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नव-देशभक्तों के नाम एक जेएनयू वाले का खुला ख़त

जेएनयू की एक बहुत पुरानी शाम से उतने भी प्यारे नहीं देशभक्तों, भारत माता के वीरों (मुँह खुलते ही स्त्रियों को गालियाँ देने वालों को सप...

November 29, 2015

हम हिन्दुस्तानी बोले हैं, तुम उर्दू हिन्दी सुने हो.


[उर्दू पर एक और पुराना लेख यहाँ देखें ]  

तमाम हिन्दी वाले इतनी अच्छी उर्दू कैसे लिख लेते हैं? और 'उर्दू' वाले हिन्दी? दोस्त Meenu के इस सवाल में ही उन तमाम जवाबों के रास्ते खुलते हैं जो उर्दू हिन्दी का बँटवारा कर कचहरियों को गुलज़ार किये बैठे भाइयों को उनकी माँ हिन्दुस्तानी तक ले जाते हैं- उस माँ तक जहाँ उनके अलग होने का झगड़ा बिना अपील की इजाजत के खारिज हो जाता है. 


पर इस जवाब के रास्ते इन दोनों भाषाओँ, या जुबानों के माजी में मिलेंगे। कहाँ से आयीं ये? कब आयीं? हिन्दी इस लफ्ज़ का जुबान, या भाषा के हवाले में पहला जिक्र कब मिलता है? और उर्दू का? ढूँढ़िएगा, बेतरह चौंकेंगे। उससे ज्यादा तब जब ये जानेंगे कि उर्दू दरअसल तुर्की भाषा के ओर्दू लफ्ज़ से निकली है- जिसका मतलब फ़ौज़ होता है. उसकी वजह भी थी- पारसी बोलने वाले मुगलिया सल्तनत के पूरी तरह से हुकूमत ए हिन्दुस्तान हो जाने के पहले तुर्क लड़ाके भी खूब आते थे और फिर लड़ने को भी बातचीत की जरुरत होती है. फिर दोनों लड़ने वाओं को आपस में ही नहीं बल्कि उस अवाम से भी बात करनी होती थी जिसके बीच ये खेमे लगाते थे, लड़ते थे. कमाल ये कि ओर्दू से निकली इस उर्दू में तुर्की जुबान अमूमन नदारद है- फ़ारसी जरूर खूब है. सफर मोटा मोटा मुहम्मद बिन कासिम से शुरू मान लें- माने सातवीं सदी से और अमीर खुसरो के आने तक पूरी हो गयी- 

इक़बाल अशार को याद करें- 
उर्दू है मेरा नाम मैं खुसरो की पहेली 
मैं मीर की हमराज़ हूँ ग़ालिब की सहेली। 
कमाल ये कि खुसरो ने खुद जो बोली (और जो कव्वाली और ग़ज़ल दोनों के बाबा आदम हुए) ने जो जुबान बोली उसे कभी उर्दू नहीं कहा. जो कहा वो आप पता लगायें- सब हमहीं बता देंगे तो आप क्या करेंगे। हाँ जो बोली उसे उर्दू नहीं तो क्या कहेंगे ये भी बड़ा सवाल है- देखें-

ज़ेहाल-ए-मिस्कीं मकुन तग़ाफ़ुल
दुराये नैना बनाये बतियाँ
कि ताब-ए-हिज्राँ न दारम ऐ जाँ
न लेहु काहे लगाये छतियाँ..... 

पहला मिसरा ठेठ फ़ारसी मगर दूसरा? अब यहाँ एक लम्हा ठहरें और एक और बात जोड़ें- फौजी खेमों वाली इस उर्दू के साथ साथ इसकी एक बहन भी है- रेख्ता। मोटा मोटा कह लें तो इस जुबान की दिल्ली के आस पड़ोस वाला अंदाज- बड़ा फर्क यह कि वह खेमों में नहीं- बाज़ार में बातचीत की जरुरत पूरी करने के लिए पैदा हुई थी. उसके पहले की उर्दू की जरा तुर्शी और रेख़्ता की जरा नज़ाकत के राज इसी फर्क में छिपे हैं. इस रेख्ता का वक़्त है 17वीं सदी के बाद का- और बावजूद इसके कि रेख्ता का अपना अलहदा अंदाज़ आज भी बचा हुआ है, जुबान जो है अब वो उर्दू ही है. अब इकबाल भाई का ऊपर कहा याद करें और चचा ग़ालिब को 

रेख्ते के तुम ही उस्ताद नहीं हो ग़ालिब 
कहते हैं अगले ज़माने में कोई मीर भी था

मतलब साफ़ हुआ- जो उर्दू थी वही रेख्ता है, जो रेख्ता है वही उर्दू है. हाँ, ठुमरी और ख़याल- इन दोनों में रेख़्ता वाला अंदाज ही ज्यादा मिलेगा- ध्यान से सुने तो दोनों में अब भी बचा महीन सा फर्क भी. 

पर हिन्दी कब आई- और कहाँ से आई? और ये हिन्दी वाले, उर्दू वाले भी? इन नुक्तों से जूझेंगे फिर कभी. शुक्रिया मीनू, एक और सवाल से मुठभेड़ करवाने के लिए. तब तक उर्दू पर एक और पुराना लेख देखें- 

November 28, 2015

Of tolerant mobs, patriotic judiciary and seditious Aamir Khan

[This is an AHRC Article, republished in Counter Currents]
With two cases of sedition, one police complaint filed against him already in three Indian states and mobs picketing in front of his house in fourth, Aamir Khan must be a worried man. He must be for the first of these cases is listed for hearing on 1 December in Kanpur, far away from his house in Mumbai.


It is just that Aamir Khan has not engaged in any criminal activity. He cannot as well, most likely, as he is not an ordinary citizen of India but a film superstar with a fan following that runs in millions and thereby subjects him to twenty four hour media scrutiny; if one does not want to call it paparazzi, what electronic media in India is with hardly any exception.

All Mr. Khan had done to invite the wrath of so many people across the country was making a statement in a freewheeling conversation during the Ramnath Goenka Awards ceremony, the most prestigious media awards in India for the uninitiated. Mr. Khan might not have realized it then, but he seemed to be hell bent on inviting the wrath of the ever so tolerant and patriotic mob on him. Who talks of the times that are not particularly good for journalism when even the media does not, after all? Who then adds fuel to the self righteous anger of the mobs by supporting the right of scores of writers who returned their awards in protest against growing intolerance and fanatical violence in India?

He did this and more in front of the Union Minister who had ‘tolerantly’ rubbished those protests as a ‘manufactured revolt’ unlike his cabinet colleague Gen (retd) V. K. Singh who had called the same an “unnecessary creation of very imaginative minds who are being paid with a lot of money”. The more part contained sharing the concerns of his wife Kiran Rao, a celebrated filmmaker. To quote Mr. Khan-

“When I sit at home and talk to Kiran (his wife), and Kiran and I have lived all our lives in India, and for the first time Kiran says, should we move out of India, that is a disastrous and a very big statement for Kiran to make to me. She fears for her child, she feels scared to open the newspapers every day.” The claps began again when he concluded, “That does indicate there is a sense of growing disquiet. One part of it is alarm, the other part is you feel depressed, you feel low, you feel ‘why is this happening?”

Mr. Khan and his wife are perfectly right in being worried, any conscientious citizen of India would be in the aftermath of killings of writers, death threats to others, mob lynchings over rumours of eating beef and what not. Mr Khan must have learnt his lessons from scores of writers, artists and others who had crossed the path of the new government. Seems he had none.

He talked about what is on everyone’s mind and is being hounded the same way countless others have been after the new regime took over. There have been both- a lot of debate on increasing intolerance and active resistance to the same and every conscientious citizen of India can only be on the side of the resistance. The hounding must worry not only him but all those who believe in the idea of India being a republic based on justice and rule of law.

The hounding, however, should not be the only thing to worry us. The attacks on Aamir Khan were expected, more so from openly fanatical mobs prodded by their political handlers to hound dissenters.

What should be worrying us more are the sedition cases and the police complaints slapped on him across India. It should worry us more as our judiciary is not a militant organ of a politico religious ideology- it cannot and must not support mobs hounding a person, any person, for expressing his views. It should worry us more because the judiciary has let itself been abused by politically motivated groups to hound people time and again despite the Supreme Court of India being very clear on that.

In a judgement passed on 3 February 2011, in Arup Bhuyan v. State of Assam case (Cr.A.No.889/2007) the Court had held that ‘mere membership of a banned organization will not make a person a criminal unless he resorts to violence or incites people to violence or creates public disorder by violence or incitement to violence’. The court had held the same later while granting bail to Dr. Binayak Sen.

Confront the order with the sedition charges slapped on Mr. Khan for making a statement that far from inciting any violence merely voiced his concerns over incidents of growing violence and the irony would not be lost on many. Add to that the fact that not even ordinary criminal charges were filed against the members of the mob that attacked his house in Mumbai, the ministers who gleamed over the fact that Dadri lynch mob did not ‘even touch 17 years old daughter of the victim, the Members of Parliament that routinely threaten marginalised communities and so on and the delinquency of the judiciary would seem unacceptable.

That, unfortunately, is not the end of the story. There is no dearth of studies that establish how difficult it is for ordinary citizens of India to get their genuine grievances registered in police stations. There are ample research that shows how police in India brings down crime rates not by bringing down it really but not registering complaints.

Add to this the dismal status of case disposal in judiciary with the Ministry of Law informing the parliament that 26,851,766 cases were pending in subordinate courts in March 2012 and the pictures become gloomier. Can anything be more criminal, then, than accepting frivolous charges to hound a person and deny him/her freedom of speech when countless Indians wait for justice?

Aamir Khan’s hounding has brought the delinquency engrained in the justice system of India back to the fore. The only way to bring justice to people, and also to bring fanatic, criminal people to justice is have a judiciary that works for rule of law and not abusing it by hounding innocents.

November 26, 2015

धर्म और पंथ में अंतर

बहुत बड़ा अंतर है. यह कि रिलिजन वाले अर्थ में संस्कृत/हिन्दी में कोई शब्द ही नहीं है. यहाँ धर्म का अर्थ है 'या धारयति इति धर्मः'- अर्थात जो धारण किया जाय वह धर्म है। उदाहरण लें तो आग का धर्म हो जायेगा जलाना और बिच्छू का डंक मारना। 

पंथ इससे अलग है- आचरण का codified यानी कि संहिताबद्ध रूप है. धर्म वाले सन्दर्भों में कहें तो पूजापाठ, सम्पत्ति अंतरण, जन्म से मृत्यु तक के संस्कार वाला रूप. ऊपर वाला उदाहरण लें तो बिच्छुओं का कोई समूह अगर तय कर ले कि अब रास्ते में पड़ जाने पर ही डंक नहीं मारना है- दौड़ा के डंक मारना है तब वह पंथ हो जाएगा। 

उन अर्थों में भारत में कभी कोई धर्म (हकीकतन पंथ) रहा ही नहीं। अंग्रेजों के आने तक तो क्षेत्रीय ही नहीं (जैसे तमिल और काश्मीरी) एक ही क्षेत्र के हिन्दुओं में इतने फर्क थे कि वह एक मोटीमोटी जीवनशैली तो था पर धर्म नहीं था. बस एक उदाहरण लें तो अंग्रेज न आये होते तो (तथाकथित) पिछड़ी जातियों में स्त्रियों को पति के जिन्दा रहते भी पुनर्विवाह का अधिकार था जबकि (तथाकथित) उच्च वर्णीय जातियों में पति के मर जाने पर भी काशी के अलावा बस चिता का ही रास्ता था.

(आप भक्त हों और इस बात पर ज्यादा मिर्ची लगे तो) बॉम्बे उच्च न्यायालय का हिन्दुत्व धर्म नहीं जीवनशैली है वाला फैसला देखें। जिस नुक्ते पर वह फैसला आया वह नुक्ता दिक्कततलब जरूर है पर फैसला कमाल है. पढियेगा एक बार. 

सो साहिबान हुआ यह कि अंग्रेज बहादुर ये बात समझ नहीं पाये और धीरे धीरे अपने पंथ को भारत का धर्म बनाते गए, और फिर वह धर्म तो ब्राह्मणों वाला ही पंथ होना था- एक तरफ के ही नहीं, मुसलमानों वाले ब्राह्मणों का भी. (अंग्रेजों के ज़माने में सभी उच्च न्यायालयों में धार्मिक मामलों में जज की मदद करने को धर्म विशेषज्ञ नियुक्त किये जाते थे और क्या यह कहने की जरुरत है कि वह पंडित/मौलवी ही होते थे- मने जाति पंचायतों के अपने नियमों को खारिज कर ऊपर वालों के पंथ को अंग्रेजों ने धर्म बना दिया। (देखें जानकी नायर, वीमेन एंड लॉ इन कोलोनियल इंडिया, ऑक्सफ़ोर्ड, 1996). 

बाकी उन्होंने ये साजिशन नहीं किया। दलित/पिछड़े समुदाय के प्रति अपनी सनातन असहिष्णुता (स्त्रियों के प्रति तो दुनिया भर के धर्मों की थी ही) को छोड़ सनातनियों को कुछ भी एक नहीं करता था, नहीं करता है. पर यह बेचारे अंग्रेजों को कहाँ मालूम जो भारी संहिताबद्ध धर्म से आये थे. सो उन्होंने अपने लिए सहज अनुवाद कर दिया- रिलिजन माने धर्म। 

हकीकत में वह है नहीं। उनका रिलिजन माने अपना पंथ. और हाँ- इसमें आरएसएस उर्फ़ संघ कबीले की बाजीगरी कि अपना धर्म सनातन- उसके पंथ हिन्दू, बौद्ध, सिख, जैन सब शामिल नहीं है. क्या है कि सनातन भी कोई धर्म नहीं है. यह शब्द भी आर्य समाजियों का दिया हुआ है- (चाहें तो इसमें खुश हो लें कि अरबों के दिए हिन्दू से ज्यादा स्थानीय है) माने 1875 के बाद का. बाकी पंथनिरपेक्ष उर्फ़ सेकुलर शब्द से जो मुराद है वह साफ़ है- धर्म यानी निजी/सामुदायिक आस्थाओं का सार्वजनिक जीवन में कोई दखल न होना। 

[सवालों का, विमर्श का स्वागत है. Semantics, Epistemology और Ontology यानी शब्दार्थ विज्ञानं, ज्ञानमीमाँसा और सत्य मीमाँसा तीनों के स्तर पर. आस्था आहत हो गयी हो तो किसी और से संपर्क करें।]

November 25, 2015

INDIA: Where drought is just another ‘file noting’

[This is an AHRC Statement.]

Telangana, yesterday, finally acknowledged that 231 out of 443 of its rural mandals (sub-districts) are hit by drought. This was not a sudden realization by the state, the 9th Indian state to get hit by drought this year. Their agricultural department knew that a ‘drought like’ situation was prevailing in Mahabubnagar, Medak, Nizamabad, Karimnagar and Ranga Reddy districts and a few parts of Nalgonda, Warangal and Adilabad districts since early September. It also knew that over 50 per cent of the rain-fed crops cultivated in the affected districts were affected badly. In all likelihood, the farmers would lose even the investment made on cultivation.

And yet, Telangana waited until now because it did not have a ‘detailed report’ which would only come after crop-cutting-if any crops reached that stage! One can compare the absurdity of the response with those made about market meltdowns. But then, that is a different debate for different times. State inaction is what matters here, despite being well aware of farm suicides that drought-induced crop failures and other hardships trigger. To add numbers to the argument-since its formation on June 2, 2014, Telangana had witnessed no less than 1,259 suicides by 24 September 2015 alone. These statistics came from the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, a Hyderabad based, voluntary organisation that monitors the situation on the ground.

What would the drought declaration mean for farmers on the ground? Not much more than a file noting would be the answer. To understand it through more numbers, the government of Telangana cannot deny the number of farmers’ suicide deaths as they are substantiated by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). The NCRB data puts the number of farmers’ suicides in the state in 2014 at a remarkable 898, second in the country after Maharashtra that saw 2,568 farmer suicide deaths. However, the government could always blame the deaths on other factors. And this is what it did in a debate in the state assembly, asserting that no more than 350 of these suicides could be attributed to financial crisis.

The government might actually be ‘correct’, statistically that is. This was brought out by studies in different states. Many of the farm suicides come from tenant farmers- a group that has repeatedly been taken out from "Self-employed (farming/agriculture)" category and put into the "Self-employed (Others)" category. This is an easy way for the governments to mask the numbers of farm suicides in their states. Once the government does this, the drought declaration means nothing to these farmers who, for the state, are not farmers anymore.

Sadly, the declaration would not mean much to the farmers whose existence governments cannot deny by playing crooked games either. For one, the centrally approved maximum compensation for crop loss in rain-fed areas is a mere Rs. 2,700 per acre. This would fail to cover even the cost of cultivation. Then the farmers would have to wait until the governments produced their ‘detailed reports’ and submit it to the union ministry. As farm suicides have repeatedly shown, this would be too long a wait for them to survive.

What the farmers need is an effective mechanism that operates in real time, which reaches them when they need it the most. What they got is one that operates like the monsoons that fail them in the first place, come seasonally and often fail again.

November 21, 2015

Attacks On Entitlements Threaten Food Security, Mr. President



[This is an AHRC Article
Republished in Counter Currents]

Dear President Pranab Mukherjee, it feels good to see your concern over the imminent threat of food insecurity because of the degradation of large masses of agricultural land. Your insistence upon the urgent need to adopt more sustainable methods of land use systems and soil management practices is really important and must be acted upon. Your concerns are real, Mr. President.


But, are they as real and urgent for the millions of citizens of India who hit their beds, or the footpaths, with empty stomachs every night? Not that you are unaware of their existence. You, after all, are one of the few politicians in India who have cared to recall them even after winning an election and not only during electioneering. Memory has it that in your acceptance speech, after becoming the President of India, you mentioned hunger being the biggest humiliation for a country that dreams of becoming a superpower, Mr. President. 


You remembered the hungry millions while making the sustainable land use argument too. At that time you asserted that India being ranked 80th out of 104 countries in the Global Hunger Index 2015 is something unacceptable. You could have asked yourself whether the millions, due to whom India is ranked so low, are hungry because of lack of availability of food, or whether there is some other reason. The answer is a resounding no Mr. President. And, arriving at this answer may have helped you fully confront that these millions live in a country where food grains rot in godowns of the Food Corporation of India every year.


The amount of foodgrains lost in the face of such widespread hunger should be as big a humiliation to the nation as hunger itself, Mr. President. FCI’s reply to a right to information query from a media house put the food grains lost at 24,695.45 tonnes in 2013-14 alone. Take all of the food grains lost from 2010 and that comes to a total of 56,000 tonnes. Lack of food cannot be the reason behind the hunger that plagues India right now, can it?


The real and immediate reason behind hunger that is endemic to India, Mr. President, is the failure of welfare schemes of both the central and provincial governments. Most of these schemes never deliver to the intended beneficiaries. The benefits are stolen in one way or another by those supposed to implement the schemes. And this is not a lament of yet another human rights advocate, Mr. President. This is what the Supreme Court of India criticised the Government of India for.

"All the ideas you have seems [sic] OK. Government of India has wonderful laws, ideas and schemes but the things are different on the ground".


This is what a social justice bench of the Supreme Court of India, comprising justices Madan B. Lokur and U.U. Lalit, had curtly told Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta when he informed the Court about the schemes which the government had formulated for the welfare of children. This, unfortunately, is true not only for schemes meant for children; it is a universal truth for all the welfare schemes.

Sadly, the failure of implementation of welfare schemes is not the only thing that contributes to perpetuate hunger in the country, Mr. President. Serious attacks on such schemes and other entitlements in the recent past have also threatened to offset whatever small gains the country had made in the last decade. 


Mr. President, you must be aware that the health budget of the country has got slashed by 20% this year. This happened despite the draft of the government’s own national health policy asserting that “catastrophic” expenditure on healthcare neutralizes any gains made by rise in income and social welfare benefits targeted to reduce poverty, and forces 63 million Indians to face poverty every year.

This happens, also, despite other studies estimating the death of children less than 5 years of age due to malnutrition related causes at more than a million. 

A UNICEF study, for instance, asserted that these high numbers cross the emergency threshold guidelines of the World Health Organisation and require the Government of India to recognise acute malnutrition as a medical emergency.
The government, your government to be precise, Mr. President, did not declare a war on malnutrition. Rather, it has reduced its contribution in funding of 17 centrally sponsored social sector schemes to a 60:40 ratio, a move that will certainly affect the poor adversely. The schemes affected, Mr. President, include the Mid-Day Meal scheme that has successfully brought down malnutrition among children and dropout rates.

These attacks, Mr. President, which treat entitlements as wasteful doles that can be done away with, keep India ranked at unacceptably low positions in hunger surveys. Dealing with the investments in social security of the citizens is as crucial a key to development as encouraging entrepreneurship and investments in economy. The country will be doomed to remain humiliated by hunger if it fails to recognize this.

On a different note, Mr. President, non performing assets – a major chunk of which are loans not repaid by private corporations – have increased to Rs 2.67 lakh crore at the end of March 2015, from Rs 2.16 lakh crore a year ago, as per the information shared in Parliament by the Minister of State for Finance. Those, perhaps, are the real wasteful doles that should be recovered and put into the social sector.