All posts by apoorvanand

Wisdom of Ganesh Gaitonde: Satya Sagar

Guest Post by SATYA SAGAR

Note: Ganesh Gaitonde is a fictional character from the Netflix series Sacred Games, but that does not make him any less real than anyone else on the planet.

Warning: Profanity ahead. Get parental advice before proceeding.

Somewhere on a yacht in choppy waters off the western Indian coast I met Ganesh Gaitonde, noted[1]political analyst, role model for the youth and public intellectual for a free-wheeling interview.

We discussed a wide range of extremely important issues confronting Indian society today from the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi at the Ambani household to what PC (not Chidambaram) said when NJ farted in her dreams. Some trivial themes like climate change, nuclear war and crisis of Indian spirituality were also touched upon – but you can skip those portions if they bore you to death.

Ganesh Gaitonde (GG): Stop calling me ‘Gaitondeji’, you #^^$%&&&. You guys kept chanting ‘Gandhiji’ for seven decades while screwing everything he stood for. So, cut this ‘ji’ crap. I am just Ganesh – nothing more, nothing less.

Me: Gaitondeji…

Me: Ok, I apologize Ganesh. Now, even before we get into important national and social issues, can you explain why every other word you utter is always an obscenity? Continue reading Wisdom of Ganesh Gaitonde: Satya Sagar

Kashmir: The Violence in Silence

Guest Post By Maknoon Wani

“I need a toy and a new dress for Eid.”

Requests and tantrums like these are heard around Eid in every Kashmiri household but not this time. It was the 8th day of the government imposed military siege. On 5 August, 2019 the central government unilaterally scrapped the special status(autonomy, imagine that being called special status) of the only Muslim majority state in the union. Thousands were arrested to muzzle any dissent coming out of the agitated population. But seven year old Aairah was worried about her Eid shopping, which was never going to happen. 

How does it happen in the 21st century? How are millions of people house arrested and excommunicated within a few hours? Why are people celebrating a siege? How does this sell as normalcy? I spent many sleepless nights contemplating or rather trying to absorb the sheer cruelty of this situation. A group of students from my college invited me to a cake cutting ceremony which was organized to celebrate this decision. Maybe, their intentions were not so bad but did social convention dictate that a person be invited for the celebration of his misery? The shameless chest-thumping is a spectacle but an indifferent people is a tragedy. 

While I was suffering from this sense of loss and fear, people were celebrating and opining about Kashmir like they knew everything. I was told how good this decision is and how I should be happy. Kashmir, which went incommunicado days ago, was said to be normal. Reports from the foreign press regarding protests in Kashmir were refuted and labelled as western propaganda. Saner voices went more anti-national and pro-government channels got busy in peddling more lies. I, for one, went silent for a few days. Everyone was high on something. Some were planning to buy a plot in Kashmir while others were fantasying about white-skinned Kashmiri girls. History was forgotten, conveniently twisted and occasionally ignored to justify this daylight betrayal. A radicalized population is dangerous but trying to reason with an intoxicated population is foolishness. After all these days, I thought this silence must not be interpreted as normalcy and more importantly-peace.

What is happening in Kashmir and to Kashmiris is violence. Why aren’t the children going to schools and why are their playgrounds surrounded with barbed wires? Why aren’t mobile phones working? What is forcing Kashmiris to be silent? Is the mere presence of half a million armed forces not a form of violence? I have to ask these questions because no one else is. As I try to imagine the green meadows of my hometown, I am not able to block that intruding fear of not seeing my family again. The meadows might turn red forever. I see people celebrating this decision like an act of revenge; humanity might be dead forever. The claims of ushering in development and peace have fallen flat but then who wants the truth? A country which cheers the suspension of civil liberties can not be expected to be empathetic towards anyone. The silent mourners will lose fear one day, and this gloom will spread. It is only a matter of time when the monster reaches every door. 

It has been more than 20 days of this extraordinary blackout. We have seen only a few Kashmiri voices in the Indian media. A population needs to be amnesic to forget traumas like this. How can they tire us so much to make us forget our identity. We have survived three mass uprisings. Seven million Kashmiris right now are silently shouldering the coffin of the Indian democracy. The rot has started to reek, but the masks of ignorance have kept people safe. A few hundred landlines have been made operational, and this has been projected as normalcy. Senior anchors are posting videos and pictures(of normalcy) which can put North Korean propaganda to shame. When no one is being allowed to visit Kashmir, not even the Indian opposition leaders, then how can the situation be called normal. 

Recently, JK Governor, Satyapal Malik said, “If there’s no phone for ten days, so be it.” Surprisingly, he could only count ten days on the 20th day of the communication blackout. This is symbolic of the systematic dehumanization of the Kashmiris by the Indian administration. I wish to tell every Indian politician that your collective failure and greed for votes has assured Kashmiris that nothing good can be expected of this country. Our land has once again been prioritized over our lives. This is naked oppression and it is out in the open. However, this silence is not peace. It is the harbinger of burning resentment. We aren’t so small to be devoured by anyone. Our silence is deafening but not to the dead ears.  

( Maknoon Wani is a student of journalism and is in Delhi presently)

रवीश कुमार: हिंदुस्तान का दुखता हुआ दिल

यह बिरले होता है कि ख़बरनवीस ख़ुद ख़बर बन जाए।पिछले तीन रोज़ से एक ख़बरची ही ख़बर है: रवीश कुमार।

याद आती है कोई 18 साल पहले रवीश से एक मुलाक़ात। “ दिक्कत यह हुई है टेलिविज़न की दुनिया में कि जिसे ख़बर दिखाने का काम है, वह सोच बैठा है कि लोग समाचार नहीं, उसे देखने टी वी खोलते हैं।” रवीश ने कहा। उस वक़्त वे रिपोर्टिंग का काम कर रहे थे। हमने महात्मा गांधी अंतरराष्ट्रीय विश्वविद्यालय में अपने संघर्ष को लेकर उनसे रिपोर्टिंग का अनुरोध किया था। रिपोर्ट बनी।लेकिन रवीश ने कहा, “ माफ़ कीजिए, कमज़ोर रिपोर्ट है!” कोई रिपोर्टर यह कहे,तब भी यह सोचना भी मुश्किल था,आज तो है ही।

Continue reading रवीश कुमार: हिंदुस्तान का दुखता हुआ दिल

DIsmantling of JNu

20 September is close. Birthday of Chandrashekhar. The young left leader who was murdered in Siwan in 1997. Before he went there he was in the Jawaharlal Nehru University. Known to generations of the university as the President of its students’union. We organise an annual  memorial lecture in his name at Patna . This year we had decided to invite a Professor from his university to deliver the lecture. She said a cautious yes as she was not sure if she would be given leave for it. For the last three years the teachers of the JNU have seen their leave application rejected, not only for popular lectures like the one above but also for seminars organised by their professional bodies or peers. But we insisted that she should try. So, we wrote a formal invitation letter to her, without mentioning the significance of the lecture. I apologised to Chandrashekhar for my cowardice. He would have smiled and called it an act of Brechtian cunning, defeating the vicious enemy non-violently.

Continue reading DIsmantling of JNu

About Menstrual Rights: Astha Savyasachi

Guest post by Astha Savyasachi

Humankind, right in the beginning, came face to face with menstruation. So, by now we as a society should have learnt to deal with it. But as we all know that it remains a problem for most of us. When we say this we don’t deny that we have successfully made it less of discomfort for a section of the people. 

It should not lead us to forget we are still far behind as a society to realize that the female body deserves and requires medical assistance to sustain the bodily changes [mostly hormonal] and mineral losses during the entire menstrual cycle. The politicians thumping their chests and taking oaths to protect Bharat Mata are yet to realize that the existing and breathing women also are entitled to human rights and need to be paid a lot more attention than the mere national personification of India [that too notinclusive of everyone in the geographical boundaries of India] in the image of a woman that is Bharat Mata . The irony is that the goddesses enjoy privileges and the existent women are devoid of even basic rights.

Continue reading About Menstrual Rights: Astha Savyasachi

“वन्दे मातरम” जय नहीं, क्षय का नारा है

जब संसद में सरकार का कोई मंत्री कहे कि “वन्दे मातरम” न कहने वाले को भारत में रहने का हक़ नहीं है, तो उसे संसद में और बाहर जवाब देना ही पड़ेगा कि भारत में रहने की शर्त “वन्दे मातरम” का जाप या नारा नहीं है।नहीं हो सकता। भारत में रहने के लिए आप मुझे “जन गण मन” गाने को भी बाध्य नहीं कर सकते। आप मुझे किसी झंडे को सलाम करने को मजबूर नहीं कर सकते।

गाँधी का दिसंबर,1947 की एक प्रार्थना सभा का वक्तव्य याद कर लें हम जिसमें वे कहते हैं कि आप मेरे सर बंदूक लगाकर मुझे गीता पढ़ने के लिए भी बाध्य नहीं कर सकते।

यह तो कहने की ज़रूरत भी नहीं कि आप मुझे “जयश्री राम” या “भारत माता की जय” बोलने का हुक्म नहीं दे सकते। अगर आप ऐसा करते हैं तो आप अपराध कर रहे हैं। आप मेरी स्वायत्तता और मेरी गरिमा का अतिक्रमण कर रहे हैं। यह भारत के संविधान और क़ानून के मुताबिक़ जुर्म है।सज़ा मुझे नहीं आपको होनी चाहिए। लेकिन यह तभी होगा जब भारत का पुलिस और प्रशासन और न्याय तंत्र भारत के संविधान के मुताबिक़ काम करे। आज के भारत को देखते हुए इसकी पूरी गारंटी करना संभव नहीं है। अगर सबसे बड़ी अदालत सिनेमा घर में राष्ट्र गीत बजाने और सबको सावधान खड़े होने का हुक्म दे सकती है तो प्रशासन और पुलिस पर शक लाज़िमी है।
Continue reading “वन्दे मातरम” जय नहीं, क्षय का नारा है

Tabrez is dead, India lives

My friends from Jharkhand sent me a video of a man – to be exact, a Muslim – being lynched. I avoided opening it. Then a message followed – that the man being beaten up on camera has now died. They were at the police station and were meeting senior officers later. I decided to watch the video.

It is a long clip: ten minutes and 49 seconds. In it, you see a man – a young man – tied to a pole. He is half bent. You can see that he is writhing in pain. His head is unsteady and his legs twisted. There is darkness around him, but there is also some light – from the mobiles being flashed at him, to keep him in focus. There are sounds. Human sounds. Abuses. People moving. You can see eyes. Again, human eyes.

A stick is swung in the air and then you see a hand catching it. The man cries out loud. You cannot see if he has been hit or has cried out anticipating a beating. The camera is brought closer to the face. The man is asked to look into the camera. The crowd is moving around, you can sense some excitement in the air. He is asked his name. Continue reading Tabrez is dead, India lives

Who cares for bengal?

( First published in a different form in the Wirehttps://thewire.in/communalism/bengal-violence-tmc-bjp on 14 June, 2018. This article is its revised and updated version.)

Do all of us, those who love Rabindra Sangeet, those who wistfully talk about Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, Mirnal Sen, Aparna Sen, those who cannot live without Nazrul Islam, those whose first love across generations remains Sukanto Bhattacharji, women and men, ever thankful to Raja Ram Mohan Roy for his relentless struggle against his own people for abolishing the practice of Sati ,and this list is long, just sit and wring our hands and let Bengal bleed to death?  

Bengal is being ravaged by a cynical game between political parties. It is up for grabs. The Bhartiya Janata Party is relishing the moment and the Trinamul Congress, by its foolishness and hotheadedness is driving the state into the hands of the BJP. Mamata Banerjee needs to realise that she is the Chief Minister of the state and not merely the head of her party. It is unbecoming of her when she says that among the people killed after elections, the number of her people is higher than their( BJP’s) number. All suffering violence are the citizens of Bengal and therefore it is her responsibility, as the CM of the state  to give them a sense of security. It is not for her to only speak for her party members. But we can see that she is doing exactly this. She has started looking partisan and her appeal to save the Bangla culture sounds hollow and unconvincing to the people. Cannot she see that her own party people are now joining the BJP in large numbers?

Continue reading Who cares for bengal?

हमदर्दी और हमशहरीयत: ट्विंकल, टप्पल और भारत

( सत्य हिंदी.कॉम पर 10 जून,2019 को सहनागरिकता का भाव विकसित करना ज़रूरी शीर्षक से प्रकाशित टिप्पणी https://www.satyahindi.com/waqt-bewaqt/twinkle-sharma-murder-case-aligarh-102906.html का परिवर्द्धित रूप)

अलीगढ़ के क़रीब टप्पल में दो साल की ट्विंकल की हत्या के बाद सिर्फ़ अलीगढ़ नहीं, देश के कोने कोने से बच्ची के लिए इंसाफ़ की माँग की जा रही है। हत्या पर अफ़सोस, शर्म और नाराज़गी का इजहार किया जा रहा है।

दो साल की बच्ची को आपसी रंजिश के चलते ही क्यों नहीं, मार डालना परले दर्जे की विकृति है और उसका कोई मनोवैज्ञानिक औचित्य नहीं दिया जा सकता। यह तथ्य कि अभियुक्त पहले से ही ऐसा था, कि उसपर अपनी बच्ची के साथ बलात्कार का आरोप था, मारी गई बच्ची के परिजनों को कोई राहत नहीं पहुँचाता।दो साल की बच्ची की हत्या इसलिए भी अधिक क्रूर है कि वह किसी भी तरह अपनी रक्षा नहीं कर सकती थी।

शायद ट्विंकल बच जाती अगर पुलिस ने पहले ही परिवार की गुहार सुन ली होती। इसलिए ज़िम्मेवार पुलिसकर्मियों को सज़ा भी ज़रूरी है।

Continue reading हमदर्दी और हमशहरीयत: ट्विंकल, टप्पल और भारत

बिहार क्या सिर्फ बिहार में है ?

बिहार फिर से खबर में है. इंटरमीडिएट परीक्षाओं के परिणाम आए हैं.पैंसठ प्रतिशत छात्र फेल हो गए हैं.बिहार में विरोध प्रदर्शन चल रहे हैं.कॉपियों की दुबारा जाँच कराने की माँग की जा रही है. जन संचार माध्यमों के जरिए वैसे छात्रों की व्यथा और क्रोध का पता चल रहा है जिन्होंने आई आई टी जैसी कठिन प्रवेश परीक्षाओं में सफलता प्राप्त की है लेकिन जो बारहवीं की बोर्ड परीक्षा में फेल हो गए हैं.इसे पर्याप्त माना जा रहा है यह कहने के लिए कि परीक्षा परिणामों में घपला ज़रूर है वरना इतने प्रतिभाशाली युवा, जो आई आई टी की परीक्षा की बाधा दौड़ पार कर गए हैं,बोर्ड के इम्तहान में फेल कैसे हो जाएँगे! Continue reading बिहार क्या सिर्फ बिहार में है ?

A leaf from the illustrious life of the CM designate of Uttar Pradesh

Account of a ten year old story : Helps you understand the CM designate of UP

What happened in the eastern Uttar Pradesh town was not a conflict but violence unleashed by MP Yogi Adityanath and his henchmen 

If one tries to understand the developments in Gorakhpur and its neighbouring areas of eastern Uttar Pradesh (Poorvanchal) from January 26 to 31, 2007 through the eyes of the print and electronic media, one moves further away from the truth. It is a sordid story of a highly communalised media conjuring up a riot, collaborating with BJP MP Yogi Adityanath, a Bal Thackeray clone and heir to the Gorakhnath Peeth operating from the Gorakhnath temple. Adityanath is a BJP MP for ‘technical’ reasons and cares a damn for the niceties of party discipline because he knows that the party cannot dissociate itself from him. Though he mocked the party by holding a Vishwa Hindu Maha Sammelan at the same time as the BJP’s National Council meet in Lucknow, the party did not mind. It had earlier swallowed the defeat of its candidate in the Assembly election by Adityanath’s candidate. One should know that he is a Thakur; and a Thakur heads the BJP now . The Thakur spread across party lines ensures that Adityanath is allowed to have his own way in his fiefdom, i.e. Poorvanchal. He makes it a point to give calls for a Gorakhpur bandh whenever the chief minister visits the town. Continue reading A leaf from the illustrious life of the CM designate of Uttar Pradesh

Dining With The Cultured Hate Mongers

Should we criticise the organisers of the Jaipur Literature Festival for inviting two functionaries of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to this year’s edition of the annual festival? Murmurs in the literary circles seem to suggest that the organisers of JLF succumbed to pressure from the right wing. A mere look at the list of speakers and programmes makes it clear that there are a fair number of liberal and left-leaning individuals among the speakers. Why, even the general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Sita Ram Yechuri, is in that list. So a balance appears to have been struck. Continue reading Dining With The Cultured Hate Mongers

The Dwijitalisation of India: Satya Sagar

GUEST POST by Satya Sagar

For over a millennium one of the recurring debates among Indian philosophers was whether this world was real or a mere dream[1]. Paradoxically, those who preached most passionately that our senses mislead us and everything around was Maya or an illusion, went on to corner the largest chunk of material reality.

Behind the smokescreen of clever mythology, it was they, who grabbed the lion’s share of everything tangible over the centuries – from land, water, natural resources to hard political and social power. Worse still, using a mix of brute force and religious mumbo-jumbo, they consolidated the exploitation of those who work by those who merely cook up tall stories, through the nightmare of the caste system.

Today the politics of Maya is well and truly back in play with Narendra Modi’s ‘Mahayagna’ a.k.a. demonetisation promising a digital Moksha through the tapasya of a ‘war on black money’. Once again, as in India’s sordid past, the biggest losers of this devious push for a cashless economy are going to be those right at the bottom of the Indian caste hierarchy. Continue reading The Dwijitalisation of India: Satya Sagar

Economic Emergency – Notes From Sargana: Zaheeb Ajmal

GUEST POST by ZAHEEB AJMAL

Nothing remained normal after November 8. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that evening that Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 currency notes were to be ‘demonetised’ at the stroke of midnight (full announcement here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJYFE59rLhM). Not only were the high denomination notes held by people rendered worthless, but stringent limits were imposed on cash withdrawals. People were given time until December 30 to exchange their existing, now worthless, currency notes for newly-minted ones.

As everywhere else in the country, the announcement sent shockwaves across Sargana. People went into a tizzy to exchange their old high-denomination currency notes for new ones. Not only that, the limits on cash withdrawals meant that people began to worry about requisitioning cash for daily usage. Continue reading Economic Emergency – Notes From Sargana: Zaheeb Ajmal

Towards a One-Man Dictatorship: Santosh Rana

GUEST POST by SANTOSH RANA

It is a rare sight in Indian Politics.  On 23rd November, 2016, the Members of Parliament from almost all the opposition parties united in New Delhi to register protest against the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetization policy.  To some, the atmosphere in the capital on that day brought back memories of the Emergency and the Bofors era.

This unique event took place under unique circumstances.  When all the democratic institutions of the country are being destroyed in order to establish one man’s undisputed control over Power, the event signified the first step towards a united resistance against these inauspicious developments.  Continue reading Towards a One-Man Dictatorship: Santosh Rana

The Sultan of Sophistry:Satya Sagar

GUEST POST by  Satya Sagar

 

It is early winter and a thick, grimy fog, black and white tinged with grey, hangs over Delhi much of the day. Morning visibility is bad, clears up a bit with a dull sun in the afternoon, before darkness descends again on the city.

A month after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his demonetisation policy, the gloomy weather in the national capital describes quite well the mood of the people here. Sullen but not angry, worried but not yet panicked, uneasy about the future but focused for the present on solving daily problems.

And yet somewhere deep down there is a growing feeling that we are witnessing the twilight of the Indian Republic – at least as we have known it for over six decades- a sovereign, federal, democratic nation, which with all its flaws, stumbles along intact. Few fully understand the real implications of 86% of the Indian currency disappearing overnight but there is foreboding it is a sign of many more drastic events to come. Continue reading The Sultan of Sophistry:Satya Sagar

Death by Demonetisation: Satya Sagar

GUEST POST BY Satya Sagar

The abrupt demonetisation of 500 and 1000 rupee notes by the Narendra Modi regime is a drastic move that is staggering in its scale, ambition and repurcussions. The only other figures in modern history one can think of, devious or stupid enough to attempt something similar, are the likes of Marcos, Suharto, Idi Amin and Pol Pot.

For all its audacity however, the decision could go down also as the grandest of blunders made by anyone in Indian political history. Poorly planned and implemented it is likely to prove disastrous not only for the country’s economy but – ironically enough,– for the BJP’s own electoral fortunes.

The abolition of the two currency notes – that make up 86% of all cash in circulation in the Indian economy –  has affected almost every family in the second most populous nation on the planet.  The harassment of the common citizen – particularly from the ranks of the urban and rural poor- through denial of access to income, savings and livelihood will not be forgotten anytime soon. Continue reading Death by Demonetisation: Satya Sagar

Muktibodh’s Endless Journey

 

( Muktibodh was born on 13 November, 1917.This article is a tribute to him to mark the beginning of his birth-centenary)

It is a coincidence that November marks the beginning of the centenary of the Bolshevik revolution and also the Hindi poet Muktibodh. The fates of the two however have taken two divergent trajectories.

The life of the revolution turned out to be very short, it could not last out the century it was born. The poet on the other hand, though he died when he was not even 46, has seen his significance growing constantly.

Muktibodh was a Marxist and is considered to be a poet who longed for revolution. But the revolution demanded from its followers  to surrender themselves to the Party, which was absolute. They were expected to be a mere reflection of this absolute self. Muktibodh, on the other hand is interested in the life history of each soul. He seeks to create a community of selves in which each one will  be autonomous.  Continue reading Muktibodh’s Endless Journey

Statement on False Charges by Chhattisgarh Police Against Human Rights Activists

PLEASE ENDORSE IF YOU AGREE

We the Undersigned, strongly condemn the absurd charges of‘criminal conspiracy and murder’ against highly respected academics and social activists by the Chhattisgarh police in the case of murder of Shamnath Baghel by unknown persons on 4th November.

None of the following named in the FIR –  Dr Nandini Sundar, Head of the Department of Sociology, Delhi  University; Dr Archana Prasad, Professor, JNU; Vineet Tiwari of the Joshi Adhikar Sansthan;Sanjay Parate, Secretary, CPM, Chhattisgarh and Manju Kawasi of the CPI– were anywhere near the spot of the killing of Shamnath Baghel. Implicating them for this heinous crime only smacks of sheer vendetta by the police against them for daring to enquire into human rights violations in the state as part of an independent fact finding team.

The Chhattisgarh police’s action is further indication of the undeclared Emergency that has gripped the nation and the harassment of bonafide human rights activists and citizen’s groups trying to protect the fundamental Constitutional rights of ordinary citizens. In particular the Chhattisgarh Inspector General of Police SRP Kalluri seems to have embarked on a mission to prevent the rest of the country from scrutinising the many illegal actions of his forces against innocent tribal populations in the state as part of his war against Maoist extremism.

We have always believed that the use of violence by both the state authorities and those opposed to them are both wrong and any lasting settlement to the conflict in Chhattisgarh can only be brought about through political negotiations between all parties involved. Fact finding teams, like the one the academics and activists were part of, are critical to enabling such dialogue for a peaceful resolution and any assault on them is a threat to both peace and democracy.

We demand that the Chhattisgarh government immediately intervene to drop the arbitrary inclusion of names of completely unrelated persons from the current FIR filed in the Baghel murder case and instead launch a proper criminal investigation to apprehend those really responsible.

Tanika Sarkar

Sumit Sarkar

Zoya Hasan

Achin Vanaik

Pamela Philipose

Rahul Govind

Aruna Roy

Nikhil Dey

Shabnam Hashmi

Apoorvanand

Satya Sagar

Snehsata

Shankar Singh

Dilip Simeon

Kumar Rana

Arshad Ajmal

Manindra Thakur

Radhika Singha

Ravi S. Vasudevan

Chitra Joshi

Sangeetha Dasgupta

P.K.Dutta

Manisha Sethi

Dipak Dholakia

Nivedita Menon

Aditya Nigam

 

 

 

Communal goons and ‘Secular’ Police collude to deny Atheists Space in Vrindavan

It looks like the fringe has been active again, this time inVrindavan. A small gang of people from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and other groups disrupted a gathering of atheists on Friday, beating up attendees and causing general mayhem. This in itself has become so commonplace that it is no longer news. However, what should alarm us all is the way the police – which is under the ‘secular’ state government of Akhilesh Yadav – joined the disruptors. Instead of protecting the participants of the atheism conference by dispersing the small saffron gang, the police joined them and forced the event’s organiser to cancel the meeting. Unsatisfied with that, the police also insisted on the participants’ immediate departure from Vrindavan itself. Continue reading Communal goons and ‘Secular’ Police collude to deny Atheists Space in Vrindavan

दुर्गा दुर्मतिनाशिनी

षष्ठी की सुबह यह लिख रहा हूँ .  आज माँ भगवती के भक्तों की वर्ष भर की प्रतीक्षा पूरी होती है. माँ की प्रतिमा में आज प्राण-प्रतिष्ठा होगी. वे जीवंत हो उठेंगी. आज से चार दिन उनकी आराधना के दिन हैं. मैं रोज़ अपनी बहन को देखता हूँ, चंडी पाठ सुनते हुए. बचपन की माँ याद आ जाती है: दशहरा आते ही घर में धूप की एक सुगंध उठने लगती थी. तुरत नहाई माँ को दुर्गा की छवि के आगे आँख मूँदे हुए पाठ करते देखता था. उस छवि के आगे रक्त जवा या उड़हूल फूल के अर्पण को नहीं भूलता. शरद की वह गंध-छवि अब तक मन में बसी है.इस बार मालूम हुआ, अम्मी पाठ नहीं कर पा रही हैं .यह सुनकर मुझ जैसे ईश्वरसंदेही को भी कुछ लगेगा, सोचा नहीं था.

आरम्भ लेकिन षष्ठी से हो, ऐसा नहीं. बचपन से ही महालया की प्रतीक्षा व्यग्रता से होती थी. इस बार भूल ही गया. पिता ने, जो फेसबुक-संसार के सहज नागरिक हैं, महालया के दिन आगाह किया:

“देवी पक्ष के प्रारम्भ होने की सूचना हो गई है। देवघर में हमारी चेतना में यह बात रही है कि दुर्गापूजा के अवसर पर उमा एक साल बाद कैलास से अपने मायके चार दिनों के लिए आती हैँ। सप्तमी को उनका आगमन और दशमी को विदाई होती है। आगमनी गीत बेटी के लिए माँ की व्यथा की मार्मिक प्रस्तुति हैं। Continue reading दुर्गा दुर्मतिनाशिनी