Saturday, April 30, 2011

Uncivil foes of Democracy!

Only up to a point, a very vaguely defined point, we understand our goals in democracy. This has been a strong case in India since we have been working under the many adverse shadows, even after throwing out the British colonialism and our tryst with destiny to a most profound authoritative system called, democracy. Was discovering the democracy sixty-four years back was a mania, a passion or even a kind of neurosis, without the slightest moral justification? I never wish anyone should think in this manner and take it like that; no explanation will ever convince them to settle collective wishes for common greater goods. With embedded resilience and appropriation of ideological and even sectarian new classes, Indian democracy has strengthened enough itself over the years to give ample room to Bentham’s utopia of happiness or Marx’s equitable socio-economic stake.

What we have a functional base for our democracy with a chequered proven record of comparatively peaceful transition of power but what we don’t have the volition for rock bottom segment. There have been always some underlying disagreements among the different classes-ofcourse, we too had broken off for even more than once, but interestingly never completely. Indeed, even those skirmishes were not the roistering moments-after all, we are still paying the price of over sobriety on Kashmir and extreme baffling with monstrous emergency era. Later after witnessing the most undemocratic ordeal, we realized and came out of slumber that the monstrosities are a mark of emotional imbalance rather than a lack of intelligence. Obviously, if someone has no confident I himself, it is because they sees themselves through others eyes even barring world’s vision that gives atleast some universal feeds.

I really scarcely know what our goals were, even can’t endorse whether they were adequate? I also don’t see either opulence or nattering in single magic line…we could have done otherwise as a nation? That we couldn’t, so now merely muttering that our collective obstinate trust turning swiftly into bitterness of hearts and wavering all around our system. The dwindling credibility from public institutions is not passable; it’s emphatically reflects the growing ostracizing from those who are in authority instead of performing on tall vows. In a sort of warring, common folks are on receiving end, theirs representation being hijacked by the hawkish thugs with pedigree of many questions marks on their integrity. Under a new fashion, impractically theirs ubiquitous entanglements on every matter have tarnishing the line made to delink the statecraft from manipulated street demonstration.

Present wave of corruption, that otherwise should have taken as serious governance flaws is unfortunately being considered as byproduct of coalition government by the Congress party with nerd citing towards the blind ambition of regional political forces. What Congress is missing today? The loyalist political cohorts-the cornerstone of sycophancy based political order. Whatever their’s intent or display, it’s hard for a Journo to cite, who is Judas? Only crux of the matter is truly embarrassing, how the genuine rage of common men’s was falsely represented by the Anna Hazare and innumerable metro cities based activists who never votes or faced the ire of price rise or corruption. The demonstration pavements of Jantar Mantar which years back was awarded the entertaining slots to free Rajpath from deviating concerns, was well managed by the sharpest brains like father-son combo, Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan, Magsaysay award winner and may be Nobel prize aspiring Arbind Kejriwal.

Later, it was altogether a big flash, that father-son have combined property of around Rs.145 Crore, even with most conservative estimation…and remarkable is the fact Shanti Bhushan has earlier played two extra innings in legal practice and politics including once of Ministerial profile-rest is open secret about his claim of integrity! It was worth of noticing that, sensationalizing electronic/social media had at no point covered the voices from rural hinterlands towards the hyped crusade against corruption. What Anna Hazare movement with back up from conglomeration of neo-NGO type civil organizations has did the, complete outshining of real issues for an unreasonable Lokpal bill in current form. That went well in favour of Anna&co and ofcourse for principle opposition BJP-what left in midway the electoral reform, Inflation control, lethal inequitable spread of wealth, nexus of vested corporate interests etc. Even in wildest dream, Anna Hazare couldn’t be confused with Gandhi by a conscious mind-it was indeed ironic to see a non-political man like him being prepared for an unprecedented revolution against the corruption without looking on the role of parliament and constitution.

A nation like India can’t be run in this way-there is need of peoples connect as vital organ of governance and that’s alone possible through react practically instead of hanging with blurred tantrums and ending like cobweb. Governance must mean for public goodness and transparency, that can be only achieve through broader participation and electoral reform-that will too address and check the growing overlapping of jurisdictions among legislatures, executives and judiciary. Instead of shunning politics, peoples must see it as life and let entwine it with fairness through corrective measures-political process must have to throw the pedantic following for a bigger reform. This must start now to retrieve people’s faith in their political system…it must be in place very soon because world has already started seeing us with doubt. Thinning FDI in last few months and coverage of corruption by the western media, including Economist, which has a scripture like stature has summarily rejected the Indian growth story as “rotten”.

Peoples have to take ccare of politics but not through shambling convictions, the main concern here left with the role of loose talking by policy makers-the way Kaushik Basu has idealized the bribe on finance ministry website is indeed very shocking. This must be condemned as ethical violation from top on hierarchy…we needed peoples who can work, and not experts have only mastership of bawdy rhetoric’s. India is complex entity, here misadventures’ tolls high on human capital which is its true strength-we shall not take risk to jeopardize our edge as knowledge economy vis-à-vis China. China with much stricter and closer political system, has grown up fairly on governance and sizable income spread at bottom level. We shall not be envy merely; rather we should act for competency.

Our distortion of progressive elements which begun with the blockades in Communist movement and theirs balkanization as political entity did lot of harms in mainstream Indian politics and further in lessening of progressivism from collective psyche. Under changed ideals, except few core issues, there is little differences of perceptions among the rest political parties, that is matter of grave concern. The major stakeholders of Indian democracy must have to align with the dynamics and compelling changes to avoid the further nightmares. Culprits must be nail to sabotage their glamour’s and misuse of trust& authority…nation can’t be run by the uncivil foes, it exactly needs characters like Caesar’s wife!
Atul Kumar Thakur
April 30, 2011, Saturday, New Delhi

Friday, April 29, 2011

The World of Yatri

Baidyanath Mishra , who with his independent and resilient intellect came to known as “Yatri”, “Nagarjun” and most remarkably as peoples’ poet/Jankavi ,naturally left overarching effects on the modern Maithili and Indian literature. As per existing custom in Mithila, he was born at his maternal place {Village Satlakha, Madhubani} on June 30, 1911. But alas, only at the young age of three, he lost mother and consequently the attention of father, who was by nature a wanderer and free from holding the worldly obligations. Such familiar stiffness made him untimely matured towards the worldly affairs.

Although defying all odds, young Baidyanath started learning through traditional Sanskrit/Maithili education in his maternal village and later moved to Kashi in the quest of knowledge. He was a great informal learner, that adaptability might be shaped with the chronic adverseness he faced but finally that established him as an avid scholar of Maithili, Sanskrit, Hindi, Bangla, Pali, Prakrit. Further in his formative years, he established very intimate ties with the natural impulses that kept him highly sensible throughout his literary voyage. Probably, with feeble familiar back up, he sensed the importance of travelling and relentless learning albeit that didn’t deter him to be in functional material fray. So, he married to Aprajita Devi, who played atleast half role in making of this poet; with amazing determination and sacrifices, she brought up her six child and allowed freedom to “Yatri” for continuing with the humane aspirations, that proved catalyst in his literary productions.

Except of short overtures in family, 1930’s onward “Yatri” became completely align with writing and traveling, and rest is history before us about his broader perspectives and its literary expression. Primarily and even ultimately, he was closer to instinct rather following mechanical cognition order, which he demonstrated by remaining at ease and keeping himself away from the institutional engagements, except a short stint as teacher in Saharanpur {UP}in very early phase of transition. Here, he was closer to Tagore; both emphatically valued the natural human instinct in place of surpassable artificial affiliations. The basic difference between these two great poets were of not world views but of approaches-Tagore with his aristocratic background was obviously an elitist unlike the “Yatri” whose background and construction of psyche both were akin to people-centric and based on the social realities.

If culturally, Mithila was closer to Bengal, then on socio-economic counts, there used to exist a huge drift…lack of urbanization and western temptations were among the foremost reasons of reality check. Although, he was too a keen naturalist like Tagore but again the differences were on the institutional levels. If Tagore had vision for an institution like Shantiniketan and later institutionalizing his own works too; “Yatri”, on the other hand had incessant devoid for such possibilities. A stout reason was ofcourse the aloofness of Mithila from outside world unlike Bengal during the British colonialism and in post-colonial years. “Yatri” missed a dynamic Mithila, and this region an enlighted mediation from him that could have made a huge difference on socio-cultural fabric in this region. But in absence, things of importance met to lackluster treatment at large and Maithili way of life never impacted the national mainline as it should have. Though with his unique standing against the unfortunate social stigmas, he heralded a revolutionary wave of progressivism inside and outside of the Mithila and established himself as first Maithil on national and international literary arena.

Meanwhile, in the course of experiments with the knowledge, this freethinker came under the Buddhist influence-though it was short lived as he couldn’t suppress his embedded Maithili progressivism albeit before that he travelled across the Tibbat, Central Asia and Srilanka (Kelania). Even after, he left the Buddhist commune, his cult name “Nagarjun” followed him forever-it reminds another contemporary literary figure and also a Buddhist, Rahul Sankritayan. In late 1930’s, he again entwined with a new ideology-Communism, though it remained his part of vision throughout the remaining life. He was a progressive minded, both in life and writing-he understood the Communism through direct experiences in U.S.S.R, and kept alive that touch within or outside the purview of Indian Communist Parties. What he did best with ideology, he supported it as movement rather a means of party blocks that happened in India post 1962.

“Yatri” had struggled against the authoritative extreme, equally during the independence struggle against British and in post-independent India with authoritarianism of political classes…he spent time in Jail (1939-42) and again in 1975-77 during emergency. Like a true maverick, he remained attracted with the peoples’ causes, for their upliftment, he struggled with the eminent peasant leader, Swami Sahjanand Saraswati (Founder, Kisan Sabha) during colonial period and later under the socialist movements including in JP Movement. “Yatri” was among the finest part of Bengali Hungry Generation Poets, there could be no doubt, why he is regarded only next to Tulsidas in India through his stellar convictions for mass folks.

Away from Geographical boundaries, his literary expression has closeness with high universality but whenever, he touched the themes of Mithila, a unique and very close affinity came out there. He had in mind the prevailing realities of Maithili socio-economic scene and its challenges for an equitable and just society. It was a positive co-incidence that some of iconic names in Maithili literature-Harimohan Jha, Phanishwar Nath “Renu”, Rajkamal Chaudhary, Lalit, Dhumketu and in politics-Bhogendra Jha, Chaturanan Mishra, Suryanarayan Singh, Shivchandra Jha, Lalit Narayan Mishra were his contemporaries – theirs collaboration made huge impacts on the socio-cultural atmosphere in Mithila.

With broadness of canvasses and amazing hold over translation skills, his work hardly leaves any technical dialectism between Maithili-Hindi; most of his work is available in both the language. As a poet, he could visualize beauty in oddness and grief in lavishness-so, writing on jackfruit or icefall at hill stations; both were very kin to him. His collection of poetries-“Patrahin Nagna Gaachh”, “Yugdhara”, “Satrange Pankhon Wali”, “Taalab ki Machhliyan”, “Khichhri Viplab Dekha Hamne”, “Hajaro-Hajaro Banhon Wali”, “Purani Juliyon ka Koras”, “Tume Kaha Tha”, “Aakhir Aisa Kya Kah Diya Maine”, “Es Gubbare ki Chhaya Me”, “Ye Danturit Mushkaan”, “Main Military ka Budhha Ghora”, “Baadal ko Ghirte Dekha Hai”, “Paka Hai ye Kathal” introduces to his wider reach among the common folks and intricacies of humanity. He was never been a subversive preacher despite having genuine anger against the social and political system, instead his progressive stand enabled him to be a rational novelist, in this role; he forwardly acted as social change agent.

His novels-“Ratinath ki Chachi”, “Balchanma”, “Baba Batesar Nath”, “Nai Puadh or Nav Turia”, “Barun ke Bete”, “Dukhmochan”, “Ugratara”, “Jamania ka Baba”, “Kumbhi Paak”, “Paaro”, “Aasman me Chand Taare” exudes the diversity of Maithili as well as Indian villages under the new compelling challenges. With great exposure to the outside world, his memoirs, travelogue and even hundreds of published letters gives delight and zest to readers while exploring his writings. His collection of essays, “Annan Hinam Kriyanam”, work on culture “Desh Dashkam aa Krishak Deshkam/’, his travelogue “Baadlo ko Ghirte Dhekha Hai”, satire “Mantra Kavita” and “Aao Rani Han Dhoenge Palki” and many Bangla poetries introduces to his broader grasp with amazing expressions over the range of themes.

He had a unique credit of making a generation of writers/critics in both the Maithili and Hindi-fortunately that worked out well for him and overall literary scene. Like Renu, he never had to face the reckless wrath of preoccupied critics…foremost among them, even Namwar Singh couldn’t maintained his line of regionalism with him. Despite all wandering and fame, he remained essentially a non-possessive man attached to his route…his village Tarauni, nearest railway station, Tarsarai Muriya (East Central Railway, near the erstwhile princely town Darbhanga ) remained closest to his heart&soul. In 1998, he left the world from Khajasarai (Darbhanga) after streamlining his prolific literary works. On his birth centenary, my fond remembrance for this great literary figure, who was and still is a most loving BABA for many generations.
Atul Kumar Thakur
Thursday, April 29th 2011, New Delhi