बनतात, तेंव्हा स्त्रीया...Svetlana Alexievich's 'The Unwomanly Face Of War'

"... During the war…

I was brought to the unit…To the front line. The commander met me with the words, “Take your hat off, please.” I was surprised…I took it off…In the recruiting office we were given crew cuts, but while we were in the army camps, while we were going to the front, my hair grew back a bit. It began to curl, I had curly hair. Tight curls…You can’t tell now, I’m already old…And so he looks and looks at me: “I haven’t seen a woman for two years. I just want to look.”

After the war…

I lived in a communal apartment. My neighbors were all married, and they insulted me. They taunted me: “Ha-ha-ha…Tell us how you whored around there with the men…” They used to put vinegar into my pot of boiled potatoes. Or add a tablespoon of salt…Ha-ha-ha…"

"... How did the Motherland meet us? I can’t speak without sobbing…It was forty years ago, but my cheeks still burn. The men said nothing, but the women…They shouted to us, “We know what you did there! You lured our men with your young c——! Army whores…Military bitches…” They insulted us in all possible ways…The Russian vocabulary is rich…"

नोबेल पारितोषिक विजेत्या स्वेटलाना आलेक्सियवक (Svetlana Alexievich) यांचे 'नवे' (म्हणजे uncensored version), २००४ पुस्तक- “THE UNWOMANLY FACE OF WAR : An Oral History of Women in World War II”- त्याच्या इंग्लिश अनुवादरूपात बहुचर्चित ठरले आहे.

मला स्वतःला हा विषय अतिशय महत्वाचा वाटतो. 

"Volunteer Russian women warriors take up arms in defense of their country"

Credit:  Bettmann Archive, via Getty Images and The New York Times

डॅनियल बीर (Daniel Beer) 'लिटररी रिव्यू' (Literary Review) मधील परीक्षणात लिहतात :
"...Soviet society struggled to reconcile contemporary ideas of femininity with the murderous reality of combat. As the mother of one prolific sniper said on learning of her daughter’s death, ‘Maybe it’s for the best that Roza died. How could she have lived after the war? She shot so many people.’ A lot of female soldiers returned from battle to face accusations of being ‘frontline whores’ who had seduced men while their devoted wives waited anxiously for their safe return..."

हे सगळे वाचून मला उत्तर पेशवाईतील आणि त्यानंतरच्या काळातील मराठी स्त्रियांचे 'THE UNWOMANLY FACE OF WAR' आठवले. म वा धोंडांनी त्याबाबत त्यांच्या 'मऱ्हाटी लावणी', १९५६, २००३ च्या प्रस्तावनेत विस्ताराने लिहले आहे. 

माझ्या कडील आवृत्तीत ४४-४५ पानांवर तो भाग येतो. त्यातील काही भाग खालील पानांवर पहा. डाउनलोड करून मोठे करून वाचू शकाल. 

 सौजन्य :  कै.  म वा धोंडांच्या साहित्याचे सध्याचे कॉपीराईट होल्डर्स , मौज प्रकाशन  गृह 

श्री. धोंडांच्या वरील लेखनातील ऐतिहासिक घटना बहुतेक खऱ्या असाव्यात (वासुदेवशास्त्री खऱ्यांच्या आणि रियासतकार सरदेसाईंच्या पुस्तकांवर त्या आधारित आहेत. पहा त्या पुस्तकातले पान २४०) पण धोंडांचा तर्क, लिहण्याचा टोन मला अजिबात  मान्य नाही. वरचा सगळा मजकूर स्त्रियांना केंद्रस्थानी धरून लिहला तर फार वेगळा दिसेल.

उदा: काय झाल स्त्रियांनी शरीर कमावून कुस्ती खेळली तर ? २१व्या शतकातील 'दंगल'ची ती जननी आहे. श्री अमीर खान यांना हे कदाचित माहिती नसेल.

"... पुरुष जेंव्हा स्वार्थी, स्वैराचारी , स्त्रैण व भ्याड बनतात , तेंव्हा स्त्रीया राजकारणे करू पाहतात, घराबाहेर पडतात , हातात शस्त्रं धरतात आणि अंती त्यांच्याप्रमाणे बेजबाबदार, उच्छृंखळ, पुरुषी व बदफैली बनतात" हे विधान मानवी इतिहासाच्या कोणत्याही कालखंडासाठी पटत नाही.

एक-दोन  उदाहरणे. 

दुसऱ्या महायुद्धाचे प्रसिद्ध इतिहासकार अँटनी बीव्हर (Antony Beevor) म्हणतात :
"... And then, of course, they found their menfolk when they returned from the war simply couldn’t face up to the reality that they had not been able to protect their women. And one saw a fascinating but dismaying gender divide in that particular way. In many ways it was the women who were morally far stronger than the men. She describes how the role of the women is to support all these fragile men and basically massage their egos because otherwise they will go to pieces."

Dr. Neil Faulkner: "... In their heyday, the ancient Olympics—before Macedonian warlords and Roman politicians sullied them—had more in common with one of today's free open-air music festivals than with the corporate carnival planned for London this year. Besides the sport, sacrifice and sex, a profound spirit of democracy and egalitarianism suffused the games. Provided, of course, you were a freeborn Greek mannot a woman, a foreigner or a slave."

कारणे काही असोत, १८/१९व्या शतकातील बऱ्याच मराठी स्त्रीया चूल आणि मूल सोडून किंवा संसाराला आधार देण्यासाठी व्यवसायाचे (पारंपारिक पुरुषी) वेगवेगळे मार्ग पत्करत होत्या आणि हे सगळे स्वागतार्हच म्हटले पाहिजे. 

धोंड आज असते तर त्यांनी निश्चित ह्या इतिहासाकडे वेगळ्या दृष्टीने पहिले असते. र धों कर्वे अभ्यासिल्यानंतर त्यांनी या विषयाकडे पुन्हा एकदा वळायला पाहिजे होते. 

विल्यम डॅलरिंपल (William Dalrymple) त्यांच्या 'Begums, Thugs and White Mughals. The Journals of Fanny Parkes' या फॅनी पार्क्स १७९४-१८७५ (Fanny Parkes) यांच्या सुंदर पुस्तकाच्या प्रस्तावनेत, धोंड उल्लेख करतात त्या, बायजाबाई शिंदेबद्दल काय लिहतात ते पहा:
“... In Calcutta, in Lucknow, at Khāsganj and in Delhi, Fanny repeatedly visits the women of different harems and reports about the life, the pleasures and the sorrows of the women she encounters there. One women in particular she befriends, Bāiza Bāī, the dowager Maratha queen of Gwalior who had been deposed by her son and sent into exile at Fatehgar in British territory not far from Cawnpore.
Fanny found a common love of riding with the Queen, and describes learning to ride Maratha style, while trying to teach Bāzai Bāī’s women how to ride side-saddle. Always impatient with Western notions of feminine decorum, Fanny records how ‘I thought of Queen Elizabeth, and her stupidity in changing the style of riding for women’.
Far from fantasising the sensual pleasures to be had in the Eastern harem, as was the wont of many of the male painters and writers of her time, Fanny reports on her perceptions of the reality of the lives of Indian women, and especially the restrictions which she felt women in both East and West suffered in common: ‘We spoke of the severity of the laws of England with respect to married women, how completely by law they are the slaves of their husbands, and how little hope there is of redress.’ It is at such points that Fanny’s Wanderings becomes an explicitly feminist text. In fact it is one of the great pleasures of the book that the more Fanny wanders, free of her husband, the more outspoken, sympathetic and independent she becomes....”  

माझ्या मते, दुसऱ्या महायुद्धातील रशियन बायकांसारखेच,  मराठी स्त्रियांना उत्तर पेशवाईत आणि त्या नंतर जगण्यासाठी जे करायला लागले ते त्यांनी केले.  त्यासाठी ज्या तडजोडी करायला लागल्या त्या त्यांनी केल्या. तशा तडजोडी त्यांच्यापेक्षा जास्त प्रमाणात त्याचे कुटुंबीय आणि त्याहूनही जास्त इंग्रज करत होते. 

१९व्य शतकाच्या उत्तरार्धातील राणी लक्ष्मीबाईंच्या मर्दानी कर्तृत्वाचा उदय ह्याच स्त्रीयांमधून झाला आहे. 

Artists: Johann Zoffany, 1788 and Bal Thakur (बाळ ठाकूर)

मला या पोस्टचा शेवट आणखी एका पुस्तकाचे नाव लिहून करायचाय: Stacy Schiff यांचे 'Cleopatra: A Life', २०१०. हे अप्रतिम पुस्तक मी वाचायला सुरवात केलीय आणि जागोजागी माझ्या लक्षात येतय की एक स्त्री राज्यकर्ती म्हणून आपले किती biases असू शकतात ते.

“... Many people have spoken for her, including the greatest playwrights and poets; we have been putting words in her mouth for two thousand years. In one of the busiest afterlives in history she has gone on to become an asteroid, a video game, a cliché, a cigarette, a slot machine, a strip club, a synonym for Elizabeth Taylor. Shakespeare attested to Cleopatra’s infinite variety. He had no idea.

If the name is indelible, the image is blurry. Cleopatra may be one of the most recognizable figures in history but we have little idea of what she actually looked like. Only her coin portraits—issued in her lifetime, and which she likely approved—can be accepted as authentic. We remember her too for the wrong reasons. A capable, clear-eyed sovereign, she knew how to build a fleet, suppress an insurrection, control a currency, alleviate a famine. An eminent Roman general vouched for her grasp of military affairs. Even at a time when women rulers were no rarity she stood out, the sole female of the ancient world to rule alone and to play a role in Western affairs. She was incomparably richer than anyone else in the Mediterranean. And she enjoyed greater prestige than any other woman of her age, as an excitable rival king was reminded when he called, during her stay at his court, for her assassination. (In light of her stature, it could not be done.) Cleopatra descended from a long line of murderers and faithfully upheld the family tradition but was, for her time and place, remarkably well behaved. She nonetheless survives as a wanton temptress, not the last time a genuinely powerful woman has been transmuted into a shamelessly seductive one...”

१९५६सालचे धोंड-सर काय म्हणाले असते क्लिओपात्रांबद्दल कुणास ठावूक ? 

  courtsey: respective cover artists of both the books

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

जेंव्हा एक मानवी संभोग बंडाची कृती असते....G A and G O

२०१६/२०१७ साली पुन्हा  एकदा मोठ्या प्रमाणात जगभरात बेस्ट सेलर ठरलेली, जॉर्ज ऑरवेल (शीर्षकातील G O aka George Orwell) यांची 'नायन्टीन एटीफोर', १९४९ ही कादंबरी मी अजून पूर्ण वाचलेली नाही.

पण ब्रेनपिकिंग्ज.ओरजी वरील जोनाथन बर्टन यांची तिच्याकरिता काढलेली चित्रे बघून मी फार खूश झालो.

 'He knelt down before her and took her hands in his'

ऑरवेल यांची दामू व  कमळी आणि आजूबाजूला आहे पेरवाची बाग

कलाकार : जोनाथन बर्टन
वरील चित्र पहा.
आता होणार जो संभोग आहे तो साधासुधा नाही,  तर ती एक राजकीय कृती आहे,  बंड आहे.....कसे ते वाचा:

"...Quickly, with an occasional crackle of twigs, they threaded their way back to the clearing. When they were once inside the ring of saplings she turned and faced him. They were both breathing fast, but the smile had reappeared round the corners of her mouth. She stood looking at him for an instant, then felt at the zipper of her overalls. And, yes! it was almost as in his dream. Almost as swiftly as he had imagined it, she had torn her clothes off, and when she flung them aside it was with that same magnificent gesture by which a whole civilization seemed to be annihilated. Her body gleamed white in the sun. But for a moment he did not look at her body; his eyes were anchored by the freckled face with its faint, bold smile. He knelt down before her and took her hands in his.
"Have you done this before?"
"Of course. Hundreds of times—well, scores of times, anyway."
"With Party members?"
"Yes, always with Party members."
"With members of the Inner Party?"
"Not with those swine, no. But there's plenty that would if they got half a chance. They're not so holy as they make out."
His heart leapt. Scores of times she had done it; he wished it had been hundreds—thousands. Anything that hinted at corruption always filled him with a wild hope. Who knew? Perhaps the Party was rotten under the surface, its cult of strenuousness and self-denial simply a sham concealing iniquity. If he could have infected the whole lot of them with leprosy or syphilis, how gladly he would have done so! Anything to rot, to weaken, to undermine! He pulled her down so that they were kneeling face to face.
"Listen. The more men you've had, the more I love you. Do you understand that?"
"Yes, perfectly."
"I hate purity, I hate goodness! I don't want any virtue to exist anywhere. I want everyone to be corrupt to the bones."
"Well then, I ought to suit you, dear. I'm corrupt to the bones."
"You like doing this? I don't mean simply me; I mean the thing in itself?"
"I adore it."
That was above all what he wanted to hear. Not merely the love of one person, but the animal instinct, the simple undifferentiated desire: that was the force that would tear the Party to pieces. He pressed her down upon the grass, among the fallen bluebells. This time there was no difficulty. Presently the rising and falling of their breasts slowed to normal speed, and in a sort of pleasant helplessness they fell apart. The sun seemed to have grown hotter. They were both sleepy. He reached out for the discarded overalls and pulled them partly over her. Almost immediately they fell asleep and slept for about half an hour.

Winston woke first. He sat up and watched the freckled face, still peacefully asleep, pillowed on the palm of her hand. Except for her mouth, you could not call her beautiful. There was a line or two round the eyes, if you looked closely. The short dark hair was extraordinarily thick and soft. It occurred to him that he still did not know her surname or where she lived.
The young, strong body, now helpless in sleep, awoke in him a pitying, protecting feeling. But the mindless tenderness that he had felt under the hazel tree, while the thrush was singing, had not quite come back. He pulled the overalls aside and studied her smooth white flank. In the old days, he thought, a man looked at a girl's body and saw that it was desirable, and that was the end of the story. But you could not have pure love or pure lust nowadays. No emotion was pure, because everything was mixed up with fear and hatred. Their embrace had been a battle, the climax a victory. It was a blow struck against the Party. It was a political act...."

पेरवाच्या बागेत, दुपारी संभोग करून,  तसाच ठोसा लागावतात,  जी. ए. कुलकर्णींच्या 'कवठे', १९७४ या कथेतील, समाजाने वेडसर ठरवलेला हरकाम्या दामू आणि कष्टकरी कमळी.

खर म्हणजे दामू अजिबात हिंसक नाहीय  पण  त्याने संभोगानंतर त्यांना हटकणाऱ्या रखवालदाराचा नुकताच गळा दाबून जीव घ्यायचा प्रयत्न केलाय. कमळीमुळे तो रखवालदार वाचलाय.  दामू समाधानाने कमळी ला सांगतोय की बाग छान होती. त्याला कमळी ठसक्यात उत्तर देतीये:

 "… बाग छान नव्हती. आम्ही छान होतो. आम्हाला काय बागच पाहिजे, होय रे आडदांडा ? आयुष्यभर बागेतच पेरवे खात हिंडायला आम्ही काय खुळचट पोर आहोत की बडबड पोपट आहोत ? आम्ही जिथ बसू त्या ठिकाणी आमची बाग. ती बाग म्हणजे काही सगळ जग नव्हे. अरे, एवढ्या मोठ्या मातीत मरायला चार वाव जागा कशीही मिळते, मग चार वाव जागा जगायला मिळणार नाही होय?"

ती जणू समाज व्यवस्थेला सांगतीय: आम्हाला तुमचा गळा दाबायची गरज नाही, कुठल्याच हिंसेची गरज नाही कारण आमचा पेरवाच्या बागेतला संभोग हेच आमच त्या व्यवस्थेच्या विरुद्धच बंड होत.... It was a political act... Not merely the love of one person, but the animal instinct, the simple undifferentiated desire: that was the force that would tear the Party to pieces. ... Our embrace had been a battle, the climax a victory... तुम्ही कदाचित आम्हाला तुमच्या व्यवस्थेच्या परिघावरती कायम ठेवाल, आम्हाला बावळट  ठरवाल, हसाल, पण तुम्ही आमचा आनंद कधीच हिसकावून घेवू शकणार नाही..

इथे ऑरवेल यांचे आणखी एक सुंदर अवतरण आठवते:

“...At any rate, spring is here, even in London N. 1, and they can’t stop you enjoying it. This is a satisfying reflection. How many a time have I stood watching the toads mating, or a pair of hares having a boxing match in the young corn, and thought of all the important persons who would stop me enjoying this if they could. But luckily they can’t. So long as you are not actually ill, hungry, frightened or immured in a prison or a holiday camp, spring is still spring. The atom bombs are piling up in the factories, the police are prowling through the cities, the lies are streaming from the loudspeakers, but the earth is still going round the sun, and neither the dictators nor the bureaucrats, deeply as they disapprove of the process, are able to prevent it...”
(‘Some Thoughts on the Common Toad’, 1946)