Saturday, December 23, 2006

Beginning of the Cycle

In many ways 1st January was true representative of the activities I was involved in through out this year. I wake up perhaps by 7A.M. in morning, gave a glimpse to my laptop (I promised on 31st December to my mother that I will not do any computer stuff on 1st January), and looked the fog outside … I will not say that I have been lazy while waking up, but perhaps the situation in home was not of much celebration as I have to leave home on 2nd January, and thus I was a bit passive in response.

“Why don’t you talk once with Manish?” – My mother started querying about my friend Manish (we are friends from class 2) who has to return back to Bangalore, also.

“Well, Ma! He has already told that he will go one week later on … there is almost no point to talk with him on this issue”… Ma, like all mothers think their sons/daughters as children … and takes no cognizance of the fact that me, my friends are no longer class eighth folks … It is another matter that I was also quizzed that why Manish was not going back with me – there have been no fights between us (in fact I don’t remember whether I had fought with Manish ever or not) – may be his ailing job, or may be he has some family issues, I couldn’t pin point on the matter going with him. Relations are always hard to delve into … if you go too deep inside cacophony starts, if you go too far away you can’t hear the music. Life has taught me; better keep a fixed distance in almost all cases!

After promising my mother on 31st December, I found in evening that I have shift + deleted my codes that I have written very meticulously. Unluckingly I have not mailed them to any person, so that I could retrieve it from mail box and neither, I had fragments of those codes. I knew I have to write again. One may want to know that what I have been coding those days? (In fact many will not like to know this thing,J). Somehow the year, 2005, passed into practicing codes for computer languages or software kits for me. Late in 2005 I come to know that designing software codes is pivotal to success of big software systems and it will be chief tool for mapping elements of subject matters – Physics, Mathematics and other one, to Programming world. I did not have any software design course beforehand, and neither I wanted my knowledge to get hindered by thoughts of my Professors or even friends … so I liked to do the design naturally – as it appears, the logical flow that it had … I knew that this is not going to pay back any career advantage to me and certainly I am not going to master any subject matter (that the curriculum is most worried of). But then I have never been conventional in approach towards studies, (neither I think knowing a single subject to ultimate depth will solve any problem occurring in nature in cleanest way) I thought let dip into death once again! Yeah its death, because this is what friends in some or other way let you think of,J. I think though I have not written any poem, I became poetic in one jerk …

11A.M., 1st January, 2006 … I was sitting on my bench … Laptop was on … folks who were in my project perhaps were enjoying elixir of life … Mummy was cooking food silently …

Friday, December 15, 2006

...Compilation...

2006 have been a very important year for me. I will like to compile, illustrate the experiences I have gained this year. I will like to talk about my friends, my family, my life, of course my technical works and above all where I am heading towards (as it appears now). This may often seem boring, inconsequential to the reader of my blog, but then there may be some one to catch the points. Yeah, this time I will like to write with full freedom from myself, :).

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Different Times

Industry teaches discipline, which I think is a trick to get its work done :). I have been doing job for almost 11 months and the bottomline is that I have lost my freedom, the fun that I used to have when I was completely free !!! I am not kinda person who flock with lot of friends; my fun, my freedom means walking, travelling from one place to another, talking with unkown faces and spending time for almost no purpose. In fact I am more creative in those situations ... but alas where is vacation, where is leave ...
Whether I will ever get those days, whether I will get out of the Industrial black hole, keeps me worried ... I always played hard with those equations ... where I used to get solution for a system under different constraints ... I am finding that I have become one of those systems ... completely trapped in something I never wanted for myself ...

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Aasha Ji Ka Pyara Interview ...

As told by Mr Bhagwant of BBC on a different public discussion group
Asha was on a UK concert tour and had scheduled in 2 dates for Wembley
Conference Centre and Birmingham. The promoter had apparently booked a
"last minute" additional concert in London the following weekend. I
was a little sceptical about this last minute thing as Wembley is not
an easy venue to hire and you really have to book it well in advance. I
suspect it was called "'last minute" so as perhaps not to
disappoint Asha too much if few people turned up.


As it was, the last of the shows did not have as many people in the
audience as her first 2 shows, but it WAS the best show. I say this
because having seen her first show, which I reported on RMIM, in
comparison, she was far more relaxed, at ease, had more stamina, was
less irritable and frankly wanted to carry on singing. I think she
found her second breath and actually enjoyed the experience; whereas,
initially in her first show she was tired, losing track of which song
to sing and lacked warmth with the audience. To be honest I think she
can be excused these minor faults as many of us when we have had to
travel across continents are less than "together" owing to jet lag,
weather, travelling between venues etc; coupled with the fact that she
was inundated with interview requests from the likes of me.


Because of the clamour for her time, naturally it was proving quite
difficult to get a commitment from her son Anand Bhosle and/or her
promoter. I won't bore you all with the details of what happened and
who said what to whom etc. Suffice to say it was not easy getting the
interview.


At around 4pm on Tuesday 13th June I got a call of Asha's whearabouts
and that she was willing to go "live" that night. This was a bit of
a surprise as I had completely given up hope of getting her on the
show; indeed I was preparing to produce a news programme that featured
an interview with Rageh Omaar, the former BBC journalist whose
reporting of the Iraq war in his inimitable dispassionate manner won
him many plaudits. A colleague at the BBC who had done most of the
running around finally managed to get the job done and had got me her
daytime telephone number.


When I rang the number it was answered by Kamal Barot; a bit of a
surprise as I had not realised that she lived in London, but a pleasant
surprise nonetheless.
She passed me onto Asha and we spoke briefly and agreed that she would
be my guest via telephone at 8 o'clock that evening.


I rang Satish Kalraji and asked if he would be sporting enough to
assist me with the interview. Satishji immediately agreed and we were
all set for the show.
One of the things I normally do before interviewing a guest is to make
sure about an hour before they are due to come "on-air" that they
are actually present at the location they are supposed to be. This
prevents any last minute surprises. However because I was busy
producing the Asian News Hour and trying to set up Rageh Omaar, who was
about to jet off to Geneva, I was far too pre-occupied and did not have
the time to check Asha out.


At 8 o'clock my own show began and I played in "Aankhon Se Jo Utari
Hai Dil Mein" from Phir Wohi Dil Laya Huun. Whilst this was playing I
finally managed to ring the number she gave where she would be at. I
was told by this elderly sounding gentleman that Asha had left the
residence and had gone out to dinner!
I was flabbergasted. Do I just gamely carry on and not mention I had
her on the show after the song had finished or do I allude to the fact
that I had expected her but that she somehow forgot about the show. I
decided to do the latter and bought some time as I frantically off-air
tried to ring around trying to locate her wherabouts. I had cleared the
board with my other interviews and had left the hour for Asha alone and
now I was stuck.


Anyway, because I had several telephone numbers to hand, I eventually
rang her hotel, in the hope that she may have gone there before the
meal. Hallellujah. She was there. After a few quick niceties I lined
her up. Satishji by this time was patiently listening to the show on
his telephone at home and also must have been wondering if all this was
going to be a waste of time.


Well the show started properly with Asha on the line and after the
greetings, she mentioned that she was in London with her 2
grandchildren and that the day passed quickly with them in tow; indeed
they had gone sight-seeing to Windsor Castle and the changing of the
guard at Buckingham Palace. She said that she sat in the car whilst
they went out as she had done all of this before. She said that she was
also busy preparing for her shows.


She spoke about doing her riyaz and that she woke up at 7am to do
riyaz which she did in an adjoining room in the hotel so as not to
awaken other family members. The riyaz went on till around 8.45am.
I asked her about the importance of riyaz and could she manage to do
without it. She replied that it was possible to do without riyaz but
one always got the feeling that the songs were not true; it was as if
someone who exercised every morning abstained for one day and they
would also feel that something was not quite right.


BS: Would it be true to say that todays singers rather than doing
riyaz, are looking for a short-cut to success.
AB: No I wouldn't just say that about todays singers but that the
whole world is trying to find a short-cut to success.
BS: I attended your show last Saturday and thoroughly enjoyed it.
AB: Did you like it?
BS: Absolutely. It was a wonderful show. How does it feel for you
personally when so many people come to see you.
AB: It feels great. Its much better than receiving any award. To feel
the love of the audience is quite something.


At this point Asha expressed some concern about her "last minute"
show and whether anyone would turn up. I tried to re-assure her that it
would be fine (in fact as I already said, it was the best of the
shows).


BS: I noted within the audience many elder citizens who I am sure some
30 or so years ago had warned their children not to listen to Asha's
cabaret songs lest it corrupt their morals (I said this half in jest in
order to get a response) and yet here they were attending the same
Asha's show and looking forward to her singing cabaret songs.
AB: "Laughing" - Yeh To Waqt Ki Baat Hai. Taqdeer Ki Bhi Baat
Hai.
BS: Within the audience at the London show, there was Anandji of
Kalyanji Anandji fame, indeed you brought him on to the stage to guest
conduct the orchestra. What was your working relationship with them.
AB: Kalyanjibhai as a music director was very well known but
Anandjibahi was also a prolific composer, indeed of his most popular
songs for me were "Yeh Mera Dil" and "O Saathi Re, Tere Bina Bhi
Kya Jeena". We never knew when we rehearsed with them whose song it
was, we only found out a bit later. It would be Kalyanjibhai's song
one day and Anandjibhai's song the next. We didn't feel as if we
were working when we were with them, they were very friendly and
"hasmukh" people, always joking and never being too serious. But in
getting the maximum out of us, they were very particular. They managed
to get the best out of us working from morning till night.
BS: Anandji said that he was a few months older than you and he too
like you is very fit and energetic, he was conducting the orchestra
animatedly and was dancing. In fact your Cha Cha Cha was really
exhilarating. I must admit I was a little ashamed of myself because for
the life of me I couldn't do the Cha Cha Cha.
AB: Why not. If anyone sets their mind to it they can do anything.
BS: Will you teach me the Cha Cha Cha?
AB: Of course. If I can teach RD(Burman) I can teach you too.


At this point I mentioned that I had some questions from various people
that I wished to ask and that we also had Satish Kalra from USA on the
line, who I introduced. (For some reason I was getting tremendous
feedback on the line from USA and for the remainder of Satishji's
chat with Asha, I was busy trying to reduce the noise levels by fading
in and out of Satishji and Asha).


Satish Kalra: Ashaji first of all I would like to thank you on behalf
of all music lovers in the USA for giving us the time in your busy
schedule. There are many music lovers in America who feel that our
music is being adulterated too much by western influences. What are
your views?
AB: Ahhm...long pause. There's no real benefit in expressing my views
about this because people will do what they want to do. Actually
nowadays, people don't think too much about creativity and just use
what they can. "Issi Liye Yeh Sab Sangeet Ka Golmaal Ho Raha Hai".
If they thought about what they can accomplish from a pure musical
perspective it would be a lot better.


SK ( I lost Satishji momentarily because of the poor connection but I
think this was the gist of the question): We have gained something and
lost something from these influences. If we have gained anything, what
do you think it is?
AB: Paa Rahe Hain, Kuchh Kho Rahe Hain. Bahut Sa Kuchh Kho Diya Hai
Humne.
SK: Aap Kah Rahi Hain Ke Zyaada Khoya Hai, Paaya Kam Hai
AB: Laughs under her breath and says reluctantly "Haan"
SK: If I may be permitted to ask an Ajeeb sa question. Jaise aaj ka
sangeet chhichhora lagta hai - if I can use that word - by the same
token song lyrics have become very cheap. You may recall the 50s film
Dhool Ka Phool in which you sang a duet with Mahendra Kapoor - Jhugti
Gata Gaati Hawa Sapne Jagaaye in which there was a line Hothon Pe Hai
Chhaye Tere, Hothon Ke Saaye. The censor board instructed the producer
of the film to change the line to
Aankhon Pe Hain Chhaye Tere Jalwon Ke Saaye. Now after hearing the
lyrics of today, what can you say was objectionable to the censor board
in those days?
AB: Us waqt censor board badi kadak thi. Aaj kal censor board hai ki
naheen maluum hi nahin hai. Noawdays with songs beamed from HongKong
and Singapore and beyond, sab chal raha hai sab.


SK then posed the question asked by Anand on RMIM:
" when is her next album with Shridhar Phadke in Marathi
which she recorded 2 years back getting released /


AB: I haven't done the album yet but am about to do it.


SK asked her Kaustubh Pingle's question:
When would her autobiography come in the market....
AB: I am working on it and writing for it constantly but getting it
back "on line" is very difficult.
SK: Of your private songs, for example Ambuya Ki Daali Bole Kaali
Koyaliya and Geet Kitne Gaa Chuki Huun, do they have the same music
director and lyricist?
AB: The lyricist was someone respected but the music director was a
Ghosh... a Mr.Ghosh.
SK: Was the lyricist Bharat Vyas?
AB: The lyricist for Ambuya Ki Daali was Bharat Vyas but the lyricist
for Geet Kitne Gaa Chuki Huun koi baday writer thay... koi puraane
writer ka hai.
SK: There was a time when record companies would issue version records
of popular songs. In your career you have sung 4 such version songs. 2
from Shabab - Marna Teri Gali Mein and Mar Gaye Ham Jeete Jee and 2
from Amar - Udi Udi Chhayee Gata and Jaane Waale Se Mulaqat Na Hone
Paayi. Did you sing these songs originally for the film or as cover
versions or did Lata sing them afterwards and they were inserted in the
picture? What are your recollections?
AB: Mujhe Yaad Nahin Hai. Yeh To Bahut Purani Baatein Hain, Kuchh Yaad
Nahin Hai...Kaun Sa Gaana "Ujli Gata(sic)"...
SK: "clarifies the 2 songs from Amar
AB: sings Jaane Waale Se under her breath and says "Nahin Maine Nahin
Gaaya Yeh Gaana - Yeh To Didi Ne Gaaya Tha.
SK: Nahin - Aap Ka Gaaya Hua Hai, Colombia record se release hua tha
AB: Accha, mujhe yaad nahin hai. Bahut saal ho gaaye.


By now the interference/feedback was becoming too much and I had to
thank Satishji for his input and continue with the show.
BS: Ashaji, tell us what you feel when you listen to a song like
this...(I then proceed to play "chupke chupke mast niGaahen" from
EK TERI NISHAANI/1949).
She listens intently and after the first stanza asks "Yeh Kiska Hai
Yeh Gaana". I then tell her that the lyrics are by A.Shah and the
music director is Sardul Kwatra.
AB: Mujhe bilkul yaad nahin hai yeh gaana...(then she proceeds to hum
the song)...I then continue to play the song and she laughs approvingly
and says "Agar yeh gaana mujhe cassette banakar dein to bada mazaa
aaye ga. Main kabhi sunaayuun gi apne pothon ko ke main aisa gaati thi
ek zamane main".
I do not take credit for locating the song and proceed to talk about
the internet (which she says she has no interest in) and of the many
music lovers across the world who have diligently made a compilation of
her rare songs for their mutual listening pleasure...namely RMIM and
their 'meets' in the USA. The special Asha album contains many
rare songs and was compiled to celebrate her 70th birthday. I then also
play "hamaare dil pe tera ikhtyaar" from RAAT KI RANI/1949
AB: Arre yeh to mere life ka teesra gaana hai...teesra bhi
nahin...doosra hai
BS: Do you know who composed the song?
AB: Hansraj Behl...aur maine yeh gaaya tha koi Begum ke liye...naam
nahin yaad unka.
BS: There are many questions that have been sent to me by music lovers:
Arun asks if you sang Ae Mere Watan Ke Logo during the 65 conflict in
front of Lal Bahadur Shastri?
AB: Ae Mere Watan Ke Logo was composed for me and I had 6 rehearsals
for it. It was about to be recorded...we were initially going to go to
Delhi...then something happened...Dilip Kumar was there and some
important people turned up and Didi made an appearance. Didi rehearsed
for the song and I stepped aside and Didi sang the song.
BS: But what was the reason for you stepping aside especially after you
had rehearsed for it so intently?
AB: Maluum nahin abhi bahut saal ho gayen hai.
BS: Abhay Phadnis, Rakesh Sharma and Arun want a final clarification on
this matter; that you rehearsed so much for this song yet were unable
to ultimately sing it.
AB: Jo cheez apni taqdeer ki hoti hai who rah jaati hai, jo nahin hoti
hai who chali jaati hai. Yeh gaana bhi log bhuul jaayenge. Har cheez
kaal main nasht ho jaayegi...aap ko yaad rahega Asha Bhosle ki
acchhayee. Asha Bhosle kabhi kisi ke liye kuchh kahti nahin aur kisi ke
liye man mein bhi nahin rakhti. Jo mera hai woh mujhe mila, jo nahin
tha woh chala gaya.
BS: I think I understand what you are trying to say and you have said
it very well. Muzaffar saab asks if there is any song you have listened
to and wished you had sung it?
AB: I have never felt that about someone else's song but if I listen
to my old songs I feel that I could have done a better job. Let me tell
you about the song O Mere Sona Re Sona Re...uska recording hua ...chaar
baj gaaye the raat ke subha se, to main bahut thak gaayi thi. Mera zara
low pressure ki tendency hai, mera pressure low ho jaata hai jaldi. Us
din mujhko khaana nahin mila to pressure down ho gaya. To mujhe aisa
laga ke maine gaana bahut kharab gaya. Jab main ghar gayee maine khaana
bhi nahin khaaya, kuchh nahin kiya...tadpad tadpad kar rahi thi ekdum.
Raat ke 12 baje maine RD ko phone kiya..tab sirf RD hi the mere liye
music director...aur Pancham ne bola kya hua hai didi...maine bola
Pancham maine gaana aap ka kharab kar diya, tum phir isse retake karna,
paise main duun gi. RD ne kaha aap chinta mat karma, main isse subha
sunta huun aur aap ko sunwa deta huun aur aise waise kahke chhod diya.
Doosre din ek bada phoolon ka guldasta RD ne mujhe bheja aur us mein
likha ke aap ne ek naye music director ke liye itna socha, raat ke
baara baje aap ko neend nahin aayee. Mujhe iski appreciation ho rahi
aur is liye main yeh phool bhej raha huun.
BS: Sudhir asks if you were the artist who provided the humming
for the song from: ADL-E-JAHANGIR / Chand Sitare, Kirte Ishare,
Tum Ho Humare Hum Hain Tumhare (all the vocals are by: Talat)
The music was composed by: Pandit Husnlal & Bhagatram
AB: Tune kaisi thi?
BS: I haven't heard the song personally.
AB: Tell you the truth I have sung 13 thousand songs and I cannot
remember all of them.
BS: Not to worry, the next questioner asks if RDB ever helped her son
Hemant Bhosle on any film album? Hemant's album was Taxi Taxie.
AB: Album nahin tha, picture ka music tha. It was his first picture and
gave good music for it. Burman saab did not give him any support but he
sat in on the first recording so that he would be happy.
I then spoke about her first concert and the fact that she told the
joke about the lions and the mouse. I asked her to tell the joke again.
She said she wouldn't tell the joke now but that she would again at
the next concert on the 18th June and a few more besides.
She then spoke about her work at home, her recordings. She mentioned
that she was working with Ghulam Ali's son Aamir and that she had
recorded 3 songs with him and that another 5 still had to be done. I am
always looking out for a youngster who can come up with a good tune . I
don't watch television because I always feel that you could be doing
something more useful instead. I am also working on my autobiography
and that keeps me really busy.
BS: When will you publish your autobiography?
AB: It will take another 18 months and there's so much material to
collect, so many photographs, where I lived; I used to travel by train
from Borivili and my husband used to earn Rs100 a month on which I had
to manage. I remember the first time I went to learn singing and the
fee was Rs5/- and that was a huge amount in those days. So I have to
gather all the photos and get all of it written down. There's so much
to say and I wouldn't want people to think that Asha Bhosle was
always this way. I had to put up with a lot. After Pitaji died we went
through a lot and after I got married I went through even worse (
shaadi ke baad husband ko bahut kam bakhaar thi...bahut kashton se main
upar aayee huun)
BS: Did he like your songs?
AB: Who?
BS: Your husband.
AB: Maluum nahin...laughs...mujhko maluum nahin.
AB: Main aap ko apne husband ki baat bataati huun. Unhon ne kaha tha
ke..yeh jo anaaj hota hai na - woh khet mein phenk do, phenkte jaayo
- koi na koi ped to nikal hi aayega. Matlab ke, koi na koi gaana to
hit ho jaayega. Yeh na samjho ke main yeh gaauungi aur yeh nahi
gaauungi. Aise pahle hota hai ke main sad song hi gaauungi, qawwali
nahin gaauungi...nakhre hote hai na? Toh usne kaha tha ke nakhre na
karo...maluum nahin kismet kya nikaalne wali hai. Is liye maine har
style gaaya.
BS: Is ka matlab hai ki aap seekhte bhi hain.
AB: Barabar - Is ka matlab ki aap flexible ho jaate hain - har cheez
seekhne ke liye tayar ho jaate hain na.
BS: I would go further to say that you present a song in a totally
different light with your vocal acting. An actress may appear on screen
but it is you who provides the vocal emotions, nuances, nakhres.
AB: Yeh baat sahi hai. Mere Pitaji ek drama artist the aur unse hi
mujhe yeh kala mili hai acting ki.- - gaane mein acting karna, life
mein nahin.
BS: We spoke earlier of the "khush dil" nature of Anandji. You of
course worked very closely with another "khush dil insaan" and that
was my favourite singer Rafisaab. What are your memories of him?
AB: Rafisaab bade nek aadmi the. Kisi ki len den mein kuch nahin -
har waqt allah ka naam - kabhi kisi se jagda nahin. Mere se bahut
hota tha jagda - lekin kisi aur se nahin. Music director se kabhi
nahin kaha ke mujhe aap ne yeh kyuun kaha aur woh kaha - chup ho
jaate the - shaant rahte the.
BS: Aap ne kaha ke aap ke saath jagda hota tha unka?
AB: Haan - she laughs
BS: Bataayeeyeh - yeh to ham sunna chahte hain - hamare hi beech
mein baat rahe gi - koi sunne ga nahin
AB: Listeners hain to bhi kya - ek din kya hua ke Yeh Raaste Hain
Pyaar Ke picture chal raha tha aur hamara gaana tha. Hum rehearsal kar
rahe the and there were musicians present, Dutt saab was also present
and his friends. Rafisaab ne mujhko kaha ke Ashaji aap baar baar "Hay
Hay Hay" karke harkat leti hain - koi zaroorat nahin hai harkat
leni ki - aaram se dheek se gaayiye". Mere ko bahut bura laga.
Maine unse kaha ke aap zara machhi khaayiye aur achha hoga ke aap ko
harkaten suujhen gi mere ko jitney suuj rahin hain. Unko pahle samaj
nahin aaya aur bolen "achhi baat hai main khayuun ga machhi" -
baad mein bole "Kya Bola Tumne?".Maine kaha kuchh bhi nahin - ke
aap ko harkat suuje gi to aap harkat lenge - to aise bachpan ki jagde
jaise. Phir hamne 15 din ke liye baat nahin ki aur maine hi kaha unse
Rafisaab kaise hain aap. Woh bole ki aap mujhse baat nahin kar rahi
hain, main aap se baat kar raha huun - aur bole jaane do abhi jadga
- phir baat karte hain.
BS: Bahut pyaare insaan the
AB: Haan ji
BS: Aur aap ki jodi badi hit thi
AB: 900 gaane gaaye ham ne
BS: Kuchh log kahte hain ke Asha hi Rafisaab ka muqabla kar sakti thi
AB: Haan woh bhi chilaate the jaise koyal Kuhu Kuhu bolti hai na. Jitna
Koyal chilati hai woh unse se bhi zyaada chilate the - aur jab woh
sur lagate the ham bhi sur unse jod ke uncha sur laga dete the.
BS: Lets listen to a song composed by Nayyar saab - let me play you
this song (I play Aa Pardesi Baalma, More Angna from Chhamchhamacham)
- Yeh kaisa laga aap ko
AB: Mujhe lagta hai ke Chham Chham koi naam ki picture thi
BS: Ji haan - Chhamchhamacham
AB: Chhamchhamacham - a very old picture. It's the 2nd picture in
his life. The first picture was Aasmaan and the 2nd was
Chhamchhamacham. Geeta Dutt sang in Aasmaan and I sang in
Chhamchhamacham.
BS: There is so much Punjabiyaat in the song, you of course sung quite
a few Punjabi songs yourself. Being a Marathi your Punjabi diction is
excellent.
AB:Yes I sang for a Punjabi film titled Posti
BS: You sang a duet with Rafisaab "Tu Peeng Te Main Parchhawan"
AB: Haan - "Par Bhaidda Posti" - Laughs-- Aur mera aur Daljit
Kaur ke saath gaana tha " Sunn we Dhupatiya Satrangiya" Aur ek aur
bhi gaana tha " Doh Ghuttan Kar vi riya ni maayi meri nuun mera
chaa".


I then play Jaayiye Aaap Kahan from Mere Sanam and comment that for me
the song is sheer perfection. She says that in Nayyar saab's
orchestra the santoor was played by Shiv Kumar Sharma, the flute by
Churasia and saxophone by Manohari Singh.
We then spoke about her forthcoming concerts and she mentioned that
some English (speaking ) people also attend her concerts and that they
also turned up when she had performed at Boston and New York where
there was house full at Carnegie Hall. She feels more at ease in newer
theatres where there is less of a problem with sound and lighting. I
ask her about being careful about what she eats before a show. She says
that never mind before a show...she has to be careful at all times. She
avoids pickles, imbli, ice cream and prefers to eat apples and
"chikoo" and no other fruit. Dhaal Roti and Sabziyan are all fine.
I ask her if she still finds the time to cook herself. She says that
she does and that she also has 2 restaurants in Dubai and Kuwait and
that she is opening new restaurants in Birmingham and Manchester and
will go by the name "Asha's".
I then round off the interview by promising to give her a copy of the
rare songs I played at the beginning of the programme. She says
"Please...please...bahut bahut dhaniwaad dhuungi apko". I reply
that we should be ones who are thankful that she made this request from
us.
AB: Dekhiye ek gaana hai, mujhe kabhi nahin milta hai . It's a
Punjabi song and I have sung many Punjabi songs and it's a Sardul
Kwatra composed song. The words are (and she sings out loud): "Dhola
We Sharaabi, Chhad de Nawaabi, Uunchi Ghurgabi mainu la dewe je tuun
meri tor wekhni" Bahut sundar gaana hai lekin mujhe milta nahin hai.
I ask if she recalls the name of the film. She says she does not and
that she only knows the words. I tell her that I would pass on the
words to friends in RMIM and hope that they may be able to assist in
locating the details and/or actual recording of the song.
I then thank her for being my guest and wish her success with her
concerts and say that I have fulfilled one ambition of talking at
length with the great Asha Bhosle. She blesses me and replies in kind.
I then play out the programme with Ta Thai tat Thai from Tere Mere
Sapne.


Well that's the transcript of the show finished and apologies for its
length. Apologies also for switching between languages. I just typed it
out the best I could. Spelling errors are regretted.
I later contacted both Satishji and Vish Krishnan about seeking their
permission to pass on the RMIM commemorative CDs to Asha Bhosle. Their
response was as magnanimous as expected and they said that the artiste
making the request is itself an honour. I went to the Sunday concert,
met Asha in her dressing room and handed her the CDs. She thanked me
but I said the thanks I will pass on to the RMIM group who made it
possible. She again asked if I had managed to trace the Punjabi song
she sang for me. I said that our friends would try.
Bhagwant

Moving Again

Life is like a river flow. Some times some leaf gets stuck somewhere and could not flow for a long time. Even strong flow of river could not change the destiny of small leaf. Often stories end without any statement … I am not interested in the end, or in the story, or in the leaf, I am more interested in the metaphor of transition that led change of course. I am not interested in the sufferings or sufferer; rather I am interested in the noun “suffer”.
The world is mechanical. Many people say that we can’t buy everything with money, I also assert the same, but then a dichotomy lies within my mind. To get something which is outside domain of money, is it necessary to believe in destiny or you should play your cards tacitly (even you keep yourself ignorant about the fact that you are not playing your cards). Is it necessary to kill many germinating corpuscles for achievements or is it necessary to work honestly and hope for your chance? The words, destiny or hope are so illusionary that they keep giving resonance to the noun “suffer”. The delicate person, the one who thinks, often live for hope.
What if life changes its course … ?

Saturday, August 5, 2006

Cindrella's Post

Cindrella is a blogger like me ... but she writes much better ... and with every passing day her expertise gets richer. I am hereby posting her last post.

And claim Thy bed.


Far away deep in the woods
Thy light above the mountain burns.
It flickers and dances,yet stands tall
as the blue and yellow glow in turns.

The road's too long,the light's too far
and my brazen soul is getting weary.
The sun gives way and Thy sillouette falls,
as Thou behest the night so eery.

On the wings of history and the sands of time,
Thy purple haze my eyes have seen.
Emanating from Thy pristine soul,
engulfing me they've always been.

Be tired I may,but lost I havent.
My feet move forward and start the hike.
My eyes may droop but not forever,
for they'll stay open to behold Thine like.

I'll trace the smell,I'll track Thy shed.
So tread I must and tread ahead.
I'll take the walk and face the dread,
I'll reach Thy gates and claim Thy bed.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

ईदगाह

रमजान के पूरे तीस रोजों के बाद ईद आयी है। कितना मनोहर, कितना सुहावना प्रभाव है। वृक्षों पर अजीब हरियाली है, खेतों में कुछ अजीब रौनक है, आसमान पर कुछ अजीब लालिमा है। आज का सूर्य देखो, कितना प्यारा, कितना शीतल है, यानी संसार को ईद की बधाई दे रहा है। गॉंव में कितनी हलचल है। ईदगाह जाने की तैयारियॉँ हो रही हैं। किसी के कुरते में बटन नहीं है, पड़ोस के घर में सुई-धागा लेने दौड़ा जा रहा है। किसी के जूते कड़े हो गए हैं, उनमें तेल डालने के लिए तेली के घर पर भागा जाता है। जल्दी-जल्दी बैलों को सानी-पानी दे दें। ईदगाह से लौटते-लौटते दोपहर हो जाएगी। तीन कोस का पेदल रास्ता, फिर सैकड़ों आदमियों से मिलना-भेंटना, दोपहर के पहले लोटना असम्भव है। लड़के सबसे ज्यादा प्रसन्न हैं। किसी ने एक रोजा रखा है, वह भी दोपहर तक, किसी ने वह भी नहीं, लेकिन ईदगाह जाने की खुशी उनके हिस्से की चीज है। रोजे बड़े-बूढ़ो के लिए होंगे। इनके लिए तो ईद है। रोज ईद का नाम रटते थे, आज वह आ गई। अब जल्दी पड़ी है कि लोग ईदगाह क्यों नहीं चलते। इन्हें गृहस्थी चिंताओं से क्या प्रयोजन! सेवैयों के लिए दूध ओर शक्कर घर में है या नहीं, इनकी बला से, ये तो सेवेयां खाऍंगे। वह क्या जानें कि अब्बाजान क्यों बदहवास चौधरी कायमअली के घर दौड़े जा रहे हैं। उन्हें क्या खबर कि चौधरी ऑंखें बदल लें, तो यह सारी ईद मुहर्रम हो जाए। उनकी अपनी जेबों में तो कुबेर काधन भरा हुआ है। बार-बार जेब से अपना खजाना निकालकर गिनते हैं और खुश होकर फिर रख लेते हैं। महमूद गिनता है, एक-दो, दस,-बारह, उसके पास बारह पैसे हैं। मोहनसिन के पास एक, दो, तीन, आठ, नौ, पंद्रह पैसे हैं। इन्हीं अनगिनती पैसों में अनगिनती चीजें लाऍंगें— खिलौने, मिठाइयां, बिगुल, गेंद और जाने क्या-क्या।
और सबसे ज्यादा प्रसन्न है हामिद। वह चार-पॉँच साल का गरीब सूरत, दुबला-पतला लड़का, जिसका बाप गत वर्ष हैजे की भेंट हो गया और मॉँ न जाने क्यों पीली होती-होती एक दिन मर गई। किसी को पता क्या बीमारी है। कहती तो कौन सुनने वाला था? दिल पर जो कुछ बीतती थी, वह दिल में ही सहती थी ओर जब न सहा गया,. तो संसार से विदा हो गई। अब हामिद अपनी बूढ़ी दादी अमीना की गोद में सोता है और उतना ही प्रसन्न है। उसके अब्बाजान रूपये कमाने गए हैं। बहुत-सी थैलियॉँ लेकर आऍंगे। अम्मीजान अल्लहा मियॉँ के घर से उसके लिए बड़ी अच्छी-अच्छी चीजें लाने गई हैं, इसलिए हामिद प्रसन्न है। आशा तो बड़ी चीज है, और फिर बच्चों की आशा! उनकी कल्पना तो राई का पर्वत बना लेती हे। हामिद के पॉंव में जूते नहीं हैं, सिर परएक पुरानी-धुरानी टोपी है, जिसका गोटा काला पड़ गया है, फिर भी वह प्रसन्न है। जब उसके अब्बाजान थैलियॉँ और अम्मीजान नियमतें लेकर आऍंगी, तो वह दिल से अरमान निकाल लेगा। तब देखेगा, मोहसिन, नूरे और सम्मी कहॉँ से उतने पैसे निकालेंगे।
अभागिन अमीना अपनी कोठरी में बैठी रो रही है। आज ईद का दिन, उसके घर में दाना नहीं! आज आबिद होता, तो क्या इसी तरह ईद आती ओर चली जाती! इस अन्धकार और निराशा में वह डूबी जा रही है। किसने बुलाया था इस निगोड़ी ईद को? इस घर में उसका काम नहीं, लेकिन हामिद! उसे किसी के मरने-जीने के क्या मतल? उसके अन्दर प्रकाश है, बाहर आशा। विपत्ति अपना सारा दलबल लेकर आये, हामिद की आनंद-भरी चितबन उसका विध्वसं कर देगी।
हामिद भीतर जाकर दादी से कहता है—तुम डरना नहीं अम्मॉँ, मै सबसे पहले आऊँगा। बिल्कुल न डरना।
अमीना का दिल कचोट रहा है। गॉँव के बच्चे अपने-अपने बाप के साथ जा रहे हैं। हामिद का बाप अमीना के सिवा और कौन है! उसे केसे अकेले मेले जाने दे? उस भीड़-भाड़ से बच्चा कहीं खो जाए तो क्या हो? नहीं, अमीना उसे यों न जाने देगी। नन्ही-सी जान! तीन कोस चलेगा कैसे? पैर में छाले पड़ जाऍंगे। जूते भी तो नहीं हैं। वह थोड़ी-थोड़ी दूर पर उसे गोद में ले लेती, लेकिन यहॉँ सेवैयॉँ कोन पकाएगा? पैसे होते तो लौटते-लोटते सब सामग्री जमा करके चटपट बना लेती। यहॉँ तो घंटों चीजें जमा करते लगेंगे। मॉँगे का ही तो भरोसा ठहरा। उस दिन फहीमन के कपड़े सिले थे। आठ आने पेसे मिले थे। उस उठन्नी को ईमान की तरह बचाती चली आती थी इसी ईद के लिए लेकिन कल ग्वालन सिर पर सवार हो गई तो क्या करती? हामिद के लिए कुछ नहीं हे, तो दो पैसे का दूध तो चाहिए ही। अब तो कुल दो आने पैसे बच रहे हैं। तीन पैसे हामिद की जेब में, पांच अमीना के बटुवें में। यही तो बिसात है और ईद का त्यौहार, अल्ला ही बेड़ा पर लगाए। धोबन और नाइन ओर मेहतरानी और चुड़िहारिन सभी तो आऍंगी। सभी को सेवेयॉँ चाहिए और थोड़ा किसी को ऑंखों नहीं लगता। किस-किस सें मुँह चुरायेगी? और मुँह क्यों चुराए? साल-भर का त्योंहार हैं। जिन्दगी खैरियत से रहें, उनकी तकदीर भी तो उसी के साथ है: बच्चे को खुदा सलामत रखे, यें दिन भी कट जाऍंगे।
गॉँव से मेला चला। ओर बच्चों के साथ हामिद भी जा रहा था। कभी सबके सब दौड़कर आगे निकल जाते। फिर किसी पेड़ के नींचे खड़े होकर साथ वालों का इंतजार करते। यह लोग क्यों इतना धीरे-धीरे चल रहे हैं? हामिद के पैरो में तो जैसे पर लग गए हैं। वह कभी थक सकता है? शहर का दामन आ गया। सड़क के दोनों ओर अमीरों के बगीचे हैं। पक्की चारदीवारी बनी हुई है। पेड़ो में आम और लीचियॉँ लगी हुई हैं। कभी-कभी कोई लड़का कंकड़ी उठाकर आम पर निशान लगाता हे। माली अंदर से गाली देता हुआ निंलता है। लड़के वहाँ से एक फलॉँग पर हैं। खूब हँस रहे हैं। माली को केसा उल्लू बनाया है।
बड़ी-बड़ी इमारतें आने लगीं। यह अदालत है, यह कालेज है, यह क्लब घर है। इतने बड़े कालेज में कितने लड़के पढ़ते होंगे? सब लड़के नहीं हैं जी! बड़े-बड़े आदमी हैं, सच! उनकी बड़ी-बड़ी मूँछे हैं। इतने बड़े हो गए, अभी तक पढ़ते जाते हैं। न जाने कब तक पढ़ेंगे ओर क्या करेंगे इतना पढ़कर! हामिद के मदरसे में दो-तीन बड़े-बड़े लड़के हें, बिल्कुल तीन कौड़ी के। रोज मार खाते हैं, काम से जी चुराने वाले। इस जगह भी उसी तरह के लोग होंगे ओर क्या। क्लब-घर में जादू होता है। सुना है, यहॉँ मुर्दो की खोपड़ियां दौड़ती हैं। और बड़े-बड़े तमाशे होते हें, पर किसी कोअंदर नहीं जाने देते। और वहॉँ शाम को साहब लोग खेलते हैं। बड़े-बड़े आदमी खेलते हें, मूँछो-दाढ़ी वाले। और मेमें भी खेलती हैं, सच! हमारी अम्मॉँ को यह दे दो, क्या नाम है, बैट, तो उसे पकड़ ही न सके। घुमाते ही लुढ़क जाऍं।
महमूद ने कहा—हमारी अम्मीजान का तो हाथ कॉँपने लगे, अल्ला कसम।
मोहसिन बोल—चलों, मनों आटा पीस डालती हैं। जरा-सा बैट पकड़ लेगी, तो हाथ कॉँपने लगेंगे! सौकड़ों घड़े पानी रोज निकालती हैं। पॉँच घड़े तो तेरी भैंस पी जाती है। किसी मेम को एक घड़ा पानी भरना पड़े, तो ऑंखों तक अँधेरी आ जाए।
महमूद—लेकिन दौड़तीं तो नहीं, उछल-कूद तो नहीं सकतीं।
मोहसिन—हॉँ, उछल-कूद तो नहीं सकतीं; लेकिन उस दिन मेरी गाय खुल गई थी और चौधरी के खेत में जा पड़ी थी, अम्मॉँ इतना तेज दौड़ी कि में उन्हें न पा सका, सच।
आगे चले। हलवाइयों की दुकानें शुरू हुई। आज खूब सजी हुई थीं। इतनी मिठाइयॉँ कौन खाता? देखो न, एक-एक दूकान पर मनों होंगी। सुना है, रात को जिन्नात आकर खरीद ले जाते हैं। अब्बा कहते थें कि आधी रात को एक आदमी हर दूकान पर जाता है और जितना माल बचा होता है, वह तुलवा लेता है और सचमुच के रूपये देता है, बिल्कुल ऐसे ही रूपये।
हामिद को यकीन न आया—ऐसे रूपये जिन्नात को कहॉँ से मिल जाऍंगी?
मोहसिन ने कहा—जिन्नात को रूपये की क्या कमी? जिस खजाने में चाहें चले जाऍं। लोहे के दरवाजे तक उन्हें नहीं रोक सकते जनाब, आप हैं किस फेर में! हीरे-जवाहरात तक उनके पास रहते हैं। जिससे खुश हो गए, उसे टोकरों जवाहरात दे दिए। अभी यहीं बैठे हें, पॉँच मिनट में कलकत्ता पहुँच जाऍं।
हामिद ने फिर पूछा—जिन्नात बहुत बड़े-बड़े होते हैं?
मोहसिन—एक-एक सिर आसमान के बराबर होता है जी! जमीन पर खड़ा हो जाए तो उसका सिर आसमान से जा लगे, मगर चाहे तो एक लोटे में घुस जाए।
हामिद—लोग उन्हें केसे खुश करते होंगे? कोई मुझे यह मंतर बता दे तो एक जिनन को खुश कर लूँ।
मोहसिन—अब यह तो न जानता, लेकिन चौधरी साहब के काबू में बहुत-से जिन्नात हैं। कोई चीज चोरी जाए चौधरी साहब उसका पता लगा देंगे ओर चोर का नाम बता देगें। जुमराती का बछवा उस दिन खो गया था। तीन दिन हैरान हुए, कहीं न मिला तब झख मारकर चौधरी के पास गए। चौधरी ने तुरन्त बता दिया, मवेशीखाने में है और वहीं मिला। जिन्नात आकर उन्हें सारे जहान की खबर दे जाते हैं।
अब उसकी समझ में आ गया कि चौधरी के पास क्यों इतना धन है और क्यों उनका इतना सम्मान है।
आगे चले। यह पुलिस लाइन है। यहीं सब कानिसटिबिल कवायद करते हैं। रैटन! फाय फो! रात को बेचारे घूम-घूमकर पहरा देते हैं, नहीं चोरियॉँ हो जाऍं। मोहसिन ने प्रतिवाद किया—यह कानिसटिबिल पहरा देते हें? तभी तुम बहुत जानते हों अजी हजरत, यह चोरी करते हैं। शहर के जितने चोर-डाकू हें, सब इनसे मुहल्ले में जाकर ‘जागते रहो! जाते रहो!’ पुकारते हें। तभी इन लोगों के पास इतने रूपये आते हें। मेरे मामू एक थाने में कानिसटिबिल हें। बरस रूपया महीना पाते हें, लेकिन पचास रूपये घर भेजते हें। अल्ला कसम! मैंने एक बार पूछा था कि मामू, आप इतने रूपये कहॉँ से पाते हैं? हँसकर कहने लगे—बेटा, अल्लाह देता है। फिर आप ही बोले—हम लोग चाहें तो एक दिन में लाखों मार लाऍं। हम तो इतना ही लेते हैं, जिसमें अपनी बदनामी न हो और नौकरी न चली जाए।
हामिद ने पूछा—यह लोग चोरी करवाते हैं, तो कोई इन्हें पकड़ता नहीं?
मोहसिन उसकी नादानी पर दया दिखाकर बोला..अरे, पागल! इन्हें कौन पकड़ेगा! पकड़ने वाले तो यह लोग खुद हैं, लेकिन अल्लाह, इन्हें सजा भी खूब देता है। हराम का माल हराम में जाता है। थोड़े ही दिन हुए, मामू के घर में आग लग गई। सारी लेई-पूँजी जल गई। एक बरतन तक न बचा। कई दिन पेड़ के नीचे सोए, अल्ला कसम, पेड़ के नीचे! फिरन जाने कहॉँ से एक सौ कर्ज लाए तो बरतन-भॉँड़े आए।
हामिद—एक सौ तो पचार से ज्यादा होते है?
‘कहॉँ पचास, कहॉँ एक सौ। पचास एक थैली-भर होता है। सौ तो दो थैलियों में भी न आऍं?
अब बस्ती घनी होने लगी। ईइगाह जाने वालो की टोलियॉँ नजर आने लगी। एक से एक भड़कीले वस्त्र पहने हुए। कोई इक्के-तॉँगे पर सवार, कोई मोटर पर, सभी इत्र में बसे, सभी के दिलों में उमंग। ग्रामीणों का यह छोटा-सा दल अपनी विपन्नता से बेखबर, सन्तोष ओर धैर्य में मगन चला जा रहा था। बच्चों के लिए नगर की सभी चीजें अनोखी थीं। जिस चीज की ओर ताकते, ताकते ही रह जाते और पीछे से आर्न की आवाज होने पर भी न चेतते। हामिद तो मोटर के नीचे जाते-जाते बचा।
सहसा ईदगाह नजर आई। ऊपर इमली के घने वृक्षों की छाया हे। नाचे पक्का फर्श है, जिस पर जाजम ढिछा हुआ है। और रोजेदारों की पंक्तियॉँ एक के पीछे एक न जाने कहॉँ वक चली गई हैं, पक्की जगत के नीचे तक, जहॉँ जाजम भी नहीं है। नए आने वाले आकर पीछे की कतार में खड़े हो जाते हैं। आगे जगह नहीं हे। यहॉँ कोई धन और पद नहीं देखता। इस्लाम की निगाह में सब बराबर हें। इन ग्रामीणों ने भी वजू किया ओर पिछली पंक्ति में खड़े हो गए। कितना सुन्दर संचालन है, कितनी सुन्दर व्यवस्था! लाखों सिर एक साथ सिजदे में झुक जाते हैं, फिर सबके सब एक साथ खड़े हो जाते हैं, एक साथ झुकते हें, और एक साथ खड़े हो जाते हैं, एक साथ खड़े हो जाते हैं, एक साथ झुकते हें, और एक साथ खड़े हो जाते हैं, कई बार यही क्रिया होती हे, जैसे बिजली की लाखों बत्तियाँ एक साथ प्रदीप्त हों और एक साथ बुझ जाऍं, और यही ग्रम चलता, रहे। कितना अपूर्व दृश्य था, जिसकी सामूहिक क्रियाऍं, विस्तार और अनंतता हृदय को श्रद्धा, गर्व और आत्मानंद से भर देती थीं, मानों भ्रातृत्व का एक सूत्र इन समस्त आत्माओं को एक लड़ी में पिरोए हुए हैं।

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नमाज खत्म हो गई। लोग आपस में गले मिल रहे हैं। तब मिठाई और खिलौने की दूकान पर धावा होता है। ग्रामीणों का यह दल इस विषय में बालकों से कम उत्साही नहीं है। यह देखो, हिंडोला हें एक पैसा देकर चढ़ जाओ। कभी आसमान पर जाते हुए मालूम होगें, कभी जमीन पर गिरते हुए। यह चर्खी है, लकड़ी के हाथी, घोड़े, ऊँट, छड़ो में लटके हुए हैं। एक पेसा देकर बैठ जाओं और पच्चीस चक्करों का मजा लो। महमूद और मोहसिन ओर नूरे ओर सम्मी इन घोड़ों ओर ऊँटो पर बैठते हें। हामिद दूर खड़ा है। तीन ही पैसे तो उसके पास हैं। अपने कोष का एक तिहाई जरा-सा चक्कर खाने के लिए नहीं दे सकता।
सब चर्खियों से उतरते हैं। अब खिलौने लेंगे। अधर दूकानों की कतार लगी हुई है। तरह-तरह के खिलौने हैं—सिपाही और गुजरिया, राज ओर वकी, भिश्ती और धोबिन और साधु। वह! कत्ते सुन्दर खिलोने हैं। अब बोला ही चाहते हैं। महमूद सिपाही लेता हे, खाकी वर्दी और लाल पगड़ीवाला, कंधें पर बंदूक रखे हुए, मालूम होता हे, अभी कवायद किए चला आ रहा है। मोहसिन को भिश्ती पसंद आया। कमर झुकी हुई है, ऊपर मशक रखे हुए हैं मशक का मुँह एक हाथ से पकड़े हुए है। कितना प्रसन्न है! शायद कोई गीत गा रहा है। बस, मशक से पानी अड़ेला ही चाहता है। नूरे को वकील से प्रेम हे। कैसी विद्वत्ता हे उसके मुख पर! काला चोगा, नीचे सफेद अचकन, अचकन के सामने की जेब में घड़ी, सुनहरी जंजीर, एक हाथ में कानून का पौथा लिये हुए। मालूम होता है, अभी किसी अदालत से जिरह या बहस किए चले आ रहे है। यह सब दो-दो पैसे के खिलौने हैं। हामिद के पास कुल तीन पैसे हैं, इतने महँगे खिलौन वह केसे ले? खिलौना कहीं हाथ से छूट पड़े तो चूर-चूर हो जाए। जरा पानी पड़े तो सारा रंग घुल जाए। ऐसे खिलौने लेकर वह क्या करेगा, किस काम के!
मोहसिन कहता है—मेरा भिश्ती रोज पानी दे जाएगा सॉँझ-सबेरे
महमूद—और मेरा सिपाही घर का पहरा देगा कोई चोर आएगा, तो फौरन बंदूक से फैर कर देगा।
नूरे—ओर मेरा वकील खूब मुकदमा लड़ेगा।
सम्मी—ओर मेरी धोबिन रोज कपड़े धोएगी।
हामिद खिलौनों की निंदा करता है—मिट्टी ही के तो हैं, गिरे तो चकनाचूर हो जाऍं, लेकिन ललचाई हुई ऑंखों से खिलौनों को देख रहा है और चाहता है कि जरा देर के लिए उन्हें हाथ में ले सकता। उसके हाथ अनायास ही लपकते हें, लेकिन लड़के इतने त्यागी नहीं होते हें, विशेषकर जब अभी नया शौक है। हामिद ललचता रह जाता है।
खिलौने के बाद मिठाइयाँ आती हैं। किसी ने रेवड़ियॉँ ली हें, किसी ने गुलाबजामुन किसी ने सोहन हलवा। मजे से खा रहे हैं। हामिद बिरादरी से पृथक् है। अभागे के पास तीन पैसे हैं। क्यों नहीं कुछ लेकर खाता? ललचाई ऑंखों से सबक ओर देखता है।
मोहसिन कहता है—हामिद रेवड़ी ले जा, कितनी खुशबूदार है!
हामिद को सदेंह हुआ, ये केवल क्रूर विनोद हें मोहसिन इतना उदार नहीं है, लेकिन यह जानकर भी वह उसके पास जाता है। मोहसिन दोने से एक रेवड़ी निकालकर हामिद की ओर बढ़ाता है। हामिद हाथ फैलाता है। मोहसिन रेवड़ी अपने मुँह में रख लेता है। महमूद नूरे ओर सम्मी खूब तालियॉँ बजा-बजाकर हँसते हैं। हामिद खिसिया जाता है।
मोहसिन—अच्छा, अबकी जरूर देंगे हामिद, अल्लाह कसम, ले जा।
हामिद—रखे रहो। क्या मेरे पास पैसे नहीं है?
सम्मी—तीन ही पेसे तो हैं। तीन पैसे में क्या-क्या लोगें?
महमूद—हमसे गुलाबजामुन ले जाओ हामिद। मोहमिन बदमाश है।
हामिद—मिठाई कौन बड़ी नेमत है। किताब में इसकी कितनी बुराइयॉँ लिखी हैं।
मोहसिन—लेकिन दिन मे कह रहे होगे कि मिले तो खा लें। अपने पैसे क्यों नहीं निकालते?
महमूद—इस समझते हें, इसकी चालाकी। जब हमारे सारे पैसे खर्च हो जाऍंगे, तो हमें ललचा-ललचाकर खाएगा।
मिठाइयों के बाद कुछ दूकानें लोहे की चीजों की, कुछ गिलट और कुछ नकली गहनों की। लड़कों के लिए यहॉँ कोई आकर्षण न था। वे सब आगे बढ़ जाते हैं, हामिद लोहे की दुकान पररूक जात हे। कई चिमटे रखे हुए थे। उसे ख्याल आया, दादी के पास चिमटा नहीं है। तबे से रोटियॉँ उतारती हैं, तो हाथ जल जाता है। अगर वह चिमटा ले जाकर दादी को दे दे तो वह कितना प्रसन्न होगी! फिर उनकी ऊगलियॉँ कभी न जलेंगी। घर में एक काम की चीज हो जाएगी। खिलौने से क्या फायदा? व्यर्थ में पैसे खराब होते हैं। जरा देर ही तो खुशी होती है। फिर तो खिलौने को कोई ऑंख उठाकर नहीं देखता। यह तो घर पहुँचते-पहुँचते टूट-फूट बराबर हो जाऍंगे। चिमटा कितने काम की चीज है। रोटियॉँ तवे से उतार लो, चूल्हें में सेंक लो। कोई आग मॉँगने आये तो चटपट चूल्हे से आग निकालकर उसे दे दो। अम्मॉँ बेचारी को कहॉँ फुरसत हे कि बाजार आऍं और इतने पैसे ही कहॉँ मिलते हैं? रोज हाथ जला लेती हैं।
हामिद के साथी आगे बढ़ गए हैं। सबील पर सबके सब शर्बत पी रहे हैं। देखो, सब कतने लालची हैं। इतनी मिठाइयॉँ लीं, मुझे किसी ने एक भी न दी। उस पर कहते है, मेरे साथ खेलो। मेरा यह काम करों। अब अगर किसी ने कोई काम करने को कहा, तो पूछूँगा। खाऍं मिठाइयॉँ, आप मुँह सड़ेगा, फोड़े-फुन्सियॉं निकलेंगी, आप ही जबान चटोरी हो जाएगी। तब घर से पैसे चुराऍंगे और मार खाऍंगे। किताब में झूठी बातें थोड़े ही लिखी हें। मेरी जबान क्यों खराब होगी? अम्मॉँ चिमटा देखते ही दौड़कर मेरे हाथ से ले लेंगी और कहेंगी—मेरा बच्चा अम्मॉँ के लिए चिमटा लाया है। कितना अच्छा लड़का है। इन लोगों के खिलौने पर कौन इन्हें दुआऍं देगा? बड़ों का दुआऍं सीधे अल्लाह के दरबार में पहुँचती हैं, और तुरंत सुनी जाती हैं। में भी इनसे मिजाज क्यों सहूँ? मैं गरीब सही, किसी से कुछ मॉँगने तो नहीं जाते। आखिर अब्बाजान कभीं न कभी आऍंगे। अम्मा भी ऑंएगी ही। फिर इन लोगों से पूछूँगा, कितने खिलौने लोगे? एक-एक को टोकरियों खिलौने दूँ और दिखा हूँ कि दोस्तों के साथ इस तरह का सलूक किया जात है। यह नहीं कि एक पैसे की रेवड़ियॉँ लीं, तो चिढ़ा-चिढ़ाकर खाने लगे। सबके सब हँसेंगे कि हामिद ने चिमटा लिया है। हंसें! मेरी बला से! उसने दुकानदार से पूछा—यह चिमटा कितने का है?
दुकानदार ने उसकी ओर देखा और कोई आदमी साथ न देखकर कहा—तुम्हारे काम का नहीं है जी!
‘बिकाऊ है कि नहीं?’
‘बिकाऊ क्यों नहीं है? और यहॉँ क्यों लाद लाए हैं?’
तो बताते क्यों नहीं, कै पैसे का है?’
‘छ: पैसे लगेंगे।‘
हामिद का दिल बैठ गया।
‘ठीक-ठीक पॉँच पेसे लगेंगे, लेना हो लो, नहीं चलते बनो।‘
हामिद ने कलेजा मजबूत करके कहा तीन पैसे लोगे?
यह कहता हुआ व आगे बढ़ गया कि दुकानदार की घुड़कियॉँ न सुने। लेकिन दुकानदार ने घुड़कियॉँ नहीं दी। बुलाकर चिमटा दे दिया। हामिद ने उसे इस तरह कंधे पर रखा, मानों बंदूक है और शान से अकड़ता हुआ संगियों के पास आया। जरा सुनें, सबके सब क्या-क्या आलोचनाऍं करते हैं!
मोहसिन ने हँसकर कहा—यह चिमटा क्यों लाया पगले, इसे क्या करेगा?
हामिद ने चिमटे को जमीन पर पटकर कहा—जरा अपना भिश्ती जमीन पर गिरा दो। सारी पसलियॉँ चूर-चूर हो जाऍं बचा की।
महमूद बोला—तो यह चिमटा कोई खिलौना है?
हामिद—खिलौना क्यों नही है! अभी कन्धे पर रखा, बंदूक हो गई। हाथ में ले लिया, फकीरों का चिमटा हो गया। चाहूँ तो इससे मजीरे काकाम ले सकता हूँ। एक चिमटा जमा दूँ, तो तुम लोगों के सारे खिलौनों की जान निकल जाए। तुम्हारे खिलौने कितना ही जोर लगाऍं, मेरे चिमटे का बाल भी बॉंका नही कर सकतें मेरा बहादुर शेर है चिमटा।
सम्मी ने खँजरी ली थी। प्रभावित होकर बोला—मेरी खँजरी से बदलोगे? दो आने की है।
हामिद ने खँजरी की ओर उपेक्षा से देखा-मेरा चिमटा चाहे तो तुम्हारी खॅजरी का पेट फाड़ डाले। बस, एक चमड़े की झिल्ली लगा दी, ढब-ढब बोलने लगी। जरा-सा पानी लग जाए तो खत्म हो जाए। मेरा बहादुर चिमटा आग में, पानी में, ऑंधी में, तूफान में बराबर डटा खड़ा रहेगा।
चिमटे ने सभी को मोहित कर लिया, अब पैसे किसके पास धरे हैं? फिर मेले से दूर निकल आए हें, नौ कब के बज गए, धूप तेज हो रही है। घर पहुंचने की जल्दी हो रही हे। बाप से जिद भी करें, तो चिमटा नहीं मिल सकता। हामिद है बड़ा चालाक। इसीलिए बदमाश ने अपने पैसे बचा रखे थे।
अब बालकों के दो दल हो गए हैं। मोहसिन, महमद, सम्मी और नूरे एक तरफ हैं, हामिद अकेला दूसरी तरफ। शास्त्रर्थ हो रहा है। सम्मी तो विधर्मी हा गया! दूसरे पक्ष से जा मिला, लेकिन मोहनि, महमूद और नूरे भी हामिद से एक-एक, दो-दो साल बड़े होने पर भी हामिद के आघातों से आतंकित हो उठे हैं। उसके पास न्याय का बल है और नीति की शक्ति। एक ओर मिट्टी है, दूसरी ओर लोहा, जो इस वक्त अपने को फौलाद कह रहा है। वह अजेय है, घातक है। अगर कोई शेर आ जाए मियॉँ भिश्ती के छक्के छूट जाऍं, जो मियॉँ सिपाही मिट्टी की बंदूक छोड़कर भागे, वकील साहब की नानी मर जाए, चोगे में मुंह छिपाकर जमीन पर लेट जाऍं। मगर यह चिमटा, यह बहादुर, यह रूस्तमे-हिंद लपककर शेर की गरदन पर सवार हो जाएगा और उसकी ऑंखे निकाल लेगा।
मोहसिन ने एड़ी—चोटी का जारे लगाकर कहा—अच्छा, पानी तो नहीं भर सकता?
हामिद ने चिमटे को सीधा खड़ा करके कहा—भिश्ती को एक डांट बताएगा, तो दौड़ा हुआ पानी लाकर उसके द्वार पर छिड़कने लगेगा।
मोहसिन परास्त हो गया, पर महमूद ने कुमुक पहुँचाई—अगर बचा पकड़ जाऍं तो अदालम में बॅधे-बँधे फिरेंगे। तब तो वकील साहब के पैरों पड़ेगे।
हामिद इस प्रबल तर्क का जवाब न दे सका। उसने पूछा—हमें पकड़ने कौने आएगा?
नूरे ने अकड़कर कहा—यह सिपाही बंदूकवाला।
हामिद ने मुँह चिढ़ाकर कहा—यह बेचारे हम बहादुर रूस्तमे—हिंद को पकड़ेगें! अच्छा लाओ, अभी जरा कुश्ती हो जाए। इसकी सूरत देखकर दूर से भागेंगे। पकड़ेगें क्या बेचारे!
मोहसिन को एक नई चोट सूझ गई—तुम्हारे चिमटे का मुँह रोज आग में जलेगा।
उसने समझा था कि हामिद लाजवाब हो जाएगा, लेकिन यह बात न हुई। हामिद ने तुरंत जवाब दिया—आग में बहादुर ही कूदते हैं जनाब, तुम्हारे यह वकील, सिपाही और भिश्ती लैडियों की तरह घर में घुस जाऍंगे। आग में वह काम है, जो यह रूस्तमे-हिन्द ही कर सकता है।
महमूद ने एक जोर लगाया—वकील साहब कुरसी—मेज पर बैठेगे, तुम्हारा चिमटा तो बाबरचीखाने में जमीन पर पड़ा रहने के सिवा और क्या कर सकता है?
इस तर्क ने सम्मी औरनूरे को भी सजी कर दिया! कितने ठिकाने की बात कही हे पट्ठे ने! चिमटा बावरचीखाने में पड़ा रहने के सिवा और क्या कर सकता है?
हामिद को कोई फड़कता हुआ जवाब न सूझा, तो उसने धॉँधली शुरू की—मेरा चिमटा बावरचीखाने में नही रहेगा। वकील साहब कुर्सी पर बैठेगें, तो जाकर उन्हे जमीन पर पटक देगा और उनका कानून उनके पेट में डाल देगा।
बात कुछ बनी नही। खाल गाली-गलौज थी, लेकिन कानून को पेट में डालनेवाली बात छा गई। ऐसी छा गई कि तीनों सूरमा मुँह ताकते रह गए मानो कोई धेलचा कानकौआ किसी गंडेवाले कनकौए को काट गया हो। कानून मुँह से बाहर निकलने वाली चीज हे। उसको पेट के अन्दर डाल दिया जाना बेतुकी-सी बात होने पर भी कुछ नयापन रखती हे। हामिद ने मैदान मार लिया। उसका चिमटा रूस्तमे-हिन्द हे। अब इसमें मोहसिन, महमूद नूरे, सम्मी किसी को भी आपत्ति नहीं हो सकती।
विजेता को हारनेवालों से जो सत्कार मिलना स्वाभविक है, वह हामिद को भी मिल। औरों ने तीन-तीन, चार-चार आने पैसे खर्च किए, पर कोई काम की चीज न ले सके। हामिद ने तीन पैसे में रंग जमा लिया। सच ही तो है, खिलौनों का क्या भरोसा? टूट-फूट जाऍंगी। हामिद का चिमटा तो बना रहेगा बरसों?
संधि की शर्ते तय होने लगीं। मोहसिन ने कहा—जरा अपना चिमटा दो, हम भी देखें। तुम हमार भिश्ती लेकर देखो।
महमूद और नूरे ने भी अपने-अपने खिलौने पेश किए।
हामिद को इन शर्तो को मानने में कोई आपत्ति न थी। चिमटा बारी-बारी से सबके हाथ में गया, और उनके खिलौने बारी-बारी से हामिद के हाथ में आए। कितने खूबसूरत खिलौने हैं।
हामिद ने हारने वालों के ऑंसू पोंछे—मैं तुम्हे चिढ़ा रहा था, सच! यह चिमटा भला, इन खिलौनों की क्या बराबर करेगा, मालूम होता है, अब बोले, अब बोले।
लेकिन मोहसनि की पार्टी को इस दिलासे से संतोष नहीं होता। चिमटे का सिल्का खूब बैठ गया है। चिपका हुआ टिकट अब पानी से नहीं छूट रहा है।
मोहसिन—लेकिन इन खिलौनों के लिए कोई हमें दुआ तो न देगा?
महमूद—दुआ को लिय फिरते हो। उल्टे मार न पड़े। अम्मां जरूर कहेंगी कि मेले में यही मिट्टी के खिलौने मिले?
हामिद को स्वीकार करना पड़ा कि खिलौनों को देखकर किसी की मां इतनी खुश न होगी, जितनी दादी चिमटे को देखकर होंगी। तीन पैसों ही में तो उसे सब-कुछ करना था ओर उन पैसों के इस उपयों पर पछतावे की बिल्कुल जरूरत न थी। फिर अब तो चिमटा रूस्तमें—हिन्द हे ओर सभी खिलौनों का बादशाह।
रास्ते में महमूद को भूख लगी। उसके बाप ने केले खाने को दियें। महमून ने केवल हामिद को साझी बनाया। उसके अन्य मित्र मुंह ताकते रह गए। यह उस चिमटे का प्रसाद थां।

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ग्यारह बजे गॉँव में हलचल मच गई। मेलेवाले आ गए। मोहसिन की छोटी बहन दौड़कर भिश्ती उसके हाथ से छीन लिया और मारे खुशी के जा उछली, तो मियॉं भिश्ती नीचे आ रहे और सुरलोक सिधारे। इस पर भाई-बहन में मार-पीट हुई। दानों खुब रोए। उसकी अम्मॉँ यह शोर सुनकर बिगड़ी और दोनों को ऊपर से दो-दो चॉँटे और लगाए।
मियॉँ नूरे के वकील का अंत उनके प्रतिष्ठानुकूल इससे ज्यादा गौरवमय हुआ। वकील जमीन पर या ताक पर हो नहीं बैठ सकता। उसकी मर्यादा का विचार तो करना ही होगा। दीवार में खूँटियाँ गाड़ी गई। उन पर लकड़ी का एक पटरा रखा गया। पटरे पर कागज का कालीन बिदाया गया। वकील साहब राजा भोज की भाँति सिंहासन पर विराजे। नूरे ने उन्हें पंखा झलना शुरू किया। आदालतों में खर की टट्टियॉँ और बिजली के पंखे रहते हें। क्या यहॉँ मामूली पंखा भी न हो! कानून की गर्मी दिमाग पर चढ़ जाएगी कि नहीं? बॉँस कापंखा आया ओर नूरे हवा करने लगें मालूम नहीं, पंखे की हवा से या पंखे की चोट से वकील साहब स्वर्गलोक से मृत्युलोक में आ रहे और उनका माटी का चोला माटी में मिल गया! फिर बड़े जोर-शोर से मातम हुआ और वकील साहब की अस्थि घूरे पर डाल दी गई।
अब रहा महमूद का सिपाही। उसे चटपट गॉँव का पहरा देने का चार्ज मिल गया, लेकिन पुलिस का सिपाही कोई साधारण व्यक्ति तो नहीं, जो अपने पैरों चलें वह पालकी पर चलेगा। एक टोकरी आई, उसमें कुछ लाल रंग के फटे-पुराने चिथड़े बिछाए गए जिसमें सिपाही साहब आराम से लेटे। नूरे ने यह टोकरी उठाई और अपने द्वार का चक्कर लगाने लगे। उनके दोनों छोटे भाई सिपाही की तरह ‘छोनेवाले, जागते लहो’ पुकारते चलते हें। मगर रात तो अँधेरी होनी चाहिए, नूरे को ठोकर लग जाती है। टोकरी उसके हाथ से छूटकर गिर पड़ती है और मियॉँ सिपाही अपनी बन्दूक लिये जमीन पर आ जाते हैं और उनकी एक टॉँग में विकार आ जाता है।
महमूद को आज ज्ञात हुआ कि वह अच्छा डाक्टर है। उसको ऐसा मरहम मिला गया है जिससे वह टूटी टॉँग को आनन-फानन जोड़ सकता हे। केवल गूलर का दूध चाहिए। गूलर का दूध आता है। टाँग जावब दे देती है। शल्य-क्रिया असफल हुई, तब उसकी दूसरी टाँग भी तोड़ दी जाती है। अब कम-से-कम एक जगह आराम से बैठ तो सकता है। एक टॉँग से तो न चल सकता था, न बैठ सकता था। अब वह सिपाही संन्यासी हो गया है। अपनी जगह पर बैठा-बैठा पहरा देता है। कभी-कभी देवता भी बन जाता है। उसके सिर का झालरदार साफा खुरच दिया गया है। अब उसका जितना रूपांतर चाहों, कर सकते हो। कभी-कभी तो उससे बाट का काम भी लिया जाता है।
अब मियॉँ हामिद का हाल सुनिए। अमीना उसकी आवाज सुनते ही दौड़ी और उसे गोद में उठाकर प्यार करने लगी। सहसा उसके हाथ में चिमटा देखकर वह चौंकी।
‘यह चिमटा कहॉं था?’
‘मैंने मोल लिया है।‘
‘कै पैसे में?
‘तीन पैसे दिये।‘
अमीना ने छाती पीट ली। यह कैसा बेसमझ लड़का है कि दोपहर हुआ, कुछ खाया न पिया। लाया क्या, चिमटा! ‘सारे मेले में तुझे और कोई चीज न मिली, जो यह लोहे का चिमटा उठा लाया?’
हामिद ने अपराधी-भाव से कहा—तुम्हारी उँगलियॉँ तवे से जल जाती थीं, इसलिए मैने इसे लिया।
बुढ़िया का क्रोध तुरन्त स्नेह में बदल गया, और स्नेह भी वह नहीं, जो प्रगल्भ होता हे और अपनी सारी कसक शब्दों में बिखेर देता है। यह मूक स्नेह था, खूब ठोस, रस और स्वाद से भरा हुआ। बच्चे में कितना व्याग, कितना सदभाव और कितना विवेक है! दूसरों को खिलौने लेते और मिठाई खाते देखकर इसका मन कितना ललचाया होगा? इतना जब्त इससे हुआ कैसे? वहॉँ भी इसे अपनी बुढ़िया दादी की याद बनी रही। अमीना का मन गदगद हो गया।
और अब एक बड़ी विचित्र बात हुई। हामिद कें इस चिमटे से भी विचित्र। बच्चे हामिद ने बूढ़े हामिद का पार्ट खेला था। बुढ़िया अमीना बालिका अमीना बन गई। वह रोने लगी। दामन फैलाकर हामिद को दुआऍं देती जाती थी और आँसूं की बड़ी-बड़ी बूंदे गिराती जाती थी। हामिद इसका रहस्य क्या समझता!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

मोटेराम जी शास्त्री

पण्डित मोटेराम जी शास्त्री को कौन नही जानता! आप अधिकारियों का रूख देखकर काम करते है। स्वदेशी आन्दोलने के दिनों मे अपने उस आन्दोलन का खूब विरोध किया था। स्वराज्य आन्दोलन के दिनों मे भी अपने अधिकारियों से राजभक्ति की सनद हासिल की थी। मगर जब इतनी उछल-कूद पर उनकी तकदीर की मीठी नींद न टूटी, और अध्यापन कार्य से पिण्ड न छूटा, तो अन्त मे अपनी एक नई तदबीर सोची। घर जाकर धर्मपत्नी जी से बोले—इन बूढ़े तोतों को रटाते-रटातें मेरी खोपड़ी पच्ची हुई जाती है। इतने दिनों विद्या-दान देने का क्याफल मिला जो और आगे कुछ मिलने की आशा करूं।
धर्मपत्न ने चिन्तित होकर कहा—भोजनों का भी तो कोई सहारा चाहिए।
मोटेराम—तुम्हें जब देखो, पेट ही की फ्रिक पड़ी रहती है। कोई ऐसा विरला ही दिन जाता होगा कि निमन्त्रण न मिलते हो, और चाहे कोई निन्दा करें, पर मै परोसा लिये बिना नहीं आता हूं। आज ही सब यजमान मरे जाते है? मगर जन्म-भर पेट ही जिलया तो क्या किया। संसार का कुछ सुख भी तो भोगन चाहिए। मैने वैद्य बनने का निश्चय किया है।
स्त्री ने आश्चर्य से कहा—वैद्य बनोगे, कुछ वैद्यकी पढ़ी भी है?
मोटे—वैद्यक पढने से कुछ नही होता, संसार मे विद्या का इतना महत्व नही जितना बुद्धि क। दो-चार सीधे-सादे लटके है, बस और कुछ नही। आज ही अपने नाम के आगे भिष्गाचार्य बढ़ा लूंगा, कौन पूछने आता है, तुम भिषगाचार्य हो या नही। किसी को क्या गरज पड़ी है जो मेरी परिक्षा लेता फिरे। एक मोटा-सा साइनबोर्ड बनवा लूंगा। उस पर शब्द लिखें होगे—यहा स्त्री पुरूषों के गुप्त रोगों की चिकित्सा विशेष रूप से की जाती है। दो-चार पैसे का हउ़-बहेड़ा-आवंला कुट छानकर रख लूंगा। बस, इस काम के लिए इतना सामान पर्याप्त है। हां, समाचारपत्रों मे विज्ञापन दूंगा और नोटिस बंटवाऊंगा। उसमें लंका, मद्रास, रंगून, कराची आदि दूरस्थ स्थानों के सज्जनों की चिटिठयां दर्ज की जाएंगी। ये मेरे चिकित्सा-कौशल के साक्षी होगें जनता को क्या पड़ी है कि वह इस बात का पता लगाती फिरे कि उन स्थानों मे इन नामों के मनुष्य रहते भी है, या नहीं फिर देखों वैद्य की कैसी चलती है।
स्त्री—लेकिन बिना जाने-बूझ दवा दोगे, तो फायदा क्या करेगी?
मोटे—फायदा न करेगी, मेरी बला से। वैद्य का काम दवा देना है, वह मृत्यु को परस्त करने का ठेका नही लेता, और फिर जितने आदमी बीमार पड़ते है, सभी तो नही मर जाते। मेरा यह कहना है कि जिन्हें कोई औषधि नही दी जाती, वे विकार शान्त हो जाने पर ही अच्छे हो जाते है। वैद्यों को बिना मांगे यश मिलता है। पाच रोगियों मे एक भी अच्छा हो गया, तो उसका यश मुझे अवश्य ही मिलेगा। शेष चार जो मर गये, वे मेरी निन्दा करने थोडे ही आवेगें। मैने बहुत विचार करके देख लिया, इससे अच्छा कोई काम नही है। लेख लिखना मुझे आता ही है, कवित्त बना ही लेता हूं, पत्रों मे आयुर्वेद-महत्व पर दो-चार लेख लिख दूंगा, उनमें जहां-तहां दो-चार कवित्त भी जोड़ दूंगा और लिखूगां भी जरा चटपटी भाषा मे । फिर देखों कितने उल्लू फसते है यह न समझो कि मै इतने दिनो केवल बूढे तोते ही रटाता रहा हूं। मै नगर के सफल वैद्यो की चालों का अवलोकन करता रहा हू और इतने दिनों के बाद मुझे उनकी सफलता के मूल-मंत्र का ज्ञान हुआ है। ईश्वर ने चाहा तो एक दिन तुम सिर से पांव तक सोने से लदी होगी।
स्त्री ने अपने मनोल्लास को दबाते हुए कहा—मै इस उम्र मे भला क्या गहने पहनूंगी, न अब वह अभिलाषा ही है, पर यह तो बताओं कि तुम्हें दवाएं बनानी भी तो नही आती, कैसे बनाओगे, रस कैसे बनेगें, दवाओ को पहचानते भी तो नही हो।
मोटे—प्रिये! तुम वास्तव मे बड़ी मूर्ख हो। अरे वैद्यो के लिए इन बातों मे से एक भी आवश्यकता नही, वैद्य की चुटकी की राख ही रस है, भस्म है, रसायन है, बस आवश्यकता है कुछ ठाट-बाट की। एक बड़ा-सा कमरा चाहिए उसमें एक दरी हो, ताखों पर दस-पांच शीशीयां बोतल हो। इसके सिवा और कोई चीज दरकार नही, और सब कुछ बुद्धि आप ही आप कर लेती है। मेरे साहित्य-मिश्रित लेखों का बड़ा प्रभाव पड़ेगा, तुम देख लेना। अलंकारो का मुझे कितना ज्ञान है, यह तो तुम जानती ही हो। आज इस भूमण्डल पर मुझे ऐसा कोई नही दिखता जो अलंकारो के विषय मे मुझसे पेश पा सके। आखिर इतने दिनों घास तो नही खोदी है! दस-पाचं आदमी तो कवि-चर्चा के नाते ही मेरे यहां आया जाया करेगें। बस, वही मेरे दल्लाह होगें। उन्ही की मार्फत मेरे पास रोगी आवेगें। मै आयुर्वेद-ज्ञान के बल पर नही नायिका-ज्ञान के बल पर धड़ल्ले से वैद्यक करूंगा, तुम देखती तो जाओ।
स्त्री ने अविश्वास के भाव से कहा—मुझे तो डर लगता है कि कही यह विद्यार्थी भी तुम्हारे हाथ से न जाए। न इधर के रहो ने उधर के। तुम्हारे भाग्य मे तो लड़के पढ़ाना लिखा है, और चारों ओर से ठोकर खाकर फिर तुम्हें वी तोते रटाने पडेगें।
मोटे—तुम्हें मेरी योग्यता पर विश्वास क्यों नही आता?
स्त्री—इसलिए कि तुम वहां भी धुर्तता करोगे। मै तुम्हारी धूर्तता से चिढ़ती हूं। तुम जो कुछ नही हो और नही हो सकते,वक क्यो बनना चाहते हो? तुम लीडर न बन सके, न बन सके, सिर पटककर रह गये। तुम्हारी धूर्तता ही फलीभूत होती है और इसी से मुझे चिढ़ है। मै चाहती हूं कि तुम भले आदमी बनकर रहो। निष्कपट जीवन व्यतीत करो। मगर तुम मेरी बात कब सुनते हो?
मोटे—आखिर मेरा नायिका-ज्ञान कब काम आवेगा?
स्त्री—किसी रईस की मुसाहिबी क्यो नही कर लेते? जहां दो-चार सुन्दर कवित्त सुना दोगें। वह खुश हो जाएगा और कुछ न कुछ दे ही मारेगा। वैद्यक का ढोंग क्यों रचते हों!
मोटे—मुझे ऐसे-ऐसे गुर मालूम है जो वैद्यो के बाप-दादों को भी न मालूम होगे। और सभी वैद्य एक-एक, दो-दो रूपये पर मारे-मारे फिरते है, मै अपनी फीस पांच रूपये रक्खूगा, उस पर सवारी का किराया अलग। लोग यही समझेगें कि यह कोई बडे वैद्य है नही तो इतनी फीस क्यों होती?
स्त्री को अबकी कुछ विश्वास आया बोली—इतनी देर मे तुमने एक बात मतलब की कही है। मगर यह समझ लो, यहां तुम्हारा रंग न जमेगा, किसी दूसरे शहर को चलना पड़ेगा।
मोटे—(हंसकर) क्या मै इतना भी नही जानता। लखनऊ मे अडडा जमेगा अपना। साल-भर मे वह धाक बांध दू कि सारे वैद्य गर्द हो जाएं। मुझे और भी कितने ही मन्त्र आते है। मै रोगी को दो-तीन बार देखे बिना उसकी चिकित्सा ही न करूंगा। कहूंगा, मै जब तक रोगी की प्रकृति को भली भांति पहचान न लूं, उसकी दवा नही कर सकता। बोलो, कैसी रहेगी?
स्त्री की बांछे खिल गई, बोली—अब मै तुम्हे मान गई, अवश्य चलेगी तुम्हारी वैद्यकी, अब मुझे कोई संदेह नही रहा। मगर गरीबों के साथ यह मंत्र न चलाना नही तो धोखा खाओगे।

2

साल भर गुजर गया।
भिषगाचार्य पण्डित मोटेराम जी शास्त्री की लखनऊ मे घूम मच गई। अलंकारों का ज्ञान तो उन्हे था ही, कुछ गा-बजा भी लेते थे। उस पर गुप्त रोगो के विशेषज्ञ, रसिको के भाग्य जागें। पण्डित जी उन्हें कवित सुनाते, हंसाते, और बलकारक औषधियां खिलाते, और वह रईसों मे, जिन्हें पुष्टिकारक औषधियों की विशेष चाह रहती है, उनकी तारीफों के पुल बांधते। साल ही भर मे वैद्यजी का वह रंग जमा, कि बायद व शायदं गुप्त रोगों के चिकित्सक लखनऊ मे एकमात्र वही थे। गुप्त रूप से चिकित्सा भी करते। विलासिनी विधवारानियों और शौकीन अदूरदर्शी रईसों मे आपकी खूब पूजा होने लगी। किसी को अपने सामने समझते ही न थे।
मगर स्त्री उन्हे बराबर समझाया करती कि रानियों के झमेलें मे न फसों, नही क दिन पछताओगे।
मगर भावी तो होकर ही रहती है, कोई लाख समझाये-बुझाये। पंडितजी के उपासको मे बिड़हल की रानी भी थी। राजा साहब का स्वर्गवास हो चुका था, रानी साहिबा न जाने किस जीर्ण रोग से ग्रस्त थी। पण्डितजी उनके यहां दिन मे पांच-पाचं बार जाते। रानी साहिबा उन्हें एक क्षण के लिए भी देर हो जाती तो बेचैन हो जाती, एक मोटर नित्य उनके द्वार पर खड़ी रहती थी। अब पण्डित जी ने खूब केचुल बदली थी। तंजेब की अचकन पहनते, बनारसी साफा बाधते और पम्प जूता डाटते थे। मित्रगण भी उनके साथ मोटर पर बैठकर दनदनाया करते थे। कई मित्रों को रानी सहिबा के दरबार मे नौकर रखा दिया। रानी साहिबा भला अपने मसीहा की बात कैसी टालती।
मगर चर्खे जफाकार और ही षययन्त्र रच रहा था।
एक दिन पण्डितजी रानी साहिबा की गोरी-गोरी कलाई पर एक हाथ रखे नब्ज देख रहे थे, और दूसरे हाथ से उनके हृदय की गति की परिक्षा कर रहे थे कि इतने मे कई आदमी सोटै लिए हुए कमरे मे घुस आये और पण्डितजी पर टूट पड़े। रानी भागकर दूसरे कमरे की शरण ली और किवाड़ बन्द कर लिए। पण्डितजी पर बेभाव पड़ने लगे। यों तो पण्डितजी भी दमखम के आदमी थे, एक गुप्ती संदैव साथ रखते थे। पर जब धोखे मे कई आदमियों ने धर दबाया तो क्या करते? कभी इसका पैकर पकड़ते कभी उसका। हाय-हाय! का शब्द मुंह से निकल रहा था पर उन बेरहमों को उन पर जरा भी दया न आती थी, एक आदम ने एक लात जमाकर कहा—इस दुष्ट की नाक काट लो।
दूसरा बोला—इसके मुंह मे कलिख और चूना लगाकर छोड़ दो।
तीसरा—क्यों वैद्यजी महाराज, बोलो क्या मंजूर है? नाक कटवाओगे या मुंह मे कालिख लगवाओगें?
पण्डित—भूलकर भी नही सरकार। हाय मर गया!
दूसरा—आज ही लखनऊ से रफरैट हो जाओं नही तो बुरा होगा।
पणिडत—सरकार मै आज ही चला जाऊगां। जनेऊ की शपथ खाकर कहता हूं। आप यहां मेरी सूरत न देखेगें।
तीसरा—अच्छा भाई, सब कोई इसे पांच-पाचं लाते लगाकर छोड़ दो।
पण्डित—अरे सरकार, मर जाऊगां, दया करो
चौथा—तुम जैसे पाखंडियो का मर जाना ही अच्छा है। हां तो शुरू हो।
पंचलत्ती पड़ने लगी, धमाधम की आवाजें आने लगी। मालूम होता था नगाड़े पर चोट पड़ रही है। हर धमाके के बाद एक बार हाय की आवाज निकल आती थी, मानों उसकी प्रतिध्वनी हो।
पंचलत्ती पूजा समाप्त हो जाने पर लोगों ने मोटेराम जी को घसीटकर बाहर निकाला और मोटर पर बैठाकर घर भेज दिया, चलते-चलते चेतावनी दे दी, कि प्रात:काल से पहले भाग खड़े होना, नही तो और ही इलाज किया जाएगा।



मोटेराम जी लंगड़ाते, कराहते, लकड़ी टेकते घर मे गए और धम से गिर पड़े चारपाई पर गिर पडे। स्त्री ने घबराकर पूछा—कैसा जी है? अरे तुम्हारा क्या हाल है? हाय-हाय यह तुम्हारा चेहरा कैसा हो गया!
मोटे—हाय भगवान, मर गया।
स्त्री—कहां दर्द है? इसी मारे कहती थी, बहुत रबड़ी न खाओं। लवणभास्कर ले आऊं?
मोटे—हाय, दुष्टों ने मार डाला। उसी चाण्डालिनी के कारण मेरी दुर्गति हुई । मारते-मारते सबों ने भुरकुस निकाल दिया।
स्त्री—तो यह कहो कि पिटकर आये हो। हां, पिटे हो। अच्छा हुआ। हो तुम लातो ही के देवता। कहती थी कि रानी के यहां मत आया-जाया करो। मगर तुम कब सुनते थे।
मोटे—हाय, हाय! रांड, तुझे भी इसी दम कोसने की सूझी। मेरा तो बुरा हाल है और तू कोस रही है। किसी से कह दे, ठेला-वेला लावे, रातो-रात लखनऊ से भाग जाना है। नही तो सबेरे प्राण न बचेगें।
स्त्री—नही, अभी तुम्हारा पेट नही भरा। अभी कुछ दिन और यहां की हवा खाओ! कैसे मजे से लड़के पढात थे, हां नही तो वैद्य बनने की सूझी। बहुत अच्छा हुआ, अब उम्र भर न भूलोगे। रानी कहां थी कि तुम पिटते रहे और उसने तुम्मारी रक्षा न की।
पण्डित—हाय, हाय वह चुडैल तो भाग गई। उसी के कारण । क्या जानता था कि यह हाल होगा, नहीं ता उसकी चिकित्सा ही क्यों करता?
स्त्री—हो तुम तकदीर के खोटे। कैसी वैद्यकी चल गई थी। मगर तुम्हारी करतूतों ने सत्यनाश मार दिया। आखिर फिर वही पढौनी करना पड़ी। हो तकदीर के खोटे।
प्रात:काल मोटेराम जी के द्वार पर ठेला खड़ा था और उस पर असबाब लद रहा था। मित्रो मे एक भी नजर न आता था। पण्डित जी पड़े कराह रहे थे ओर स्त्री सामान लदवा रही थी।
—‘माधुरी’ जनवरी, १९२८

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Story of a Lazy Dog

... Master to his Dog -- " You will have to bark whenever you see some stranger " ... The Dog nodded first vertically (means yes normally) and then in a shrewd way, horizontally (means no normally) ... Dog is always prompt at food hours ...
Whenever we guys used to plan for somewhere or initiate some event, my friend, Pervez Iqbal used to say -- " Is kam ko kar liya jaye (Lets go on doing this work) ". The intent was clear. Suppose we had to watch some film, he used to say -- " Is film ko dekha jaye (Lets go on watching this movie) ". Usually watching movie means bringing some VCD to feed in Compu (which was supposed to be a tool which can do magic for our career). The intent of this guy was simple, let some person(other than him) bring the CD and he will have his cool position where he will sit and watch movie. ... And he usually succeeded ...
Many people think me as a very active person, who does not take rest for hours ... and ... well its enough Reetesh, don't go on. The only person in this world who knows truth is my father, he catches me always. He knows that if I keep staying in long queues at railway station for taking railway ticket, then the intent is not to behave like a responsible citizen, but the fact is that I must be chatting with some person. Pop, this is true, similarly, I like buses in Bangalore, because long time that it takes in traffic can be used to hear lot of music and give rest to your soul from utilizing those time for some "sensual" work. The steps are, go get the bus, get loaded in it, and then take rest, after that come to the real world of workaholic snails. Taking rest and pretending that you are working hard is an art. For example, if some task is given to you in company to accomplish in given span of time, your statement should always be -- "I will 'try' my best to complete it. Don't know if some issue comes on surface".
In fact Laziness is an art and it should be practised with zeal. I know some of my friends who got very good job at different companies, who did not run after academic tantrums, never did projects at time and are enjoying their work (means taking rest). In fact I found some people who are known for their merit in "society", who hold key position at companies, are called as innovators of their field, but if closely watched, they have got their work done by people, largely unkown. You will find that Laziness becomes a skill also.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Arundhati Roy: Back In the U.S.A.

Arundhati Roy symbolises to me a thinking person, thinking woman, a socialist. Here is an interview with her.

Arundhati Roy: Back In the U.S.A.

By , Democracy Now!
Posted on May 25, 2006, Printed on July 13, 2006
http://www.alternet.org/story/36643/

Editor's Note: This is an edited transcript of an interview with Arundhati Roy, from Amy Goodman's syndicated radio show, Democracy Now!

Amy Goodman: Today, we spend the hour with acclaimed author and activist Arundhati Roy. Her first novel, The God of Small Things, was awarded the Booker Prize in 1997. Since then, Roy has devoted herself to political writing and activism. In India, she is involved in the movement opposing hydroelectric dam projects that have displaced thousands of people. In 2002, she was convicted of contempt of court in New Delhi for accusing the court of attempting to silence protest against the Narmada Dam project. She received a symbolic one-day prison sentence.

She has also been a vocal opponent of the Indian government's nuclear weapons program, as she is of all nuclear programs around the world. Arundhati Roy has also become known across the globe for her powerful political essays. In June of 2005, she served as chair of the Jury of Conscience at the World Tribunal on Iraq in Istanbul.

AG:What does it feel to be back in the United States? A different perspective on the world from here.

AR: Well, I think the last time I was here was just before the elections, you know, when we were hoping that Bush wouldn't come back. But the point was that whoever came back seemed to have been supporting the war in Iraq in some way, so there was a crisis of democracy here, as much as anywhere else in the world. It's, I think, you know, when you don't come to the United States often, from the outside, the most important thing is that it's easy to forget. It's easy for us to forget that there is dissent within this country against the system that its government stands for. And it's important and heartening for me to remind myself of that, because outside there is so much anger against America, and obviously, you know, that confusion between people and governments exists, and it was enhanced when Bush was voted back to power. People started saying, "Is there a difference?"

AG: Well, of course, the way you see America and Americans outside the United States is through the media... Which channels do you access in India? What do you get to see? And what do you think of how the media deals with these issues?

AR: Well, in India, I think you get FOX News and CNN and, of course, the BBC. But also a lot of newspapers in India do publish American columnists, famously Thomas Friedman. And, of course, recently George Bush visited India, which was a humiliating and very funny episode at the same time, you know, what happened to him there and how he came and how the media reacted.

AG: I want to get your reaction to that visit, and actually play a clip of President Bush when he went to India in March. He promised to increase economic integration with the U.S. and signed an agreement to foster nuclear cooperation between the two countries:

President George W. Bush: We concluded an historic agreement today on nuclear power. It's not an easy job for the Prime Minister to achieve this agreement. I understand. It's not easy for the American president to achieve this agreement, but it's a necessary agreement. It's one that will help both our peoples.

AR: Well, the strange thing was that before he came, they wanted him to address a joint house of Parliament, but some members of Parliament said that they would heckle him and that it would be embarrassing for him to come there. So then they thought they would ask him to address a public meeting at the Red Fort, which is in Old Delhi, which is where the Prime Minister of India always gives his independence day speech from, but that was considered unsafe, because Old Delhi is full of Muslims, and you know how they think of all Muslims as terrorists.

So then they thought, "Okay, we'll do it in Vigyan Bhawan, which is a sort of state auditorium, but that was considered too much of a comedown for the U.S. President. So funnily enough, they eventually settled on him speaking in Purana Qila, which is the Old Fort, which houses the Delhi zoo. And it was really from there that -- and, of course, it wasn't a public meeting. It was the caged animals and some caged CEOs that he addressed. And then he went to Hyderabad, and I think he met a buffalo there, some special kind of buffalo, because there is a picture of Bush and the buffalo in all the papers, but the point is that, insulated from the public.

There were massive demonstrations, where hundreds of thousands of people showed up. But it didn't seem to matter either to Bush or to the Indian government, which went ahead and signed, you know, deals where this kind of embrace between a poorer country or a developing country and America. We have such a litany of the history of incineration when you embrace the government of the United States. And that's what happened, that the Indian government, in full servile mode, has entered into this embrace, has negotiated itself into a corner, and now continues to do this deadly sort of dance.

But I must say that while Bush was in Delhi, at the same time on the streets were -- I mean apart from the protests, there were 60 widows that had come from Kerala, which is the south of India, which is where I come from, and they had come to Delhi because they were 60 out of the tens of thousands of widows of farmers who have committed suicide, because they have been encircled by debt. And this is a fact that is simply not reported, partly because there are no official figures, partly because the Indian government quibbles about what constitutes suicide and what is a farmer. If a man commits suicide, but the land is in his old father's name, he doesn't count. If it's a woman, she doesn't count, because women can't be farmers.

AG: So she counts as someone who committed suicide, but not as a farmer who committed suicide.

AR: Exactly.

AG: Tens of thousands?

AR: Tens of thousands. And then, anyway, so these 60 women were there on the street asking the Indian government to write off the debts of their husbands, right? Across the street from them, in a five-star hotel were Bush's 16 sniffer dogs who were staying in this five-star hotel, and we were all told that you can't call them dogs, because they are actually officers of the American Army, you know. I don't know what the names were. Sergeant Pepper and Corporal Whatever. So, it wasn't even possible to be satirical or write black comedy, because it was all real.

AG: Didn't President Bush visit Gandhi's grave?

AR: He visited Gandhi's grave, and first his dogs visited Gandhi's grave. Then, you know, Gandhians were, like, wanting to purify it. And I said, "Look, I don't mind the dogs. I mind Bush much [more] than the dogs."

But Gandhi's -- you know, obviously one can have all kinds of opinions about Gandhi. It's not universal that everybody adores and loves him, but still he stood for nonviolence, and here it was really the equivalent of a butcher coming and tipping a pot of blood on that memorial and going away. It was -- you know, there was no room left, as I said, for satire or for anything, because it was so vulgar, the whole of it. But I have to say the Indian mainstream media was so servile. You know, you had a newspaper like the Indian Express saying, "He is here, and he has spoken." I'm sure he doesn't get worshipped that much even by the American mainstream press, you know. It was extraordinary.

AG: Let me play another clip of President Bush. I think in this one he's talking about trade in India: President Bush: The markets are open, and the poor are given a chance to develop their talents and abilities. They can create a better life for their families. They add to the wealth of the world, and they could begin to afford goods and services from other nations. Free and fair trade is good for India. It's good for America. And it is good for the world. In my country, some focus only on one aspect of our trade relationship with India: outsourcing. It's true that some Americans have lost jobs when their companies move operations overseas. It's also important to remember that when someone loses a job, it's an incredibly difficult period for the worker and their families. Some people believe the answer to this problem is to wall off our economy from the world through protectionist policies. I strongly disagree.

AG: President Bush speaking in India. Arundhati Roy, your response?

AR: Well, look, let's not forget that this whole call to the free market started in the late 19th century in India. You know, that was what colonialism was all about. They kept using the words "free market." And we know how free the free market is. Today, India has -- I mean, after 15 years of economic liberalization, we have more than half of the world's malnutritioned children. We have an economy where the differences between the rich and the poor, which have always been huge, has increased enormously. We have a feudal society whose feudalism has just been reinforced by all of this.

And, you know, it's amazing. Just in the wake of Bush's visit, you can't imagine what's happening, say, in a city like Delhi. You can't imagine the open aggression of institutions of our democracy. It's really like courts, for instance, who are an old enemy of mine, are rolling up their sleeves and coming after us. You have in Delhi, for example -- I have just come from being on the streets for six weeks, where all kinds of protest are taking place. But you have a city that's been just -- it's just turned into a city of bulldozers and policemen. Overnight, notices go up saying tomorrow or day after tomorrow you're going to be evicted from here. The Supreme Court judges have come out saying things like, "If the poor can't afford to live in the city, why do they come here?"

And basically, behind it all, there are two facades. One is that in 2008, Delhi is going to host the Commonwealth Games. For this, hundreds of thousands of people are being driven out of the city. But the real agenda came in the wake of Bush's visit, which is that the city is being prepared for foreign direct investment in retail, which means Wal-Mart and Kmart and all these people are going to come in, which means that this city of millions of pavement dwellers, hawkers, fruit sellers, people who have -- it's a city that's grown up over centuries and centuries. It's just being cleaned out under the guise of sort of legal action. And at the same time, people from villages are being driven out of their villages, because of the corporatization of agriculture, because of these big development projects.

So you have an institution like -- you know, I mean, how do you subvert democracy? We have a parliament, sure. We have elections, sure. But we have a supreme court now that micromanages our lives. It takes every decision: What should be in history books? Should this lamb be cured? Should this road be widened? What gas should we use? Every single decision is now taken by a court. You can't criticize the court. If you do, you will go to jail, like I did. So, you have judges who are -- you have to read those judgments to believe it, you know? Public interest litigation has become a weapon that judges use against us.

So, for example, a former chief justice of India, he gave a decision allowing the Narmada Dam to be built, where 400,000 people will be displaced. The same judge gave a judgment saying slum dwellers are pickpockets of urban land. So you displace people from the villages; they come into the cities; you call them pickpockets. He gave a judgment shutting down all kinds of informal industry in Delhi. Than he gave a judgment asking for all India's rivers to be linked, which is a Stalinist scheme beyond imagination, where millions of people will be displaced. And when he retired, he joined Coca-Cola. You know, it's incredible.

AG:Thomas Friedman, the well-known, much-read New York Times columnist and author, talks about the call center being a perfect symbol of globalization in a very positive sense.

AR: Yes, it is the perfect symbol, I think, in many ways. I wish Friedman would spend some time working in one. But I think it's a very interesting issue, the call center, because, you know, let's not get into the psychosis that takes place inside a call center, the fact that you have people working, you know, according to a different body clock and all that and the languages and the fact that you have to de-identify yourself.

AG: And just for people who aren't familiar with what we're talking about, the call center being places where, well, you might make a call to information or to some corporation, you actually are making that call to India, and someone in a call center is picking it up.

AR: But, you know, the thing is that it's a good example of what's going on. The call center is surely creating jobs for a whole lot of people in India. But it comes as part of a package, and that package, while it gives sort of an English-speaking middle or lower middle class young person a job for a while, they can never last, because it's such a hard job. It actually is also part of the corporate culture, which is taking away land and resources and water from millions of rural people. But you're giving the more vocal and the better off anyway -- the people who speak even a little bit of English are the better off among the millions of people in India. So, to give these people jobs, you're taking away the livelihoods of millions of others, and this is what globalization does.

It creates -- obviously it creates a very vocal constituency that supports it, among the elite of poor countries. And so you have in India an elite, an upper caste, upper class wealthy elite who are fiercely loyal to the neoliberal program. And that's exactly, obviously, what colonialism has always done, and it's exactly what happened in countries in Latin America. But now it's happening in India, and the rhetoric of democracies in place, because they have learned how to hollow out democracy and make it lose meaning. All it means, it seems, is elections, where whoever you vote for, they are going to do the same thing.

AG: You mentioned the dams, and a judge just in the last week has ruled that one of the major dam projects is allowed to continue. Just physically on the ground, what does it mean, and who are the people who are resisting, and what do they do?

AR: I mean, that actually is something that reached fever pitch in the last few weeks in India, because, you know, the movement against dams is actually a very beautiful political argument, because it combines environmental issues, issues of water, of resources and of displacement, with a political vision for a new kind of society. No political ideology, classic political ideology has really done that properly. Either it's only environmental or it's only about people. Here somehow, that's why I got so drawn into it. But this struggle was against the notion of big dams, and it's been a nonviolent struggle for 25 years.

But now, the dams are still being built, and the argument has been reduced merely to displacement. And even there, the courts are now saying you build a dam and just give people cash and send them off. But the fact is that these are indigenous people. You know, you can't just give -- lots of them are indigenous people. The others are farmers. But you can't -- the levels of displacement are so huge. This dam, the Sardar Sarovar dam displaces 400,000, but just in the Narmada Valley you're talking about millions of people. All over India, you're talking about many millions who are being displaced. So where are they going to go?

Well, the court came out with a judgment with marked a different era in India, where they even stopped pretending that they were interested in resettlement or rehabilitation. They just said, "Build the dam." So it's very interesting that people were watching this nonviolent movement unfold its weapons on the streets, which is the activists who went on indefinite hunger strike. People paid attention, but then they got kicked in the teeth.

Meanwhile, across India, from West Bengal to Orissa, to Jharkhand, to Chhattisgarh, to Andhra Pradesh, the Maoist movement has become very, very strong. It's an armed struggle. It's taking over district after district. The administration cannot get in there. And the government's response to that is to do what was done in Peru with the Shining Path, which is to set up armed defense committees, which is really creating a situation of civil war.

You know, hundreds of villages are being emptied by the government, and the people are being moved into police camps. People are being armed. The Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh says, "You're either with the Maoists and Naxalites or you're with the Salva Judum," which is this government-sponsored resistance, and there's no third choice. So it's you're with us or against us.

And what has happened, which is something I have been saying for a long time, that this whole war on terror and the legislation that has come up around it is going to conflate terrorists with poor people. And that's what's happened. In India, in January -- I don't know if you've read about it, but it was a terrible thing that happened -- in Orissa, which is a state where all these corporations have their greedy eyes fixed, because they have just discovered huge deposits of bauxite, which you need to make aluminum, which you need to make weapons and planes.

AG: And where is Orissa in India?

AR: Orissa is sort of east, southeast. And it's got a huge indigenous population. If you go there, it's like a police state. You know, the police have surrounded villages. You can't move from one -- villagers are not allowed to move from one village to another to organize, because, of course, there's a lot of resistance. The Maoists have come in. And in Orissa in a place called Kalinganagar, where the Tata, which used to be a sort of respected industrialist, but now I can't say, are setting up a steel factory. So they, the government, took over the lands of indigenous people. The trick is that you only say about 20% of them are project-affected. The rest are all encroachers. Even these 20% are given -- their land is taken from them at, say, 35,000 rupees an acre, given to the Tatas for three-and-a-half lakhs, you know, which is ten times that amount. And the actual market price is four times that amount. So you steal from the poor; you subsidize the rich; then you call it the "free market."

And when they protested, there was dynamite, you know, in the ground. Some of them were blown up, killed. Six of them, I think, were injured, taken to hospital, and their bodies were returned with their hands and breasts and things cut off. And those people have been blocking the highway now for six months, the indigenous people, because it became a big issue in India. But it's been happening everywhere, and they are all called terrorists. You know, people with bows and arrows are called terrorists.

So, in India, the poor are the terrorists, and even states like Andhra Pradesh, we have thousands of people being held as political prisoners, called Maoists, held as political prisoners in unknown places without charges or with false charges. We have the highest number of custodial deaths in the world. And we have Thomas Friedman going on and on about how this is an idealistic -- ideal society, a tolerant society. Hundreds -- I mean, tens of thousands of people killed in Kashmir. All over the northeast, you have the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, where a junior noncommissioned officer can shoot at sight. And that is the democracy in which we live.

AG: And the Maoists, what are their demands?

AR: Well, the Maoists are fighting on two fronts. One is that they are fighting a feudal society, their feudal landlords. You have, you know, the whole caste system which is arranged against the indigenous people and the Dalits, who are the untouchable caste. And they are fighting against this whole corporatization. But they are also very poor people, you know, barefoot with old rusty weapons. And, you know, what we -- say someone like myself, watching what is happening in Kashmir, where -- or in the northeast, where exactly what America is doing in Iraq, you know, where you're fostering a kind of civil war and then saying, "Oh, if we pull out, these people just will massacre each other."

But the longer you stay, the more you're enforcing these tribal differences and creating a resistance, which obviously, on the one hand, someone like me does support; on the other hand, you support the resistance, but you may not support the vision that they are fighting for. And I keep saying, you know, I'm doomed to fight on the side of people that have no space for me in their social imagination, and I would probably be the first person that was strung up if they won. But the point is that they are the ones that are resisting on the ground, and they have to be supported, because what is happening is unbelievable.

AG: Speaking of Iraq, let me play a clip of President Bush in Chicago Monday, where he addressed a gathering organized by the National Restaurant Association. In his remarks, the President talked about Iraq, which has just formed a new unity government:

President Bush: For most Iraqis, a free democratic and constitutional government will be a new experience. For the people across the broader Middle East, a free Iraq will be an inspiration. Iraqis have done more than form a government. They have proved that the desire for liberty in the heart of the Middle East is for real. They have shown diverse people can come together and work out their differences and find a way forward, and they have demonstrated that democracy is the hope of the Middle East and the destiny of all mankind.

The triumph of liberty in Iraq is part of a long and familiar story. The great biographer of American democracy, Alexis de Tocqueville, wrote, "Freedom is ordinarily born in the midst of storms. It is established painfully among civil discords, and only when it is old can one know its benefits." Years from now, people will look back on the formation of a unity government in Iraq as a decisive moment in the story of liberty, a moment when freedom gained a firm foothold in the Middle East and the forces of terror began their long retreat.

AG: President Bush in Chicago. Arundhati Roy from India here in New York, your response?

AR: Well, you know, how can one respond? I just keep wishing there would be a laugh track, you know, on the side of these speeches. But obviously, you know, the elections in Palestine, where you had a democratic government, now Palestine is being starved because they have a democracy, under siege because they have a democracy. But in Iraq, this fake business is called democracy. Forget about what's happening in Saudi Arabia.

So it's just -- you know, I think the issue is that people like President Bush and his advisors, or what's happening in India, the Indian government, they have understood that you can use the media to say anything from minute to minute. It doesn't matter what's really going on. It doesn't matter what happened in the past. There are a few people who make the connections and fall about laughing at the nonsense that is being spoken. But for everybody else, I think the media itself, this mass media has become a means of telling the most unbelievable lies or making the most unbelievable statements. And everybody sort of just imbibes it. It's like a drug, you know, that you put straight into your veins. It doesn't matter. And it keeps going. But what can you say? What kind of democracy is this in Iraq?

AG: What do you think has to happen in Iraq?

AR: I think that the first thing that has to happen is that the American army should leave. That has to happen. I have no doubt about that. Similarly, I mean, I keep saying this, but, you know, America, Israel and India, and China in Tibet, are now becoming experts in occupation, and India is one of the leading experts. It's not that the American army in its training exercise is teaching the Indian army. The Indians are teaching the Americans, too, how to occupy a place. What do you do with the media? How do you deal with it? The occupation of Kashmir has taken place over years.

And I keep saying that in Iraq, you have 125,000 or so American troops in a situation of war, controlling 25 million Iraqis. In Kashmir, you have 700,000 Indian troops fully armed there -- you know? -- and creating a situation, making it worse and worse and worse. So the first thing that has to happen is that the army has to come out, you know?

AG: I remember when you were last here, you were headed off to an interview with Charlie Rose. And so I looked to see you on Charlie Rose, and I waited and I waited, and I never saw you. What happened?

AR: Oh, it was interesting. He -- well, when the interview began, I realized that the plan was to do this really aggressive interview with me, and so the first question he asked was, "Tell me, Arundhati, do you think that India should have nuclear weapons?" So I said, "I don't think India should have nuclear weapons. I don't think the U.S. should have nuclear weapons. I don't think Israel should have nuclear weapons. I don't think anyone should have nuclear weapons. It's something that I have written a lot about." He said, "I asked you whether India should have nuclear weapons."

So I said, "Well, I don't think India should have nuclear weapons. I don't think the U.S. should have nuclear weapons. I don't think Israel should have nuclear weapons." Then he said, "Will you answer my question? Should India have nuclear weapons?" So I said, "I don't think India should have nuclear weapons. I don't think the U.S. should have nuclear weapons. I don't think Israel should have nuclear weapons."

And I asked him, I said, "What is this about? Why are you being so aggressive? I have answered the question, you know, clearly. And I think I made my position extremely clear. I'm not some strategic thinker. I'm telling you what I believe." So after that it just sort of collapsed into vague questions about world poverty and so on, and it was never shown. I mean, I wouldn't have shown it if I were him either, but -- because it was, you know, I don't know, treating me like I'm some kind of politician or something.

AG: Has he invited you back on in this new trip that you have had?

AR: No more, no, no. I don't think.

AG: Have you found that through your celebrity, through your writing, that you're invited into forums, into various places where when you talk about what you think, you're then shut down?

AR: No. I think what happens is that -- well, I don't come to, you know, the U.S. that often, and like, for instance, this time I came to do an event with Eduardo Galeano, but I really wasn't -- I didn't want to do any -- except for this, I made it clear that I didn't want to be working on this trip, because I want to think about some things. But I think it's the opposite problem that I have. I think that there are many ways of shutting people down, and one is to increase the burners on this celebrity thing until you become so celebrity that all you are is celebrity.

For example, I'll give you a wonderful example of how it works, say, in India. I was at a meeting in Delhi a few months ago, the Association of Parents for Disappeared People. Now, women had come down from Kashmir. There are 10,000 or so disappeared people in Kashmir, which nobody talks about in the mainstream media at all. Here were these women whose mothers or brothers or sons or husbands had -- I'm sorry, not mothers, but whatever -- all these people who were speaking of their personal experiences, and there were other speakers, and there was me.

And the next day in this more-or-less rightwing paper called Indian Express, there was a big picture of me, really close so that you couldn't see the context. You couldn't see who had organized the meeting or what it was about, nothing. And underneath it said, "Arundhati Roy at the International Day of the Disappeared." So, you have the news, but it says nothing, you know? That's the kind of thing that can happen.

Actually, I'm somebody who is invited to mainstream forums, and I'm not shunned out. You know, I can say what I have to say. But the point is, Amy, that there is a delicate line between just being so far -- you know, just being so isolated that you become the spokesperson for everything, and this kind of person that it suits them to have one person who's saying something and listen to it and ignore what is being said, and I don't want to move so far away from everybody else, that if you want to listen to me, then why don't you listen to so and so? Why don't you speak to so and so? Why don't you get some other voices, because otherwise it sounds like you're this lone brave, amazing person, which is unpolitical.

AG: I'm just looking at a KMS newswire story -- that's Kashmir Media Service -- May 23, just after you spoke here in New York. It says, "A human rights activist and prominent Indian writer, Arundhati Roy, has said India is not a democratic state. The 1997 Booker winner, Arundhati Roy, addressing a book-reading function in New York, said India is not a democratic society." Can you talk about that idea?

AR: Well, I do think that we are really suffering a crisis of democracy, you know? And the simplest way I can explain it is that in 2004, when the general elections took place in India, we were reeling from five years of rightwing communal BJP politics, the rightwing Hindu party.

AG: Would you make any parallels to political parties in the United States?

AR: Very, very much so. I mean, it was very similar to the Republicans versus the Democrats, and in fact --

AG: The Congress Party being the Democrats.

AR: The Congress Party being the Democrats, and the Republicans being the rightwing Hindu BJP. And, of course, in a country -- like in America, their politics, apart from affecting Americans to a great deal, also affects the rest of the world. But in India, India not being a world power, however much it wants to claim it is, turns those energies on its own people. So in Gujarat, you had in 2002 this mass killing of Muslims on the streets, a bloodbath where people were burnt alive, women were raped on the streets, dismembered, killed in full public view.

What happened after that, there were elections, and the man who engineered all this won the elections. So you're thinking, "Is it better to have a fascist dictator or a fascist Democrat who has the approbation of all these people?" Continues to be in power in Gujarat. Nothing has happened. It's a Nazi type of society, where hundreds of thousands of people are still economically boycotted Muslims, something like 100,000 driven from their homes. Police won't register cases. One or two important cases are looked at by the Supreme Court, but the mass of it is still completely unresolved. That's the situation, anyway, and while you're orchestrating this communal killing, you're also selling off to Enron and to all these private companies, and so on the one hand you're talking about Indian-ness and all this, and this nationalism in this absurd way, and on the other, you're just selling it off in bulk.

But during the elections, all of us were waiting with bated breath to see what would happen. And when the Congress came to power, supported by the left parties from the outside, obviously we allowed ourselves a huge gasp of relief, you know, walked on our hands in front of the TV for a bit. But the Congress campaigned against the neoliberal policies that it had brought in, actually.

But before even we knew whether Sonia Gandhi was going to be the prime minister or what was going to happen, there was an orchestrated drop in the stock market. The media's own stocks began to drop. The cameras that had been in all these villages, saying look at this wonderful democracy, and the camels and the bullock carts and everyone that's coming to vote was outside the stock market now. And before the government was formed, both from the left and from the Congress, spokesmen had to come out and say, "We will not dismantle this neoliberal regime." And today we have a prime minister who has not been elected. He is a technocrat who has been nominated. He is part of the Washington Consensus.

AG: I want to ask in our last 30 seconds: the role you see of the artist in a time of war?

AR: Well, I think the problem is that artists are not a homogenous lot of people, and some of them are as rightwing and establishment as they can get, you know, so the role of the artist is not different from the role of any human being. You pick your side, and then you fight, you know? But in a country like India, I'm not seeing that many radical positions taken by writers or poets or artists, you know? It's all the seduction of the market that has shut them up like a good medieval beheading never could.

AG: And what do you think artists should do?

AR: Exactly what anyone else should do, which is to pick your side, take your position, and then go for it, you know?