मेघदूत: "नीचैर्गच्छत्युपरि च दशा चक्रनेमिक्रमेण"

समर्थ शिष्या अक्का : "स्वामीच्या कृपाप्रसादे हे सर्व नश्वर आहे असे समजले. पण या नश्वरात तमाशा बहुत आहे."

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.”

Friedrich Nietzsche: “Everybody wants the same, everybody is the same: whoever feels different goes voluntarily into a madhouse.”

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);...”

सदानंद रेगे:
"... पण तुकारामाची गाथा ज्या धुंदीनं आजपर्यंत वाचली जात होती ती धुंदी माझ्याकडे नाहीय. ती मला येऊच शकत नाही याचं कारण स्वभावतःच मी नास्तिक आहे."
".. त्यामुळं आपण त्या दारिद्र्याच्या अनुभवापलीकडे जाऊच शकत नाही. तुम्ही जर अलीकडची सगळी पुस्तके पाहिलीत...तर त्यांच्यामध्ये त्याच्याखेरीज दुसरं काही नाहीच आहे. म्हणजे माणसांच्या नात्यानात्यांतील जी सूक्ष्मता आहे ती क्वचित चितारलेली तुम्हाला दिसेल. कारण हा जो अनुभव आहे... आपले जे अनुभव आहेत ते ढोबळ प्रकारचे आहेत....."

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, March 31, 2017

中华人民共和国...Dong Kingman's China

Today March 31 2017 is 106th birth anniversary of Dong Kingman, a watercolour artist. 

I watched Nicholas Ray's  '55 Days at Peking', 1963 sometime in 2016. The film is pretty average, although, as always, David Niven stands out.

But what caught my attention was 'Title Paintings' of the late Dong Kingman and the music composed by Dimitri Tiomkin.

Mr. Kingman paintings are so moving that I feel they are almost wasted on that film!  I wish he and the late Mr. Satyajit Ray worked together for at least one feature...


courtesy: Allied Artists, the artist and the current copyright holders

Monday, March 27, 2017

जागतिक रंगभूमी दिन आणि तंजावरचा मराठी राजा

आज मार्च २७ २०१७ला असलेल्या जागतिक रंगभूमी दिनानिमित्त, मी सुरु केलेल्या काही फेसबुक स्मारकांवर, काल प्रसिद्ध केलेली पोस्ट... 

 साभार :  द ग गोडसे, 'नांगी असलेले फुलपाखरू', १९८९, पृष्ठ: ८१

वरील  माहिती २०१७ साली नवी नसेल,  पण ती कै द ग गोडसेंच्या प्रभावी सादरीकरणामुळ वाचायला मजा येते.... आणि ज्यावेळी आपण मराठी म्हणतो त्यावेळी आपण कधी कधी किती लघु दृष्टीने पाहतो हे विचार करण्याची गोष्ट आहे...

अटकेपर्यंत गेल्याचा अभिमान असू द्या पण आजच्या समृद्ध, रसरशीत आणि अनेक महापुरुष व स्त्रीयांनी मशागत केलेल्या अशा कर्नाटक संगीताचा महावृक्ष तंजावर दरबारामुळे फोफावला  ही माझ्यामते जास्त अभिमानाची गोष्ट आहे....अमेरिकेची खरी सत्ता तीच्या 'सॉफ्ट पॉवर' मधून येते, हायड्रोजन बॉम्ब मधून नाही, इराक वरच्या विजयातून नाही....

तंजावरचा विचार आपण कोल्हापुर आणि साताऱ्याच्या बरोबरीने किमान विसाव्या शतकात तरी करायला हवा होता...

[वर दिलेला छोटा परिच्छेद गोडसेंच्या 'शतायुषी सौभद्र' या एकमेवाद्वितीय मराठी लेखातून घेतला आहे.
मराठी (किमान मध्यमवर्गीय) संस्कृतीचे आभूषण ठरलेल्या संगीत सौभद्रची ही जन्मकथा आहे.
आपले सर्वस्व पणाला लावून गोडसेंनी या शिल्पाची रचना केली  आहे. त्यांच्यातील रसिक, नेपथ्यकार, वादक, सूक्ष्म वाचक, चित्रकार, लेखक, इतिहासाचा अभ्यासक, नाटकाचा प्रेक्षक, साहित्य टीकाकार....एका हार्मनी मध्ये वाजताना या लेखात ऐकू येतात.
हा बत्तीस पानी लेख जरूर वाचा. मात्र कृपया एक लक्षात असू द्या - मी तो लेख येथे देऊ शकणार नाही.]

जागतिक रंगभूमी दिन आणि आपण...World Theatre Day

Today March 27 2017 is World Theatre Day

Artist: K J Lamb, The Spectator, UK

Friday, March 24, 2017

फ्रान्झ काफ्कांची एक आवड: भारतीय नाचणारी मुलगी ....Franz Kafka and Nautch Girl

William Dalrymple,  ‘White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-Century India‘, 2002:

“...‘Nautch parties and mehfils in Hyderabad at this period, as in Delhi and Lucknow, tended to be held outside at night in the illuminated garden courtyards of the great palaces. Some of the most alluring descriptions of such parties are given by Farzand Begum’s grandfather, Dargah Quli Khan, who writes how, in the evenings, the courtyards are swept and sprinkled with water and colourful carpets are spread on a raised platform. Then the established poets start the recitation of ghazals … [sometimes] shamiana tents are erected … Dancers entertain the people and good looking women gather in such large numbers that the mere sight of them appeases the appetite, although for the lecherous this does not suffice. The illumination of the lamps and candles is akin to the light in the Valley of Tur. The omrahs occupy a separate side which is adorned with most beautiful carpets. They are courteously offered fruits and other delicacies along with perfume. Those desirous of wine are also provided with it … The sounds emanating from the bow on the strings of the sarangi are like arrows piercing the heart … The music makes people listless with ecstasy and the sounds of appreciation rend the air …”

कै विलास सारंगांना काफ्का खूप आवडायचे...एक मानदंडच होते काफ्का त्यांच्यासाठी...काफ्का म्हणजे वास्तव आणि अद्भुताचे मिश्रण करणारा महान कलावंत...

अद्भुताचे वावडे भारतीयांना कधीच नव्हते...म्हणून भारतीय परंपरेला जवळचा पण ...दुर्दैवाने  मराठी लेखकांनी / टीकाकारांनी / वाचकांनी कित्येक दशके दुर्लक्षिलेला....

रायनर स्टॅक (Reiner Stach) यांचे फ्रान्झ काफ्कांचे त्रिखंडात्मक नावाजलेले चरित्र या शतकात प्रसिद्ध झाले.
स्टॅक लिहतात:

"...Since very few people at that time had seen remote continents for themselves, exoticism was an essential component of the early entertainment industry; but beyond the element of surprise and of foreignness, Kafka was eager to immerse himself in images of nonwhite people and foreign cultures, and he could spend hours listening to people talk about Palestine, Japan, or America, as though taking solace in the fact that a completely different life on this planet was not just the stuff of dreams, but a reality. The “tribal dances,” Kafka later wrote to Felice Bauer, made more sense to him than the annoying singing and hand-clapping his father used to entertain a grandchild. He meant what he was writing: The exotic opened his eyes to magnificent and entertaining utopian vistas.

“What the French woman can do / I can do too. / There’s not much to it—that’s for sure / They just have that French allure / That’s why they have more luck. / But the woman from Vienna does show some pluck.” More popular tune than chanson, warbled with skirts raised high and flicked back and forth, legs kicking way up. Brod dubbed the performance “the wisdom of the cabaret”; it was deemed suitable for minors and thus also for women.

Chantant, variété, cabaret—a series of chiefly French terms were applied to the entertainment spots at which things of that sort were offered, and the advertisements that appeared in the Prague newspapers on a daily basis indicate an astonishing kaleidoscope of performances. There were chansonettes with highly trained voices alongside buffoons, stand-up comedians, and brash emcees; there were satirical and “spicy” scenes; women performing “Indian” dances and exotic-looking singers; striptease acts that were advertised as “veil dances”; one-act vaudeville-style operettas; Japanese performers—and on occasion one could also marvel at Viennese celebrities such as the chansonette Mela Mars (a member of the art nouveau cabaret known as Die Hölle [“Hell”]) or the actor and trend-setting cabarettist Egon Friedell, whose posters never failed to mention that he held a doctorate. “Generally speaking, I quite appreciate these sorts of things,” Kafka wrote to Felice Bauer, “I believe I grasp them from deep down, from incalculably deep down, and enjoy them with a racing heart.”..."

... आणि मॅक्स ब्रॉड (Max Brod) ना लिहलेल्या १६ डिसेंबर १९०६च्या  एका पत्रात काफ्का लिहतात:
"My dear Max,
When are we going to the Indian dancing girl, since the other young woman has escaped us, her aunt for the present being stronger than her talent.


Dancing girl Malageer 

(courtesy: William Dalrymple's another book 'The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty, Delhi, 1857', 2006)

 मला ते 'aunt' वाचून  हसू आले .... भारतीय परफॉर्म करणारी मुलगी म्हणजे aunt पाहिजेच!

गाजलेल्या खालील चित्रात, सगळ्यात डावीकडे बसलेल्या, इतर पाच नाचणाऱ्या मुलींच्या aunt असाव्यात ...

'A Group of Courtesans', sometime 1800-1825

Artist:  possibly Ghulam Ali Khan

courtesy: B. N. Goswamy's 'The Spirit of Indian Painting: Close Encounters with 101 Great Works 1100-1900', 2014

Monday, March 20, 2017

उदासतेला जहरी डोळे: मर्ढेकर मरणदिन....Melancholy Has Disquieting Eyes

Today March 20 2017 is 61st Death Anniversary of  B S Mardhekar ( बा.सी.मर्ढेकर)

                                                           Artist: Steve Cutts

Poem no#  21  from "Mardhekarnchi Kavita" (मर्ढेकरांची कविता), 1959

"पिपांत मेले ओल्या उंदिर;
माना पडल्या, मुरगळल्याविण;
ओठांवरती ओठ मिळाले;
माना पडल्या, आसक्तीविण.
गरिब बिचारे बिळांत जगले,
पिपांत मेले उचकी देउन;
दिवस सांडला घाऱ्या डोळीं
गात्रलिंग अन् धुवून घेउन.

जगायची पण सक्ती आहे;
मरायची पण सक्ती आहे.

उदासतेला जहरी डोळे,
काचेचे पण;

मधाळ पोळें
ओठांवरती जमलें तेंही
बेकलाइटी, बेकलाइटी!
ओठांवरती ओठ लागले;
पिपांत उंदिर न्हाले ! न्हाले !"

Translated  by Vilas Sarang (विलास सारंग):

"Mice Died in the Wet Barrel

Inside the waterlogged drum, the mice are dead,
Their necks hang, wrung by nobody.

The necks hang, and lips meet lips
Without desire.

Poor bastards lived in holes,
And, with a hiccup, died in the drum.

Day spilled into gray eyes,
rinsed their limbs and genitals.

Living is obligatory;
so, too, is dying.

Melancholy has disquieting eyes;
they are glass ones, though.

Even the honeycomb
brimming on their lips
is merely foam rubber!

Lips nuzzling lips:
O the mice are douched in the drum!
the mice are douched!"

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Of Violence and Sex....Of Mice and Men

John Steinbeck's 'Of Mice and Men' was published 80 years ago in 1937.

As Wikipedia states, it also is at number 5 on the list of the Most Challenged Books of 21st Century.

Maybe the following is reason...violence and sex.....

Artist: Vic Lee, 2015

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Saturday, March 11, 2017

आर्यत्वाचा उन्माद...अमली पदार्थांनी भरून वाहणाऱ्या पुष्करणी व नद्या ...Breaking Bad in Hitler's Germany!

Adolf Hitler:
"I’m not doing politics any more. It repels me so much." 

"The higher a man rises the more he has to be able to abstain […] If a street-sweeper is unwilling to sacrifice his tobacco or his beer, then I think, ‘Very well, my good man, that’s precisely why you’re a street-sweeper and not one of the ruling personalities of the State!’"

Once a popular German song in Berlin cabarets:

Once not so very long ago
Sweet alcohol, that beast,
Brought warmth and sweetness to our lives,
But then the price increased.
And so cocaine and morphine
Berliners now select.
Let lightning flashes rage outside
We snort and we inject!

Norman Ohler, 2016 :

“...Outside of the military the addiction was also growing. In 1939 Pervitin fever was rife in the Third Reich, whether it was housewives going through the menopause who ‘wolfed down the stuff like sweets’, young mothers who took methamphetamine to ward off the baby blues, or widows who were looking for ‘Elite partners’ through the marriage bureau, and who took high doses to combat inhibitions during their first meeting. To help with childbirth, to fight seasickness, vertigo, hay fever, schizophrenia, anxiety neuroses, depressions, low drive, disturbances of the brain – wherever the Germans hurt, the blue, white and red tube was at the ready.

As coffee had hardly been available since the start of the war, methamphetamine was often added as a substitute to pep up ersatz versions of the drink. ‘Pervitin could, rather than being pumped into bomber pilots and bunker pioneers, be used deliberately for cerebral machinations in higher-education colleges,’ Gottfried Benn wrote of these times.‘It may sound deviant to some people, but it is only the natural continuation of an idea of humanity’s progress. Whether it is rhythm, drugs or modern autogenic training – it is the ancient human desire to overcome tensions that have become unbearable.’...”

“...(Erwin) Rommel didn’t halt. Too nimble to offer a target, he drove and drove and drove, taking advantage as Guderian had done of the excellent German logistics and becoming a kind of deadly joker, always playing high and wild, becoming unpredictable, uncontrollable, unstoppable. They admired him at headquarters: ‘I’d like to go right to the front like General Rommel. He’s the greatest daredevil, always in the first combat vehicle of his division!’ Even his superior, General Hoth, couldn’t issue him with orders, because by the time these written documents arrived on the battlefield, Rommel was already miles away and out of radio contact. He had no apparent sense of danger – a typical symptom of excessive methamphetamine consumption. Even in the middle of the night he stormed on and attacked solid positions while still in motion, firing all barrels like a sort of berserker, constantly catching his adversaries on the back foot...”

Ziya Us Salam, Frontline, March 2017:
“...On one hand, Aurangzeb Road in New Delhi has been renamed Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Road, and on the other, a road has been named after Dara Shikoh, the man he bested in the battle of succession after Shah Jahan’s reign in 1657.
Whichever way you look at it, Aurangzeb is very much a part of an ongoing debate. If in the 1980s and 1990s Muslims were derided as Babur ki aulad (Babur’s progeny), today a Shiv Sena leader calls Muslims Aurangzeb ki aulad. It seems Aurangzeb is the baggage from the past modern-day Muslims have to live with. “Well, one lesson we are constantly taught is that history is important because it shapes the present. In reality, it is the other way around: it is the demands and pressures arising out of the present which shape our image of the past especially at the popular level...”
पैगंबरवासी औरंगझेब, अफझल खान आणि शाहिस्ते खान यांच्या सारखच हिटलर मराठी लोकांच्या जीवनातून अजूनही जात नाहीत.

त्यांचं पुस्तक मराठीतलं बेस्ट सेलर, काही आधुनिक राजकीय पुढाऱ्यांकडून होणारे त्यांचे गौरवपूर्ण उल्लेख, त्यांच्या बरोबर अमेरिकेचे सध्याचे राष्ट्राध्यक्ष डोनाल्ड ट्रम्प यांची नेहमी होत असणारी तुलना, १९४७सालच्या आधी काही महत्वाच्या नेत्यांचे, संघटनांचे आणि त्यांचे प्रत्यक्ष/ अप्रत्यक्ष संबंध, कै इरावती कर्वेंबाबत कै. दुर्गाबाई भागवतांनी काढलेले खालील उद्गार:
 "...पण जेव्हा हा अभिमान परछळाचा पाया होतो, अभिमानाचे रुप अहंगंड घेतो, अस्मितेला असहिष्णुतेचे स्वरूप येते, तेव्हा मात्र हा अभिमान रास्त राहत नाहि. या अभिमानापोटी काही मंडळी इंग्लंडात न जाता जर्मनीला गेली. त्यावेळी हिटलरने आर्यस्तोम माजवले होते...पण आर्यत्वाची मोहिनी असणारे कित्येक जण जर्मनीत गेले. तिथल्या पदव्या त्यांनी घेतल्या. इरावतीबाई (व त्यांचे पतिराज) त्यांपैकीच होते. वास्तविक इरावतीबाईंनी एम. ए. चाच प्रबंध जर्मनीत थोडा बदल करून पीएच. डी. ला दिला… "
 ('आठवले तसे', १९९१/२०१४) ... अस कितीतरी!

नॉर्मन ओलार (Norman Ohler) यांचे 'ब्लिट्झड : ड्रग्स इन नाझी जर्मनी' (Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi German) हे पुस्तक २०१६ साली प्रसिद्ध झाले. त्याचे मोठ्या प्रमाणात सर्वत्र कौतुक झाले आहे. त्याचे काही भाग आणि त्याची परिक्षण वाचून बायार (Bayer) , म्यॅर्क (Merck) या महाकाय औषधे आणि रसायने बनवणाऱ्या कंपन्यांचा युद्धावरती - केमिकल शस्त्रे बनवून नव्हे- केवढा मोठा परिणाम होता हे जाणवत.  

हिटलर, इतर अनेक नाझी आणि मोठ्या प्रमाणात सामान्य जर्मन लोक, सैन्य  किती व्यसनी ('चरसी'/ 'गांजेकस') होते हे वाचून मन थक्क झाले आणि इतिहास हा कसा कायम इव्हॉल्व्ह होत रहातो याची जाणीव झाली. वाचून, पाहून कल्पिलेल्या युद्धकालीन जर्मनीतील प्रत्येक गोष्टीवर याचे सावट पडले. वाचलेला इतिहास, सिनेमा, डॉक्युमेंटरी थोडा का होईना बदललीय अस वाटू लागल.

मध्ययुगीन भारतात सुद्धा  अमली पदार्थाचा  वापर  असा झाला असेल का? ज्याला आपण टोकाचे धाडस, शौर्य म्हणतो ते काही प्रमाणात अफूच्या, गांजाच्या अमलाखाली झालेल्या कृती असतील का? त्यामुळे त्या कृतींचे महत्व कदाचित कमी होत नसेल पण सत्य काय आहे? (Wikipedia: Extensive textual and pictorial sources also show that poppy cultivation and opium consumption were widespread in Safavid Iran and Mughal India.)

थोर विद्वान आणि अभ्यासू कै. स अ जोगळेकरांनी त्यांच्या वाङ्मय शोभा मार्च १९५०च्या लेखात प्राचीन- 'आर्य' कालातील मद्यपानाबद्दल लिहले आहे:
सौजन्य: लेखक आणि वाङ्मय शोभा 

कै. अरुण कोलटकरांनी 'द्रोण', २००२ या त्यांच्या दीर्घ कवितेत रामायणातील लंकाविजया नंतरच्या जेत्यांच्या काल्पनिक ऑरजी (orgy) चे वर्णन केले आहे.

पण कै जोगळेकर आणि कोलटकर आज असते तर त्यांना समजले असतेकी आधुनिक आर्य-जर्मन लोक दारू बरोबरच अमली पदार्थांच्या आहारी किती गेले होते ते!

जोगळेकर म्हणतातकी शहराला वेढा पडलेला असताना महाभारतकालीन सर्वसाधारण नागरिकांना मद्यपानाची सक्त मनाई होती पण बर्लिनला रशियनांचा वेढा पडल्यावर हिटलर आणि मंडळींचे ड्रग थैमान जमेल तसे चालूच होते!

दुसय्रा महायुद्धावरील गाजलेल्या अनेक पुस्तकांचे लेखक सर अँटनी बीव्हर 'दी न्यू यॉर्क रिव्ह्यू ऑफ बुक्स', मार्च ९ २०१७ मध्ये लिहतात :

"At the core of Ohler’s book lie the fundamental paradox and shameless hypocrisy of Nazism. Its ideology demanded purity of body, blood, and mind. Adolf Hitler was portrayed as a vegetarian teetotaler who would allow nothing to corrupt him. Drugs were depicted as part of a Jewish plot to poison and weaken the nation—Jews were said to “play a supreme part” in the international drug trade—and yet nobody became more dependent on cocktails of drugs than Hitler, and no armed forces did more to enhance their troops’ performance than the Wehrmacht did by using a version of methamphetamine. Although Ohler’s book does not fundamentally change the history of the Third Reich, it is an account that makes us look at this densely studied period rather differently."

 "In pill form Pervitin was marketed as a general stimulant, equally useful for factory workers and housewives. It promised to overcome narcolepsy, depression, low energy levels, frigidity in women, and weak circulation. The assurance that it would increase performance attracted the Nazi Party’s approval, and amphetamine use was quietly omitted from any anti-drug propaganda. By 1938, large parts of the population were using Pervitin on an almost regular basis, including students preparing for exams, nurses on night duty, businessmen under pressure, and mothers dealing with the pressures of Kinder, Küche, Kirche (children, kitchen, church—to which the Nazis thought women should be relegated). Ohler quotes from letters written by the future Nobel laureate Heinrich Böll, then serving in the German army, begging his parents to send him more Pervitin. Its consumption came to be seen as entirely normal."

"Whether Hitler’s trembling hands were the result of Parkinson’s or the direct consequence of excessive drug use is impossible to say, but the deterioration in his appearance toward the end of 1944 shocked many who had not seen him since earlier in the year. By February 1945, supplies of Eukodal had begun to run out, and Hitler was soon suffering withdrawal symptoms as the end approached in the Führerbunker in Berlin. Albert Speer complained that history always emphasized terminal events, and thus overlooked the early achievements of Nazism. He could not have been more wrong. The ghastly and grotesque end of the Third Reich revealed its true basis of lies, hypocrisy, futile slaughter, and pointless cruelty."

Mr. Ramachandra Guha quotes the late Mr. J L Nehru in his book ‘Makers of Modern India’,  2010 thus:

“...’I have some knowledge of the way the Nazi movement developed  in Germany. It attracted by its superficial trappings and strict discipline considerable numbers of lower middle class young men and women who are normally not too intelligent and for whom life appeared to offer little to attract them. And so they drifted towards  the Nazi party because its policy and programme, such as they were, were simple, negative and did not require an active effort of the mind. The Nazi party brought Germany to ruin and I have little doubt that if these tendencies are allowed to spread and increase in India, they would do enormous injury to India. No doubt India would survive. But she would be grievously wounded and would take a long time to recover’. From a letter dated 17 January 1948...”

Little did Nehru know the role played by chemistry in the process!

श्री. ओलार पुस्तकात एका ठिकाणी म्हणतात:
"The Nazis had their own recipe for healing the people: they promised ideological salvation. For them there could be only one legitimate form of inebriation: the swastika."

ते झाल सुरवातीला पण नंतर सुद्धा, खालील चित्रात दाखवल्याप्रमाणे, स्वस्तिक व्यतिरिक्त गोष्टींनी 'हाय' (inebriate) झाल्यावर सुद्धा हिटलर किंवा त्यांच्या अनुयायांचे 'स्वस्तिक प्रेम' कमी झालेले दिसत नाही!

Artist: E. O. Plauen aka Erich Ohser (1903-1944)

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

...जरी त्या क्रांतीचा मुडदा पडला तरी...The Russian Revolutions@100

Tomorrow March 8 2017 will be the centenary of the start of the February Revolution (8/3/1917 -16/3/1917) in Russia.  It was followed by the October Revolution that started on November 7 1917. 

'Bolshevik’, 1920, by Boris Mikhailovich Kustodiev

Isaiah Berlin, ‘A Message to the Twenty-First Century’, The New York Review of Books, November 25, 1994/ October 23 2014:

“IT WAS THE best of times, it was the worst of times.” With these words Dickens began his famous novel A Tale of Two Cities. But this cannot, alas, be said about our own terrible century. Men have for millennia destroyed each other, but the deeds of Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Napoleon (who introduced mass killings in war), even the Armenian massacres, pale into insignificance before the Russian Revolution and its aftermath: the oppression, torture, murder which can be laid at the doors of Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, and the systematic falsification of information which prevented knowledge of these horrors for years—these are unparalleled. They were not natural disasters but preventable human crimes, and whatever those who believe in historical determinism may think, they could have been averted...”
Simon Sebag Montefiore, ‘The Romanovs: 1613-1918’, 2016:

“...Marx wrote that ‘History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.’ This was witty but far from true. History is never repeated, but it borrows, steals, echoes and commandeers the past to create a hybrid, something unique out of the ingredients of past and present. No tsars were to rule Russia after 1917, yet each of Nicholas’s successors, who ruled the same empire with many of the same challenges in entirely different circumstances, channelled, adapted and blended the prestige of the Romanovs with the zeitgeist of their own times.
Lenin had lost Ukraine, the Caucasus and much else at Brest-Litovsk – and without Ukraine, Russia would cease to be a great power. But ultimately Lenin shrewdly reassembled the Romanov empire, losing only Finland, Poland and the Baltics.

Even as Stalin outmanoeuvred his rivals to succeed Lenin, he privately believed that Russia needed a ‘tsar’: in April 1926, he mused that, although the Party ruled, ‘the people understand little of this. For centuries the people in Russia were under a tsar. The Russian people are tsarist . . . accustomed to one person being at the head. And now there should be one.’ He studied Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great particularly. ‘The people need a tsar,’ he said in the 1930s, ‘whom they can worship and for whom they can live and work.’ He carefully crafted his own image to create a new template of tsar, fatherly and mysterious, industrial and urban, the leader of an internationalist mission yet the monarch of the Russians...”
Max Hastings, The Spectator, December 2016:

”..., in the matter of scale, the Russian revolutionaries and their later successors in China achieved a record of mass killings such as even the Nazis struggled to match.

The world will no doubt experience the consequences of plenty more barren ideologies and brutal dictatorships, but it is doubtful that any will impose as much misery as did the doctrine first empowered by the Bolshevik revolution. Its looming receivership offers just cause for gratitude.”

John Gray:
 "Driven by ‘an amalgam of self-admiration and self-contempt’, intellectual and political leaders in Russia, China, India, Africa and the Islamic world responded to the incursions of imperialism by attempting to transform their societies along Western lines. Rejecting traditional elites and values, they imbibed Western ideologies, such as Marxism and Social Darwinism. By emulating the West, they hoped to defeat it. Instead, they have succumbed to the West’s pathologies and disorder"

Artist: Saul Steinberg (1914-1999), The New Yorker, February 25 1961

वरील इंग्रजी अवतरणातून रशियन क्रांतीने  जगात काय घडवून आणले  हे समजते. आणखी एक गोष्ट म्हणजे या आधीच्या  अमेरिकन (१७६५-१७८३) आणि  फ्रेंच (१७८९-१७९९) क्रांत्यांना जे जमल नाही ते या क्रांतीने केले:  तीने महाराष्ट्राच्या (वाङ्मयीन) सांस्कृतिक जीवनात दीर्घ पल्ल्याची उलथापालथ नक्कीच घडवून आणली.

तिचे भयानक रक्तरंजित वास्तव आणि आर्थिक दिवाळखोरी साक्षर महाराष्ट्रात समजायला कित्येक दशके लागली. पण तो पर्यंत डझनाने मराठी साहित्यिक (उदा: साने गुरुजी, आचार्य अत्रे, कुसुमाग्रज, शं वा किर्लोस्कर, अनंत काणेकर, पु य देशपांडे, वि स  खांडेकर, ग त्र्यं माडखोलकर, वि वा हडप ...) तिच्या (आणि पर्यायाने मार्क्सवादाच्या) प्रोपॅगांडाला कमी-जास्त प्रमाणात बळी पडले होते. लेखनात समाजवादी असण्याला मराठी साहित्य विश्वात मोठी प्रतिष्ठा मिळायला सुरवात झाली. समाजवाद आणि वास्तववाद  याची गल्लत व्हायला सुरवात झाली. क्रांती हा शब्द मराठीत सहज वापरला जाऊ लागला. भांडवलदार, (मोठा) जमीनदार ह्या शिव्या बनल्या. साहित्य कृतीत चालेल पण पैशा बद्दल साहित्य विश्वात बोलायच नाही असा पायंडा पडत गेला. लेखकांमध्ये विज्ञानाच महत्व दिवसेंदिवस  वाढत गेल आणि देवाच कमी होत गेल. नास्तिक असण्याला सुद्धा प्रतिष्ठा आली.

रशियन क्रांती- पहिल्या महायुद्ध काळात नावाजलेला धुरीण (समाजातील अल्पजन) वर्ग (ह ना आपटे, वि स खांडेकर, ना सी फडके, विश्राम बेडेकर ...), ज्यावर १९व्या आणि आधीच्या शतकातील ब्रिटिश कादंबरीचा मोठा प्रभाव होता, तो कथा, कादंबरी या वाङ्मय प्रकारासाठी वास्तववादाकडे जवळजवळ पूर्णपणे  वळला होता. जसा बहुजन लेखक त्याकाळानंतर हळूहळू लिहता झाला तो अल्पजनांप्रमाणे वास्तववाद अंगीकारूनच. विलास सारंग म्हणतात: "...स्वातंत्र्यपूर्व धुरीण पिढीने कवटाळलेले ध्येयवाद, सुधारणावाद १९६० नंतरच्या बहुजन लेखकांनी सब-कॉन्शस अनुकरणप्रियतेने स्वीकारलेला दिसतो. काही नवीन वैचारिक मार्ग शोधण्याचा प्रयत्न क्वचितच आढळतो..." (पृष्ठ ६६, 'वाङ्मयीन संस्कृती व सामाजिक वास्तव', २०११)

माझ्या मते बहुजन साहित्यिकांना वेगळा, कधी पूरक- समांतर तर कधी काटकोनात (orthogonal) असा पंथ धरता आला असता.  त्यांच्यावर शतकानुशतक झालेला अन्याय, त्यातून निर्माण झालेला आक्रोश  किमान काही लेखकांना तरी विडंबन (satire) , अद्भुत (फँटसी), फार्स सारख्या साहित्य प्रकारातून (genre) अतिशय मनोरंजक आणि प्रभावी प्रकारे व्यक्त करता आला असता: उदा: जोनाथन स्विफ्ट यांची 'ए मॉडेस्ट प्रपोजल', १७२९ किंवा मिखाईल बल्गाकॉव्ह यांची 'दी मास्टर अँड मार्गारिटा', १९२८-१९४०.

महाराष्ट्रातले समाजसुधारक प्रखर वास्तव साध्या (ज्योतिराव फुले तर कधीतरी अतिशय लालित्यपूर्ण) मराठी भाषेत १९व्या शतकापासून मांडतच होते.  श्रीपाद कृष्ण कोल्हटकरांनी विडंबनाची ताकत समर्थपणे दाखवून दिली होती. अण्णासाहेब  किर्लोस्करांचा 'संगीत सौभद्र' नावाचा फार्स  कमालीचा लोकप्रिय झाला होता. मराठीत केंव्हाच अनुवादित झालेल 'अरेबियन नाईट्स' सारख उत्तम दर्जाच फँटसी वाङ्मय उपलब्ध होत. प्रखर वास्तव, अतिवास्तव आणि फँटसी यांच्या सीमेवर संचार करणाऱ्या अस्सल देशी जातक कथा होत्या. शील-अश्लील असली दांभिकता धुडकारून देणार, बहुजनांच सामान्य जीवन तरलतेन मांडणार आणि सेलिब्रेट करणार जगातील एक महान पुस्तक 'गाथा सप्तशती' होत....

१९८९सालापर्यंत जरी या रशियन क्रांतीचा जगात इतर अनेक ठिकाणी मुडदा पडला असला तरी मराठी साहित्यावरील तीचा पगडा अजून बऱ्याच प्रमाणात कंटाळवाण्या, कल्पनाशून्य अशा ढोबळ वास्तववादाच्या (आणि ध्येयवाद , आदर्शवाद , परिवर्तनवाद) रूपात कायम आहे. लेखक आणि समाजसुधारक यातील फरक नष्ट झाला आहे...