‘Varanasi’ is only the official name. Sometimes, to make a poetic point, someone may say Kashi. But ‘Banaras’ is how Banarasis refer to their city.
Banaras ki parampara, they say. Or hum Banaras ke musalman.
Kaal Bhairav Banaras ke kotwal hain, says the mahant of the Shitala Mata temple. Kaal Bhairav (Shiva) is the keeper of the gates of Banaras.
And of course, Banaras ki chaat khaayi hai aapne? Banaras ka paan nahin khayenge?
Sticker on wall of home in Rajmandir, a Hindu locality (All pictures by JAMAL KIDWAI)
My old friend and comrade Jamal Kidwai and I were in Banaras to observe the AAP campaign, being supporters of AAP (me) and of Arvind Kejriwal in Banaras (Jamal), and to hang out with the (largely young) volunteers who have landed up – from IT and advertising, from colleges and small government jobs, from Bangalore and Mumbai, from Madhya Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh – to map Banaras with their feet. So this does not purport to be an objective account – unlike journalists’ accounts of the ‘Modi wave’, which do claim to be purely factual. As Professor Randhir Singh is fond of reminding us – in Paris in 1968, the first question the students would hurl at all speakers was always – “Where do you speak from?” Continue reading Two days with AAP in Banaras