कबिरा खड़ा बाज़ार में

तोतली टूटी-फूटी बोली थी, नाक बहती, निकर खिसकती, फिर भी सवाल जरूर पूछा जाता- बड़े होकर क्या बनोगे? इस सवाल के ज़वाब से भी IQ का संबंध है. कोई डॉक्टर, कोई इंजीनियर, कोई पायलट, जो माँ-बाप सिखाते बोल देते. मैंने कहा, “साईंटिस्ट बनूँगा, नोबेल प्राइज जीतूँगा, और मरने से पहले राष्ट्रपति भी.” पूछनेवाले मुँह एँठते-कहते, “झा साब! और कुछ बने ना बने, आपका बेटा लम्बी लम्बी जरूर छोड़ेगा.”

अंकल की बात दिल पे लग गयी. मैंने कहा आविष्कार तो मैं कर के रहूँगा. लेकिन क्या? 

कबीर दास के दोहे से पहला आइडिया आया.

“बोए पेड़ बबूल का, आम कहाँ से होये”.

मैंने कहा अब तो बबूल के पेड़ पे आम लगा के रहूँगा. ऐसी खुराफातों के लिये भाई शुरूआत में जरूर साथ देते हैं ताकि प्लान फेल होने पर उछल उछल कर ठिठोली कर सकें. 

पड़ोसी गाँव के मामाजी ने ग्राफ्टिंग के गुर सिखाए, माँ से जिद कर केमिकल खरीदे, और बबूल के पेड़ पर एक-एक बड़े सलीके से सर्जिकल कटिंग कर जोड़ बनाता गया. एक टहनी भी न लगी, सामने के आम का लहलहाता पेड़ गंजा जरूर हो गया. पिताजी ने इन्क्वायरी बिठाई, भाईयों ने फुलझड़ी लगाई, और एक महान वैज्ञानिक पटाखों की तरह बजा दिया गया.

“निंदक नियरे राखिये, आँगन कुटी छवाय”

निंदा और ठिठोली करने वाले तो घर में ही था. कबीर दास के इसी फंडे पे हिम्मत दुगुनी हो गयी. 

इस बार बिजली बनाने की सोची. गाँव के लिये बिजली नयी चीज़ थी. वो तो बस उस बिज़ली से वाकिफ थे जो मवेशी मेले में नाचने आती. भाई-साब ने आईडिया दिया, गाँव के पचास लोग हर रात साईकिल चलायेंगे, डायनमो इफेक्ट से पचास घरों में बल्ब जलेंगे.

“धीरे धीरे रे मना, धीरे सब कुछ होय”

प्लान साइकल की स्पीड से फुस्स हो गया.

२००४ ईसवी में पहली बार रिसर्च करने इंडियन इंस्टिच्यूट अॉफ साइंस में किशोर वैज्ञानिक रूपेण चयनित हुआ. रिसर्च का तो पता नहीं, कैंटिन के डोसे लाज़वाब थे. और रात को लैब के बाहर चाय. वाह! मज़ेदार. बाकि रिसर्च तो क्या, इस टेस्ट्यूब से उस टेस्ट्यूब. चार घंटे बाद रीडिंग लो. फिर वही रीपीट करते रहो. इस से कहीं ज्यादा प्रयोग तो मेरी माँ मुरब्बे-अचार में कर ले.

“जिन खोजा तिन पाइयाँ, गहरे पानी पैठ”

आखिरकार मेडिकल की पढ़ाई खत्म होते ही पहली फुरसत में अमरीका निकल लिया. दो बड़े फैकल्टी के लैब पसंद आये. हमारे आधे फैसले तो हेड-टेल या अक्कर बक्कर बम्बे बो से होते हैं. डॉ लिगेट विजयी रहे, लातेरबूर हार गये. मैं भी जी-जान से रिसर्च में लग गया. डॉ. लातेरबूर को देखता तो मंद मुस्कान देता. बिना फंडिंग के गरीब दयनीय परिस्थिति थी उनके लैब की.

“जाति न पूछो साधू की, पूछ लिजिये ज्ञान”

२००५ दिसंबर: Paul laterbur wins Nobel Prize in medicine.

मतलब यूँ कहिये, सारे गणित धरे के धरे रह गये. थोड़े दिन टेस्ट-ट्यूब में चाय-साय बनाई, और वापस आ गया डाक-साब बनने.

मेक इन इंडिया कोई जुमला भले ही हो, बड़े जुगत का काम है. अजी मुरब्बे नहीं बनाने, रिसर्च और आविष्कार करने हैं.

“कबिरा खड़ा बाज़ार में, माँगे सबकी खैर”

Baahubali: A lesson from Lanka.

While scrolling through facebook posts, I come across umpteen of innuendos about Dalits, Muslims, ‘We upper class’, Sardars, the Hindus, Brahmins, Biharis, We Indians, Those Pakistanis, and so on. The fight for claiming one as better race never ends. And we condemn Hitler? Anyway, back to Bahubali.

Baahubali of my story wasn’t anybody close to the muscle-men of movie, rather a disproportionate figure sledged once as ‘overweight fat cunt’. On top of it, he was heading a crew beaten and bruised since its inception for last fourteen years.

He belonged to a strife-torn kingdom fighting war of races since years. A country debt-ridden. A country so small mimicking almost a ‘tear-drop’ on world map. A country infamously called Lanka, the land of demons. The ugly ones.

Entire Baahubali’s kingdom denounced the minorities,  suppressing them, burning their houses, decimating them. Mutthu’s house too was burnt when he was a kid. While many Dalits turned Naxals, Mutthu rose beyond the ashes believing in the place he belonged. His skills were unique when he could spin the ball beyond human imagination almost like the leper ‘Kachda’ from Lagaan movie.

While many would have resisted, but Baahubali must had spoken like Aamir Khan, “Kachda khelegaaaaa!”. And so he played.

Baahubali took his newly shuffled bunch alongwith ‘Kachda’ to the land of whites down in a southern island of world. They were thrashed and booed. Kachda’s bowling action was made fun of, when he was asked to bowl seven times on the ‘Boxing day’. This wasn’t a dalit being made fun of, but a Lankan. All the majority upper class in their own country have been reduced to ‘dark uncouth race’ in the land of ‘whites’. This all caste and race thing is so relative. A brahmin in India would be a ‘brown indian’ somewhere else. All the barriers vanished, and Baahubali’s crew stood firmly with Mutthu.

A calm determined Baahubali took up the task to organise himself and take the revenge. He just looked at the bunch, their playing order, and shuffled it. Man at the top goes down, and men idle at bottom comes up. Lying at bottom for many years, when somebody get a special privilege, he thrives to do his best. To prove himself. Like first dalits who were renamed ‘harijans’ or uplifted by ‘reservation’, didn’t dance with joy but had tear in their eyes and thrived to sustain themselves. Sanath and Kaluwitharna proved giant killers.

Baahubali wasn’t alone. Another land of Moslems were too blamed for ‘fixing’ by the southern-islanders. And the prosperous land of Gandhi joined them naturally.

The supreme south-islanders had reason to laugh and scorn when an embarassing ‘bomb blast’ happened in Lanka right before the world cup. They refused to even step into the land of demons. What the world saw in return was unprecedented. The ever-fighting people of two lands- The Pakis and Indians joined to form a single team, and played an exhibition game with Baahubali in that very ‘blast-struck’ land. When Waseem Akram couldn’t find his T-shirt, he accidently wore the Indian captain Azhar’s T-shirt. Quintessential enemies were joyous together every time they took a wicket. The borders were broken as if they never existed.

Bahubali’s top men fired from the first ball. No defense. No pause. No adapting to situation. It was just blasting the bowler from the word ‘go’. This kind of cricket was never played before, and the same kind would be played now onwards. They changed the pattern of game forever. Sanath Jayasuriya rose from nowhere to ‘Man of series’, and ‘Most valuable player’ . Mutthiah Murlidharan shined with his swerving, dancing, mysterious balls, and what more? (Oh yes! Coach was Dave Whatmore).

Top batsmen of world cried at the pitches; Pace bowlers flummoxed by attack resorted to spin bowling; Spectators couldn’t bear the brutal thrashing of Baahubali’s team and vandalised the Eden Garden.

The murderous lankans reached to coveted finals with Australia. The Baahubali’s revenge to South-islanders.

For the first time, entire Lahore of Moslem was roaring for somebody from other land, flagging Lankan flags. A nation so neglected and deprived was getting a full-house crowd of supporters, that too in a jingoist Islamic country.

Baahubali knew he had arrived. He achieved the pride he never had.

Top order collapsed, but Baahubali was calm, assured. A Kumbhakaran look-alike Gurusinghe and Bibhishan look-alike De Silva have joined together for Lankan pride, and Bahubali kicked the final shot to glory. The world was conquered.

sri-lanka-cricket-world-cup-victory-1996
Arjun Ranatunga: The Baahubali, lifting World cup in 1996

#Abolishcaste

Lage raho Jha bhai!

I sometimes feel pity for my kids who are pampered; their wishes fulfilled in seconds. Never smacked, locked in the room, made ‘murga’ in class, hit on knuckle side of hand with an innocuous yet fiery twig, piss in pants before sports-teacher could charge. They probably never err as we did. Flawless souls like Gandhiji’s monkeys.

Easiest theft of childhood was stealing from home itself. A fluttering ten-rupee note kept beneath ‘hajmola sheeshee’ enticed me so much that I began strategising its theft. But, it wasn’t cake-walk as my mother never needed a CCTV to monitor whether her ‘achaar’ drying at top being attacked by crow, or a cat sneaking into the kitchen. Her eyes and ears were in each nook and corner of home, vigilant and alert. Best way to dodge such tight security, was to engage her with another thief. My lucky mascot quintessential thief ‘doodhwala (milkman)’ arrived. As my mom began bickering with him for diluted milk, I sneakingly took ten rupees and hided in middle of my notebook. This proved to be my last cash pilfering in life, as I was beaten the same day when my younger bro took out hidden bunch of ‘Parle-G’ I had bought, and showed it to mom.  I vowed to never steal money in my life, like Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

Years later, I was on a Greyhound bus from Champaign to Memphis. For whatever reasons, whether India or abroad, I have predominantly got a last jerking and ass-smacking bus-seat in my life. While I was shoved to corner by hefty co-passenger and was somehow trying to adapt, I was expelled out of bus by ‘fart of the century’. Bloody Indian was out on road, suffocated almost to verge of death with poisonous bodily gases circulating in cramped bus. I returned to India soon, like Mohandas.

Zilla Ghaziabad- an epitome of crime and ‘gundaraj’ became first land of ‘satyagraha’. Tired and retired from hospital, I was driving my Maruti Alto through heavy monsoon downpour. When the mind was without fear, and streets without streetlights, potholes didn’t daunt this veteran who bore ass-smacking throughout his life. Rushing to home troubled by umpteen calls from Kasturba, I spluttered and tarnished a Ghaziabad Policeman riding a bullet beside. Even General Dyer would have pissed in pants if a Ghaziabad policewallah charged towards him. He blast opened my front door as if lock and knock were non-entity. Undaunted with bowed face, I offered all four cheeks (yeah the bottom ones too) which just melted our own desi respect-seeking policeman (dare I say ‘thulla’). Not much later, man was helping me locate my lost passport.

Rampant corruption and anarchy was hitting the headlines when a Gandhi-lookalike was leading a movement, and coining some unheard lost terms like ‘Swaraj’ and ‘Lokpal’. Any Tom, Dick and Harry were jumping in fray with black flags, marches, candles and so on in funky T-shirts displaying ‘Swaraj’ logos. I too could have done that but scorching sun and a cozy job restrained me. All I could do, was to blurt out tirades on ‘facebook’.

If there were ‘whatsapp’ and ‘facebook’ those days, Bhagat Singh and Azad would have some ‘sarfarosh’ chat group planning Kakori loot sharing photos and planning event. Nehru would have another group adding Gandhi, Azad, Patel and sharing an emaciated fasting Gandhi’s pic and people ‘liking’, ‘forwarding’, ‘thumbsuping’ throughout country…..’Nehru added Azad’…..’Zinnah left’…..’Subhash Chandra Bose started a new group’……Lajpat Rai tweets ‘Simon go back’…

But, there were none. They bore scorching sun, suffocated, beaten, bruised, hanged, murdered…..while we spoof them, sharing their wrongdoings and mistakes from some torn pages in history sitting in a cozy room sipping a cup of coffee. Celibacy experiments are raked up. Truth experiments are forgotten. And the patriots in us forward, like and share ‘Vande Mataram’ logos and ‘porn jokes’ with equal fervour.

Jai Hind!

(In his book ‘My experiments with truth’, Gandhi mentions his childhood theft of gold from his brother’s armlet and his vow to never steal in life; how he was thrown out of train, and the famous quote of ‘offer another cheek if somebody hits at one’ are well known. This blog has my personal views and experiences, and any reference to Mahatma Gandhi is symbolic)

A file picture from The Hindu
A file picture from The Hindu

Illegitimate Indians

Some ripples were there in my school days, when as a fledgling kid we pulled out literature (some banned ones) denouncing Gandhi, and criticising likes of Nehru. Many kids talked about Gandhi gifting everything to Pakistan, Nehru donating Kashmir, and Patel should have been prime-minister. This was talk of ‘muscle-men’ and ‘angry brigade’ kind, who loved to denounce the system called ‘India’. Some carried an ‘anti-muslim’ stance, and some carried none. Some claimed to know everything and some knew nothing. But, as I moved towards academic compulsions and mugged up NCERT books, idea of Gandhi-Nehru combination in Indian history seemed to puzzle and contradict my background thoughts. When I began delving into books authored by them somewhat like ‘Munnabhai’ of Rajkumar Hirani, they gradually seem to influence me in my everyday life. Soon, I found myself in ‘Naram dal’ of school against pre-existing ‘Garam dal’. Majority would laugh at me being a Gandhian stooge, and I would attempt to walk like him undaunted, stubborn, unshaken.

As I moved from school to college days in Pune, things got a bit diluted, with a large chunk of ‘Harijan’ and ‘Ambedkar-loving’ crowd, some rationals, some radicals, some indifferent. Still, booing Gandhi was a bit of vogue in a city of Nathuram Godse, which also housed a Gandhian legacy at Aga Khan palace. My medical college had a dilapidated building, with a fading stone inscription which said, “Mahatma Gandhi was operated for appendicitis by David Sassoon in this building.” So what? I wouldn’t have been surprised if some ‘Garam Dal’ fellow would even look at it or appreciate it. After all, it was him who favoured Pakistan.

Years later, I read the entire literature on Godse including his own book, and explored the places associated with ‘Hindu Mahasabha’ in Somvar-Mangalvar-Budhwar peths of Pune (the workplace of Nathuram still exists). By this time, era of Facebook and Whatsapp had already arrived, with incessant abuses and jokes on ‘father’ (Rasthrapita) and ‘uncle’ (Chacha) of India. Sometimes, I would reply with a counter, and sometimes, I would waste my entire night on veracity of messages. Celibacy experiments of Gandhi would seem to dominate his ‘Noakhali fast’ and umpteens of ‘Satyagraha’. Nehru as a ‘socialist’, a pioneer of ‘Non-aligned movement’, and a messenger of ‘peace’ would be subdued by his relationships with ‘Lady Mountbatten’. Political and diplomatic mistakes of a novice prime-minister struggling with miseries of Partition and Bengal Famine would be equated with wilfully planned conspiracy to deprive India, as some would say.

They died years back, and we have millions of their statues in every corner, streets, parks and government offices, as if they are watching us everyday. Or, they are standing speechless, mute, defenceless. Eminent lawyers, if at all they were; Great orators, who moved nation seem paused forever.

Country was fed-up with incumbent congress, and vilification of Gandhi-Nehru came hand-in-hand. The ‘garam dal’ long lost seem to haunt me again, when somebody recently posted a ‘chappal-garlanded Gandhi’ on his Facebook page. Whatsapp would be studded with scornful and abusive literature, which people love to enjoy, like and forward. A wave to denounce the ‘father’ and ‘uncle’ has begun, a question to their legitimacy, our legitimacy. Time to ponder, before we become illegitimate Indians.

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Courtesy: Google images