[ This post is based on updates posted by me on my Facebook wall ]
A great kerfuffle has ensued ever since the recently elected independent MLA from Vadgam, Gujarat and Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch activist Jignesh Mevani gave an interview in which he had some choice things to say about the Prime Minister and BJP leader Narendra Modi. Mr. Mevani made some positive and gentle suggestions, to the effect that because Mr. Modi has stopped being relevant, has not delivered on even one of the promises made by him, he should retire, proceed towards the Himalayas, and in the phrase that has caused the greatest commotion, ‘melt his bones’.
Predictably, Mr. Modi’s personal broadcasting service, known as Republic TV has kicked up the greatest fuss. Arnab Goswami has been especially indignant, and he was joined in his rage by BJP spokesperson, the orotund television commentator and historical photo-shop scam artist, Mr. Sambit Patra. Mr. Mevani offered a robust and dignified refusal to apologize for what he said about Mr. Modi, when Republic TV demanded that he do so.https://youtu.be/ys0GRWCsQBg
Arnab Goswami in particular has implied that the phrase ‘हड्डी गलाना’ (melting bones) is particularly insulting, especially when deployed to imply (as done by Mr. Mevani) the appropriate fate of a prime minister who is now past his ‘sell by date’.
ttle scratching around for the precise import and context of the phrase ‘हड्डी गलाना’ (melting bones) suggests quite a different sense from that which has so incensed the guardians of the righteous republic (TV).
With due respect to Republic TV, its editorial and research team, and its star anchor, I offer for their consideration the fact that the phrase ‘haddi galaana’ / ‘हड्डी गलाना’ (melting bones), for which Jignesh Mevani is currently being excoriated, was used to suggest the notion of an ‘honourable sacrifice’ by none other than a bad poet and worse prime minister called Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who also happened to be the BJP’s founder and leader. This was done, in what I suppose may be described as the ‘inspirational’ poem titled – ‘आओ फिर से दिया जलाएं’ / ‘Aao Fir Se Diya Jalayein’/’Come Let Us Light Lamps Again’, which should not be unknown to BJP activists across the length and breadth, at least of the Hindi-Hindu-Heartland. Here is the exact citation :
नव दधीचि हड्डियां गलाएं
A rough and ready translation of this fragment in English could read as follows –
‘the offering remains, the sacrifice is incomplete,
we are surrounded by our enemies,
to make the thunderbolt-weapon (vajra) for the final victory
new Dadhichis must melt their bones
come let us light lamps again’
In this fragment, Vajpayee, like Mevani, is offering an exhortation to become ‘new Dadhichis’ (Dadhichi is the sage in the Sanskrit canon who saved the gods by melting his bones into the weapon that could be wielded by Indra) by ‘melting bones’ (नव दधीचि हड्डियां गलाएं) so that the ‘offerings’ or आहुति in the ‘sacrifice’ (यज्ञ) be completed. Whatever I may think of Vajpayee’s poetry or politics, I have no hesitation in saying that he knew his Puranic references. So does JIgnesh Mevani. Neither Arnab Goswami, nor Sambit Patra have the cultural anchorage, or even a sense of their own history (as in a knowledge of Vajpayee’s poetry) or traditions, to do that.
Here is a link to the complete poem on kavitakosh.org Incidentally, the great Gujarati city of Ahmedabad, has an area called ‘Dudheshwara’ on the banks of the Sabarmati, which is supposed to have been (in some mythic time, according to a ‘sthala purana’) the site of the ashrama of Dadhichi. Similar distinction is also claimed for the town of Misrikh Neemsar, in the Sitapur district of Yogi Adityanath ruled Uttar Pradesh, which is supposedly site of the puranic Naimisharanya, where the sage Dadhichi had his ashram. People who talk a lot about ‘sanatan sanskriti’, the greatness of the puranic tradition, and Gujarati ‘asmita’ usually have very little idea of what they are talking about.
If they did, then Modi, Adityanath and their followers, and their lapdogs in (Banana) Republic TV would be honored, rather than insulted, that Jignesh Mevani has given them such a great deal of respect by associating them with the bones of Dadhichi. Mr. Mevani clearly knows what he is doing. As usual, the real question is, why are ignoramuses like Arnab Goswami and Sambit Patra still in the business of fooling the public.
It may also be noted, in passing, that a representation of ’Dadhichi’s Bones’ features as a heraldic ornament on the Param Vir Chakra medal which the Indian military gives as a decoration to those it considers to be brave warriors. Indian nationalists of the Hindutva persuasion should be proud of being referred to as ‘auto-osteo melters’, ala Dadhichi. But maybe that is expecting too much, as they have yet to produce evidence that their crania contain any matter other than bone.