Category: Philosophy

Biti Na Bitai Raina (बिती ना बिताई रैना)

ईश्वरानं तसं काही सूचित केलेलं नसतानाही काही शब्दांच्या माथी अकारण काळिमा आलेला आहे. त्यातला एक शब्द काळा रंग. तिच्या काळ्या रंगाशिवाय रात्रीचं रात्रपण अपूर्ण आहे. निरपराध असताना देखील रात्रीनं, आपल्या सख्याचा दोषापराध, काळ्या रंगाचा तो कलंक,अल्पांशानं आपल्या अंगावर घेतला आहे. आपण नाही का म्हणत – दिवसाढवळ्या अमका अमका अत्याचार झाला. म्हणजे जणू काही रात्री हलकी फुलकी पापं चालून जावीत. भरबाजारात, भररस्त्यात, दिवसाच्या लख्ख उजेडात, चारचौघांसमोर कोणी डोळाही ओलावू नये; मात्र रात्रीच्या अंधारात, घराच्या कोण्या कोपर्‍यात, जीव दाटून आलेलं विशेष काही नसावं.

सगळं जग स्वार्थी असतं मात्र त्यात एका निस्वार्थ नात्याला जागा अवश्य असते. नेमकं तेच नातं ईश्वराला पाहवलेलं नसतं. मात्र नसलेली व्यक्ति नाही असं प्रत्यक्षात नसतंच. रात्रीच्या एकांताच्या वेळी ती हरवलेली व्यक्ति इतकी प्रतिक्रियाशील होऊन जाते कि ती नाहीये असा निष्कर्ष काढणं अवघड होऊन जातं. ती कशी दिसेल, कशी बसेल, कशी बोलेल, काय बोलेल, काय करेल, तिने काय घातलेलं असेल, तिचे अविर्भाव कसे असतील, ती कशी वागेल हे सगळं इतकं सुस्पष्ट ठावं असतं कि हे सगळं आपण कल्पना करतोय हे देखील विसरून जायला होतं. तिथे बाह्य जगाच्या दृष्टीनं जो एकांत आहे त्याचं अनुभवकर्त्यासाठी खर्‍या अर्थानं सहवासात परिवर्तन झालेलं असतं. ही विरहदायी व्यक्ति कोणाची आई असेल, पिता असेल, पत्नी असेल, मित्र असेल, प्रेयसी असेल वा अजून कोणी असेल; अस्सल प्रेमाच्या ठिकाणी ही रात्रीभेट कधीकधी अवश्य होते. ही विरहकर्ती, ती अदृश्य भेटकर्ती आणि त्यांचं भावविश्व कसं असेल हे डोकाऊन पाहावयाचं असेल तर बिती ना बिताई रैना हे गाणं एकवार एकांतात बसून अवश्य ऐकावं.

१९८७-८८? तेव्हा मी सातवी-आठवीत असेन. आमच्या घरमालकाच्या पोरींबरोबर उदगीरमधल्या कॅटल क्लास वस्तीतून मी दुधाच्या केटल्या घेऊन नविन बंगल्याबंगल्यांच्या सुखवस्तू निडेबन वेशीकडं जायचो. तिथे एखाद्या त्यातल्या त्यात फ्रेंडली बंगलेवाल्याकडं सगळ्या केटल्या टेकवायच्या नि त्या पोरींचं दूध वितरण चालू व्हायचं. कदाचित दुधाच्या नफ्यात मला हिस्सा नाही म्हणून पायपीट करायचे कष्ट मला न देता तिथेच बसून केटल्यांचे संरक्षण करण्याचे सोपे काम मी करावे असा विचार त्या करत आणि मी कदाचित पोरींचा सहवास हाच पुरेसा मोबदला मानत असेन. त्या उच्चभ्रू लोकांच्याकडे टीवी असे नि घरात प्रवेश नसला तरी बाहेरूनच खिडकीतून आत पलंगावर बसलेल्या लोकांच्या मानांमधल्या दर्‍यांतून त्यांच्या फुलझाडांच्या कुंड्यांमधे पाय ठेवायला जागा शोधत टीवी पाहण्याची मुभा मला होती. अशा प्रकारे मी खिडकितून टीवी पाहत असताना पहिल्यांदा मला टीवीतही खिडकीतून पाहणारी ती पोरगी नजरेस पडली. तिच्या घरातल्या त्या पापुद्रे आलेल्या भिंती, काही जागी टवके पडलेले, त्या भिंतींचा उडालेला रंग, घरात इतकंही काही नीटनीटकं न ठेवलेलं सामान, घरातले अंधारलेले कोपरे, आजारलेलं एक माणूस आणि अगदी साधे कपडे घालून मेकप न करता बसलेली एक साधी पोरगी – हे सिनेदृश्य असलं तरी भपकेबाज असं काहीच नव्हतं त्यात. उलट एक खूप जवळीक वाटलेली. आजही वाटते. घरी येणारांसमोर घर एका विशिष्ट प्रेझेंटेबल अवस्थेत असावं असा हव्यास बरीच मंडळी धरतात नि भेटीगाठीच टाळतात हे निदर्शनाला आल्यापासून या पोरीच्या घराबद्दलची आपुलकी थोडी वाढलीच आहे.

बीती ना बिताई रैना, बिरहा की जाई रैना
भीगी हुयी अँखियोंने लाख बुझाई रैना

त्यावेळेस मला रैना म्हणजे काय ते माहित नव्हतं, आता मला रैना शब्दाचा मी तेव्हा काय अर्थ काढायचो ते आठवत नाही. पण काहीतरी संपत नाहीय असं ती म्हणतेय हे कळे नि नक्कीच ते सुसह्य नव्हतं हे तिच्या नि तिच्या पित्याच्या भावसंवादातून उमजे. रैना म्हणजे काहीतरी विझवायची ज्वालाग्राही गोष्ट असावी. आणि ती ज्वाला विझली कि शांत झोप येत असावी. मात्र कितीही रडून झालं तरी ती ज्वाला काही विझत नाहीय इतका त्या मुलीला आपल्या आईचा विरह होतोय. आता चाळीशीत आल्यावर मला कदाचित लोकांना आई नसण्याची सवय झालीय. म्हणजे क्रिकेटमधे आपण टॉस जिंकतो वा हारतो, नाणं पाहायचं, अल्पसं हळहळायचं नि पुढे कामाला लागायचं. तशी कोणाला आई असते वा नसते, ऐकायचं, ‘ओह सॉरी’ म्हणायचं आणि पुढे कामाला लागायचं. तसं तेव्हा नव्हतं. एखाद्याला आई नसणं म्हणजे नक्की काय काय नसणं हे तेव्हा कळत असे नि व्यक्तिच्या दु:खाची संपूर्ण अनुभूती येत असे. प्रेमगीतं आवडायचं वय ते (तुम्हाला हे थोडं लवकर झालं असं वाटेल, पण असो तो विषय), पण त्या मुलीनं आपल्या देवाघरी गेलेल्या आईला गायलेली ही बॉलिवूडी रॅरिटी मला फार भावून गेली. आई नसणं म्हणजे फक्त मातृदत्त सुखं नसणं ही माझी अनुभूतीची मर्यादा हे गाणं त्या कोवळ्या वयात विस्तारित करून गेलं. भविष्यात मिळणारी सुखं गेली ते गेलीच मात्र भूतकाळात मिळालेली सुखं देखिल पिच्छा सोडत नाहीत. ती वारंवार त्यांचा नॉन-रेप्लिनेशेबलपणा कसा अद्वितीय आहे हे सांगून पिडतात. ते तर सोडाच, भूतकाळात ज्या सुखांना सुख हे लेबल लावलेलंच नव्हतं ती सुखं वर्तमानात देखील त्यांचे चेतासंदेश किती प्रबल आहेत हे वेळोवेळा सिद्ध करतात.

बीती हुयी बतियाँ कोई दोहराये
भूले हुए नामों से कोई तो बुलाये
चाँद की बिंदी वाली, बिंदीवाली रतिया
जागी हुयी अखियों में रात ना आयी रैना

इंजिनिअरिंगच्या परीक्षा संपल्यात. पुण्यावरनं लातूरला जाणारा मी एकटाच आहे. एक महिन्याची सुट्टी आहे. लालडब्ब्याची बस इंदापूरपुढे कुठेतरी एका ढाब्यावर थांबते. सलग तासंतास बसून कंबरडे ताणलेले सगळे प्रवासी तिथे उतरतात. ढाब्यावरही आणि बसमधेही फार काही लोक नाहीत. हायवेवरून ४-५ मिनिटांनी एखादी गाडी जातेय. ढाब्यापुढे बाजा मांडलेल्या आहेत. दणकून भूक लागलेली आहे. बाजूला एखादं कुटुंब एकमेकांना आग्रह करण्यात, खाऊ घालण्यात मग्न झालं आहे. सगळीकडे अंधारलेलं आहे. ढाब्याच्या प्रत्येक खाटेला एक कंदिल दिला आहे. फक्त काउंटरवर विजेचा दिवा असावा. कमीत कमी बिलामधे जास्तीत प्रमाणात नक्की काय येतं इतका मेनू परिचय नसल्यामुळं नि वेटरला तसं थेट विचारणं हिमतीबाहेरचं असल्यामुळं माझं देखील काहीतरी ऑर्डर करून झालंय. शिवाय किती मिनिटात जेवण उरकायचं आहे त्याची धास्ती कंडक्टरने लावून दिली आहेच. तितक्यात ढाब्याच्या खांबावर लटकावलेला रेडिओ त्या न सरणार्‍या रैनेचं गीत गाऊ लागतो नि माझं या गीताचं दुसरं श्रवण चालू होतं. यावेळेस मात्र मी पहिल्यापेक्षा फार स्मार्ट माणूस झालो आहे. कॉलेजमधल्या हिंदी मुलांमुळे माझी हिंदी पक्की झाली आहे. तिला आता कोणी हसत नाही. काश्मिरच्या रैना आडनावाच्या मुलानंच मला रैना म्हणजे रात्र असा अर्थ सांगीतलेला आहे. गाण्याच्या प्रारंभीच्या तंतूवाद्याच्या आघातांची ताकद अफाट आहे. त्या एकेका आघातामधे काहीतरी गूढ, गुह्य, गुप्त आहे. त्या एकेका पडघमामधे हृदयाचा एकेक कप्पा खोलत आतवर खोल शिरायचं सामर्थ्य आहे. त्या ढाब्यावरच मला माझं हृदय अंतर्बाह्य दाखवलं जातंय. वास्तविक माझ्या आयुष्यात कोणीही माझ्यापासून तसं दूर गेलेलं नाही. टच्चूड, पण माझी स्वतःची आई तर अगदी धडधाकट आहे. पण तरीही गाणं ऐकताना काहीतरी कालवाकालव होतेय. हे जितकं मातृविरहगीत आहे तितकंच ते भावविरहगीतही आहे हे मला जाणवतं. मी मला नक्की काय सोडून गेलं म्हणून सैरभैर होऊन शोध घेऊ लागतो. सात्विक, समाधानी लोकांच्या हरितप्रदेशातून मी कोरड्या, असंतुष्ट लोकांच्या मरुभूमीत येऊन पडलोय का? लहानपणीची गावं आपण नक्की कशासाठी सोडली? आपण जिथे आहोत तिथलं सगळं आपल्याला आवडतं का? आजूबाजूचं सगळं आवडायला हवं असा विचारच विपरित आहे असं मानणार्‍या लोकांत कदाचित आपण केवळ स्वतःसच स्वतःचं कुढणं माहित असलेले ‘सामान्य’ व्यक्ति तर नाहीत? आपण वयाने मोठे झालो आहोत म्हणून असं होतंय कि आपण स्थलांतरित झालो आहोत म्हणून असं होतंय? जास्त जाण आली कि जगाचा वाईटपणा जास्त प्रकर्षानं जाणवायला लागतो. तसं झालंय का आपलं? मूळात सगळं चांगलंच आहे, वा सगळं चांगलंच होईल, वा सगळं चागलं आपण स्वतः करू शकू असा शाळकरी आशावाद आता चार सहा महिन्यांत जबाददारी अंगावर घ्यायची वेळ आली आहे तेव्हा मूर्खपणा का वाटतोय? जगासाठी आपल्याला काय काय करायचं होतं? ते सगळं करण्याला आपण मुकून एका सिमित चक्राला बांधले जाणार. अस्वस्थ करत होतं सगळं. एरवी मन विषाची सवय झालेल्या शरीरासारखं असतं, पण हे रात्रीगीत ऐकलं कि ते गाणं ते विष सगळं ढवळून काढतं आणि ते चांगलंच उफाळून येतं, भिनतं. ती रात्र खरोखरंच अवघड असते. खिडकीतून मी अंधारच्या सावल्या पाहत मी मी, लोक, जग, ईश्वर कोण कुणीकडे का चाललंय याचा विचार करत असतो, बस लातूरकडे मार्गस्थ झालेली असते. सकाळी मी फार थकून उठलेला असतो, न जाणारी रात्र खरोखरीच फार लांब असते याची पहिली सिद्धता मला मिळालेली असते.

युग आते हैं और युग जाए
छोटी छोटी यादों के पल नहीं जाए

पेट्रोल नि डिझेलचा वास मारणारी गोंगाटी शहरं मला आवडत नाहीत म्हणून मी कूलू नि मनाली दोन्ही शहरं गैरसोयीची पडावीत अशा मधल्या जागी थांबलोय. हे वातावरण दिल्लीच्या दमट, उष्ण आणि रोगट वातावरणाच्या माणसासाठी स्वर्ग आहे. बायको, मुलगा, मित्र, त्याचे कुटुंबीय यांच्यासोबत खूप भटकंती केलीय. हिमालयामधे कार चालवण्याचा आनंद घेतला आहे. संध्याकाळचं जेवण झालंय. अंती तोंडात क्षणात विरघळतील असे टपोर गुलाबजाम खाऊन झालेत. त्याचा सुवासिक पाक देखील मनसोक्त चाटून झालाय. सूर्यास्त केव्हाचा झालाय नि समोरची बर्फाच्छादित पहाडे दिसताहेत कि नाही असा संभ्रम निर्माण झाला आहे. त्यांच्या खूप खूप खाली एखादा दिवा तिथे काहीतरी आहे याची साक्ष आहे. मी एकटाच बाहेर फिरायला आलोय. मी खूप थकलोय, पण रात्रीचं, एकांताचं, शांततेचं सौंदर्य पाहायचं अजून उरलंय. अलिकडे एकांत मिळणं बंदच झालेलं आहे. मागे एकट्यानी कधी काय केलं ते आठवतच नाही. कष्ट, कर्म, ताण आणि सुख, स्वच्छंदीपणा यांनी आठवड्याचं आणि वर्षाचं २:५ आणि ३०: (३६५-३०) असं आपापसांत विभाजन करून घेतलं आहे. त्यातला सुखकाल चालू आहे म्हणून मी जाम खुष आहे. वस्तीपासून दूर मी एका दगडावर येऊन बसतो. खाली खोल घळईत दोन उंचच्या उंच समांतर पर्वतांच्या रांगांमधून व्यास नदीचा ओघ वाहत आहे. पाण्याचे अणूरेणू हातात हात घालून एकमेकांना जुन्यापुराण्या प्रवासाच्या गोष्टी सांगताहेत. दिवसा भीडेने चेपलेल्या त्या कणांना रात्रीच्या वेळी खूप आत्मविश्वास आला आहे. बेरात्री घाटांमधे निघालेल्या एखादा द्वाड ट्रक त्यांना बोलण्यात व्यत्यय न होईल याची काळजी घेत गुमान चालला आहे. त्याचा वाहता प्रकाश नागमोडी वळणांच्या रस्त्यावर कधी दिसतोय, कधी दिसत नाहीय इतकीच काय ती त्याच्या असण्याची साक्ष. त्या प्रकाशात उजळून निघालेली झाडं त्या वाहनाला आपल्या विस्ताराची, रादर त्याच्या क्षुद्र आकाराची, अहंपूर्वक जाणिव करून देतात नि क्षणार्धात गडप होतात. हा लपंडाव पाहत मी बराच वेळ पाण्याच्या कणांचं बोलणं ऐकत असतो. त्यांना कुठं जायचं असेल? त्यांचा प्लॅन काय? त्यांना अथांग महासागरात कुठेतरी पडून राहायला जास्त आवडत असेल कि कोण्या झाडाच्या मूळातून पानाकडे शिरायला आवडत असेल? आम्हा माणसांबद्दल त्यांचं काय मत असेल?

अशावेळी सहसा मी गाणी ऐकतच नाही नि ऐकली तर भावगीतं ऐकतो. पण यावेळेस का कोण जाणे, वाटलं आपल्या यादीतल्या शेकडो गाण्यांपैकी एखादं गाणं रँडमली वाजवावं. कमाल म्हणजे पुन्हा व्हायोलिनवर बिती ना बिताई रैना चालू झालं. (https://www.kkbox.com/hk/en/album/Cx-a6FsPk5fBGu0FG4Oo0091-index.html) आवडीचं म्हणून हे गाणं कित्येकदा ऐकलं होतं, मात्र वाद्यसंगीत म्हणून क्वचित. पुन्हा ते पडघम वाजले नि अंतःकरणाची सगळी पटलं उघडली. तसा मांजर जसं दूध पितं तसं मी हे गाणं ऐकतो. ते दूध देणारी गाय कोणती, ते गरम कोणी केलं, थंड कोणी केलं, बशीत कोणी घातलं, आणून कोणी दिलं याच्याशी मला काही देणं घेणं नसतं.

काळ नावाचं असं सवतं काही असतंच का? या ब्रह्मांडाच्या बाहेर नेऊन न्याहाळून पाहू शकू असा काळ नावाचा कोणता पदार्थ आहे का? कि जे सामान्यतः इंट्यूशन होतं कि अन्य बाबींतील बदलांच्या गतींचे जे परस्परसंबंध आहेत त्यांच्यावरच काळ असण्याचा सोयीचा आरोप केला गेला आहे? आईनस्टाइननं तर काळ आणि अवकाश यांचं संयुज असतं आणि ते वाकतं, मंदावतं, थांबतं, धावतं असं सांगीतलं आहे. जगातल्या सर्वात बुद्धीमान माणसानं सांगीतलं आहे तर काळ नावाचं एक सवतं सत्य असावं खरं. काळाचा हा सापेक्षतावाद मला कधीही झेपला नाही. पण रात्र सरण्यामधला सापेक्षतावाद जो कवीनं सांगीतला आहे तो चटकन उमजतो नि भावतो. युगं सरतात पण आठवणींचे काही क्षण त्यांच्यापेक्षा दीर्घायुषी वाटतात. तशी आयुष्याची डिटेल्ड समरी करायला सांगीतली तर माझं तास दोन तासांत सांगून होईल, पण अशा काही मोजक्या आठवणी आहेत, मी मलाच सांगत राहीन आणि माझ्यातलाच एक दुसरा मी ऐकतच राहील आणि ती गोष्ट कधीच संपणार नाही. आता मी अशा क्षणांचं रवंथ करायला चालू करतो. विसरलेले क्षण, न विसरता येणारे क्षण, विसरलेले लोक, न विसरता येणारे लोक, आयुष्यात विशेष स्थान असलेल्या जागा, परतून न जायच्या जागा, विसरलेल्या सवयी, विसरलेले स्वभावपदर, न विसरता येण्यासारखे काही जणांचे शब्द, … बरंच काही आठवत राहतं. मनात एक काहूर उठतं. हे गीत जितकं विरहगीत आहे तितकंच ते वादळगीत देखील आहे. आठवणींच्या पिटार्‍यातून कितीतरी सिनेमांच्या क्लिप्स रिमिक्स होऊन अव्याहतपणे सुसाटपणे डोळ्यासमोर पळायला लागतात. पापण्यांच्या खालच्या पेशींना मेंदू संदेश देणारच असतो तितक्यात बायकोचा फोन येतो नि वादळ शमवून मी हॉटेलकडे चालू लागतो. तिच्या पदराखाली मी ५-१० मिनिटानी निवांत झोपणार असतो. किमान हिच्या आठवणींत मला हे गाणं कधीच ऐकायला लागू नये असं इश्वराला मनोमन घोकत मी हॉटेलमधे पोचतो नि हुरहुर शांत झाल्यावर रैना नकळत सरून जाते.

झूठ से काली लागे, लागे काली रतिया
रूठी हुयी अखियों ने, लाख मनाई रैना

घरात मी एकटाच असाच टीवीचे चॅनेल चाळत असतो. परिचय, हे गाणं ज्यात आहे तो सिनेमा लागलाय. सिनेमा पाहावा का ठेवावा असा विचार मी करतोय. भावूकतेचे जास्त संदर्भ माहित झाले तर भाव कोरडे होतात असा अनुभव आहे. नेहमीप्रमाणे आल्याड पल्याड करत मी मधे मधे काही सीन पाहतोय. आपल्या मातेला नि पित्याला आपले कठोर हृदयाचे आजोबा घरातून काढून टाकतात म्हणून मनात अढी ठेऊन असलेल्या नातीस त्या कठोर आवरणाखाली दडलेल्या आजोबांच्या मृदू, प्रेमळ आत्म्याचा परिचय होतो अशी छोटीशी कथा! त्यातल्या नातीने नि तिच्या वडिलांनी त्यांच्या बिकट परिस्थितीच्या काळात मरण पावलेल्या आईच्या आठवणीत हे गाणं. पुन्हा तंतूनाद होतात नि पुन्हा हृदयाचे कप्पे उघडले जातात. एकटं गाठून माझ्या अंतःकरणाला निर्वस्त्र करण्याची या गाण्याला सवयच जडलीय. आयुष्यात फार काही शत्रूसंग्रह केलेला नाहीय परंतु ज्यांच्याबद्दल अवधारणा आहेत असे लोक नाहीतच असं नाही. आपण खरोखरच लोकांशी न्याय्यपणे वागलो आहोत का असा विचार मी करतो. एकेका प्रतिमापतिताची फ्रेम माझ्या डोळ्यासमोरून सरकतेय. अगोदर चांगले वाटलेले, नंतर वाईट वाटलेले. अगोदर वाईट भासल्याने दूर ठेवलेले, नंतर फार छान निघालेले. गळेपडू म्हणून तिटकारलेले. कोरडे म्हणून टाळलेले. इन्कंपॅटिबल म्हणून चार हात दूर ठेवलेले. जोखमीचे वाटले म्हणून अव्हेरलेले. हलकीशी घमेंड दाखवल्यामुळे आयुष्यभरासाठी मित्र बनण्याचे पोटेंशिअल नाही असे मानलेले. मी चांगले वागत असतानाही तिढा ठेऊन वागणारे. अंगावर काहीतरी जबाबदारी टाकतील असे वाटलेले असे आणि असले बरेचशे. आयुष्यात कधी एका जागी स्थिर राहिलो नाही. खूप सर्कल्स बदलली. जास्त तापमान आणि जास्त दाबाखाली जास्त तास लागणार्‍या प्रक्रिया आयुष्यात कधीच झाल्याच नाहीत. जे काही घडलं ते फटाफट घडलं. माणसांबद्दल मत बनवायला फार काही वेळ नव्हता. आपण फार ओपन आहोत, लिबरल आहोत, फ्रेंडली आहोत असा समज नक्की किती सुयोग्य आहे हे क्रॉसचेक करून पाहावं असं कधी वाटलं नाही. ज्यांच्या भिन्न भिन्न ऋण प्रतिमा आहेत असे कितीतरी चेहरे मी नजरेसमोरून घालतो. मी यश पावतो, माझं काही भलं होतं तेव्हा त्यांच्याकडे एक अवहेलनात्मक कटाक्ष टाकतो नि माझे पाठीराखे, माझ्या गुडबूक्समधली माणसं,जी या विघ्नचिंतकांच्या कितीतरी पट आहेत, ती जोरजोरात हर्षोल्लास करत असतात. हे सगळे उत्सव समारंभ माझ्या मनातल्या स्टेडियममधे होत असतात. आयुष्यात प्रत्येक महत्त्वाच्या क्षणी हे स्टेडियम खच्चून भरलेलं असतं. माझे सवंगडी भरपूर जल्लोष करत असतात. तिथली ही दुष्ट लोकांची पराभूत टिम हिरमसून गेलेली असते. माझ्या यशाचं त्यांना दु:ख असल्याची मला पूर्ण खात्री आहे. नि माझ्या बाजूच्या लोकांसमोर, लोकांसोबत त्यांना हिणवताना होणारा आनंद सार्थक आहे असंच मी मानत असतो. असंच मानत मी आयुष्य जगत आलेला असतो, मग ती मंडळी माझ्या दैनंदीन आयुष्यात नसोत नाहीतर या जगात नसोत! अचानक ती न सरणारी रैना मला आठवण करून देते कि ही हारकी टिम तुला कोणी लागत नाही का? किमान त्यातले काही? ती नाठाळ नात बनून किती दिवस राहायचं? कधीतरी त्या आजोबाच्या आत्म्याकडे निरपक्षपणे का नाही पाहायचं? मी पुन्हा त्या विघ्नचिंतकांच्या केसेसच्या फाईल्स उघडतो. बर्‍याच ठिकाणी मला माझा अहंकार, टोकाची प्रतिक्रिया, दाबून ठेवावा लागलेला राग, माहिती नसल्यामुळं करून घेतलेले गैरसमज, पूर्वग्रहदोष, संकुचित अस्मिता, ईर्ष्या, लोभ, स्वार्थ यांची एक तटस्थ म्हणून वकीली करता येत नाही. माझीच काही वर्तनं उघडीनागडी पडलेली दिसतात. रैना मला माझं निरपेक्ष निरीक्षण करण्याची जादूई शक्ती देते. जिथे माझ्याच ऋणगुणांचा परिणाम आहे अशा सगळ्या मंडळीना मी अल्लाद उचलून स्टेडियममधे माझ्या मित्रमंडळींमधेच कुठेतरी अ‍ॅडजस्ट करतो. ईथून पुढे आपण काही साजरं करू तेव्हा ते त्यांच्या नाकावर टिच्चून वैगेरे साजरं करायचं नाही असा निर्धार मी करतो. त्या केसेस मी क्लोज करतो. तरी काही केसेस उरतातच. त्या क्लोज करणं अवघड जातंय हे मला स्पष्ट दिसतंय. ही उरलेली अल्प स्वल्प मंडळी माझ्यासोबतच नव्हे तर जनरलीच दुष्ट असल्याचं मला पक्कं माहित आहे. त्यांना चांगलं मानणं बौद्धिक काँप्रोमाइज ठरेल. तरीही ही मंडळी आनंदानं जगतात, त्यांचं माझ्याइतकंच मोठं सर्कल असतं, कधीकधी त्यांना महाजनपद लाभतं, प्रसिद्धी लाभते , नि आपल्या दुष्टपणाचा कुठला गम त्यांना असल्याचं त्यांना दिसतच नाही. कैकदा मीच त्यांच्यासाठी गौण असतो. त्यांना लाभणारी सुखशांती लाभावी कि लाभू नये याबद्दल मी काय विचार करावा? मी या केसेसचं काय करायचं म्हणून बुचकाळ्यात पडलेलो आहे. रात्र उशिरापर्यंत चढलेली आहे.मी त्यांच्याबाजून विचार करायचाय कि माझ्या यात मला खूप संभ्रम व्हायला लागलाय. ज्यांना जी सहानुभूती द्यायला हवी, न्याय्य स्थान द्यायला हवं ते मी कदाचित देत नसेन म्हणून मी अस्वस्थ होतो आहे. मला काही उत्तर काढता येत नाहीय. एक मात्र कळलं आहे कि नक्की काय करायचं आहे हे जाणण्यासाठी मला माझ्याच आत्म्याचा अधिकचा परिचय हवा आहे.

Sakharam Binder – A Critical Review

Sakharam Binder is a Marathi drama. If this is a unpirated link, you can watch it here.

This is the link for Hindi version:

If possible, please watch the drama end to end. It’s English version also might be available. If possible, read a  couple of reviews. Here is one Review.

There are is a reason why I am writing this review of my own. When I search “Marathi Drama” on the Youtube, this drama which is watched maximum number of times turns out to be the first result. And it shouldn’t have. Yes, that is why I am reviewing it.

Some authors try to bring out the dark shades of human mind to fore and that is their forte. There is nothing wrong in that. But the number of people who are interested in the pervert side of mind, at least openly or more than in the other shades, should be less. There are plenty of Marathi Dramas and great ones too. Katyar Kaljaat Ghusali, the second ranker, is such a classic piece of work. Then why is this drama so famous, so acclaimed? The opponents (not critiques) will say that it is all about successful advertising. Some would say, it is all about creating a controversy and then reaping money out of it. But I am taking whatever the makers of this drama want to say on face value. I don’t want to allege something they won’t accept. I am not among those who fought to ban this drama to protect Indian culture or the caste of men or marriage system or the concept of God or anything like that. My simple contention is that this drama should be liked by a very few people – who are consumers of exploring the dark side of human mind, etc. It unnerves me that MORE people have liked it. And my opposition is only to that effect.

Why would have people watched it? Is it because the drama is very bold? But none of the thoughts in the drama are novel. No human perversion shown in the drama is new!!! This kind of perversion is all pervasive in many art forms as a subject matter. Generally in an art form, there is at least one hero. Here, in this drama, everybody without exception is pervert. May be, that could be the novel angle. But still, it didn’t impress me. The drama reveals perversions of each character one by one. It tends give an impression that the first woman on the screen/stage is religious, pious, virtuous, poor, ethical, hardworking, victimized in prior life as well as from her entry on the stage, etc. But she turns out to be the most pervert, to the shock of audience as well as that of Sakharam binder who is shown father of arrogant, oppressive, suppressive, torturous, lecherous, inhuman god (in the sense the drama shows that he is the only person who can earn on the planet Earth where people have have only two options – tolerate this god Sakharam or die.)

Note that I am not doing art side criticism of this drama. I am completely incompetent for that. I have no issues in agreeing that this drama is a great piece of art so far acting, lights, music, etc is concerned. However, a drama is not all about art. It is about an objective of the makers of it. Looking at the original release time, it doesn’t appear that objective was entirely money making. There was a much bigger objective in earnest. Let me guess what it could be. It could be to give this “artistic shock” in the end to the audience – just like the masseur twists a particular muscle which pains but is considered to be a great massage. I have no issues with this either. The other objective could be to give a message to the society. And this is where I feel there is a deficiency in the drama. The drama should precede or end with a disclaimer that this drama is not representative of any society. Because the drama doesn’t objectively state exactly what message it wants to send. So what is the message that reaches the audience?

The message that reaches an individual is what he wants to draw. And  what inference one draws first of all? The inference is, well, that the drama is depiction of social truth.  Tauba. Tauba. This drama has following people in it – Sakharam, a pious keep, a bold keep, a muslim friend, the bold keep’s (previous) husband. All of them are 100% pervert on overall basis. It doesn’t stop there. None of them thinks that there is anything wrong with himself or herself. None has any remorse of any kind throughout the drama.  Everyone has many criminal tendencies. There is no limit to which the criminal tendency can reach for each of them.

The question is – is the real society like this? Of course not!!! There is dark side to every MIND but when it comes to actual living, civilization ( or naturality) plays its forces.  The makers or watchers of this drama have failed to understand that the dark of of the MIND is not equal the dark side of the REALITY. People behave much better than what worst they can think about. Can a representation of the society of the worsts send a useful message? Giving complete benefit of doubt to the makers, let me explore what are the takeaways for me in this drama. Does the drama talk anything of human nature, attitude of men or women, man-woman relationship or anything like that at universal level? Does the drama talk of any Indian value? I don’t think so.

If the makers imply that they have depicted anything belonging to the real society, they have fooled themselves. Yes, Vijay Tendulkar has befooled himself if he thinks this is the Indian society. But the default audience of this drama is likely to return home thinking that the drama is all about reality of the society. Various comments on the Youtube link as well as discussions in the social forums have revealed to me that audience takes this as real social life which Vijay Tendulkar has intelligently found out and presented. For most, this is not a artistic presentation or the twitch by the masseuse but an excursion in the safari of Mr. Tendulkar in the dark alleys of internally pervert but visibly decent society. Mr. tendulkar is basically lauded for that. And that is a big cheating with the society and media. People may see a Sakharam in every Indian chauvinistic male, people may see a pervert pious keep in every religious woman, people may see a unfaithful and liar keep in every bold Indian wife, people may see a betrayer in every friend like that Muslim character.

Excessive dose of artistic perversion to masses is not desirable. It has two effects:

  1. When you are exposed to excessive badness as an observer, you rate your own goodness on a higher plane than it deserves. You may just forget that you have things to improve about. You may forget that there is scope to improve your moral character. Every coming day we complain of falling human values. That is because if an ordinary person is told that his values are far superior than the wicked society, the only side he would look forward to is downwards. That has happened to the current society by the grace of the great intelligent artists.
  2. When you are exposed to excessive badness, you tend to be suspicious about the character of the others. Because according to you excessive badness means hidden wickedness and false exhibition of goodness by the others to you. So you start doubting. You think that a there could be a lot of bad hidden agenda of a person. So your love for him doesn’t show up voluntarily but it takes pauses. Suppose you watch a movie in which wife cheats on the husband and keeps relations with his very close friend. For a fleeting moment you think in a particular direction about YOUR OWN LIFE (as the context applies, depending upon age, maturity, closeness, etc).

I become sad when people start calling this reality. There were so many people who stood for the Indian culture, who stood for Indian males, who stood for Indian value system, who stood for Indian marriage system and opposed this drama but no one stood for a default decent member of Indian society. I didn’t read even one vehement comment that the drama was classic but the real world is very beautiful.

I think the makers should dissociate this piece of art from social reality through a disclaimer. If the drama was less popular (or even most popular but only as an art), it was not an issue. But it is a hallmark of Marathi and Hindi drama industry and the viewers are made to digest a falsity as a reality of the society under the pretence of tour of unknown corners real life with intelligent guides.

Take it from me, there is more probability of parallel evolution of life on the Moon in a decade than of five perverts of Tendulkar coming together on the planet Earth.

An interrogation of an atheist: (Part 1 – Relative Status)

belief and atheism
Belief and non-belief

Believer: Hi.

Atheist: Hello.

Believer: Let’s straightaway come to the topic. Do you have lesser regard for a believer in general?

Atheist: I did not quite appreciate this question or its relevance. There is no question of having unequal regard for any two individuals.

Believer: Lesser regard in the sense that an atheist stands out from the crowd. He looks elegant and intelligent. An atheist is generally not an unintelligent atheist. He becomes an atheist after some basic minimum analysis of his observations. One has to become atheist or remain atheist with continuous analytical rigour. On the other side, belief is a default state in the current world. There is hardly any intellectual effort required to be a believer. Is this the perception of the atheists?

Atheist: I am not really sure about this. It would be difficult to classify people who have chosen to be believers after an initial neutral stage and a good amount of analysis thereafter as totally inconsiderate.

Believer: As for the matters not related to faith, an atheist would have the same degree of love, respect and trust for every individual. When it comes to matters related to faith, an atheist would still have love and trust for a believer but it is difficult to reason out that he will have equal degree of respect. If two individuals analyze exactly same matter and come to two different conclusions, each of them is likely to have lesser regard for the intellectual capacity of the other. Isn’t it?

Atheist: Apparently it seems logical.  But even concerning matters related only to the faith, respect is not a direct function of analytical ability alone. Maturity and application of whatever deductions made also matter. Many other aspects around the analysis, faith or absence of it matter too.

Believer: But shall that mean that an atheist would have less regard for the ‘intellect’ of a believer in the matters related to faith, if not the other aspects of the philosophical deductions?

Atheist: I don’t think an atheist having better understanding of atheism than mine by virtue of his better intellect, is going to have lesser regard for my intellect. The regard or disregard has less to do with the intellegnce quotient. It has more to do with the approach towards the analysis or application of the faith. Still, when it comes to respect of only the intelligence in the matters of faith, some believers would just refuse to acknowledge certain factual aspects of atheist thought and this is where the aspect of regard or disregard ‘for intelligence’ comes into picture. Such believers just refuse to cross certain boundaries of thinking process and disrespect of their thinking emanates in the atheist’s mind.

Believer: The spiritual, religious or related orientation of a being doesn’t play a limited role in one’s life. It has an all encompassing effect on the entire philosophy of life, on thinking and behaviors in social and personal existence. Hence, liking a believer for an atheist would be as good as liking the leader of opposition for the ruling Prime Minister. We won’t mind much being friends if you like a Rolex watch and I like a Casio watch as such liking is hardly a determinant of a friendship. But faith is a significant matter. It affects nearly all the decisions. Do you think that an atheist and a believer would face compatibility issues in the practical walk of life? For a moment, let’s ignore the namesake followers in both the categories and consider only the genuine adherents.

Atheist: The spiritual or philosophical orientation is a really significant issue in the life. Every individual spends a lot of time in one’s life in the quest of a correct kind of orientation. One also spends a lot of energy in the justification of the spiritual or material theory one has espoused. Coming to your question, one can notice substantial number of clashes between these two classes both at personal and social levels. The degree of intolerance is on rise in both these streams especially in the social space. Even if we ignore all the namesake atheists and namesake believers, the behavoral and philosophical disrespect is on rise in the remaining on global scale.

Believer: What are the main reasons for this attributable to the atheists?

Atheist: Overly enthusiasm and extremism have been problems with all  the philosophies. Atheism is not an exception to that. As of the date, there is no individual global pioneer of atheism. There is no well laid down framework of conduct for its followers (and even the issue of the preparation of such framework might be a subject of a big debate). Hence there is a kind of chaos. In every aspect of life and in every decision making of the atheists there is new, free, independent and different interpretation of atheism. I hope that this chaos is short-term. Not only that it is fact based, atheism as a way of life has a potential to provide an unparalleled happiness to humanity compared to its predecessor- religion. Let me call it ‘welfare atheism’. However, the movement of atheism is rudderless and is not going to be without friction. The reasons for clashes between existing dominant philosophies and atheism are primarily- 1. Oblivion of principle of tolerance and jumping into the bandwagon of chaos of philosophies, 2. Shift of focus from welfare atheism to discovery of scientific truths on (absence of) God and relentless marketing of the discoveries in a provocative fashion, 3. Proneness to manipulation by the unscrupulous intelligent for unethical and selfish purposes, 4. Philosophical inconsistencies, incompletenesses and undesirabilities as alleged by the opponents. But note that except for point number four, the other issues are not in the form of intrinsic lacunae of atheism.

Believer: That was more accurate than a critique would have pointed out. Well, these were just warm up questions. In the light of general perception of believers in the eyes of atheists, I was not really sure of what kind of treatment would be meted out to me. What will the spirit of our discussion?

Atheist: Atheism stands for acceptance of the truth and rejection of the falsity. It really does not matter what the truth is – whether my old belief or my new understanding. I am really not as much keen in disproving a legacy of a placeholder entity (called God)  as much I am in proving the utility of atheist thought for the humanity. You have come here with same concern but on opposite side of  the table. Rest assured that your relative status is at par with mine and you will get all the respect that an equal gets in terms of seriousness given to your questions. We aren’t here to lose or win, but to explore what is what, what is more appropriate, what can be avoided and so on. We are here to merely discuss and go on discussing as we very well appreciate that the superiority of a philosophy is always a topic of controversy as the individual egos get attached to clashing philosophies leaving aside the true spirit of the noble proponents of the philosophies. A discourse need not always be mutual mollycoddling of like minded people or manifestation of bitter antagonism of the opponents. An interrogation of atheism would bring forth the queries in the mind of a skeptic. If I am able to put to rest his doubts, it would help in comfortable survival and propagation of atheist thought. And I won’t mind conceding ground candidly where I can’t hold it.

Believer: That is the most appropriate way of discussion. That is really exiciting and gladdening. Thank you.

Atheist: Thank you.

The ground reality of communal harmony in India – Part 1

The ground reality of communal harmony in India – Part 1

I had decided that I would talk least politics on internet as most internet friends may not be interested in it. It worked for quite long time but now time has come to intervene again as these ‘disinterested people’ too have nearly CONCLUDED that since the new dispensation has come to power in the center, the nation is on the verge of losing its communal harmony if already has not lost it. This is in the aftermath of a case of lynching of a Muslim individual to death by a Hindu mob under the suspicion that his family ate cow meat which is banned in the state of Uttar Pradesh and ensuing intense social media debate. (https://www.google.co.in/search?hl=en&gl=in&tbm=nws&authuser=0&q=dadri+lynching&oq=dadri+lynching&gs_l=news-cc.3..43j43i53.667.5951.0.6325.14.5.0.9.9.0.175.443.2j3.5.0…0.0…1ac.1.8f_J7P4DuME)

I am okay with this kind of conclusion but I would insist a little bit of analysis should precede it.

First read this link of official statistics on communal riots in India: http://www.prsindia.org/…/1308201190_Vital%20Stats%20-%20Co…
Every year 130 people are killed and 2000 people are injured only in communal voilence in India. It is not that the Uttar Pradesh case is the beginning of something real bad.

Now read this

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_violence_in_India…
You can see that muslims have invariably suffered more loss in each of communal clash. See this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_massacres_in_India
Nothing new is happening now. The next thing one should look at is the the National Crime Record Bureau report to get an idea of the degree of criminality in Indian society. Please note that all sorts of criminalities are interconnected. A case of crime need not always be necessarily be a case pure communal crime. E.g. a case of “beef related outrage” may be linked with a cattle theft case. With the fear of increasingly active media and social media in specific though we get a different impression, we are a stagant society on crime front. We should be happy that criminality in India is constant (which actually translated into net reduction) irrespective of the fact that drivers of criminality such as rapid urbanization are on rise.

Well that was point number one. Do you remember name of any British soldier/army officer with strong muscles or great war skills from the Raj days that fought Indians? Like Rana Pratap? It looks Indians surrendered their territoy to the British without much muscle fight. The British ruled India without much resistance except that one in 1857. What was the reason of this mutiny? Cow fat!!! Pork!!! We didn’t mind our country getting enslaved (by not as brave people), but when it came to cow fat on the cartridge, we wanted to butcher the British. They were on the verge on losing India. If you just read the history and present of (ban on) cow slaughter in India, you will know that there is a lot of “cow sensitivity” in Indian society. Even the supposedly most intolerant Mughal kings banned cow slaughter. Historically, half of the riots have been due to beef and pork. For those who needed it, cow/pig slaughter was the most economical way to disturb the peace in any part of India. This sensitivity has nothing to do with the new dispensation at the center. The Maharashtra government banned cow slaughter and it was criticized for its bizzare kind of priorities but if look at beef ban map of India, you will find that Maharashtra joined the bandwagon late. In the other states, it wasn’t any BJP government to ban it.

That was point number two. Now if you do advanced google search for a period before May 2014 (When Modi took reins of India) with terms “Modi+Hitler”, you will get unusually high number of results from reputed media and people. Thousands and may be ten thousands of seculars or leftists were sure that Modi, if voted to power, is going make India into Germany of WWII or worse. There were appeals from every kind of corner to save India by defeating communal Modi. Many said they will commit suicide or leave the country and all that sort. First of all, all these celebrities felt insulted when people turned down their open/public appeals. (But they simultaneously felt good as well that was what happened in Germany also – the common turning down the wise.) When Modi sat on the PM’s chair, these people expected him to start India-Pakistan war or at least some ‘respectable’ Hindu-Muslim riot. That is how their names would have been recorded in golden letters among the wise who had forwarned India, the great seers of India and sort of things. They thought Modi should have at least removed all subsidies, facilities, extra statutes and statuses of minorities. He should have built Ram temple. He should have imposed Uniform Civil Code without much discussion. They thought RSS would force him to do all this. But that did not happen. Some of Modi’s voters might have wanted some ‘real action’ too, but they were disillusioned when Modi called Nawaz Sharif for swearing in ceremony. Later came the issue of land acquisition bill and here the Modi government kneeled down in front of the opposition after two rounds of ordinances. Yes!!! You read it right. Sarkaar ne ghutne tek diye. The Modi-is-Hitler-ists had expected that he would at least impose emergency for land bill. Then this emergency would work as a good pretext to drive other RSS agendas. But that did not happen. Then it came forth that Modi occassionally attends Sufi mehfils. Then he warned right wing zealots not to disturb peace of minorities. He met several delegations of Muslims and Christians on several occasions. Proving Modi Hitler was nowhere in sight in the first year of his rule. The most provocating (to the inteliigencia) part was Modi’s alliance with the Islamic, separatist and pro-Pakistan (adjectives are popular perception of the party and possibly used by BJP itself in the past. They don’t reflect my idea of things.)  PDP in Jammu and kashmere. You must appreciate and empathize that intelligent people don’t like their predictions going wrong. It hurts their ego. It also means that loss of that name in the golden letters stuff. Also there was a large section of media which had projected Modi as Hitler of India. There is hardly any person from opposition who has limited his talk to saying that I don’t agree with Modi’s political philosophy and it is going to be a mere rule of our opposition if he comes to power and nothing more. Everyone was certain that some “Mahabharat” is going to be seen. When nothing of this sort happened in one year, these leftist people nearly lost their credibility and honour. But since they are intelligent and they can’t believe that they are proven wrong, there must be an atomsphere that says that they are right. Modi is Hitler, his rule is a curse was something they had said and when Modi started getting ‘undue’ praise for his international initiatives, behaviours, policies, etc this lobby lost its temper. Ordinary people don’t analyze things much and hype can sell. This was a good strategy to salvage the credibility of the wolf criers. So friends, for each of the small developments in our country there is going to be unparalleled level of analysis in the future. Be prepared for that. Create hype and make the impression that what we were telling is turning true is going to be the formula.

That was point number three. One actually need not really worry about Hindu Muslim unity of India. Our country got divided on religious basis but it was not through a referendum. It was an idiotic, abrupt political failure. We saw big riots in 1947-1950 period, because there was no mechanism to shift wealth and life. When one idiot Indian goes with one idiot Pakistani in any part of the world claiming that they are enemy countries with history of 2-3 wars, clashing religions and nuclear missiles aimed at each other, a fellow from a third country can’t find any discernible distinction between them for all this animosity. Well, that was India and Pakistan. Let’s talk of things within India. What is the upper limit of Hindu Muslim distrust in India? Well, the entire nation was burning in 1992 after Babri mosque demolition. That is worst that can happen in India. We see its remnants and ramifications of that even today. But 1992 tested India’s Hindu Muslim unity in modern times!!! Not a fly was killed in the whole nation when Allahabad high court gave 2/3 land to Hindus and 1/3 to Muslims in 2010. Nobody bothered. Even the patriarchs of Hindu, Muslim and secular causes on social media didn’t bother to fight!!! So if there is no political involvement, Hindus and Muslims don’t even bother to see how big sin is taking place against their religion. Babri Masjid was felled multiple times in the history. Even the mosque in Somnath was felled by the Government of India in 1947 but it was well managed and caused no social damage. I just mean to say that we need to get out of this habit of calling Muslims ‘sensitive’ and incriminating them for being sensitive and impossible to handle. They have let gone the mosque without a word of protest and this is historical fact. (And yes, some secular leaders were against this even then as well!) I personally feel that the political leadership of all parties, including Shivsena, PDP, SP, RJD, BSP, MIM, in India today is mature and prepared to handle, manage and reconcile any kind of communal event. And just don’t worry about BJP, INC, TMC and AIDMK and all. There are reasons to believe this but I will avoid their discussion as I will go off-topic. But I will insists that one be respectful of the political parties of the country and identify the parties with their core than the fringe elemets. It will give you a sense of solace.

That was point number four. Assume that there is indeed rise in communal friction for a moment. But what makes you think that it is sponsored by the central government? Modi was not even a corporator before he became CM of Gujarat and he didn’t know that when a riot takes place a CM is supposed make very serious face and make an appeal for communal peace which generally goes like this – ” We have a glorious history of communal harmony. Saint …. Moulana ….Culprits would be brought to book. I appeal Hindus and Muslims …….) Instead, he started analysing things publicly. “Godhra hoga to Ahmedabad hoga” he had said ( Which mean if Muslims have killed in Godhra, Hindu are likely to react in Ahemedabad.). He was immature then and didn’t know what to speak. Today, he knows what to speak. And even an idiot won’t want to spoil his own record of communal peace by spurring riots during own rule. He is in power with full majority and elections are far away. Modi’s life was made hell by media for his immaturity. ( I know many of you are not convinced with the choice of words here. But an Indian mind is not cynical by exception and I am used to that.). Nobody wants such kind of repute. The probability that a random person is Hitler is near zero. So chill. Also BJP has ruled in so many states so many times. It could be around 100-150 state-years of BJP rule in India. Was there is systematic, schematic plan to cause to damage to Muslims? No! So rest assured that the central government is not interested in disturbing communal harmony.

That was point number five. Internet is a frail medium. The one liners cause a lot of confusions. Have real life conversations of the issue. When you speak of communal harmony, remember your own friends from the other communities. Has anything changed between you? If other bonds are going to break, that has to remain. We need not panick. Zealots are rare in a society. It is the ordinary people who are supposed not to fall prey to their propaganda. They should not be given importance. Nobody can type out one’s entire understanding of the issue like I am typing here. Nobody reads. For sure, I know (or feel) that (most of) you are not going to open any of the links I have given. But we shold refrain from having imperfect dialouge. Also when you are reacting to what a politician has said, remember to see the full video of conversation. Media asks questions that would result in a sensational answer. If the politician still answers calmy the section of the speech are nitpicked to make it sensational. So, beware of the criminality in the media.

That was point number six. Still you think there has been excess of communal imbalance in recent days and there are good reasons to believe this? Okay. All the people who are spewing venom (as you think) are not born two years ago. They were adults and active even before. Remember Bal Thackeray speeches? Remember Rutambara? Rember Togadiya? Remember so may dalit leader making non-sense statement against Brahmins? Remember Oweisi? Remember Advani? Remember Subramanyam Swami? Adityanath? Were they not there in the past? Tell me, what is the change in the style of statements of these people? I am not against anyone’s (of above named ‘sensation monger’ people) political views, I am just saying that these people have remained the same. If Kulbargi is killed now, Dabholkar was killed before Modi ruled. Don’t hurry to conclude that things have precipitated only now and don’t fall prey to some unknown agenda. Look at all communal speeches in independent India and you will see that the politicians are softening. The media expects them behave like disciplined convent school students and is keeping them under its CCTV. But that does not mean anything new is happening NOW.

That was point number seven. India is a country of sentimental people. Indira Gandhi was killed and Rajeev Gandhi got 3/4 majority in Lok Sabha in 1984 that even Nehru never got. There was sympathy wave for orphan Rajeev Gandhi. The sentimentality was very high even before. When Nathuram Godse killed Mahatmaji and RSS was implicated, people kept them out of power till 2015!!! Nathuram was bingo in killing Hindu nation ideaology!!! It shows India’s adoration for the Mahatma. Though BJP and RSS always deny anti-Gandhi-ism, the Congress always calls them killers of Gandhiji and many voters do think that way. However, due to this excess sentimentality, a political thought that India should be a Hindu country was considered altogether taboo in every space of life. Note this carefully – opposition to a political view is a different thing than denial. The seculars and left did not oppose right wing but they denied the very validity and existence of this thought. They has no space in education, media, goverment, etc. With two Prime Ministers from RSS background, the Hindu India concept has suddenly got a huge space in social discussions. DD News shoing what is RSS! Tauba Tauba !! But this has nothing to do with rise in communal thought. A political thought was denied space and it finding its voice in the media where it was not before. What this thought constituted has not changed and who all subscribed to it also has not changed. We are listening the voices we were deaf to. Your secular friends are likely to tell you that presence of right wing thought on media itself is communal and don’t pay much heed to them.
Here in India, by confusion, people think that they themseleves are secular. But one need not be secular. I am fine as Hindu in my personal life. It may or may not be the case, but the Indian state should be perfectly fine even if I consider myself as a proud Brahmin, forget Hindu. It is the Indian state that is supposed to be secular. I am supposed to be secular only when I act on behalf of the state or when I act as a representative of the state. The left wing is used to complete denial of political space of Hindu nation thought. They think that this thought itself is criminal and treason, though it is accepted by the parliament, the judiciary, election commission and people (at least in part). A huge section of so called intelligencia thinks that the very assumption of political power by the right wing Hindu nation thought is a detrimental, criminal and unfortuanate event. So had there been no beef event in UP or some ban somewhere, these people would have still cried foul. Don’t vote BJP for whatsoever reason you may like, but don’t cry foul sitting next to these secular people who expect individuals to be secular in personal capacity. The moment you express the need for state assistance in your religious pursuits, the will say it is communal. Thus there are a lot of seculars, leftists and atheists who hate religious processions and involvement of state in religious matters.

That was point number eight. There is one more aspect to the growing perception of intolerance in the country. The economy of the system in the past used to more localized and family based. The interaction between cultures was relatively less. New times have witnessed an extremely fast pace of integration of cultures. People of entirely opposite life ethos have started interacting. A set of completely unrelated cultures are coming together in the cities. If times would not have dictated change in my life style, I would have remained a bhootdayawadi (compassionist), ahimsawadi (preaching for no cruetly/killing), vegeterian Brahmin of a village, but I am married to a nonvegeterian person and my own son is a avid chicken eater. Not everyone is comfortable with this pace of change. And they are likely to express the discomfort in some or other way. We must understand this.

That was point number nine. Earlier there was hardly any news of what is happening in the other parts of country. With the penetration of mobiles going to 80% or so, these days everybody is aware of all national news. The repletion sensation monger leftist mediapersons on one side and the extremely-distrustful-of-the-politicians audience on the other side, the perception of gravity of the situation is multifolded.

Than was point number ten. When you read that a northeasterner was discriminated in Delhi, you get worried about what is happening to the sense of tolerance of the majority. Well, do you know that absence of holistic knowledge of an issue leads to very wrong kind of conclusions? If you go to northeast, the people of oriental features are majority there. They have obsence sense of discrimination against their own brothers of the region. Ask a zealot “plains man” and he would tell how bad those tribals on hills are!!! When the ‘majority in Delhi’ Bhaiya of UP goes to Manipur, he typically pulls a rickshaw in the town and you must watch the sense of disdain for them in the eyes of the locals to understand what is discrimination. UP Bhiayas are the poorest chaps in the northeast and on main occasions are literally killed by the extremist groups of the northeast. I have two observations on this – 1. In the n number of TV debates after unfortunate events in Delhi against people of northeast, no one mentioned a single line on discrimination within the northeast within tribes and with SW India. 2. The media of northeast is completely silent on this issue. What can we conclude about how majority behaves? Amartya sen is very proud of Kerala and always cites development indices there. But the gender ratio in Kerala is bad and sad and more so in the light of matriarchical society there. It is 1000:1084 and it should be 1000: 980. The highest number of roits in India take place in Kerala. And it is a doomed state if we ignore the remittances. So try to understand an issue in its entirety and you may come across an amazing number of paradoxes of social reality. We don’t need to overreact to them.

The fibre of national of unity of India is not a cheap thing that we are going to give away for a misley price. It is an insult of India if you are buying the argument that something has seriously gone wrong with our country. And let me know if you have appetite for more points.

Monologue of a Photon

(Philosophical, Theological and Fictional) 

May be to compound the derision of my sub-microscopic size, I am shot at a colossal speed in the vast chasm of the space so that I can even not have a proper feel of the surroundings and the self. I just sweep across, too fast to be noticed or to notice anything carefully that comes in my path. The privileges to have a respite, to recline and to rest have been snatched from me since my birth. My wings were in full swing when I started understanding. I originated from an inferno in a star you can trace back on my wake. And we were zillions of us, burning in that voracious fire, scrambling for escape and radiating along all infinite vectors and zooming into the space- not knowing the direction, the destiny and the purpose! How true of you too! But like a child gradually discovers the novelties of his body and soul, I too started discovering myself.

Let me tell you first about my speed. I am hurled at the unknown at such an enormous speed that it took me years together to come to myself and some more to get accustomed to it. This speed has landed me in universe’s worst isolation and I am travelling still deeper. The companions on the adjoining tracks have departed long back and I am left alone and am drifting alone farther and farther in the fathomless abyss. I remember my last companion on the neighbourhood track deviating from me and soon becoming invisible, never to be seen again. Are there many other photons like me, travelling to other corners (?) of space, but a little luckier than me to have some company on fore and aft? I was quite unfortunate in that I was an aberrational deflection from a surface; cut off from the leaders and the followers. The fellows ahead of me got caught into a gloomy planet in the path and when I was attempting to catch up with them at my speed, I could not! I just missed it. And for an era of innumerable years I was leading a pretty long queue of my brethren when we found that we, all of us, were going to get salvation in the tail of an errant comet. But even this time, the comet was slow enough to miss me! Me alone!! That is my childhood story.

I used to be in a kind of panic. Hey, where am I going to find some company? There were a few celestial bodies somewhere around the horizon and I just wished one of them endeared me and it remained a wish. One prays for a soul to rest in peace. But by that if you mean the peace of my kind, in the corner of the universe with all broken communications, please don’t pray! Solitude is the worst kind of punishment- what is imprisonment?-just an award of forced solitude! It is frustrating to be alone, away from near ones or from ones who could potentially be made near. Complete absence of a hope for any kind of company in absolute sense for entire future is an innervating thought. When I look back at the dim-lit sponge of the universe from this extremity of it, the uneasiness devours my psyche. What is the end of this journey? Is there any end at all? I have been travelling since so long that hardly anything in the universe would be as senior as I am now. They have been in company, they are interacting and they are changing.  I cannot say I am stranded but it all has been meaningless. I will be reaching farther and farther- but to do what? Why am I being sent on an abstract mission – to measure the infinite? What does that mean?

Am I imprisoned or am I at large? I may be travelling freely but all my motions are bound by one or another limits. Am I indeed alone or are there imperceptible, invisible accompaniments surrounding me that are transcendental to my faculties?

What is the ulterior motive of the Creator behind this scrimmage? Why has he created such an immense space? Calling it immense would also undermine its expanse. Infinite would be the apt phrase. Why has he created the stupendously amassed bodies in that? Why has he littered them in it in a haphazard manner all over? What is the purpose of the Creator in churning this mass along so diverse of paths, with so wide ranging speeds and directions? All these thoughts are maddening. Probably they too are following meaningless paths of legacy blindly but there is comfort of sense of intellect when the blindness is witnessed mutually. Coming to my problems – why has the Creator chosen this shape, this size, this mélange of characteristics and ultimately this fate for me?

Probably life is not about questioning but about accepting the obvious. It’s quite easy to ask questions and it’s crazily impossible to find the answers. One may have a lot of inquisitiveness but the Creator least bothers to address that interest. How much we can think about the obvious or the abstract? As an individual? As a society? As a human race? One can devote oneself to the chores of life and during an odd bit, tired of the chores, may question the intent of these unquestioned, life-occupying, non-exactly-interesting chores one is going through in life. Not finding the answers and above that not getting an escape from the chores is certainly vexatious. Philosophically we don’t know why to live and practically we cannot live an expected version of life: Cul-de-sac!

Here I, a photon, would love to narrate you a story of an ancient Gurukul (Ancient Indian school where disciples left home for the entire career period and stayed with Guru). Those were the days when human race had just managed to look beyond mere sustenance and the questions like “Who am I?” (in philosophical sense) were started getting raised. An erudite philosopher was well renowned for his discernment of the purpose of genesis of universe and the mechanism of its operations. And he had a disciple, called Ninad (literal -very loud but pleasant sound), very inquisitive about the purpose and reasoning of human existence, studying under him. Ninad would pester the Guru repeated asking him about the purpose of life and reasoning behind the pattern in which it is lived. The Guru never answered his questions and bandied them among fellow scholars. As a result, Ninad got detached from life, from its beauty and its ugliness, from its appeals and repulsions, from the force of nature on him and also from his own forces that might have been influencing the surroundings. He thought it otiose to associate himself with the verisimilar obligations of one’s existence and associated volitions. His life was very different for others and very difficult for himself. He went to look for a reason to do every and whatever thing. Life is collection of such numerous, random nut time bound things. In the absence of reason, in the absence of absolute knowledge why a certain thing should or should not be done, one loses one’s passion in life. A case that smacks of this me, an isolated photon. He resembled my alter-ego but on the crowded and busy planet.

He finished studies, albeit purposelessly and it was the time to pay the Guru his Daxina (Daxina is the redemption of Guru’s contribution in disciple’s educational life and need not be only in monetary form. Generally, it is decided at the end of the schooling and value is decided by the Guru.). The Guru required him, only him among the 200 odd pupils who got away with dispensation of some small obligation, to go to a remote backward town in the kingdom and live with a renowned shoemaker’s family for 6 years and outdo the shoemaker in his own art. Ninad was already disenchanted from the most coveted branches of knowledge so he did not read anything uncalled for in this requirement. Otherwise also Ninad was a man of his words and very soon he started out for shoemaker’s village. To his dismay, the shoemaker had even not heard of the Guru and he lastly agreed to employ Ninad only for carrying out trivial work in exchange of two meals a day. There was no value of Ninad’s learnings in the Gurukul. The shoemaker’s family was happy and loving but the “class” of living was conspicuously shabby from his family or Gurukul clan. Ninad was asked to scout for dead animals around the nearby villages in the beginning. Soon he was involved in all elements of the process of tanning a hide into good quality leather. In the early days of his presence at the shoemaker’s place, he learned to manage the commotion out of the conflict between his mental orientation and his surroundings. He had to carry out the promise made to Guru without any grudge and fuss in true spirit of Indian tradition. He could not afford to let his invisible disinterest in life affect his promise of excellence in making footwear. The family of the shoemaker extracted a good amount of labour from him but did have a yet-not-manifested understanding of mental struggle Ninad was putting up and they had a very kind heart for him. Tanning of hide required rigorous labor and slowly Ninad developed a good understanding of the animal lives, animal skins, preservation of hide, designing and decorating the shoes and sandals. He learned to withstand the stench of rotting animals, the pressure of working till late nights when deliveries were required to make in urgency and everything that a good tanning job entails.

Time passed as the night passes during the sleep. Six years were finished and Ninad fulfilled the promise he made to his Guru. He was now a renowned shoemaker in the area. One day Ninad got an order for making sandals from a Saint who was going to pass by the village. The Saint had asked the actual shoemaker to hand over the sandals in person. Ninad knew it was his Guru. Ninad obediently handed over the sandals to the Guru and stood in a bowed position in front of him. Guru Said, “Ninad, your six years of service with the shoemaker are finished. You have delivered what you promised me. Now you can go home and lead your usual life.”

Ninad said, “Guruji, I do not want to go home. I have discovered the answers of the questions I asked you during my stay there. I want to continue my life here because it is here that I discovered the meaning of life. We all are sons of the Creator and we are like Him. He is not sick to hide the secrets of this Creation from us. It is our failure in appreciating the obvious.” Guru was happy to see the once depressed disciple back to normal. Ninad invited the Guru for his marriage with the daughter of the shoemaker who found it very difficult to take her eyes off the sturdy sinews of Ninad.

My story is no way different. Why should I think that life is meaningless? Why should I believe that life has no or undefined objective?  The Creator has an explicit intention to mimic his own qualities through his creation. Thus each of his creations might be endowed with infinite might. It is the abject failure to discern this power that brings misery in life. Even as a diminutive photon thrown out of universe, I behold the might to pull the universe to me, to destruct it where it is, to create my own universe or communicate with it with transcendental senses. The path that the creator has chosen for me must have a meaning, a beautiful meaning and I must set on to know that meaning in my own way or at least I should tread the path peacefully as, by now,  I already know how to do it. And if see that the God’s creation is indeed a perversion, a dead and meaningless melange of unrelated volumes, changes, particles, waves and fields; I am going to stop and turn back and show the direction of enlightenment to this very dead universe with my yogic prowess. I challenge everyone here-“Who is there to belittle me now, an abject photon?”