Posted in adaptations, comic strips, tagged art, Benny Thomas, candide, comic strip, French literature, illustrated classics, satire, Voltaire on October 28, 2015 |
Leave a Comment »
In a castle of Americana, Vermont , belonging to the banker Jonas Rosenberg, lived a youth, whom nature had endowed with the most gentle manners. I suppose, of his being called Candide owes to his transparency to the point of being gullible. He was eager to be taught. He did not mind what as long as it was what passed for facts. Oh his tutor Pangloss never tired of making this impressionable youth know facts of this life and of world to come; he led him with precepts he had learnt at the cost of life experience. They would be seen at all hours during the day under all kinds of weather. The castle grounds were extensive and there were parks and benches that took care of the weariness of walking. Dr. Pangloss was sure to drill into the head of his pupil why the banker was the most blessed. ‘You are the most lucky to have found the Castle of Americana for growing up. He belongs to the One Percent Club and you have a head start on all other youths of your generation.
Pangloss was professor of metaphysico-theologico-cosmolo-nigology. He proved admirably that there is no effect without a cause, and that, in this best of all possible worlds, the Banker’s castle was the most magnificent of castles.
“It is demonstrable,” said he, “that things cannot be otherwise than as they are; for all being created for an end, all is necessarily for the best end. Observe, that the nose has been formed to bear spectacles—thus we have spectacles’. Mind you, do not dismiss your guardians wealth is a cause.
“So do I spend it all, Dr. Pangloss, so we honor the cause -effect?
For Dr. Pangloss it sounded reasonable since money was the cause for all misery for 99 Percent Muppets.
(To be continued)
Read Full Post »
Posted in personalities, tagged cant, Church of Rome, Huguenots, Jean Calais, public opinion, ridicule, satire, superstion, Theist, Voltaire, White Penitents on July 1, 2011 |
1 Comment »
It was Lamartine who said,’If we judge of men by what they have done, then Voltaire is incontestably the greatest writer of Modern Europe’. At a time the arrant knave of superstition had possessed minds of men he made them look silly with some well chosen words. His pen dealt not with poison or vitriol but with ridicule. How lightly he could causing merriment all around make man take a look at himself more closely! Naturally his forte was in molding public opinion. Especially as the case of Jean Calais is an ample proof to it.
Jean Calais case was as sensational as of Dreyfus in another time and convulsed the entire Europe. His only crime was that he was a Protestant as Colonel Dreyfus was a Jew!
Jean Calais kept a small shop in Toulouse. One day while he was at supper with his family above the shop Marc Antoine, his scapegrace son hanged himself. It was an open and shut case of suicide. But the priests and the party got wind of it and turned it around as murder. The Protestant or Huguenot parents were charged with murdering their son in order to prevent him from becoming a Catholic. A circus followed what with White Penitents and their cohorts holding vigil and prayers for the repose of Antoine’s soul.
Under duress some witnesses were found but despite their vagueness the poor old man was stretched till his limbs were torn out of the sockets. Next was the water torture and water pumped into through a horn made his body swell double the size. He still was alive and the Priests and the interested parties saw to that he was hauled to the scaffold and limbs systematically broken by an iron bar. Poor Calais had no confession to make and the executioner himself put a stop to this Ecclesiastical farce by strangling him. What of the poor man’s family? Two daughters were thrust into a convent and a son feigned conversion and got released. Another son escaped to Geneva while the mother disappeared.
At a time when men dared not challenge the Church Voltaire got into the act. He took Poor Calais into his family and got the powerful of the realm interested. At a great cost of his time and money he made restitution to the members of the family in practical ways. He also employed the best lawyers he could find to put the miscarriage of justice aright. He found Mama Calais and housed her in comfortable circumstances. His influence was such those who protested at the travesty of justice were the Queen of England, Catherine of Russia and Frederick the great.
There were quite a few religious crimes where the crimes of the accused were the same. These were Huguenots. Voltaire tilted lances with the monsters; unlike the Man of La Mancha this was real and Voltaire did not come off worse in the engagement.
To this Evil which the Church perpetuated he was a Martin Luther of letters and how he ridiculed the rascals in purple and made their pretensions as silly as the Emperor’s new clothes. I wonder what would he have said in this age when the clergy are the great abusers of the young!
Read Full Post »
Five Scholars having won a special grant from King Chat-Pat wanted to write a treatise on the elephant. The king was inclined to think it was a rhino and not an elephant. He didn’t think it was kingly to go searching for an elephant that had no royal blood in it. So you might call him blind in a manner of speaking.
He deputed his scholars to do the job.
The five scholars were blind in the sense they had been entirely sold to an idea, each after his fashion, that they refused to see facts that would make them change from their opinions. Schooling did not change them neither did doctorates from the Nalanda university.
Ram Lal received doctorate in Philosophy by asserting Lord Ram was real. He believed in Hinduvta and he was all for revising the history of the kingdom to fit his idea of Ramraj. Pannalal advocated a vegetarian diet since it made man and animals docile. Rahmatulla believed color blue stood for purity while Ram Lal defended color saffron signified purity.
‘Allah decreed man must live under the vaults of heaven. So purity and the color blue go hand in hand.’ All along the way from Vijaynagar to Allahabad they were fighting like cats and dogs. At one point the sky rained ash. One said it was due to the ash cloud from Mount Merapi. Ram Lal was elated and asked, ‘The sky rained down ash and made us dirty. How can you say blue represents purity?’
Rahmatulla had a hard time trying to wriggle out of it. Luckily while they were in Ajmir the whole city was agog with bombing of a place of worship. The culprit was as the reports went, wore saffron robes. Rahmatulla with a look of triumph asserted that the incident proved saffron was not the sign of purity. Ram Lal shouted at the top of his voice that there was no such thing as saffron terrorist. When Rahmatulla pointed to the reports Ram Lal dismissed it as a conspiracy.
At Benares the three scholars were met by Benami Lal. Benami Lal was the Dewan of King Bhuvan Singh and he hailed from Punjab. He introduced himself with great many salaams and hand wringing. He said he was a scholar who made every problem go away. ‘There was a shortfall in the treasury and could not meet the war expenses. So I made the entire treasury disappear.’ At that moment Sambu from Mysore arrived at the scene. He wanted to know if they were politically minded. They all said they were scholars. ‘I am also a scholar but that does not prevent me from finding out if the ideology of another fit the correct Marxist-Leninist position.’
None had any idea what he meant and said they were going to write a treatise on the elephant.
Sambu also had a grant from the king and was sure that his analysis made the treatise on the animal complete.
After a couple of days they arrived at the park where the elephant was tethered.
They went directly to the animal. Rama Lal said,‘ The animal is not saffron colored so it must be milecha. For once Rahmatuulla agreed with his arch-rival. He concluded that the animal was not blue in color so it was an infidel. Pannalal saw the huge tusks and wrote in his report that the animal was a carnivore. Sambu looked at its trunk and said triumphantly, ‘The elephant is neither Right nor Left but a Centrist. He concluded that the animal could not be trusted. Other scholars were skeptical and asked, ‘Why not?’
‘In case of a Proletarian struggle the animal will prove to be a spy, Quisling, a fifth column’ He detested the sight of it.
Benami Singh said that the animal posed a problem. ‘ I must think it over, my dear sirs, tomorrow I shall give my considered opinion’. Thus they disbanded for the night.
Next morning the four scholars went to call on Benami Singh. There was no sign of Benami Singh. At that moment news spread around the town like a wild fire, ‘The elephant is gone!’
Another one queried, ‘What! Swallowed by the night?’
The four scholars knew Benami Singh had made the problem go away.
This left them with no choice but to write their own treatise.
Read Full Post »