यूँ तो मैं हिंदी में कुछ खास लिखता नहीं, बचपन से वही मिडिल क्लास वाली अंग्रेजी की कवायद. लेकिन आज़ ज़रा देशी मामला है, और ये ब्लोग-स्लोग में तो क्या गोरे और क्या पाकिस्तानी? कोई भी मुँह उठा के लाइक करने आ जाता है. धर्मपत्नी जी भी परेशान, कि ये किन लड़कियों के कमेंट्स पढ़ मुस्कुराते रहते हो? मैने कहा ऐसा नहीं है. आधा वामपंथी, आधा गाँधीवीदी है ये वामगाँधी. निर्मोही. निर्विकार.
तो प्वाइंट पे आता हूँ.
ये किसी छिटपुट बात के बतंगड़ पे किसी गाँव में कोई हादसा हो गया. कुछ खाने पीने का मामला था. छुटपन में हॉस्टल के मेस में मैनें भी काफी तोड़-फोड़ मचाई थी. खानसामें मेघलाल की लुंगी खींच चड्डी में दौड़ाया था. साले ने तूर दाल ऐसी बनाई की चार गोताखोर डाले फिर भी दाल का दाना नहीं. जीभ मत लपलपाओ अब तूर दाल के नाम पे. मेरा ब्लोग तो सस्ते में पढ़ रहे हो ना? और जकरबर्ग मियाँ अमरीका वाले ने चाहा तो बिल्कुल मुफ्त.
हाँ जी तो हम कहाँ थे? वो कुछ वही बजरंग बली के भक्तों ने मोहम्मद साब के चेले को…. फिर कान खड़े हो गये? अबे सिनेमाखोरों, ‘बजरंगी भाईजान’ की कहानी नहीं सुना रहा मैं! ये तो ग्लैमर-स्लैमर से कोसों दूर गाँव-साँव का मामला है.
खैर. तसल्ली है. भुखमरी से न मरा कोई. बढिया माँस-मुँस खा के डकार के मरा. मेरे अस्पताल में तो वो खडूँस डाइटिसीयन है. आधे तो वो गीली खिचड़ी और उबले कद्दू खा के सिधार गये.
सुनते हैं, बड़ी तादाद में लोग बाग आये. मरने से पहले भी. मरने के बाद भी. अजी गाँधीजी को एक गोडसे ने निपटा दिया था. पर ये लॉजिक बेकार है. वो ठहरे गोमूत्र पीने वाले शाकाहारी जब तब भूख हड़ताल वाले कंकालनुमा व्यकतित्व. और इधर तो गोमाँस वाला हट्टा कट्टा. खैर ये गाय वाय से दूर ही रहना ठीक. आदर करो या निरादर. मारे दोनों सूरतों में जाओगे. न गाँधी बचे न वो बचा.
अखबार में ये पुरष्कार वापसी का दौर आया तो मैंनें भी बचपन के क्विज डिबेट वाले अवार्ड ढूँढे. ये चिंदीचोर लेखक. अवार्ड वापस करने गये तब लोगों को पता लगा कि ये है कौन जनाब. इनसे ज्यादा तो मेरे ब्लोग के फौलोवर निकलें. मेरे क्या आपके भी. देशी कोई पढता कहाँ है? हाँ पीते बहोत है.
अब जो हुआ वो तो हो गया. मैं नहीं करता कुछ वापिस. मेरे जैसे बिरले ही मिलेंगे. आज भी स्याही वाली कलम से लिखता हूँ. अजी दवात से वो कलम में स्याही डालने का मज़ा ही कुछ और है. अब स्याही पोतने का तो तजुर्बा नहीं. हा हा हा हा.
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.
(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)
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.