मेघदूत: "नीचैर्गच्छत्युपरि च दशा चक्रनेमिक्रमेण"

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);...”

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."

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

चार्ल्स डार्विनचे हिरो अलेक्झांडर व्हॉन हुम्बोल्डटना क्रूर ब्रिटिशांनी भारतात कसे पाऊल टाकू दिले नाही... Alexander von Humboldt Longed for India

When Alexander von Humboldt was told that a tree from India was named after him -
Humboldtia laurifolia: ‘isn’t that fabulous!!’

Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, October 2015:
"...“In eight days of reading books, one couldn’t learn as much as what he gives you in an hour,” Goethe said of Humboldt, whom he counted as a good friend. When Darwin finished his own Humboldtian travelogue, “The Voyage of the Beagle,” he nervously sent his hero a copy. “You have an excellent future ahead of you,” the older man reassured him...."

Nathaniel Rich, NYRB, October 2015:
"Humboldt’s hog-nosed skunk, the Humboldt penguin, the Humboldt squid, and more than a hundred other animal species; Humboldt’s Lily, Humboldt’s Schomburgkia, and three hundred other plant species; the minerals Humboldtit, Humboldtilith, and Humboldtin; Humboldt Limestone, Humboldt Oolite, the Humboldt Formation, the Humboldt Current; Humboldt Redwoods State Park, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Parque Nacional Alejandro de Humboldt; Mont Humboldt, Humboldt Mountain, Humboldt Peak, and Humboldt ranges in China, South Africa, and Antarctica; Humboldt Falls, Humboldt Glacier, Humboldt Bay, the Humboldt River, the Humboldt Sink, the Humboldt Salt Marsh; four Humboldt counties and thirteen Humboldt towns in North America alone, the Humboldt crater and Mare Humboldtianum on the moon, and asteroid 54 Alexandra, orbiting the sun.

The Prussian naturalist Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) is all around us. Yet he is invisible. “Alexander von Humboldt has been largely forgotten in the English-speaking world,” writes Andrea Wulf in her thrilling new biography. “It is almost as though his ideas have become so manifest that the man behind them has disappeared.” Wulf’s book is as much a history of those ideas as it is of the man. The man may be lost but his ideas have never been more alive...."
वि दा सावरकर, १९०३: "... फुलबाग मला हाय पारखा झाला..."

अँड्रिया वूल्फ (Andrea Wulf) यांच्या  'The Invention of Nature:  Alexander von Humboldt's New World', २०१५ पुस्तकाची सर्वत्र प्रशंसा झाली.

हुम्बोल्डट यांच्या बद्दल मी १९व्या शतकातील मराठी लेखनात काहीच वाचल नाहीय. (१९व्याच काय, आत्तापर्यंत नाहीय, पण ते माझे अज्ञान असू शकते.)  पण वूल्फ यांच्या पुस्तकात हुम्बोल्डट यांनी भारतात येण्यासाठी, १९व्या शतकाच्या पहिल्या भागात, कितीवेळा आणि कितीतऱ्हेचे प्रयन्त केले याचे सविस्तर वर्णन आहे.

हुम्बोल्डट भारतात यायला तडपत होते - अक्षरशः 'सागरा प्राण तळमळला' याची आठवण यावी इतपत. शेवटी रशियातून खुष्कीच्या मार्गाने यायची पण त्यांची तयारी होती. (त्यामुळे ब्रिटिश आणखी संशयी झाले असणार हे अलाहिदा.)

"... While SIMÓN BOLÍVAR fought bloody battles to break the colonial chains, Humboldt was trying to convince the British to let him travel to India. In order to complete his Naturgemälde of the world, Humboldt wanted to investigate the Himalaya to collect the data he needed to compare the two majestic mountain ranges. No scientist had ever climbed the Himalaya. Since the British had arrived on the subcontinent, it hadn’t even occurred to them to measure these magnificent mountains, Humboldt said. They had just ‘thoughtlessly looked at them without even asking themselves how high these colossal Himalaya were’. Humboldt intended to determine heights, understand geological features and examine plant distribution there – just as he had in the Andes...."

पण ब्रिटिशांनी त्यांना कधीही परवानगी दिली नाही.  अँड्रिया वूल्फ लिहतात:
"... The first volume of the Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain had been published in English in 1811, and Humboldt’s fierce attack on Spanish colonialism had not gone unnoticed in London. What were they to think of a man who talked of the ‘cruelty of the Europeans’? It can’t have helped that Humboldt, in his constant effort to find correlations, had many times compared Spanish rule in Latin America with that of the British in India. The history of conquest in South America and India, Humboldt wrote in the Political Essay of New Spain, was an ‘unequal struggle’, or – again pointing at Britain – the South Americans and ‘Hindoos’, he accused, ‘have long groaned under a civil and military despotism’. Reading these remarks can’t have enamoured the directors of the East India Company to Humboldt’s travel plans...."

त्या विरहामुळे हुम्बोल्डटना  रडू यायचे आणि आपल्याला वेड लागेल  का अशी भीती वाटायची.

"... In London, Humboldt was introduced to botanists, explorers, artists and thinkers. He met Captain William Bligh (of the infamous mutiny on the Bounty), and Joseph Banks, Cook’s botanist on his first voyage around the world, and by now the president of the Royal Society, the most important scientific forum in Britain. Humboldt admired the beguiling paintings and sketches that William Hodges, the artist who had joined Cook’s second voyage, had brought back. Wherever Humboldt turned, new worlds were conjured up. Even in the early mornings, the first things he saw when he opened his eyes were the framed engravings of the East India Company ships that decorated the bedroom walls in his lodgings. Humboldt often wept when he saw these painful reminders of his unfulfilled dreams. ‘There is a drive in me,’ he wrote, ‘that often makes me feel as if I’m losing my mind.’..."

'Portrait of Alexander von Humboldt', 1806 
Artist:  Friedrich Georg Weitsch

courtesy : Wikimedia Commons

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