विभाजन, हिंसा और साहित्य

  • सुकृति गुप्ता
  • एम.ए. हिस्ट्री

साहित्य ऐसे झूठ होते है जिनमें सच्चाई होती है और जब ये झूठ ऐतिहासिक पात्र बोलते है तो इन्हें पढना और भी ज़रूरी हो जाता है क्यूंकि कोई भी साहित्य शून्य में जन्म नहीं लेता. वह अपने इतिहास से प्रभावित होता है और अपने वर्तमान से भी, जो हमारा इतिहास बन चुका  है.

इतिहास अब राजाओ, शासनकालो और युद्धों का इतिहास नहीं रह गया है बल्कि ये मानवीय भावनाओ, उनके द्वारा झेली गयी त्रासदियों और अनुभवों का भी इतिहास है. इस सन्दर्भ में जब हम विभाजन और विभाजन के दौरान हुई त्रासदी की बात करते है तो इसके कई जवाब है- भारतीय जवाब, पाकिस्तानी जवाब, ब्रिटिश जवाब आदि. हर जवाब अपनी ही अलग विचारधारा से दिया गया है पर यदि हम उस दौर की त्रासदी को समझना चाहते है तो हमें उस दौर के साहित्य को देखना होगा क्यूंकि इतिहास जब अमानवीयता, द्वेष और हिंसा की बात करता है तो पीडितो की आवाज़ को सुनना ज़रूरी हो जाता है. हालाँकि यदि स्मृति के रूप में देखा जाए तो शायद वह आदर्श प्रतीत न हो पर हिंसा का अध्ययन किया जाता है तो सटीक स्मृति के बजाय कराहटें अधिक महत्त्वपूर्ण हो जाती है, जिनकी अभिव्यक्ति हमें साहित्य में  मिलती है.

इस सन्दर्भ में जब हम लोकप्रिय साहित्य पर गौर करते है उनमे उपमहाद्वीप के नेताओ के प्रति आक्रोश नज़र आता है तथा वे उनपर आरोप लगते है कि वे शक्ति के संतुलन संबंधी विवाद को सुलझा नहीं सके. वरिष्ठ पत्रकार अजीत भट्टाचार्यजी भी इसका उल्लेख करते है कि किस प्रकार विभाजन कठोरता से और जल्दबाजी से किया गया था कि ठीक से सीमा रेखा भी तय नहीं की जा सकी थी और न ही इसके लिए ठीक तरह से व्यवस्था की जा सकी थी. वे इस बात का उल्लेख करते है कि किस प्रकार तत्कालीन प्रधानमंत्री “वास्तविकता की गहराईयों” को छु नहीं सके थे और उनके इस भ्रम (self delusion) के सन्दर्भ में उन उक्तियों का उल्लेख करते है जो उन्होंने लियोनार्ड मोस्ले से १९६० में कही थी- “हम थके हुए आदमी है और हम में से बहुत कम ही है जो जेल जाना चाहते है और अगर हम  भारत की एकता के लिए खड़े होते है- तो हमें जेल जाना ही होगा. हमने पंजाब में लगी आग को देखा है, लोगों को मरते देखा है. विभाजन इससे बाहर निकलने का रास्ता था इसलिए हमने उसे अपनाया. हम उम्मीद करते है कि विभाजन अस्थायी होगा तथा पाकिस्तान को हमारे पास आने को बाध्य होना पड़ेगा.

विभाजन का इतिहास लोगों की जिंदगियों तथा उनके अनुभवों का इतिहास है. १९४० की घटनाओ को किस प्रकार उनकी पहचान से जोड़ दिया गया, उसका इतिहास है और अनिश्चितताओ जिन्होंने विभाजन को जन्म दिया या उसे थोपा, का इतिहास है. इस सन्दर्भ में मंटो प्रासंगिक प्रतीत होते है. वे अपने लेखन में विभाजन के दौरान हुए महाध्वंस की कहानियां कहते है. आलोक भल्ला विभाजन पर लिखी कहानियों को “सांप्रदायिक कहनियों” की संज्ञा देते है जिसके सन्दर्भ में वे कहते है कि इनमे पक्षपात है तथा ये दोनों और कि कहानियों को ठीक तरह से बयाँ नहीं करती.

वीना दास तथा आशीष नंदी का कहना है कि “विभाजन पर लिखा गया ज़्यादातर साहित्य अप्रमाणिक है क्यूंकि एक तरफ की हिंसा को दूसरी ओर से संतुलित करने का प्रयास किया गया है. और इसीलिए हिंसात्मक और अमानवीय  व्यवहारों के वर्णन में हमें समानता नज़र आती है, और फिर चाहे कोई ट्रेन लाहौर से आ रही हो या अमृतसर से, यदि एक वेश्या दो औरतो को पनाह देती है तो उनमे से एक हिन्दू और दूसरी मुस्लिम होगी.

पर मंटो इस सन्दर्भ में भिन्न प्रतीत होते है. उन्होंने खुद विभाजन का दर्द अनुभव किया था. वे कोई राजनीतिज्ञ नहीं थे तथा उन पर कोई विचारधारा हावी नहीं थी. उनकी मानवीयता किसी भी तरीके से धार्मिक लेबल को स्वीकार नही करती तथा क्रूरता तथा हिंसा को बर्दाश्त करने का विरोध करती है, जो उन्हें उनके समकालीनो से भिन्न बनाती है. जहाँ बाकि मर्द मार पीट कर रहे थे, औरतो की बेइज्ज़ती कर रहे थे, लोगों का खून कर रहे थे वहीँ मंटो अपने तंगी के दिनों में सस्ती वाली दारू पी रहे थे तथा इतनी दारु पीने के बाद भी  होश संभाले हुए थे.

वे एक स्वतंत्र विचारक थे जो उनके कथन से ज्ञात होता है- “ज़िन्दगी को वैसे ही दिखाना चाहिये जैसी वह है, न कि वो कैसी थी, कैसी होगी या कैसा होना चाहिए.” (Life ought to be presented as it is, not as it was or as it will be or should be) बम्बई शहर, जो उन्हें बेहद प्रिय था तथा जिससे वे बेहद प्यार करते थे, उन्हें छोड़ना पड़ा. वे मरते दम तक उसके लिए तरसते रहे. उन्हें विभाजन के बीज सिनेमा जैसे अधार्मिक क्षेत्र में भी नज़र आने लागे थे. उन्हें जब पता चलता है कि अशोक कुमार, जिनके साथ वो बॉम्बे टॉकीज में काम करते थे, को धमकी भरे पत्र (हेट मेल) मिल रहे है तथा उन पर आरोप लगाया जा रहा है कि वे कंपनी में मुस्लिमो को शामिल करने के लिए ज़िम्मेदार है, तो वे बहुत द्रवित होते है. उनका दिल टूट जाता है कि जो लोग उन्हें सआदत हसन मंटो की नज़र से देखते थे, उन्हें अब मुस्लिम की नज़र से देख रहे है. और इन सबसे तंग आकर वो पाकिस्तान चले जाते है जिसे वे जानते भी नहीं थे. उनकी इस टीस की अभिव्यक्ति हमें “टोबा  टेक सिंह” में मिलती है जिसमे अस्पतालों के अलावा बाकि बाहर की दुनिया पागल हुए जा रही है. उपमहाद्वीप के नेता इतने पागल हुए  जा रहे है कि वो पागलो की भी अदला बदली कर रहे है. ये पागल वो मुस्लिम है जिन्हें पाकिस्तान वापस लाया जा रहा है और जो गैर मुस्लिम है उन्हें भारत भेजा जा रहा है. इनमे अकेला बिशन सिंह जाने से इनकार कर देता है क्यूंकि वो पंजाब के एक छोटे से शहर टोबा  टेक सिंह में, जहां उसका जन्म हुआ था और उसके परिवार ने अपनी ज़िन्दगी जी थी, रहना चाहता था. वह न तो पाकिस्तान में और न ही भारत में बल्कि टोबा  टेक सिंह में रहना चाहता था. उनकी कहानी “मोज़ील ” धर्म के प्रभाव को उजागर करती है, साथ ही उसपर व्यंग्य भी करती है. मोज़ील का निर्वस्त्र बिना वजह मर जाना धार्मिकता को बिना वजह धारण करना है जो कि त्रिलोचन की पगंडी में निहित है. मोज़ील के इस कथन से इस बात की पुष्टि होती है जब वो कहती है “अपने इस धर्म को ले जाओ”.

टिटवाल का कुत्ता (The dog of Titwal) में भी लोगों को पागलपन तथा शक्ति और अधिकारीयों पर व्यंग्य करते है. ये बता पाना कठिन है कि कुत्ता एक देशभक्त की तरह मारा गया या उन्होंने अपने देश के कठोर, धार्मिक बेवकूफी को मारा है. ऐसा प्रतीत होता है कि वे हिंसा में मनोरंजन का आभास करने लगे है.

उनकी कहानी “खोल दो” हिंसा की सारी सीमाएं तोड़ देती है. वे बुरे या  दुष्टता के सन्दर्भ में धार्मिक समुदाय की विचारधारा का विरोध करते है तथा ये दिखाते है कि दुष्ट लोग किस प्रकार अपनी लालसाओ को पूरा करने के लिए ऐसी स्थितियों का फायदा उठाते है तथा आपके मज़हब के लोग ही आपको धोखा दे सकते है. वे दिखाते है कि हिंसा का कोई धर्म नहीं होता तथा ये अमानवीयता का परिणाम है. “आखिरी सलाम” (the last salute) बिना वजह लड़ने की कहानी है. सैनिक खुद नहीं जानते कि वे क्यूँ ऐसे देश के लिए लड़ रहे है जो उनके लिए अनजान है. वो खुद नहीं जानते ई उन्हें सच में कश्मीर चाहिए या नहीं.

मंटो को कश्मीर बेहद प्रिय था जिसका उल्लेख वो पंडित नेहरु को लिखे अपने पत्र में करते है. उनकी बहुत सी कहानियां जैसे “आखिरी सलाम” और “टिटवाल का कुत्ता” का कश्मीर पर केन्द्रित है. वे छोटी छोटी खुशियों के लिए तरसते जान पड़ते  है. उदाहरण के लिए वे पत्र में शिकायत करते है कि शायद यह बब्बुगोशा का मौसम है. मैंने यहाँ बहुत से गोश खाएं  है पर बब्बुगोशा खाए मुझे बहुत अरसा हो गया”. वे पत्र में  स्पष्ट तौर पर नेहरु जी से नाराजगी जताते है, कश्मीर और विभाजन के मुद्दे को लेकर पर साथ ही ये भी ज़ाहिर करते है कि वे कितने असहाय है. उदाहरण के लिए वे खुद को “डेढ़ सेर का पत्थर” (किसी ने उन्हें बताया था कि मंटो का अर्थ डेढ़ सेर का पत्थर होता है) तथा उन्हें “नदी” (नेहरु अर्थात नहर/नदी) कहकर संबोधित करते है. पर साथ ही वे यह भी कहते है कि यदि मैं डेढ़ सेर के पत्थर की जगह एक बड़ा पत्थर होता तो उस नदी में खुद को गिरा देता जिसे अपने बहने से रोक रहे है ताकि आप अपने इंजीनियरो की टीम के साथ इस पत्थर को हटाने के लिए बातचीत करने पर मजबूर हो जाए. वे उनके  कश्मीरी होने की दुहाई देते है. वे शिकायत करते है कि आप बड़े आदमी है, भारत जो कभी मेरा देश था, के शासक है आप पर आप ने कभी इस आदमी की फ़िक्र नहीं की. वे शिकायत करते है कि किस प्रकार भारत में प्रकाशक उनकी कहानियां बगैर उनकी मंज़ूरी के छाप रहे है वो भी अजीबो-गरीब नामो के साथ. किस प्रकार उनका मज़ाक उड़ाया रहा है. वे कहते है कि वे उन्हें अपने किताब की एक प्रति भेजेंगे जिससे कि नेहरु उनकी कहानियाँ पढ़े (जिन्होंने कभी उनकी कहानियाँ नहीं पढ़ी थी) तथा कहते है कि मुझे पूरा  विश्वास है कि आपको मेरी कहानियाँ पसंद नहीं आएँगी.

मंटो की प्रिय मित्र इस्मत चुगताई  कहती है कि ‘सियाह हाशिये’ की व्याख्या करते हुए मुहम्मद हसन अस्करी ने कहा है कि मंटो अन्यायी को अन्यायी की तरह नहीं देखते तथा उनकी कहानियों से प्रतीत होता है कि हिंसा करने  वाले पात्र ईश्वर द्वारा बनाये गए है. इस्मत चुगताई ये स्पष्ट करती है कि वे ऐसा नहीं सोचते. वो अन्याय को अन्याय कहने से डरेंगे क्यूँ? वे अन्याय करने वालों का विरोध करते है. वे कहती है कि मैं जानती हूँ कि मंटो ‘सियाह हाशिये’ लिखते वक़्त हँस नहीं रहे होंगे और न ही उन्होंने ये कहानियाँ हमें हँसाने के लिए लिखी है.

मंटो स्वयं अपने लेखन के सन्दर्भ में कहते है- “लम्बे अरसे से मैं देश के बंटवारे से उपजी उथल पुथल के नतीजो को स्वीकार करने से इनकार करता रहा. महसूस तो मैं अब भी वही करता हूँ पर मुझे लगता है कि आख़िरकार मैंने अपने आप पर तरस खाए या हताश हुए बगैर उस खौफनाक सच्चाई को मंज़ूर कर लिया. इस प्रक्रिया में मैंने इंसान के बनाये हुए लहू के इस समंदर से अनोखी आब वाले मोतियों को निकलने की  कोशिश की. मैंने इंसानों को मारने वाले इंसानों की एकचित धुन के बारे में लिखा, उनमे से कुछ के पछतावे के बारे में लिखा जो समझ नहीं पा रहे थे कि उनमे अब तक कुछ इंसानी जज्बे बाकि कैसे रह गए. इन तमाम और इनके अलावा और भी बहुत सी बाते मैंने अपनी किताब सियाह हाशिये में लिखी है’.

आलोक भल्ला मंटो के काल के बारे में बताते हुए मंटो की कहानियों के सन्दर्भ में कहते है- “ये कहानियां उस आदमी के द्वारा लिखी गयी है जो ये जानता था कि इस प्रकार की तबाही के बाद किसी भी तरह से माफ़ी तथा उसे भुलाया जाना जाना सम्भव नहीं है. जिन्होंने इस हत्याकांड को देखा था वे महज़ खड़े रहकर अपने मरने का इंतज़ार कर सकते थे. विभाजन ने नैतिकता को इस प्रकार मिटा दिया था कि कुछ भी वापस पाना तथा किसी भी प्रकार की उम्मीद करना संभव नहीं था. भाषा ने बहकाने का काम किया, और आम लोग क्रूर तथा खूनी बन गए, दहशत को दृढ़तापूर्वक देखा गया जिससे कि हम ये समझ सके कि किस प्रकार हम सभी इस बर्बर विश्व के निर्माण में भागीदार थे और अब हमें कुछ भी नहीं बचा सकता.

१९१५ में जन्मे भीष्म साहनी भी विभाजन की इस त्रासदी के गवाह थे. उन्होंने अपना बचपन ‘रावलपिंडी’ में बिताया था तथा इंटरमीडिएट तक की पढाई भी वहीँ से की थी. यह वो क्षेत्र था जो १८५७ के विद्रोह का गवाह भी रह चुका था, जहाँ अंग्रेजो का दबदबा था तथा पाश्चात्य संस्कृति की अच्छी झलक मिलती थी. उन्हें इन सबका अनुभव था जिसका प्रमाण उनके उपन्यास ‘तमस’ में भी स्पष्ट तौर पर देखने को मिलता है. कांग्रेस के स्थानीय अफसर यहाँ आते रहते थे तथा समाज सुधारक भी जिसका उल्लेख वो अपनी आत्मकथा में भी कारते है- “यहाँ पर कांग्रेस की जुलूस भी निकलते, गुरुद्वारे और आर्य समाज के के भी, मुहर्रम के ताजिये भी निकलते. गाहे बगाहे सांप्रदायिक तनाव भी होता, मगर लोग आम तौर पर बड़े स्नेह भाव से एक दूसरे के धर्म की मर्यादाओ की कद्र करते हुए रहते थे.

वे कांग्रेस की रिलीफ समिति में भी काम कर चुके थे, जैसा कि वे खुद इसका उल्लेख करते है- “देश के बंटवारे के समय जब सांप्रदायिक दंगे हुए तो मैं कांग्रेस की रिलीफ समिति में काम किया करता था और आंकड़े इकठ्ठा करता था कि वहाँ कितने मरे कितने घायल हुए, कितने घर जले आदि. तभी गाँव-गाँव घूमने और सांप्रदायिक दंगो के वीभत्स दृश्य देखने का अवसर मिला. “तमस” इस अनुभव पर आधारित है.

“तमस” साम्प्रदायिकता पर की जाने वाली राजनीति की कहानी है. यह दिखाती है कि किस प्रकार राजनितिज्ञ खुद ही इसके बीज बोते है और फिर खुद ही इसकी निंदा करने का स्वांग रचते है.

तमस की कहानी बस इतनी सी है कि एक म्युनिसिपल कमिटी का कारिन्दा और अंग्रेज़ सरकार का चमचा मुराद अली अंग्रेज़ सरकार के इशारे पर एक सीधे सादे चमार नाथू को ५ रूपए देकर उससे एक सूअर मरवाती है और उसे मस्जिद की सीढ़ियों पर फेंकवा देता है. इसकी प्रतिक्रिया में दूसरा वर्ग एक गाय की हत्या करवा देता है. इन दोनों घटनाओ की खबर ज्यों ज्यों फैलती है, विद्वेष की आग भड़कने लगती है और पूरे शहर में तनाव फ़ैल जाता है. नागरिको का शिष्टमंडल शांति स्थापित करने के उद्देश्य से अंग्रेज़ जिला कलेक्टर रिचर्ड से मिलता है और बिना किसी ठोस आश्वासन के लौट जाता है. जिला कांग्रेस समिति के सेक्रेटरी श्री बक्षी जी तथा कम्युनिस्ट नेता कामरेड शांति स्थापित करने में नाकामयाब रहते है तथा आसपास के गांवो में भी दंगे फ़ैल जाते है. इलाहिबक्ष, खानपुर, सैयदपुर आदि गांवों में लूट पाट और हत्याएं होती है. सिख और मुस्लिम दोनों मोर्चाबंदी करते है तथा इस मोर्चाबंदी में २०० वर्ष  पूमध्यकालीन जहनियत काम कर रही थी. तुर्कों के ज़ेहन में यहीं था कि अपने पुराने दुश्मन सिखो पर हमला बोल रहे है और सिखों के ज़ेहन में यही था कि वे भी अपने पुराने दुश्मन तुर्कों पर हमला बोल रहे है. पांचवे दिन अंग्रेज़ शांति कायम करने का प्रयास करते है. नगर में कर्फ्युं लगाया जाता है और एक ही दिन में पूरा माहौल बदल जाता है. जिसके इशारे पर ये तूफ़ान आया था, उसी इशारे पर सब तबाह करके गायब हो जाता है. इस तूफ़ान के बाद दृश्य बड़ा ही कारुणिक है तथा लोग जो शिकार हुए थे उनसे शरणार्थी कैंप भरे पड़े है. शांति कायम करने के लिए अंग्रेज़ कलेक्टर रिचर्ड की प्रेरणा से पंद्रह सदस्यों की अमन समिति बनायीं जाती है जिसमे ७ मुस्लमान, ५ हिन्दू और ३ सिख है. इस प्रकार जिसकी प्रेरणा से और जिसके द्वारा दंगे की शुरुआत हुई उसी की प्रेरणा से और उसके द्वारा ही दंगे का अंत भी हुआ. उनके उपन्यास को यदि ऐतिहासिक और सामाजिक सन्दर्भ में देखा जाए तो निम्न निष्कर्ष निकाले जा सकते है-

1- देश का विभाजन जिस सांप्रदायिक विद्वेष का परिणाम था उसके बीज ब्रिटिश कूटनीति ने बोये थे.

2- विभाजन के दौरान कांग्रेस के भीतर राष्ट्रीय एकता के प्रति गहरी निष्ठा का आभाव था. कांग्रेस स्वयं अनेक स्वार्थो की मिलन भूमि थी.

3- सांप्रदायिक दंगो में भाग लेने वालो की ज़हनियत मध्यकाल से जुडी हुई थी.

4- सदियों से साथ रहते गुए नगर और गाँव दोनों ही स्वरों पर हिन्दू और मुसलमानों की जीवन रेखा कुछ इस प्रकार घुल मिल गयी थी कि उनका चाहे कैसे भी विभाजन किया जाता वह कृत्रिम ही होता.

5- दंगो में हमेशा गरीब ही मारे जाते है. अमीर और प्रभावशाली लोग गरीबो के मूल्य पर अपना राजनीतिक खेल खेलते है और परस्पर एक दूसरे के हितो की रक्षा करते है.

6- शक्ति और पैसा बड़ी चीज़े है, वो मूल्यों को दबा सकते है, संस्कारो को तोड़ सकते है किन्तु मनुष्य की  जिजीविषा और भी बड़ी है. वो बड़ी से बड़ी विपत्ति झेलकर भी जीवित रहना चाहता है.

इस उपन्यास की एक महत्त्वपूर्ण बात ये है कि इस पूरे उपन्यास में वे प्रादेशिक कांग्रेस के सदस्यों पर व्यंग्य कसते रहते है तथा देशभक्ति और राष्ट्रीयता के संकीर्ण मापदंडो पर भी व्यंग्य करते है. उदाहरण के लिए कांग्रेस के शंकर जब दूसरे कांग्रेस सदस्य कोहली को अपना आजारबंद दिखाने को कहता है तथा उसके बारे में कहता है- “देख लीजिये साहिबान, नाडा रेशमी है. हाथ के कटे सूत का नहीं है. कांग्रेस रेशमी नाडा पहने? और आप उसे  प्रादेशिक सदस्य का उम्मीदवार बनाकर भेजेंगे? कांग्रेस का कोई उसूल है या नहीं?

जहां विभाजन पर ज़्यादातर साहित्य त्रासदी को बयाँ करता है वहीँ भीष्म साहनी द्वारा रचित “अमृतसर आ गया है” ये दर्शाता है कि कुछ क्षेत्रो में दंगे के बावजूद भी ज़िन्दगी में कोई अधिक परिवर्तन नहीं आया तथा लोग पहले की तरह हंसी मज़ाक करते है. उन्होंने ये दुनिया लाहौर से आने वाली ट्रेन में दिखाई है. पर ये भी रूढ़ छवियों से मुक्त नहीं है- (1) बाबू से पठान कहता है कि तुम दुबले पतले हो क्यूंकि तुम हमारी तरह मीट नहीं खाते. तुम हमारी तरह मीट खाकर तंदरुस्त हो जाओ या फिर महिलाओ के डब्बे में सफ़र करो, (2) सरदार पठान को समझाता है कि बाबू पठानों का भोजन नहीं लेता क्यूंकि वो अपने हाथ नहीं धोते अर्थात वे गंदे लोग है, (३) जब ट्रेन में ज़बरदस्ती लोग अन्दर घुसने की कोशिश करते है तो ट्रेन में बैठे लोग उन पर चिल्लाते है और पठान बदहवासी में एक महिला के पेट में लात मार देता है, (4) जब ट्रेन आग में झुलसते शहरो से होते हुए गुज़रती है तो लोग भयभीत हो जाते है, पर जैसे ही उन्हें ज्ञात होता है कि ये ‘वजीराबाद’ नामक मुस्लिम बहुल क्षेत्र था तो पठान का भय मर जाता है वहीँ सिखो और हिन्दुओ की चुप्पी गहरी हो जाती है, (5) वहीँ जब ट्रेन हरबंसपुरा और अमृतसर (हिन्दू-सिख बहुल क्षेत्र) पहुँचती है तो बाबू जो अब तक पठान की हर बेइज़्ज़ती झेल रहा था, चौड़ा हो जाता है तथा पठान पर धावा बोलता है- “ओ पठान के बच्चे! हिन्दू औरत को लात मारता है. हरामजादे

कमलेश्वर जो मंटो के प्रशंसक भी रहे है, उनकी कहानी “और कितने पाकिस्तान” पाकिस्तान बनने के असर को बयाँ करती है. वे पाकिस्तान को एक मुल्क नहीं बल्कि एक दुखद सच्चाई मानते है तथा इसलिए लेखक जहाँ कहीं जाता है उसे दृश्य दिखाई देते है, जिन्हें वह पाकिस्तान कहता है क्यूंकि वह उसे विध्वंस का कारण मानता है क्यूंकि ये “एहसास की रुकी हुई हवा है”. विध्वंस के चित्र इतने भयानक है कि वो अनुभव करता है कि वो मुस्लमान पर टूट पड़ना चाहता है और अपनी प्रेमिका को छीन लेना चाहता है जैसे कि वो कहता है- “उसी दिन से एक पाकिस्तान मेरे सीने में  शमशीर की तरह उतर गया था”

पाकिस्तान बनने का दर्द वह अपनी प्रेमिका सलीमा (जिसे वो प्यार से बन्नो कहता है क्यूंकि उसे सलीमा कहते डर लगता है) में भी महसूस करता है. उसके अन्दर का पाकिस्तान तब नज़र आता है जब वह अपने पति मुनीर को कोसती है “मुझे मालूम नहीं है क्या? जितनी बार बम्बई जाता है, खून बेचकर आता है. फिर रात भर पड़ा काँपता रहता है.

जब लेखक को ज्ञात होता है कि उसकी प्रेमिका वेश्या बन गयी है तो उसे समझ नहीं आता कि उसके साथ ऐसा क्यूँ होता है. बन्नो उसे टेढ़ी मुस्कराहट के साथ देखती है ख़ामोशी से व्यंग्य करती है तो उसके मुख से निकलता है- “पता नहीं ये बदला तुम मुझसे ले रही थी, मुनीर से या पाकिस्तान से?”

वह पाकिस्तान को और उसकी सच्चाई को हकीक़त मान चूका है- “अब तो फटा फटा आदमी ही सच लगता है. पूरे शरीर का आदमी देखकर दहशत होते है. विध्वंस के चिन्ह हर जगह दिखाई देते है जो आहत करते है- “अब कौन सा शहर है जिसे मैं छोड़कर भाग जाऊ. कहाँ कहाँ भागता फिरूँ जहां पकिस्तान न हो.

पाकिस्तान की यदि सच्चाई की बात की जाए तो वह अब भी नज़र आती है. नेहरु जिन्होंने विभाजन को अस्थायी बताया था वो स्थायी हो चूका है. इस सन्दर्भ में असगर वजाहत ने नाटक “जिस लाहौर जई देख्या ओ जम्याई नइ” का पाकिस्तान में मंचन न होने देना ये कहकर कि उसमे मौलवी की हत्या इस्लाम के विरुद्ध है तथा नाटककार भारतीय है, इसी का सूचक है. पर आख़िरकार जब नाटक होता है तो हाउसफुल रहता है वो भी कराची में वो भी इस तरह से  कि लोग पेड़ पर चढ़कर नाटक देख रहे थे. यह इस बात को इंगित करता है कि मानवीयता बड़ी बड़ी विपत्ति को झेलकर भी जीवित रहती है.

लगभग सभी विभाजन की कहानियों में महिलाओ को एक निश्चित रूप दे दिया गया है. दोनों ओर महिलाओ की स्थिति एक समान रूप से स्थिर कर दी गयी है. उसकी अपनी महत्वपूर्णता उस आदमी पर निर्भर करती है जिसकी वो औरत है या जिसने उसका उल्लंघन किया है या उन्हें प्रताड़ित किया है. और इस प्रकार इस सांप्रदायिक अस्पष्टता में वे प्रभावहीन सी जान पड़ती है. महिलाओ को शोषित करना, पुरुषो के लिए अपने विरोधी समुदाय को नीचा दिखने का माध्यम था, वहीँ कई पुरुषो के लिए ये स्थिति अपनी लालसाओ को पूरा करने का अच्छा अवसर था. इस सन्दर्भ में मंटो की कहानी “खोल दो” जिसमे ‘सकीना’ का दोनों ही समुदायों के पुरुषो द्वारा शोषण किया जाता है., इस बात को इंगित करता है कि हिंसा यहाँ महज़ सांप्रदायिक मुद्दा नहीं था बल्कि हिंसक पुरुषो के लिए एक अच्छा अवसर था तथा सम्प्रदायिकता ओढा आवरण मात्र था. महिलाएं उनके लिए इस लड़ाई में सुकून पाने का माध्यम थी. कहीं ये सुकून ‘अच्छा’ था तो कहीं ‘बुरा’ था. इस सन्दर्भ में तमस में भीष्म साहनी कहते है- “दुःख से छुटकारा पाने के लिए आदमी सबसे पहले औरत की तरफ मुड़ता है”. नाथू को जब अपनी गलती का एहसास होता है तो उसे अपनी पत्नी के पास जाने की इच्छा होती है. इस प्रकार की कहानियों में महिलाओ को निष्क्रिय दिखाया गया है तथा पुरुष ही उनकी नियति तय  करते है. पर “मोज़ील ” तथा “ठंडा गोश्त” में “कलवंत कौर” इस सन्दर्भ में कुछ अपवाद है.

मंटो अपनी कहानियों में प्रत्यक्ष तौर पर बोलते है और इसीलिए उनमे नाटकीयता नहीं है तथा उनकी नायिकाएं बिना अश्रु बहे सिसकियाँ लेती है. वो घृणा और द्वेष को झेलते-झेलते अपने दर्द के शून्य पद गयी है तथा अपनी हीन स्थिति का प्रदर्शन करते हुए समाज के पुरुषो पर व्यंग्य करती प्रतीत होती है. कमलेश्वर की कहानी “और कितने पाकिस्तान” की बन्नो भी ऐसी ही है. उसका अपने प्रेमी की ओर टेढ़ी मुस्कराहट के साथ देखना और पूछना “और कोई है” इसी का सूचक है. नायक अपनी ज़िन्दगी के तीन पडावो की बात करता है- “पहला, जब मुझे बन्नो मेहँदी की हवा लग गयी थी, दूसरा, जब मैंने तुम्हे पहली बार नंगा देखा था और तीसरा, जब तुमने कहा था “और कोई है”. चाहे मंटो की कहानियां हो या कमलेश्वर की कहनियाँ दोनों की कहानियों के पुरुष महज़ खूनी और बलात्कारी नहीं है. उनमे अब भी मानवीयता बाकी है. पर ये मानवीयता असहाय और कमज़ोर सी जान पड़ती है, जो स्त्रियों के शोषण और पतन का कारण जान पड़ती है. यह कमलेश्वर के “और कितने पाकिस्तान” और मंटो की कई कहानियों जैसे कि  The Woman in the Red Raincoat में स्पष्ट जाहिर होता है- “तुम दो औरतो के खूनी हो. एक मशहूर कलाकार थी और दूसरी वो जिसका जन्म तुम्हारे लिविंग रूम में मौजूद पहली औरत के शरीर से हुआ था जिसे तुमने उस रात अकेला छोड़ दिया था. (You are the murderer of two women. One who is known as a great artist & the other who was born from the body of the first woman in your living room that night & whom you alone know).

ज्ञानेंद्र पाण्डेय कहते है आलोचकों ने कि तीन प्रकार की हिंसा की बात की है-  (1) जो राज्य द्वारा की जाती है जैसे कि रूस, जर्मनी, साइबेरिया में हुआ, (2) एक दूसरे तरीके की हिंसा जहाँ राज्य पहले से भक्षक नहीं होता पर वो उसे रोक सकता था पर ऐसा नहीं करता. जैसे कि १९९२-९३ में विश्व हिन्दू परिषद् द्वारा बाबरी मस्जिद के विवाद पर की गयी हिंसा, (3)एक तीसरे तरह की हिंसा वह है जहाँ लोग खुद हिंसा से पीड़ित होते है और अपना मानसिक स्वास्थ्य खो देने के कारण एक दूसरे का खून करने लगते है. विभाजन को इसी प्रकार की हिंसा माना जाता है.

वे कहते है कि जावीद आलम का कहना है कि “इस तरह की हिंसा को हमें याद नहीं करना चाहिए जिससे कि लोग सामाजिक, राजनैतिक और व्यक्तिगत तौर पर सामान्य जिंदगी जी सके, शांतिपूर्ण तरीके से.

पण्डे इस तरह की धारणा को इतिहास के लिए हानिकारक बताते है तथा कहते है कि ऐसा प्रतीत होता है कि राष्ट्रवादी धारणा है जो ये तय करने की कोशिश करती है कि भारतीय इतिहास के लिए क्या उचित है और क्या अनुचित. पर वे हमें ये भी बताते है कि हाल ही मैं कई महत्त्वपूर्ण कार्य हुए है हिंसा पर जिनमे मुख्यतः ये समझने का प्रयास किया गया है कि हिंसा का दायरा कितना बड़ा है. वो समझने का प्रयास करते है-

१. क्रोधित पुरुषो की पीड़ा को,  २. १९४७ तथा उसके बाद महिलाओ तथा बच्चो की स्थिति को, ३. महिलाओ और बच्चो की सामुदायिक और राष्ट्रीय बानगियों को, ४. धर्म से अलगाव को किस प्रकार एक मात्र नागरिक पहचान के रूप में देखा जा सकता है, ५. राज्य के बेहया पितृसत्तावाद को. वे कहते है कि सभी रोज मर्रा की ज़िन्दगी का इतिहास पेश करती है- एक ऐसा इतिहास जिसमे राज्य और समाज दोनों फंसे है. इस सन्दर्भ में जब हम विभाजन पर लिखे साहित्य की बात करते है तो निष्कर्ष के तौर पर कहा जा सकता है कि “काल्पनिक लेखन की सबसे अच्छी बात यह है कि ये महज़ हिंसा की कहानियाँ ही बयान नहीं करती पर इस बात की भी जांच करती है कि क्या दहशत के बीच भी हममें कुछ नैतिकता बची थी”. (The best of the fiction writers about the partition are not concerned with merely telling stories of violence, but with making profoundly troubled inquiry about the survival of our moral being in the midst of horror). इसका उल्लेख आलोक भल्ला भी करते है और कई दफा उनकी अभिव्यक्तियाँ निजी प्रतीत होती है. उदाहरण के लिए “सहाय” (A tale of 1947) में  मुमताज़ का चरित्र तथा उसके द्वारा बॉम्बे छोड़कर पाकिस्तान का चरित्र तथा उसके द्वारा बॉम्बे छोड़कर पाकिस्तान जाना तथा उसके द्वारा अपने मित्र जुगल से प्रश्न करना कि क्या वो उसे मार सकता है? ये सब उनकी निजी जिंदगियों की पेश करते है. मंटो ने खुद ये सवाल अपने मित्र तथा अभिनेता  श्याम से किया था. इन कहानियों की एक महत्त्वपूर्ण बात ये है कि विभाजन के बाद भी लोग क्षेत्रीय सीमओं की फ़िक्र नहीं करते क्यूंकि वे सामजिक और सांस्कृतिक रूप से जुड़ चुके थे तथा क्षेत्रीय सीमओं के आधार पर यहाँ राष्ट्र-राज्य की कल्पना को विफल दिखाया गया है. उदाहरण के लिए “अमृतसर आ गया है” में ट्रेन के मुसाफिर क्षेत्रीय-सीमओं के बजाय सबसे पहले नेताओ की बात करते है. ये प्रश्न किया जाता है कि ‘पाकिस्तान’ बनने के बाद जिन्ना बॉम्बे में ही रहते रहेंगे या पाकिस्तान में रहेंगे? इस प्रकार मंटो की कहानियाँ तथा भीष्म साहनी का तमस दोनों ही इस बात को इंगित करते है कि हिन्दू और मुस्लिम, दोनों ही सांस्कृतिक रूप से इस प्रकार घुलमिल गए थे कि सीमओं के बल पर किसी के बल पर किसी भी प्रकार का कृत्रिम था तथा “माउंटबेटन प्लेन” के द्वारा जब इस प्रकार का असंवेदनशील निर्णय लिया जाता है तो वहां किसी भी प्रकार का  राष्ट्रवाद नज़र आता है. भारत के सन्दर्भ में तो बिलकुल नहीं! वे भारतीय स्थिति को समझे नहीं क्यूंकि उनके विश्व में सीमा रेखा के आधार पर राष्ट्रवाद की कल्पना की जा सकती है.

सन्दर्भ सूची

Manto, Saadat hasan, mottled Dawn: Fifty Sketches & Stories of Partition, Delhi, 2000, Introduction pp. 1-95 & 157-164

Monto, Saadat Hasan, Pandit Manto’s First letter to Pandit Nehru.

Joshi, Shashi, the world of saadat Hasan manto, The Annual of Urdu Studies

Chughtai, Ismat, Communal Violence & literature

Hasan, Mushirul, Memories of Fragmented Nation: Rewriting the Histories of India’s Partion.

Panday, Gyanendra Remambering partition: Violence, Nationalism & History in India, By way of Introduction & ch-3, Cambridge University Press, 2001

Kumar, Sukrita Paul, Surfacing from Within Fallen Women in manto’s Fiction, The Annual of Urdu Studies

साहनी, भीष्म, राजकमल प्रकाशन

साहनी, भीष्म, अमृतसर  आ गया है

कमलेश्वर, और कितने पाकिस्तान, मुंबई, 1969

rekhta. Org

shodhganga. Inflibnet.ac.in

Who was saadat Hasan Monto: A biography

वजाहत, असगर, जिस लाहौर नइ देख्या ओ जम्याई नइ, वाणी  प्रकाशन] 2006

http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00urdu/tobateksingh/

A Letter From Mahatma

-Kshitiz Roy

 

 

modi-gandhi
Gandhi to Modi

Dear Mr Modi,

Of late, the angles of heaven have been telling me interesting stories about my beloved India. The politics had never been so political, I am told. In a classically hysterical way, much like the mass media of our times, I have been warned about the fact that another lad from the holy land of Gujarat is hell bent upon rendering my ideals redundant. The other day, during our daily evening walk with Mr. Nehru in the alleys of Indra Palace, I found him deeply distressed about the current political undertones of his beloved India, something which he feels he had invented in 1947, I was told that you have unleashed another wave of communal hatred in the country. Let alone the planet earth, your political gimmicks have caused enough ripples to unsettle the settled political souls of the departed. Mr Modi, I am not too sure whether you are still into reading this letter or have just gone about tweeting me on social media, but let’s get this clear at the outset that despite the venomous anti- Modi campaign, those sikulars( I have also been told that the new wave social media pundits schooled by you have re phrased the word secular) have unleashed worldwide and here in the heaven, I am pleasantly appalled by you. You see, just like you, I could never come to terms with these heavy, west imported slang like Secularism and democracy. Just like you, I wish we could never have to be a secular democracy. This is India, and we have got the right to imagine our polity on the ancient Hindu lines, a polity which is dictated by our reverend mothers – Bharat and Cow; a polity based on the great Hindu idea of purity and caste hierarchies; a polity based not on the foreign idea of constitutionalism but on the very Indian idea of Sanskaar – the ancient Hindu culture. What if the whole potpourri would have been a slightly confused one, at least that way we could have been more Indian as a nation. You see, this is all I had fought for throughout my life; but blame it on the Oxford educated, scotch gurgling brigade of anti-national intellectuals disguised as Nehru and Co, our country was soon made captive to the colonial construct of polity. Independent India, my friend, was nothing but the biggest colonial mirage of 20th century, whose world view and imagination were kept captive at the doors of Mountbatten, errr, Edvina. I could have resisted, I should have done another satyagrah, but kid, by the time 1947 happened I was too old and jaded to take on the blabbering Nehru.
You sir, you have bewitched me for quite some time. It is now when I look at you, I feel that the dawn has come. You have single handedly taken upon your shoulders– the responsibility to rip this nation out of the colonial hangover. A look at you and I can’t help myself marvel over the divine similarities we both share. A look at you, and I feel that you are the one who will one day realize my long smoldering dream of creating a Bharat in an India. Sometimes, I see my redemption in you. I had long harbored similar dreams in my head and heart; but I could never articulate it in front of Nehru. For he was close with Mr. Ghanshyam Birla, and they together fashioned the myth of Mahatma I enjoy today. You my friend Modi, have gone a step beyond and have the tamed all the Birlas and Adanis of the nation. And this is one achievement I wish I could ever do in my lifetime. It is one thing to be revered, it is just another to rule. And for the latter, you need to enjoy financial autonomy. This is where we differ, and oh how!

Kid, when I look at you, I can’t help but marvel about all these similar political vision we share. It feels that we are two prodigies from the same school of politics, just that I am your old guy who is selectively and conveniently remembered. First of all, let’s get the Gujarat connection out of the way. By now, the nation must have realized that Gujarat is the official kinder-garden of Indian politics. While the other provinces of the nation produce political leaders, Gujarat is from where legends come. Let’s count LK Advani as an aberration. See kid, you always had in you. You have mastered the art of being a news maker long ago, since way back in 2002, if my memory serves me right. While there are many who go berserk about this, but I find nothing wrong with it – that’s what all great leaders do. They learn how to be the news. Look at me; this is something what I did so brilliantly throughout the national movement. I am not easily impressed by the smear campaign they have unleashed against you. I know what it takes to be the king of the pack. Ask me, I have been dealing with all kinds of verbal pleasantries throughout my life; even when I am dead. That’s the side effect of being great. That’s the side effect of being political. You see when you are there in this game for a long haul; there are choices you have to make, there are silences you have to choose. They would criticize you heavily for your selective diatribe and convenient silences against poverty, unemployment and so and so on. Poverty, my friend, as you might have known by now, is a historic construct just like communal ism. No sane political power ever interferes to do anything with it. I have seen many bright European minds dealing about it and trust me, maintaining status quo is the ultimate political success. Those who succeed in this race of power don not provide a solution to these social ils, they learn how to play along. Political criticism, my friend is a funny business. It is often taken up by those who don’t know an inch about politics. And trust me; this country would ever be brimming with such people, often found wanting in historical sensibilities and replete with a myopic sense of social commentary.

By the time India was free, I had lost my appetite for politics, and thanks to Mr Godse, who in his uniquely Hindu way, ensured that I attain ‘Moksha’ at the most suitable juncture of time, I find myself unable to comment about post independent India. Now, because I have practiced enough of politics in my sojourn through Indian political struggle, I know very well that you need to be selfish in order to rule. Those who haven’t and will never taste the political waters of this nation will never know about the art of ruling. And going by the limited knack of legality and political acumen I possess, I feel there is nothing wrong with you. If at all anywhere, this is where you seemed to have excelled. My heart fills with pleasure unbound when I find you taking cues from my book. People have tried hard enough to tear us apart ideologically – but let me clear the air once and for all. I have never seen a PM going back in time and taking cues from my book. It is when I see you approaching the historical social malaise of cleanliness through my lenses in your brilliantly designed Swacch Bharat campaign; it is when I see your satyagrah against the black money hoarders; it is when I see you clashing swords with an entire army of intellectuals beating around the bushes of JNU, my heart resonates with tour vision. Those who don’t know me have tried to pitch us together as enemies, as two antithetical political characters sitting on the opposite fences of ideology. And this is where; I would have loved to share a loud laughter with you for both of us, being the foxy Gujju bhai we are, and very well know that ideology is just another cloak to enjoy brute power. And talking about ideology, no matter how many PHDs, they would keep distributing across the length and breadth of the nation, they would never get hold of my idea of India. For they Dear Mr Modi, don’t know that just like you I harbored a deep distrust towards things and ideas imported from the west. West is waste. In the last few years, people on the other side of the fence, have ridiculed you with the epithets of dictator, communal, divisive, pompous and what not. You have been accused of trying to belittle the constitutional institutions. Mr Nehru sends his deepest anguishes in the strongest of anglicized words, for dismantling his baby – the planning commission. No matter how many times I told him that Neeti sounds more Bhartiya, he won’t budge but let’s not get into his petty childishness. You see, the NEHRUS have always been childish. You have Rahul to vouch for this, right? Back to your intelligent fondling with the so called idea of constitutionalism, I think it’s quite prudent of you to take such decisions. Legally speaking, you have always been around the best of judges. And ideally, I would have wanted to dislodge the entire constitution itself to make way for a more suitable version of Ram Rajya based on the teachings of Tulsi and Geeta. Those who don’t know me personally are bound to make mistake us as political enemies. You, Mr Modi, are a numb version of my prime. Those who wish to project me as an epitome of tolerance, and you as one destructive fellow, fail to realize that Gandhi would have ideally wanted to get rid of the police, the judiciary and ideally even the constitution. For they are nothing but figments of western imagery, coming straight out of the womb of a western enlightenment, suited to their colonial apparatus with little but no significance to the poor Indians. I am glad that you have taken the onus upon yourself to scratch their underbellies.

The queer thing with legends is that they stick in the public imagery, for reasons weird enough to be known even to them. Take me for example, 100 years after the Champaran revolt, for which people have kindly held me responsible, I am yet to fathom my role in it. All I remember doing there was making those poor filthy Biharis dig latrines and ensure that they don’t die of malaria. Trace the legal status of the Champaran case, and you would be in for the surprise of your life. Law, it takes its own strides. But the thing with India is people here are more interested in lapping up the legends and myths more than the minutes of law. And this is precisely what you are enjoying today. My eyes fill with the purest of tears, when I see Indians rallying behind another Mota Bhai from my mother land. And till the time, you are making the news; they are going to love you.

I can see the spark in your eyes; the hunger to be the shepherd of the herd called Indians, something which I had long tried my hands at. And it is where I would like to shake you out of the political orgasm you are enjoying of late. Power, just like the body, is mundane. And given how spiritual we all are, I know that you know that all of this is Maya. The traditional schools of philosophy confirm this that every flower that blossoms one day has to become mere dust. And such is the case with legends too. We are all bound to be forgotten. We are all bound to be tucked into neat museums and statues and streets named after us. Nobody remembers the legacy, nobody remembers the deeds, – everything about a legend – his ideas, his ideology, his vision, his dreams – all of that is bound to be flushed through the annals of history and history, my friend, is a very cruel and unforgiving dungeon. It treats you the way you just can’t imagine in your lifetime. Ask Nehru, he would swear by what I say. Therefore there is this unsolicited piece of advice, which I would like to give you. I know you have got another Mota bhai from Gujarat, Mr Shah for your daily dose of advises and you don’t quite believe in being advised, but take it as a token of appreciation from this grand old man. Kid, the road to power might be a political journey, but clutching on to it is quite a lonesome one. And it is where you need to listen to your soul. As and when your schedule permits it, please do listen to that voice of the soul. It never lies and once in a while it is better to hear the truth, however unpleasant it might be. Life often appears to be one long orgasmic session when you are in your prime, and once that happens, it is when in a democracy the people fuck you. I pray that this doesn’t happen with you for Bharat, more than India needs you to steer its way out of the abyss of colonial hangover towards an independent imagination of itself. I wish you all the luck in your mission. I would be following you closely around, not on twitter though but in those oft repeated bouts of political comparisons.

Signing off from heaven,
Bapu.

Battle of Histories: The Academic and the Public

-Kriti Tripathi

The discipline of history leads a dual life: an academic and a public one. History lives its academic life through “journals, reviews, specialized conferences, university departments, professional associations and so on.”[1] In India, where mostly the views of historians are not seen as representative of the past because universities do not carry much social authority, the interaction of these domains create tension. The basic categories of the discipline such as “research, facts, truth, evidence, archives- can be moulded by the interaction between history’s cloistered and public life.”[2] History writing in India cannot remain unaffected by identity politics associated with regions, religions, castes or sects. Popular “sentiments” create a barrier not only for historians but also for writers, movie-directors, artists etc. Under the garb of public sentiment some political parties use history as a weapon and play out their politics of divide and rule for the purpose of filling their vote banks. From the 1990s onwards popular commemoration of certain episodes have taken centre stage in Indian politics with violent and bloody consequences. History is assumed to be an embodiment of popular beliefs and memories and in situations when the truth breaks this web of imagination, violence seems inevitable with the urge to rewrite history. In the present paper I shall put forward three case studies to elucidate the practice of public contestation of academic history which is prevalent in India.

 

The Mosque-Temple Controversy in Ayodhya

Today, Indian Hindus and Muslims see themselves as distinct religious communities, essentially two separate nations occupying the same ground.[3] In post-independence era, a nationalist view emerged that Hindu beliefs were continually suppressed and its institutions repeatedly violated from 1206 C.E. onwards, with the establishment of Muslim rule. The dilapidated Hindu temples are shown as the visual proof of invaders’ atrocities on Hindus. The Babri Masjid was constructed in Ayodhya by one of Babur’s soldiers in 1528 C.E. Two major unanswered questions have sparked the controversy: Is Ayodhya a birthplace of Ram and was the mosque constructed on the ruins of a temple. Hindus answer both the questions in an affirmative tone. According to them the mosque was built on top of an 11th century temple marking the birthplace of Ram. The first clear evidence of dispute occurred in 1822. In September 1990, BJP leader L.K. Advani launched a nationwide campaign in support of the movement for the construction of Ram temple at that particular spot where the mosque stood. A 10,000 km. Ratha Yatra was organised with the slogan: mandir wohin banayenge (we will build the temple there and only there).

On 6 December, 1992, an infuriated Hindu mob demolished the mosque. The government’s decision to rebuild the mosque, announced in the first flush of post demolition guilt, was supported by only 35.7% of Indians, and Hindus disapproved of the decision by a margin of 59:30.[4] On 9th May,2011, the Supreme Court of India put a stay on Allahabad High Court verdict that directed division of 2.77 acres of the disputed land in three parts: among Hindus, Muslims and the Nirmohi Akhara. According to the verdict there was a temple of 12th century C.E. which was destroyed to build the mosque. The excavations of A.S.I. and its readings have been fully accepted even though these have been strongly disputed by other archaeologists and historians and since it is a matter of professional expertise on which there was a sharp difference of opinion, the categorical acceptance of one point of view, and that to in a simplistic manner, does little to build confidence in the verdict.[5]  According to Hindu fundamentalist groups: religion is a matter of belief and faith and their belief that Ram’s temple was located at that exact spot gives a sanction to their violent program.

 

The Laine Controversy

Various development plans, airports, railway stations, public parks, squares, schools and universities in Maharashtra are named after the historical figure of Shivaji Bhonsle. In 1674 C.E. Shivaji crowned himself as Chhatrapati with the aim to establish Hindavi Swarajya in order to fight against the Mughal ruler Aurangzeb. By the final decades of the 19th century Shivaji came to be celebrated in poetry, drama and historical fiction. Bal Gangadhar Tilak started Shivaji festival, a public commemoration of his birth. Maratha historical memory has been crucial not only to the creation of a modern regional Marathi identity in Western India but also to the successful articulation of that identity within wider Hindu and Indian national imaginations.[6]

On January 5, 2004 a group called the Sambhaji Brigade attacked the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in Pune. It was triggered by the publication of James W. Laine’s book “ Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India.” Some prominent historians and politicians charged that the study defamed the memory of Shivaji’s mother Jijabai and his father Shahji. Laine wrote that Shivaji’s parents lived apart for a long time, adding that, “Maharashtrians tell jokes naughtily suggesting that his guardian Konddeo was his biological father.” This was interpreted as if Laine wanted to give an expression of Shivaji’s illegitimacy. His book sparked a major controversy in India leading Oxford University Press to withdraw it from the local markets.  Laine had done some research at Pune’s Institute and he had thanked the institute and some scholars affiliated with it in his acknowledgement section and thus it came under a violent attack. Even the unique objects of historical and literary importance were not spared. More seriously still, they severely damaged a first-century manuscript of the great Hindu epic the Mahabharata, as well as a set of palm leaf inscriptions, some important relics from the prehistoric site of Mohenjo-Daro, and a very early copy of the Rig Veda—the world’s oldest sacred text.[7]

 

The Padmavati Controversy

The story that has been in circulation since centuries describes Padmini, the wife of Chittor’s king Ratansen, as a woman of unparalleled beauty. In the year 1303 Chittor was attacked by Delhi’s sultan Allauddin Khalji, apparently to acquire Padmini. He wanted to have a glimpse of her and in lieu of which he promised to lift the siege. However, he could only see the reflected image of her as the Rajput woman did not allow a stranger to even look at her. Captivated by her charm, he decided to win her and captured Ratansen by deceit. Eventually the Rajput army was defeated by the sultan. Padmini and other Rajput women committed jauhar in order to protect themselves from Muslims.

In the month of January this year, activists of the Rajput Karni Sena attacked the sets of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Padmavati. The whole episode was based on the assumption by Rajputs that Bhansali was going to shoot a dream sequence in which physical love between Padmavati and Khalji was going to be manifested. The director negated all such charges. Karni Sena is keen to protect the lineage of their ancestors from any misrepresentation. The Rajputs portray themselves as the ones who resisted the Turkish and the Mughal rule at the cost of their lives. The spirit is claimed to have also resided in Rajput women who are said to have committed Sati and jauhar when faced with the prospect of loss of honour at the hands of Muslims.[8] The memory of marriages between Rajput princesses and Mughal rulers is not often easily accepted by the community today as it represented Hindu capitulation to a Muslim empire.

Ramya Sreenivasan in her book, The Many Lives of a Rajput Queen: Heroic Pasts in India c. 1500-1900, makes it clear that Padmini was a fictional figure created in the poem ‘Padmavat’ written by Malik Mohammad Jayasi in the 16th century. It describes Padmini as the beautiful princess of Simhala-dwipa. She had a talking parrot Hiramani who, on being berated by the king of Simhala- dwipa, flew away to Chittor and informed king Ratansen of the beauty of Padmini. Being completely mesmerized by Hiramani’s account of Padmini, the king wished to marry her and managed to do so after a long series of dramatic battles and adventurous trials. Between 16th and 19th century at least 12 Persian and Urdu translations or adaptations of Jayasi’s Padmavat were produced. The idea that Padmini was a fictitious figure, or a Sufic ideal, is unimportant to Rajput imagination as to them she is as real as the famed Rajput valour .[9]

 

Conclusion

Few days back the education minister of Rajasthan Vasudev Devnani claimed that it was Maharana Pratap who won the battle of Haldi ghati in 1576 and not Akbar. “Some books on history say that Akbar was great but various research show that it was Maharana Pratap who was great. But it is obvious only one of them could be great,” he said.  A few years ago Ashutosh Gowarikar’s historical movie Jodhaa Akbar was banned for some days in various states on the charge of hurting the sentiments of the Rajput community and twisting history. According to them Jodha was not Akbar’s wife. Presently and as well as in the past the NDA government has tried to “saffronise” the content of NCERT books, that is to mould the history according to Hindu nationalist views and in accordance with party’s political views.

The popular view depicts Muslims as outsiders and invaders who do not have right on Hindustan and various programs such as “Ghar-Vapasi” are organised to bring back people to Hindu faith. The Muslims of India should not be held accountable for the actions of Mahmud of Ghazni (971-1030), Allauddin Khalji (1296-1316) or Aurangzeb (1658-1707). Even judging their actions as atrocities according to the norms of the contemporary society, would be an injustice as L.P. Hartley puts it rightly in his novel “The Go- Between”: “The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there.” History is what had happened in the past and not what would have happened. Indians of all faiths must accept the reality of their history, cherish it and take care to preserve it instead of engaging in efforts to rewrite it because trying to undo the past and remedy wrongs that go back several centuries in time will only wreck the present for all concerned.[10] To conclude the essay I would like to quote Romila Thapar’s words: “What happened in history, happened. It cannot be changed.  We cannot change the past to justify the politics of the present.”

 

Sources

  1. Chakrabarty, Dipesh, The Calling of History: Sir Jadunath Sarkar and His Empire of Truth, The University of Chicago Press, 2015.
  2. Deshpande, Prachi, Historical Memory and Identity in Western India 1700-1960, Permanent Black, 2007.
  3. Thakur, Ramesh, Ayodhya and the Politics of India’s Secularism: A Double Standards Discourse, Asia Survey, Vol. 33, No. 7, The Regents of University of California, 1993.
  4. Thapar, Romila, The Verdict on Ayodhya: A historian’s Perspective, The Hindu, Oct 2, 2010.
  5. Mukhia ,Harbans, Myth, History and Nationalism: The Temple- Mosque Controversy in India.
  6. Lee Novetzke, Christian, The Laine Controversy and the Study of Hinduism, International Journal of Hindu Studies 8, World Heritage Press India, 2005.
  7. Dalrymple, William, India: The War Over History, The New York Review of Books, April 7, 2005.
  8. Talbot, Cynthia, Inscribing the Other, Inscribing the Self: Hindu- Muslim Identities in Pre-Colonial India, Cambridge University Press,
  9. Kothiyal, Tanuja, 29 Jan, 2017, http://www.scroll.in
  10. Sreenivasan, Ramya, The Many Lives of a Rajput Queen: heroic Pasts in India c. 1500-1900, University of Washington Press, 2007.
  11. Jasper, Daniel, Commemorating the “Golden Age” of Shivaji in Maharashtra, India and the Development of Maharashtra Public Politics, Journal of Political and Military Sociology, Vol. 31, No. 2, 2003.

Notes

[1] Dipesh Chakrabarty, The Calling of History: Sir Jadunath Sarkar and His Empire of Truth, The University of Chicago Press, 2015, p.7.

[2]  Ibid, p.8.

[3]  Cynthia Talbot, Inscribing the Other, Inscribing the Self: Hindu- Muslim Identities in Pre-Colonial India, Cambridge University Press, 1995, p. 693.

[4]  India Today, 15 Jan. 1993, p. 20.

[5]  Romila Thapar, The Verdict on Ayodhya: A Historian’s Perspective, The Hindu, Oct. 2,2010.

[6]  Prachi Deshpande, Creative Pasts; Historical Memory and Identity in Western India 1700-1960, Permanent Black, 2007, p.2.

[7]  William Dalrymple, India: The War Over History, The New York Review of Books, April 7, 2005 Issue.

[8]  Tanuja Kothiyal, 29 June, 2017, http://www.scroll.in

[9] Ibid.

[10]  Ramesh Thakur, Ayodhya and the politics of India’s Secularism : A Double Standards Discourse, Asian Survey, Vol. 33 , No. 7, University of California Press,1993

नफरत का बाज़ार

  • -santosh kumar

हमारे दैनिक जीवन में निरंतर हमारा साक्षात्कार होता है तरह तरह के उत्पादों से, और उनको बेचने वाले अनगिनत विज्ञापनों से. इन विज्ञापनों के भरोसे इन उत्पादों की बिक्री होती है और कई कलाकारों का जीवन यापन होता रहता है. पर दुनिया में एक ऐसी चीज़ भी है जिसका उत्पादन धड़ल्ले से होता है, और उतनी ही धड़ल्ले से उसकी बिक्री भी होती है. जितना इसका उत्पादन होता है, उतना इसका प्रसार और इतनी इसकी मांग. इसके उत्पादन में कोई खर्चा नहीं होता पर इसके भरोसे विभिन्न लोगों की दुकाने चलती है. ये एक ऐसा बाज़ार है जिसका व्यापार कभी ठंडा नहीं पड़ता, यहाँ हर कोई उत्पादक है और हर कोई खरीददार. आईये आईये ये है नफरत का बाज़ार.

नफरत का बाज़ार लगा है

तुम भी आकर देख लो

सबके दिल में आग लगी है

हाथ तुम भी सेंक लो

जल जाने दो दुनिया को

बंद दिलो की किवाड़ो में

मौत के मंज़र खौफ का आलम

भर दो मन की किताबो में

एक बिगड़ी तस्वीर, एक झूठा तथ्य, शब्दों का मायाजाल यही सब काफी है चिंगारी भड़काने के लिए, काफी है हमारे अन्दर के पक्षपातो व दुर्भावो, हमारे अतार्किक भय को सामने लाने के लिए. हम बात मुहब्बत की करते है, पर विश्वास तो हमें नफरत पर अधिक है. ऐसा नहीं कि मुहब्बत करना बहुत खूब बात है, है तो ये भी एक सामाजिक संरचना पर जाने क्यूँ हमें नफरत करना बहुत पसंद है. पहले हम धारणाएं बनाते है, फिर उन्ही धारणाओ के आधार पर अपने व्यवहार को स्वीकृति देते है. कोई हमसे बेहतर है तो अहं से जन्मी नफरत, कोई हमसे कमजोर है तो हे दृष्टि में छुपी घृणा, कोई हमसे परिचित है तो एक तरह की घृणा (जैसी हम अपने रिश्तेदारों से करते है) कोई हमसे अपरिचित हो तो दूसरे तरह की घृणा (कभी मेट्रो या बस में किसी का हाथ छु जाए तो जो घृणा निकलती है). कोई मेरे धर्म का नहीं, कोई  मेरे वर्ण का नहीं, कोई मेरे वर्ग का नहीं, कोई मेरे जैसा नहीं इसलिए. और जिससे नफरत करने का कोई कारण न हो उससे भी नफरत करो…क्यूँ? “ऐसे ही”

हमारे विचार हमारी धारणाएं, हमारी सोच, हमारी पसंद सब एक परिपेक्ष्य में अस्तित्व में रहती है. पर जब ये विचार और धारणाएं, ये पसंद-नापसंद आपकी पहचान से जुड़ जाए, आपका अहं बन जाए तो हर विपक्षी, विरोधी विचार घृणा का आधार बनेगा. आपको अच्छे होने के लिए जाने क्यूँ किसी न किसी को बुरा होना आवशयक है. हम वास्तव में जानते ही नहीं कि हम नफरत क्यूँ करते है. क्या ये घृणा, उन लोगों के लिए भी जिनका हमसे दूर दूर तक कोई वास्ता नहीं है, और जिनको हम जानते भी नहीं, क्या वास्तव में घृणा है या हमारे अहं और कुंठा की अभिव्यक्ति है

नफरत का बाज़ार लगा है. यहाँ पर रंग बिरंगे चश्मे है. हर चश्मे से एक ख़ास रंग में रंगी दुनिया दिखाई देती है. यहाँ पर डिक्शनरी भी है. नफरत को शब्दों के जाल में डाल कर एक माला पिरो दो. नफरत की भी एक शब्दावली है, जिसको कुछ नहीं आता उसको भी ये शब्दावली बखूबी आती है. अच्छा यहाँ एक स्केल मिलेगा, मापने के औज़ार भी, पूरी दुनिया को अलग अलग टुकडो में बांटने के बहुत काम आएगी. अच्छा ये जानवर हमारा, वो जानवर तुम्हारा, ये रंग हमारा वो तुम्हारा, ये शब्द हमारा वो तुम्हारा, पूरी दुनिया को बांटकर अपने टुकडे को सच्चा टुकड़ा घोषित कर देंगे. नफरत का बाज़ार लगा है, बहुत भीड़ है पर बाज़ार भी तो बड़ा है. मैं भी सुबह उठते ही कुछ नफरत मोल लेता है और रात को आँखे बंद होते ही वो नफरत अपने दिल में सहेज लेता हूँ.

कितनी नफरत खरीदी मैंने

कितनी और अभी बाकी है

कितना अँधियारा फैला है

दीये में तेल कितना बाकी है

चलो अपनी नफरत की खुराक ले ले. फिर मेट्रो में किसी यात्री से लड़ेंगे, फिर क्लास के किसी बच्चे की चुगली करेंगे, किसी का मज़हब किसी की जात, नफरतों की सारी बात. स्टॉक ख़तम हो गया कहीं तो सोचने पर बाध्य हो जायेंगे- कि हम आखिर है क्या, नफरत के सौदागर या इस बाज़ार के एक ग्राहक. क्या पता किसी दिन किसी सड़क पर खुद ही को देख लूँ, एक नयी नफरत को नए शब्दों में, नए दूकान के नए बोर्ड लगाकर, चीख चीखकर बेचते हुए. और उस दिन हमें विश्वास हो जायगा कि  ये दुनिया कुछ और नहीं बस एक नफरत का बाज़ार है. काश ये दिन कभी न आये वरना खुद से भी नफरत हो जायगी. दूसरो से नफरत करके तो ज़िन्दगी चल जाती है, खुद से नफरत करके कैसे जियेंगे पता नहीं. तो भटकते रहो उन्ही गलियों में जब तक या तो बाज़ार ख़त्म हो जाए या खरीदने की औकात.

दिल में अपने पत्थर भरने

का अचूक औज़ार है

आओ आओ जल्दी आओ

ये नफरत का बाज़ार है.

 

 

 

Cultivation of Nationalism in modern India: a critical appraisal

A common question often asked is- how to cultivate patriotism, nationalism, and sense of belonging among its inhabitants. How to make people root for their nation, feel proud to be associated with the nation, and feel a sense of duty in maintaining the dignity of the nation. How to break the walls of caste, creed, religion, language etc? That we carry with us throughout our life and whose baggage pulls us down from being true to our nation. How to diffuse the “you” and “I” into a collective “us”? How to cultivate a collective identity of being an Indian that surpasses all other differences? Mind you, there are no easy answers for all these questions. Even though personally i am highly skeptical to the sacro-sanctity of a nation we have to give cognizance to the fact that nationalism has evolved as a formidable structure which can’t be ignored. even when we are contesting the theoretical basis of nation and nationalism, we have to somehow maintain the myth of nation for the purpose of solidarity and peaceful co-existence. thus the trope of nationalism needs to be channelized in the right direction.

The first thing that comes to my mind is an oxymoron, “to construct a nation first we need to deconstruct a nation”. That is, we need to be conscious of the fact that what is a nation? Who makes a nation? Why do we need a nation? How are we identified as a nation and conversely how nation is identified by us? Once we are conscious of the process of nation building, once we are aware of the fact that nation is as much a social construct as other social institutions, it becomes easier to mold the nation, to effect changes in the nation because we will no longer involve in the “jingoism” and “fetishism” that we often confuse with “patriotism”

Having a historical consciousness of the nation, now the next step is to know what changes we need to see in our country and countrymen, what are the features that we wish our state, society and people inherit and imbibe in their subconscious mind? There are several such features that we can point out in this regard- firstly, India is a nation of immense cultural diversity in terms of culture, ethnicity, language, customs and traditions etc. the strength of the nation lie in the truism of “unity in diversity”, to recognize and to appreciate the diversity of the nation. This appreciation of diversity also inculcates the feeling of preserving this diversity; it prevents cultural hegemony and places us an inch closer from realizing the ideal of “vasudhaiv kutumbakam”.

Religion and caste are irrefutable and integral part of our society. The nature, extent, influence, necessity of both though is highly debatable matter. But a bitter truth of the society is the divisive role that religion and caste plays in the society. It is essential for the state to have a non-partisan view regarding religion. Religion is personal and social belief system and even though most of us identify ourselves with some or other religion, it is essential that in before the eyes of law, state, and nation- we all are equal. No matter our religion, “nation comes first”. We need to adopt an attitude of “contextual secularism” that is, respecting all religions equally and additionally; your national identity is supreme amongst your multiple identities. In term of caste, a much stricter attitude is required. We need to recognize the divisive and antagonist force of caste and it should not interfere in our pursuit of national unity.  We can call ourselves part of a common thread only if social discrimination like caste and religion are eliminated.

We call our nation “Bharat Mata” but this is a sorry truth that women are often seen as symbolic embodiment or passive recipient in the process of nation building rather than playing the role of an active agent. We cannot talk of national consciousness by putting half population on the margins. But gender encompasses not just women, it encompasses all categories of sexual divisions and the social constructs associated with it. For everyone to feel for the nation it is necessary that the nation feels for them, for everyone to place nation above everything else, nation needs to place them on an equal plane if not more.

Illiteracy, superstitions and irrationality are biggest hindrance to the idea of nation because biases and superstitions and ill knowledge make people behave contrary to the spirit of the nation. You don’t need to be university educated to have a rational outlook, just a broader viewpoint and a mind open to ideas, only then we can embrace the message of nationalism above all.

Finally, to act like an adhesive to the structure of nationalism is the “sense of belonging”, not just in the context of nation but on a broader plane, humanism. We root for our family our group our institution because we feel we belong to it. Then we share the joys, sorrows, concerns, achievements all as our own. This feeling is to be felt by everyone, to be imbibed through our culture, our institution into our subconscious mind.

Now we come across an even difficult question, that is- “how”? And again there are no easy answers. The first thing that will cross our minds will be that this feeling should be inculcated since our formative age. Schooling, particularly primary schooling plays a very vital role in shaping the character of a person. Using effective means of pedagogy, we can inflame a spirit of patriotism, nationalism and sense of belonging for the future generation. Similarly we can imbibe a sense of duty for the nation and the need to work for the welfare and betterment of the nation. but here we also need to be cautious, feeling for the nation is not same as subservient for the nation. nationalism should not be placed in the rhetoric of xenophobic tendencies and alienation and exclusion of groups should not define our orbit of nationalism. nor should our pedagogy of nationalism be dominated by rhetoric as rhetoric emanates from a false sense of glorification. nationalism can be acceptable on the premise of it being a catalyst for “unity in diversity” and a microcosm for universal brotherhood. thus nationalism should be defined in thoroughly inclusive terms.

Secondly, attempts should be made to forge cultural unity and create an eye for appreciation for different cultures within our nation (and also outside it). This could be done through assimilation, close interaction and display of different cultures. Through creating a cultural panorama, creating nodal points for the interaction of cultures and inculcating a sense of aesthetics will be immensely helpful for growth of “cultural nationalism”which should be again defined in inclusive terms, without enforcing a particular culture or shunning or marginalization of some other cultures.

Many art forms, many cultures, many endeavors of nation building fail because of cost- profit mechanics which restricts the potential of such endeavors. By deliberately patronizing and often commissioning events, art works, books, museums and above all public commemoration state plays the role of a catalyst in the process of nation building. It not only give a pan Indian character and reach to these activities it also encourages individuals to attempt and display and project the “national panorama” without the concern of financial and institutional support.

But for people to utilize the means of pedagogy, to appreciate different cultures, feel proud of being a part of the nation and play an active role in nationalist endeavors, it is essential to provide him or her means to do so. The structure of nation cannot be laid on the base of poverty and oppression. Thus it is essential to provide a “minimum respectable living standard” to all in spheres of life- economic, social and cultural. Social justice and equitable distribution need to be the two foundation stones for the structure of nationalism to stand still.

As pointed out earlier, caste prejudices and discrimination are the biggest divisive forces that need to be curtailed for the unity of the nation. Reformers like Ambedkar gave a lot of emphasis on the role of intermarriage and to some extent inter-dining to dilute the basis of caste prejudices. It is important not only for the assimilation of different social groups but also for the dilution of “identity politics” which tend to create a huge rift between different communities.

Language is not only a medium of communication. Words also carry with them cultural symbols, images, idioms etc. how we express an idea is equally essential as what we express. Rhetoric, propagandist, communal, discriminatory and derogatory form of speeches, texts, audio-visual mediums is many a times used deliberately to provoke sentiments. This kind of misuse of language is used to generate hatred by the hate mongers. Through the use of language a distorted view of history is presented, feelings are aroused. Thus, at least in the public arena some restraint and regulation over propagandist rhetoric derogatory (for the unity of the nation) should be practiced and conversely, language should be channelized for the service of nationalism.

Media can play a very vital role in propagating everything from “grass root nationalism” to influencing people’s opinion in favor of the nation. Media has the potential to make people root for an issue, come in solidarity and work for the welfare of the nation. Media through the powerful medium of cinema can influence and instigate patriotism, nationalism etc. media makes us aware of our duty and media makes us conscious about the happening of the nation. Thus media binds us and help in creating a sense of belonging among different people in different part of the country.

Apart from the concern for its culture, people, society; nationalism should also include an additional and serious concern for its environment. Environment is the part of human existence, it makes a nation a living place, and our existence is severely dependent upon it. So an additional tool of nation building is judicious allocation of environmental resources, conservation of non-renewable resources, concern and reverence for nature and a bid towards sustainable development is as vital part of nationalism as the above mentioned points. We should replace our greed with our need, as the popular truism goes- “to everyone according to their needs”

Thus, to generate a feeling of nationalism and feeling of oneness, prioritizing nation above all, may seem at the first sight a chimera but this is not a revolutionary instant process. This is more of a journey, a penance where the goal is multiplicity of identities converges into a national identity, like different rivers converge into the great ocean, different cultures, societies, identities into the ocean of the nation and become one!! but mind you again this project of nationalism should be facilitated side by side by the discourse on nationalism, and different epistemology of nationalism should be contested and debated upon. nationalism as a theoretical preposition should always be challenged in academic domain so that it doesn’t acquire a pretension of being an inevitable and natural domain. nation should always be treated as a social construct, meant for the society, by the society of the society and is one of the important though not the only identity essential for human existence as a social and communal being.

  THE DILEMMA OF IDEOLOGIES

-Kshitiz Roy

Forget the term ‘long run’, for in the long run we are all dead. Forget the fact that the demonetization drive, a colossal policy failure that it has been in the short run, has left the nation’s economy battering. Forget everything and chug along the oft quoted nationalistic ideals, ideals which have been conveniently re-calibrated according to the political whims and fancies of a regime which seems to have taken a pledge to do the most ‘schizophrenic brand of politics’ in the political history of the nation. It seems as if forgetting is the new art which the current regime wants us to learn. Let alone our history and the hazy contours of a future often promised and never delivered in politics, it seems that we are even expected to forget the immediate present – a present which for now, seems to be marred by the serpentine queues stretching for miles and a blitzkrieg of changing rules. Nothing seems certain. At no point in time, in our political history, has there been a phase of unannounced yet widely evident financial emergency. This is where the subversion of electoral majority appears so well evident. That the charismatic persona of one leader who has helmed our political echelons after 2014 has so well been used to deny us of our own money, all in the name of realizing some well meaning yet ‘ vague’, yet ambitious ideals of rooting out corruption, sounds nothing but fantastic.

Now that the colossal failure of this ‘well meaning’ economical experiment appears well evident and the criticisms have been pouring down from all quarters, the vanguards of this bizarre move seem to be at a sea while countering the issue. First they began with the trial and tested magical potion called nationalism. The sacrifices and the pains are for the betterment of the nation, so we were told. But ‘whose’ nation it was going to be? For ‘whose’ betterment all this hullabaloo was being created? That was for us to find out in the next few days. Needless to say it fizzled out like a hot balloon running out of air. Let’s hope that they realize that a nation is an imagination realized to reality by the people who habitat the geographical region where it is being imagined. The imagination is immediately soured when you start picking and choosing and branding some ‘people’ being national and the others, anti-national. The imagination called nation crumbles when you deny a large section of its people the space and the voice to realize their right to life, something which is provided by the constitution; the holy book all political parties swear by. You tell the banks to deny them their own hard earned money and no matter how rosy a picture you paint, of a future rinsed of the blemishes of black money and corruption, nobody is going to buy that argument. For you don’t go on betting on the immediate realities of an entire generation. While politics might allow this game of betting on the present and romanticizing around an idea of the future, governance in a welfare state knows nothing but the immediate reality. And that is too pathetic a picture to even talk about.

No matter how shrewdly one goes around shifting the goalposts, churning out lies after lies, excuses after excuses – the reality is there, sprayed in front of all of us who are divided across parties and ideologies. It is not so soothing, neither it is comforting. No matter how much intellectual fodder you use, you cannot give back life to those who have dies because of this move; the crippled state of affairs can’t be corrected by a serious of hyperboles and a series of misplaced logical fallacies which debaters use to win a harmless debate in schools.

Speaking of logical fallacies, one section of the current regime, which has long aspired to become the ‘intellectual vanguard’ of right wing politics led by an army of shrill university professors, has now taken upon itself the burden to rationalize the irrational. They are here to tell us all about this being an ‘economic satyagrah’; they are here to make us realize that the exercise in effect is basically a war against the nepotism ushered in by rampant neo-liberal policies. They will tell you that the current right wing regime is here to cure the ills that the neo-liberal policies of the earlier governments have brought about. Playing with the standard logical fallacies which include Red herring and appeal to emotion, where the argument is peppered with misplaced priorities, they are trying to make us realize that the current regime is up against the crony capitalist empire of the trans-nationals; that their ideology has always been rooted in an essentially ‘socialist’ conception of capital. After a nerve wracking session within their think tank, they are here to topple history upside down and capture the centrist political space, well mostly because nobody else is there to articulate it. So because the voice from the opposition has been muted and none seems to be competent enough to articulate the idea of a ‘nationalist brand of capitalism’, these neo-intellectuals, tutored and trained under the tutelage of the Sangh Parivar, are ready to use the age old tools of ‘socialism’ to defend an essentially capitalist political bulwark of which they are a part of.

One can only laugh at this misplaced adventure. Scratch their arguments bit by bit and the sheer hypocrisy of it will be there for all to see on the surface. A regime which enjoys the unbridled political support of a primarily upper and middle class, a regime whose current leader has championed the cause of aspiration politics among the great Indian middle class – both of them are the necessary by products of an India which was ushering in the same age of neo-liberal politics. If at all, the political landscape of the nation has skewed in favor of the right wing forces, these self proclaimed intellectuals should thank Manmohan Singh and Co for opening the doors of Indian market. It was precisely that section of the society, riding on the MNC bred job offers and the thrust of opportunity brought about by the very same neo-liberal interests, which has now become the most important puppet in the game of televised politics. It is here that one needs to bring in renowned sociologist Partha Chatterjee’s brilliant assessment of the nature of the successive governments under the leadership of BJP and Congress. One just needs to look beyond their manifesto based macro discourse to find that both of them have been steadily pushing forth the neo-liberal interest in order to chalk out the ‘development story’ of the nation. The march of Trans national companies and capital has never been questioned; the distancing of populist politics from the so called ‘rational economical brand of polity’ is there for all to see. Talk about neo liberal regimes and BJP is nothing but Team B of Congress. That is not to say that the state has been absent from the growth story of the nation or the economic evolution of the nation has always been subservient to the neo-liberal agenda imagined at Bretton Woods institutions. The state has been always there, carefully balancing between the goals and aspirations of a welfare state, and promoting the idea of laissez faire.

This brouhaha coming from the right wing think tank, against the neo-liberal scheme of things and the politics of laissez faire is dramatic example of barking around the wrong pole. It’s a classic case of deflecting the issue towards another vague ideological proposition, something which they have always been against.  In an age when the talk of neo-liberal march sounds archaic, when on the one hand you are clamoring to make us go Cashless using mobile wallets funded by Chinese corporate houses, this demonizing of neo-liberalism as something which is alien borders idiocy. It is as misplaced as the Swadeshi movement in which the Bengali revolutionaries were thinking of taking on the entire British economic framework by boycotting foreign goods. No matter how enchanting the tune of Swadeshi might sound to the ears, hardcore economics is an unforgiving game, even more when you bring in your shallow political motivations into it. You kick on the belly of a common man and he will drag you out of your intellectual slumber in the next election. There have been instances of it, many so in our won nation where people have mastered the art of surprising themselves too when it comes to politics. While this newfound hatred against neo-liberalism and the crusade for a Swadeshi socialism might be the new intellectual invention from the stables of Sangh, put it through a test to time, person, place and history, it is bound to crumble down under the heat of hunger and poverty. Till that happens, let’s wish those neo-intellectuals a happy time on the TV screens with their newfound line of political bullshit.

Was it A Sudden Decision?

-By Sanya  Singhal and  Kushwaha Ranu Prasad

M.A.(P) History

Talks of surgical strike on occupied Kashmir were still round the corner when on November 8th 2016, PM Modi announced the demonetization of INR 500 and 1000 notes. The news spread like wildfire. The aim of this bold step was manifold like to deal with Parallel Economy, Counterfeit Currency in circulation and terror financing, to get rid of black money and corruption, etc. This step had changed the scenario of the Indian economy as it moved towards Digital Economy. The decision affected every strand of the economy – from a farmer to the Corporate CEO.

Demonetization is an established practice in monetary policy to tackle black money. The idea of demonetization is good but it has to be taken into consideration that the most of the black money is kept in the form of land, buildings or gold or kept abroad. Demonetization does not tackle corruption per se or the Government does not say that 100% corruption would be tackled.

India is not alone when it comes to demonetization of currency. Various other countries have also successfully carried out demonetization like The European Union which switched to Euro in 2002. The United States of America stopped printing $1000 and larger denominations of currency by 1946, but these bills continued circulating until The Federal Reserve decided to recall them in 1969. Zimbabwe, in 2015, demonetized the Zimbabwean dollar as a way to combat the country’s hyperinflation.

Prior to PM Modi’s announcement of demonetization of higher denominations, there were two similar instances in India.  The first instance was in 1946 and the second in 1978 when an ordinance was promulgated to phase out notes with denomination of Rs. 1,000; 5,000; 10,000. The media in terms of numbers was limited in 1946 and 1978 when compared to 2016. But given the importance of the decisions, it did trigger coverage.

The Demonetization step taken by PM Modi led BJP government was much needed for a very long time to remove the tumor of corruption which was killing the society. But one cannot ignore the dark face as well because it makes the situation even more difficult. BUT was it really a sudden decision or was a planned one? In the succeeding paragraphs, an attempt will be made to locate this historical action under the ruling government.

The answer is simple to the above question. It was not at all a sudden action. The period to be accounted for should have been some months prior to demonetization. Mr. Modi has appropriately taken all the safeguards and warned the people about his decision and its pros and cons.

In 2014, when National Democratic Alliance came into being, the Union Cabinet at its first meeting formed a team named SPECIAL INVESTIGATION TEAM headed by former Supreme Court Judge, M.B. Shah to investigate black money. He said that it is a “surgical Strike” on black money because there is a tendency among people not to pay income tax and that is why it was a major evil which paved the way to the birth of other monsters in society.

Similarly, at G20 Summit 2014, with other global leaders, PM Narendra Modi gave a strong push to government agenda on black money and he said unaccounted money was also linked to security challenges and added that there is a high need for positive political and economical environment to achieve all goals. He also forced in his speech that it is our priority to bring back all black money stacked in foreign banks which shows that he was concerned to eradicate corruption and issue of black money because that had reached at its highest point and were day by day moving upwards..

Another watershed act came into being on 1st July, 2015 called the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 to deal with the problem of the black money (within three months by paying 60 percent tax) that is undisclosed foreign income and assets, the procedure for dealing with such income and assets.

Major steps also include the formation of a Multi- Agency Group (MAG) on the Panama Paper Leaks listed some 500 Indians who have allegedly stashed money in offshore entities. Another move was the introduction of Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Bill, 2015 was introduced in Lok Sabha on May 13, 2015. This Act prohibits Benami transactions and provides for confiscating Benami properties.

To track assets nationals of either country hold in the other nation without reporting them to their respective home-country tax authorities, India and US in July 2016 struck a bilateral deal. The information sharing agreement between India’s income tax department and the US’ Internal Revenue Service (IRS) under the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FACTA) became operational from September 30, 2016.

India has Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with 88 countries, but presently 85 has been in force. The DTAA treaty has been signed in order to avoid double taxation on the same declared asset in two different countries. The recent in the list is the revised Agreement between India and Cyprus and India and Mauritius. It will replace the existing DTAA that was signed by two countries in June 1994. The provisions of new DTAA will enter into force after completion of necessary internal procedures in both countries.

India joined the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (AEOI) to reduce the possibility for tax evasion and unearth black money. Another major step was the Income Declaration Scheme (IDS) to unearth black money and bring it back into the system and Black Money worth Rs.65,250 crore disclosed under IDS. PM warned during his “Mann Ki Baat” address to the nation that the time is up for black money hoarders.

 

This was all about political and documental strategy that the government had adopted prior to the demonetization. Now let us see the “Notes Replacement Strategy” of the government i.e. Had the RBI and the government actually printed the amount of notes required for demonetization?

Demonetization has sucked out massive amounts of liquidity from the system in terms of old currency notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 demonetization. RBI data reveals that before demonetization, a little over 9000 crore pieces of currency notes were in circulation. Around 86 per cent of that value of currency was sucked out in the form of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes.

The government insisted that adequate amount of notes were printed in advance to ensure the liquidity sucked out of the system is restored with the new currency quickly. The RBI and the government said that the printing Rs. 2000 notes started much in advance. The infusion of Rs. 500 was somewhat late, but the preference still seemed to for Rs. 2,000 notes both in ATMs and banks. The trouble with the Rs. 2,000 notes is that citizens are not easily able to find shopkeepers, vegetable sellers and other vendors willing to part with precious change of smaller denominations as balance for payments made with the high-value notes.

The currency after printing has to travel from the press to currency chests maintained by the RBI across several locations in the country. The money then travels from these chests to banks and ATMs. Manpower is an issue and logistics is another hurdle given the secrecy and high security needed.

Three weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stunning announcement, the printing of the new Rs. 500 note has been grounded to a near-halt at the Nashik and Dewas printing presses. RBI sources revealed that a series of glaring errors on the mew Rs. 500 notes. The exercise was shifted to the Mysuru press. And in order to cause no more chaos, the government announced that the “printing-defective” notes would still be a legal tender.

In conclusion, November 8,2016 will be hailed as the day when the Indian Economy resonated with cashless exuberance. BUT as well said by Max De Pree that “Change without continuity is chaos. Continuity without change is sloth- and very risky.” So, this change in economy was a need of a time as continuity without any changes is not good and to change anything, sudden decisions are not appropriate. It was this decision which is not an overnight step but a long process. Demonetization is a positive step, one can’t ignore its dark face especially in the rural areas. Although India faced many problems earlier so for this one, India will definitely tackle it.