Archive for the category “पढ़ते-पढ़ते”

चेतावनी और प्रश्नपत्र : निकानोर पार्रा

नेरुदा एक कवि के रूप में  स्थापित हो चुके थे और मेधा से लैस भी थे, तभी उन्हें भान हुआ कि पाठक-श्रोता के रूप में उन्हें एक बड़ी जनता मिल सकती है, इसलिए वे कम्युनिस्ट हो गए. कम्युनिस्ट तो वे हो गए लेकिन उनसे कविता छूट गयी, इसके बावजूद वे देश-दुनिया में लोकप्रिय हो उठे. उन्होंने वही किया, जो वे चाहते थे. किन्तु मैं कहना चाहता हूँ कि बाज़ मक्खियों से नहीं लड़ता है. अपनी प्रसिद्धि के चरम पर जब बाज़ मक्खियों के साथ नाचना शुरू कर दे तो वह विदूषक बन जाता है. वे स्पीलबर्ग जैसे बड़े व्यापारी बन गए! सिनेमा के एक व्यक्तित्व के रूप में स्पीलबर्ग बड़े ही प्रतिभावान आदमी थे, लेकिन क्या हुआ? बहुत, बहुत बड़ा व्यापार. अब वह एक बाज़ है जो मक्खियों के साथ नाचता है.

अब निकानोर पार्रा मेरा मास्टर है. जब नेरुदा एक बड़े कवि और एक रोमांटिक कम्युनिस्ट थे, तब वह एक अकवि (एंटी पोएट्री) था. लोगों को उसने सच्ची कविताओं से वाबस्ता कराया, वह सचमुच में एक मजेदार आदमी था. वह मेरा मास्टर था, मैं उसे एक कवि की तरह प्यार देता था. जब मैं ‘एंडलेस पोएट्री’ शूट कर रहा था तब वे सौ साल के हो चुके थे. मैं उनसे मिलने गया, वे सौ साल के हैं, सौ साल के. प्रखर मेधा से लैस आज भी वे जिंदा हैं, और हमेशा की तरह कुछ कठिनाइयों के बीच अपना काम कर रहे हैं. वे एक इंसान हैं, निपट इंसान, जिनसे मैंने बात की है. अपनी फिल्म में मैंने खुद भी सौ साल के एक बुड्ढे की भूमिका की है. मैं उन्हें देखने गया और कहा, “एक सौ साल का आदमी मुझसे क्या कहना चाहेगा?” वे बोले, “बूढ़ा होना कोई अपमान नहीं हैं. तुम अपने पैसे खोते हो, अपनी यौवन-महिमा के गुणगान से निजात पाते हो; धन-यौन-लिप्सा से मुक्त हो जाते हो. इस तरह तुम सबकुछ खोकर फतिंगे में तब्दील हो जाते हो.”   # अलेखान्द्रो  जोदरोवस्की

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Snap Shot – Persona (1966)

 

चेतावनी

By निकानोर पार्रा

अगले आदेश तक 

आग लगने पर

लिफ्ट का नहीं

सीढ़ियों का इस्तेमाल करें

अगले आदेश तक

ट्रेन में धुम्रपान न करें
गंदगी न फैलाएं

शौच न करें

रेडियो न सुनें

अगले आदेश तक

हर उपयोग के बाद

टॉयलेट को फ्लश करें

ट्रेन जब प्लेटफ़ॉर्म पर हो

तब शौच न करें

बगल के सहयात्री से लेकर

धार्मिक सैनिकों तक के प्रति अपनी राय रखें

जैसे, दुनिया के मजदूरों एक हो,

हमारे पास खोने को कुछ नहीं है (धत्)

हमारा जीवन तो परम पिता परमेश्वर, ईसा मसीह
और पवित्र आत्मा का महिमागान है आदि

अगले आदेश तक

इंसान एक रचयिता की संपन्न कृति है (धत्),

इंसानों के कुछ अपरिहार्य अधिकार हैं

उनमें से कुछ इस प्रकार हैं:

जीने की आज़ादी और खुश रहने के तरीके की खोज

वैसे ही जैसे दो जोड़ दो चार होता है

यह अंतिम है लेकिन कम नहीं

इन सच्चाइयों को वैसे भी

हम हमेशा से स्वयंसिद्ध मानते आये हैं

 

प्रश्नपत्र

अकवि क्या है:

वह, जो ताबूत और अस्थि-कलश की दलाली करता है?

एक जनरल, जो खुद के बारे में ही निश्चित नहीं है?

एक पादरी, जिसे किसी चीज पर  आस्था नहीं है?

एक सैलानी, जिसके लिए हर चीज अजीब है; वृद्धावस्था और मृत्यु भी?

एक वक्ता, जिस पर आप विश्वास नहीं कर सकते?

खड़ी-चट्टान की कोर पर खड़ी एक नर्तकी ?

एक आत्ममुग्ध, जो हर किसी से प्यार करता है?

एक जोकर, जो गाल बजाता है

और बेवज़ह यूँ ही बुरा बनता है ?

एक कवि जो कुर्सी पर सोता है?

आधुनिक समय का एक कीमियागर?

एक आरामतलब क्रांतिकारी?

एक पेटी-बुर्जुआ?

एक जालसाज?

एक ईश्वर?

एक मासूम?

सैंटियागो, चिली का एक किसान?

सही उत्तर को रेखांकित करें.

अकविता क्या है:

चाय की प्याली में एक तूफ़ान?

चट्टान पर बर्फ का एक धब्बा?

मानव-मल से ऊपर तक भरा एक पतीला,

जैसा कि फादर साल्वेतियेरा मानता है?

एक आइना, जो झूठ नहीं बोलता?

लेखक-संगठन के अध्यक्ष के गाल पर पड़ा एक तमाचा?

(ईश्वर उनके आत्मा की रक्षा करे!)

युवा कवियों को एक चेतावनी?

जेट-चालित एक ताबूत?

एक ताबूत, जो वायुमंडलीय दायरे से बाहर परिक्रमा करता है?

एक ताबूत, जो कि केरोसिन से चलता है?

एक शवदाह-गृह, जहाँ कोई शव नहीं है?

सही उत्तर के सामने X चिन्हित करें.

उदय शंकर द्वारा अनुदित ये कवितायें  क्रमशः मिलर विलियम्स और  टी विग्नेसन  के अंग्रेजी  अनुवाद पर आधृत हैं.

Labour of Love, an Unpaid Internship: Dhiraj K. Nite

A popular perception of love, courtship and dating regardsits existence as an elemental feature of the human world since time immemorial.The book under discussion traces the roots of dating and its evolution in American society from the early decades of the twentieth-century up to the present. #Author

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Book Cover & Author

Sensual ,Emotional and Material Substance of Love

By Dhiraj K. Nite

‘What is love?’ has received commentaries in several scholarly works. It is an intimate feeling and relationship between couples is what the popular opinion makes it look like. Weigel interrogates the naturalness that characterises this popular belief and proposes a social constructivist viewpoint. She maintains that love is ‘opening and merging of your own life with the lives of others. It is a process of change which involves acts of care you extend to whomever you choose for however long your relationships lasts (pp. 262-6).’ Hence, it is a ‘labour of love’ at one and the same time. Her viewpoint rejects Sigmund Freud’s (1915) idea that love is a derivate of sexual longing, that is, the function of libido (innate sexual force). It remains aloof from Erich Fromm’s (1956) conceptualisation that love derives from the need to return to the mother from whom we have been shorn off by birth, and Margaret Mahler’s (1975) belief that love represents a rapprochement with the mother from whom we have recently learned to separate. Her notion of ‘labour of love’ extrapolates to the understanding of love offered by a psychologist, Donald Nathanson, in 1992. Love is an expression of the combination of innate ‘attachment affect’ on one side and ‘inter-affectivity’ (interpersonal experience and involvement) on the other, maintains Nathanson. Weigel’s work lays down a history of inter-affectivity, with her approach of dialectical materialism.

The crucial components of love between couples are care/emotional involvement as well as physical intimacy. This book suggests that finding love by dating developed from the turn of the twentieth-century and the early decades of the twentieth-century (p. 5). Soon, dating became the most precious form of ‘labour of love’ – an ‘unpaid internship’. It slowly replaced the family and community controlled courtship, called chaperoned courtship. The old ‘calling’ ritual of courtship made men into agents in pursuit, while women the object of desire. Dating undid the clear lines between the world of men and women and took courtship out of the private spheres. It transformed control over the process from the older generation to the younger ones, from groups to the individual. It was a product of urban society, It was a product of urban society, the women performing wage-labour, and a sexual revolt by the educated youth.

The increase in the number of persons passing out of high schools from the 1910s and colleges from the 1930s dramatically altered the ritual of dating. It now began at early age. The moralist school authority merely regulated and oversaw the code of dating culture. The right to freedom of choice was asserted within the economy of consumerism on one side and the civil right movements on the other in the 1960s-70s. These developments and assertion of freedom obliterated the shyness associated with physical intimacy with someone before marriage. Teenage sex soared from the 1950s.

The shift from calling ritual of courtship to public dating was never smooth. The moralist regarded it as obscene, licentious and depraved. The police sought to subdue the young women and men, who explored dating and were declared adrift; the moral policing against daters currently seen in India just reminds us what the rebellious youth in dating encountered a century ago in the USA. Dating developed as emotional labour and became eroticised as well as commodified from the 1920s. Bars, pubs, restaurants and dance halls were the early social media and platforms brought into prominence by the phenomenon of dating. The book, however, falls short of a full-bodied exploration of what accounted for a welcome change in the perception the moralists of public dating.

Dating parted away with courtship towards the latter part of the twentieth-century. The sexual revolution fully succeeded against the prostitution-anxious moralist by the 1960s. Now it was presumed to be a right to love without outside interference. This generation described that no desire could be unnatural. They viewed it as legitimate to have no rules in this regard. However, many of them – barring the hippies – also created aculture of steadies, a kind of serial, monogamous intimacy. The popular perception of the growth in promiscuity is unfounded. Steadies were guided by their concerns for social security against the backdrop of economic instability in the 1930s, subsequent turbulence and the shortage of men caused by the World War II, fears of miscegenation and the threat of apocalyptic nuclear war in the 1950s-60s. Steadies are also credited with having invented the breakup. Most steadies would let relationships run their course. Then they would break up. The dating script gave way to partying and hanging out in large mixed age settings. The emotional aspect of intimacy drastically waned: Previously, a series of daters could lead to physical intimacy and emotional commitment. Now the order was reversed, and sexual activity came first and feeling was emotionally emptied. The reader is left to speculate the reasons responsible for this critical, though intangible, change.

The dating ritual, at last, gave way to the hook-up culture of the late twentieth-century. Love and physical intimacy parted away. Dating, if at all, and intimacy have now been treated as forms of recreation. The new technology of birth control, such as condom and pill has made possible to treat sex as harmless fun. Methods of contraception such as the revolutionary ‘pill’ when it appeared in the 1960s, made it possible to disentangle the effects of unprotected sexual intercourse from its weighty consequences, viz. an unplanned pregnancy.This coincided with the women’s effort at the right to work outside, the inability of men to financially commit to a regular family in the midst of stagnant or falling real wages paid to the non-executive class from the 1970s onwards. In an unequal and financially unstable society, free love began to look a lot like freedom from love, argues Weigel (153). The new digital dating industry has developed to cater to the busy ‘yuppies’ (young urban professionals) looking for emotionless sex; these yuppies also reveal a condition of sociopathy and psychopathy unable to have the feelings, observes Weigel moralistically. There are sex workers to make feelings ‘economically productive/exchangeable’. However,computer erotica (cyber-sex and cyber dater) has become a popular and safer alternative to real, interpersonal involvement in a world where the HIV is deadlier than computer viruses. The shortage of time and therefore inability to invest in the relationship has surfaced as an issue. Precarity and overwork are taking atoll on dating and emotion in the era of informatisation, informalisation and casualization. Here one is reminded of the work of McGregor (2011).

Women have been faced with a demandingly difficult scenario. They also had to date with an eye on the biological clock, thus having to synchronise their efforts at planning a career, marriage, family and home life. With the help of Harmon stimulation drugs, some of them are dating on ‘borrowed time’ as well. The women working in and as the executive class are keeping an eye on the technology, such as egg freezing encouraged by corporations; this is positioned as a benefit for their female employees, intended to overcome gender inequality in corporate work places. However, most women confronted with the inadequacy of maternity and parental leave and child care supports, find every other alternative stressful and uncertain.This condition of life is not a matter of individual behavioural adjustment. Love,with labour as its attendant prerequisite on one side, and the sources of the anxiety, uncertainty, loneliness and casual sex on the other, reflect the power of social forces that shape every other aspect of our lives, argues Weigel emphatically (261).Here, Weigel’s argument is grounded in dialectical historical materialism. It eschews from drawing any intersectionality with the Foucault’s (1976/2008) paradigm of the politics of pleasure and body, which is rooted in the nexus of power and knowledge. Did the ‘labour of love’ have any effect on the political economy, given the former’s dialectical link with the latter? In what sense have the Occupy Wall Street Movement and the politics for 99 percent (the commoners) and not just one percent (the super rich), as these being seen since 2011, also been connected with the stressful condition of ‘labour of love’? Such a question still awaits a new researcher.

There are some glaring oversights in the overall narrative of this book. Out of the two components of love – care / emotional ties and intimacy – the feature of the former remains in the shape of some interspersed observations, waiting for an analytical scheme. The discussion on what effect the socio-cultural identities of persons have on ‘labour of love’ is confined to the passing observations on the fear of miscegenation shared by the white Americans and the difficulty of family building faced by the poor black Americans. The shades of inter-racial dating (Indian readers may see it with relation to inter caste and inter religious relationships) would add significant complication to this neat narrative of dating and class. Similarly, the scope of ‘labour of love’ is limited primarily to the phase in life cycle before marriage. The subsequent phase of life cycle rests on another order of ‘labour of love’. A reader is left to satisfy this curiosity through other research works, which will surely benefit from Weigel’s approach and its current lucid exposition.

A Book Review:

Moira Weigel, Labour of Love: The Invention of Dating.New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux Publisher, 2016. ISBN: 9780374713133.

Reference:

Foucault, Michel.The History of Sexuality, Vol. I. (Translated by Robert Hurley),Australia: Penguin Group, 2008/1976.

Freud, Sigmund. Instincts and Their Vicissitudes.In The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud. Vol. 12, pp. 159-204, New York: Norton, 1915.

Froom, Erich. The Art of Living: An enquiry into the nature of love, New York: Harper & Row, 1956.

Mahlaer, Margaret, Fred Pine and Annie Bergman.The Psychological Birth of the Human Infant, New York: Basic Books, 1975.

McGregor, Sheila.‘Sexuality, Alienation and Capitalism’,International Socialism, Issue No. 130, 11 April 2011.

Nathanson, Donald L. Shame and Pride: Affect, Sex and the Birth of the Self, 1994/1992.

Dhiraj k Nite

 

Dr. Dhiraj Kumar Nite, A Social Scientist, University of Johannesburg, Ambedkar Univeristy, Delhi. You can contact him through  dhirajnite@gmail.com

To the Children of Bodoland: Mandeep Boro

Children of Bodoland. I have been asked to write an article. The invitation I received is in Bodo. I am not sure if I am supposed to write it in Bodo. And I am not very sure about the topic either. The last time I wrote in our language was seventeen years ago. So I will take the liberty to write it in English. And on the topic I have always wanted to talk about. It is not that I don’t love our mother tongue. Yes, I do. I still speak, read, write in Bodo. My article is exclusively for the children of Bodoland and it is directed towards them. I also write it in English in order to reach a larger audience. Do not think that writing in English will make me a less Bodo. So then children listen to me. I will begin it with my life story. # Author

Children of Bodoland

Photo- Mandeep Boro

To the Children of Bodoland

By Mandeep Boro

(i)

I was born in a village. When I was small, I attended the primary school in our village but not for very long time. Nevertheless, I have some vivid memories of my schooldays. The first thing I remember is teachers. Two teachers. There were only two teachers in the school and they used to handle all the four different standards at the same time. If one of the teachers taught one standard, he would ask children of other standards to play in the field. I remember playing happily with my friends there when others were reading, writing and doing their sums. That was in the late eighties. A few days ago my brother called me and somehow I don’t know why during our conversation but I asked him about the school in our village. What about the school in our village? He said. I inquired him if there had been new appointments. He replied in negative. There has been no appointment so far and even today only two teachers teach and they handle all the four classes.

Now when I look back, I realize that my parents somehow foresaw this problem and I feel that it is precisely for this reason they put me in a private school far away from home and thus I arrived to study in a small town. I will name this town T. I remember I cried a lot on the first day they lodged me in my uncle’s residence. It sounds funny. But I swear, I did scream and cry a lot that day. I even punched my hands, stamped my feet, kicked about my legs in the air. However, as days passed by I got accustomed to the new environment and I no longer felt homesick. I guess people get used to things with time. Besides, my father visited me every month. I also went home during summer and winter breaks. And of course during long holidays. If not for schooling there, I do not know where I would stand today. So thanks to my parents.  The school was just a walkable distance from my uncle’s place. After studying eleven long years in the school, I matriculated in the year two thousand.

Then I went on to study in college. I will call this college C. C is considered to be the topmost and oldest college of our state. It is located in the city. Oldest, I know for sure, it is. Top? Maybe. I don’t know. I only have bad experiences to tell about. But let me tell you first how I enrolled to study there. Well, just after the matriculation result some people visited our house and told my parents that they should send their son to study there. My marks were good enough to get me admission. And I should choose science stream. Yes, that’s what they told. My parents who do not have formal education believed them as they always did and thus I became part of the college. The result is … I flunked terribly. I fell down straight from seventy five point six to fifty three point four percent. No. It was not just me. I saw many students particularly coming from far-flung tribal areas failing there. But I think I was the definitive of all the losers for I lost two academic years successively.

Much later I realized that I never had the knack of studying science. I was never meant to be a doctor, engineer or scientist. When I was in high school I used to write poems. Maybe they were not really poems. But I would say that they certainly dealt with my emotions, thoughts and I would publish them in newspapers. Let me call these newspapers AT and TS which are printed even today. I also published in other fortnightly magazines. Every Sunday I would eagerly buy copies of AT and TS each to see if they had included my poems in their supplements. I would be very happy if I saw them and that constantly motivated me to write a lot. By the time I was doing plus two I had about forty newspaper cut outs of my so called poems. But the fall was hard. Really hard. It hit me so hard that I no longer endured people who discoursed on students’ performances in exams and measured their intelligence with percentile. Gradually I lost interest in translating my feelings into poems and then one day I threw my diary in the mighty river that flows right through the heart of our state and I stopped writing completely. And that’s the reason why I don’t write poems today. About the newspaper cut outs of my poems. I don’t have them with me. I gifted or gave them to my friends, girlfriends. I wish I had kept some of them to show you today!

 Engineering and medicine were the only two career options left for us to choose during our time. Although I studied science I had no interest in it at all. I always wanted to do something different in life. But I was not sure what it was. What I wanted to do. But something the mainstream did not do. That was certain. Many things have changed by now and it’s been more than two decades I have been living outside the state. I am not sure if parents and guardians in our place still compel their children to opt for science to become doctors and engineers. The period after plus two exams was the most turbulent in my life. I appeared in numerous engineering entrance tests but only to flunk terribly and lose again another academic year. Then came the year two thousand and four. It was from then on there was no looking back. That year I qualified for studying an undergraduate program in one of the public universities in the national capital of our country. Thanks to scholarship I accomplished graduate program and went on to do further studies. Today I teach in a university. But that’s not the end. I still have to write, publish papers in scopus indexed journals every year and present them in conferences. The moment I don’t, I’m out of the race.

            (ii)

Well, you have heard about my story. But that’s not really important. That’s not really the point I want to make. The point I want to make is this and you should all listen to it carefully.

Yes, children of Bodoland. You’re all living in terrible time. To be honest it is worse than the eighties and nineties when demand for separate statehood and insurgency were at their peak. No doubt those were violent decades and the movement for separate homeland saw many precious lives lost. However, back then we did not have unscrupulous leaders. Even if we had, they were few in numbers, they were not as corrupt and fraudulent as the present ones. Today we are ruled by people who equate development with monetary power and mere infrastructure. No. Development is not all that. It does not begin from there. It starts from the mindset. Otherwise, we would not be surrounded by politicians who justify that accepting bribe is right. Corruption would not be so rampant.

The place where you come from, where we all come from and got by chance is in ruins. It is in utter disorder. And there seems to be no way out. I came across some remarks last year underscoring that the council is a dead body and its elected members are vultures eagerly waiting to feed upon it. Another read that it is like an ATM machine. Only those who possess card can withdraw money. But why compare them with vultures? At least vultures feed on the carcasses of dead animals and help prevent the spread of diseases. They scavenge and keep the environment clean. On the contrary, I don’t see a single political soul from our community who is genuinely interested in solving the problems that plague our society without extracting personal benefits first. What I hear today is that certificates are being issued to non indigenous people in exchange of under the table dealings. What I read today is that huge chunks of lands are given away to some particular trust to conduct their murky business deals in the name of progress and development of our region while, I am told, lakhs of people displaced during the conflicts still live in relief camps. What I see today is that resources are wasted to organize private events while local artistes move from pillar to post looking for fund to finish their project. Bravo, what a society we have built!

For society to progress invest heavily in education and health. Do not give freebies. Freebies do not address the root cause of the problem and solve poverty. Do not build free huts. Rather create jobs. Create opportunities. Let them earn and build their house with their own hands. But no. Our politicians distribute scooters free of charge to meritorious students. Why don’t they distribute books instead? Why don’t they bear their cost of higher education? Why don’t they build hostels for students who come from economically weak background? Is it because they are scared of knowledge? Hence children of Bodoland do not be lured by such freebies and false promises. For anything that comes free does not really have importance and value in life. When I was young and before the creation of the council I heard people expressing dissatisfaction against the state government for stepmotherly treatment. They moaned that the state government neglected us, our region, the place where we live. Now we look down upon each other. We don’t even care how schools in villages function. If possible, we will be at it again. What? Start fratricidal war. Kill each other like in the mid nineties. Turn this place into slaughterhouse.

The conditions of schools in villages are dreadfully the same today. In fact, they have become worse in the case of certain schools for teachers with different medium background are appointed. How will those teachers teach in a language all Greek to them? How will students learn? The future of the students is at stake. Their destiny is played. Who is responsible? I don’t need to tell you. The journey or the road that you all have to travel is long and tough one. When I was young, I never wanted to leave home. I never wanted to leave our place. I thought I could do something different without ever having to leave. However, circumstances made me leave and I moved in search of better future. It will be the same for you. But it is not going to be easy. The world has moved on. It has become ever more competitive. The metropolises do not need people from our region to do the job of security guards. There are plenty of folks to perform such work. So aim, aspire high. Work hard. The only way you will be able to succeed in the world. The easy way which is easy money will not help you. Aim low, travel, take up low paid menial jobs, you will get killed in train journey when you go home. Nobody will speak for you then. Not even our own brothers and sisters. Yes. Don’t laugh. It has happened. This year an eighteen year old girl from our community who used to work as domestic help in a metropolis jumped down to death from the eleventh floor. We do not know why she jumped, if there was any foul play, if the culprit was booked and punished.

Easy money, by which I mean money earned through easy ways, the ways you are already aware of and familiar with, may seem tempting and may lighten the burden of life for some time. However, in the long run it will only ruin you as it leads to unhappiness. So do not follow the path set by the corrupt and the big shots. Do not be dragged down by the insanity and selfish motives of the few. Do not give in to the provocation of the rowdies and the goons. There is no peace. That’s a lie. Do not believe them. In the end it is hard work, achievement, what you do that will bring glory and recognition to society and not the other way round. There is no progress and development in our place. What is there, what exists is reality, the harsh reality. Every day people get killed and they have to struggle to get even their smallest job done. Do not repeat the crimes committed against you. Do not payback in the same coin, evil for evil. Do not be hoodwinked. Do not be bought by their money power. Bodoland is a distant dream. Enough bloodshed and sacrifices have been made for this cause. If you want to contribute to society, work hard, educate yourselves and others. I see hope neither in the youth nor in the leaders of all sorts and colors of our community but you.

 

12510518_1512506989044300_948686182943659765_nMandeep Boro is born and brought up in Assam. He recieved his PhD from JNU. At present he teaches Spanish in a university in South India. You can Contact him through mandeepboro@hotmail.com.

सदा: एक आर्मीनियाई कहानी

मुशेग़ गाल्शोयान आर्मीनियाई साहित्य के एक महान विभूति,लोकप्रिय कहानीकार, निबंधकार तथा पत्रकार थे. उनका जन्म 13 दिसंबर 1933 को सोवियत आर्मीनिया के थालिन प्रांत के मेहरिबान (काथनाग़ब्यूर) शहर में हुआ.

सन् 1915 में युवा तुर्क सरकार द्वारा आयोजित आर्मीनियाईयों के नरसंहार में इनके पिता के परिवार में कोई नहीं बच पाया था. पिता की अथाह पीड़ा ने बालक मुशेग़ पर अमिट छाप छोड़ी. बाद के दिनों में उन्होंने अपनी कलम अपने देश के नाम समर्पित कर देने का फैसला लिया.  

इनके प्रथम लघु उपन्यास ‘द्ज़ोरी मीरो’ ने उन्हें परिपक्व लेखक की पहचान दिलाई. उनकी कहानी ‘सदा’ ‘मारुता पहाड़ के बादल’ कहानी-संग्रह में से एक है जो सन् 1981 में प्रकाशित हुई थी. सोवियत संघ ने इस पुस्तक के लिए उन्हें मरणोपरांत राज्य पुरुस्कार से नवाज़ा. यह कहानी उन्होंने 1915 में आर्मीनियाई नरसंहार की पृष्ठभूमि पर लिखी थी. # अनुवादक माने मक्रतच्यान

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एक  आर्मीनियाई कहावत

सदा

By मुशेग़ गाल्शोयान

“आले…आले, मेरी रूह, आले…”

वह भीमकाय और रोएंदार बूढ़ा आदमी लाठी के सहारे खड़ा लय में पुकारे जा रहा था. पहाड़ी की ढलान पर भेड़ों का झुण्ड इत्मिनान से चर रहा था. ज़ोरो…बूढ़ा ज़ोरो कोई पेशेवर चरवाहा नहीं था. दरअसल गांव में कोई भी चरवाहा नहीं था. सभी बारी-बारी से पशुओं को चराने ले जाते थे. उस दिन ज़ोरो की बारी थी और ज़ोरो लाठी के सहारे खड़ा गाते हुए अपनी प्रेमिका की यादों में था.

“आले…आले, मेरी जान, आले…”

सूर्योदय से सूर्यास्त तक उस पगले की जुबान पर आले का ही नाम रहता था.

***

आह! बात भी कब की! एक नीले वसंत की…एक नीली और नर्म-सी सुबह, नीली-सी दुनिया… नीले आवरण से ढका माराथुक पर्वत, नीले आकाश से भरी घाटियां और वादियां, पहाड़ों की गोद में बसे गांवों की साँसें भी नीली ही थी, उन्मुक्त घोड़ों की धौंकनी से घाटी में नीलिमा उफ़न रही थी. मारुता पर्वत की तलहटी में पसरे मवेशी वसंती कायनात की खुशबू से सराबोर थे. मेमने अपनी थूथन सटाए पत्थरों पर जमी कोमल शैवाल को चाट रहे थे. जोंकमारी और नागफनी के कांटों से बचते, चिड़ियों की फरफराहट पर चौकन्ने हो उछल-कूद कर रहे थे.

उसी वक्त दस-ग्यारह साल का ज़ोरो एक ढलवी चट्टान पर खड़ा ढेलवांस को वेग से घुमाता जा रहा था…..ज़ज़ज़ज़…घूमते-सनसनाते पत्थर अचानक अपनी दिशा बदल लेते थे और उड़ते कौओं को छेड़ते घाटी में गिर जाते थे.

नीचे फूल-पौधों को बीनती रंग-बिरंगी अल्हड़ लड़कियों का तारक-पुंज चमक रहा था. छोटी काली आँखों वाली और पतली चोटियों की जोड़ी लहराती सात साल की आले, सुंदर तहबंद में लिपटी, आग का शोला दिखती आले उनमें से एक थी. हाँ..हाँ..अपने ज़ोरो के मासूम धवल मेमनों की तरह ही इधर-उधर कुलांचे भर रही थी- फूलों की माला सिर पर ओढ़े- मानो हवा के झोंकों से बना एक रंगीन गुल्दस्ता हो…

नन्ही, प्यारी आले…ओह…ज़ोरो को एकाएक महसूस हुआ था कि आले उसकी है…किसी और की नहीं…सिर्फ उसकी!

यह नीली दुनिया उसकी है, ये खेत, यह सुबह, यह रेशमी घूँघट में छुपा माराथुक पर्वत उसका है. गिरजाघर पर टंगा आशीर्वाद सरीखा वह उजले बादल का टुकड़ा भी उसका है. घुमावदार ताल्वोरिक नदी की कलकल, गांव पर तिरता धुआं, वो अधीर बकरियां और मेमने सब उसके ही हैं. सूरज, आकाश, खुबसूरत पत्थर व चट्टान और उसपर खड़ा वह- हाथ में ज़ज़ज़ज़…करता तूफ़ानी-सा ढेलवांस उसका है और आले…रंग-बिरंगे फूलों में दमकती, उछलती-कूदती मासूम आले भी उसकी है, किसी और की नहीं, सिर्फ उसकी है.

वसंत की वह मधुर सुबह ज़ोरो की स्मृति में चिरकाल के लिए अंकित हो गई थी. ज़ोरो फिर उसे भूल नहीं पाया. ज़ोरो ने उसे पाया था बस खो देने के लिए!

उस्मानी ग्रहण लगनेवाला था.

***

बूढ़े ज़ोरो के घर में शादी थी. उसने तय किया था कि शादी के लिए मदिरा लाने वह खुद जाएगा और लाएगा तो आरारात पर्वत की वादियों की दुर्लभ मदिरा. बड़े और मंझले बेटे की शादी करवा चुका था. तब हालत खस्ता थी. छोटी-सी दावत कर शादी के जश्न जैसा कुछ मनाया था. पर इधर किस्मत मेहरबान है! इस बार सारे गांव के लिए, नजदीक-दूर के रिश्तेदारों के लिए बड़ी वाली दावत की मेज़ सजा सकता है, तरह-तरह के पकवान और बेहतरीन मदिरा परोस सकता है. बड़े बेटे का परामर्श कि किसी भी अच्छी दुकान से मदिरा मंगवाई जा सकती है नाकाम रहा. बुढ़े ने ठान लिया था कि वह खुद चुनकर आरारात पर्वत की वादियों से अंगूरी लाएगा.

अगले दिन सुबह-सवेरे गाड़ी में बेटे को बिठा कर अपनी तलाश में निकला. जाने कितने गांवों में गया, जाने कितने पीपों की मदिरा चखी, पर कुछ भी पसंद न आया.

शाम की सुनहरी किरणों के तह में घने पेड़ों से अच्छादित चौड़ी सड़क पर गाड़ी वेग से उड़ रही थी कि अचानक पेड़ों के दरमियान एक रास्ता दिखा. ज़ोरो के दिल में न जाने क्यों हलचल-सी मची.

“इधर चलो” और हाथ से स्टीयरिंग मोड़ दिया. गाड़ी बेलगाम सड़क से उतर गई. जाकर झाड़ियों में उलझ गई. बड़ी दुर्घटना नहीं थी. दरवाजे़ पर छोटी-सी खरोंच भर थी, पर बेटा बुरी तरह छिल गया था.

“मनहूस-सी शकल मत बनाओ. जो होता है भले के लिए होता है” ज़ोरो ने उसे शांत किया- “मुझे तो यह गांव बहुत पसंद आ रहा है” बूढ़े ने गांव के बीचोबीच गाड़ी रुकवाई- “अब अच्छी या बुरी, जो भी मिले यहीं से ले लेंगे.”

भीड़ उसकी गाड़ी के इर्द-गिर्द जम गई. सब अपने-अपने घर की बनी लाल मदिरा की तारीफ़ में लगे थे और अपने शराब के तहखानों में चलने का न्योता दे रहे थे. सिर्फ एक दुबला पतला-सा आदमी शांत खड़ा हुआ था. ज़ोरो उसी के पास गया.

“…क्यों नहीं है?” उस आदमी ने आश्चर्य से बूढ़े को देखा- “अंगूर के बगानवाले के पास मदिरा ना होगी?”

“खुदा कसम, पसंद आ गई तो बेटे की शादी तुम्हारी मदिरा से ही मीठी कर दूंगा. चलो, चखवाओ…!”

खुशनुमा अंगूर की लताओं से घिरा खुबसूरत घर था. घर के बगीचे में खूबानी की शाखा से जमीन तक लटकी मोटी लाल मिर्चें सूख रही थीं. एक छोटी चंचल-सी बुढ़िया मिर्चों को एक-एक कर उतार रही थी.

“बड़ी अच्छी गृहस्थी है तुम्हारी.” घर बगीचे ने ज़ोरो का मन मोह लिया था- “तुम्हारा घर आबाद रहे!”

बुढ़िया ने पीछे घूमकर देखा. सोचा कि उठकर आगंतुक का स्वागत करे किंतु बैठी रही और उत्सुकता से बूढ़े को देखती रही.

“तुम्हारी घरवाली है?” ज़ोरो ने पूछा.

“हां, तुम्हारे तरफ की है.”

“मेरे तरफ की?! अरे वाह..! इधर आओ तो बहन.” ज़ोरो खिल उठा- “अपना परिचय तो दो.”

बुढ़िया छोटे-छोटे कदमों से चलती नजदीक आई और मुस्कुराते हुए उसने हाथ बढ़ाया. उसके हाथ में सुखी हुई लाल मिर्चें टकराकर सरसराती-सी आवाज़ निकाल रही थीं. बुढ़िया को अचानक शर्म आई कि अपने देस के इस आदमी का स्वागत वह लाल मिर्चों से कर रही है.

“किस गांव से हो, बहन?”

जवाब सुनकर ज़ोरो का दिल धक से उछला- “सारेकान?” बड़ी मुश्किल से वह बोल पाया- “सारेकान?” यूं तो बुढ़िया उसके नज़दीक ही खड़ी थी लेकिन उत्तेजना में ज़ोरो उससे लगभग सट गया था और उसकी आँखों में टुकुर-टुकुर ताके जा रहा था.

समय की चोट से थकी और उदास थी बुढ़िया की आँखें… जैसी कि तब वहां के तमाम लोगों की हुआ करती थीं. लेकिन उसकी आँखों की गहराई में शरारती चिंगारियां बची हुई थीं. ज़ोरो सिर झुकाकर उसे घूरता रहा. उसने बुढ़िया के हाथ में लटकी सूखी लाल मिर्चों को देखा और कहीं दूर से आती एक मुस्कान उसके होठों पर तिर गई. उसकी बूढ़ी मूंछों के जाले में न जाने कितनी स्मृतियां उलझने लगी थीं!- तबाही, भगदड़, हिजरत, कत्लेआम, खो गया बचपन…और गुम चुकी वह!- “आले…” वह फुसफुसाया. बुढ़िया ने कुछ सुना नहीं.

“आले.” ज़ोरो ने दोहराया और तनकर खड़ा हो गया. इतना सीधा कि उसके बेटे ने भी उसे ऐसा पहले कभी नहीं देखा था. उसने बुढ़िया को ऊपर से नीचे तक फिर से देखा, बुढ़िया के पीछे घर को देखा और उसके भी पीछे की धुंधली-सी उस पर्वतमाला को जिसकी एक चट्टान पर वह कभी ढेलवांस घुमाया करता था. उसने अपनी साँसें बटोरी और पूरी ताकत से चीखा- “आले…आले…”

बुढ़िया ज़ोरो को पहचानने की कोशिश करने लगी. उसके लबों से अपना नाम सुनकर वह चौंकी थी पर बूढ़े का चीखना उसे मधुर प्रतीत हुआ. उन गर्म-नर्म आत्मीय पलों ने बुढ़िया को भीतर तक भींगो दिया. दोनों एक-दूसरे को ठगे से देखते रहे.

“अरे मैं ज़ोरो हूँ…” उसने आले का हाथ जकड़ लिया, उसे अपने झुके सर से लगाया और फिर चूम लिया.

बुढ़िया स्तब्ध रह गई. मेहमानवाज़ी के कायदे से तो पहले उसे ही अतिथि का हाथ चूमना था, उसने जल्दी से वही किया. न जाने कब से उसके भीतर दफन आंसुओं ने अपना रास्ता तलाश लिया और ज़ोरो की कांपती हथेलियां भीगने लगीं.

इस लाड़-प्यार के दरमियान हाथ में टंगी सूखी मिर्चों की गंध से अचानक आले छींक पड़ी फिर एक मासूम हंसी के साथ उसने अपनी आँखें मसली, जिससे उसके बहते आंसू आँखों की कोटर में पसर गए. इस भावुक आवेग के गुजर जाने के बाद वह हल्का महसूस करने लगी थी. दोनों बच्चों की तरह मुट्ठियों से अपनी आँखें पोंछे जा रहे थे और विभोर हो रहे थे.

“बाबो (पिता जी) देरी हो रही है! अब निकला जाए.” बेटा इस स्वांग से ऊब चुका था.

ज़ोरो की तन्द्रा टूटी. नज़र बेटे पर गई फिर गृहस्वामी पर. गर्दन डुलाते आले से कुछ कहना चाहता था पर कह नहीं पाया.

“अच्छा, तुम्हारी घरवाली है?” आदमी को देखते हुए वह बोला- “खुशनसीब हो!… मदिरा कहां है?” उसने जल्दी से जोड़ा.

गृहस्वामी तहखाने से एक तांबे के पात्र में शराब चखाने के लिए लाया जिसे ज़ोरो ने एक ही सांस में गटक लिया.

“वाह, उम्दा है!” हथेली से अपनी मूंछों को पोंछते हुए उसने कहा- “इतनी मीठी शराब तो इन होठों ने पहले कभी नहीं चखी, दिव्य…!” बेटे की ओर मुड़कर जोड़ा- “अब समझे रे, क्यों सुबह से शाम तक इतना भटके? आखिर खजाना यहीं पर जो मिलना था! इन सबको भर दो.” उसने साथ लाई खाली सुराहियां दिखाते हुए कहा.

“क्या सारा का सारा?” आदमी ने पूछा.

“बिलकुल, पूरा पीपा मेरा है.” ज़ोरो उतावला होकर बोला- “सारा डालो, दाम की मत सोचो. यह मदिरा अनमोल है.”

गृहस्वामी तहखाने से पीपा लेकर आ गया और तांबे के प्याले से सुराहियां भरने को बढ़ा कि ज़ोरो ने टोक दिया.

“किसी और बर्तन से निकालो. यह प्याला मेरा है.”

गृहस्वामी ने बहुत आरजू की कि भईया इत्मीनान से बैठक में चलकर पीते हैं, बतियाते हैं, तुम तो ससुरालिए ही निकले. आले ने भी कहा पर ज़ोरो बाहर ही जमा रहा. बेटे ने चिकोटी काटी. चलने का इशारा किया लेकिन ज़ोरो बेपरवाह तांबे के प्याले से आत्मा तृप्त करता रहा.

            उसकी वहीं रहने की जिद्द देखकर बुढ़िया अंदर से रोटियां लेकर आई जिसे उसने एक छोटी-सी मेज़ पर रख दिया. ज़ोरो ने उसे छुआ तक नहीं. ज़ोरो ने पीपे पर अपना पीठ टिका दी थी और शराब की चुस्कियां लेता जाता था और कराहता जा रहा था.

“हाय, आले!”

बुढ़िया मेज़ पर झुकी, कुहनियां टिकाए ख़यालों में खोई हुई थी एक नन्ही गठरी-सी बनकर. आंसुओं की लहर ज़ोर मार रही थी जिसे बुढ़िया ने किसी तरह रोक रखा था.

“तुम्हारे आदमी को तो देख लिया और बाल बच्चे?”

“हां, हैं न, बेटे हैं, बेटियां हैं, सबके बाल-बच्चे हैं, बहुए हैं…और तुम्हारे घर में कौन-कौन है भईया ज़ोरो?”

“बेटे हैं, बहुए हैं, सुशिल बेटियां हैं और ढेर सारे नाती-पोते, आले! यह सब मेरे हैं और यह मदिरा भी.” ज़ोरो ने प्याला फिर से भरा- “मेरे छोटे बेटे की शादी का, खुशियों भरा जाम! आले, मेरी जान आले!”

बूढ़े ने अपनी भारी आवाज़ में गाना शुरू कर दिया. गृहस्वामी ने बुढ़िया को कुहनी मारी और ज़ोरो की तरफ कनखियाते हुए मुस्कराया- उसकी शराब वाकई दमदार है.

बेटे ने गृहस्वामी के साथ शराब का हिसाब-किताब निपटाया. ज़ोरो गाता रहा. बेटे ने शराब गाड़ी में ला दी. गृहस्वामी ने इत्मिनान से पाइप जलाया और आले की बगल में बैठ गया. ज़ोरो तब भी अपने में मगन गाता रहा. बेटे ने उसके हाथ से प्याला ले लिया और बांहों में हाथ डालकर ले जाने की कोशिश की.

“चलो बाबो, चलते हैं.”

ज़ोरो ने हाथ झटक दिया. और बाहर के दरवाजे पर टिका रहा.

“माराथुक की कसम, मेरा पैर यहां से नहीं खिसकेगा.” ज़ोरो को पूरी तरह चढ़ गई थी.

गृहस्वामी ने पेशकश की कि ज़ोरो चलकर घर में आराम करें.

“हाय हाय, क्या इस वक्त आँखें बंद हो सकती हैं.” ज़ोरो ने आँखें मसली- “अरे तुम कहां खो गई, आले?”

बेटे ने बिगड़कर चलने को कहा. ज़ोरो ने एक मोटी-सी गाली दी- “चुप कर, हरामज़ादे.”

फिर एक गाली गृहस्वामी की तरफ उछाली- “तू भी फूट ले बछिया के ताऊ!”

“मुझको मेरे ही घर से निकाल रहे हो?” गृहस्वामी हंसकर बोला. शराब के असर को उससे बेहतर कौन जानता था. जाना तो तुमको ही होगा भईया.

“अबे सिर फोड़ दूंगा…तुम्हारे सारे पीपे तोड़ दूंगा, पूरी शराब बरबाद कर दूंगा. साले मुझको निकाल रहे हो घर से, मुझको? आले…!”

बेटे और गृहस्वामी ने उसे टांगकर उठाया और उसे घसीटते हुए बाहर ले गए. पूरे रास्ते ज़ोरो की आँखें आले को तलाशती रहीं. उधर बुढ़िया उसकी हालत देख बुरी तरह सहम गई थी और सिसकने लगी थी. फिर भी इतने प्यार से लिया जाता अपना नाम उसने पहले नहीं सुना था. ज़ोरो के दिल की गहराईयों से निकली सदा उसे उदास कर रही थी.

ज़ोरो की आवाज़ उससे दूर होती चली गई.

***

उस दिन ज़ोरो का मन भिन्नाया हुआ था. कुछ देर तक चट्टान पर खड़ा नाती-पोतों की बातें सुनता रहा, पर दिमाग तो वही लगा हुआ था, आले के पास. झूठमूठ में हां-हूं करता रहा फिर घर की तरफ बढ़ गया. आख़िर अब तक दोबारा क्यों नही गया उसके पास, क्या गाड़ी नहीं थी? क्या समय की किल्लत थी? बीमार पड़ गया था या हाथ-पैर काम नहीं कर रहे थे? या क्या…? उसने खुद को जी भरकर कोसा. चलते-चलते उसने तय कर लिया कि इन सबके पीछे असली मुजरिम कौन है! हां, बिलकुल! उसकी घरवाली. उसपर ज़ोरो को ज़ोर से गुस्सा आया!

“तेरे हाथ का खाना हराम है.” घर में घुसते ही वह बोला- “तूने दाहिने हाथ से खाना दिया और बाएं हाथ से मेरी आत्मा छीन ली.” बोलते-बोलते ज़ोरो ने अपनी ही लाठी अपने सिर दे मारी और लगा मानो दिमाग में रोशनी कौंध गई.

“धत तेरे की, इतना परेशान होने की जरूरत क्या थी, कितना आसान-सा हल है! जाऊंगा और लेकर चला आऊंगा”.

उसकी घरवाली मुंह बाए उसे देखे जा रही थी- “सनक गया है बुड्ढा” वह सोच रही थी.

“मेरे पैरों की बेड़ी हो तुम!” ज़ोरो की आवाज़ ऊंची हो गई.

“हम साले हैं ही गधे. आख़िर मेरा आर्मीनियाई जज़्बा कहां खो गया था, बताओ दिमाग में उस वक्त क्यों नहीं घुसा – जब गया था आले के घर, तब क्यों नहीं उसे साथ ले आया…” मन ही मन सोचा.

“मेरे गले की रस्सी हैं तेरी औलादें.” ज़ोरो लड़ने के मूड में था.

“उस दिन उसे गाड़ी में बिठा तो लेता, पर यह ससुरा बेटा लाने देता क्या”

“शनिचरा है तुम्हारा छोटा बेटा, दूध में गिरी मक्खी. और यह घर तो नरक का कैदखाना है. अब मैं यहां सांस नहीं ले सकता. मैं अलग हो रहा हूँ.” ज़ोरो ने तय कर लिया था.

“घर के सामने वाला वह जो झोंपड़ा है, आज चुपचाप उसे सजा लूंगा और तड़के निकलकर उसे ले आऊंगा….राजी नहीं हुई तो जबरन उठाकर ले आऊंगा…. देखें तो कोई क्या करता है!…” बाहर निकला और भड़ाक से दरवाजा बंद कर दिया.

झोंपड़ा पहले उनका घर हुआ करता था. उसके दरवाजे़ का ताला टूटा हुआ था. किसी तरह उसे तार से बांधकर रखा गया था. आलतू-फालतू पुरानी चीज़ों से घर भरा हुआ था. एक पुराना पालना, घर को गर्म करनेवाला चूल्हा, उसकी चिमनी, हसुआ, हल, खर-पतवार साफ करने वाले पंजे जैसे कृषि के औजार बिखरे पड़े थे. चूल्हा और दो कुर्सियों को छोड़ उसने बाकी सामान एक तरफ़ कर दिया. फर्श की सफ़ाई की, दीवारों को पोंछा और दरवाजे की चूलों को कसा. उसकी समझ से घर रहने लायक हो गया था.

जब तक बेटे शाम को लौटे तब तक ज़ोरो ने अपना पलंग, तोसक, चादर आदि झोपड़े में सजा दिया था. कुछ काम के बर्तन और एक कनस्तर आटा भी पहुंचा चुका था. अब आराम से घर के सामने बैठा धुंआ उड़ा रहा था.

घर में कोहराम मच गया. आखिर किसने बाबो का दिल दुखा दिया? सब एक दूसरे से जवाब तलब करने लगे. मां से पूछा और फिर सीधे बाप से जानने की कोशिश की. ज़ोरो ने टका-सा जवाब दे दिया.

“सबने…सबने ज़ोरो का दिल दुखाया है…ज़ोरो इस दुनिया से खफ़ा है…(सिर्फ आले को छोड़कर).” और फिर फैसला सुना दिया- “अलग रहूंगा.” कहकर वह झोंपड़े में चला गया.

            अगली दोपहर वह आले के गांव में पहुंच गया था. काफी देर तक आले के घर के इर्द-गिर्द चक्कर काटता रहा इस उम्मीद में कि आले से मुलाकात हो जाएगी. घर के अंदर जाने में संकोच हो रहा था- पता नहीं कौन-कौन बैठा होगा वहां. आले की खिड़की पर दस्तक दी और फिर उसे चूमते शहतूत के तने के पीछे छिपकर खड़ा रहा- क्या नहीं आएगी आले? “अगर आ गई तो हाथ से चुपके से अपने पास बुला लूंगा.” उसने फिर दस्तक दी- “एक बार घुसने में हर्ज ही क्या है.” उसने सोचा और चहारदीवारी में घुस गया. इधर-उधर ताकने-झांकने के बाजवूद आले नहीं दिखी. वह वापस सड़क पर निकल आया. बाहर बच्चे खेल रहे थे, कोई और नहीं दिखा. वसंत का समय था, सब अपने-अपने कामों में लगे हुए होंगे.

ज़ोरो के पास अब कोई चारा नहीं बचा था  वह घिरे हुए बगीचे में घुस गया.

बगिया में घुसते ही उसे आले दिखाई दी. वह उसी खूबानी के पास खड़ी थी जहां पिछली बार मिली थी. हाथों में कुदाल लिए क्यारियां बना रही थी. बहुत नाजुक नन्ही-सी थी बुढ़िया. उसके कंधे और गर्दन कुदाल पर झुके हुए थे. ज़ोरो को लगा कि वह कुछ गुनगुना रही है, अपनी जगह का ही कोई गीत. हां-हां! वह वह तो वही गीत गुनगुना रही थी जिसे पहली मुलाकात में ज़ोरो ने गाया था.

ज़ोरो की आहट पर बुढ़िया अस्वाभाविक चपलता से मुड़ी.

“मेरी जान आले.” ज़ोरो ने आले से कुदाल ले उसे खूबानी पर टिका दिया और उसका हाथ अपनी हथेलियों में समेट लिया- “सब खैरियत है?… मुट्ठी भर रह गई हो, उस बच्ची आले की तरह” उसने पहाड़ों की तरफ गर्दन उचकाते हुए बोला- “उस नन्ही-सी आले की तरह…याद है न? खुदा कसम आज तक आँखों में बसी हो. तुम्हारे सिर पर फूलों की माला थी और तुम मेमने की तरह इस पत्थर से उस पत्थर पर कूद रही थी, कुछ याद है? उन विलक्षण पलों में मेरा दिल चुराकर ले गई, आले!” ज़ोरो पहले जैसे तनकर खड़ा हो गया. बुढ़िया उसकी अधखुली आँखों को देख रही थी.

“चलो, घर में चलते हैं ज़ोरो भईया.”

“नहीं, घर में नहीं, मेरी जिगर.” उत्साह से बोला ज़ोरो- “वो…वहां बगीचे में जो सेब का पेड़ है, आओ, उसके नीचे बैठते हैं.” आले से तांबे के प्याले में अंगूरी लाने को कहा और लाठी लेकर सेब के नीचे एक पत्थर पर बैठ गया. ऊनी टोपा उतारकर घुटने पर पहनाया- “मेरा प्यार सच्चा है, माराथुक का आशीर्वाद मेरी रक्षा करेगा.”

“जो करने जा रहा हूं, वह जायज है आले!” बुढ़िया के हाथ से जाम लेकर बोला- “माराथुक का आशीर्वाद भी है मेरे साथ!” प्याला खाली कर डाला और गंभीर मुद्रा में आ गया.

“पूछो कि ज़ोरो यहां क्यों आया है?”

“एक ही देस के हैं हम भईया ज़ोरो. घर आना-जाना तो बनता ही है.”

“ब..ब…बस? इतना ही, आले?” ज़ोरो ने खूबानी की ओर उगंली से इशारा किया- “अभी थोड़ी देर पहले तुमको क्या बता रहा था? वह दिन भी आज के दिन जैसा ही मधुर था जब मेरा दिल तुम पर आ गया था.”

ज़ोरो उत्तर की आस में कुछ पल ठिठका. बुढ़िया विस्मय से उसे ताक रही थी.

“रोटियां लाऊं भइया?”

“रोटी? अरे, मदिरा नहीं बची है क्या?”

“हाय मेरे माराथुक, तेरी पवित्र बांहों में ही यह आग लगी थी, उन्हीं बांहों से कलेजे पर ठंडक बक्श दें!” ज़ोरो ने मन ही मन प्रार्थना की.

“उस दिन.” -बुढ़िया सुराही सहित प्रकट हुई, ज़ोरो फिर चालू हो गया- “वसंत के उस दिन, आले, पहाड़ की चोटी पर बने गिरजाघर के नीचे माराथुक ने मुझे प्यार का तोहफा दिया था. इतनी सी आले.” उसने हाथ से समझाया- “नन्हे-नन्हे नंगे पैरों वाली आले, फूलों से लिपटी आले मेरी थी, बस मेरी! समझी? लेकिन हैवानों ने तुम्हें मुझसे छीन लिया. उस्मानी लकड़बग्घे तबाही मचाते मेमनों के झुण्ड में घुस गए थे. कैसी लूटपाट मची थी. गांव के गांव जल रहे थे.. खून का दरिया बह रहा था और किस्मत को ग्रहण लग गया. मैंने तुम्हें खो दिया. मेरी बात सच्ची है मेरी जान.”

“क्या तुम नरसंहार के बारे में बोल रहे हो भइया ज़ोरो?” बुढ़िया ने भोलेपन से पूछा.

“नरसंहार के भी और अपने खोए प्यार के भी!”

बूढ़े ने शराब चखी, पाइप सुलगाया और बुढ़िया से जवाब की प्रतीक्षा करने लगा. वह चुप रही और एक ओर झुककर अपनी घिसी सूखी उंगलियों से घास के साथ खेलती रही.

“वह क्षण अभी भी नहीं खोया है आले.” ज़ोरो फुसफुसाया- “उस दिन से मैं प्यार में पूरी तरह डूब गया था…चलो, अपनी कमर कसो, चलते हैं मेरी जान.”

“अरे, कहां?” अचंभित होकर आले ने पूछा.

“पूछ रही हो कहां? अरे, तबसे इतनी कहानी काहे सुना रहा हूं? चल उठ आले, चलते हैं अपने गांव. घर-बार छोड़ दिया है मैंने, थोड़ा-सा जीवन बचा है, एक साथ बिताते हैं न, आगे जो माराथुक की इच्छा हो.”

“पक्का पगला गए हो.”  आले ने निचले होंठ को दांत से भींचा और ज़ोरो के सामने से प्याला उठाने की कोशिश की.

“नहीं, यह नहीं…इस कमबख्त शराब का क्या कुसूर? इसका है, इसका आले.” हाथ दिल पर रख समझाया ज़ोरो ने- “बात इसकी है…मेरा दिल, मेरी रूह…क्या वह हसीन सुबह इसीलिए हुई थी कि हम कभी एक तकिए पर अपनी अंतिम सांसे ले न सकें? जब साथ में होना नहीं लिखा था, तो क्यों…आख़िर क्यों उस नीली सुबह ज़ोरो को उसकी प्यारी आले मिली थी जिसे शाम होने से पहले ही उसने खो दिया था, बताओ आले. इस पहले से ही अन्यायी दुनिया में एक और अन्याय कर भाग जाना था उस सुबह को? आकर ज़ोरो की रूह को गहरा डंक मारकर चले जाना था उसे? आकर ज़ोरो को ललचाना था कि कुदरत का इतना खूबसूरत उपहार भी है इस दुनिया में…और उसे छीन, मुझे बरबाद कर भाग जाना था उसे? क्या वह महज एक सपना था?…सिर्फ एक हसीन कहानी? न…कतई नहीं..वह सुबह थी, है और सदा रहेगी.”

“उठो जान, सामान बांधो, चलते हैं.” ज़ोरो उतावला हो रहा था.

“ज़ोरो भइया, खुदा कसम, तुम्हारी मति मारी गई है.” आले ने शिकायती लहजे में कहा.

“उठाकर ले जाऊंगा.” ज़ोरो ने मुट्ठी को घुटने पर मारा. बुढ़िया हथेली से मुंह ढककर हंसने लगी.

“उठाकर कैसे ले जाओगे ज़ोरो भइया?”

“इ..इतनी सी…मुट्ठी भर हो. बोरी में डालकर कंधे पर लाद लूंगा….बस, गांव से निकलना ही थोड़ा मुश्किल है…फिर दुनिया कुत्तों की तरह पीछे भी पड़ जाए, तो परवाह नहीं. फिर आले मेरी होगी!!! सोच लो, उठाकर ले जाऊंगा. राजी हो जा मेरी जान.”

उधर घर के आंगन से मर्दाना आवाज़ आई. कोई आले को बुला रहा था.

“मेरा आदमी है” बुढ़िया ने उठने में देरी नहीं की.

“तेरा आदमी भलामानुस है, पर तुझको तो ले ही जाऊंगा, तू देखती जा..बस रात होने दे.” बुढ़िया के तहबंद को खींचता ज़ोरो दबी जुबान से बोला- “अच्छा-अच्छा, चुप रहना ठीक, किसी को पता न चले.”

बुढ़िया तहबंद के कोने से मुंह ढक हंसती रही पर दिखाया मानो गाल पोंछ रही हो.

“चलो, भइया ज़ोरो, घर में चलते हैं.”

“घर में मेरा क्या काम? अभी चलता हूं, अंधेरा होने पर आ जाऊंगा, तुम तैयार रहना. एक बार जो ठान लिया तो ठान लिया.”

अंदर से फिर आवाज़ आई. ज़ोरो ने बुढ़िया का आंचल खींचा, अपने भौहें सिकोड़कर मुट्ठी दिखाई.

“उठाकर ले जाऊंगा” वह फुसफुसाया- “चाहो न चाहो, ले जाऊंगा.”

“अच्छा…तुम हो.” गृहस्वामी प्रकट हो गया- “सब खैरियत तो है न? मदिरा चाहिए थी क्या?” वह हंसते हुए बोला.

“हां, चाहिए तो थी!” ईमानदारी से स्वीकारा ज़ोरो ने और मुस्कराकर जोड़ा- “तेरे घर की अंगूरी जैसी अंगूरी दुनिया में कहीं भी नहीं मिलती. और पिछली बार जो किया मैंने तो मेरा सिर फोड़ने का पूरा अधिकार है तुझको!”

इस बीच ज़ोरो के आने की खबर आग की तरह घर में फैल गई. दो बेटे, एक जोड़ी बहुएं, नाती-पोते सबके लिए बड़ी वाली मेज लगा दी गई.

“वाह! क्या खूब सजा दिया है!” मन ही मन तारीफ़ की ज़ोरो ने- “जश्न मना रहे हैं. माराथुक की कसम….मेरी और आले की शादी का जश्न!”

घर वाले बेहद खुश थे. पिछली बार ज़ोरो से मुलाकात नहीं हो पाई थी. इतना ही पता चला था कि जो आए थे वह मां के देस के थे- “गज़ब के जिंदादिल आदमी…कैसे मस्ती से पीते और गाते रहे थे. हां, वापस भेजने में थोड़ी मुश्किल जरूर हुई थी. शायद टांगकर ले जाना पड़ा था. खैर, कैसी सफेद घनी मूछें हैं और गहरी झुर्रियां! कितने जोश में बात करते हैं और उतने ही जोश से गिलास भरते हैं. क्या सौभाग्य है, वह फिर आज मेहमान है.”

“अब आप हमारे मामा हो, – छोटा बेटा उत्साह में था- “मां की ओर से कोई बचा नहीं मामू जान.”

“मामा समझो या काका, तुम जानो.” ज़ोरो ने मन ही में जवाब दिया- “मेरा नाम ज़ोरो है और अपना नाम बदल लूंगा अगर तेरी मां को आज उठाकर न ले गया…हां बेटा, कोई मुरव्वत नहीं.”

छोटा बेटा मां पर गया था. “बिलकुल आले जैसा है.” सोचा ज़ोरो ने और पूछा- “तेरी बहू कौन-सी है, मेरे मेमने?”

उसकी पत्नी सामने आई. वह ज़ोरो को बहुत अच्छी लगी.

“यह जाम तुम्हारे नाम.” ज़ोरो ने एक के बाद एक, दो प्याले खाली कर दिए. फिर उसने लड़के पर नजर दौड़ाई. उसे लगा लड़के की आँखों में अनोखी-सी चमक थी. ज़ोरो जानता था यह संगीत की चमक है. ऐसे युवक सुरीले होते हैं.

“कुछ गाओ, मेरे प्यारे.”

गीत सुनते हुए उसने पाया कि उसकी आँखें धुंधलाने लगी हैं. “अभी से? इस छोटे से प्याले से इतना तो पीया नहीं.” उसे ताज्जुब हुआ- “मैं यहाँ जश्न मनाने नहीं आया हूं.” उसने खुद को गरियाया- “अब एक बूंद भी न लूंगा. बाकियों को पीने दो. पीए और जल्दी सो जाएं…अरे, आले कहां है?”

आले भोजन परोसने में लगी हुई थी. उसके होठों पर दबी हुई मुस्कुराहट तैर रही थी.

“शाबाश बेटा. क्या ख़ूब गाते हो!” ज़ोरो ने यंत्रवत् प्याला होठों से लगाया और ठिठक गया- “पीऊं या न पीऊं?” फिर पी गया- “आबाद रहो बेटा. अब तुम सुनो, मैं गाता हूं.”

ज़ोरो ने आँखें बंद की और तन्मय होकर गाने लगा. बूढ़े की कर्कश आवाज कांप रही थी.

गीत प्रकृति और प्यार के बारे में था. पत्थरों और रंगीन फूलों के, पहाड़ों पर चढ़ते हांफते बैलों और बैलगाड़ियों के, पहाड़ के सीने पर बने सीढ़ीदार बाजरे के खेतों के बारे में था. झूमकर गाते ज़ोरो का हाथ एक बोतल से टकरा गया. बोतल गिर पड़ी. बहू ने ज़ोरो के फैलते हाथों के लिए और जगह बना दी. वह थोड़ा किनारे हट गई.

ज़ोरो गाना खत्म कर चुका था पर वैसे ही लहराता रहा. आँखे बंद किए ही अंत में अलापा- “आले!”

यह गीत का हिस्सा था या कि वह अपनी घरवाली का नाम ले रहा था, गृहस्वामी समझ नहीं पाया. आले काम निपटाकर मेज के एक कोने से चिपकी हुई थी. पहला वाला उत्साह जाता रहा था, उसकी होठों की मुस्कान भी मिट चुकी थी.

“आले” ज़ोरो ने खिड़की के बाहर झांका, पहाड़ों के ऊपर डूबते सूरज को देखा और लहराते हुए कहा- “काश सूर्योदय न होता इस दुनिया में! न दोपहर होती, न सूर्यास्त, न शाम और न ही रात! न गर्मी होती और न सर्दी होती…महज एक वसंत होता! न ही उम्र की बंदिश होती, आले! बच्चा बच्चा ही रहता. मैं उस चट्टान पर, तुम उन खुबसूरत वादियों में और तुम्हारे सिर पर फूलों की माला होती, हे आले!”

“वे तुमसे बोल रहे हैं, मां”. सब चुपचाप बूढ़े के एकालाप को सुन रहे थे. सिर्फ आले का छोटे बेटा इस संगीत को महसूस कर पा रहा था. उसकी आँखें नम हो गई थीं- “मामू ज़ोरो तुम्हें बुला रहे हैं, मां!…आओ, इनकी बगल में बैठो!”

पर मां खड़ी नहीं हो पा रही थी.

बेटे ने मां को उठाने में मदद की और ज़ोरो की बगल में बैठा दिया.

“हे माराथुक.” ज़ोरो उठ खड़ा हुआ और बुढ़िया को आलिंगन में जकड़ लिया.

बुढ़िया का सिर उसके सीने से सट गया था. ज़ोरो ने अपना सिर बुढ़िया के सिर पर झुकाया. उसके कोमल बाल ज़ोरो के गाल को छू रहे थे. ज़ोरो की नजर खिड़की की तरफ मुड़ी- माराथुक की तरफ़- और ज़ोरो लय में पुकारे जा रहा था.

“आले…आले, मेरी जान, आले…”

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अनुवादक माने मकर्तच्यान मूलतः आर्मेनिया से आती हैं , फिलहाल  जेएनयू में  इंडोलॉजी की शोधार्थी  हैं. आप उनसे  mane.nare@gmail.com पर संपर्क कर सकते हैं.

 साभार- हंस, अप्रैल, 2016

गंदगी से लाचार लिबास एवं अन्य कवितायें: रॉबर्तो बोलान्यो

“सत्तर के शुरू की बात है शायद। मेक्सिको शहर में, या शायद कोई और लातिन अमेरिकी शहर रहा होगा, एक कवि सम्मलेन हो रहा था. कवि आते जा रहे थे, कविता कभी निलंबित, कभी ज़लील  होती जा रही थी. तमाशे के आदी लोग, जो कुछ सुनाई दे रहा था उसे कविता जान खुश थे.  अचानक सभा में एक बरगलाया सा लौंडा ऐसे घुसा मानो अभी अपने बस्ते से बन्दूक निकाल सब कवियों का मुँह वन्स एंड फॉर आल बंद कर देगा। जैसे ही लौंडे ने हाथ बस्ते में डाला चूहों और कवियों में फर्क में करना कठिन हो गया. थैंकफुल्ली चूहे मौका देख फरार हो गए. लौंडे की आँखों में खून था — कुछ नशे के कारण कुछ नींद के.  उसने बस्ते में हाथ डाला और एक कागज़ का परचा निकाल उसे से जोर जोर से पढ़ने लगा. लौंडा कवि निकला। चीख चीख कर लौंडा जिसे पढ़ रहा था वह उसकी कविता नहीं, बल्कि भविष्य की  उसकी कविताओं का घोषणापत्र था. लौंडा पढ़ता रहा, लोग सुनते रहे. फिर अंतरिक्ष के किसी दूर कोने से आये धूमकेतु की तरह अपना प्रकाश बाँट लौंडा अंतर्ध्यान हो गया. वह लौंडा बोलान्यो था. ” मयंक तिवारी की कही इन्हीं पंक्तियों के साथ लीजिये प्रस्तुत है  उदय शंकर द्वारा अनुदित रॉबर्तो  बोलान्यो की  तीन  कवितायें .

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Snap Shot- Endless Poetry (2016)

By रॉबर्तो  बोलान्यो

लिजा उवाच

मेरी दुनिया वहीं,

टेप्याक के पुराने गोदाम वाले टेलीफोन बूथ में

ख़त्म हो गई,

जब लिजा ने बताया कि वह किसी और के साथ सोयी.

लंबे बाल और बड़े लंड वाला वह दुबला-पतला लौंडा

उसे चोदने के लिए एक और डेट की भी मोहलत नहीं ले सका.

उसने बताया कि इसमें इतना गंभीर होने वाली बात कुछ भी नहीं है, लेकिन

तुझे अपने जीवन से निकालने के लिए इससे बेहतर कोई और उपाय भी नहीं है.

पारमेनीडेस गार्सिया साल्दाना लंबे बाल रखता था

उसमें लिजा के प्रेमी होने की संभावनाएं थीं

सालों बाद पता चला कि वह एक पागलखाने में मर गया

या खुद से ही खुद को मार डाला.

लिजा अब किसी भी गांडू के साथ सोना नहीं चाहती थी.

कभी-कभी वह सपने में आती है

और मैं देखता हूँ कि

लवक्राफ्टियन मैक्सिको में

वह खुश और शांत है.

हमने संगीत सुना (टैंड हीट, जो कि पारमेनीडेस गार्सिया साल्दाना का प्रिय बैंड था)

और तीन बार सम्भोग किया.

पहली बार वह मेरे भीतर उतर आया

फिर मुँह में

और तीसरी बार पानी के धागे से बंधी बंसी की तरह

मेरी छातियों के बीच फंस गया.

यह सब हुआ सिर्फ दो घंटों में, लिजा ने कहा.

मेरी जिन्दगी के बदतरीन दो घंटे,

मैंने फ़ोन के दूसरी छोर से कहा.

लिजा की याद

रात के अंधेरों से छनती

लिजा की यादें फिर से झरती हैं.

एक जंजीर, उम्मीद की एक किरण:

मैक्सिको का एक आदर्श गाँव,

बर्बरता के समक्ष लिजा की मुस्कान,

लिजा की एक स्थिर तस्वीर,

लिजा के खुले फ्रिज से एक धुंधली रौशनी

बेतरतीब कमरे में झड़ रही है,

जब कि मैं चालीस का हो रहा हूँ,

वह बरबस चिल्लाती है

मैक्सिको फ़ोन करो, शहर मैक्सिको फ़ोन करो,

अराजकता और सौंदर्य के बीच बड़बड़ाते

अपनी  एक मात्र सच्ची प्रेमिका से बात करने के लिए

फ़ोन बूथ के चक्कर लगाने वाले

रॉबर्टो बोलानो को फ़ोन करो.

गंदगी से भरपूर लाचार लिबास

कुत्तागिरी के दिनों में,

मेरी आत्मा मेरे दिल से पसीज गयी.

तबाह, लेकिन जीवित,

गंदगी से भरपूर लाचार लिबास,

फिर भी, प्यार से भरपूर.

कुत्तागिरी, जहाँ कोई भी अपनी

उपस्थिति दर्ज कराना नहीं चाहता.

जब कवि कुछ भी करने लायक नहीं रह जाते हैं

तब कुत्तागिरी की उपस्थिति-पंजि में

सिर्फ उनके ही नाम अंकित होते हैं.

लेकिन मेरे लिए अभी भी बहुत कुछ करना शेष था!

फिर भी, उजाड़ गाँवों से गुजरते हुए

मैं वहां गया,

लाल चींटियों, और तो और काली चींटियों द्वारा

अपनी मृत्यु के लिए अभिशप्त:

यह डर बढ़ता ही गया,

जब तक कि उसने तारों को चूम नहीं लिया.

मैक्सिको में पढ़ा एक चिलीयन

कुछ भी झेल सकता है,

मेरी समझ से यह सच नहीं है.

रात के अंधेरों में मेरा हृदय विलाप किया करता था.

एक रूहानी नदी तपते होठों को गुनगुनाती थी,

बाद में पता चला कि वह मैं था-

रूहानी नदी, रूहानी नदी,

इस बुद्धत्त्व ने इन उजाड़ गाँवों के किनारों से

खुद को एकमेक कर लिया.

धातुई यथार्थ के बीच

तरल वास्त्विकाताओं की तरह

उभरते हैं,

गणितज्ञ और धर्माचार्य

ज्योतिषी और डाकू.

सिर्फ जोश और कविता,

सिर्फ प्रेम और स्मृति ही दृष्टि देती है,

न कि यह कुत्तागिरी

न ही सामान्य राहगीरी.

न ही यह भूलभुलैया.

यह मैं तभी तक मानता रहा जब तक

मेरी आत्मा मेरे दिल से पसीज नहीं गयी थी.

यह सच है कि यह बीमार मानसिकता थी,

लेकिन फिर भी जिन्दादिली इसी में थी.

उदय शंकर द्वारा अनुदित ये कवितायें लोरा हेल्ली के अंग्रेजी अनुवादों पर आधृत हैं.

एक और जिंदगी ‘सिर्फ तुम’ की प्रिया गिल जैसी: अविनाश मिश्र

आभासी पटल (सोशल साइट्स) के बाहर ‘कुंठित मन’ की ‘निर्लज्ज अभिव्यक्तियाँ’ कितनी अमानवीय होती हैं, वह जानी-पहचानी है. अविनाश के पास ‘कूटनीति’ की भाषा नहीं है, जिसका सबसे सजग इस्तेमाल आभासी लोक-वृत्त के दायरे में किया जाता है. जिस दिन उसके पास यह आ जायेगी, वह ख़त्म हो जाएगा.  यह आभासी-व्यवहार और कुछ नहीं, बल्कि हाल-चाल, दुआ-सलाम की भाषा को पाने का ही करतब है. यह भाषा आदमी को दलाल, अवसरवादी, व्यवसायी बना सकती है लेकिन रचनाकार नहीं. यह ‘सर्वधर्म-समभाव’ की सबसे उपजाऊ जमीन है. जहाँ भाषा गूगल-ट्रांसलेट हो जाती है.

अविनाश मिश्र इस समय का रचनात्मक, खतरनाक और ‘आत्मघाती’ स्फुटन है. तमाम आपत्तियों और बदनामियों के बावजूद उसे पसंद किया जाता है. तिरछीस्पेल्लिंग पर अविनाश की  ‘नए शेखर की जीवनी’ की  पहली  प्रस्तुति  और दूसरी  प्रस्तुति  आप पढ़ चुके हैं, यह तीसरी प्रस्तुति है. 

the-king-of-habana-2015

स्नैपशॉट- द किंग ऑफ़  हवाना  (2015)

By अविनाश मिश्र

नए शेखर की जीवनी

घर मैंने छोड़ दिया

कोई मूल्यवान चीज

मैंने नहीं छोड़ी

@धूमिल

 

एक नए नगर में बहुत सारी जगहों का कोई इतिहास नहीं है.वे धीरे-धीरे अपना इतिहास अर्जित कर रही हैं. नई जिंदगियों के लिए इतिहास को झेलना बहुत मुश्किल है, क्योंकि इतिहास में सब कुछ हो सकता है —सच्चाई भी—लेकिन जिंदगी नहीं.

शेखर इतिहास गंवा चुका है. अब वह चाहता है केवल इतनी अस्मिता कि एक नए नगर में बस सके.

नए नगर बेहद संभावनाशील प्रतीत होते हैं. उनकी सरहदों में घुसते ही उम्मीद और यकीन की नई इबारतें खुलती हैं. वहां भाषा की सबसे ज्यादा जरूरत होती है. वहां सजगता की सबसे ज्यादा जरूरत होती है. वहां जागरूकता की सबसे ज्यादा जरूरत होती है. वहां लोगों की सबसे ज्यादा जरूरत होती है. वहां सबसे कम जरूरत उस चीज की होती है जिसे शेखर गंवा चुका है. फिर भी वह वहां अर्जित करेगा, वह सब कुछ जो वह गंवा चुका है.

*

शेखर अब एक नए नगर में है. इस नए नगर में एक कमरा है. एक झाड़ू है. एक बिस्तर है. एक स्त्री है. इस एकवचन में बहुवचन हैं इस स्त्री की आंखें.

ये आंखें शेखर को बहुत उम्मीद से देखती हैं. वह नहीं चाहता कि यह उम्मीद कोई शक्ल ले. लेकिन लापरवाहियां शेखर के शिल्प में हैं. इसलिए ही ये आंखें उम्मीद से हो गईं.

शेखर के बाबा तब मरे जब मुल्क में आपातकाल था और शेखर के जनक तब, जब मुल्क में यह जांचा जा रहा था कि कौन कितनी देर खड़ा रह सकता है.

 शेखर के बाबा नारे लगाते हुए मरे और जनक पुराने बंद हो चुके चंद नोट किनारे लगाते हुए.

 लेकिन शेखर अभी मरना नहीं चाहता—न अपने बाबा की तरह, न अपने बाप की तरह.

अभी तो एक और जिंदगी उसकी प्रतीक्षा में है. अभी तो आस-पास का सब कुछ इस जिंदगी का स्वप्न है. इस इंतजार को वह खोना नहीं चाहता. इस इंतजार में सुख है.

शेखर उत्सुकता को अपराध की सीमा तक बुरा मानताहै.

बीत चुकी स्थानीयताओं में यानी अपने बचपन के नगर में जब भी वह किसी ऑटो में बैठा, उसे यही गीत सुनने को मिला :

मेरी आंखों में जले तेरे ख्वाबों के दिए 

कितनी बेचैन हूं मैं यार से मिलने के लिए’

एक और जिंदगी ‘सिर्फ तुम’ की प्रिया गिल जैसी होगी. जब भी कोई उससे पूछेगा कि क्या चाहती हो? वह कहेगी : ‘सिर्फ शेखर.’

अभी तो जो जिंदगी है उसमें प्रशंसा का पहला वाक्य आत्मीय लगता है, लेकिन प्रशंसा के तीसरे वाक्य में प्रशंसा का तर्क भी हो तब भी उससे बचने का मन करता है, क्योंकि प्रशंसा के दूसरे वाक्य से ही ऊब होने लगती है.

अभी तो जो जिंदगी है वह शेखर से कहती है कि वह उसके भाई जैसा है और यह सुनते ही वह समझ जाता है कि इस जिंदगी के फायदे दूसरे हैं. ये जिंदगी भी पुरुषों की तरह क्रूर, कुटिल, अवसरवादी, धूर्त और धोखेबाज है.

शेखर चाहता है कि जिन जिंदगियों से उसके रक्त के रिश्ते नहीं, वे उसे उसके सही नाम से पुकारें—शेखर…

इतनी जिंदगियों पर इतने अत्याचार देखे हैं और इतनी अत्याचारी जिंदगियां देखी हैं कि अपने जीवित होने से घृणा हो गई है शेखर को. लेकिन फिर भी जब कोई जिंदगी शेखर को शेखर पुकारती है, उसे लगता है कि वह क्रूरता से कोमलता की ओर, कुटिलता से सहृदयता की ओर, अवसरवादिता से ईमानदारी की ओर, धूर्तता से समझदारी की ओर और धोखेबाजी से विश्वसनीयता की ओर एक जरूरी कदम बढ़ा चुकी है.

इस जिंदगी से शेखर पूछता है कि कहां जाऊं जो बर्बरता के स्रोत पीछा न करें?

जिंदगी : जनपथ से राइट लो.

 शेखर : अगर दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय से केंद्रीय सचिवालय जाऊं तो मेट्रो बदलनी तो नहीं पड़ेगी न?

 जिंदगी : बहुत विद्वतापूर्ण बातों का वक्त बीत गया.

 शेखर : मुझे लगता नहीं कि मैं दूर तक जा पाऊंगा. 

इस जिंदगी में जिसे देखो वही पूछता है कि कहां क्या मिल रहा है?

कोई नहीं पूछता :

‘कहां जाऊं

और दे दूं

खुद को.’

इस जिंदगी में खुद को दे देने के लिए शेखर बहुत जल्दी में रहता है. वह जल्दी-जल्दी चलता है, खाता है, पीता है. उसे लगता है कि कहीं कुछ छूट रहा है जो पीछे नहीं आगे है. वह उसे पकड़ने के लिए जल्दी में रहता है.

वह जानता है कि एक दिन लोग कहेंगे :‘अगर शेखर ने जल्दी न की होती, तब वह पहुंच गया होता.’

*

यह जिंदगी तब की पैदाइश है, जब लोग अपना जन्मदिन इतना नहीं मनाते थे. जब अंग्रेजी इतनी नहीं बोली जाती थी. जब लोगों की आंखें भरी और कान खाली रहते थे और उन्हें धीरे से भी पुकारो तो वे सुन लेते थे. तब तकनीक थोड़ी कम थी और निरर्थकता भी.

शेखर बहुत पहले का नहीं है, लेकिन न जाने क्यों उसे लगता है कि पहले सब कुछ ठीक था और आगे सब कुछ ठीक हो जाएगा.

शेखर पागल थोड़ा नहीं है, अर्थात् बहुत है.

लेकिन शेखर केवल ताली बजाने के लिए नहीं बना है, उसने रची है अपने ही हाथों से यह दुनिया भी और इस दुनिया में एकसौगजकाप्लॉटभी—दिल्लीसेकुछहटकर.

इस प्लॉट को एक आवास की शक्ल देने के सिलसिले में वह बेचैन रहता है. लेकिन आर्थिक आपातकाल ने एक आवास के स्वप्न को खुले आवासीय यथार्थ में बदल दिया.

जम्बो सर्कस हो या गैंग रेप या अवैध कोकीन बरामद हो, ट्रक-मर्सिडीज भिड़ंत हो या पप्पू खंजर की गिरफ्तारी… सब कुछ अब शेखर के इस सौ गज के प्लॉट के आस-पास ही होता है.

शेखर के जनक की मृत्यु और शेखर का खुद जनक होना नवंबर’16 की उन तारीखों में हुआ जब पूरा मुल्क कतारों में खड़ा था.

सारी कतारें शेखर के सौ गज के प्लॉट पर आकर खत्म होने लगीं. सारी बातें वह घसीट कर सौ गज के दायरे में ले आने लगा.

सीमेंट, मोरम, रेत, गिट्टियां, ईंट, मार्बल, सरिया, लोहा, लकड़ी, मिट्टी… वह संवाद के सारे मुद्दों को इनमें मिक्स करने लगा.

मय्यतों और सत्संगों में भी वह इस प्लॉट का जिक्र छेड़ बैठता.उसे पुश्तैनियत में कुछ नहीं मिला पपीते के एक पेड़ और आपातकाल की कुछ बुरी यादों के सिवाय. इसलिए वह जानता था करोड़ों-करोड़ बेघरों के बीच में एक सौ गज के प्लॉट के मायने. करोड़ों-करोड़ कीड़ों-मकौड़ों को रौंदने के बाद एक इतनी बड़ी जगह पर काबिज होकर,वह थोड़ा खुश होना चाहता था.

वह अपने नवजात शिशु से इस प्लॉट से संबंधित अभूतपूर्व योजनाओं पर चर्चा किया करता. वह अपने शिशु को समझाता कि असंतुष्टियों के असीमित और अर्थवंचित आयामों से बच कर चलना मेरे बच्चे.

शेखर ने प्रवचनों में सुना था :

सब कुछ माया है…

यह वाक्य दिन-ब-दिन अब और चमकीला होता जा रहा है.

आने वाले वक्त में जब शेखर का नवजात शिशु कुछ बड़ा होगा, सब तरफ बेइंतिहा चमक होगी. लेकिन सब कुछ ठीक-ठीक देख पाना वैसे ही असंभव होगा जैसे कि आज इस अंधेरे में जहां शेखर रहता है—एक अधूरे सौ गज के प्लॉट पर, एक और जिंदगी के इंतजार में…

***

 

What Is Post-Truth: Dhiraj K. Nite

The term of post-truth and post-fact has recently become a commonplace. It is no more confined to the realm of politics, that is, post-truth politics but informs the subjectivity in a wider social life. It seems to constitute the substance of a public sphere of the post-Fordist multitude itself. Our following discussion makes an exposition of its characteristic feature and foundational root. It is, I suggest below, a discourse of the contemporary forms of life. #Author

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Post-truth: A discourse of the contemporary forms of life

By Dhiraj K. Nite

Post-truth relates to a public sphere. It is characterised by the repeated assertion of a set of opinions, which disregards the contradictory fact and ignores the factual rebuttal. Hence, it is, one and the same time, post-fact:the violation of what Carr (1961) and Ricoeur(1984) consider the scientific method.[i] This public sphere is akin to what Habermas(1989) terms ‘the plebiscitary-acclamatory form of regimented public sphere’.[ii] This is a consuming public rather than rational-critical debating public: the latter is the liberal model of the bourgeois public sphere that puts reason to use for fostering public opinion. The latter normally happens to be a critic of the authorities and calls on the public authority to legitimate itself before public opinion. The latter is brought into play as a critical authority in connection with the normative mandate that the exercise of political and social power be subject to publicity. By contrast, post-truth public opinion is the object to be moulded in connection with a staged display of and manipulative propagation of publicity in the service of persons and institutions: what Habermas simplistically terms ‘non-public opinion’ and ‘quasi-public opinion’(ibid: 236, 247). Post-fact public opinions are currently working in great numbers. The commentators have identified these in the contexts of the victorious campaigns of Trump, Brexit and the role of Russia and Syria in the Aleppo humanitarian crisis. As also the jingoist aggression over the issues, including beef, love jihad, the encounterkilling of IshratJahan, capital punishment of Afjal Guru and YakubMenon (2014),the Bhopal Encounter of six SIMI associates (2016) and the likes, is a similar case in India.

The term of post-truth, however, appears to be the elemental feature of the contemporary public sphere. Furthermore, it is supposed to be connected with the very desire of free people to live in a post-truth world, to express a post-truth tendency and work on a post-truth narrative structure cum strategy. It is an epistemological condition in which the attitude towards the very question of truth has become not merely ambivalent,pragmaticand self-serving. Instead, truth itself has become dispensable in this scheme of post-truth.[iii]Here it is marked out from another Habermasian viewpoint. The latter maintains that in a comparative sense the concept of public opinion is to be retained because the constitutional reality of the social-welfare state must be conceived as a process in the course of which a public sphere that functions effectively in the political realm is realised: that is to say, as a process in which the exercise of social power and political domination is effectively subjected to the mandate of democratic publicity (ibid: 244). Post-truth opinion obviates any distinction between public opinion and non-public opinion or quasi-public opinion, at the first place. Then, it affirms its non-dialogical, cynical reality. It valorises the logic of emotion as the final referent and mocks that of rationalism as well as universalism. Consequently, the terms of post-humanism,[iv] post-fact and the politics of America First, India First and the likes, and the society of spectacle and the polity of control tend to feed each other.[v] All this surpasses the negative connotation, whatsoever, attached to Habermasian term of non-public opinion and regimented cum manipulative public.

The desire of free people to live in a post-fact world is, it could be said, connected with some circumstantial factors, which form the materiality and subjectivity of contemporary forms of life, as these are, from the late twentieth-century.One of them relates to the postmodern criticism of enlightenment and modernity.The postmodern thinking has begun to take hold in the aftermath of the golden era of capitalism (1945-70), the crushing defeat faced by the campaigns for emancipatory cum egalitarian transformation (1967-80), the stifling experience of the existing socialism, and the emergence of a political economic scenario in which no promising alternative of the neo-liberal market economy is imminent.[vi]This thinking challenges, inter alia, the notions of objectivity and universal truth. It advances, among others, the idea of relativism. It reduces a treatise to simply a discourse that is a product of the [decentred] power relationship.[vii]

The post-Fordist forms of life connect to post-truth public sphere. The former includes the pre-eminence of immaterial labour, interactive and communicative labour, affective labour, and the roles of general intellect, social cooperation and virtuosity in the work performance (Virno 2004).[viii]The two emotional tonalities of thepost-Fordist multitude are opportunism and cynicism. Opportunism is marked by unexpected turns, perceptible shocks, permanent innovationand chronic instability (ibid:86). It is now a systemic behaviour caused by structural instability. In the post-Ford era mode of production, that is ajust-in-time method and informatisedaccumulation, opportunism acquires a certain technical importance. It is the cognitive and behavioural reaction of the contemporary multitude to the fact that routine practices are no longer organised along uniform lines; instead, they present a high level of unpredictability. Precisely this ability to manoeuvre among abstract and interchangeable opportunities which constitutes professional quality in certain sectors of post-Fordist production, sectors where the labour process is not regulated by a single particular goal, but by a class of equivalent possibilities to be specified one at a time. The information machine, rather than being a means to a single end, is an introduction to successive and opportunistic elaborations. Opportunism gains in value as an indispensable resource whenever a diffuse communicative action permeates the concrete labour process.

Likewise, cynicism is also connected with the chronic instability of forms of life and linguistic games. For general intellect is now associated withthe loss of the principle of equivalency (ibid:87). Cynics are related to certain cognitive premises and the absence of ‘real equivalence’. This is connected with thenon-dialogical renunciation of an inter-subjective foundation and a standard moral evaluation and abandonment of equality (ibid:88).

Idle talk and curiosity are some of other features of the contemporary multitude.Authentic life to unauthentic life, the world workshop to a world–spectacle: a shift has occurred.[ix] These attitudes have become the pivot of contemporary production in which the act of communication dominates, and in which the ability to manage amid continual innovations is supreme. Curiosity is connected with the autonomy from predefined goals, from limiting tasks, from the obligation of giving a faithful reproduction of the truth (ibid:89). These are connected with post-Fordist virtuosity (praxis, technical skill).

An accentuated taste for difference and the refinement of the principle of individuation constitute the selfof post-Fordist multitude (ibid: 111).The latter resists homogenisation, statistical dehumanisation and monotony of secular liberalism, which they consider as the tools of governmentality. The postmodern thinking serves it when it posits real labour, as opposed to abstract labour, in the shape of ‘the diverse ways of being human or the politics of human belonging’ (Chakrabarty2000: 70).[x]Instead of contributing to social integration, the neoliberal administration acts rather as a disseminating and differentiating mechanism in its endeavour of social control from the 1980s (Hardt and Negri 2001: 340).

Post-Fordism, as also the conservative revolution in the political economy from the 1980s(Piketty 2014),[xi]is characterised by the co-existence of the most diverse productive models. The ex-colonies, ex-socialist economies and the advanced capitalist countries are, for the first time, faced with a similar pattern in the organisation of workplace. The instability defines the latter, which is an expression of casualization, subcontractualisation and regulated informality.[xii]This is the material base of valorisation of difference. It is, however, a misleading assumption to regard this materiality as the prime mover. Instead, the very Fordist multitude had emphasised the desire for the personal autonomy or autonomous self, which had mediated the social unrest in the 1960s and 1970s. Such a desire, in the aftermath of the failure of transformative efforts, shifted to the non-socialist and anti-socialist demands, including the politics of the diverse ways of being human and identitarianism and the verncularisation of labour politics.[xiii]

If the publicness of the general intellect of multitude, it could be said, does not yield to the realm of a public sphere, of political space in which the many can tend to common affairs, then it produces terrifying effects. A publicness without a public sphere, this is the downside of the experience of the post-Fordist multitude. In this context, post-truth has surfaced in the form of a discourse of the contemporary forms of life.

Reference:

[i] EH Carr, 1961. What is History?Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Paul Ricoeur, 1984. Time and Narrative (Translated by Kathleen McLaughlin and David Pellauer). Chicago: University of Chicago Press,

[ii]JurgenHabermas. 1989/1962.The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: an inquiry into a category of bourgeois society (translation by Thomas Burger with the assistance of Frederick Lawrence). Massachusetts: the MIT Press.

[iii] It is grounded in the belief that no system of equivalency is stable and certain for any shceme of universal measurement.

[iv] It refers to the context of biopolitical ontology and its becoming, where the transcendent is unthinkable. In such ontology Value is outside measure, for no system of equivalency is stable and certain. Value and justice seem to be determined by humanity’s own continuous innovation and creation rather than transcendent power or measure (Hardt and Negri 2001: 355). Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, 2001.Empire.USA: Harvard University Press.

[v] The society of the spectacle – the control of broadcast and the deployment of dominant as celebrities and their views as an advertisement for manufacturing of consent – isa feature of the postmodern world. It rules through the weapon of the passion, fear – desire and pleasure that are intimately wedded to fear. The politics of fear is spread through a kind of superstition, that is, the negation of rationalism. It takes away from a struggle over the imperial constitution of the world order (Hardt and Negri 2001: 322-23).

[vi]DipeshChakrabarty suggests that the Foucauldian term of biopower and biopolitics – life as part of administration – is the final chapter of modernity. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23QV66LdPOM.accessed.16February2017. By contrast, biopower and biopolitics are the components of postmodernisation, that is, the control paradigm of government and the society of control, as suggest Hardt and Negri (2001: 318-330, 344-411).

[vii] Michel Foucault, 2008/1976. The History of Sexuality, Vol. I. (Translated by Robert Hurley). Australia: Penguin Group. Colin Gordon, 1980. Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972-77 of Michel Foucault. New York: Pantheon Books.

[viii] Paolo Virno, 2004. A Grammar of the Multitude: For an analysis of contemporary forms of life. Los Angeles: Semiotext(e).

[ix] For Heidegger, the authentic life finds its adequate expression in labour. The world is a world-workshop, a complex of productive means and goals, the theatre of a general readiness for entering the world of labour. This fundamental connection with the world is distorted by idle talk and curiosity. One who chatters and abandons oneself to curiosity does not work, is diverted from carrying out a determined task, and has suspended very serious responsibility for taking care of things. By contrast, the multitude, passionate aboutan autonomous self from the 1960s, rejects the very fact that labour or work forms the human essence or being-in-the-world, that is, Heideggerian ontic. Thereby they discard the negative connotation attached to the inauthentic life within the productivist paradigm. To them, the authentic life reduced to labour/work is basically a life sentence. Martin Heidegger, 1962. Being and Time (translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson). New York: Harper and Row.

[x]DipeshChakrabarty, 2008/2000. Provincialising Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

[xi] Thomas Piketty, 2014. Capital in the Twenty-First Century (translated by Arthur Goldhammer). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

[xii]PrabhuMohapatra, 2005. ‘Regulated Informality’, in S. Bhattacharya and Jan Lucassen (Eds.), Workers in the Informal Sector. New Delhi: Macmillan.

[xiii]Sabyasachi Bhattacharya and RanaBehal (Eds.), 2016.The Vernacularisation of Labour Politics.New Delhi: Tulika Books.

Dhiraj k Nite

Dr. Dhiraj Kumar Nite, A Social Scientist,  University of Johannesburg, Ambedkar Univeristy Delhi. You can contact him through dhirajnite@gmail.com

A journey in the Eastern Himalaya: Anil Yadav

“The mountains lands, and the Himalaya in particular, are visited by travelers, explorers, climbers, naturalist, pilgrims. These are who people who are evanescent, who come and go and vanish, occasionally giving us their impressions in the books and journals which describe their personal experiences, but they tell us little or nothing about the people who eke out a living on hostile mountain slopes. only a very few people have left enduring and insightful records of their experiences.”#Ruskin Bond
And Anil Yadav is one such traveler, not just a tourist, who brings forth an experience of that untouched, unseen, unheard quarters of Himalayas, that a very few of us have a chance of experiencing, in our whole lifetimes. A journey in the Eastern Himalaya, part of a larger account of travels in northeast India.

himalaya

Himalayan: Adventures, Meditation and Life

On to Namdapha and Tawang

By Anil Yadav

My new-found brother Rupah-da turned me over to Nature’s Beckon in front of the Tinsukhia Railway Station. When the Tata 407 mini-bus finally left—after having waited interminably for flustered passengers arriving from god knows where—fowl stuffed into a wicker-basket underneath a seat cackled. There was a sack of potatoes with a hole in it; potatoes popped out and rolled about on the floor. We were eighteen passengers in all, including a ten-year-old, travelling with a group of experts who worked for Nature’s Beckon, an NGO working to build environmental awareness. Our destination: the jungles of Namdapha on the Changlang plateau in Arunachal Pradesh—Namdapha is the highest peak in the region. These jungles, abutting Burma, rise up from swampy wetlands in the plains to snow-covered mountains and spread over an area of 2,000 square kilometres. There is such geographic diversity here that multiple seasons co-exist over contiguous territory. From the jhapi hats, binoculars, packets of crisps and the keen desire to hear the opinions of strangers on the varieties of forests found in different geographical regions of the world, it was clear everyone had done their homework well.

The young director of Nature’s Beckon, Soumyadeep, tried to lighten the atmosphere with timely jokes and tales of travels in the wild but his narration was stolid, and his manner that of a tour guide in a hurry. No tales were told him in reply. A freshly minted young journalist, Pem Thi Gohain, launched an interrogation: What was my salary break-up at the paper I worked for; and who was the editor brilliant enough to send me on this assignment? I distanced myself from him by speaking in English and by shrinking into myself and looking out the window, pretending to be absorbed in the landscape. It was impossible to tell any more lies.

A tyre punctured in Digboi. The diver propped the vehicle on a makeshift jack built out of a pile of bricks and stood on the side of the road, thumbing down trucks to borrow a tyre-iron from. This was going to take a while and I left for a short walkabout in town. Digboi is full of oil-wells; neighbourhoods are named after the bends in the roads next to which they stand. Small hills are dotted with bungalows from the British era. Each bungalow once occupied by a single British family is now shared by many households. Digboi is a sleepy town; one where from the looks of things a heavy breakfast is all that is needed to send one back to bed.

We left and soon after the driver stopped in Margherita. While the rest of us ate, he went off to have the puncture repaired. Santwana Bharali, aka Poppy, was our tour coordinator. She had an MSc in Botany; her cheeks dimpled prettily when she smiled. On of our co-passengers was a psychology nut.According to him, Poppy had followed the driver to the puncture-repair shop only because she wanted to see the tyre-tube fill up with air and become tumescent. I concurred. But when she opened her purse and paid the mechanic, I silently chided the influence of Freud on the manner in which I had agreed with his assessment of Poppy. Archana Niyog, another co-passenger, was what you might call a homely girl; she was serving food to her fellow passengers, urging each to eat some more.

 The large yellow signboard which marks the beginning of the Stilwell Road flashed past us near the railway crossing in Lido. The road, built during the Second World War at enormous cost in terms of the lives of soldiers and labourers, begins in Jairampur in Arunachal Pradesh, enters Burma, spans Kachin territory and terminates in the Kunming province of China. One of the longstanding demands in the region is the reopening of the Stilwell Road so that trade may flourish, but our relations with China remain rocky.

Lido is a vast colliery. Coal dust rained upon me from impossibly tall heaps in a black billowing mist. It is the practice of open-cast mining which gives the town its mysterious, suspicious air.

The olive-green of battle fatigues became increasingly more concentrated once we entered Arunachal Pradesh. A state of high alertness has become the norm in the state after 1962 when China defeated India in war. We were stopped at every checkpoint for interrogation and for our permits to be examined; it was night by the time we were done. When twilight fell everyone looked up at the sky in complete silence. Perhaps its colour reflected their most inward moods. Afterwards, everyone dozed. Red points of light flickered deep within the forests. To avoid the telltale thwack-thwack of axe on tree trunk, a small hole is drilled and a fire set within. The embers smoulder for many days before the tree finally comes crashing down. In many places forests were being burned down to make way for jhum cultivation. Those fires were much more widespread and malignant. Only two per cent of land in the state is under permanent cultivation; either as small terraced fields or as bigger plots in the lowlands.

The bus entered one of the gates to Namdapha. A shaggy animal bolted across the front of the truck and was spot-lit by its headlamps. Eyes opened wide, shoulder joined shoulder in anticipation and heads came together as everyone peered out the windows. Poppy quacked in a sleep-laden voice ‘Porcupine! Porcupine! I know very well that was a porcupine.’

The hedgehog vanished under the bushes on the side of the road. The ten-year-old found his long-awaited opportunity to lay hands upon his father’s binoculars—so what if it was dark? The mini-bus halted near a waterfall. The air was rank with the odour of swamp deer, of which there must have been a herd nearby. Jain-ul-Abedeen, aka Benu Daku, is an experienced hunter who quit his hereditary profession to become an environmentalist. He said, snorting, ‘They are foolish animals. Once spooked by torches they can’t run. Hunters get them easy.’

It was a four-kilometre hike from the waterfall to the resthouse. Bags on backs, we trooped into the darkness in single file, our path lighted by torches. The drone of crickets vibrated through the forest. On our left was a deep gorge at the bottom of which rushed the Dihang River. The pauses in between the crump-crump of footsteps were defeaning in their silence. In those moments it was easy to imagine the act of measuring time as a joke which man plays to keep himself deluded. Elephant dung, a deer’s hoofprints, tyre marks became mysteries to be deciphered at leisure. Benu shone his light into the gorge, looking for something. He stopped, then said sotto voce, ‘There might be a tigress nearby.’

A commotion followed, which crumpled up our single file and transformed it into a huddle. The effect of torch-light on tigers was discussed in whispers, with books being quoted and their publishers and prices mentioned. This was a serious moment but something seemed out of joint. I don’t know why a thought occurred to me: ‘This is a new profession for Benu. He and Soumyadeep are injecting a dose of excitement into these middle-class nature-lovers so their trip becomes memorable.’

As soon as we reached the rest house, the sweat-soaked trekkers called out to their gods and collapsed, using their backpacks as cushions upon which to straighten their strained backs. Bricks were collected, makeshift stoves hurriedly set up, and rice put on to boil. A safe corner for the women to sleep in was scouted. A whistle went off shrilly and at length; everyone gathered round and the experts answered questions on Namdapha in the dim light of a kerosene lantern.

The tiger and three species of leopard inhabit Namdapha: the common leopard, the clouded leopard and the rare snow leopard. The red panda is also to be found here.

The Namdapha Tiger Reserve was set up because this area is the perfect habitat for felines: it has flowing water, shade and abundant prey. These make up the ideal environmental cycle.

Some creatures such as the flying squirrel, the white hornbill and the howler monkey make the reserve their home because of geographical features which are unique to the area.

Chakma refugees from Bangladesh have been rehabilitated in the Gandhi Gram village located inside the forest. They hunt and eat elephants. Hunting has put the elephant population under stress.

 Lisu refugees from Burma live in the jungle, too. They are skilled at hunting tigers.

Tiger-bone liquor is much in demand in China. Tiger whiskers are used to manufacture sex toys.

The wide expanse of the jungle is manned by just thirteen employees who can’t even manage to shut all the gates of the reserve. There is no electricity and all the drinking water must be brought from the Noa-Dihing River…

After these stark truths were underlined in many different ways, the dancing flames reflected on the walls took on a new meaning. The deep silence of the forest invaded our tired minds. The whistle went off again, shrill and long; rice and flat-bean curry was served. Later, everyone pitched in to wash the dishes in candlelight. Soon I could hear snores.

It was raining in the morning. Binoculars and cameras jumped out of their carrying cases and kept waiting for a long time. Later, we were ferried across the Noa-Dihing in two batches under a steady drizzle. Vimal Gogoi and Mridul Phukan identified birds and animals from their calls. The deep silence of the forest made itself felt once more. In a crowd, one loses the ability to feel because each is trying frantically to communicate something or the other and this takes up all our attention. However, walking underneath the dripping forest canopy on the thick carpet of fallen leaves and sodden mulch, I felt regret: This place had everything but that which I find in a tree standing alone on the side of a road, it couldn’t give me.

Poppy showed us a twig on which grew a layer of what looked like white mould. She said, ‘Look, there is no pollution here. This lichen is proof.’ She picked up a berry from the ground and said in chaste Assamese, ‘The pahu eats the flesh of this fruit and the porcupine its pit. In this manner they help propagate these seeds all over the forest.’

‘This pahu, is it a bird?’ She laughed. I understood I had made yet another mistake in wringing meaning from the Assamese language.

‘Pahu is not a bird. Pahu is Assamese for deer.’ Archana corrected me.

We had climbed from a height of forty metres to two hundred and fifty metres over rocky, uneven terrain. Thin red leeches swarmed up our shoes. They soon began to crawl into our socks and everyone started to look for salt—the best antidote for leeches—which we had all forgotten to bring. Tikendrajit, from Barpeta, had long been scratching his head. A leech had fastened itself to his scalp and was turgid with blood. I pulled it off.

A tribal, Lat Gam Singpho, was accompanying our party as guide. Using his dao he cut green cane into strips and and fashioned himself a hat. When everyone crowded around demanding a hat, he made one for each. A lengthy photo session ensued. The hats which adorned the people’s heads deranged the balance of chemicals within their brains. They capered about spouting gibberish: ‘He hai hua, chi chai chung!’ In those green-cane hats they had found an excuse to express their truest, innermost reactions to the Singpho’s illiteracy and backwardness. Later, all the men took turns to wield the keen Singpho dao on the surrounding trees.

The sun came out in the afternoon and the forest took on new colours. We heard the cracking of bamboo. A small herd of elephants was crashing through, though we saw them only in our imaginations. A sudden shower drenched us in the evening and we didn’t need the services of a boat to cross the Noa-Dihing on our way back. Many other environmentalists came to us at night and—eating chicken curry and rice—gave us much useful information on crocodiles, hornbills and elephants. In one later session, people narrated their experiences of the jungle. Someone was terrified by the sight of an elephant brought up close by his binoculars, another slyly transformed anecdote into personal experience. Archana told us the heartrending story of the death of a calving cow and her attachment to the orphaned calf. Soumyadeep often dreamt of wild elephants surrounding him and of a forest-goddess who would come to his rescue. Lat Gam Singpho, who now lived in the forest, had once been ward boy in a hospital. He had a remarkable story to tell.

‘I can face down a tiger with a dao in hand but ghosts scare me to death. There were some doctors in the hospital who conspired so I would lose my job. They put a new shirt on a corpse and propped it against the wall. A burning cigarette was wedged between its fingers, some loose change was inits pocket and a dao slung from a belt at its waist. The corpse was pointed out to me from afar and I was sent to summon it. When he didn’t hear my calls I put a hand on his shoulder and then took off running. That day, for the first time in my life, I drank a boiling cup of tea in one breath.’

This was the first true story of a tribal wandering about in a jungle of dead souls.

Amid the marathon of snoring, the ten-year-old snuggled up to me and demanded a story. He seemed unhappy and was unable to sleep. I scoured all the corners of my memory but found no tale suitable for a young child—all my stories were rated ‘A’. I first felt a surge of self-pity, then came a glimmer of self-realization: As a child, I would doubt every story I heard. And because I kept neglecting them, kept hating them, they had evaporated from memory. The child said to me, ‘Let’s go for a stroll outside. Maybe you will remember one.’

Outside the resthouse, a furry creature floated across the milky-white beam cast by the flashlight, followed by another—a pair of flying squirrels were playing catch. An entire team of experts tramping about all day hadn’t been able to spot even one. A thin membrane connects the fore and hind legs of the rodent on both sides. Using tree branches as a runway, it gathers speed and launches itself. The membrane fills up with air and the squirrel glides from tree to tree.

My work had been made easy. I adorned the boy’s shoulder with the cloak of a forest-god, slung a Singpho dao around his waist and put him on the back of a flying squirrel. Now he could himself describe the mysteries of the jungles to me.

~

The first batch of one thousand plastic replicas of hornbill beaks had arrived from Delhi which had been distributed in the Nyishi villages around Namdapha. Lat Gam Singpho had a question for Bharat Sundaram, project officer with the Asian Elephant Research and Conservation Centre, Bangalore: ‘Will elephants made out of plastic be distributed among the Chakma refugees living in the west of Namdapha?’ The Chakmas hunt elephants with poisoned arrows. It takes them half an hour to bring down an animal but preparation for the hunt lasts many days.

Young Bharat Sundaram was then on a trek in the Northeast, accompanied by porters laden with provisions and tents. He was tracking footprints and sampling elephant dung to determine their numbers. A nationwide elephant census was underway. The Northeast was a special zone where the very existence of elephants was under threat in many areas; many of their old stomping grounds and corridors of passage had been wiped out. However, it was the hornbill Bharat was interested in because of those traits in the bird which are only expected of humans. Bharat had photographed a Rufous-headed Hornbill in Namdapha. This species of hornbill had never been spotted in India and the event was being treated as a new find.

The hornbill is a colourful, beautiful bird with an extraordinarily large beak. When the female lays eggs, she takes maternity leave of four months. The young emerge from the nest only once they are able to fly. During this time the male guards the nest. He brings food for his wife and children. Some species of hornbill form cooperative societies. Many pairs get together to hatch eggs and to look after the brooding mothers. Pairs mate for life, and remain faithful to each other.

The beauty of the hornbill is its curse. Nagas use their feathers to adorn their headdresses. Many tribes of Arunachal Pradesh, including the Nyishi, use hornbill beaks as ornaments on their crowns. They stalk the male as it returns to the nest with food for its brooding mate and kill it. The flesh of the hornbill and oil extracted from its fat are considered aphrodisiac. Unani hakims, wandering ayurvedic vaids who examine people on roadsides in full view of curious gawkers, quacks of all varieties possess hornbill beaks with which they lure the loveless and the superstitious. This bird is rapidly dwindling in numbers; it is a rare sight even in dense forests.

Forest officers and the World Wildlife Trust of India jointly came up with the idea of plastic beak replicas after a great deal of thought. The beaks distributed in the Nyishi villages had been manufactured in Delhi on order. Each had cost 15 rupees to make. Since one can’t make money off hornbills, they were being distributed gratis. The officers and the NGOs were certain that the tribals would reconcile these plastic toys with their religious beliefs and stop hunting the hornbill. Some organizations felt that plastic is harmful to the environment and the tribals should be given wooden beaks. Even better, they should be trained to carve beaks so that they could find employment.

Some people in the villages had accepted the plastic beaks, but the ones with the original article made fun of them. Now the danger was that the remaining hornbills in the forest would also be wiped out due to this conflict between the villagers. This was why Lat Gam Singpho wanted to pose his question to Bharat Sundaram.

Bharat had also visited Gandhi Gram, the furthest village on India’s frontier, in the far south of Namdapha. Lisu refugees from Burma have been settled there. Anyone who visits with kerosene and sugar is welcomed in the village as an honoured guest. The nearest weekly market is a three-day walk each way. They barter goods with local fish which they hunt with an anesthetic. The Lisu examine the moss growing on rocks standing in the river. From the marks made on the moss by the fishes’ mouth as they graze upon them, they gauge the size of the fish. They then take the leaves of a particular tree which has narcotic properties, grind them and stir the paste into the water. The drugged fish belly-up on the surface. They were not for sale but, yes, they could be bartered for kerosene.

~

The Apatani tribe was yet to come across that important invention known as the wheel in the year Kuru Hasang was born in the Ziro valley. Still, the Apatani are considered to be the most modern among the tribes of Arunachal for having innovated the concepts of fixed—non-jhum—cultivation and irrigation. When Hasang was admitted to the Army School, Bhubaneshwar, in 1963 his father ritually sacrificed an egg on the village border before letting him go out into the limitless, unknown world. Within five years of leaving his village, Hasang was commissioned into the Air Force and became a fighter pilot and flew MIGs. He came back to his village in Arunachal in 1978—once the state was formally formed—having retired as Flight Lieutenant, to try his hand at politics. When I was travelling in the area, the middle-aged Kuru Hasang, after having lost multiple elections, was the chief secretary of the Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee. His wife ran a medical store in the Hapoli neighbourhood of Ziro.

Many tribes of Arunachal Pradesh, including the Nocte, the Khampti, the Nyishi and the Tagin, have their own tarnished heroes who, because of coincidences, have managed to cram many lives into one. They have vaulted distances which takes the rest of humanity many thousands of years to trudge over. More than sixty tribes live in Arunachal and there are more than fifty known languages. Yet the written history of the area is merely three hundred years old. Every old officer who served in the area has a story which begins: ‘When we first came here, accustomed as we were to the sensations which nudity arouses, we wouldn’t even look at the tribals. And, when we began to look at them, what happened was…’

The state of Arunachal has itself similarly launched headlong into democracy. Before Independence, the region was officially known as ‘Tribal Area’. A few British surveyors would travel in the area accompanied by armed battalions, scouting for opportunities to build roads and lay down railway lines. They wanted to extend trade possibilities for East India Company further into countries in the east. In 1954 the Kameng, Siang, Subansiri, Lohit, Tirap and Tuensang divisions was combined into the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) which was administered by the Foreign Ministry for a long time. After 1972 Tuensang went to Nagaland and the rest of the divisions coalesced into Arunachal Pradesh. Post 1962, after the debacle with China, the Central government invested blindly in roads and communication networks, and the investment shows. A population of merely nine lakh lives in an area of 78,000 square kilometres but telephone poles stand tall in every jungle. The Army regularly flies sorties from bases in Siliguri and Dibrugarh, ferrying rations, political leaders, officers and soldiers—an exercise that costs an average of 4 crore rupees per day. There are close to one hundred helipads in the state. In all of India, the maximum number of mishaps—mainly due to helicopters losing their way in fog and crashing—in which ministers, chief ministers and pilots have lost their lives have occurred in Arunachal.

I wanted to visit Hapoli and meet Kuru Sangma and his wife. The idea was to conduct a long interview on his memories of the time when he came back to Ziro on his first furlough from the Air Force. But I got distracted and reached Tawang instead.

That day in Bhalukpong, the remains of a poet interred within the soul of a Mahayani Buddhist monk decided to draw breath. All he said was: ‘Tawang will have played for two hours in the light of the new sun by the time dawn breaks over the rest of the world.’ I also had the names of lamas given to me by friends in Benares, those who had gone to Sarnath to study theology and who now lived in monasteries in Arunachal. So, naturally, I set out on a very long, serpentine road which was shrouded in fog and which threaded through a desert of snow and ice. I have never seen more shades of blue in the sky since.

Before Bomdila, I could never have imagined that a Tata Sumo, grinding along in the first and second gears, can be like a faithful horse which responds to its rider’s most urgent wishes, his most fleeting whims. It takes a special set of ears to drive on these remote mountains; ears which can discern the whispers, wails and sobs of an engine underneath its overpowering roar. And it takes a special kind of sensitivity which detaches the accelerator and the brake from the car, makes them part of the driver’s being and transmutes the smallest tremor, the least vibration, instantaneously into crystal-clear thought. It is not without reason that in the couplets and verses inscribed on windscreens and bumpers—usually dismissed as slight and even cheap—the vehicle is often cast in the role of lover or mistress. At their base is the living, breathing relationship between man and machine, and their pact to live and die as one.

Descending from the 6,000-feet-high Nechi Phu pass, many a time I would visualize the Tata Sumo drifting down the gorge like an unmoored kite and children standing at the bottom of the valley, waving, imagining it to be a helicopter. At each instance I would stare hard at the driver: Was I projecting my innermost fear and influencing him in any way? But he was in deep trance. Lost in a time and space where passengers had no existence any longer.

From Bomdila (8,500 feet) an infinite variety of clouds billow and play. Fog descends without warning and obscures the world; when it parts the dazzling Himalaya stands tall and close. Bomdila is the district headquarters of West Kameng district, home to the Monpa, Sherdukpen, Aka, Mijia and Bugun tribes. The dogs of Bomdila are infamous—they roam about on sub-zero nights and can easily take down a man and feed on his flesh. There is an abundance of flora. Some quite lucrative. A truckload of Taxus baccata—from which the anti-cancer chemical Taxol is extracted and exported to Europedelivered to Guwahati fetches enough money to buy a brand-new truck chassis.

There was an old man in Bomdila market who said to me in the manner of one demonstrating an invisible monument: ‘The Chinese had marched down to here during the war.’

I found a place to bed down in a slate-roofed dhaba in the Dirang valley. A wild wind sprang up and whistled as night descended; the temperature dropped sharply and it was difficult to keep one’s feet in that gale outside. I piled two quilts over my sleeping bag but the cold bore into my bones. The mistress of the dhaba allowed me to move my sleeping bag close to the fireplace but before going to bed issued strict instructions to her terrifying mastiff: ‘Keep sharp; no one should go outside!’ I’d make a move to walk out, driven by the desire to view the silvery Himalaya in moonlight, but the dog would bristle, bare its teeth and growl imperiously: ‘A fleeting glimpse, cooling balm to the eyes; or your life. Make up your mind about what you want.’ I’d resign myself and come back to my sleeping bag.

In the morning I made my way to a gompa—established by the Buddhist guru Padmasambhav in the eighth century inside an ancient fort, the Dirang dzong—to look for Lama Nawang Lamsang. In this area, which seems more Tibet than India, Padmasambhav is known as Lopon Rimpoche. Young novice monks were seated in the sanctum sanctorum of that small gompa, reading from ancient scriptures. An elderly monk informed me that monk Lamsang was travelling outside the Dirang valley. After a moment’s thought he opened a battered tin box, took out a very old piece of stone and placing it on my palm, said, ‘This is the heart of a demon which was killed here. After it was killed, the Mon people converted to Buddhism.’

‘How did its heart turn to stone?’

‘What then, if not a stone… It was a demon!’

Now there was no reason for me to doubt that symbol of the victory of Buddhism.

As one travels from Dirang towards Sela Pass, the vegetation thins out, disappears and is replaced by snow-topped granite mountains and in a very few places by densely growing grass which appear soft as mattresses. Hidden in dense fog, Army trucks scream and wail their way up in an ant-crawl; grazing yaks occasionally heave into view; the lack of oxygen makes breathing difficult. The Sela (14,000 feet) is the second-highest motorable pass in the world. These winding high roads, made possible by the prowess of the Border Roads Organization, resemble kite cord wound around one’s fingers and then carelessly tossed aside. To the left, immediately after the Sela gate, was a lake which had frozen inwards from its shores. In the middle was clear blue water which seemed to reflect the universe itself. Some fresh Army recruits were playing with snowballs and taking pictures. From the window of a small, stone-hut teashop near the gate I could see valleys shimmering through gaps in the layers of cloud which covered them. A family made its living from the shop, selling tea to tourists and soldiers. Looking out at the soldiers, the tea-maker said sagely even as vapour billowed from his mouth, ‘The more difficult a place is to reach, the more its beauty is enhanced… But for how long?’

The most reassuring sight in this bleak, mountain desert were the white flags which flapped restlessly in the icy wind. This is a custom in these parts: Whenever one asks for something from the gods he erects a white flag. Perhaps he lives with the conviction that his prayer will some day ride the winds to its intended address.

The driver slipped into a trance once more as the descent commenced. It had rained recently. The water dripping off the rocks and boulders on the sides of the road had pooled in the middle and frozen over, creating strange shapes—mostly in the shape of daggers. Greenery made an appearance after Jaswantgarh. In Jang we stopped in an old Monpa house where a bottle of rum stood next to a kettle of water bubbling on a wood fire. A cat was perched on a stool next to the stove to keep count of the pegs consumed. The valleys which endured the relentless assault of the wind sighed and moaned. The owner of the establishment sat outside; she was convinced that life-threatening cold is enough to ensure honesty.

We caught occasional glimpses of the golden roofs of the Tawang Monastery—one of the most important and famous centres of Mahayana Buddhism—in the falling twilight as our vehicle rounded corners; the Collector had already been contacted and a grand suite booked in the Circuit House.

~

Gulping pure mountain air in the pauses afforded to me by my lungs which struggled in the thin air, I reached the monastery in the afternoon, looking for a Sarnath-returned lama. The prayer-wheel mounted on the front gate was freezing. Teenaged monks were sitting in the lawn in front of the prayer hall, eating porridge. The prayer-flag towering above them was straining in the wind, blowing with sufficient force to sway the sixty-foot pole to which the flag was attached. Behind them was the Tawang Monastery museum. Among the exhibits were an enormous elephant tusk, ancient musical instruments, monks’ belongings, and human skulls covered over with gold and silver leaf and exquisitely carved. There was also a library which included silk-wrapped religious manuscripts seven centuries old. The prayer-hall was awash in the glow of a statue of Buddha that had been brought from Tibet three hundred years earlier. On the walls were murals depicting tantric scenes.

There used to be many legends about how such a massive statue reached Tawang. About half a century earlier, when a strong earthquake jolted the region, the statue split and many new stories added to the legends and fed into them. In 1997, His Holiness Dalai Lama visited Tawang Monastery; under his orders, skilled sculptors were called in from Nepal to restore the Buddha statue. During the restoration, certain documents were recovered from the belly of the statue; from them it was learnt that different parts of Buddha’s body were interred separately in southern Tibet by followers of the Gelugpa sect, which had been brought there on horseback.

I asked the lama in-charge of the museum why so many skulls were displayed. He pointed out Panden Lhamo, the guardian deity and protectoress of Tibet, in a mural and said, ‘Earlier, lamas used them to offer liquor to the deities during tantric worship; but Pepsi or Coke is offered nowadays.’

‘Where do you get that from?’

‘From the general store in the bazaar, of course!’ the lama said, staring at me in astonishment.

After the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tawang is the oldest monastery in the Mahayana tradition which was established in the seventeenth century by Merag Lama Lodre Gyatso. He is said to have been inspired and guided by his horse to do so. In the Tibetan language, Tawang means ‘chosen by a horse’. Tawang is world famous as a centre of Tantric worship; seventeen monasteries fall under its direct administration. Until not very long ago, collectors from Tibet used to come to the villages in Tawang to collect land tax. For China, Tawang is northern Tibet. It was on this basis that when Arunachal Pradesh became a state in the Indian union, China registered an official protest about India’s claim on certain parts of the area.

That evening in the bazaar I met a red-robed monk astride a motorcycle. He told me that Jaspinder Narula, a Bollywood playback singer of Punjabi origin, would be performing at the Buddha Purnima festival. Udit Narayan—another Bollywood playback singer—had already performed once. He also told me that the actors Shahrukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit had shot scenes for the movie Koyla here.

I asked the monk, ‘Why is multinational Pepsi offered to the gods instead of homebrew?’

He winked, and looking like a man enjoying himself, replied, ‘Buddhism is also a multinational religion, where’s the problem!’

15800097_10210018296288017_8723673239759262081_oAnil Yadav is a vagabond writer and journalist. His book include a collection of short stories Nagar Vadhuyen Akhbar Nahin Padhatin, collection of articles, essays, memoirs and journalistic writings Sonam Gupta Bewafa Nahi Hai and the acclaimed travelogue Woh Bhi Koi Desh Hai Maharaj!  

And this Himalaya’s experiences excerpted here from Himalaya: Adventures, Meditation, Life; An Anthology Edited by Ruskin Bond and Namita Gokhle and published by Speaking Tiger, New Delhi, 2016.  

Dear PM sir, rabi acreage actually fell and not increased !

As opposed to what has been said officially about the positive impact of demonetisation (note ban) on rabi sowing, acreage actually declined in 2016-17 as compared to a normal year. Let us see why this has been so. 

 

Acreage under rabi crops declined in 2016-17 as compared to 2013-14

By Shambhu Ghatak

As opposed to what has been said officially about the positive impact of demonetisation (note ban) on rabi sowing, acreage actually declined in 2016-17 as compared to a normal year. Let us see why this has been so.

On New Year’s Eve, Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing the nation post-demonetisation, among other things, said:

“…Friends in the last few weeks, an impression was sought to be created that the agriculture sector has been destroyed. Farmers themselves have given a fitting reply to those who were doing so. Rabi sowing is up by 6 per cent compared to last year. Fertilizer offtake is up by 9 per cent. During this period, the Government has taken care to ensure that farmers do not suffer for want of access to seeds, fertilisers and credit. Now, we have taken some more decisions in the interest of farmers…”.

In short, the PM in his speech tried to convince the people of India that demonetisation had no adverse impact on agricultural production, and gross area sown under rabi crops actually soared up in 2016-17 vis-à-vis last agricultural year. This was possible due to a number of steps undertaken by the government in the period spanning demonetisation (i.e. 8 November, 2016 – 30 December, 2016), said the PM.table-1-gross-sown-area-under-rabi-crops

Source: Economic Survey 2015-16 Statistical Appendix, please click here to access, http://indiabudget.nic.in/es2015-16/estat1.pdf

* Press release: Rabi Crops Sowing Crosses 628 Lakh Hectare, Press Information Bureau, Ministry of Agriculture, 20 January, 2017, please click here to access, http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=157556

Note: Data on gross sown area under various rabi crops from 2012-13 to 2014-15 has been taken from Economic Survey 2015-16

Based on preliminary reports received from the states by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare as on 20 January, 2017, one could say that the acreage under rabi crops grew from 59.2 million hectares in 2015-16 to 62.8 million hectares in 2016-17 i.e. by 6.1 percent. This is exactly what PM Modi had indicated in his New Year’s Eve speech.

However, if experts are to be believed, then we cannot compare acreage under rabi crops in 2016-17 with that of the previous two years i.e. 2014-15 and 2015-16 during which drought was faced by most Indian states as a result of scanty monsoon rainfall.

Since 2016-17 has been a normal year in terms of monsoon rainfall, so the acreage under rabi crops should ideally be compared with that of a previous normal year — in this case 2013-14.

The gross sown area under rabi crops declined by almost 2.5 percent between 2013-14 and 2016-17 i.e. from 64.4 million hectares to 62.8 million hectares. From table 1 one gets that although acreage under wheat and pulses increased between 2013-14 and 2016-17, the same under rice, coarse cereals and oilseeds declined.

It is worth noting that for the country as a whole, rainfall during the southwest monsoon season (June-September) as a percentage of long period average (LPA) was 92 percent in 2012, 106 percent in 2013, 88 percent in 2014, 86 percent in 2015 and 97 percent in 2016, as per various reports from the India Meteorological Department (IMD).chart-1-foodgrain-production-in-various-years

Source:  First Advance Estimates of Production of Foodgrains for 2016-17 (as on 22 September, 2016), Agricultural Statistics Division, please click here to access,

http://eands.dacnet.nic.in/Advance_Estimate/Advance_Estimate_Eng.pdf

The first advance estimates of foodgrain production for 2016-17, which was released on 22 September, 2016 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare shows that the kharif foodgrain production has been higher in 2016-17 (i.e. 135.03 million tonnes) as compared to that of corresponding season of the previous four years (see Chart-1). However, the advance estimates of foodgrain production during rabi for the present year is going to be released in February i.e. after the presentation of Union Budget 2017-18. In such a scenario, it is too early to say that demonetisation did not impact rabi sowing adversely.

As per the Arthapedia, www.arthapedia.in [a portal to explain the concepts used in economic policy domain in India, which is managed by the officers of Indian Economic Service (IES)], in an agricultural year (July-June) the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare releases four advance estimates, followed by the final estimates of production of major agricultural crops in the country.

The Arthapedia website informs us that the first advance estimates are released in September when kharif sowing is generally over, and it covers only kharif crops. The second advance estimates are released in February next year when rabi sowing is over. The second advance estimates covering kharif as well as rabi crops take into account firmed up figures on kharif area coverage along with available data on crop cutting experiments for yield assessment of kharif crops and tentative figures on area coverage of rabi crops. The third advance estimates incorporating revised data on area coverage for rabi crops and better yield estimates of kharif crops are released in April-May. The fourth advance estimates are released in July-August and by this time fully firmed up data on area as well as yield of kharif crops and rabi crops are expected to be available with the states.

 

References:

Press release: Rabi Crops Sowing Crosses 628 Lakh Hectare, Press Information Bureau, Ministry of Agriculture, 20 January, 2017, please click here to access, http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=157556

PM’s address to the nation on the eve of New Year 2017, 31 December, 2016, please click here to access, www.pmindia.gov.in/en/news_updates/pms-address-to-the-nation-on-the-eve-of-new-year-2017/?comment=disable

Economic Survey 2015-16 Statistical Appendix, please click here to access, http://indiabudget.nic.in/es2015-16/estat1.pdf

First Advance Estimates of Production of Foodgrains for 2016-17 (as on 22 September, 2016), Agricultural Statistics Division, please click here to access, http://eands.dacnet.nic.in/Advance_Estimate/Advance_Estimate_Eng.pdf

2016 Southwest Monsoon end of season report, India Meteorological Department, please click here to access,

http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/20161010_pr_60.pdf

2015 Southwest Monsoon end of season report, India Meteorological Department, please click here to access,

http://www.imdpune.gov.in/Links/endofseasonreport_2015.pdf

2014 Southwest Monsoon end of season report for the state of Uttar Pradesh, India Meteorological Department, please click here to access,

http://amssdelhi.gov.in/Nigam/MCLUCKNOW/Uploads/monsoon_report.pdf

2013 Southwest Monsoon end of season report, India Meteorological Department, please click here to access,

http://www.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/files/file/endofseasonreport2013-2.pdf

2012 Southwest Monsoon end of season report, India Meteorological Department, please click here to access,

http://www.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/files/file/endofseasonreport.pdf

Cropping seasons of India- Kharif & Rabi, Arthapedia, please click here to access, www.arthapedia.in/index.php%3Ftitle%3DCropping_seasons_of_India-_Kharif_%2526_Rabi

The mystery of agricultural growth -Himanshu, Livemint.com, 8 December, 2016, please click here to access, http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/on308TI8YoOW5Xlr7YGryJ/The-mystery-of-agricultural-growth.html

Shambhu Ghatak , presently involved with Inclusive Media for Change at CSDS. New Delhi. You can contact him through shambhughatak@gmail.com.

मोहनदास अब महात्मा था: कृष्ण कल्पित

मोहनदास अब महात्मा था

By कृष्ण कल्पित

1.

रेलगाड़ी के तीसरे-दर्ज़े से भारत-दर्शन के दौरान मोहनदास ने वस्त्र त्याग दिये थे.

अब मोहनदास सिर्फ़ लँगोटी वाला नँगा-फ़क़ीर था और मोहनदास को महात्मा पहली बार कवीन्द्र-रवींद्र ने कहा.

मोहनदास की हैसियत अब किसी सितारे-हिन्द जैसी थी और उसे सत्याग्रह, नमक बनाने, सविनय अवज्ञा, जेल जाने के अलावा पोस्टकार्ड लिखने, यंग-इंडिया अख़बार के लिये लेख-सम्पादकीय लिखने के साथ बकरी को चारा खिलाने, जूते गांठने जैसे अन्य काम भी करने होते थे.

राजनीति और धर्म के अलावा महात्मा को अब साहित्य-संगीत-संस्कृति के मामलों में भी हस्तक्षेप करना पड़ता था और इसी क्रम में वे बच्चन की ‘मधुशाला’, उग्र के उपन्यास ‘चॉकलेट’ को क्लीन-चिट दे चुके थे और निराला जैसे महारथी उन्हें ‘बापू, तुम यदि मुर्गी खाते’ जैसी कविताओं के जरिये उकसाने की असफल कोशिश कर चुके थे.

युवा सितार-वादक विलायत खान भी गाँधी को अपना सितार सुनाना चाहते थे उन्होंने पत्र लिखा तो गाँधी ने उन्हें सेवाग्राम बुलाया.

विलायत खान लम्बी यात्रा के बाद सेवाग्राम आश्रम पहुंचे तो देखा गांधी बकरियों को चारा खिला रहे थे यह सुबह की बात थी थोड़ी देर के बाद गाँधी आश्रम के दालान में रखे चरखे पर बैठ गये और विलायत खान से कहा – सुनाओ!

गाँधी चरखा चलाने लगे घरर घरर की ध्वनि वातावरण में गूंजने लगी.

युवा विलायत खान असमंजस में थे और सोच रहे थे कि इस महात्मा को संगीत सुनने की तमीज़ तक नहीं है.

फिर अनमने ढंग से सितार बजाने लगे महात्मा का चरखा भी चालू था घरर घरर घरर घरर…

विलायत खान अपनी आत्मकथा में लिखते हैं कि थोड़ी देर बाद लगा जैसे महात्मा का चरखा मेरे सितार की संगत कर रहा है या मेरा सितार महात्मा के चरखे की संगत कर रहा है!

चरखा और सितार दोनों एकाकार थे और यह जुगलबंदी कोई एक घण्टा तक चली वातावरण स्तब्ध था और गांधीजी की बकरियाँ अपने कान हिला-हिला कर इस जुगलबन्दी का आनन्द ले रहीं थीं.

विलायत खान आगे लिखते हैं कि सितार और चरखे की वह जुगलबंदी एक दिव्य-अनुभूति थी और ऐसा लग रहा था जैसे सितार सूत कात रहा हो और चरखे से संगीत निसृत हो रहा हो !

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2.

दिल्ली में वह मावठ का दिन था

३० जनवरी, १९४८ को दोपहर ३ बजे के आसपास महात्मा गाँधी हरिजन-बस्ती से लौटकर जब बिड़ला-हॉउस आये तब भी हल्की बूंदा-बांदी हो रही थी.

लँगोटी वाला नँगा फ़क़ीर थोड़ा थक गया था, इसलिये चरखा कातने बैठ गया. थोड़ी देर बाद जब संध्या-प्रार्थना का समय हुआ तो गाँधी प्रार्थना-स्थल की तरफ़ बढ़े,

कि अचानक उनके सामने हॉलीवुड सिनेमा के अभिनेता जैसा सुंदर एक युवक सामने आया जिसने पतलून और क़मीज़ पहन रखी थी.

नाथूराम गोडसे नामक उस युवक ने गाँधी को नमस्कार किया, प्रत्युत्तर में महात्मा गाँधी अपने हाथ जोड़ ही रहे थे कि उस सुदर्शन युवक ने विद्युत-गति से अपनी पतलून से Bereta M 1934 semi-autometic Pistol निकाली और

धाँय धाँय धाँय…

शाम के ५ बजकर १७ मिनट हुये थे नँगा-फ़क़ीर अब भू-लुंठित था हर तरफ़ हाहाकार कोलाहल कोहराम मच गया और हत्यारा दबोच लिया गया.

महात्मा की उस दिन की प्रार्थना अधूरी रही.

आज़ादी के बाद मची मारकाट साम्प्रदायिक दंगों और नेहरू-मण्डली की हरक़तों से महात्मा गाँधी निराश हो चले थे.

क्या उस दिन वे ईश्वर से अपनी मृत्यु की प्रार्थना करने जा रहे थे जो प्रार्थना के पूर्व ही स्वीकार हो गयी थी !

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कृष्ण कल्पित

अपने तरह का अकेला-बेबाक और विवादित कवि । कृष्ण कल्पित का जन्म 30 अक्टूबर, 1957 को रेगिस्तान के एक कस्बे फतेहपुर शेखावटी में हुआ। अब तक कविता की तीन किताबें और मीडिया पर समीक्षा की एक किताब छप चुकी है। एक शराबी की सूक्तियां  के लिए खासे चर्चित। ऋत्विक घटक के जीवन पर एक पेड की कहानी नाम से एक वृत्तचित्र भी बना चुके हैं।  अभी  हाल ही में बाग़-ए-बेदिल नाम से  एक विलक्षण  और विशाल  काव्य-संकलन  के साथ-साथ ‘कविता-रहस्य ‘ नामक पुस्तक प्रकाशित । 

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