Wednesday, November 1, 2017

उत्तम प्रदेश

उत्तर प्रदेश की आबो - हवा अब शायद मुझे लगने लगी है।  यहाँ पर छह साल रहने के बाद अब एहसास हो रहा है कि शायद मैं उत्तर प्रदेशी की ही थी हमेशा से। बचपन में कभी जाना नहीं , कॉलेज में कभी समझा नहीं , ऑफिस में कभी पहचाना नहीं - अपने आपको !! चलते रहे कुछ यूं ही जब तक ज़ोर की ठोकर न खायी थी - जिसके बाद से मैं स्वयं को ही नहीं, अपने आसपास रहने वालों की फितरत को भी समझने लगी।  जिन अपनों को मैंने आधुनिकता की होड़ में गँवा दिया था , शायद अब उनके पास आने लगी थी।  अब मैं खुद से थोड़ी दूर थी लेकिन दूसरों के कुछ और ज़्यादा क़रीब। रिश्तों में चड़मड़ाहट अभी भी थी लेकिन शरीर में एक नयी ऊर्जा जैसे माँ की कोख में नौ महीने बच्चा सिर्फ एक रूप ले रहा होता है , रिश्ते तो ज़मीन पर आने के बाद बनते हैं।

उत्तर प्रदेश से एक अजीब सा रिश्ता था।  यहाँ जंगलों की सी जंगलियत, मासूमों की सी मासूमियत, दलालों की सी सौदेबाज़ी और बुद्धिजीवियों की सी सौम्यता - सभी कुछ मौजूद था एक ही जगह। कहीं पर अंग्रेज़ियत इतनी कि अंग्रेज़ भी शर्मा जाएँ, कहीं पर हिंदी इतनी भी नहीं कि बुंदेली हिंदी का शब्द भी समझ पाएं।  तभी लगा कि क्यों मायावतीजी कभी-कभी इसके विभाजन की बात करती हैं।

उत्तर प्रदेशियों के साथ बिताते हुए पल लेती हूँ अलविदा।  

Friday, June 23, 2017

Can Indian girls ever be treated 'independent and responsible' ? (without getting married)

I once heard from a friend who visited Berlin in Germany. He was telling me how instead of staying in a hotel which is the norm he decided to do a homestay where people rent out their homes for guests to live in, cook, live as though they were living at home for as many days and make the payment accordingly for the water, electricity and space used at the end of their stay. He said he saw that there was a local German girl who was independent and running one such homestay. She was single, 35 years old, lived with her old parents in the middle of town of Berlin and had her own home to herself which she owned and had rented. She ran her own painting classes and sold these for a living. This girl instantly became my role model- someone who is independent and responsible and took care of her old parents.

In India girls are treated very different- at least from the social background in which I live. We are not talking about the 'big shot Indira Nooyis, Anu Aghas and Barkha Dutts'. The average Indian girl is considered to be accountable to her parents, should have 'decent' friends, get married at a reasonable age, have kids and be a 'good' mother. That is the 'normal' life for an average Indian woman. But hey, can we think a little different? How about a woman contributing to the GDP of the country and being a working girl- a working daughter, sister, mother and wife. Low and behold! The task is doubled. She has to work doubly hard to 'prove' herself. In feminism, there is a view that a woman's biology determines her role and status in life. But is that true? There are certain women like Mary Kom and others who have challenged such notions but such women are out of the ordinary and not an 'average' Indian woman. What about the others?

Someone once told me that Indian women are not supposed to do anything for themselves- as children for their 'parents', as older women for their 'husbands' and as mothers for their 'sons' ('daughters' again a big question mark because they don't belong to the house but have to 'take care of their OWN homes'..which again is God knows where). This got me thinking that somewhere, something is wrong. Something is wrong either with the mindset, or with the education or with just the way things are. Since I can be stubborn, rigid and obstinate I chose to think that if something is 'right' with this view, then maybe I am 'happy to be wrong' and yet think that 'no, women should live for themselves'.

This just got me thinking whether I am in the 'right' or the 'wrong' place. I still have lots of questions which get me thinking about this mindset. Yet my suggestion to some girls growing up can be only that 'plan to work, be independent, financially and emotionally'. The most important aspect after spiritual and emotional and physical health is of course financial health. Its only what you do, rather than speak or think, that can make a difference to your life. Let your life be a message and doorway to the way you believe and want to live- independent and responsible.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Is it going to be the saffron flag all the way?

Bihar elections may just be yet another clean sweep for NDA

Amit Shah announced the seat-sharing plan for NDA in the upcoming Bihar polls (BJP: 160; Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party: 40; Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party: 23; and Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular):  20) but will the tide be in their favour?

This election seems like a win-win for BJP-led NDA despite the Janata coalition having made a good start earlier this year. While the grand alliance of six parties was made to keep the BJP from winning Bihar their vision now seems jittery especially as Owaisi’s MIM pitches in brandishing the Muslim card. While Owaisi may not do much for his own party his appearance at these elections may well fall in favour of the BJP dividing the Janata coalition vote-bank on communal lines.

Moreover Narendra Modi’s announcement of the Bihar package and Amit Shah’s do-or-die spirit for the Bihar polls may turn the tide in their favour. This will also be a litmus test for Congress’ young scion Rahul Gandhi whose refueled energy will be seen at these elections. Amidst such forces it seems unlikely that the Janata alliance will survive given the indomitable temperament of two of its potent leaders- Nitish Kumar (JD-U) and Lalu Yadav (RJD).

Bihar has for long had an anti-establishment image with the state often being projected as having indiscipline and anarchy. This is a strong ‘media image’ in the minds of the people of the country. In this context Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had written in response to a letter from Union finance minister Arun Jaitley when he made a statement that It was a matter of great concern for a backward state like Bihar that on the basis of the formula used by the 14th FC for devolution of funds among the states, the share of funds for Bihar had witnessed a reduction from 10.9% to 9.665%.

It is for this reason that there was much brouhaha about Bihar being a Bimaru state where Modi addressed his rally earlier on saying he will ensure Bihar is out of this category if BJP is voted to power in the state. Bimaru was an acronym coined by the demographer Ashish Bose for Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh (UP), states considered to be ‘backward’ in India’s journey for growth and development.

As BJP continues to clamour for power in the state by trying to win the minority vote and staying ahead in the caste-driven politics, its ally Lok Janashakti Party seems to be a popular face among the Paswan community. But the main question is whether caste will be a factor or not. As we saw in the last national election that even in Uttar Pradesh caste which was considered to be an important factor in elections took a back seat. The main issue that remained dominant through the elections was development.

This time around as different parties have their stakes, NCP, Left and Samajwadi Party going all the way alone for 243 seats of the assembly the main tussle seems to be between the Lalu-Nitish merger and the BJP-led NDA. We have to wait and watch the post-poll alliances now that pre-poll alliances have fallen into place.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

हिंदी दिवस

हिंदी मेरी मातृभाषा
और मेरी शान है
हिंदी मेरी जागती आशा
और मेरी पहचान है

हिंदी है संस्कृति
और मेरा मान है
यही मेरी प्रकृति
और मेरा अभिमान है

हिंदी है अभिलाषा
और मेरी जी - जान है
यही मेरी लज्जा - लिहाज़
और मेरा प्रतिमान है

आओ हिंदी बोलें आओ
प्रेम की अलख जगाओ
एक दूजे से वैर हटाओ
जाओ जाओ अंग्रेज़ों जाओ !!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Romancing Facebook

Happy faces
Sad faces
Inquisitive faces
Crazy faces

Faceless Facebook!

Talking to 'friends'
Friends who are strangers
Sharing photographs
Images and graphs

Faceless Facebook!

Stories shared
Quotes passed
Philosophies made
Poets are made

Faceless Facebook!

'Likes' and 'Unlikes'
'Shares' and 'tags'
All and sundry
Come and go by

Faceless Facebook!

Sunday, November 30, 2014


अर्धांगिनी बनी हूँ जीवन की
संगिनी एक पल किस्मत ही की
पंथी मिले बहुतेरे रास्ते में
जीवन जैसा न कोय

अर्धांगिनी बनी हूँ जीवन की

जब रुलाये जब हंसाए
जब दौड़वाये जब सुलवाये
सब कर्त्तव्य संग-संग निभाये
राही नहीं है याद कोय

अर्धांगिनी बनी हूँ जीवन की

पंथ कौन या रीत है कौन
जो मिले अपनाये सबको
समय बीते न पता चले
किससे लागे जिया मोये

अर्धांगिनी बनी हूँ जीवन की

समर्पण है पूरा जिससे वो
जीवन साथ देता है अथाह
सब निकट हैं दूर भी सब
एक जीवन नहीं खोता मोये

अर्धांगिनी बनी हूँ जीवन की

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

रकीब की क़ुर्बानी

बावरा दिल फिर खोजन निकला
ऐ इश्क़-ए-मशाल  पर पिघला

याद आती थी उनकी बहुत
इतनी कि पार कर गए सरहद

सोचा न देखा न सुना कुछ
आँखें खोल के पिया सचमुच

निगाहों का इशारा न समझा
न जाना वैरी न मित्र या साझा

जुस्तुजू जुस्तुजू रही दीवानगी
न इल्म रहा कब कर बैठे हम बंदगी

वोह आयतें वोह सूरा और कलाम
सभी हैं लगते दोस्त-ए - कलम

यार का याराना और बेरुखी भी देखी
ज़ाहिर और छुप छुप के सभी लिखी

एक और एक ग्यारह होते या दो
अब लेना नहीं यारों बस मकसद है दो

अल्लाह -ए - जतन किये  जाते हैं
तुम पे ये क़ुर्बानी दिए जाते हैं