Thursday, December 24, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
इंफोसिस के संस्थापक और पद्मविभूषण से सम्मानित श्री नारायण मूर्ति से मिलकर एक पुरानी कहावत बरबस याद आ जाती है कि जो शाख जितनी फलदार होती है उतनी ही झुकी हुई होती है। इनकी सादगी और मूल्यों के प्रति गहरी आस्था के विषय में काफी कुछ सुन रखा था। जब रूबरू होने का मौका मिला तो लगा बहुत कुछ है फर्श से अर्श तक पहुंचे इस शख्स के जीवन में सीखने को। पैसे वाला होने को सब कुछ मानने वाले ज़माने में ऐसे लोग बिरले मिलेंगे जो अरबों की जायदाद पैदा करके भी अपने इस्तेमाल के लिए थोड़ा सा धन रखते हैं, एक आम मध्यवर्गीय हिन्दुस्तानी जैसा जीवन जीते हैं और यह स्वीकार करने की भी उदारता रखते हैं कि एक गरीब देश में कारपोरेट जगत के कर्णधारों को इस बात का ध्यान रखना चाहिए कि उनके अनावश्यक उपभोक्तावाद से समाज पर ग़लत असर पड़ रहा है। ऐसे दौर में, जब जनता के वोटों से बने नेता भी कोई मिसाल कायम करने की ज़रूरत नहीं समझते, मूर्ति इस बात पर बल देते हैं कि कारपोरेट जगत के मूर्धन्य व्यक्तियों को अपने सार्वजनिक जीवन में ईमानदारी का उदाहरण प्रस्तुत करना चाहिए। बदले हुए आर्थिक परिवेश में कारपोरेट जगत की और युवाओं का रुझान तेजी से बढ़ा है। ऐसे में मूर्ति जैसे विभूतियों की मौजूदगी इस बात का आश्वासन देती है कि मूल्य समय के साथ बदल भले ही जाएँ उनका क्षरण नहीं होगा। उदारमना मूर्ति गरीबों के लिए बेहतर शैक्षणिक सुविधाओं के हिमायती हैं लेकिन उनका स्वयं का जीवन इस बात की मिसाल है कि प्रतिभा और दृढ़ संकल्प के द्बारा व्यक्ति संसाधनों की कमी पर विजय प्राप्त कर सकता है। आज हमारे पास ऐसे राजनेता तो रह नहीं गए हैं जिनसे कोई प्रेरणा ली जा सके। ऐसे में जो लोग किसी प्रेरणास्रोत की तलाश में हैं उनको इस अद्भुत व्यक्ति के जीवन में ज्ञान और अनुभव का अथाह भण्डार मिलेगा। हम कामना करते हैं कि उनकी उम्र लम्बी हो और वे डगमगाती आस्थाओं के इस दौर में प्रेरणा के अजस्र स्रोत बने रहेंगे।
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
आलाप - ज़्यादातर लोगों ने शायद इस फ़िल्म का नाम ही न सुना हो, खास तौर से वैसे दर्शकों ने जो सत्तर के दशक में या उसके बाद पैदा हुए हैं। कहना ग़लत न होगा कि हृषिकेश मुख़र्जी ने अपनी इस फ़िल्म में अमिताभ बच्चन को जितनी शानदार भूमिका दी थी शायद ही किसी और ने दी हो। अनूठा चरित्र है इस फ़िल्म के नायक का, अद्भुत है इसका कथानक और दिव्या है इसका संगीत, जो कि दुर्भाग्य से अब सुनने को नहीं मिलता।
मंजिल - इस फ़िल्म का एक गीत आज भी लोग पसंद करते हैं - रिम झिम गिरे सावन सुलग सुलग जाए मन। फ़िल्म भी बेहद दिलचस्प है। बच्चन ने इसमें वैज्ञानिक प्रतिभा से संपन्न एक युवक की भूमिका की है जो जल्दी सफलता पाने के चक्कर में ठगी करने लग जाता है।
मिली - यह फ़िल्म अक्सर जया भादुडी द्वारा निभायी गयी शीर्षक भूमिका के लिए याद की जाती है लेकिन बच्चन की भूमिका कम चुनौतीपूर्ण नहीं है। उन्होंने एक ऐसे किरदार को साकार किया है जो अपनी माता पर लगे झूठे लांछनों से व्यथित हो कर स्वयं को शराब में डुबो देता है। उसकी ज़िन्दगी तब पटरी पर आती है जब मिली उसकी स्वर्गीय माँ के प्रति उदार दृष्टिकोण रखती है।
बेमिसाल- फ़िल्म भले ही फ्लॉप रही हो बच्चन की भूमिका निस्संदेह बेमिसाल है। चिकित्सा के पेशे में फैले भ्रष्टाचार के सन्दर्भ में दोस्ती के रिश्ते को उसके महानतम रूप में पेश किया गया है।
Saturday, August 29, 2009
My dear Iron Man Part II,
Hope you are doing fine and enjoying your characteristic health and vitality by virtue of which, even as an octogenarian, you can give a person in the prime of youth a run for his or her money. Having set the tone with a few good words about your virtues, I would now like to inform you that my heart bleeds at the sight of whatever is happening to you these days. The very people, who once claimed that you were made of steel and bestowed upon you the sobriquet of "Lauh Purush", have now started generating heat around you with the hope that you will melt like wax. Your sycophants may tell you that you are better off than the retired soldier who has been summarily booted out while you had to simply "step down". But I am sure you see the irony of two incomparable men being talked about in the same breath. The man singularly responsible for the organisation's single-digit to three-digit journey, can in no way be compared with the second-rung para-trooper who, whether in or out of office, has done little more than cool his heels at the hill station he has now chosen over his original desert home! Moreover, your personal integrity and good nature has endeared you to many people who do not even agree with you on anything and hence often your misadventures like the infamous chariot ride are viewed with a bit of sympathy. We all understand the anguish of a person who had been rendered homeless by the numerous agreements reached around round tables which ultimately drove away the Empire in which the sun did never set. On the other hand, our latest rabble-rouser is, at the most, realising the inconsequentiality of his life, dabbling in polemics. Every illustrious career has to come to an end but it is painful to see the end coming with so much of disgrace. This disgrace, indeed, is much more unfortunate than the fact that you had to spend your hey days under the shadow of your less industrious but more ingenious senior partner. But please allow me to say that you have invited this disgrace, simply by ignoring a cardinal principle of the very faith your ideologues proclaim to follow. You forgot the virtue of Silence extolled in the tradition you claim to follow. On the other hand, you continued to put your foot in your mouth both through your tongue as well as your pen. What was the need for making incredible claims of ignorance about the bunch of people who were flown, against their wishes, from the Himalayas to the Hindukush? Did your naive explanations convince anybody? They only provoked your detractors and continue to do so. (Just look at the latest ramblings from the retired soldier, who is being joined by the retired bureaucrat). You could have taken a cue from the inhabitants of your native place, who have not tried to explain away their hour of national shame more than three decades ago. This has given your counterparts on the other side of the boundary the opportunity to kick sand in the eyes of their own people who continue to see people on this side as aggressors while remaining mostly oblivious to the threats they face from their own lords. Only recently, you annoyed many admirers of your sobriety by your vitriolic attacks on the turbaned gentleman and his perceived weaknesses. We know you are reticent by nature and this, perhaps, explains why your attempts at loquaciousness are always disasters. Now, that you may be facing the last major challenge of your life, it may not be a bad idea to heed the suggestion by an old comrade of yours who was shown the door for calling a spade a spade (to be precise, a mask a mask). You must now do yourself and your admirers a service by refraining from soiling your hands in the humdrums. People may now benefit more by your advices than your active involvement in the affairs of the power game. Hope you will take this in the right spirit.
With best wishes,
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
We, the forever emerging Asian giant, who do not believe in complete emergence, are all set to welcome our guests from abroad for next year’s gala sporting event. We will be glad to have the company of our colonial cousins, all of whom had once joined us in bowing down before the Empire whose sun has now set. The nation of over a billion souls welcomes you all with open arms, wide open manholes and potholes, shut eyes and ears and clogged drains and sewer lines.
We promise our would-be visitors that they would be stunned with our resolve to destroy their obsession with our glorious and exotic past, as soon as they set their feet on the ground of Delhi, our proud capital and the venue of the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Hence, we have rendered unrecognizable all our monuments of the Mughal era and the legacies of the Raj, simply by taking up construction works that will continue for eternity and renovations that may end up removing every trace of their very sites.
If there is anything that our visitors shall be looking forward to, it is the obvious signs of our growing economy that refuses to grow up. We therefore advise our visitors not to look for any exotic marble structures which senile bards may describe as tear drops on the cheeks of Time. They shall rather be prepared to be greeted by gigantic flyovers and structures of concrete that are likely to remain “under-construction” unless and until these inert beings vow to manifest the Hindu concept of all-pervading Consciousness and start yearning for “Nirvana”.
We would also like to mention our proud national trait which prefers rehearsals to performance. Therefore, only recently, on August 21 to be precise, we tested our preparedness for the upcoming mega-event in which we were assisted by Mother Nature whom we have been worshipping ever since the Universe came into being. True to our genius for invention, we are confident of dazzling you all with the unique training and practice facilities that we will be providing to your respective sporting icons.
Whilst in our colourful land, your athletes need not waste their time on boring regimes at bland gymnasia and stadia. Just look at the three pictures except the one at the top, which shows the most VIP street in the town dotted with embassies of various countries on either sides. We have converted it into a pool! So, your swimmers and canoeists can just cruise along while enjoying the sight of their respective High Commissions for their preparations! Now just have a look at the endless queue of vehicles at a jam-packed street in the photograph at the top. What better practice opportunity can you imagine for those interested in high jump and long jump? And this is not all. Sprinters have the entire city at their service as crossing any of the roads at a busy hour will definitely make them capable of breaking any amount of world records. Gymnasts, Judokas and wrestlers too can avail of an excellent training facility which involves getting in and out of the city buses and the tube rail.
For those who are not impressed, we wish to point out that this is not all. We appreciate the growing worldwide emphasis on the “mental” aspect of sports training and our uncouth citizens, ranging from the hand-to-mouth to the well-heeled, will not be found wanting in offering a nerve-wracking challenge. Make no mistake. Your handsomely-paid and foul-mouthed coaches can never instill the mental toughness into your sportspersons which our ordinary folks can do without charging a penny, with their unprovoked glares, blaring horns on streets busy as well as deserted and squabbles which effortlessly transform into full-blown street-fights.
We sincerely hope to win you over with our unconventional hospitality and quench your thirst for adventure.
With best wishes,
India That Is Bharat
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Congratulations for your maiden entry into the Exalted House which you had only recently denounced as being unworthy of someone who followed your ideology. As I congratulate you for your latest accomplishment, I cannot help mourning the fact that the integrity and the intelligence that defined you and made you capable of vanquishing giants that earned you your famous sobriquet, have finally taken leave of you. That you have been a man of shaky convictions was never a secret. You blatantly displayed this oxymoronic trait of yours when, at least three decades ago, you first aligned with people whom you would have termed as reactionary and then pulled the rug from under your collective feet by insisting that the reactionaries part ways with their own alma mater. Your shaky convictions once again came into play when nearly a decade ago you proudly chose to convene an alliance headed by the reactionaries, who had by now acquired a new moniker, albeit keeping the umbilical cord which tied them to their alma mater, intact. However, your latest antics are baffling to us even by your own impetuous standards. I have never been able to understand your problem with your apprentice who may not have been your most loyal but, even enemies of yours and him agree, has been by far the most scrupulous. Your first brush with infamy was when you brought to a grinding halt that bustling place which took pride (in fact it still does so) in the fact that it never slept. However, you fought for a cause and many like me, who had not even come into being then, admire you for your feat. Then, during your second tryst with the reactionaries you invited censure from all corners by putting your foot in your mouth. Though I think you were right to some extent as smaller enemies often make our people lose sight of the biggest foe you were referring to. Even during the period when some over-zealous scribes came out with their contrived investigation into a sphere of life hitherto considered sacrosanct, it left you largely unblemished. This last episode exposed the corruptibility of many high and mighty and saw numerous heads rolling. But when it came to you, even the over-enthusiastice detectives too had to concede that "this man is untainted". At the same period came out your first spat with your apprentice when you insisted upon super-imposing that aged femme fatale on the very structure you and your apprentice had raised. I am no fan of your apprentice but I still fail to see merit in your choice. The aged femme fatale scarcely had the ammunition for taking on the mighty rival whom your army had been battling for long and succeeded in defeating only recently. Your unhappiness with your apprentice has, however, since been inexplicably consistent. This is despite the fact that for a brief time when your pocket borough had got caught in a wave of identity-based sentiments, wherein an outsider like you had no chance, your apprentice offered gave up his own stronghold for the sake of your honour and battled out from not-so friendly lands. Even that did not assuage you and you kept complaining that he has been sidelining and even insulting you. You gladly allowed lumpens to use your name for encumbering your apprentice at the time he needed your blessings the most. Your latest disgruntlement was even more baffling. Did your apprentice not request you to choose the Exalted House instead of the more glamorous yet grimier option then itself? At that time you felt the Exalted House was incompatible with whatever remains with you of ideology. It is altogether a different matter that you took no time in changing your opinion. Yet another display of your legendary shaky convictions. I know you have been an impatient man and must be wondering what this scribbler is driving at. I simply want one thing from you - moderation. You owe your achievements to your revolt against the path your ancestors had chosen for you. That path which you abandoned was certainly not an evil one. But your revolt will be counted on the correct side of history simply because that path was and has been fraught with obscurantism and excesses. Please do remember that excesses are possible in all walks of life. Taking extreme positions at all points of life you have time and again dissipated and floundered and embarrassed admirers like us. It is not a bad idea to learn from one's own disciples. Taking a leaf out of the book of your apprentice who has won many hearts, in a place which has for long been cynicism personified, you may learn the trick of behaving gracefully so that those who admire you may not feel ashamed of having done so. You shall not disagree with me when I say that you owe at least this much to posterity.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Leaving controversies aside, Adiga deserves to be congratulated for weaving a fabulous tale around a plot which could have easily degenerated into an average crime thriller. It is the story of a man who starts off as a driver in a rich household, murders his employer, runs away with his money and settles down in Bangalore where he starts a transport agency with a fleet of cabs and does brisk business in the city dotted with innumerable call centres with odd working hours. The novel has as its backdrop an impending visit of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, to whom the protagonist writes “letters”, perhaps never delivered, wherein he narrates his own odd “success story”.
The speciality of the book lies in the fact that it does not make one paranoid about the dangers, real or imaginary, that any relatively well-off person faces from his poor servants, drivers and other such people who deserve much credit for making our lives liveable. At the most, it calls upon the reader to look within and introspect how his or her life and conduct does influence the character and behaviour of those by whom he or she is being served and who are likely to emulate, if not idolize, them. In an odd way, the novel reminds one of stories (unable to recollect their names) by Urdu writers Manto and Ashk wherein they had depicted servants driven to delinquency by the wanton lives of their masters. While the aforesaid stories dealt with adolescent domestic helps and took up the singular dimension of sexuality as its theme, “White Tiger” is a novel very much in line with the beautiful definition given by French writer Stendhal - “a mirror which passes over a highway. Sometimes it reflects to your eyes the blue of the skies at others the churned-up mud of the road”.
Political flux, illegal coal trade, absentee landlordism surviving with the help of an oppressive feudal order, the tricks played by the high and the mighty to carry out their illegal businesses and also save their skins from punishment for crimes committed in moments of inadvertence, all these things are presented in this riveting novel. For its racy narrative and a fantastic - though firmly rooted in reality - storyline, the novel is certainly worth the time, money and energy one spends devouring it.
Monday, June 1, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
The Lok Sabha elections of 2009 have thrown up many surprises though one outcome that really makes one sit up and take note is the stupendous victory of Congress nominee from Unnao, Mrs Annu Tandon. The victory appears undeniably remarkable if we take into consideration all the following facts:
- That the lady has won the elections with a thumping margin of more than 3 lakh votes. Only Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi do surpass her victory margin (as far as Uttar Pradesh is concerned).
- That her main rival happened to be Anna Shukla, one of the “bahubalis” adorning the state’s politics, who incidentally was fielded by the ruling party in the state – the BSP.
- That the lady, who of course hails from a reputed family of the district, hardly has any political background to speak of. In fact, after she settled down in Mumbai following her marriage, her only connection with her native place is a social outfit that she runs there, which seems to have done some commendable work.
The victory may not actually be a reflection upon the general public mood across the country, but it certainly must not be dismissed as a flash in the pan thereby giving our netas yet another excuse to keep hob-nobbing with shady characters in the name of political compulsions.
In fact, in view of Ms Tandon’s victory, the Congress owes the country an answer as to why it chose to make friends with Sadhu Yadav and Pappu Yadav who in any case could not help the party improve its tally. While Sadhu, the infamous brother-in-law of Lalu Prasad, lost his deposit, Pappu’s wife and mother failed to win their seats despite the so-called following enjoyed by the self-styled Robinhood.
Unnao is no metro city where the victory of the urbane Ms Tandon could have been seen as “natural”. She had neither the caste arithmetic in her favour (her surname denotes that she is a Punjabi Khatri), does not happen to be the wife, daughter, mother or sister of a high-profile politician. Still, she managed to comprehensively defeat a man known mainly for his fire power and belonging to a caste group which has traditionally held sway over the state and which has found favour with the current ruling dispensation in the state. Moreover, Mrs Tandon, who is in her 50s, is also not a filmstar hence the possibility of “glamour quotient” is also ruled out.
One wonders why the Grand Old Party could not opt for experimenting with a different brand of candidates in Supaul, Purnea (where Pappu’s wife and mother respectively lost) and Pashchim Champaran (where Sadhu forefeited his deposit). The result in Unnao is indeed a strong signal to not only the Congress but all other parties which unabashedly proclaim that gun-toting thugs have become indispensable to the political scene in the Hindi heartland. One hopes that the netas do take note of the fact that decency continues to be rewarded in public life. The courts of law have already started doing their bit by having denied permission to many a tainted politician to fight elections. Now, the khadi brigade must prove that its belief in virtues is not a sham.