Monday, September 21, 2009

The man to whom Rajasthan owes its food security

Rajendra Bora

Jaipur. Rajasthan too ows its gratitude to agricultural scientist Norman Borlaug who died at Dallas in Texas, United States Saturday last at the age of 95.

The genetic plant breeder worked in Rajasthan in 1960s on ‘Intensive Agriculture Development Project’ bringing green revolution in the desert state by growing high yielding wheat varieties that more than tripled the harvest.

Rajasthan was selected as the one of the seven projects in the country where the new varieties of wheat, developed by Borlaug in Mexico, were to be planted for advanced generations in 1963 under his personal monitoring after the scientist was invited to India by the Ministry of Agriculture on a suggestion of noted Indian agricultural scientist M.S.Swaminathan.

Pali district was selected for the Rajasthan Project because better irrigation facilities were available there from Jawai Dam and Takhat Sagar Dam, recalls Rajveer Singh, retired Additional Director Agriculture.

The Pali areas of Bali, Rani, Sumerpur and Desuri were having canal irrigation system as well as fully developed well-irrigation system where the Borlaug experiment was conducted with tremendous success, says Singh.

Borlaug’s Maxicun variety was dwarf one in which vegetative growth of plant was blocked transferring energy to increasing grain formation. The contemporary Indian varieties were having a chef and grain ratio of 1.25 and One while the new dwarf variety changed this ratio to .75 and One. The crop yield dramatically increased from16 quintals per hectare of old varieties to 40 quintals per hectare of new dwarf varieties.

It was a turning point for green revolution in India, particularly in Rajasthan, says Rajveer Singh adding that the credit too goes to Indian farmers too who adopted the new variety very quickly. In accepting the new wheat variety Indian farmers were far ahead of US farmers, he said.

Lerma Rajo-64 and Sonara-64 changed the economics of Rajasthan farmers who feel personal loss in the passing away of Borlaug.

Throughout his life, Borlaug was a firm believer that the job of feeding the world could not be done without chemical fertilizers and pesticides. That view drew strong criticism from environmentalists. Borlaug tempered his views somewhat in his later years and led efforts to discourage overuse of insecticides and fertilizers.

Borlaug, a recipient of Nobel Peace Prize was conferred with Padma Vibhushan honour by Government of India for his contribution to developing food security in the country bringing about green revolution.

(The piece appeared in Hindustan Times supplement HT Live on September 19, 2009)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Will Rajasthan Police learn something from MIT project

Rajendra Bora

Jaipur. It is full one year after completion of a three year collaborative project between the Rajasthan Police and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), United States. And it is the time for looking back and evaluate if the exercise really succeeded in enhancing performance, and improve public perception of the state police?

The ambitious project was claimed to be the first rigorously evaluated police reform project in the world.

The project started in September 2005 was over in June 2008. It was considered as a first genuine effort of administrative reform where a government department willingly opened itself to a neutral agency to identify the areas of concern in their basic field unit and rigorously evaluate the effectiveness of reform to provide a responsive, accountable and transparent police to citizens.

During the course of project around 350 investigation officers – Inspectors, Sub-Inspectors and ASI’s – were trained at Rajasthan Police Academy for improving their skills on investigation. Also 2,000 police personnel of all ranks were trained on soft skills to improve public relations. Starting with 11 police stations in Jaipur North, Jaipur East, Jaipur Rural and Sikar districts the project area was scaled up to 150 police stations in 11 districts across Rajasthan.

The reforms initiatives took off from the basics that Rajasthan Police was facing some enduring issues like effectiveness, scalability and lack of evidence on public and police perceptions.

The report on “Police Performance and Public Perception” made public describes working of the project and its results and recommendations. The report includes both public opinion about the police and the police personnel’s own opinion about their job.

The interesting finding of the project is that police personnel do not find their job boring. Lowest respondents mentioned their job of policing as boring. However, worst aspects of policing, in the opinion of police personnel, were mentioned as long working hours, no day off, low pay, poor housing quarters, unsteady and unpredictable postings and postings far away from home besides no potential for promotion, and no reward for hard work.

The project showed that an improvement in investigation can be achieved if administrative transfers of constables are frozen for a certain length of time, minimum two years, and posting periods are lengthened and inappropriate interference or maneuvering for postings are reduced. The innovative project results indicate that if police personnel got weekly offs regularly it resulted in better rested, more flexible and more efficient police force.

In the project areas No Transfer regime increased crime victim satisfaction by 30 per cent, decreased ferar of police by 19 per cent and reduced staff complaints of unfairness. Training all staff increased victim satisfaction by 31 per cent and grade on scientific investigation increased by 1.3 points (average grade was 2)

The collaborative project introduced a novel community observer idea. More than 100 community members were selected per police station to visit there for three hours on one day each. The idea had two goals. While observers witness and spread information about true roles, challenges, and needs of police their presence encourages polite, patient behaviour by staff. However, the innovative idea can succeed only by proper implementation.

A household survey was the part of the project to understand people’s perception about the police. It came out with interesting findings. As many as 39 per cent of the respondents felt that law-abiding citizens feared police. Of the 11 districts covered by the project 18 per cent of the households were victim to at least one crime. In Kota 13 percent households were found to be victims of at least one crime while 10 per cent of the households in Jaipur and Chittorgarh (including Pratapgarh) were found to be victim to at least one crime.

The survey found that in 71 per cent cases victims never reported the matter to police. The reason being 28 per cent of them felt the matter was not important while 20 per cent felt police couldn’t do any thing and 17 per cent of them felt police won’t do anything.

A significant finding was that 17 per cent of the victims reported that police demanded money to register FIR. Median demand was Rs.2,000.

The survey found satisfaction with police investigation was very low with only 13 per cent of the people were found to be “completely satisfied” while 46 per cent of them were “completely unsatisfied” and 27 per cent “unsatisfied”. The major reasons for dissatisfaction were also analysed. In 25 per cent of cases Police did not take action, in 23 per cent cases Police did not seem interested, in 17 per cent criminal was searched or arrested, in 13 per cent police was unable to return stolen property and in six per cent cases police asked for money.

The survey returned with astonishing findings when it tried to ascertain people’s perception as to how hard do police work compared with average citizens? As many as 56 per cent of citizens believed that the police don’t work hard and 81 per cent of respondents did not favour that police needed more resources. The number of people who feel police are lazy are increasing too.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Gulshan Bawra: Lyricist with the magic pen

Rajendra Bora

Noted lyricist Gulshan Bawra, whose song in Manoj Kumar’s film ‘Upkaar’ – ‘Mere Desh Ki Dharti Sona Ugle’ – turned out to be one of the finest patriotic songs in Hindi films, passed away in Mumbai today. Many would not know that the poet who also wrote ‘Yaari Hai Imaan Mera’ for Amitabh Bacchhan’s first blockbuster ‘Zanjeer’, had Jaipur connection.

The poet, who thrilled the Hindustani Film Music buffs for about 40 years had his schooling in Jaipur. He was born at Sheikhupura, about 30 kms from Lahore in undivided India. His original name was Gulshan Kumar Mehta. His family was a victim to the partition riots where young Gulshan saw his parents being killed in front of his eyes. After the tragedy his sister brought him and his elder brother to Jaipur and brought them up. The family used to live in Raja Park area and Gushan had his schooling in the Pink City.

After his brother got a job, Gulshan was shifted to Delhi where he graduated from the Delhi University. He started writing poetry in his college days. After graduation he got a job in Railways and was posted to Kota. But he found that the post at Kota had already been filled when he reached there to join. He was later posted as a clerk in Mumbai, the tinsel town.
He tried to get a break in films remaining in his job. Kalyanji - Veerji Shah gave him first opening in ‘Chandrasena’ (1959) and Lata Mangeshkar sang his very first song ‘Main kya jaanu kahan laage yeh saawan matwala re’
He tasted his first big success in film ‘Satta Bazar’ when Kalyanji – Anandji’s musical score gripped the audiences all over the country. ‘Tumhe Yaad Hoga Khabhi Ham Mile The’ from this film is still rage among music lovers.
It was during the making of this film that the film’s distributor Shantibhai Patel christened him ‘Bawra’. He was very impressed by his lyrics but could not reconcile their excellence to the typical young man in his twenties who wore a rather colourful shirt. He said, 'Main iska naam Gulshan Bawra rakhoonga. He looks like a 'bawra' (madman).'
He eventually left the Railway’s job 1961 joined the tinsel world. Stastically he wrote only 240 songs in a 42-year career because he was always selective in doing films not allowing himself to turn into a song producing machine.
Almost half of his total number of songs had been with R.D.Burman. His last release was Zulmi (1999) and his last hit was ‘Le pappiyaan jhappiyaan paale hum’ for Haqeeqat(1995), which landed him in his only controversy - of writing a vulgar song.
Bawra, who did comeo roles too in a few films was on the board of the Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS) for the past seven years.
Film historian M.D.Soni had talked with the lyricist two months back for inviting him to a meeting of ‘Suryatra’ , a group of film music buffs in Jaipur. Although he was ill but enthusiastically assured that he would come to Jaipur after two or three months for rekindling his childhood memories. But fate decided otherwise.

(The piece appeared on page one of HT Live of Hindustan Times on August 8,2009)

Friday, July 31, 2009

From an outsider to being one of them

Rajendra Bora

Maharani Gayatri Devi of Jaipur, hailed as one of the most beautiful women in the world, added glamour to the Pink City when she arrived in the town in 1940 at the age of 21 as a third wife of Maharaja Man Singh, a veritable prince charming.

Unlike his two earlier marriages, arranged by elders, the Maharaja himself chose his third bride. It was a love marriage between Man Singh and Gayatri Devi. And like any love marriage in traditional Indian society this high profile wedding also faced several hurdles.

The first hurdle came from Gayatri Devi’s family in Cooch Behar. Even her mother, herself a great friend of the Jaipur Maharaja, was hesitant to give her daughter’s hand to a man already having two wives. However, Man Singh’s love for the beautiful princes triumphed and Cooch Behar family agreed for the wedding.

The biggest challenge to the proposed marriage came from Jaipur nobles and also from the then British Government of India.

Oppositon to the third marriage of the Maharaja with Cooch Behar princes was unanimous. Rajput chieftains objected to the marriage as they considered Cooch Behar as inferior in status to that of Jaipur. There was, however, nobody who could tell Man Singh this to his face. There were only two exceptions, his father, the Thakur of Isarda and Nobel Amar Singh, who could talk to the Maharaja. But their opposition too failed to change the Maharaja’s mind.

An entry into Aamar Singh’s diary states that in January 1940 Maharaja Sahib asked him whether he would be coming to his marriage and he replied “certainly not; if you marry in a good Rajput family I will with pleasure, but not when you marry into that family (of Cooch Behar)”.

Maharajas of Bikaner, Udaipur, Dungarpur and Jamnagar, who were all related to one or other of Man Singh’s earlier two wives even made representation to the Viceroy Lord Linlithgow against the Jaipur Maharaja’s adventurous step.

Interestingly Viceroy of India too issued an edict : “no officer of my government should attend, whether from Cooch Behar or from Jaipur, or anywhere else, and no congratulations or good wishes should be offered unless with the preface that the offerer stands in his private capacity only.”

Sir B.J. Glancy, political advisor, held that ‘though they (Cooch Behar) described themselves as Kshtriya, they would have great difficulty in establishing their claim to this distinction.”

But the adamant Maharaja sticked to his love. He himself went to Udaipur to bring its Maharana to his side and later wrote a letter asking him to attend his marriage. Udaipur Maharana, excusing himself on health ground, ultimately sent his two representatives to the wedding ceremony held in Cooch Behar. Maharaja Man Singh went there with a retinue of 40 nobles.

Maharani Gayatri Devi in her autobiography ‘A Princes remembers’ commented “I knew that my marriage was not popular with Jai’s (for her Man Singh was Jai and for Maharaja she was Ayesha) relatives and the Jaipur Nobilities. The other two Maharanis were related to most of the Rajput princely families, but I was a total stranger.”

However, when Gayatri Devi departed to heavenly abode at the age of 90 yesterday she was no ‘outsider” but Jaipur’s own ‘Maharani’, ‘Raj Mata’ and ‘Raj Dadi’ who was sent to the Lok Sabha by the people thrice with astounding margin of votes.

(The piece appeared in Hindustan Times supplement HT LIve on July 31, 2009)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

जोधपुर से जुडी हैं उस्ताद अली अकबर खां साहेब की यादें

राजेंद्र बोड़ा

सरोद के बेताज बादशाह उस्ताद अली अकबर खान साहेब का इंतकाल शास्त्रीय संगीत के एक युग पुरुष का हमारे बीच से उठ जाना है. उनके सरोद के तारों की धुन के दीवाने हिंदुस्तान में ही नहीं पूरी दुनिया में फैले हुए हैं. उनके निधन की खबर सुन कर खान साहेब की स्मृतियों में खो जाने वालों में राजस्थान के जोधपुर शहर के संगीत के रसिक भी हैं. बहुतों को नहीं मालूम होगा कि खान साहेब का तत्कालीन मारवाड़ की राजधानी जोधपुर से गहरा रिश्ता रहा. वास्तव में इस सरोदवादक को अपनी पहली असली कामयाबी इसी मरू भूमि पर मिली. वे जोधपुर दरबार में संगीतज्ञ के रूप में नियुक्त होकर आये और इस शहर में करीब सात बरस रहे. जोधपुर दरबार में ही उन्हें उस्ताद की उपाधि मिली. ये वो ज़माना था जब राज दरबारों में संगीतकारों की प्रतिभा को बुलंदियां मिलती थीं. जोधपुर में अपने जीवन की पहली असली उपलब्धि हासिल करने के बाद सरोद के तारों के इस जादूगर ने कभी पीछे मुड कर नहीं देखा. वे संगीत में सफलताओं के एक के बाद एक बड़े शिकार चढ़ते ही गए.

उस्ताद अली अकबर खान साहेब का जोधपुर प्रवास के दिलचस्प किस्से स्वर्गीय संगीतकार रामलाल माथुर सुनाया करते थे.

खान साहेब के जोधपुर प्रवास काल में रामलाल जी का अधिकांश समय उनके सानिध्य में गुजरा. खान साहेब से रामलालजी ने औपचारिक रूप से संगीत की तालीम ली थी. इसलिए उनके पास अपने उस्ताद के साथ बिताये दिनों की लम्बी खुशगवार यादें थीं. रामलाल जी के शब्दों में उस्ताद को मोटर कार चलने का बेहद शौक था. जब वे जोधपुर आये ही थे तब दरबार की और से उस्ताद के लिए हर समय एक बग्गी तैनात रहती थी. फिर उन्हें एक मोटर साईकिल और बाद में उन्हें एक कार भेंट की गयी. कार ख़राब हो जाने पर उसे स्वयं ठीक करना उस्ताद का पसंदीदा काम था.

उस्ताद को तेज रफ़्तार से गाडी चलाना अच्छा लगता था. कभी खान साहेब अपने नजदीकी लोगों जिनमें रामलालजी जरूर होते थे अपनी कार में बिठा कर पाली के पास जसवंत सागर बंधे तक चले जाते थे और वहां घंटों बैठे रहते . चलती कार में ही उस्ताद गाकर अपने शागिर्दों को रागों के भेद बताते थे. अधिकतर उनके साथ कार में रामलालजी और संगीतकार जयदेव हुआ करते थे. कभी कभी उस्ताद की पत्नी बऊदी भी साथ हो लेती थीं.

रामलालजी ने एक किस्सा सुनाया कि एक रात लगभग नौ बजे उस्ताद की पत्नी खाना लगाने की तैयारी कर रहीं थीं. उस्ताद ने उसी दिन सरोद पर नया चमडा लगाया था अतः वे चौक में खाट पर केवल यह देखने के लिए बैठ गए कि घुड़च और तार ठीक से जमे हैं या नहीं. साज को जांचते जांचते उनका मन बजाने में लग गया और वे घंटों बजाते रहे. उस्ताद को बीच में कौन टोके ? सभी चुपचाप सुनते रहे. रात एक बजे उन्हें सुधि आयी. उस रात उस्ताद ने तन्मयता से अपने लिए जो बजाय वह ता उम्र रामलाल जी के मानस पटल पर अंकित रहा.

उस्ताद अली अकबर खान साहेब के जोधपुर प्रवास काल में पंडित रविशंकर कईं बार वहां आये. उन दिनों साले - बहनोई में खूब पटती थी. दोनों ज़िन्दगी को उत्सव की तरह जीते थे. वे एक दूसरे से बच्चों की तरह हंसी मजाक करते और एक दूसरे को बनाते भी खूब थे. दोनों में गज़ब की आपसी सूझ बूझ थी जिसकी झलक उनकी जुगलबंदी में मिलती थी. एक बार जोधपुर के मेहरानगढ़ किले में हुई महफिल में दोनों ने मिल कर रात भर बजाया. तबले पर उनके साथ संगत की थी पंडित किशन महाराज ने.

सितार के एक अन्य प्रमुख घराने के उस्ताद विलायत खान भी खान साहेब के मेहमान बन कर जोधपुर रहे. उनके कार्यक्रम महाराजा के यहाँ तो होते ही थे उस्ताद के घर पर भी महफिल जुटती रहती थी. दोनों दिग्गज कलाकार बड़े प्रेम से एक साथ बजाते थे. रामलालजी ने बताया कि महाराजा हनुवंत सिंह ने इन दो दिग्गजों की जुगलबंदी की एक ग्रामोफोन रिकॉर्ड भी बनवाई थी जिसमें दोनों ने राग मेघ बजाया था.

महाराजा उम्मेद सिंह के ज्येष्ठ पुत्र हनुवंत सिंह को शास्त्रीय संगीत बहुत प्रिय था. कभी कभी तो वे घंटों उस्ताद का सरोद वादन सुनते. एक बार किले के शीश महल में उस्ताद का कार्यक्रम हुआ जिसमें उन्होंने राग पूर्वी बजाया. हनुवंत सिंह ने सुन कर कहा उस्ताद आज तो बिलकुल नया राग बजाया, बहुत मीठा था. अब कोई हमारा राग भी बजाइए. हनुवंत सिंह को पीलू, खमाज, तिलक, कामोद, बिहाग, देश एवं भैरवी राग बहुत भाते थे. उस्ताद ने तिलक कामोद बजाया. इस राग की अवतारणा कुछ ऐसी करवट से हुई कि सुनने वाले मंत्रमुग्ध हो गए. दाद देते हुए हनुवंत सिंह ने कहा "उस्ताद हम बाजी हार गए. आपसे आधा सरोद भी बजाना आता तो हम सब कुछ छोड़ कर हिमालय पर जा बसते."

हनुवंत सिंह ने उस्ताद अली अकबर खान साहेब के निर्देशन में एक वृन्दवादन दल भी बनाया. उस्ताद ने शास्त्रीय और लोक धुनों के वृन्दवादन (आर्केस्ट्रा) तैयार किये जो बहुत लोकप्रिय हुए.

हनुवंत सिंह जब गद्दी पर बैठे तब उन्होंने जोधपुर में पहला अखिल भारतीय संगीत सम्मलेन आयोजित करवाया. उस्ताद अली अकबर खान के प्रयासों से सम्मलेन में देश भर के सभी विख्यात संगीतकारों ने हिस्सा लिया. इस सम्मलेन की एक विशेषता यह भी थी कि इसमें उत्तर भारत के अलावा दक्षिणी भारत के सुविख्यात वीणा तथा मृदंगम के कलाकारों ने भीं प्रस्तुतियां दीं. साथ ही सुगम संगीत के गायकों संगीतकारों ने भी इसमें शिरकत की. इनमें सचिन देव बर्मन भी थे जिन्होंने बाद में हिंदी फिल्मों में बड़ा नाम कमाया. इस सम्मलेन में ध्रुवपद एवं कत्थक का भी समावेश था.

कोलकाता के एक सम्मलेन में रामलाल जी भी साथ गए थे. राय बोराल स्ट्रीट के उस सम्मलेन में देश के सभी चोटी के संगीतज्ञ भाग ले रहे थे. उस्ताद ने वहां राग मुल्तानी बजाया और सबको मानो सम्मोहित कर दिया. कार्यक्रम की समाप्ति पर 'आफ़ताब-ए-मौसिकी' उस्ताद फैयाज़ खान मंच पर आये और अली अकबर खान को गले लगा कर बोले "बेटा तूने हक अदा कर दिया. हम तेरे बाबा के ज़माने के हैं. उनका सुर तो बहुत सुना था पर तेरे ज़वे की चोट तेरी ही है. इल्म-ए-मौसिकी का चिराग रोशन रखना बेटे. खुदा की रहमत हो तुझ पर."

एक दिलचस्प घटना को सुनाये बिना हमारी बात अधूरी रहेगी. एक बार दिल्ली से लौट कर उस्ताद ने यह किस्सा रामलाल जी को सुनाया था. उस्ताद दिल्ली में रेडियो स्टेशन के स्टूडियो में सरोद के तार मिला रहे थे. तभी एक नयी अनाउंसर आयी और पूछा आप ही अली अकबर हैं ? आपको देशकार राग बजाना है. समझे ? उस्ताद अपने मूड में थे. उससे कहने लगे “इस वक्त तो मैं राग देसी ही बजाऊंगा”. वह बोली “आप देसी या परदेसी कुछ नहीं बजा सकते. आपको देशकार ही बजाना पड़ेगा”. उस्ताद ने मुस्करा कर कहा मैं तो देसी ही बजाऊंगा. वह बोली “तो यह कहिये कि आपकी देसकार बजाना नहीं आता. मैं अभी रिपोर्ट करती हूँ”. उस्ताद बोले “जरूर करिए. मगर अपने डाइरेक्टर को यह कहना न भूलियेगा कि अली अकबर को देसकार बजाना नहीं आता. और हाँ अगर आप पांच मिनट में नहीं लौटी तो मैं यहाँ से चला जाऊंगा”. तीन मिनट में ही डायरेक्टर दौड़ा दौड़ा आया और उस्ताद से माफ़ी मांगी और नई अनाउंसर को तमीज सिखाई.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Jodhpur is proud of its association with legendry Ali Akbar Khan

Rajendra Bora

Jodhpur. With the passing away of Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, who became a legend in his own life time, an era of Indian classical music has ended. The land of Marwar is proud of its association with the master of Sarod, a 25-stringed instrument, who brought the Indian classical music to the international stage.
Ali Akbar Khan Saheb began his professional musical career in Jodhpur serving as court musician in 1940s. People of Jodhpur have always been proud of the fact that the Ustad started his journey to great musical heights from the land of Marwar.. In fact his first true achievement came when he was appointed the court musician in the Jodhpur Royal Court.

It was also in the Jodhpur Royal Court that he was bestowed upon the title of ‘Ustad’ (master musician).

Veteran music connoisseurs in Jodhpur still have fond memories of Ustad who, they remember, was a jovial fellow and a good cook too. He was provided with an official car from the court in which he would go on long drives with local connoisseurs of music discussing intricacies and nuances of Indian classical ragas.

During his three years stay in the Sun City a hugely successful national music conference was organized that was attended by every musician worth the salt from all parts of the country.

The Ustad, virtually synonymous with Sarod had arrived in Jodhpur as a young man of 22, just out of his teens, after showing his virtuosity very early in life. He gave his first public performance in Allahabad when he was only 13. His first disc was cut by HMV when he was only 20.

Born on April 14, 1922 in East Bengal, now Bangla Desh, in a gifted family he was trained under the watchful and severe tutelage of his highly disciplinarian father Ustad Allaudin Khan. Exasperated by his father’s strictness the teenage boy fled to Bomaby to try his luck at All India Radio station. But he was forced back home by his father.

Tracing his ancestral roots to Mian Tansen, a 16th century musician in the court of Emperor Akbar, Khan Saheb began studying music at the age of three. Initially studying vocal music with his father, he studied drums with his uncle, Fakir Aftabuddin. Although he tried playing a wide variety of instruments, he felt most comfortable on the sarod.

In the Jodhpur Darbar he was accompanied by another musical genious Jaidev who later carved his own niche in bollywood giving soulful music to dozens of films, including Hum Dono, Mujhe Jeene Do and Ghaonda.

Although the Ustad exclusively devoted himself to classical music he too made contribution to film music and his musical scores for films are rare gem always cherished by Hindustani Film Music buffs. He scored music for Dev Anand starrer ‘Aandhiyan’ besides Ivory-Merchant’s Shashi Kapoor starrer ‘The Householder’ and Satyajit Roy’s Sharmila Tagore starrer ‘Devi’. He won best musician of the year award for his score for film ‘Kudita Pashan’. He scored music for Hollywood legend Bernardo Bertolucci’s ‘Little Buddha.’

A five-time Grammy nominee, he was called, by Yehudi Menuhin, "an absolute genius and the greatest musician in the world."

(The piece appeared on June 21,2009 in Jaipur Live supplement of The Hindustan Times)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Marwari Horse brings glory to Rajasthan

Rajendra Bora

Jaipur. The world’s largest sculpture of a horse head, created by acclaimed sculptor Nic Fidian-Green in England, has made Rajasthan proud.

The 25 ft long bronze, created for a wealthy Gloucestershire couple, is an image of Marwari horse, an indigenous breed of the sandy desert of Western Rajasthan.

The equine enthusiasts who are trying to resurrect the breed from deterioration from more than a century of neglect during British rule are thrilled to receive the news of creation of the sculpulture depicting image of Marwari horse recognized by the animal’s inward turning ear tips.

The sculpture, commissioned by Sir Anthony Bamford and his wife Lady Bamford, was recently erected at Wintershall Estate near Bramley in Surrey. However, Surrey is the sculpture’s temporary home while the couple is seeking permission from town planners for its permanent installation in Gloucestershire.

The Marwari horse breed is believed to have been developed by crossing Arabian horses, possibly with some Mangolian influence, with locals like Kathiawari horses. . As early as in the beginning of 12th century the traditional rulers of Marwar took up Marwari horse breeding in a professional manner promoting strict quality control for breeding to maintain purity and hardiness of the breed.

The breed, which comes in all colours – the most popular being pinto colour – was used as cavalry horse in the past and is famous for its loyalty and bravery in battle field. It lost its identity and turned into an endangered breed due to small effective population size mostly after 1930s as the British with their penchant for purity of breed rejected it on the ground that it was a cross breed.

Although some rulers, particularly Rathores, continued breeding the horse during British rule but the horse went into oblivion after Independence and with the end of princely era.

However, there has been renewed interest and enthusiasm among some breeders to save the indigenous breed from extinction. Their efforts have succeeded and there have been demands for Marwari Horse from all parts of the globe and a stud may fetch for its breeder half a million rupees in international market.

The sculpture of Marwari horse head is likely to create bigger enthusiasm for the desert breed among equine lovers all over the world.

The National research Centre on Equine at Hissar and its sub centre in Bikaner, are currently making studies using using DNA testing to establish purity of the breed and find genetic bottlenecks. It has already been established that Marwari breed of horses can be differentiated from other exotic breeds and there had been no genetic deformities or diseases in the breed.

The Marwari horses are reared currently for breeding, sports, ceremony and tourism by stray enthusiasts but state patronage for comprehensive measures for conservation of the breed is lacking.

The news that the world’s largest horse head sculpture is the image of Marwari Horse, therefore, rekindles the hope for survival of the breed from extinction.

(The story appeared on June 18,2009 in Jaipur Live suppliment of The Hindustan Times)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

From Residency to Raj Bhawan

Rajendra Bora

British government made headquarters of its first resident of Rajputana at Rampura in 1818, in the then Tonk state, but the place just does not exist in any official record now.

Rampura is a forgotten place. Even census reports or revenue records do not mention any place bearing the name of Rampura, says the recently released book “Rajputana Residency to Raj Bhawan,” the first work about Rajasthan that brings residencies and Raj Bhawans to the centre state of history.

The authors of the book V.S.Singh, a senior IAS officer presently posted as secretary to the Rajasthan governor, and B.R.Dubey, an officer on special duty in the Raj Bhawan, however, succeeded in tracing the place chosen for establishing first residency in Rajputana to operate the newly established alliance between British paramountcy and Rajput states.

They dug out some documents from Arabic and Persian institute in Tonk to establish that the present Aligarh, a tehsil headquarters, was the old Rampura where the first residency had its headquarters before shifting to a more suitable place Ajmer.

The nawab of Tonk state changed the name of Rampura to Aligarh around 19th century, says this book commissioned by the Raj Bhawan.

A visit to Rampura, now Aligarh, revealed that neither the government records there nor the oral accounts or even the site observation gave any idea of existence of a residency, say the authors.

Since there existed no building, or any relic thereof which looked like a residency, the book ventured to guess that the first agent to Governor General (AGG) in Rajputana, Major General Sir David Ochterlony lived in Rampura in tents.

The main consideration of selecting Rampura as the headquarters of the resident was political and military advantage of its location on the route of Agra and Ajmer.

“I will be necessary, therefore, for you to fix your permanent residence at Rampura which... is to be station of the main body of the force destined for the protection of Rajputana, and for giving effect to the alliance with the western states. The book quoted a letter from secretary to the Governor General to the newly appointed AGG for Rajputana as saying.

However, establishment of the Rajputana residency at Rampura was a transitory phase as Major General Ochterlony, who was made resident in April 1818 was posted back in Delhi from where he looked after affairs of Rajputana states.

The then British Governor General William Bentick later decided in 1832 in favour of Ajmer as headquarters of AGG for the town’s climate, centrality and strategic importance. Earlier, Rampura was chosen as the residency because Ajmer at that time was in possession of Daulat Rao Sindhia and yet to be ceded to British Government.

The Rajputana residency, the residence of the AGG, was started in 1832 from Daulat Bagh, now known as Subhash Udhyan before shifting to Phoos-ka-Bungalow near the Principal’s old bungalow and Durgadas house in the present Mayo College campus in Ajmer.

However, after the visit to Mount Abu by Col Todd in 1822, the Britishers started gravitating towards the hill resort because of its salubrious climate and scenic beauty and by the year 1842 they started oscillating between Ajmer and Abu during winter and summer respectively.

In August, 1857, the headquarters of the Rajputana agency were transferred to Mount Abu from Ajmer. However, about seven years later the Governor General in council authorised the AGG to make Ajmer his headquarters for six months in a year and remain there as long as necessary in public interest.

Interestingly Mount Abu’s residency building still houses Raj Bhawan, the residence of Rajasthan Governor, where the constitutional head of the state shifts in summer.

When Mayo College for the education of wards of princely states came up, the residency was shifted to a rented building which came to the Rajasthan government after independence. The state government finally purchased the building for Rs 5 lakh in as late as 1972 in pursuance of the judgement of a case pending in Calcutta High Court since 1939.

After independence Jaipur became the capital of newly formed state by merger of 19 princely states and the institute of resident died with the departure of Britishers. A new institution of Rajpramukh emerged which was later converted in to Rajyapal, the Governor.

The present Raj Bhawan also did not come into existence immediately after the formation of the Rajasthan state because the first Rajpramukh, Sawai Man Singh II, the Maharaja of Jaipur opted to live in his own majestic Ram Bagh Palace.

The institution of Rajpramukh gave way to Governor ina 1956 and the first incumbent was Gurumukh Nihal Singh for whom the Raj Bhawan was created to serve his residence that grew to present glory gradually.

(The piece was published in Times of India on 5 June 2003)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

State Academies need revitalization for promotion of arts and culture

Rajendra Bora

Now is the time for the state government to start homework for revitalizing various Academies. Although the Academies, like Lalit Kala Academy, Sangeet Natak Academy, Sahitya Academy and others, are autonomous institutions, they derive sustenance and effectiveness from the support of the government. Therefore, much depend on how those in power perceive these institutions. The rich heritage of Rajasthan in all forms of arts –both performing and non-performing- need state supported autonomous institutions not only for preservation but for grooming of local talents and promotion of arts.

One of the failings of these academies has been that they have not only lacked desired financial support of the government but also lacked public support in their working. We have seen in the past that their headships had been distributed like charity. Unworthy heads of such institutions cannot bring any revolution. If we look at the past five years’ scenario in the state and the way affairs of the academies were conducted we have no hesitation in saying that these years were lost years.

The new government will now be appointing chairmen for the academies. It is obvious that those nominated would be from those very near to corridors of power. There would be political desires too for selecting certain candidates. No problem in that because many of those having political leanings could also prove to be harbinger of required change for bringing the academies out of their present rut. The main challenge before Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, would be to find out right person for right job. He need not depend on others for the selections as he is well verse with the ground realities.

Since the first six months of the new government has already gone in election mode now is the time that it acted decisively and immediately to revamp academies by bringing in people of merit. These are the institution for which no other criteria could be adopted.

It is important that chairman of academies should not only be the persons of artistic or literary eminence and knowledgeable but also hold good administrative acumen and have their heart in the job. We require eminent people as heads of these institutions who could stoutly take up the cause of arts and artists and those who could garner public support in the working of the academies.

Academies can’t be run like government departments. If the government moves ahead with this in mind and find suitable persons to head the academies there would be no dearth of any support from the society.

The art, cultural and literary circles in the state are awaiting the government action. The soon it comes the better.

(The piece appeared in Jaipur Live of The Hindsutan Times on May 25th, 2009)

Summer vacation in private Bed collages off as Govt. follows NCTE norms selectively

Rajendra Bora

Jaipur. The teachers and students in private Bed collages are braving grueling summer to complete their academic session 2009-10 with others. The State Government has instructed all the private Bed collages where admissions were delayed due to late counseling to do away with summer vacations and get their academic session regularized.

The counseling process for Bed courses was completed as late as in February this year. However, The National Council of Teachers Education (NCTE), a statutory body formed by an act of Parliament, mandates that annual examinations could be held only after completion of 180 days of teaching. Therefore, to regularize the 2009-10 session it is prudent to hold classes dispensing with summer vacations, official sources say.

All the concerned authorities have been instructed that in the collages where admissions were delayed and their academic calendar schedule of completing the course by June was not possible regular classes should be conducted in the period of summer vacations to regularize the academic year.

However, praising the government decision to follow NCTE’s norms in regularizing the academic year by dispensing with summer vacations in Bed collages, the experts hope that the State Government would act in a similar spirit to follow other norms of the NCTE to make BEd teaching more meaningful.

The experts feel that the government is making a complete mockery by keeping the Bed collages, affiliated to Universities, under administrative control of Secondary Education and paying the Bed teachers pay scales of school teachers.

Even the Universities, like Jai Narayan Vyas University in Jodhpur that run Bed courses on self financing basis, are not keeping most of the faculty on full time and regular basis.
There is a case of University of Rajasthan in Jaipur that run MEd course with just two full time and regular faculty against the NCTE norm of at least five full time and regular teachers for running Med course.

They point out that large number of Bed colleges in purely private sector and also those running on self financing basis were not following NCTE norms in Rajasthan like paying University Grants Commission (UGC) pay scales to the teachers teaching Bed courses.

Similarly the NCTE norm that the teachers in BEd collages should be appointed on “full time and regular basis” was being indiscriminately flouted in the state. It is the same case with the facilities of Provident Fund (PF) and Gratuity to the teachers working in Bed collages as the mushrooming private institutions were not paying any heed to the norms.

Even in government colleges some of the NCTE norms were not followed to the detriment of Bed teaching, they assert.

The education is in concurrent list of the Constitution and Centre could too make law even as it was a state subject. The Parliament has enacted the law to provide for NCTE. Therefore, the norms of NCTE would have to be followed by the State Government. In absence of that the degrees being given to BEd and MEd pass outs are virtually invalid.

(The story appeared in Jaipur Live of The Hindustan Times on May 24th, 2009)

Why Jaipur has surplus staff of teachers when posts lie vacant in countryside ?

Rajendra Bora

Jaipur. Everybody knows in the administration what ails government schools but none of those responsible for proving quality education is willing to correct things.

The biggest problem with government schools in every district is posts of teachers lying vacant. Take for example the district of Jaipur. As many as 153 posts of teachers are currently lying vacant in this district alone. If this is the situation in Jaipur one can very well visualize the situation in other districts. Despite consistent demands from parents and people’s representatives for filling the posts the situation remains the same.

The government schools, particularly in countryside and rural areas, have to go with vacant posts of teachers in spite of the fact that there is no shortage of teachers. Then why this situation persists? To find the answer one does not have to conduct any research. Government’s own official figures tell the story.

The official figures reveal that while 153 posts of teachers are lying vacant in schools in different parts of the Jaipur district, the capital city alone have 163 surplus teachers. If the surplus staff in Jaipur city is redeployed in the district no post of teacher remains vacant. If this is done the district would have ten teachers more than the sanctioned posts.

Official figures show that one of the schools in the capital has 21 teachers surplus having no teaching job to perform while schools in other parts of the district cry fro staff.

The capital city can also boasts of having 78 teachers in first grade surplus. A first grade teacher gets around Rs.30,000 per month while second grade teacher gets around 25,000 per months. One can easily visualize the burden the surplus teachers are putting on public exchequer.

A strong political will can correct the situation. But that would mean disturbing the surplus staff enjoying no-work-full pay. It will be the biggest problem because this surplus staff in Jaipur and other district headquarters have backing of bold and powerful in corridors of power.

The previous BJP government completely failed to correct the situation. Will the new government have guts to act decisively and fulfill its obligation to improve education standard in its own schools is the question experts are asking.

(The story was published in Jaipur Live of The Hindustan Times on May 20th,2009)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Hindi Film Music has finished says legendry saxophone player Manahari Singh

Rajendra Bora

Jaipur. Name of Manahari Singh, who played saxophone and other instruments in more than 15,000 film songs, rings nostalgic bells in the ears of Hindustani Film Music (HMF) buffs. The maestro, around eighty and on dialysis, still plays the wind instrument with gusto transporting the audience to the golden era of film music of the last century.

The old wizard is, however, “angry” over today’s film music scenario. “ Bada Gussa Aata Hai. Every thing has turned into ashes. Film music industry has finished. The ambience and atmosphere created by music directors, lyricist and singers of bygone era have vanished. There is a kind of bestiality pervading the contemporary film music”, commented soft spoken and humble Manahari Da while talking to members of ‘Suryatra’, a local group of cine-music buffs here on Sunday.

The musician, who played for legendary music directors like S.D.Burman, Shankar Jaikishen, Kalyanji Anandji, Madan Mohan, O.P.Nayyar and R.D.Burman, felt that the music being created these days had no match to the golden era of film music. “You can’t create human feelings with electronic key boards”, he said quoting a remark of music director late Anil Biswas that on today’s music you can tap your feet but this can’t move your heart. Therefore, Manohari da said, old film music will never die. It will continue to grip the listeners in generations to come.

Noted music director Salil Chaudhary brought Manahari Da to Mumbai from Kolkata and Dada got his first brak as saxophonist with S. D. Burman in ‘Sitaron Se Aage’ (1958). He went on to work as Dada Burman’s arranger through ‘Teen Deviyan, ‘Guide’ till ‘Tere Mere Sapne’. His piece on saxophone in songs like 'Gaata Rahe Mera Dil' and 'Din Dhal Jaye' in 'Guide' and 'Ye Duniya Usi Ki Zamana Usi ka' (Kashmir Ki Kali) are still raved by film music connoisseurs. Manogari Da’s added a bewitching touch to the song ‘Tumhe Yaad Hoga’ in Satta Bazar.

When asked to name a song where his wizardry was exploited to the hilt he hummed Laxmikant Pyarelal composed song ‘Main Aaya Hoon Lekar Jaam Haathon Men’ in Dev Anand-Hema Malini starrer ‘Ameer Gareeb’ saying it is the song where my saxophone has been exploited to the extreme.

Manohari Da, who composed music independently and with his colleague Vasu Chatterjee in a few hindi films besides giving music for some of his native Nepali films, felt Shankar-Jaikishen with their huge orchestra were a trend-setter for whom he remembered playing saxophone in a number of songs like ‘Gaa Mere Man Gaa’ in Laajwanti.

Sharing nostalgic memories of the past with ‘Suryatra’ members he said he worked with old stalwarts of Kolkata like Pankaj Mullick, R. C Boral, and Kamal Dasgupta before shifting to Mumbai and also worked with new age composers Jatir and Lalit. I also played with young Anand Palwankar group who play music with key board.

These days I can’t move out much as for three days in a week I have to be on dialysis machine. I have stopped playing for film songs. However, I do perform on stage whenever some enthusiastic people insist and call me.

When senior ‘Suryatra’ members M. D. Soni, a film historian and Arun Agrawal, a passionate collector of cine stuffs, asked him if he ever worked with any music director connected with Rajasthan he fondly remembers Daan Singh for whose super hit song ‘Ye tere Pyar Ka Gam” in ‘My Love’ he played clarinet.

(The piece appeared in Jaipur Live supplement of The Hindustan Times on May11,2009)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Where Slumdog Millionair fails to give correct answer

Rajendra Bora

JAIPUR. Who wrote the bhajan (song) ‘Darshan Do Ghanshyam Naath Mori Ankhiyan Pyasi Re’ ? asks the quizmaster in Oscar award winning film ‘Slumdog Millionair’. The quizmaster, played by bollywood actor Anil Kapoor, gave three options to protagonist, Jamaal, - Tulsidas, Meera Bai and Surdas. The protagonist picks out Surdas and the quizmaster proclaims the answer as correct one. But on this count the film by Danny Boyle fails miserably. The famous bhajan was not written by the saint Surdas 1500 years back but by fiery poet Gopal Singh Nepali for film ‘Narsi Bhagat’ in 1957.

It is unfortunate that the film failed to give due credit to Nepali, said renowned music director Ravi, who composed Darshan Do song for ‘Narsi Bhagat’. The poet had brought a lengthy poem written with small letters spread on to two sheets of paper out of which I I selected three stanzas for the film song, recalls Ravi, who gave immortal songs like ‘Babul Ki Duayen Leti Jaa, Jaa Tujko Sukhi Sansar Mile’, ‘Aaaj Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai’, ‘Ai Meri Zohra Zabi, Tujhe Maloom Nahi’ and ‘Kisi Patthar Ki Moorat Se’. The bhajan song was great and it still fondly hummed by Hindustani Film Music (HMF) lovers.

The incident also showed how ungrateful we are toward those who made the golden era of HMF shine, commented Ravi talking with film music lovers. He was in the pink city on a personal visit.

It is saddening to see the quality of today’s film music. Today’s film music completely lacks soul. The songs have life of no more than a month or so. Where ever I go in India or abroad people still hum and like to hear songs of bygone era, he said.

To a question why is it so Ravi replied: where are the writers like Sahir Ludhiyanvi or Shakeel Badayuni who penned words which went straight to the heart. I never gave tune to lyricist and always tuned the lyrics written first.

Ravi who received Filmfare nominations for Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960), Do Badan (1966), Humraaz (1967), Ankhen (1968), and Nikaah (1982) and won award for Gharana(1961) and Khandaan (1965), quipped : they are writing ‘Main Tujse Pyar Karunga Kapde Phaad Ke’ Is this potry or lyrics? How do you expect godd songs from this type of lyrics?

A big hindustani film music lover Mander Bichoo, a child specialist from Mumbai working in Sarjah for the last 15 years,who runs two most clicked websites on film music was also present at the meet with Ravi organised by one of the big collectors of hindi film music Arun Agrawal. An IT expert Pavan Jha, who runs most favourite website on Gulzar and a film and film-music historian M.D.Soni too shared their insights into film music.

The Suryatra group decided to create a website dedicated to Ravi for which the legendry music director who is equally revered in south for his music in Malyalam films gave his blessings.

(The piece appeared in Hindustan Times - Jaipur Live - on April 2,2009)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Film with music by Vishwa Mohan Bhatt making waves in international festival circuit

A scene from Empty Street

Rajendra Bora

JAIPUR. A film with music by Indian classical music wizard Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt is making waves at international film festival circuit.

The movie ‘Empty Streets’, about life in limbo, a meaningless purgatory devoid of cause and effect suspended in a vacuous space between heaven and hell, uses musical score of Pt. Bhatt, winner of highest international music award Grammy, to heighten the sense of void.

Pt. Bhatt scored the music for the film sitting in Jaipur using net. The film director Paul Booth would send scene script with exact timing of the shots besides rough cuts and Pt. Bhatt would sit on keyboard to compose the background score at his residence in Bapu Nagar. After composing the musical piece he would record the score at his studio in Malviya Nagar.

He himself played the Mohan Veena and the key board for the recording. The recorded stuff, exactly matching timing of the each scene would be sent to the director in New York via the net.

It has been a extraordinary experience, says Pt. Bhatt.

“There had been complete understanding between the director and me about the requirement of the offbeat film about a soldier who returns from war and loses himself more and more each night that passes and I created the music to express most brutal expression of existentialism that evokes psychological costs”, he said.

It is not the first time that Pt. Bhatt has worked for Hollywood films. Besides the most acclaimed movie “Dead Man Walking”, he contributed musical score for “Two Days in the Valley” and “Meet the Fokers” too.

Oscar winning wizard A.R.Rehman used Pt. Bhatt’s renderings in Amir Khan’s “Lagaan” besides “Saathiya” and Tamil hit “Iruver”. He scored background music for Jagmohan Mundara’s critically acclaimed “Bawandar”, based on the real life story of Bhanwari Devi, a Rajasthani village woman who was gang raped for fighting for women’s cause.

However, scoring music for films is a past time for Pt. Bhatt who remains busy giving performances of classical Indian music round the year. He was recently conferred with ‘Munnu Guru Award’ in Kanpur. The earlier recipients of the award are flutist Pt. Hari Prasad Chaurasia, santoor player Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma and classical singer Girija Devi.

(The story appeared in Hindustan Times - Jaipur Live - on March 23, 2009)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Rise of Ambedkarite Movement in Rajasthan

Rajendra Bora

JAIPUR. When BSP, headed by Mayawati, is gaining greater political strength in subsequent elections thanks to reverence by millions of Dalits for Ambedkar Prof. Shyam Lal, former Vice-Chancellor of Rajasthan University, Jaipur and Jai Narain Vyas Universty, Jodhpur has come out with a new study on the movement spearheaded by the maker of Indian Constitution. In the exciting and timely study with painstaking research Prof. Shyam Lal, a noted sociologist who is currently serving as Vice- Chancellor of Patna University in Bihar, has profusely documented the history of what he calls Ambedkarite Movement in Rajasthan.

Since the phenomenon cannot be seen in Rajasthan specific vision only, a general overview of Ambedkar’s efforts in awakening socio-political consciousness among Dalits has also been presented in the study that has been published in Prof. Shyam Lal’s latest book.

Dalit assertion, liberation and emancipation are the themes that have come to centre stage lately. There have been tones of literature, including academic work and analyses, available on the situation of Dalits and their plight. Several social and political analysts have tried to analyse the cause of the pitiable situation in which untouchable castes remained from time immemorial. Several authors and analysits have tried to look at the problem from their respective world view. Marxists see the deplorable situation as a class problem instead of caste problem. Some see the emancipation of Dalits via grabbing political power. There have been reform movements from both within and without untouchable masses.

The book highlights the growth of first the reform movement from within the Dalit communities and then political efforts for their emancipation. He has traced different reform movements from the pre-British period to the British rule and to the present day after the Independence, all culminating into Ambedkarite Movement and rising consciousness for Dalit-Identity.

The book is virtually an ocean of information, collected painstakingly and judiciously by doing much legwork by the author. And it is very timely too.

Prof. Shyamlal has been able to meet, interact and discuss with minor and major players of the Dalit movement and record not only facts but also their views and perceptions about the situation of the communities in different periods. Here the author holds advantageous position as he belongs to the same community with whom he had been talking. Dalits, literate or illiterate, readily opened up before him to express themselves. For any outsider it would have been very difficult to gain confidence of the introvert and meek people whose story one wanted to tell.

Prof. Shyamlal has earned a reputation of being an eminent sociologist and the present work is an ample proof of his scholarly facet. In this book he has not treaded on hearsays or false ideas. Authenticity of his documentation and narration is the hallmark of the book. As a true social scientist he explores the reasons for the limitation of the Ambedkar movement too.

His scholarly work is in fact a ground work for others to research the subject further.

(The review appeared in Jaipur Live supplement of Hindustan Times on March 18,2009)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Kochar: a multifaceted man

Rajendra Bora

JAIPUR. With the passing away of K. L. Kochar on Tuesday a multifaceted personality has gone into history. Every one called him ‘Kochar Saheb’. He represented the generation who valued personal relationship more than anything else. He knew how to win friends without imposing his will on others, the trait which ranks him one of the finest press advisors of any public figure in the country. He served doyen of Rajasthan politics Bhairon Singh Shekhawat as his press advisor thrice – twice during his chief ministrial tenure as once when Shekhawat occupied Vice-President’s office.

Kochar conducted his duty as press advisor with dignity never making effort to sell a story to media by allurement or pressure. He knew what media person wanted more than anything else was ‘news’ and he was always there to help anyone get exclusive stories without interfering in the angle the concerned media person was taking. That is why his chamber was always remained crowded with journalists. As Press Advisor he demarcated his limits. Since he was serving as a government official in that capacity he confined himself only with the official functioning of his boss and never dabbled in party politics of his master. Shekhawat too did not expect him to do his political press briefings. There was a unique untold understanding between Shekhawat and Kochar which only grew stronger with time. Shekhawat was at his bedside when Kochar breated his last.

Before joining as Press Advisor to the Chief Minister in August 1991 Kochar served extraordinarily as a bureaucrat leaving his indelible mark. Born on June 1 in 1931 in Bikaner did his higher education in Kolkata and was selected in Rajasthan Administrative Service (RAS) in 1956. He served all the chief ministers since Mohan Lal Sukhadia till Shekhawat with distinction.

Kochar was a multi faceted personality. He was fine administrator, a committed socialist, a writer and a poet. Fifties of the last century was the period when the youth of the country were bubbling with socialistic fervor. Young Kochar was no exception. In Kolkata he met firebrand socialist Ram Manohar Lohiya which only helped him in strengthening his convictions. Lohiya too was so impressed by the boy that he prompted him to write regularly. And writing became his hobby. Brij Bhushan Sharma of ‘Seema Sandesh’ recalls that when his father Kamal Nayan Sharma launched his weekly paper in 1951 dashahra day in Ganganagar Kochar Saheb wrote its first editorial.

Kochar was promoted to Indian Administrative Service (IAS) in 1977 and was made Collector of Tonk. During his first assignment of heading a district as IAS he showed his brilliance by taking up the cause of conserving literary treasure of Arabic, Persian and Urdu from 5th century of Hijra onward at the Arabic and Persian Research centre. The journey of an indiscreet centre to a major internationally known study centre was made possible by Kochar’s early efforts. He was see that every journalist visiting Tonk must visit the Sunehri Koti (Golden Bungalow) having stunningly rich ornamental interiors where the Persian institute was then located and write something on the rich heritage.

Bagru town, that achieved international fame by its product ‘Bagru Print’ owes its glory to Kochar who as Managing Director of Rajasthan Small Scale Industries Corporation (RAJSICO) made the skill of textile printing of local artisans into a lucrative commercial proposition. In association with Sitaram Jhalani, a scribe and the then Sarpanch of Bagru Panchayat and later first Chairman of Bagru Municipality, Kochar’s helped in making a commercial turnaround of Cheepa community of textile printers and also of the town.
His PR skill was noticed when he was appointed as Director, Public Relations. After his retirement in 1989 as a member of Revenue Board he was picked up by the then Chief Minister Shekhawat as his Press Advisor with status of a secretary in the Government in 1991. When Shekhawat returned as chief minister in 1993 he again opted for Kochar. The former bureaucrat was the natural choice of Shekhawat as Press Advisor in Vice-President’s office in Delhi when he was elected to the august office in 2002.

When not assisting Shekhawat in his official capacity Kochar persued other interests like working as a visiting fellow in Institute of Development Study (IDS), Jaipur. He worked for ‘Hunger Project’ too in IDS and also as a coordinator for the IDS project for improving entrepreneurial skills of agriculturists in Bikaner district.

During this period he wrote an authentic history of making of democratic Rajasthan – From Feudalism to Democracy. He also wrote extensively on the debates in Rajasthan Assembly for gaining constitutional status for Rajasthani language. He spilled out his sensitive heart in verse too writing poetry.

Men and officers like Kochar have now become a rare breed. He will always be remembered as a good human being and an efficient officer.

(The obit appeared on page one of Hindustan Times -Jaipur Live- on March 13,2009)

Jaipur bids adieu to a fine legislator Giridharilal Bhargava

Rajendra Bora

JAIPUR. In the passing away of Giridhari Lal Bhargava the capital city of Jaipur has lost one of its finest sons. He was such a public figure and people’s representative that others would envy. A simpleton with no big personal ambitions but keeping service to the people at his heart was his strength which saw him winning electoral battles one after other till his death. It is no small thing that the BJP opted to field him for the Lok Sabha for the eighth time in a row.

He truly lived up to the slogan his party workers coined decades back for electioneering “Jis Ka Na Koi Poochhe Haal Uske Sang Giridhali Lal”. He knew his constituency and its people like back of his palm. He was “Bhai Saheb” for all. He was most approachable. Any one could walk up to him at any hour of the day and night with his problem. Such an affectionate bonding with the people of the city made him what he was. Only with this affectionate bonding with the people of the city he took on successfully the former Maharaja Bhawani Singh at the hustings and kept on increasing his margin of victory in Parliamentary polls.

Many mistook his simplicity as his gimmick but he was personally convinced about what he was doing like visiting every one in his constituency in hour of need or in the joy. In wedding seasons he would make it sure that he visited every function and shower his blessings on the couples. By the time he reached the last on his list the ceremony would have been in its final phase or almost completed. But every one face would brighten as soon as he reached the venue. Every year he would collect un collected ashes of deceased from the local cremation grounds and go to Haridwar to immerse them in holy river of Ganges.

His affectionate connection with the electors of his parliamentary constituency is only one facet of his personality. Unfortunately this was the only face of Bhargava media loved to depict and interpret. The fact that he was a fine and assertive legislator media never bothered to tell. A legislator is in fact a law maker and Bhargava lived up to that role too. We saw him as a member of Rajasthan Assembly for four terms before he moved to Lok Sabha . He was the only legislator who would participate in the debates on every bill taken up in the house. It was no simple participation talking superficial things to register one name in the debates but he would always come prepared after discussing all angles and aspects of the legislation being discussed. He would not shy talking to others, mostly experts, to arm himself with facts and figures before standing up in the house to discuss the legislative business in the house. He was never seen creating any unruly scenes in the legislature and spoke in dignified but assertive manner. That is why every presiding officer of the legislature liked him and never refused him time.

Bhargava kept his legislative acumen in Lok Sabha too. The house proceedings would show his true participation in debates for getting benefits for Jaipur. He enjoyed the same reputation with the presiding officers in Lok Sabha and had no difficulty in getting a slice of time to speak inn the house. He would never defy the chair and would always get support from the presiding officer even during the most heated moments.

He was a textbook example of a good legislator. Every year he would call the press and present before media persons accounts of his spending from MP Local Area Development Fund. Whenever he was telling about the works in his constituency for which he provided funds his eyes would sparkle. The emergency unit of the SMS Hospital would not have its present face had it not been Bhargava’s efforts and initial funding. The Pink City Press Club too got lion’s share from his MPLED fund to uplift its building grandeur.
As a text book politician he rose from the grassroots from a member of local Municipality to the Parliament but remained a child like simple human being. Many would envy him. A young member of Rajasthan Assembly from one of the constituencies in the capital city once said Bhargava Saheb had made our lives miserable. He has set a standard of interaction with the public which is very difficult for us to achieve and people view our performance from Bhargava Saheb’s standard.

Many would wonder why that fellow could never get any public office. He would have died long back if he had accepted one. He was happy with his role as a servant of his people as a legislator. He was always reluctant to accept any office which he sincerely believed would take him away from his peoples.
Only once he accepted in 1977 to become Chairman of Jaipur Urban Improvement Trust (UIT), which was later converted into Jaipur Development Authority (JDA). He accepted the office under great pressure from the then Chief Minister Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and from the doyen of Hindi journalism in Rajasthan Karpur Chand Kulish. As Chairman of UIT he conceived Vidhyadhar Nagar scheme and also to make Maansarovar as the asia’s biggest residential colony but his fear of taking up of public office proved correct as he, who had won the assembly seat in 1972 Indira Gandhi wave, lost in 1980 just after assuming public office. Thereafter, he refrained from accepting any public office and remained a common man.

Bhargava will not be physically with the people of Jaipur now but he would remain in their hearts. When ever his story will be told the listeners would get wet eyes.

(The obit appeared on page one of Hindustan Times -Jaipur Live- on March 10,2009)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

गाँधी और नेहरू : कितने दूर कितने पास

राजेंद्र बोड़ा

भारतीय राजनीति के आधुनिक इतिहास पर सबसे अधिक छाया जिन दो व्यक्तित्वों की रही वे थे महात्मा गाँधी और जवाहर लाल नेहरू. बीसवीं सदी में देश के राजनीतिक भविष्य की दिशा तय करने में इन दो व्यक्तित्वों की जो भूमिका रही वह अनूठी है. महात्मा गाँधी का नेहरू के प्रति जैसा लाड और आत्मीय प्रेम था उसकी मिसाल कहीं नहीं मिलेगी. गाँधी ने जो आखरी ख़त नेहरू को लिखा उसमे उनका वात्सल्य भाव उमड़ पड़ता है. 30 जनवरी 1948 को नाथूराम गोडसे की गोली का शिकार होकर चिर निद्रा में लीन होने से ठीक 12 दिन पहले 18 जनवरी 1948 लिखे इस पत्र की अन्तिम पंक्तियाँ हैं : "बहुत वर्ष जीयो और हिंद के जवाहर बने रहो. बापू का आशीर्वाद." और गाँधी के महाप्रयाण की सूचना आकाशवाणी प्रसारण पर सारे देश को देते हुए रुंधे गले से नेहरू ने कहा : "हमारे जीवन से रोशनी चली गयी है."

मगर यह भी सच है कि देश की आज़ादी की जंग के इन दो योद्धाओं में जितनी अधिक आत्मीय निकटता थी उतनी ही उनके विचारों में जबरदस्त दूरियां भी थीं. देखा जाए तो इन दो महान व्यक्तियों के बीच सम्बन्ध हमेशां अजीब से विरोधाभास लिए हुए रहे

एक तरह से देखें तो गाँधी के प्रति नेहरू का पूर्ण समर्थन पग-पग पर झलकता है. सम्पूर्ण सार्वजनिक जीवन में गाँधी के नेतृत्व के प्रति नेहरू की अटूट निष्ठा बनी रही. हर मौके पर नेहरू गाँधी के पीछे चलते हुए नज़र आते हैं. परन्तु इन दो व्यक्तित्वों के बीच वैचारिक संबंधों की गहराई से पड़ताल करें तो हमें कोई समानता नहीं मिलती. ख़ुद नेहरू अपनी पुस्तक 'डिस्कवरी ऑफ़ इंडिया' में गाँधी के बारे में कहते हैं "...वे अधिकतर जो बातें करते थे हम उन्हें आंशिक रूप से ही स्वीकार करते थे या कभी-कभी तो बिल्कुल ही स्वीकार नहीं करते थे."

गाँधी और नेहरू के बीच की वैचारिक दूरी नापने से पहले हमें यह तय कर लेना पड़ेगा कि गाँधी कहाँ खड़े थे और उनका दर्शन क्या था. वह कौन सी चीजें थी जिसने मोहनदास करमचंद गाँधी को महात्मा गाँधी बनाया?

यदि सत्य, अहिंसा और ग्राम स्वराज को गाँधी के दर्शन से अलग कर दिया जाय तो फिर गाँधी में क्या बचता है ? यही तीन चीजें हैं जिनके लिए गाँधी जिए और मरे. सामान्य तौर पर यह यकीन करना बड़ा कठिन होगा कि नेहरू के इन्हीं आधारभूत मुद्दों पर गाँधी से हमेशा मतभेद रहे. गाँधी और नेहरू के बीच हुए पत्र व्यवहार इसका दस्तावेजी सबूत प्रस्तुत करते हैं.

कई विश्लेषक भी यह मानते हैं कि सांस्कृतिक रूप से गाँधी और नेहरू में कोई समानता नहीं थी. गाँधी जहाँ ठेठ भारतीय आदर्शों और नैतिक परम्पराओं के प्रतिनिधि थे वहीं नेहरू पर पश्चिमी आधुनिकता का रंग चढा हुआ था और उनके लिए गाँधी के विचार पुरातन थे जिन्हें नेहरू के सपनों के नए भारत में लागू नही किया जा सकता था. इसलिए आजाद भारत में नेहरू के नेतृत्व में कांग्रेस ने जो नीतियां अपनाई उनसे गाँधी के दर्शन को परखने का मौका ही हमेशा के लिए खो गया.

उनकी बात नहीं सुनी जाती है इसका मलाल गाँधी को आज़ादी के सवेरे पर था. फ़िर भी सत्य, अहिंसा और ग्राम स्वराज के अपने विचारों से गाँधी डिगे नहीं. गाँधी शताब्दी वर्ष में एच एम वी ने आकाशवाणी के अभिलेखागार में संग्रहित प्रार्थना सभाओं में दिए गए गाँधी के कुछ प्रवचनों के अंश एक लांग प्ले रिकॉर्ड में जारी किए थे. इनमें एक जगह गाँधी कहते हैं "...आज ज़माना बदल गया है.. आज मेरी बात कोई नहीं सुनता. पहले लोग सुनते थे, अब नहीं सुनते. पर मैं तो नहीं बदला हूँ. मैं आज भी वही बात कहता हूँ जो पहले कहता था..." गाँधी का यह दुःख उस समय सामने आता है जब आजाद भारत में नेहरू के नेतृत्व में कांग्रेस की हुकूमत होती है.

गाँधी की यह निराशा कि उनका 'सत्य' किसी की समझ में नहीं आ रहा है, नई नही थी. ऐसा नहीं था कि देश के आजाद होते ही नेहरू बदल गए या कांग्रेस बदल गयी. बहुत पहले 25 अप्रेल 1938 को गाँधी नेहरू को लिखते हैं : "मैं बता नहीं सकता कि यह जानकर मुझे कितना घोर अकेलापन महसूस होता है कि आजकल मैं तुम्हें अपने विचार का नहीं बना सकता... तुम्हारी बगावत के कारण तुम्हारे प्रति मेरा आदर और गहरा है. परन्तु इससे अकेलेपन का दुःख और भी तीव्र हो जाता है."

एक समय ऐसा भी आता है जब सभी तरफ़ से वैचारिक रूप से दर्शन के स्तर पर अस्वीकार हो जाने पर गाँधी का आत्मविश्वास भी डगमगा जाता है. 30 अप्रेल 1945 को वे नेहरू को लिखते हैं : "...इससे भी गंभीर बाधा वह भीतरी निराशा है जो मुझ पर छा गई है. मैं काम चला रहा हूँ, परन्तु यह सोच कर आत्मग्लानि होती है कि मेरा वह आत्मविश्वास जाता रहा." गाँधी का आत्मविश्वास तब डगमगाता है जब नेहरू एक झटके से कांग्रेस को गाँधी के दर्शन से अलग कर देते हैं : "...कांग्रेस के लिए कहाँ तक ठीक है कि वह उन बुनियादी सवालों पर गौर करे जिनका जीवन के विभिन्न दर्शनों से सम्बन्ध आता है ? मेरा ख्याल है कि कांग्रेस जैसी संस्था को ऐसे मामलों के तर्क-वितर्क में अपने को नहीं उलझाना चाहिए." 9 अक्टूबर 1945 को गाँधी को लिखे अपने लंबे पत्र में नेहरू कहते हैं :"...संक्षेप में मेरा ख्याल है कि हमारे सामने सवाल सत्य बनाम असत्य या अहिंसा बनाम हिंसा का नहीं है." इसी पत्र में नेहरू गाँधी के ग्राम स्वराज, जिसकी कल्पना गाँधी ने 'हिंद स्वराज' में की थी, के बारे में लिखते हैं : "कांग्रेस ने इस तस्वीर पर कभी गौर नहीं किया, उसे मंजूर करने की तो बात ही अलग है."

इसी वैचारिक भिन्नता के कारण इन दो व्यक्तित्वों को आपस में विचार विमर्श करने में भी कठिनाई आने लगी. 28 अप्रेल 1945 को नेहरू ने गाँधी को लिखा : "मुझे आपके साथ विस्तार से किसी भी मामले की चर्चा करने में कठिनाई मालूम हुई ... और मुझे यह भी अनुभव हुआ कि ऐसी चर्चाओं में कोई ख़ास नतीजे नहीं निकलते."

नेहरू और गाँधी के बीच हुए पत्र व्यवहार को पलटें तो स्पस्ट हो जाता है कि शुरू से ही गाँधी को यह लगने लगता है कि नेहरू कांग्रेस के नेतृत्व में उनके उत्तराधिकारी भले ही हों वैचारिक दृष्टि से वे उनसे बहुत दूर हैं.

गाँधी 4 जनवरी 1926 को साबरमती आश्रम से नेहरू को लिखते हैं : "मुझे तुम्हारे इन कामों की इतनी परवाह नहीं, जितनी तुम्हारे शरारतियों और हुल्लड़बाजों को प्रोत्साहन देने की है. पता नहीं तुम अब भी विशुद्ध अहिंसा में विश्वास रखते हो या नहीं.

इससे पहले गाँधी के लेखों की नेहरू आलोचना करते हैं तो गाँधी 17 जनवरी १९२८ को उन्हें पत्र में लिखते हैं : "मुझे तुम्हारे - मेरे बीच दृष्टि भेद कुछ-कुछ दिखाई देने लगा था, फ़िर भी मुझे तनिक भी कल्पना नहीं थी कि ये मतभेद इतने भयंकर हो जायेंगे. " ख़ुद गाँधी स्वीकार करते हैं : "तुम्हारे और मेरे बीच मतभेद इतने विशाल और मौलिक है कि हमारे लिए मिलन की जगह दिखाई नहीं देती."

फ़िर 26 अक्टूबर 1939 को गाँधी नेहरू को पत्र में कहते हैं : "मैंने देख लिया है कि यद्यपि मेरे प्रति तुम्हारा स्नेह और आदर कायम है, फ़िर भी हमारे बीच दृष्टिकोण का अन्तर दिन-दिन तीव्र होता जा रहा है. शायद हमारे इतिहास में यह सबसे नाजुक काल है. जिन अत्यन्त महत्वपूर्ण प्रश्नों पर हमारा ध्यान लगा हुआ है उन पर मेरे बहुत प्रबल विचार हैं. मैं जानता हूँ कि उन पर तुम्हारे भी प्रबल विचार हैं, परन्तु वे मुझसे भिन्न हैं."

गाँधी को हम एक ऐसे वृद्ध के रूप में पाते हैं जिसकी हर बात नई पीढी को खटकती है. सेवाग्राम, वर्धा, से 5 अप्रेल 1937 को गाँधी का नेहरू का पत्र देखिये : "किसी भी तरह सही. मैं जो भी कहता था शायद करता भी हूँ, वही तुम्हें खटकता है."

सन् 1942 के आते तो दोनों के विचारों का भेद अमल में भी आने लगा. "मैं देखता हूँ कि हमारे विचारों में भेद तो था ही, लेकिन अब अमल में हो रहा है. इस हालत में वल्लभ भाई क्या करें."

गाँधी सोच के स्तर पर नेहरू के साथ भेद को सहज रूप से स्वीकार कर लेते हैं और अपने विचारों को नेहरू पर थोपने का आग्रह करते कहीं नज़र नहीं आते. 13 नवम्बर 1945 को वह नेहरू को लिखते हैं : "मैं चाहता हूँ कि हम एक दूसरे को समझें, ऐसे ही लोग भी हमको समझ लें. अंत में ऐसा हो सकता है कि हमारा मार्ग ही अलग अलग है, तो अलग सही."

गाँधी ने सत्य, अहिंसा और ग्राम स्वराज के अपने विचारों पर किसी से अंत तक समझौता नहीं किया और अपने ही विश्वासों पर अटल रहे. उन्होंने कोशिश की कि कांग्रेस संगठन इन आधारभूत सिद्धांतों की जमीन पर नए भारत की नींव रखे. परन्तु नेहरू के शब्दों में : "गाँधी आमतौर पर दूसरों की इच्छाओं का आदर करते हुए अपनी स्थिति में नरम पड़ जाते थे. कई मामलों में तो वे अपने विचारों से विपरीत फ़ैसला भी स्वीकार कर लेते थे." यह गाँधी की महानता थी. वे एक ऐसे लोकतांत्रिक नेता थे जो दूसरे की राय को भी उतना ही आदर देते थे. लेकिन ऐसा करते हुए उन्होंने अपनी प्रतिबद्धताओं से कभी कोई समझौता नहीं किया. गाँधी के विचारों को उनकी प्रतिबद्धता कहना भी उन्हें छोटा बनाना होगा. वे विचार सहज रूप से उनकी अपनी जीवन शैली थी जो हजारों सालों की भारतीय परम्परा से आई थी. जिस 'सत्य' का उन्होंने साक्षात्कार अपने अनुभवों से किया उसको दूसरों तक पहुचाने के लिए गाँधी हत्यारे की गोली का शिकार होने तक मन से लगे रहे, बिना इसकी परवाह किए कि लोग उनके साथ आ रहे हैं या नहीं.

क्योंकि गाँधी का 'सच' भारतीय आदर्शों और मूल्यों का सच था इसलिए उसने इस देश के कोटि-कोटि जन के मन को छुआ और हमें गाँधी के पीछे समूचा देश खड़ा नज़र आया. मगर भारतीय मन होते हुए भी नेहरू का मस्तिष्क पाश्चात्य सोच से जबरदस्त प्रभावित था. इसलिए नेहरू का मन से तो गाँधी से रिश्ता रहा मगर दिमाग से नहीं. सोच के स्तर पर नेहरू गाँधी को "मूलतः एक धार्मिक व्यक्ति, अपने अंतरतम तक एक हिंदू" मानते थे. नेहरू का यह भी मानना था कि गाँधी का "आमतौर पर जीवन के प्रति दृष्टिकोण तथा जिसे आधुनिक दृष्टिकोण कहते हैं, के बीच नजरिया मूल रूप से भिन्न था."

यह जानना दिलचस्प होगा कि गाँधी के कांग्रेस से अलग हो जाने के पीछे भी उनके अहिंसा का आग्रह तथा कांग्रेस द्वारा अहिंसा की गाँधी की अवधारणा को अस्वीकार करना भी था. कांग्रेस के किसी भी प्रस्ताव में अहिंसा का जिक्र नहीं आया. कांग्रेस के दूसरे लोग अपने प्रस्तावों में 'अहिंसा' की बजाय 'शान्ति' का ही उपयोग करते रहे. अहिंसा और शान्ति के बीच गहरा फर्क है. शान्ति के लिए आप लड़ सकते हैं. शान्ति के लिए आप बल प्रयोग कर सकते हैं, हथियारबंद शान्ति सेना का उपयोग कर सकते हैं. परन्तु अहिंसा में तो बल की गुंजाइश ही नहीं होती. उसमें तो सिर्फ़ आत्मबल की बात होती है.

नेहरू अपनी पुस्तक में कहते हैं : "कांग्रेस संगठन युद्ध की स्थिति में गाँधी के अहिंसा के सिद्धांत को लागू करने को स्वीकार नहीं कर सका." अहिंसा के बारे में नेहरू के सोच पर एक अंग्रेज लेखक एडवर्ड टॉमसन ने बड़ी ही सटीक टिपण्णी की है : "उन (विश्व इतिहास की झलक) पृष्ठों को देखने से वास्तव में ऐसा लगता है की आप सफल हिंसा के प्रशंशक हैं.

कई लोगों को अब लगता है कि नेहरू और कांग्रेस ने गाँधी का उपयोग किया. उन्होंने गाँधी का नेतृत्व केवल संघर्ष के दौर में ही स्वीकार किया क्योंकि गाँधी ही वह व्यक्ति था जिसके पीछे भारत के सभी लोग खड़े हो सकते थे - धर्म, जाति, भाषा या वर्ग की दीवारें तोड़कर भी. लेकिन जब भी सक्रिय संघर्ष की स्थितियां नहीं होती थीं तो वे गाँधी की बात नहीं मानते थे.

नेहरू के लिए गाँधी सत्य के एक ऐसे प्रतीक के रूप में थे जो समझौते से परे था. 'डिस्कवरी ऑफ़ इंडिया' में नेहरू कहते हैं : "हमें सावधान करने तथा सत्य के लिए शर्मसार करने के लिए गाँधी एक गैर समझौतावादी सत्य के प्रतीक के रूप में हमेशा हमारे सामने रहते थे." मगर आजाद भारत की पहले पहल बागडोर सँभालने वाला यह व्यक्ति आगे यह भी कहता है : "सत्य क्या है मुझे स्पष्ट रूप से नहीं मालूम. और शायद हमारे लिए सत्य सापेक्ष होते हैं तथा सम्पूर्ण सत्य तो हमारी क्षमता के बहार ही होता है. अलग-अलग लोग सत्य के प्रति भिन्न-भिन्न दृष्टिकोण रख सकते हैं तथा हरेक व्यक्ति अपनी खुद की पृष्ठभूमि, प्रशिक्षण तथा अन्तःप्रेरणा से प्रभावित रहता है और गाँधी भी ऐसे रहे." स्पष्ट है गाँधी और नेहरू के सत्य भिन्न-भिन्न थे.

गाँधी के सत्य में अहिंसा, मानवीय श्रम, और सहकर सर्वोपरि था. ग्राम स्वराज के लिए गाँव की उनकी काल्पनिक इकाई व्यक्ति से व्यक्ति से शोषण का प्रतिकार करने वाली थी. वे ग्रामीण व्यक्ति को "गंवार तथा जाहिल" मानकर नही चलते थे जैसा नेहरू के सोच में था.

गाँधी का मानवतावादी सत्य उन्हें महावीर और बुद्ध की परम्परा में खड़ा करती है जिसके लिए प्रख्यात वैज्ञानिक आइंस्टाइन ने कहा था कि आने वाली पीढियां यकीन नहीं करेंगी कि गाँधी कोई हाड मांस का बना हमारी तरह कोई इंसान था. गाँधी का यही 'सच' नेहरू चूक गए. कांग्रेस चूक गयी. और आज़ादी के बाद भारत के विकास की धारा जिस रास्ते पर बढ़ गई वह गाँधी का रास्ता नही था.

(जनसत्ता के दिनांक 25 जनवरी 2009 के अंक में प्रकाशित)

गाँधी और नेहरू के मतभेद उजागर करता एक ख़त

(आजाद भारत का नक्शा कैसा होगा इस पर गाँधी और नेहरू के बीच गहरे मतभेद को गाँधी का 5 अक्टूबर 1945 को लिखा पत्र स्पष्ट रूप से इंगित करता है. गाँधी इस पत्र में अपने 'हिंद स्वराज' के विचारों का खुलासा करते हैं. ख़त का प्रमुख अंश यहाँ प्रस्तुत किया जा रहा है जो आज भी उतना ही मौजूं है.)

चि. जवाहर लाल,

तुमको लिखने का तो कई दिनों से इरादा था, लेकिन आज ही उसका अमल कर सकता हूँ. अंग्रेजी में लिखूं या हिन्दुस्तानी में, वह भी मेरे सामने सवाल था. आखर में मैंने हिन्दुस्तानी में ही लिखने का पसंद किया.

पहली बात तो हमारे बीच में जो बड़ा मतभेद हुआ है, उसकी है. अगर ये भेद सचमुच है तो लोगों को भी जानना चाहिए, क्योंकि उनको अंधेरे में रखने से हमारा स्वराज का काम रुकता है. मैंने कहा कि 'हिंद स्वराज' में मैंने लिखा है, उस राज्य-पद्धति पर मैं बिल्कुल कायम हूँ. यह सिर्फ़ कहने की बात नही है. लेकिन जो चीज मैंने 1908 के साल में लिखी है उसी चीज का सत्य मैंने अनुभव से आज तक पाया है. आख़िर में मैं एक ही उसे मानने वाला रह जाऊं, उसका मुझको जरा भी दुःख नहीं होगा, क्योंकि मैं जैसा सत्य पाता हूँ, उसका मैं साक्षी बन सकता हूँ. 'हिंद स्वराज' मेरे सामने नहीं है. अच्छा है कि मैं उसी चित्र को आज अपनी भाषा में खींचू. पीछे वह चित्र सन् 1908 जैसा है या नहीं, उसकी मुझे दरकार न रहेगी, न तुम्हें रहनी चाहिए. आखर में तो मैंने पहले क्या कहा था, उसे सिद्ध करना नहीं है. आज मैं क्या कहता हूँ, वही जानना आवश्यक है. मैं यह जानता हूँ कि अगर हिंदुस्तान को सच्ची आज़ादी पानी है तो हिन्दोस्तान के मारफत दुनिया को भी, आज नहीं तो कल देहातों में ही रहना होगा , झोंपडियों में, महलों में नहीं. कई अरब आदमी शहरों में और महलों में सुख से और शान्ति से कभी रह नहीं सकते, न एक दूसरों का खून करके, मायने हिंसा, न झूठ से - यानि असत्य से. सिवाय इस जोड़ी के (याने सत्य और अहिंसा) मनुष्य जाति का नाश ही है, उसमें मुझे जरा भी शक नहीं है. उस सत्य और अहिंसा का दर्शन हम देहातों की सादगी में ही कर सकते हैं. वह सादगी चरखा में और चरखा में जो चीज भरी है उसी पर निर्भर है. मुझे कोई डर नहीं है कि दुनिया उलटी ओर ही जा रही दिखती है. यों तो पतंगा जब अपने नाश की ओर जाता है तब सबसे ज्यादा चक्कर खाता है और चक्कर खाते-खाते जल जाता है. हो सकता है कि हिन्दोस्तान इस पतंगे के चक्कर में से न बच सके. मेरा फ़र्ज़ है कि आखिर दम तक उसमें से उसे और उसके मारफत जगत को बचाने की कोशिश करूं. मेरे कहने का निचोड़ यह है के मनुष्य जीवन के लिए जितनी जरूरत की चीज है, उस पर निजी काबू रहना ही चाहिए - अगर न रहे तो व्यक्ति बच ही नहीं सकता है. आखिर में तो जगत व्यक्तियों से ही बना है. बिन्दु नही है तो समुद्र नहीं है. यह तो मैंने मोटी बात ही कही - कोई नई बात नहीं कही.

लेकिन हिंद स्वराज में भी मैंने यह बात नहीं की है. आधुनिक शास्त्र की कदर करते हुए पुरानी बात को मैं आधुनिक शास्त्र की निगाह से देखता हूँ तो पुरानी बात इस नए लिबास में मुझे बहुत मीठी लगती है. अगर ऐसा समझोगे कि मैं आज की देहातों की बात करता हूँ तो मेरी बात नहीं समझोगे. मेरा देहात आज मेरी कल्पना में ही है. आखर में तो हरेक मनुष्य अपनी कल्पना की दुनिया में ही रहता है. इस काल्पनिक देहात में देहाती जड़ नहीं होगा - शुद्ध चैतन्य होगा. वह गंदगी में, अंधेरे कमरे में जानवर की जिंदगी बसर नहीं करेगा, मरद और औरत दोनों आज़ादी से रहेंगे और सरे जगत के साथ मुकाबला करने को तैयार रहेंगे. वहां न तो हैजा होगा, न मरकी होगी, न चेचक होगी. कोई आलस्य में रह नहीं सकता है, न कोई ऐश-आराम में रहेगा. सबको शारीरिक मेहनत करनी होगी. इतनी चीज होते हुए मैं ऐसी-ऐसी बहुत सी चीज का ख्याल कर सकता हूँ जो बड़े पैमाने पर बनेगी. शायद रेलवे भी होगी, डाकघर भी होंगे. क्या होगा, क्या नहीं उसका मुझे पता नहीं. न मुझको उसकी फिकर है. असली बात को मैं कायम कर सकूं तो बाकी आने की और रहने की खूबी रहेगी. और असली बात छोड़ दें तो सब छोड़ देता हूँ.

उस रोज हम आखर के दिन वर्किंग कमेटी में बैठे थे तो ऐसा कुछ फ़ैसला हुआ था कि इसी चीज को साफ़ करने के लिए वर्किंग कमेटी 2-3 दिन के लिए बैठेगी. बैठेगी तो मुझे अच्छा लगेगा. लेकिन न बैठे तब भी मैं चाहता हूँ कि हम दोनों एक दूसरे को अच्छी तरह समझ लें. उसके दो सबब हैं. हमारा सम्बन्ध सिर्फ़ राजकारण का ही नहीं है. उससे कई दर्जे गहरा है. उस गहरे का मेरे पास कोई नाम नहीं है. वह सम्बन्ध टूट भी नहीं सकता. इसलिए मैं चाहूँगा हम एक दूसरे को राजकारण में भी भली-भांति समझें. दूसरा कारण यह है कि हम दोनों में से एक भी अपने को निकम्मा नहीं समझते हैं. हम दोनों हिन्दोस्तान की आज़ादी के लिए ही जिंदा रहते हैं और उसी आज़ादी के लिए हमको मरना भी अच्छा लगेगा. हमें किसी की तारीफ की दरकार नहीं है. तारीफ हो या गालियां - एक ही चीज है. खिदमत में उसे कोई डिगा ही नहीं सकता. अगरचे मैं 125 वर्ष तक सेवा करते करते जिंदा रहने की इच्छा करता हूँ तब भी मैं आखर में बूढा हूँ और तुम मुकाबले में जवान हो. इसी कारण मैंने कहा है कि मेरे वारस तुम हो. कम से कम उस वारस को मैं समझ तो लूँ. और मैं क्या हूँ, वह भी वारस समझ ले तो अच्छा ही है और मुझे चैन रहेगा...

बापू के आशीर्वाद

(प्रस्तुति : राजेंद्र बोड़ा)

(जनसत्ता के दिनांक 25 जनवरी 2009 के अंक में प्रकाशित)