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.

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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!!

 

GAVRI

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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.

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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.

A JOURNEY TO REMEMBER

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आज दिनांक 31.7.2018 को हम सब आधुनिक राजस्थान के निर्माता एवं पूर्व मुख्यमंत्री स्व. मोहनलाल जी सुखाड़िया की 102 वीं जयंती मना रहे हैं और इस से बेहतर और क्या दिन हो सकता है जब उनकी धर्मपत्नी एवं पूर्व सांसद स्व. इन्दुबालाजी सुखाड़िया के योगदान को भी याद करें.

इंग्लिश के एक मशहूर कहावत है की – ‘Behind every successful man there is a woman’ यानी एक सफल पुरुष के पीछे हमेशा एक महिला का हाथ होता है और यही बात स्व. मोहनलाल जी सुखाड़िया पर भी लागू होती है. उनके व्यक्तित्व, उनके कार्य, उनके स्वाभाव और उनके राजनैतिक सफ़र के बारे में बहुत कुछ सुना, देखा और पढ़ा गया है. लेकिन कई अनछुए पहलों ऐसे है जो सुखाड़िया जी के संघर्षों में उनकी भार्या के योगदान को समझने का मौका देती हैं.

सन 1942  पर गांधीजी का “करो या मरो” का नारा और जेल भरो आन्दोलन अपने चरमोत्कर्ष पर था. सुखाड़िया जी के विवाह को मात्र 3 वर्ष ही हुए थे. तब उनकी 3 माह की एक बच्ची थी. एक दिन अचानक रात को 1 बजे पुलिस जा धमकी , घर की तलाशी ली गयी. श्रीमती  सुखाड़िया ने उन्हें तिलक लगाकर नारियल देते हुए हँसते-हँसते विदा किया. सुखाड़िया जी को इसवाल जेल में बंद कर दिया गया. अन्य राजनैतिक कार्यकर्ताओं की भांति चंदाश्रित श्रीमती सुखाड़िया को पसंद नहीं था. वे उदयपुर दिल्ली गेट स्तिथ पाठशाला में अध्यापिका बन अपनी आर्थिक आवश्यकताओं के समाधान का माध्यम स्वयं ही खोज लिया.unnamed (3)

तब सुखाड़िया जी को पथ विचलित करने के लिए तत्कालीन पुलिस अधीक्षक सुन्दरलाल त्रिवेदी ने सहानुभूति का नाटक रचा और इन्दुबाला जी को कहा की इतने कम वेतन में कैसे काम चलेगा ? स्तिथि विकट है उन्हें सुखाड़िया जी को समझाना चाहिए , शायद सारी उम्र जेल में कट जाए या राष्ट्रद्रोह के अपराध में फांसी हो जाए. उन्होनें पुलिस की सलाह मान ली लेकिन शर्त राखी की वे अपने पति से अकेले में बात करेंगी.

जब वह उनसे मिली तो सुखाड़िया जी ने पूछा “ तुम क्या चाहती हो? क्या तुम भी सरकार के सामने समर्पित होने को कहती हो?” वह क्षण ऐतिहासिक था, बड़ी सहजता से उन्होनें कहा “आप मेरी औए बेबी की चिंता न करें. मेरे मोह में पड़ कर विचलित हो गए तो इससे बड़ी पमानजनक पीड़ा मेरे लिए और कुछ नहीं होगी. मैं आपसे सिर्फ यह कहने आई हूँ की यदि फांसी पर भी झुलना पड़े तो भूल जाना, लेकिन पथ से डिगना मत.” सुखाड़िया जी गर्व से अभिभूत हो उठे, इन्दुबाला जी उनके इरादों को और पुख्ता कर आयीं थी.

घर की चौहद्दी के अन्दर मुख्यमंत्री स्व. इन्दुबाला जी बनकर ही रहती थी. उनका कठोर शासन सुखाड़िया जी को शिरोधार्य करना पड़ता था. जब सुखाड़िया जी ने स्वेच्छा से मुख्यमंत्री पद से त्यागपत्र दिया तो कई राजनैतिक मित्र, कांग्रेसी विधायक आदि उनको समझाने के लिए आये की वे त्यागपत्र ना दें. तब इन्दुबाला जी द्रढ़ हो गयीं की त्यागपत्र किसी हालत में लौटाया ना जाये. तब सुखाड़िया जी ने चुपके से मुस्कराकर यही कहा की इसने तो साक्षात रणचंडी का रूप धारण कर लिया है.

इस किस्से को याद करते हुए राजस्थान प्रदेश कांग्रेस की अध्यक्षा स्व. लक्ष्मी कुमारी जी चुण्डावत कहा था की रूप जो भी धारण कर लिया हो इन्दुबाला जी ने यदि सुखाड़िया जी ने किसी प्रकार के भी प्रभाव में न आकर त्यागपत्र न लौटाया, तो इसका एक मात्र श्रेय इन्दुबाला जी को ही था !!

पूर्व सांसद, मंत्री एवं किसान नेता स्व. कुम्भाराम जी आर्य ने उनके योगदान को याद करते हुए कहा था “सुखाड़िया सहनशील, कुशल राजनीतिज्ञ थे. उनकी धर्मपत्नी इन गुणों को पोषण और रक्षण देनेवाली धर्मपत्नी रहीं. सुखाड़िया की कीर्ति में बहिन इन्दुबाला का हाथ कम नहीं रहा.”

मृत्यू के कुछ ही समय जब वरिष्ठ पत्रकार बी एल पानगडिया ने सुखाड़िया जी से पूछा की उनके दीर्घ सार्वजनिक जीवन में सर्वश्रेष्ठ घडी कौन से थी. तब सुखाड़िया जी ने बताया की शादी के बाद जब पहली बार नाथद्वारा आये और वहां के युवकों ने “मोहन भैय्या जिंदाबाद” के नारे लगाते हुए जिस तरह नव वर-वधु का स्वागत किया था वोह उनके जीवन का सर्वश्रेष्ठ पल था.

स्वयं सुखाड़िया जी ने इस घटना का निम्न शब्दों में वर्णन किया है :- “आज में सोचता हूँ की मुख्यमंत्री के रूप में भी मेरा ऐसा भव्य और अपूर्व उत्साहपूर्ण जुलुस नहीं निकला. इस जुलुस ने मुझे भावी जीवन के संघर्ष में आगे बढने की प्रेरणा दी. मेरे इर्द-गिर्द सशक्त नौजवानों की अपूर्व भीड़ थी, इस घटना के बाद में मैंने फिर कभी पीछे मुड़ कर नहीं देखा.”

DHADAK

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This movie had everything going from it from its inception namely:

  • It was the launch vehicle of new kids on the block i.e. Late Sridevi & Boney Kapoor’s daughter – Jhanvi and the Stepbrother of Shahid Kapoor – Ishaan Khatar.
  • It was produced by one of my favourite Production Houses i.e. Karan Johar’s Dharma Production.
  • It was a remake of the highly acclaimed Marathi Film – Sairaat.
  • The promos looked fabulous, well all big budget production house films have excelled in this front.
  • It was based and shot in my UDAIPUR which was recently voted as the 3rd best city in the world.

For us the movie aficionados it was all the reasons to watch this one First Day First Show, after all didn’t want the other reviews to cloud my judgement about DHADAK.

The plot is about this lead pair who while studying in college flirt and fall in love much to the despair of both the families as the girl is a royalty from ‘UNCHI JAATI’. The first half is all about these innocent flirtations building up to the point where they caught and eventually run away from Udaipur far away from the families’ wrath all this happens before the interval. The second half is about them restarting and building their life in a new city and culminating into a climax that is shocking.

The movie touches many themes such as Casteism, Rajasthan’s erstwhile Rulers adapting to new India – being part of Democracy / Electoral Politics and Honour Killing. The songs are great but they seemed forced in the movie, I mean haven’t Dharma Productions heard of the concept of songs as a medium of taking the story forward. This is the least that can be expected from them.

The first half is engaging as we have actual young actors playing out as students and not some 30+ and Udaipur is shown in all its glory. Then second half is all downhill after that nothing seems to be happening to keep me engaged. Ishaan Khattar stands out as innocent naïve one of the pair while Jhanvi has shades of her mother but she definitely has a long way to go. Someone also please tell Ashutosh Rana to act in films in which he is not always angry.

Another jarring point as a native of Udaipur is that Rajasthan is not always to be equated with desert that is just in the north western part of Rajasthan, like that the filmmakers tried showing in the opening sequence. We love our kachoris, ghewar and churma but an eating competition is way tooooo stereotyping!! And where did the dialect come from?? There is no one standard Rajasthani that is spoken in my state, what we speak in Udaipur is Mewari which definitely doesn’t sound like it has been spoken in the film. All the above stereotyping would have been forgotten only if the movie was entertaining.

If you are interested in watching a movie on honour killing I would recommend Qayamt se Qayamat Tak or Sairaat if you have Netflix (I for one is soon watching it) instead. This film is about the heartbeat but the heart is definitely missing for it is lost somewhere in the adaption stage.

एक युग का समापन

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आज सुबह जैसे ही उठा और अपना मोबाइल देखा तो एक मेसेज पड़ा और ज्ञात हुआ की आज भानु का तेज और प्रकाश हमारे जीवन से हमेशा हमेशा के लिए चला गया .

हृषिकेश भैया का यह मेसेज अपने साथ न सिर्फ आदरणीय भानु कुमार जी शास्त्री जी के निधन और उनकी सफल और प्रेरणादायक जीवन यात्रा का अंत लाया था और शायद उसी के साथ उनके और मेरे दादा स्व. मोहनलाल जी सुखाड़िया के ज़माने के उसूलवादी , सहजता अवं आत्मीयता वाली राजनीती अवं राजनीतिज्ञों पर पूर्णविराम था. आदरणीय भानु जी ऐसे युग का नेतृत्व किया जहाँ द्वेष, बदले और प्रतिद्वंदी के प्रति असम्मान की कोई जगह नहीं थी. वोह उस दौर के नेता था जहाँ राजनीती सेवा थी ना की रोज़गार का एक और साधन.

मेरा सबसे पहले उनसे वाकिफ मेरी दादी स्व. इन्दुबाला जी सुखाड़िया के लोकसभा चुनाव के दौरान हुआ जो वह भानु कुमार जी के सामने लड़ रहीं थी. मैं लगभग ६-७ साल का था और ऐसे ही हम सब घर के बच्चे बे-सर-पैर के नारे लगा रहे थे भानु जी के खिलाफ. मुझे आज भी याद है की दादी ने मुझे डआंट लगायी और कहा की ऐसे नहीं करते. यह था प्रतिद्वंदी की प्रति सम्मान. समय बीतता गया और साथ ही जानने के मौका मिला की हमारे परिवार का कोई भी शुभ काम उनके पूछे बगैर नहीं होता, यह था दोनों परिवार के बीच के सम्बन्ध. भानु जी दादा-दादी दोनों के सामने चुनाव लड़े लेकिन हमारे पारिवारिक संबंधों में कभी नाम मात्र भी कटुता नहीं आई.

हमारे परिवार की सारी जन्म कुंडलियाँ उनके द्वारा ही बनायीं गयी है. कुछ वर्षों पहले मैंने एक चुनाव लड़ने का मानस बनाया. सबसे पहले पापा – मम्मी उन्हीं के पास मेरी पत्री ले कर गए, देखते ही उन्होनें चुनाव ना लड़ने की हिदायत दी. लेकिन मेरी जिद और कुछ नासमझी में वोह चुनाव मैं लड़ा और हारा. बात को स्पष्ट कहना उनकी आदत थी चाहे तब कही या कहीं मिल जाते और मेरा वज़न बड़ा होता तो वहीँ टोक देते थे. ऐसे थे भानु जी ….

कई बार उनसे मिलने के लिए सोचना पड़ता था क्योंकि बाउजी के पास किस्सों का पिटारा था और उनसे मिलना मतलब पूरा समय देना क्योंकि उन किस्सों में समय का मालूम ही नहीं चलता. बीते कुछ वर्षों से उनका फेसबुक पर दिखना एक सुखद अनुभव था. उदयपुर और राजस्थान में उन्होंने जनसंघ और बाद में भारतीय जनता पार्टी का ऐसा बीज बोया जिसके फलों का फायदा आज उनकी पार्टी को मिल रहा.

आखरी बार उन्हीं के घर पर उनके ९२ वें जन्मदिन के मौके पर मिलना हुआ और उम्र के उस पड़ाव में भी उनकी कभी न कम होने वाली उर्जा और बुलंद आवाज़ अब हमेशा कानों में गूंजती रहेगी ……

A Legacy to Live Upto

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Today on the 100th Birth Anniversary of my Late Grand Father Shri Mohan Lal Ji Sukhadia, I look back on how he still continues to define me and my family. It’s a legacy we are proud of and rightly so !! From being a Chief Minister at a young age of 38 to being the Governor of the Southern States.

This young boy of the legendary cricketer Late Purshottam Das Ji Sukhadia rose from the streets of Nathadwara to the dizzying heights of national politics. From participating in the Independence Movement during his engineering days at VJTI, Mumbai to breaking down the narrow walls of old mind sets. He did it all ….

A friend had once asked me what it feels like living in a place where the Roads, Circles, Gardens and University are named after him. And my only answer was I feel humbled. After having seen power from such close proximity I have realized its fleeting nature. It’s the good that one does when in power that would define his longevity in the public memory. After more than 34 years of his passing away the love and affection that our family receives speaks of the goodness that he managed to spread.

Another question that is posed time and again is His political legacy and the role of our family in politics. I feel no one has the gumption to be anywhere near his achievements. We do try in our own ways in the boundaries of decency, morality and righteousness. Being compared to him and being expected to live up to his ideals would be asking too much out of us but we are trying wouldn’t say we have succeeded but haven’t failed miserably either.

We were proud of being a close knit family, the two family constituents that Dada and Jiya bought together continue to share the warmth and love for each other. Yes there are differences but aren’t they inevitable anyways. The family tree that grew from the Seven Siblings of the second generation to the Five siblings of our Third Generation and finally The Fourth Generation of my Family i.e. Kaven and Kaashwi. This last generation may not fully comprehend the value of the Sukhadia name but they will be the torch bearer of our name and legacy.

Liquor Ban

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As was promised in his election manifesto, one of the first major decisions Nitish Kumar does after swearing in as the Chief Minister of Bihar for the fifth time around is to Ban alcohol from the state w.e.f 1st April 2016.

Seriously in this age and times is banning alcohol even practically possible??  Besides the obvious revenue loss for the state which is being pegged around Rs. 3500+ crores, how do you even ensure its strict compliance?

Coming from Udaipur, a city on the bordering the state of Gujarat where complete prohibition has been in place since the 1960’s, every day I see some of our brethren coming across the border just to enjoy a glass or two and what’s wrong in that ?? Intoxication in various forms has been always there since time immemorial and would continue for times to come. Like Harivansh Rai Bachhan has put in his iconic poem Madhushala:

बड़े बड़े परिवार मिटें यों, एक न हो रोनेवाला,

हो जाएँ सुनसान महल वे, जहाँ थिरकतीं सुरबाला,

राज्य उलट जाएँ, भूपों की भाग्य सुलक्ष्मी सो जाए,

जमे रहेंगे पीनेवाले, जगा करेगी मधुशाला

Why such a premium on absenteeism? Everything needs to be consumed in moderation and that applies to anything. Even in the state of Gujarat it is not too difficult to find one’s quota provided you know the right source and it is the worst kept secret of the state police. Every other day we read reports in local Udaipur Newspapers regarding trucks being caught and apprehended on their way to fulfill the demands of people living on the other side of the state border. And from what I hear these days the state govt. is little eased out in giving Individuals Permits and also relaxing the norms for people travelling to the state from outside.

So only thing this demand usually does is to start the production of illicit liquor and bootlegging, as per a report the start of the organized crime in Mumbai was in a direct relation to the prohibition in then the state of Bombay. Have seen families suffer because of ill effects of liquor but is it to do with an external factor or more to do with the psychological needs of that individual. If not alcohol there are other means of intoxication , especially in some of the areas of Rajasthan in terms of dependency on Bhaang , opium and its by-products , what about their ill effects??

To set the matter straight, alcohol isn’t my cup of tea not because I consider it bad but because I could never enjoy its taste, to each his own and who am I to disagree??

Bihar Waalon you have time to get tipsy till 31st March 2016 and then the neighboring states will  take care of your needs like we have been doing it for ours . To end by once again quoting Bachhan sb,

बैर बढ़ाते मस्जिद मन्दिर, मेल कराती मधुशाला…..