मार्क्सवाद : सांस्कृतिक जनतंत्र

शिव विश्वनाथन ने हाल ही में दिल्ली में नेमिचन्द्र स्मृति व्याख्यान देते हुए मार्क्सवाद को बड़े दुलार से याद किया.अरसा बाद किसी सार्वजनिक मंच पर रचनात्मक संभावना और ऊर्जा के स्रोत के रूप में मार्क्सवाद की चर्चा की गई.

नेमिजी को याद करते हुए मार्क्सवाद की चर्चा स्वाभाविक ही है.आखिर हिंदी के सबसे दुर्द्धर्ष मानेजाने कवि  मुक्तिबोध के मार्क्सवाद के शिक्षक वही थे. 30 अक्टूबर, 1945 के अपने के पत्र में मुक्तिबोध उन्हें याद दिलाते हैं, “याद हैं, आपकी बड़ी जिम्मेदारी है. आपने एक व्यक्ति के साथ नाजुक खेल खेला है. उसे कम्युनिस्ट बनाया, दुर्द्धर्ष घृणा के ताप से पीड़ित. और उसकी स्त्री के प्रति उसका रुख पलटा. अधिक सहनशील, भावनामय बनाया उसे. यह काम बहुत बड़ा ही नहीं, नाजुक भी है.” Continue reading

Dhritarashtra’s Embrace


Dhritarashtra’s embrace is one of the most interesting anecdotes from Indian folklore. Accepting any proposal from a powerful opponent, without properly examining it, is likened to risking one’s life.

A painting that shows Dhritarashtra embracing Bhima's statue. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A painting that shows Dhritarashtra embracing Bhima’s statue.                                                                                                           Credit : Wikimedia Commons

“The problem [in Kashmir] will be solved neither by abuse nor bullets – it will be solved by embracing all Kashmiris… And we are moving forward with this resolve.”∼ Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Independence Day, 2017

The war ended, lasting a mere 18 days. Yet they call it the Mahabharata – an epic tale – for it began much before the Kaurava and Pandava forces faced each other in the battlefield. The Pandavas spent 12 years in exile, and the 13th in anonymity. Upon their return, the Pandavas asked for five villages. Krishna tried to mediate a deal, but intoxicated by the lust for power and control, Duryodhana did not listen to him and refused to share even an inch of land. Krishna returned empty-handed.

And then the war began. It was inevitable. The Kauravas had the massive Akshauhini army on their side, while the Pandavas had Krishna as their strategist. What ensued was not a war but a carnage, in which the Pandavas were victorious. But the price was immense – the sacrifice of Bhishma and Dronacharya, both aware of dharma yet forced to fight for adharma.

Bhishma’s was a weightier sacrifice, for he witnessed the massacre of his kin while awaiting death on the arrow bed. He urged his disciple Arjuna to tie him to the Earth on a bed of arrows. Where is glory in death if not in one that comes on such a bed, coupled with the pain of awaiting an end to war and attaining immortality?

The contrast faded away between neeti-aneeti (morality-immorality), dharma-adharma (righteousness-unrighteousness) and karnya-akarnya (action-inaction). Balarama was startled to see his younger brother Krishna offering tips of treachery and deceit to the Pandava brothers one after another. His anger knew no bounds when Krishna signalled to Duryodhana’s thigh, which had remained hidden behind Gandhari so far. Bhima struck him at the thigh. And everything ended there.

Reproached by his elder brother, Krishna could only say sadly, “Bhaiyya, that is why I wanted to stop war. War is unethical in itself. Once it begins, the goal is not dharma but merely victory. My work was to ensure victory.”

What was Duryodhana’s argument for legitimising war and refusing to accept the demands of the Pandavas? “I know what dharma is, but there is no penchant for it. I know what adharma is, but there is no escape from it.” The question, once you’re in power, is of obligation.

The war reached its climax. Gandhari and Dhritarashtra heard the tales of how their sons were slaughtered. The Pandavas were devastated too. There was no one who hadn’t lost a son, no family that had remained unscathed.

Krishna then told the bloodied yet victorious Pandavas to visit Dhritarashtra and Gandhari; they were elders even if rivals.

The Pandavas stood before their father’s brother and his wife. Dhritarashtra was burning with rage over his lost sons. A storm was rising within him. Yet, blind as he was, he stretched his arms out for, signalling an embrace, and called out to Bhima. But why Bhima alone?

As Bhima was stepping forward, Krishna brought out an iron statue of Bhima for Dhritarashtra to embrace. The reality – of his angry retaliation – was harsher than the mellow show of affection had signalled. As he enveloped the statue in his arms, taking it for the real man, everyone saw the statue shatter into pieces. Dhritarashtra instantly realised what he had done and cried out loud, “Ha! What have I done!” It was then he was told that he had been saved from a major sin, it was only a statue.

A still from the Mahabharata TV show.

Taking this incident out of context, the Indian masses gave it a new definition – it was read as a warning on how when you are faced with your rival, you should listen to their sentimental words without being moved by them, without forgetting the realities.  

Dhritarashtra’s embrace is one of the most interesting anecdotes from Indian folklore. Accepting any proposal from a powerful opponent, without properly examining it, is likened to risking one’s life.

Is Dhritarashtra’s embrace a euphemism for ‘Mooh mein Ram, bagal mein chhuri (Chanting god’s name while hiding a knife up your sleeve)’ – or as they say, a wolf in sheep’s clothing? The message is the same, but the embrace intensifies the severity of the act, the hypocrisy.

Going a little further, one could also suggest that if someone tells you to become one with them, that proposal must be examined carefully. A union like this involves them taking over and seizing your identity, until you are completely merged and lost in theirs. And so whenever you hear someone tell you, “Come, let us become one”, instead of running towards the call, stop and try to understand the one who calls.

I don’t know why, as the month of August nears its end, I am suddenly reminded of Dhritarashtra’s embrace. 

अगस्त के ढलते पखवाड़े में धृतराष्ट्र आलिंगन की याद

युद्ध समाप्त हो चुका है. मात्र अठारह दिनों का युद्ध. लेकिन कहा जाता है महाभारत. क्योंकि यह रणक्षेत्र में कौरवों और पांडवों की सेनाओं के आमने सामने मुकाबले के बहुत पहले से शुरू हो गया था. पांडवों ने बारह बरस का वनवास तो गुजारा ही था, एक वर्ष का अज्ञातवास भी उन्हें साथ में झेलना पड़ा था. फिर भी दुर्योधन ने सुई की नोंक भर ज़मीन देने से इनकार कर दिया. पांडव तो सिर्फ पांच गाँव भर भूमि ही चाहते थे. कृष्ण ने मध्यस्थता का प्रयास किया, लेकिन सत्ता और अपनी शक्ति के मद से चूर दुर्योधन ने कृष्ण को नहीं सुना. वे खाली हाथ लौट आए.
Continue reading

धृतराष्ट्र आलिंगन

16/08/2017 को प्रकाशित
प्रधानमंत्री का भाषण, गोरखपुर में बच्चों की मौत और त्रिपुरा मुख्यमंत्री के भाषण को आकाशवाणी और दूरदर्शन द्वारा प्रसारित न करने पर

वतनपरस्ती का सबूत

“मैं अपने बच्चे के स्कूल से बहुत खुश हूँ कि उसने उसे नटखट नन्दलाला का चरित्र खेलने दिया.”यह ट्वीट मीडिया के लिए एक खबर था.उस बच्चे की तस्वीर के साथ जो नन्हा-सा है और जिसने बाँसुरी अपने मुँह में दबा रखी है.

यह ट्वीट क्यों खबर है?क्योंकि यह जिस शख्स की है उसका नाम है नवाज़ुद्दीन सिद्दीकी और तस्वीर उनके बेटे की है. जिस अखबार की इंच इंच के लिए मारा मारी होती है, उसे यह खबर इसलिए लगी कि यह उसी नवाज़ुद्दीन सिद्दीकी का बेटा है जिसे उसी के कस्बे में राम लीला में भाग नहीं लेने दिया गया था. Continue reading

मुसलमानों के साथ हो रही हिंसा पर बोलने के लिए मुसलमान होना ज़रूरी नहीं

जब भारत में मुसलमान कहेंगे कि वे सुरक्षित अनुभव कर रहे हैं तब ही माना जाएगा कि वे सुरक्षित हैं.

(फोटो: पीटीआई)

उपराष्ट्रपति के रूप में हामिद अंसारी के आखिरी दिन सरकार की तरफ से जो बयान दिए गए उन पर ध्यान देने की जरूरत है. क्योंकि उन बयानों को देखने से ये पता चलता है कि भारतीय राजनीति और खासकर शासक दल की राजनीति असभ्यता की कितनी सीमाएं पार कर गई हैं, न सिर्फ असभ्यता की बल्कि क्रूरता की. Continue reading