RIP – Durga Nursery Road

More than 50 years back my grandparents bought an agricultural land on the College Road – an area that was on the outskirts of the walled city. They christened this farmland as Durga Nursery named after our family’s ruling deity Durga Mata. This farm eventually turned out to be our family’s permanent abode and also a place for my grandmother to test her agricultural acumen by growing varied crops such as sugarcane, wheat, corn, cotton and grapes.

This farmland was the very place where my grandfather was cremated and where a memorial stands in his name and over time even my grandmother was cremated here and here lies her Samadhi Sthal.

unnamed (5).jpg

A quaint lane with minimum thoroughfare: on one side was our home besides 2-3 others and on the other University’s residential quarters. As children we were not allowed to venture outside our homes after sunset as there were jackals in the vicinity that would scare us late at nights with their cry. Monsoon was a season where we had company of the reptiles: घर के अन्दर, घर के बाहर. इतनी आदत सी हो गयी थी की जब कोई गेस्ट से सापों का वाबस्ता होता तो brag करते की यह हमारा पालतू है और कुछ नाम भी दे दिया करते थे.

I think it was in the early nineties that this road was no longer being called ‘College Road’ but started being addressed as ‘Durga Nursery Road’. I do not know was it the commercialization of the road that bought about the name change or it was the other way round. It had seized to be a quite anymore.

This road not only faced the ire of rampant commercialization but also the fact that it’s one of the major roads that connects the sectors with the city. We no longer see peacocks dancing on rooftops during the rains, snakes rarely give us company and the temperatures too do not dip as you turn towards this road.

We have buildings with basement but no parking facility in them; high rises with absolute zero compliance with the norms. Coaching Institutes with no parking provision, for their students in their premises.

Last nail in the coffin has been the recent decision by the administration to have a divider running the length of the road. A 60 ft road now gets divided into two, with footpaths and cars being parked on either side of the road and Voila!! We have a road with a pliable width of only 20 ft on each side. This has actually made it a single lane road now.

Looking at the condition of the area and over-commercialization over the past few years, some of my well-wishers have been suggesting that it is no more a livable option and we move out to a quieter neighborhood but have always negated this option क्यूंकि अब जीना यहाँ और मरना यहाँ!!

Or maybe I am saying it too soon!!

 

AYODHYA – FINAL JUDGEMENT

47222d289e6135687701f84b894e9e09--indian-gods-indian-art

 

आदरणीय मर्यादा पुरषोत्तम राम,

आप सर्वज्ञानी, सर्वभूत और सर्वव्यापी हैं !!

जैसे की आपको ज्ञात है भारत के सर्वोत्तम न्यायालय ने आपके अयोध्या में जन्मस्थल को लेकर पक्ष और विपक्ष की सारी दलीलें सुन ली हैं और शायद एक महीने के भीतर अपना फैसला सुनायेंगे.

आप जानते ही हैं की क्या फैसला होने वाला है, जो की अधिकारिक रूप से आने के बाद महीनों तक चर्चा का विषय रहेगा और निश्चित ही मील का पत्थर साबित होगा.

मेरा आपसे बस यह निम्नलिखित निवेदन है की :

  • दो सदी से भी ज्यादा पुराने इस विवाद का अब हमेशा के लिए सुलटारा हो जाना चाहिए.
  • मंदिर – मस्जिद के नाम से अब लोगों का क़त्लेआम बंद होना चाहिए.
  • आपके नाम पर लोगों ने बहुत वोट मांग लिए अब भाईचारे के नाम पर वोट पढने चाहिए.
  • क्या यह मुमकिन हो सकता की इस फैसले से सब पक्ष संतुष्ट हो जायें.
  • इस फैसले के बाद दुसरे और विवादित स्थलों पर राजनैतिक दल अपनी राजनैतिक रोटियां ना सेक सकें.

आप हमारी आस्था में बसते हो, आप हमारे रोम-रोम में बसते हैं. अब यह कठिन फैसला सर्वोत्तम न्यायालय के पांच न्यायाधीश सुनायेंगे की क्या आप त्रेता युग में इसी निश्चित स्थान पर रावण वध के लिए अवतरित हुए थे !!

भविष्य के गर्भ में क्या छिपा है वह हम मनुष्यों को नहीं मालूम और न ही यह की इस फैसले की हम किस तरह प्रतिक्रिया देंगे. आप से प्रार्थना है की हम सब को विवेक दें और देशहित में, आने वाले इस फैसले को शान्ति और बिना किसी हिंसा से स्वीकारने की शक्ति प्रदान करें !!

आपका अनुयायी,

दीपक

GAVRI

thumbnail (7).jpg

After years had the chance to watch and enjoy ‘GAVRI’ yesterday at the residence of Shri Raghuveer Singh ji Meena – Ex MP from Udaipur.

I remember as a kid an entire trope of Gavri performers from the nearby village of Badi would perform at our residence. If my memory doesn’t fail me Kuka, Chapliya were the names of some of these local Folk Artists. What really amused us kids then was these men dressed to the hilt as women !!thumbnail (9).jpg

Times flew by, did manage to get a glimpse of Gavri performances being played here or there and yesterday was really up, close and personal.

For the uninitiated Gavri, is a 40-day long festival celebrated in July and September of each year in the Mewar region of Rajasthan. It starts from Rakhi and concludes 9 days after Ganesh Chaturthi. It is an ode to Goddess Gauri – the wife of Lord Shiva thus the name GAVRI, her blessings are invoked at each such enactments.

Only men perform so they even play the characters of women. This is performed by the Tribal community of Mewar – an area that compromises of South Rajasthan.

 

During the 40-day Gavari season, all players IMG_20190912_131901-01.jpegpractice strict austerities to maintain reverent contact with the living earth and the immanent spirit. They avoid not only sex, alcohol and meat, but also shoes, beds, bathing, and eating greens (which might harm insect life). They eat only a single meal each day during the season. They also cannot go back to their homes during these 40 days no matter what the situation demands.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gavari 

 

I am sharing some of the pictures of yesterday’s performance.

thumbnail (11).jpg

The government or for that matter even us, need to share some responsibility to protect and promote these local traditions or it will be matter of time our new generation will only read about them in their textbooks and newspapers.

University Elections

main

 

छात्रसंघ चुनावों के नतीजे २ दिन पहले आ गए. जीत का जश्न और हार का गम अभी जारी है. दोनों ही जाते से ही जायेंगे.

लेकिन एक सवाल जो हर साल होने वाले इन चुनावों में मेरे मन में आता है की इन चुनावों में छात्र हित में क्या काम किया जाता है? एक साल बहुत कम है कुछ बदलाव लाने ले लिए, लेकिन फिर भी जो ज्ञापन, आंदोलन चुनावों से पहले होते हैं और वोह छात्र हित की बातें बाद में नज़र क्यूँ नहीं आती.

हमारा निवास उदयपुर के उस रोड पर स्थित है जहाँ शायद छात्रसंघ चुनावों की सबसे ज्यादा गहमागहमी नज़र आती है. मेरे स्कूल के दिनों में चुनाव के वक़्त तो घर से बहार निकलना मुश्किल हो जाता था यहाँ तक की लोग अपनी दुकानें भी बंद ही रखते थे. नामांकन रैली, वोटिंग डे और विजय जुलस ऐसे दिन तो जो इस एरिया में रहने वालों की दिनचर्या में बदलाव ला देते थे.

मैंने कॉलेज मुंबई से किया जहाँ इस तरह के डायरेक्ट चुनाव पर पाबन्दी थी. कैंपस में शान्ति थी. 7 साल के कॉलेज में (ग्यारवीं से पोस्ट ग्रेजुएशन तक) सिर्फ दो बार ही वोट पड़े वोह भी एक प्रयोग के रूप में और शुक्र है की वोह भी बाद में कंटिन्यू नहीं करे गए.

लेकिन हमारे यहाँ यानि राजस्थान में स्थिति सुधरी लिन्दोह कमेटी की सिफारिशों के बाद, पहले जैसा हुडदंग नज़र नहीं आता था, थोड़े नियमों का पालन होने लगा, थोड़ी सख्ती दिखने लगी. फिर भी एक आदर्श छात्र चुनाव प्रक्रिया आने में अभी और वक़्त लगेगा !!

आशा है आने वाले समय में हमारे छात्र संघ चुनावों में धनबल, बाहुबल और जातिवाद से निकल करे ऐसे नेताओं की फौज तैयार करें जिनको देख कर युवा और खासकर युवतियाँ राजनीती से जुड़ना चाहें देशहित के लिए.

जब तक यह हो क्या यह संभव है की अब हर साल होने वालों चुनावों में पिछले बार वाला अपना लेखा-जोखा प्रस्तुत करे?

The Artist House

“It is also to be noted that standards of morality in a society change with the passage of time. A particular activity, which was treated as immoral few decades ago may not be so now. Societal norms keep changing. Social change is of two types: continuous or evolutionary and discontinuous or revolutionary. The most common form of change is continuous.

However, a practice which may not be immoral by societal standards cannot be thrusted upon the society as immoral by the State with its own notion of morality and thereby exercise ‘social control’.

The words ‘obscene, indecent or profane’ are disjunctive, implying that each has a separate meaning. Prurient appeal is an element of the obscene, but the normal definition of ‘indecent’ merely refers to non-conformance with accepted standards of morality.”

These above paragraphs have been delivered by none other than the Judges of the highest court of the land i.e. The Supreme Court of India.

I quote this judgement in the context of the recent hullabaloo in Udaipur on the opening, functioning and now censuring of The Artist House (TAH).

I have a confession to make here, I have not visited this place even once and there was this one time I did want to go but was refused entry as ‘Stags’ weren’t allowed that night !! Our group of boys (In our head we still are) couldn’t take anyone as our better-half’s had gone for their annual summer pilgrimages ( I hope you do get the joke or else read no further) and we obviously couldn’t take anyone else for fear of its repercussions and reprimands.

However, since then whatever updates I have seen of Social Media about the TAH, I am scared to even venture anywhere near it, for fear of being ‘UNCLED’ by the extremely hip crowd. I mean, to see such a crowd enjoying is something that reminds me of my Mumbai college days of the 90’s. OK!!  Even then I was never the cool kid but of what was still then just a ‘Metro Phenomenon’. And then TAH happened to Udaipur.

Hats off to the guys behind this place for their vision and adventurousness to give such a place to Udaipur. I have family and friends visiting this place with rave reviews.

But the way this place has now been targeted is appalling, if there is a legal problem then so be it and let the owners deal with it legally but I have a problem for this place being branded immoral and a den of all the vices. There is no one set moral system that fits all and even if there is one who decides for me?

The values and morality can’t be cherry picked and please do not impose a warped ideas of what is right and wrong on educated, adult, youths ( I do not know if I fit in the last category) of Udaipur !!

So go ahead and enjoy The Artist House, dole out the bucks and remember they close at 11:00 PM now !!

WAIT & HOPE

“All human wisdom is contained in these words: WAIT & HOPE!!”

I read this beautiful quote a few days back and this set me thinking !!

What do I really hope and wait for?? For starters there are zillion things but if it were to ever boil down to one thing besides the happiness of my immediate family is to see that one person pay for their deeds.

Like a typical scorpion I can forgive but can’t forget, but with this person there is just so much negativity filled inside that even the former can’t happen.  With a character flaw so strong that even Ekta Kapoor’s vamp can be put to shame. So while I wait for Karma to work its magic and I just hope things the payback happens sooner than later while the angst is still there and the magnanimity of others doesn’t take over !!

I can’t help but wonder a what if scenario !!

What if the drama was nipped in the bud?

What if the lies were called out?

What if fleecing the terminally ill didn’t happen?

What if the kleptomania was there for the world to see?

What if people didn’t easily let get themselves thrown out?

What if the legacy wasn’t for them for usurp?

What if the forged signatures were available for the world to see?

What if your own makes you pay for your deeds?

What if ……..

Shakespeare’s Mark Antony’s famous words, ‘The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones,’ aptly captures their continuing deeds !!

In the end I just hope that the good doesn’t get buried inside and wait to see that each and every lie extracts its price!!

Elections 2019

Last evening voting finally ended of perhaps the longest fought General Elections of the biggest democracy of the world i.e. India and with that started the debates and opinions on the numerous Exit Polls conducted by one and sundry.

I do not know what will happen on 23rd May 2019 and I also do not want to believe these polls but what I do know is that these elections have laid bare our deep seeded hatred for each other, our communal outlook.

I am ashamed of the utter rubbish some of my social media friends have vomited in their posts unabashedly and unapologetically. They talk about US and THEM !! I mean which previous government has ever stopped them from practicing their religion other than some fake news they read, share and quote from some obscure social media updates.

What will be the takeaway for our future generations from all this. We all have our own individual allegiance and choices. We may not agree with one another but to fester and feed on fault lines of what happened 70 years back is helping no one.

Why have we come to point where everyday thing are measure on communal lines:

पशु बाँट दिए गए, भाषाएँ त्याग दी गयीं, बात ग़ज़ल/क़वाल्ली से लेकर दादरा/ठुमरी तक होने लगी, एक मासूम हारमोनियम को तानपुरे से लड़वा दिया. सियासत और चली तो शमशान और कब्रिस्तान को भी नहीं छोड़ा गया और बात तो तब सर से गुज़र गयी की जब ठंडाई और रूफ-अफज़ा के गुण गिनाने लगे गए !!

और फिर मित्रों ने कहा की इलेक्शन में यह सब तो होता है अब आगे बड़ते हैं.

नहीं भाईसाहेब नहीं!! जब गोडसे का आप खुलेआम महिमामंडन करते हैं तो यह सियासत नहीं आपकी कुंठित मानसिकता है. इतनी कड़वाहट और ज़हर को ना जाने निकलने में कितने साल लगे. ७० साल के घाव तो  भरने दिए नहीं, नए और दे दिए.

रहिमन धागा प्रेम का, मत तोरो चटकाय, टूटे पे फिर ना जुरे, जुरे गाँठ परी जाय.

रहीम कहते हैं कि प्रेम का नाता नाज़ुक होता है. इसे झटका देकर तोड़ना उचित नहीं होता. यदि यह प्रेम का धागा एक बार टूट जाता है तो फिर इसे मिलाना कठिन होता है और यदि मिल भी जाए तो टूटे हुए धागों के बीच में गाँठ पड़ जाती है.

मालूम है की शायद ही फरक पड़े, पर पढियेगा और सोचियेगा ज़रोर !!

BITCHING

Is Bitching the right word or is it too politically incorrect and for that matter is hearsay or gossip the right word??

Whatever term one may use it is here to stay and for everyone to hear, say and repeat. Just the other day someone remarked that even men are such gossip mongers!! Yeah yeah we are, but in 21st century are any gender roles strictly compartmentalized?? When she can do his work why can’t he do her work??

And what better medium to facilitate the above than the most used feature of our handsets i.e. the screenshots. The images/ chats get stored for eternity to be shared, used as a reference point and just to have a great time at someone’s expense. I know of a men’s whatsapp group that specializes in discussing social media updates of their friends based on these very screenshots.

Just wondering if it is about us, whether it is less offensive if you hear it from a secondary source and not straight from the horse’s mouth. I mean अगर मुंह पर नहीं बोला तो क्या फरक पड़ता है?? Some time back I heard about a relative making a snide comment about me, I did feel bad initially but haven’t we ourselves been guilty of the same.

Ideally there shouldn’t be any of it but we do not live in a perfect world and it is kind of OK if it isn’t malicious and outright slander like this person I know who has her life time built on slandering one and sundry and age hasn’t slowed her a bit !!

Karma is a Bitch and what gets thrown around comes around for you to haunt, ALWAYS!! And till the time it comes back keep taking screenshots and recycling information.

PS: Why does is it have to be the feminine of canine species cant it be the other way?? After all 21st century….

Enron & Political Corruption

Dabhol Power Project at Night

Deep inside one of today’s newspaper pages was a small report about the closure of corruption case of Enron’s Dabhol Power Project. As per the report the case has been closed on an application moved by the BJP-Shiv Sena led Maharashtra State Government. What an Irony!! https://epaper.bhaskar.com/detail/300915/04120254190935/0/12042019/18/image/

I remember this controversy vividly as it was during that time I had moved to Mumbai in 1993 for my further studies. NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar who was then in the Congress had just been moved from the Defence Ministry  to take over as the Maharashtra CM to control volatile situation post the Babri Masjid demolition riots and the Mumbai bomb blasts.

Indian Economy was then just opening up and the Government had got a major FDI for a Power Project in Dabhol, Maharashtra which was to be set up by Enron Corporation. Reports started coming out about opacity and underhand dealings in this project. The opposition led by Shiv Sena Supremo Balasaheb Thackeray went hammer and tongs about this alleged corruption and his newspaper ‘SAAMNA’ was filled with stories about it. He went so far to say that if his party was elected to power he would throw the project in the Arabian Sea.

Balasaheb Thackeray with Enron’s Kenneth Lay and Rebecaa Mark at his residence ‘Matoshree’ in Mumbai.

Riding high on this above point besides the Hinduvta card the SS-BJP combined formed the government for the first time in the State and guess what nothing like promised ever happened to Enron’s Power project. Balasaheb went on the entertain Enron Chief Kenneth Lay and the alleged face of everything wrong with Enron deal – Ms. Rebecaa Mark at his residence. The controversy was soon put in the back burner and twenty years later it has died its natural death.

Our political discourse is filled with narratives like these that the political leaders use as a stepping stone to power. Hearsay, without sound legal backup, playing the emotional card, blaming the other side and playing holier than thou!!

From The 2G Scandal’s absurd loss figures that were dismissed by the Special Courts, to tall claims of putting the entire Congress Leadership in jail in 2014 election rallies the list is endless.

The current NDA government is once again asking for mandate on these very alleged cases without acting out on its claims in the last 5 years or managing to get even a single conviction by the courts. For they know it makes out for an excellent vote catcher but a really bad legal case.

Till we have people who are constantly fed on propaganda and are ready to lap it up, we shall have cases like ENRON whose initial wildfire quickly turns in cold ash and helping bring political gains without ever managing to jail a single alleged culprit.

ADVANI JI

भारतीय जनता पार्टी ने आगामी लोक सभा के लिए अपने उम्मीदवार हाल ही में घोषित किये, चर्चा टिकेट मिलने से ज्यादा जिनको नहीं मिला उनकी थी, मुख्यतः आदरणीय लाल कृष्ण आडवाणी जी की!!

उनके बारे में आज कल कम ही सुनने और पढ़ने में आता है जब से उनके शिष्य और हमारे देश के प्रधानमंत्री मोदी जी ने उनको मार्ग दर्शक मंडल में डाल दिया है. कभी कभार आप श्री के हाथ जोड़े वाले विडियो ज़रोर वायरल हो जाते हैं.

लेकिन पिछले दो दिन से अडवानी जी सुर्ख़ियों में नज़र आ रहे हैं जब से उनकी पारंपरिक सीट पर मोटा भाई को लड़ाने का निर्णय लिया है. कारण कोई भी चाहे उनको टिकेट नहीं दिया या उन्होनें स्वयं मना कर दिया , एक बात तो पक्की है की वाजपेयी जी के युग के नेताओं का युग का समापन. वह युग जहाँ राजनेताओं में थोड़ी बहुत आँख की शर्म और आपसी सामंजस था और अब की तरह विषैला, संकीर्ण और कटुता भरा नहीं था.

एक बात कुछ दिनों से ज़रोर सुनने को आ रही है की उन्होनें अपनी पुत्री प्रतिभा जी को अपनी जगह टिकेट देने से मना कर दिया क्यूंकि वह वंशवाद नहीं फैलना चाहते. आशा करता हूँ की इस सिधांत पर उन के परिवार जन हमेशा द्रढ़ संकल्पित रहे क्यूंकि यह भले ही सुनने में अच्छा लगा लेकिन सत्ता के मीठे फल को छोड़ने का मन आज तक इतनी आसानी से आगामी पीढीयों में देखने को नहीं मिला.

इतिहास उन के राजनीतिज्ञ के रूप का आकलन कैसा करेगा? एक ऐसे नेता के रूप में जिसने १९८४ की 2 सीटों वाली पार्टी को श्रीराम के सहारे मात्र एक दशक में सत्ता के करीब ले आने वाले या एक लौह पुरुष के रूप में जिसने कंधार में आतंकियों को छोड़ा था ??

या उस व्यक्ति को याद रखेगा जिसने भारत को धर्म के नाम के दो हिस्सों में बंटवारा किया और जिनके मकबरे पर आपने उनको सबसे बड़ा धर्मनिरपेक्ष व्यक्ति कहा, मैं बात कर रहा हूँ क़ैद-ऐ-आज़म मोहम्मद अली जिन्नाह की.

मेरे लिए अडवानी जी हमेशा वोह व्यक्ति रहेंगे जिनकी सोची-समझी रणनीति के तहत निकाली रथ यात्रा जहाँ जहाँ से निकली दंगे और समाज में अविश्वास फैलाते चलती गयी. ऐसी रथ यात्रा जो शरू तो हुई थी १९९० में लेकिन जिसके पहिये ना जाने कितने घर दबाये आज तक हमारे दिलो में एक दुसरे के खिलाफ शक और पूर्वाग्रह लिए निरंतर घुमती जा रही है. मैं उनको हमेशा याद रखूँगा जिनके कारण मैंने पहली बार मेरे शहर में कर्फ्यू लगते हुए देखा 6 दिसम्बर की घटना के बाद. जहाँ तक मुझे याद है तब शायद ही मेरे शहर में कोई दंगा हुआ था, शुक्र है उस समय व्हात्साप नहीं था वरना ना जाने मात्र अफवाहों से कितनों की जानें और चली जाती.

आशा है की अब सार्वजनिक जीवन से अलविदा ले अपने सगे-सम्बन्धी और शुभ चिंतकों के बीच सुख-समर्धि से रहे.