Election Rigging at India International Centre

Kaushal Kishore | Follow @HolyGanga
The well-known scholar Ashis Nandy has been elected the trustee of India International Center in the last week of March. The IIC is a Delhi-based institution that does not occupy as much space as Jawaharlal Nehru University, but it can not be said about its impact on socio-political life around the world. In this election, he has defeated his nearest rival, the three times winner Lalit Joshi with a single vote. Recently, Delhi High Court bench headed by Justice Jayant Nath has started hearing a case in this election dispute. As such the IIC election committee is facing serious allegation of the election rigging.
The option of voting on ballot papers and e-voting both were available here. 1200 voters preferred electronic voting, out of which only 189 votes were valid. Apart from that 405 members preferred voting on ballot papers. Nandy was behind two votes in the counting. In the re-counting, he got just one more vote than Joshi, however the actual number of votes that he has obtained remained the same. As such a number of questions emerged after perusal of the media reports and documents pertaining to this issue. In cases of thin margin, how many times is it reasonable to count the votes? Traditionally re-counting is initiated when at least one of the parties requests to do so. In this election IIC has performed last rites to this tradition.
The election of trustees takes place every two years at IIC, and this was the first time when the ballots were re-counted. Instead of the demand of a party, the reason behind this was the so-called difference. Consequently the presiding officer of the election committee is in dock. In this case the position of IIC President and former Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, N.N. Vohra is doubtful, hence his team is facing trial in the courtroom.
In fact this is not an issue of re-counting, but it has metamorphosed into the further analysis of the invalid votes. The invalid ballots are usually sorted out before the counting starts. The same process was evolved in this case as well, where two votes were found invalid. After the scrutiny and counting Lalit Joshi got two more votes than Ashish Nandy. In our conversation, Nandy said that after receiving this information, he has congratulated Joshi for the victory before returning to his home. Next day, when the formal announcement was made all were shocked to learn that Nandy was declared the winner with the thin margin of one vote.
The election committee has declared three more invalid votes in the second scrutiny. These votes were in favour of Joshi, who has been winning for three consecutive terms. As such total five votes were found invalid, and he lost this election with such a thin margin. Now the court is considering several questions, what was the reason that the committee failed to ascertain these invalid votes in initial scrutiny? Why the presiding officer ordered re-counting when none of the parties asked for it? What was the actual reason behind this repeated scrutiny? These are the question marks on the democratic process prevalent in the IIC.
Things are not going well at India International Centre for quite sometimes. The audit firm Chandok and Giuliani has mentioned about some of these inconsistencies in its report in September 2017 itself. Although the governing body has claimed taking appreciate action, but nothing to that effect is being seen anywhere. A couple of years ago, the controversy surrounding the trustees and members of the managing committee had made a lot of noise. Meanwhile the complaints of unlawful activities performed by some of its members came onto the fore. Considering these facts it is hard to believe that this the same institution that once denounced the membership proposal of the tainted leaders like Lalu Prasad Yadav.
I think Ashish Nandy and Lalit Joshi have nothing to do with this election  rigging. It is possible that someone else is spinning cobwebs around them. Moreover e-voting did not prove any meaningful in this election. The E.V.M. has made the counting of votes easy and accurate. It has also minimised the likelihood of invalid votes. Despite all this, this prestigious institution has preferred voting on ballot papers. In case of voting on E.V.M. this kind of rigging was not possible. The court has fixed its next hearing on April 23. Many eyes are keeping a tab on the developments associated with this case of election rigging.
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Social activist Kaushal Kishore is the author of The Holy Ganga (Rupa, 2008) and Managing Editor of the monthly journal, Panchayat Sandesh
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Political Economy of Across the Lines Terror Trade

Kaushal Kishore | Follow @HolyGanga

The suicide bomber attack in Pulwama district of Kashmir valley on the Valentine’s Day is an unforgettable gift that tore our bravehearts into pieces. Its reaction is scattered here and there. The White House condolence message reads about the killing of more than 40 soldiers of the paramilitary force, and at least 44 others as injured. After this inhumane act of terrorism the waves of resentment and nationalist fervor are rising faster than ever before. All directions resonate with the slogans of Zindabad and Murdabad due to this sudden growth of love for the nation and the valley. The Prime Minister has said that the sacrifice of the brave soldiers shall not go in vain. The army has been given freedom to retaliate. But denied the possibility of that impending war. The govt. had called the all-party meeting on this issue. Instead of joining it, the Prime Minister has preferred the election rally in Maharashtra and clarified his actual position. Today, the Congress President Rahul Gandhi supports Modi govt. Meanwhile, Kamal Haasan, who came into politics from performing arts, has again raised the question on plebiscite in the valley.

Just a day before this incident, there was a similar terrorist attack in Iran on the other side of the Pakistani border. At least 27 soldiers of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard were killed in it. Major General Muhammad Ali Jafari, head of the guards, has asked Pakistan to take action against the terrorist group responsible for it. Iran has also blamed US, UAE and Israel for this act of terror. Two days later, the External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj has a meeting with her counterpart in Tehran. The two countries have decided to resolve this problem together.

This is the occurrence in one of those valleys that has at least three decades old history of terrorism. Sadly this is known worldwide as a place where deployment of security forces is heaviest. They could have been airlifted. It was easy so far as convenience of the local people and the precious lives of these jawans were concerned. The series of demonstrations is continued in all parts of India after the Pulwama Terror Attack. The very next day Jammu has witnessed the impacts of the shutdown. The supporters of the suicide bomber celebrated with crackers in Kashmir Valley. After Burhan Wani, the patriotism of Adil Ahmed Dar alias Waqas Commando is in picture. Bharatiyata (Indian Nationalism) and Kashmiriyat are being defined as nationalism versus patriotism. This is a cause of sufferings for Kashmiri students in educational institutions located in other parts of India. Army veteran D.S. Hooda, who was the Lieutenant General during the surgical strike, has expressed doubts on the procurement of explosives used in this attack. If the operator in Pakistan can order one of the stone palters, and procurement of explosives from construction sites of Jammu Highway is also possible, our beloved nation is sitting on the sizzling volcano.

Intelligence failure resulted in the killngs of 76 jawans of the paramilitary force on 6th April 2010 at Dantewada in Chhattisgarh. The government has launched surgical strike in response to the attack on Army camp in Uri on 18th Sept. 2016. The Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Satyapal Malik has admitted about the intelligence failure, however, intelligence agency had issued the alert before the anniversaries of the execution of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Butt, only a week earlier. After this, the Operation All-Out, continued since last year, is on its peak. Its impact is noticed on the training camps situated across the fateful lines. The possibility of fresh surgical strike is hovering over the cloudy sky. The Right Wing thinkers have found it to be the favourable condition before the suspension of Article 370 of the Constitution. Today they are lobbying for the next Mahabharata war on the pretext of ever increasing acts of violence.

Pakistani terrorist outfit, Jaish-e-Mohammed, has claimed the responsibility of Pulwama Suicide Bombing. Later its spokesman dismissed the claim in a statement issued to the Pakistani media. This fact is not hidden from anyone that the head of this outfit, Masood Azhar, was handed over to Taliban in 1999 in a lieu of Air India’s hijacked aircraft IC-816. Till date only a few people know about the political economy associated with this kidnapping case. The ransom of the couple of hundred million dollars and the terrorists like Masood Azhar, imprisoned in India, are the parts of the same scandal. The role of the middle man, Roberto Jiori, travelling in the same hijacked aircraft and better known as ‘Currency King’ is yet to be discussed in the mainstream media. The Prime Minister of Pakistan has demanded evidences, and levelled it as a political stunt to win general elections. He has urged to share the intelligence inputs. China is still engaged in the protection of Masood Azhar and giving voice to the same Pakistani theory. All these things are directly connected with the Sino-US trade war. The Americans expect help from Pakistan in the Afghanistan. Meanwhile, France known for the Raphael Deal, has extended helping hand when announced about its proposed draft pertaining to terrorist tag attached to Masood Azhar in the United Nations. Two weeks before this attack, the govt. had made provision of releasing more than 3 lakh crore rupees for the defense budget. In absence of the assessment of all these facts, it is very difficult to decipher the terror trade.

Last year, Imran Khan govt. of Pakistan with Modi govt. started a new chapter of love and fraternity with the advent of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor. After Pulwama Terror Attack, Pakistan has lost the status of the Most Favored Nation. In such a situation, imported goods will be charged 200% tax. Now those who make fast in Hindustan will have to pay twice heavier price for the rock salt. The million dollar question of the day is that whether resentment and insanity bear any healing impact for those, who suffered the loss of life and property? This question is waiting for its answer.

The Indian Army shifts its position during the winter months at higher altitudes. The situation like Kargil War can be ascertained when the weather changes. The insanity mixed up with fear, illusion and inconvenience can strengthen possibility of the civil war. It may makes things easier for the general elections, but the people involved in this patriotism versus nationalism drama can further lead the society towards new divisions. It is not in the interest of the country that used to reflect in the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi.

[Social activist Kaushal Kishore is the author of The Holy Ganga (Rupa, 2008) and Managing Editor of Panchayat Sandesh. His weekly column Across The Lines appears in the vernaculars.]

The Disappearance of Saint Gopal Das

Kaushal Kishore | Follow @HolyGanga

The rumours of disappearance of Sant Gopal Das alias Azad Singh, who has started fasting in support of Gangaputra Sananda after two days of his last fast-unto-death, is in news for sometimes. His father Shamsher Singh, from Rajakhedi village of Panipat district, launched a protest on December 5 in the AIIMS along with a number of supporters. The next day Delhi High Court has accepted the habeas corpus writ to present him before the bench headed by Justice Hima Kohli. The petitioner Praveen Singh, from Gazipur districts of Uttar Pradesh, was in his service for several weeks before the disappearance. It reflects that the supporters are not aware of his actual whereabouts. The same evening they started a series of protests with the candle light in the AIIMS. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, former Law Minister Somnath Bharti and volunteer Chandra Vikash have raised question on Modi govt. The politics on the state of law and order is at its peak without having any impact on the actual cause.
Sant Gopal Das is known for a series of fasts to save the grass land (Gochar Bhumi) in Haryana and his love for the Ganga is also evident. The credit for Nigamanand Sena (Army of Crusaders) goes to him. He has started the hunger strike focusing on Jal, Jangle, Jameen (water, forest, land) on the bank of the Ganga at Rishikesh on June 24. Meanwhile, the administration used Section 309 of the IPC as a weapon to treat him like a football in the playground. As such he was bound to travel from hospital-to-hospital in Dehradun, Rishikesh, Chandigarh and Delhi. The Uttarakhand govt. has sent him to AIIMS Delhi on November 5. After four weeks of treatment the medical board has found him to be fit on December 4 and once again sent him to Dehradun. Then he has been reported from Max and Doon Hospitals, respectively. The records of CCTV cameras and mobile phones reveal that he is with one of his followers. But neither the family members nor the supporters have any correct information about his whereabouts. In such a situation, the govt. is being questioned. One day those who raise such questions will have to answer the questions on themselves as well.
The news of his disappearance flashed a day after mob lynching of policeman Subodh Kumar Singh by members of cow protection brigade in Bulandshahar. He has started Satyagraha to protect water, forest and land while raising questions on plundering of natural resources. This fast with a demand to restore the free-flow of the Ganga is continued for more than five months more like Baba Naganath, the Ganga crusader from Kashi. This may be asked whether the govt. failed to initiate talks with him or the possibility of such talk is missing? But the media has considered him one of the busybodies seeking attention. The difference between the law he is demanding and the one proposed by the govt. is also not clear. The supporters are too deeply engrossed in declaring him the next crusader after Nigamananda, Naganath and Swami Sananda to focus on this issue. Here, a voice of Aviral Ganga reverberates that sounds more like Har Har Gange.
The mastery of proponents of fasting in raising a series of questions is evident. But no one has taken any initiative to amend Section 309 of the IPC. Four years ago, the Supreme Court has not accepted Swami Sananda’s hunger strike as an attempt to commit suicide. After that people active in this politics should take necessary steps for the amendment in concerned law. The lack of proper policy to address the demands of such fasting people on social issues is further needed. Whether Rahul Gandhi, who has raised this issue in a tweet and Arvind Kejriwal, who has accused Modi government for his disappearance, continue to miss these issues in the wake of political gains? They have proved it by not disclosing their policies on free-flow of the Ganga and the grass land for cows. AAP leaders, who came out of the public movement, could have proved better, but they put all efforts only in taking advantage of the prevailing situation.
The people used to raise the issue of Aviral Ganga and Nirmal Ganga after the sacrifice of the Gangaputra have to be accountable as well. Today the state is all the more responsible for it. But the functioning of the democratic government is not possible without public participation. All the efforts of these people are in favour of one or the other political party, not the Ganga and her tributaries. The saint, who disappeared recently, has himself proved to be a proponent of this policy during last Lok Sabha election. The bullock cart rally that reached Banaras in support of Narendra Modi was headed by Gopal Das. But during Modi govt. he was punished for violating section 144 when marched towards the parliament. Today, when the law proposed to safeguard the Ganges needs to be framed, the game of hide and seek is in progress. The transparent public debate on this topic is missing in this hue and cry. In the days of election, this tendency transcends all limits and turn into the politics of hatred. The common man is not completely ignorant of it.
So far as disappeared Gopal Das is concerned, the division bench of Delhi High Court has given two weeks time for the next hearing. The challenge before the police is to find him before that in order to present him before the court. The time will tell whether the Satyagrahi saint has preferred the stunt of disappearing for seeking media attention or went his chosen place for sacrifice? In case Arvind Kejriwal’s conjecture proves to be true, then Jaats along with the cow protection brigade and devotees of the Ganga can be violent. The condition of Gopal Das is different from the three Gang crusaders. He is one of such devotees to cows and the Ganga, who is coming from Jaat community of Haryana, and spent quite a long time in establishing an effective networks in many states like Prabhu Dutt Brahmachari, leader of 1966 Gauraksha Andolan.
There is a question mark on those supporters and leaders busy in giving voice to this theory, since he has invited one of his companions to meet outside Doon Hospital before the disappearance. The old customs like Santhara that prescribed how the saint can give up the life and Jauhar that relates to widow committing sati are still prevalent in India. There is a number of supporters to such customs that Padmavati raw has revealed recently. The mob lynching of a couple of innocent people in Bulandshahar further adds to it. The hue and cry in this case is still in the atmosphere. Gopal Das ought to come forward in this situation. I request the administration to maintain softness in its behavior in order to make it possible. This will prove to be a better step.

The Corridor Connecting India and Pakistan

Kaushal Kishore | Follow @HolyGanga
The foundation of Shri Kartarpur Sahib Corridor has been laid during the celebrations of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. In fact this is a small orifice of the ambitious project intended to turn into a roaring river in future. Undoubtedly it will render the opportunity to connect people living across Indo-Pak border. The Union Minister for Surface Transport, Nitin Gadkari, has declared the completion of this four-line road project in less than six months. As such it will soon be accessible to the people living across the lines. This political initiative that started under cloak and cover of religion and faith will also be able to nourish those elements that is being clearly indicated by Chief Minister of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh and BJP leader, Subramanyam Swamy.
Indeed the governments of India and Pakistan have made commendable efforts to restore the harmony and brotherhood in the crucial phase of growing violence. It reminds the earlier such attempt by former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who has initiated an effort to connect Delhi and Lahore. Navjot Singh Sidhu and Imran Khan have emerged as the effective strategists in South Asian politics. Now devotees can easily make pilgrimage between this side of border at Dera Baba Nanak and Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib on the other side. Earlier formal proceedings to get the visa was necessary to do so. Now the display of faith is quite easy. Sidhu, who has participated in the oath ceremony of Imran Khan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, has played significant role in it. Recently, the governments on both sides have shown sincerity necessary for this corridor.
The External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has kept the distance from programs in both the countries. However, it is being said that her engagements due to the elections in Telangana and other states is the cause of it. But what is hidden here behind the noises of the media can remind the days of the Khalistan movement. This corridor strengthens the possibility of creating the third  political region, after Vatican City and Israel, on political map of the world that defines religion and politics as the two different sides of the same coin. Long ago, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia had said that religion is a long term politics. Sushma Swaraj, who was happened to be a socialist before joining the right-wing, is well aware of Dr. Lohia’s views. Harsimrat Kaur Badal from Shiromani Akali Dal and Hardeep Puri, the bureaucrat-turned-politician, have represented the govt. of India in her place. Modi govt. has preferred the festivities of birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism and a couple of ministers from the same community in order to turn it into a series of wonderful religious events.
The faithless religion and sports of cricket have been playing an unprecedented role in the politics of 21st century in Indian subcontinent. The cricketer-turned-politicians like Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan and Congress leader Sidhu will be remembered for a long time due to their contributions in this ambitious scheme. It further indicates about the deeply rooted agenda that gives preference to people joining politics after a noticeable stint in sports (cricket), arts (acting) and bureaucracy over those coming from the traditional backgrounds. The relationship between New Delhi and Islamabad is also critical that is dominating on the common people of these countries. There are certain kind of restrictions on the people living across the fateful lines. This corridor will be easily accessible to all living in different parts of the world and specialised in many sorts of games. Its political economy is such a topic in which consumerism does not hesitate to wear the cloak and cover of faith and religion. The acts of terrorism and contest of weaponry are culmination of the same consumerism.
The 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak is an opportunity to review the last five centuries. He gave priority to the Lokas over the Vedas. Meanwhile, there is a history of centuries long slavery and repeated division of the same country in the name of religion. Punjab and Bengal are scattered in different countries today that gives rise to certain questions like whether Punjabi and Bengali is going to be the source of unity in future? Such questions will remain unanswered in the golden period of politics of hatred and division. The leaders gathered to celebrate the occasion neglected such issues, however, they preferred to make headlines while focusing on the harsh punishments not only for the culprits of riots and massacre but also for those who are responsible for drowning the new generation in the abyss of intoxication. The foundation of this corridor was laid when the victims of Mumbai terror attacks (26/11) were remembering their loved ones after a decade. All these things are capable of carrying out the task of properly exposing the draped priorities.
There is a natural connection between the common people of Hindustan and Pakistan. It’s the relationship of brotherhood and affection. The govt. in the eighties formed a group of South Asian countries known as SAARC. After that a non-political group, South Asian Fraternity, was formed to maintain the people-to-people relationship. Its chairman Satyapal Grover is glad on this development of the corridor. Kuldeep Nayar, Khushwant Singh and Satyapal Grover like Indians have tried their best to keep this brotherhood intact together with their Pakistani friends.
One day I was surprised to know that the group of Pakistani women gave credit to Grover Sahib for the little freedom that they enjoy today. I believe that he is the last person among us, who has witnessed the pains of the partition. Last time I saw him during the dialogue series in the memory of Kuldip Nayar, dion of journalism in Independent India. It’s not possible to forget one of the comments from that event. Ratish Nanda, one of his close relatives and CEO of Agha Khan Cultural Trust has said that Nayar Sahib firmly believed that the way East and West Germany had demolished the Berlin Wall, one day, people of India and Pakistan will wipe out the lines drawn between the two countries in the same way. Of course, in the future, this corridor will be considered as a step forward in that direction.
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(Social activist Kaushal Kishore is the author of The Holy Ganga and the Managing Editor of Panchayat Sandesh)

Language Campaign versus Dialect Crisis

Kaushal Kishore | Follow @HolyGanga

Nowadays proponents of Indian language are happy since Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj have delivered a series of lectures in Hindi on many platforms in India and abroad. Although Hindi and other regional languages are yet to get proper place in the central services, the govt. has initiated certain steps in this direction. Next year aspirants of Indian Forest Service can take the advantage of Hindi option in addition to the English during examination. Moreover, existing English language laboratories in the educational institutions can provide facilities for local language in the future. The spice of nationalism in this process can make the dishes all the more enjoyable. State governments in Maharashtra and Karnataka have been acclaimed due to the schemes of local language in practice. Now a similar trend is going to take place in certain other states and private sectors as well. The campaign for Indian languages are becoming stronger. Undoubtedly the people imparted education in regional languages will conveniently avail the services of the state. But these efforts on the name of language campaign will eventually destroy the reservoir of natural diversities and will also continue to be helpful in enhancing the all pervasive inequality.

Most of the leaders active during the middle age of freedom struggle had accepted Hindi as a language of the mass. They have promoted it as a medium of unity in the diversity of the country. The desired success is yet to be achieved, even after seven decades of the independence. There will be widespread impact on the status of English after proper placement of Hindi and other Indian languages in the state. The protest for this cause has been continuing for last three decades. One day, leader like Atal Bihari Vajpayee was also standing in its support. The govt. of Madhya Pradesh has started Atal Bihari Vajpayee Hindi University out of respect towards his views. But lack of students emerged as a new problem here on account of the employment related crisis. The groups involved in its establishment have started to find out the solution of the prevailing crisis. But there is no such organisations dedicated to address the crisis of dialects. Today primary oral tradition that has survived since the pre historic times in different parts of the country is breaking away. Once upon a time the Indian scholars actually used to be the proponents of the oral tradition itself.

Languages are born out of dialects. As such the connection between the language and the dialect is as clear as crystal. However the two are different things by nature defining the oral and written traditions. The sound is any noise available in the nature. After refinement these sounds take meaningful form of the dialects. This is an approach that never try to impose mastery on the nature. European scholar Ivan Illich has mentioned about the major issues pertaining to this subject in ABC: the Alphabetization of the Popular Mind. Repeatation is possible in the written tradition. However, the same is not possible in the oral tradition that cannot avoid relationship with time and nature in every effort of repeatation. The process of writing is capable to eliminate this relationship. The dialect turns into a language with the help of script and rules of grammar. In fact this is a political change. It’s very difficult to cultivate the tribes of oral tradition in its absence. The difference in expression of dialects and languages are yet another significant issue. The dialect is a freely flying bird, whereas the language is bounded in the imprisonment of script and grammar. If Mahatma Gandhi’s village of Hind Swaraj takes shape even in an imagination, it will be on the basis of dialects, not the languages. The dialects have been keeping the regional identities and diversities intact for several centuries. In the 21st century it’s not possible to say that the same tradition is going to continue in future.

Language and dialect are two different concepts more like civilization and culture. Its political economy can accurately define the equation between civil society and tribal or rural community. The system that developed for the civil society found to be sitting in the congregations are considered to be the civilization, and the traditions that evolved naturally among the local community have been given the name of the culture. However, the activities based on civilization are often referred as a cultural program today. By doing so the prestigious educational institutions have revealed the same politics, which has long been contesting against the people from all over the world with one and the same stick. This is the politics that taught how to test scholars on parameters of literacy. It played the significant role in accelerating the growing inequality throughout the world for a long time. This is a topic of serious study in itself. The research work pertaining to this issue will be able to blow the sharp minds like Capital in the Twenty-First Century by French economist Thomas Piketty. The system responsible for the prevailing order is limiting the use of words in the market place. This is surely going to have a negative impact on the indigenous diversity in future as well.

On this subject, the well-known scholar of Hindi, Namvar Singh is afraid of the premonition that one day we will forget our own dialects in future. I was tongue-tied in front of the people of my own village and community on this issue of language and dialect. Today it’s difficult to ascertain that to what extent we have forgotten the dialects of the village? This topic is giving pain while discussing with close friends. Recently I’ve urged, on the couple of occasions, to consider its seriousness on the forums related to Indian language campaign. It may have certain noticeable impact, if the Congress President Rahul Gandhi and other influential leaders, in addition to the Prime Minister and the External Affairs Minister, look into it. The thought on it can reintroduce certain questions on the margins that is neglected due to the politics of its own kind.

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(Social activist Kaushal Kishore is the author of The Holy Ganga and Managing Editor of Panchayat Sandesh. His weekly column #AcrossTheLines appears in the vernaculars.)

The Gangaputra on Aviral Ganga and Nirmal Ganga

Kaushal Kishore | Follow @HolyGanga

The Prime Minister has started this week at Benares, where he has inaugurated the series of projects to ensure Nirmal Ganga. On this occasion Ganga Rejuvenation Minister, Nitin Gadkari has preferred to underline the significance of the 140 MLD Dinapur Sewage Treatment Plant. It can settle the problem of polluted water that is merging directly in the Ganga near the ghats at Kashi. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has congratulated the people of Varanasi on Twitter for the inauguration of the Multi-Modal Waterways Project on the same occasion. This is going to make navigation of large vessels containing shipments of 15,000 to 20,000 tones easy to reach Haldia in West Bengal after crossing Bihar.

This navigation project has bypassed the basic environmental clearance. Sadly neither the local inhabitants influenced by such developments were consulted nor its impact on the environment was properly assessed. The governments headed by Modi and Yogi are going to showcase these achievements in the 17th Lok Sabha elections. Moreover this ambitious scheme has its own impact on the ongoing assembly elections in the states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Telangana. Now it’s crystal clear to almost all what exactly were to be cleansed that mother Ganga had called Narendra Modi to the city of lights.

On the other hand, the condition of the Saint fasting for Aviral Ganga is very serious. Now it’s very difficult for him to speak. I met him with the waterman Rajendra Singh on the Saturday night at the ICU of AIIMS. He has been admitted to one of the most prestigious hospitals in New Delhi a couple of days before the festival of lights. After more than four months of irregular fasting, weak and lean Saint Gopal Das is compelled to write in order to speak his mind. He prefers to present characters from the Mahabharata like an Akhhad Jaat from Haryana village. The condition of doctors attending him and facing his attitude for last five days were enough to make it clear. At last he has agreed to the treatment on perpetual request of the waterman. This was the cause of gladness for all of us that night. But still I am not in a position to comment on his newly found status so far as fasting is concerned. Once again he has started medical services in front of Dr Piyush Ranjan and Dr Yash Deep. This is a new hope to the life of a forty-year-old fasting monk.

The game of kabaddi is continued between the two groups of the Gangaputras focused on Nirmal and Aviral Ganga, respectively. The politicians in the power are active in the field with at least 108 projects to sing the songs of Nirmal Ganga. They have employed an army of highly skilled and brilliant work force to make this battle all the more difficult. The opposite team focused on the free-flow of the Ganga are made of saints, monks and ascetics, who are not ready to change their position slightly.

Gopal Das is considered to be representative of the Nigamananda Sena and patron of the Sanyasi Vidroh (ascetic revolt). He used to be a part of the Cow Protection Brigade before shifting towards the Save Ganga Movement in 2011 after the crusade of Gangaputra Nigamananda. The condition of Gandhian Satyagrahi decorated in the hospital bed was unbearably painful. On the state of these Gangaputras moving from the place of Satyagraha to one-after-another hospital, I agree with my friend Deepak Parvatyar, who took us to AIIMS that the administration has left no stone unturned to make them the football. Moreover the fasting of Atmabodhananda in the campus of Matri Sadan at Haridwar is about to complete its first month. These are the free and lofty voices for the free-flow of the Ganga. It is not possible to suppress them. All such attempts will continue to pave the way for the new voices to emerge further. The corpocracy is all indulged in the politics so as to prevent them from becoming more widespread. All the Gangaputras from the great archer Bhishma to the dion of environmental engineering in India Pro G.D. Agarwal (Swami Sananda) were compelled to decorate on the bed of thorns. There is a challenge to face more difficult situations than the predecessor for the new ascetics on this path of self-sacrifice.

The Ganga Rejuvenation Minister Nitin Gadkari had said earlier that about 80% of the demands of fasting saint were accepted. He was focused on the Ganga Rejuvenation Bill that is scheduled to be placed before the Parliament in the winter session. The law effective since March 3, 1974 for conservation of the Ganga and other water bodies are meaningless in the absence of its proper execution. Certain other inconvenient facts are here for consideration. The industrialists have adopted most of the ghats of the Ganga on account of maintenance and cleanliness. The eyes of the Baba, who proclaimed the Prime Minister as new incarnation of the God was focused on the banks of the holy rivers in the name of plantation. Now the proposed law is going to create Ganga Protection Brigade, an all new army consisting of retired army personnel.

Such inconvenient facts are sufficient to remind the story of the colonial days, when there were places in the cities where entry of dogs and Indians were prohibited by virtue of the law. In that era villagers used to say, ‘Raj sarakaar ka aur Hukm Company Bahadur ka’ (Rule of the govt. and order of representatives of East India Company). Now the devotees of the Ganga can hold the new law book more like the African tribes holding the Holy Bible before handing over their precious land to the British.

American author and farmer Stanley Crawford has said that next to blood relationships, come water relationships. Although I don’t agree with him, I used to quote it in order to explore the close relatives of these Satyagrahis. Before Dr. Gularia, the director of AIIMS Administration, shares anything about the Gangaputra, I think it’s necessary to discuss this issue with him. I want to suggest the Prime Minister that it is not appropriate to forget these devotees of the Ganga, as they were looking towards him with hopeful eyes before the formation of the 16th Lok Sabha. The drying of the Ganga of these eyes is not going to be in the interest of India.

Agriculture Swinging between Flood and Drought

Kaushal Kishore | Follow @HolyGanga

Jal Bahule Srishtinasha, Jal Bihune Srishtinasha. Too much or too little water destroys creation. This proverb has been often heard on banks of the Mahanadi, when it literally turns into the bulky river. The drought in its terrible state is called a famine. Its history is beyond the limits of all destructions. The four-years long famine of Bengal was the cause of 10 million people’s death in the 18th century. The number of casualties are almost same in a couple famines of the 19th century. Again millions of people lost their precious lives in the famine of Bengal during the World War II. Although the conditions of the colonial days are not prevelent today, but still the catastrophic problem is yet to be solved.

After Bangladesh, India leads the world over so far as the deaths caused by floods are concerned. There are certain states here one part of them are submerged in flooding and the other parts are suffering from draught. This year Kerala was submerged in water. The flood has caused irreparable loss to the life and property. Apart from this, the reports of huge damages caused by flooding came from the states of Assam, Odisha, Nagaland, Karnataka, etc. Among so many news of heavy rains 38% districts remained in the grip of drought this year. Today total 251 districts are compelled to withstand drought. Villagers are still suffering in many parts of Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Bihar, Gujarat, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka due to severe drought. People in the Marathwada region are bound to eat chapatis made of grass. The dry karnels of mangoes seldom proves to be the basis of life for villagers of the Kalahandi region. The issue of home delivery of relief materials instead of the home delivery of alcohol in Mumbai that emerged recently in Maharashtra politics is actually a part of the drought narrative.

Today the story of too much and too little water is present in every part of India. The villagers of Ganga basin have used certain terms to define the degree of abundance of water i.e. barh, boha, humma, shah and prlay. In case of barh the water from the fields used to reach the threshold of village. When this water starts to touch the window it’s called boha. The pets start to swim when the water crosses this limit, and that situation is referred as humma. In the case of shah the water starts touching the roof, and when everything is submerged in that it is referred as pralay (holocaust). This series of problems are steadily moving towards breaking all records of previous centuries. Indian farmers and peasants were floating while bravely facing with the crisis of flooding. But today same people seems to be drowned in the water.

For a long time farmers from all over the country are forced to swing between these two problems. In the 21st century, this crisis has travelled a long distance from the sea coast to the top of the Himalayan shrines. In last five years since the devastation of Kedarnath in 2013 to the catastrophic floods of Srinagar, Chennai, Mumbai and Kerala got enough of space in in public sphere. In addition to them the terrible devastation caused by the tsunami in coastal areas in 2004 is another holocaust like situation. These are a few of the huge catastrophic floods of 21st century. There are countless stories of drowning and drying of small villages buried beneath these mammoth walls of water. Sadly they failed to emerge properly in the limelight. Today no one in the media is going to raise the voice for these farmers and peasants. Senior journalist P. Sainath said that the print and TV media has not 1% space for those producing food grains for the entire populace.

The flood and drought are the most frequent enemies of the farmers’ produce. The lives of peasants get entangled in the cobwebs of financial crisis, they fail to get out of it. As such this is counted as one of the major causes of rising suicide among farmers and peasants. In order to get rid of these problems the people engaged in cultivation are forced to flee to the city. Millions of people are turning their faces away from farming over the past decades. As a result of that only eight percent people were found to be active in farming in the last census. This is also not true that nothing has been done in order to address the problem of flood and drought. In fact every attempt of its treatment has proved to make it further deadlier. The Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar is worried due to the loss of Rs 500 crore from the state exchequer in the management of flood and drought every year.

The villages and tribes were ready to deal with these two problems in the old time, as if they were eagerly waiting for them. The result of forgetting the price of silver drops of rain is now an open secret. Today, the indigenous system has broken down. The old system of water conservation and irrigation is no longer surviving. As a result of that the perennial rivers ary dry in the lean seasons. The Gandhian environmentalist Sundar Lal Bahuguna said that the ratio of water in India during monsoon and non-monsoon months is one and seventy, whereas in Bhutan, the same ratio is one and seventeen. The countries like Bhutan and Japan have done commendable work towards water conservation.

The author of Aaj Bhi Khare Hain Talaab, Anupam Mishra and the well known journalist Arun Kumar ‘Paani-Baba’ have dedicated their all lives while promoting how to revive the indigenous techniques of water management in order to reduce the crisis of flood and drought. The innovative works carried out in Rajasthan has turned Rajendra Singh into the water man. The leaders of many states, including Bihar, are contemplating on it today. This is not possible without the participation of the common people living in the villages. Sadly the development model of Delhi that is centred on grabbing the land of rivers and reservoirs is assumed as the development vision of the day. The impending danger is going to continue as long as this tendency is not discouraged considerably. However the people standing in the desert are always free to look at the horizon with the hope of a mirage.

एकादशी व्रत हो संसद में 

कौशल किशोर | Follow @HolyGanga

पानी और किसानी संकट में है। तमिलनाडु के किसानों ने बार-बार जंतर मंतर पर धरना प्रदर्शन कर इसे अभिव्यक्ति दी। मध्य प्रदेश के किसानों ने मंदसौर में सरकारी बन्दूक से निकली गोलियों का सामना किया। वामपंथी संगठनों ने भी खेती किसानी की संकट को दूर करने के लिए आवाजें उठाई हैं। योगेन्द्र यादव देश भर के तमाम किसान संगठनों को एकजुट कर संघर्ष की धार तेज करने में लगे हैं। किसानों के मुद्दे पर प्रधानमंत्री से जवाब तलब करने वाले महाराष्ट्र के नेता नानाभाऊ पटोले देश के सौ से ज्यादा संगठनों को एकजुट कर संसद का घेराव कर रहे हैं। इन आवाजों के मुखर होने से पहले ही निति आयोग के बाबू अरविन्द पनगड़िया ने अपने एक मित्र के साथ मिलकर वह किताब लिखी थी, जिसमें कहा गया कि किसानों की आत्महत्या दूसरे सेक्टर में होने वाली ऐसी मौत की तुलना में काफी कम है। उन्होंने देश की जनसंख्या का 53 फीसदी हिस्सा कृषि कार्य में संलग्न मान कर ऐसा निष्कर्ष निकाला। इस आंकड़े में वो लोग भी शामिल हैं, जो अमिताभ बच्चन की तरह बाराबंकी में कृषि भूमि खरीद कर किसान होने का दावा पेश कर सकते हैं। हालांकि भारत सरकार ने साल में 180 दिन खेती किसानी में लगे लोगों को ही कृषक माना है। और 2011 की जनगणना में ऐसे किसान सिर्फ आठ प्रतिशत हैं। इस दशा में निति आयोग के बाबू की मंशा स्पष्ट हो जाती है। साथ ही यह भी कि कृषि ऋण माफी, फसल बीमा, लागत का डेढ़ गुणा मूल्य और ई मंडी जैसी स्कीम से किसानों के अच्छे दिनों का ख्वाब पूरा नहीं हुआ।
देश के पानीदार लोगों की दशा गंगापुत्रों की व्यथा कथा कहती है। सोलहवीं लोकसभा चुनाव के केंद्र में गंगा की पुकार रही। नरेंद्र मोदी की वह स्वीकारोक्ति और अरविन्द केजरीवाल का बनारस पहुंचना महज संयोग नहीं था। गंगा का तट कुरूक्षेत्र का मैदान बन गया। सरकार नमामि गंगे का मंत्र जाप कर रही है। यह कुल बीस हजार करोड़ रुपये की परियोजना है। अब लालकिला की तरह गंगा का घाट पाट भी देश के उद्योगपतियों ने गोद ले लिया है। जलयान चलाने के लिए बेताब बहुराष्ट्रीय कंपनियों ने धीरज धारण कर रखा है। नदियों को जोड़ने की कवायद के साथ ही इन बेजान नदियों के लिए रैली निकालने वाले सदगुरु के सघन वृक्षारोपण अभियान की सफलता भी उनके लिए मायने रखती है। इन सभी परियोजनाओं का राजनीतिक अर्थशास्त्र कम से कम पांच लाख करोड़ रुपये का है। इसी बीच बनारस के मल्लाह विकास की आंधी को चुनौती देने के लिए खड़े होते हैं। एक दिन इसी जमीन पर गंगा मुक्ति आंदोलन के प्रणेता बाबा नागनाथ शहीद हुए थे। देश भर के पर्यावरण वैज्ञानिकों में अगुवा गुरु दास अग्रवाल संन्यासी हो गए। हाल ही में वह 111 दिनों के अनशन के बाद इस दुनिया से विदा हो चुके हैं। गंगापुत्र निगमानंद के नाम पर बनी सेना के नायक गोपाल दास का सत्याग्रह बदस्तूर जारी है। दक्षिणपंथी विचारकों ने इसे संन्यासी विद्रोह कह कर इन पानीदार लोगों के बलिदान का समर्थन ही किया है। जलपुरुष राजेन्द्र सिंह इन आंदोलनों को एकजुट करने के लिए गंगोत्री से गंगासागर तक की सदभावना यात्रा में जी जान से लगे हैं।
पानी और किसानी के हित में जंग जारी है। हालांकि इन दोनों का अन्योनाश्रय संबंध जगजाहिर है। पर इन आंदोलनकारी समूहों के बीच ऐसा ही संबंध नहीं कायम हो सका है। ऐसा नहीं होने से सत्तारूढ़ गठबंधन ही लाभान्वित होती रहेगी। बीते 4 अक्टूबर को कांग्रेस मुख्यालय में गांव और किसान से जुड़े इन्हीं सब मसले पर परिचर्चा हुई थी। इसमें उठी दो बातों पर हालांकि मीडिया में खुल कर चर्चा नहीं हो सकी है। पर गांव देहात के लोगों तक बातें पहुंचने लगी है। इस मंच से चीनी विचारक कन्फ्यूसियस की बात उभरती है कि आप जब-जब पानी पीते हैं, तब-तब उस सोते को याद करिये, जहां से पानी बहता है। सभी सहभागियों ने ध्वनि मत से इस प्रस्ताव को स्वीकार किया कि जब-जब अन्न ग्रहण करते हैं, तब-तब उसको याद करें, जो उस अन्न का निर्माण करता है खेतों में, जो बीज बोता है, जो निकौनी करता है और फिर उस फसल को काट कर रसोई घर तक पहुंचाता है। इनसे जुड़ी सभी समस्याओं को सम्बोधित करने के लिए दस दिनों तक संसद में चर्चा हो, जिसमें कोई भी सवाल अछूता नहीं रहे। नानाभाऊ पटोले ने पत्रकार पी.साईंनाथ की इस मांग के पक्ष में आवाज बुलंद कर सभी किसान संगठनों को एक मंच पर लाने का प्रयास किया है।
किसान संगठनों की एकजुटता का मामला एक सर्वमान्य किसान नेता खोजने की कोशिश में सिमटती जा रही है। गौर करने की बात है कि नरेंद्र मोदी से हुए मतभेद के बाद लोकसभा और भाजपा की सदस्यता त्यागने वाले पूर्व सांसद को कांग्रेस पार्टी ने वर्षों से बंद पड़े किसान मजदूर कांग्रेस का अध्यक्ष नियुक्त किया है। 23 अक्टूबर की जवाब दो-हिसाब दो रैली में देश के सभी हिस्सों से किसानों के रहनुमाओं के जमा होने की संभावना है। राहुल गांधी ने इस रैली के निर्णय का स्वागत किया है। परंतु इसमें भाग नहीं लेने की बात कही है। ऐसा करने से नानाभाऊ पटोले के नेतृत्व में देश भर के किसान संगठनों को दलीय राजनीति की परिधि से उपर उठकर एकत्रित होने में सहूलियत हो सकती है। आज वह भाजपा में होने वाले विद्रोह के प्रतिनिधि स्वर हैं। संभव है कि यशवंत सिन्हा, अरूण शौरी और संजय जोशी जैसे नेता उनके साथ मंचासीन हों। पर क्या यह शक्ति प्रदर्शन पटोले को किसानों के सर्वमान्य नेता के रुप में स्थापित करेगा? इस सवाल का जवाब तो वक्त ही बताएगा। पर सत्ता पक्ष के लोग इस तरह के किसी ध्रुवीकरण को तीतर-बीतर करने में कैसे माहिर हैं, इसका व्यौरा साझी विरासत की पैरोकारी से लेकर तीसरे मोर्चे की कवायद तक पसरी है।
पानी और किसानी के संकट को दूर करने की नीयत से सत्याग्रह और शक्ति प्रदर्शन में लगी जमात के लोग जलपुरुष राजेन्द्र सिंह और नानाभाऊ पटोले की ओर आशा भरी नजरों से देख रहे हैं। गांधीवादी तरीके से रेगिस्तान में जलाशय और नदियां उगाने वाले जननायक आज गंगापुत्र सानंद के बलिदान से आहत हैं। अब तो एकादशी व्रत हो संसद में तभी यह आह मिट सकेगी। इसके पहले दिन बाबा नागनाथ से लेकर स्वामी सानंद तक अकाल मौत का शिकार हुए सभी गंगापुत्रों की मौत का मातम मनाया जाय। उसके बाद दस दिनों तक पानी और किसानी के संकट को संबोधित किया जाय। इस अभियान के समर्थकों ने सांसदों को दलीय राजनीति की सीमाओं से उपर उठकर इस मुद्दे पर आम सहमति कायम करने का प्रयास शुरू किया है। नवरात्रि में आराधना करने वाले सांसदों के लिए यह उत्सव सरीखा हो सकता है।
(कौशल किशोर ‘दी होली गंगा’ पुस्तक के लेखक और पंचायत संदेश के प्रबंध संपादक हैं)

Mombattiwala or Mohabbatwala

KULDIPNAYAR

Kuldip Nayar  (Pic. Credit: The Hindu)

Kaushal Kishore | Follow @HolyGanga

Someone has called him the Mombattiwala. He used to visit the Indo-Pak border every year with the candle to celebrate his birthday and to nourish that hope. It’s coincidental that the day falls on 14th August, the independence day in Pakistan, what’s not coincidental is his weekly column Between the Lines, his autobiography Beyond the Lines, and this ritual of torching candle precisely where it used to take place. These are a few of the reasons that made him one of the most loved Punjabis across that fateful Lines. And this love with the Lines reflects more clearly in some of his works as well. The Urdu was his first love. He has often mentioned that his carrier as a journalist started in the late forties from Anjam, the end. Perhaps one can neither find the Veera (Hero) nor that Zara, but still this love story of the Mombattiwala is still waiting for the end of his dreams.

I prefer to refer to Kuldip Nayar as the tallest Punjabi I’ve actually come across face-to-face. Lala Lajpat Rai and Justice Rajinder Sachar were a couple of others connecting us together. We were going to talk about Ehshas-e-Nihan: Khirad-o-Rawayat. This is a collection of ghazals on the hidden feelings in the light of intellect and tradition by one of our common poet friends Shyam Sunder. In this tribute I am going to share about our past and future interactions. The initial occasion started during the two days roundtable conference on Agony of Ganga in July 2012 at the India International Centre. During the lunch break, I found him busy with some of the Ganga activists in the lobby, where I have brought my friends to talk to. Suddenly one of the activists from his table came to me and said, “Nayar Sahib wants to meet you.” I turned left only to verify. His smiling first glance is still fresh in my memory.

I went there to join him delightfully. It was surprising to know that he was aware of my works more like a series of adventurous acts including the fact that Nainital High Court has taken cognisance of contempt against me and the case was pending for almost a decade. This is the sordid saga that a munsif or a judge in the lower court is entitled to pass order against the verdicts of the high court and the supreme court, and when I have raised this issue in a public interest litigation the judge was glad to take cognisance of contempt against me. I told him that I prefer to argue in person and the judges preferred to leave the court before the argument. I further disclosed that I don’t like talking on this topic since the death of my friends from that battlefield. He wrote the address and mobile number on a little piece of paper before giving me, and invited me to his place. Missing the loved ones can make anyone uncomfortable. So I never thought about the meeting. After many moons, we bump into each other in the gangway at the same centre. He said, “You didn’t come.” This time I replied, “I definitely will come tomorrow.” Next day we were together for a couple of hours at his home in Vasant Vihar. By the end of our talks his wife Bharatiji also joined us. I felt comfortable talking most uncomforting topic. Today, I remember him as the rare expert to change hats as well as adjusting heights simultaneously.

Kuldip Nayar loved words. He wanted to be a poet (shayar) in his twenties. He used to be the second generation of Arya Samaja closely linked with Servants of the People Society founded by Lala Lajpat Rai in 1921. He was the manager of United News of India in 1960s. The society is publisher of the Odia daily Samaja, and owns stake in UNI. SoPS has nominated me to represent them in its board in December 2014. Here, we’ve found the best helping hand in him. There were challenges before the news agency. Some of them are still there. His departure is an irreparable loss for this news agancy. Both, Nayar and Sachar were dreaming the publication of the Samaja in Hindi from New Delhi.

Last couple of occasions were memorial lectures of his father-in-law, Bhim Sen Sachar. He was presiding the dais when Justice T.S. Thakur has delivered that lecture on 1st December 2016. That day I reached an hour before the scheduled time with a view to have a little talk with Justice Rajinder Sachar. He has chaired the 150th anniversary of Lalaji that I’ve hosted. I wanted to produce his presidential address in my upcoming book. That day once again Nayar Sahib has called me. This time I have told him about the dialogue series in All India Panchayat Parishad and invited for the lecture, now not possible. We focused on 1965 war, Shastriji and Balvantray Mehta. Then, last year in that lecture Narayana Murthy was the chief guest on 8th December. The dreams of his Balvantray Mehta Memorial lecture and interview on the Pakistan series are now not going to be fulfilled.

BhimSenMemorialLecture

One day his love appeared in the upper house of Parliament when former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee has used ‘Pakistan’ in order to refer to the chair in his absentia. On the other day they were sitting next to each other in the bus leading towards Lahore. He was true to say that there will be none, after his departure, to talk about this love for unity and fraternity among neighbours beyond that Line. All roads are leading towards Rome alone. In the last six years before the final call, he used to be the President of the South Asian Fraternity that was founded by the leaders like A.B. Vajpayee, I.K. Gujral, Krishna Kant, and social activists like Satya Pal Grover before the advent of globalisation. The proponent of Gujral doctrine was his immediate predecessor. He was the tallest figure among journalists of Independent India. In fact he was the first journalist to report from the ground zero in case of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948 and the controversial death of Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1966. Immigrants or Vote Banks was his last published column or last question that you can decide. He left the mortal coil on the night, and next morning it appeared in several newspapers. Nayar Sahib wrote tribute to the former Prime Minister, A.B. Vajpayee after the demise that remained unpublished on his table.

Kuldip Nayar was scheduled to preside over the book launching ceremony of Ehshas-e-Nihan: Khirad-o-Rawayat. Here, in this series of conversations, the Mohabbatwala emerged out of that Mombattiwala, who used to light one of the darkest nights between the two brightest days of the Indian subcontinent. I wrote a few letters to the experts a couple of weeks before the goodbye! Sadly, I’m not able to comment on the fact that he has once desired to arrange this event before 15th August. He has left the legacy. It reflects in the efforts of Aaghaz-e-Dosti and Aman ki Asha, across the Lines peace programs. We hope to remember him on the martyrdom of Balvantray Mehta this 19th September.

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Kuldip Nayar Memorial at Siri Fort Auditorium

मोमबत्तीवाला या मोहब्बतवाला

कौशल किशोर | Follow @HolyGanga

किसी सज्जन ने उनको मोमबत्तीवाला कह कर संबोधित किया। वह हर साल अपने जन्मदिन पर भारत-पाकिस्तान सीमा पर मोमबत्ती जला कर अमन की आशा करते थे। यह महज संयोग है कि 14 अगस्त को पाकिस्तान में स्वतंत्रता दिवस मनाया जाता है। पर कई बातें संयोग नहीं है। उनका साप्ताहिक स्तंभ ‘बिटवीन द लाईंस’, उनकी आत्मकथा ‘बियाॅड द लाईंस’ और मोमबत्ती जलाने का ठीक वह स्थान, जहां यह अनुष्ठान बराबर होता रहा। ये कुछ ऐसी बातें हैं जिनकी वजह से रेखा के आर-पार वह उन चुनिंदा पंजाबियों में गिने जाते हैं, जिन्हें सबसे ज्यादा लोगों का प्यार मिला। विभाजन रेखा के आर-पार पसरा यह संसार उनके लेखन कार्यों में भी खूब झलकता है। उर्दू उनका पहला प्यार था। कुलदीप नैयर अक्सर कहते थे कि एक पत्रकार के रूप में उनका आगाज ही अंजाम से हुआ। इस मोहब्बत में कोई वीर और कोई ज़ारा भले नहीं मिले, लेकिन मोमबत्तीवाला की यह प्रेम कहानी आगे भी अपने ही सपनों के अंत की प्रतीक्षा में रहेगी।

वास्तव में रु-ब-रु होने वाले सबसे ऊंचे पंजाबी के तौर पर मैं नैयर साहिब को याद करता हूं। लाला लाजपत राय और जस्टिस राजिंदर सच्चर जैसे विभूतियों के कारण हमारा जुड़ाव बढ़ा। हाल ही में हमने तय किया था कि एहशास-ए-निहां: खिरद-ओ-रवायत पर चर्चा हो। यह हमारे शायर मित्र श्याम सुंदर के आरे-तिरछे पसरे गज़ल और नज्मों का संकलन है। मैं समझता हूं कि इसमें छिपी हुई भावनाओं को बुद्धि और परंपरा की कसौटी पर कसने के प्रयासों का चित्रण है। इस श्रद्धांजलि लेख में हमारे भूत और भविष्य के प्रसंगों को याद करने की जरूरत है। ऐसा पहला अवसर जुलाई 2012 में गंगा की व्यथा विषयक दो दिवसीय गोलमेज सम्मेलन के दौरान उपस्थित हुआ था। दोपहर के भोजन के अवकाश में मैंने उन्हें लॉबी में कुछ गंगा कार्यकर्ताओं के साथ व्यस्त देखा। वहां मैं कुछ दोस्तों से बात करने पहुंचा था। अचानक उनकी मेज से एक व्यक्ति मेरे पास आकर बोले, “नैयर साहिब आपसे बात करना चाहते हैं।” मैं बायीं ओर सत्यापित करने की कोशिश में मुड़ा था। और उनकी वो पहली मुस्कान मेरे जेहन में ऐसे कैद हो गई जैसे कल की ही बात हो।

मैं खुशी-खुशी उनके पास पहुंचा। यह जानकर मुझे हैरत हुई कि उनके पास मेरे बारे में अच्छी खासी जानकारी थी। उन्होंने लगभग एक दशक से नैनीताल हाई कोर्ट में मेरे खिलाफ लंबित कंटेप्ट केस के मामले में पहला सवाल किया। मैंने कहा कि यह शायद एक ऐतिहासिक मामला है कि निचली अदालतों का एक न्यायाधीश उच्च न्यायालय और सर्वोच्च न्यायालय के फैसले के खिलाफ आदेश कर देता है। जब इस मुद्दे को एक जनहित याचिका में उठाया जाता है तो न्यायाधीश याचिकाकर्ता के खिलाफ ही अवमानना का संज्ञान लेते हैं। मैं खुद ही इस केस में बहस करना पसंद करता हूं और जज साहिब इस बहस के शुरू होने से पहले ही अदालत छोड़ देना पसंद करते हैं। अंत में कहा कि लड़ाई के उस मैदान में मेरे दोस्तों की मौत के बाद इस विषय में बात करना मुझे अच्छा नहीं लगता। उन्होंने कागज का एक छोटा सा टुकड़ा थमाने से पहले उस पर पता और मोबाइल नंबर लिखा और मुझे अपने घर आमंत्रित किया। प्रियजनों की दुखदाई याद किसी को भी असहज कर सकती है। इस मुलाकात के बारे में कभी सोच ही नहीं सका। अर्से के बाद एक दिन हम उसी गलियारे में एक-दूसरे से टकरा गए। उन्होंने कहा, “आप आए नहीं।” इस बार मैंने जवाब दिया, “मैं निश्चिय ही कल आऊंगा।” अगले दिन वसंत विहार स्थित उनके घर पर हम लंबी बातचीत में मशगूल हुए थे। इस भेंटवार्ता के अंत में उनकी पत्नी भारती जी भी शामिल हुईं। उस दिन मैंने असहज करने वाले विषय मे बड़ी सहजता महसूस किया। आज मैं उन्हें एक ऐसे दुर्लभ विशेषज्ञ के रूप में याद करता हूं जो न केवल बदलते विषयों के साथ ठीक सामंजस्य स्थापित करते थे, बल्कि ऊंचाइयों का भी सटीक समायोजन करते थे।

कुलदीप नैयर को शब्दों से प्यार था। जब नवयुवक थे तो शायर बनना चाहते थे। वह दूसरी पीढ़ी के ऐसे आर्य सामजी रहे जो लाला लाजपत राय द्वारा 1921 में स्थापित सोसाइटी – लोक सेवक मंडल से जुड़े थे। 1960 के दशक में वह यूनाइटेड न्यूज ऑफ इंडिया के प्रबंधक थे। सोसाइटी ओडिया दैनिक समाज का प्रकाशक है, और यूएनआई में एक फीसदी का हिस्सेदार भी। दिसंबर 2014 में समाज का प्रतिनिधित्व करने के लिए मुझे इसमें नामित किया गया। यहां हमें उनके रूप में सबसे अच्छा सहयोगी मिला। इस समाचार एजेंसी के सामने पहले से कई चुनौतियां थीं। उनमें से कुछ अब भी शेष हैं। उनका प्रस्थान इस एजेंसी के लिए ऐसा नुकसान है, जिसकी भरपाई संभव नहीं है। नैयर और सच्चर दोनों ही दिल्ली से समाज का हिंदी में प्रकाशन हो, यह सपना भी देखते थे।

उनके ससुर भीम सेन सच्चर की स्मृति में होने वाले वार्षिक व्याख्यान में उनसे आखिरी मुलाकात हुई थी। न्यायमूर्ति टी.एस. ठाकुर ने 1 दिसंबर 2016 को इसमें व्याख्यान दिया था। उस शाम अध्यक्षता उन्होंने ही किया था। जस्टिस सच्चर से बात करने के उद्देश्य से मैं निर्धारित समय से एक घंटा पहले ही पहुंच गया था। मुझे उनकी अध्यक्षता में संपन्न हुए लालाजी के 150वें साल के समारोह के संचालन की सेवा मिली थी। और मेरी आने वाली किताब में वह अध्यक्षीय व्याख्यान शामिल करना चाहता था। उस दिन एक बार फिर नैयर साहिब ने मुझे बुलाया। इस बार मैंने उन्हें अखिल भारतीय पंचायत परिषद में शुरू हुए संवाद श्रृंखला के बारे में बताया। एक व्याख्यान के लिए आमंत्रित भी किया था। हमारी चर्चा 1965 के युद्ध, शास्त्री जी और बलवंतराय मेहता पर केंद्रित रही। पिछले साल 8 दिसंबर को इस व्याख्यान में नारायण मूर्ति मुख्य अतिथि थे। बलवंतराय मेहता स्मारक व्याख्यान और पाकिस्तान श्रृंखला वाला साक्षात्कार अब पूरा नहीं हो सकता है।

एक दिन यह मोहब्बत संसद के उच्च सदन में प्रकट होता है। पूर्व प्रधानमंत्री अटल बिहारी वाजपेयी उनकी अनुपस्थिति में कुर्सी को इंगित कर ‘पाकिस्तान’ शब्द का इस्तेमाल करते हैं। दूसरे दिन लाहौर जाने वाली बस में दोनों साथ बैठते हैं। यह भी सच है कि इसके बाद रेखा के आर-पार एकता और बंधुत्व की वह बात करने वाला कोई दूसरा नहीं। उनके रास्ते केवल रोम की ओर जाते थे। पिछले छह सालों से वह दक्षिण एशियाई बिरादरी के अध्यक्ष थे। अटल बिहारी वाजपेयी, आई.के. गुजराल, कृष्ण कांत जैसे नेताओं ने सत्य पाल ग्रोवर जैसे सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता के साथ मिल कर वैश्वीकरण के आगमन से पहले ही इसे शुरू किया था। गुजराल नीति के पुरोधा उनके पहले इस पद पर आसीन थे। भारतीय उपमहाद्वीप के इतिहास को कलमबद्ध करने वाले पत्रकारों में उनकी गिनती होती रहेगी। 1948 में महात्मा गांधी की हत्या और 1966 में लाल बहादुर शास्त्री की विवादास्पद मौत के मामले में सबसे पहले रिपोर्ट करने का काम उनके नाम पर दर्ज है। ‘प्रवासी या वोट बैंक’ को उनका आखिरी प्रकाशित स्तंभ कहें या आखिरी सवाल। यह आप तय करें। चिराग बुझने के बाद जब सुबह हुई तो ये कई पत्रों में छपा था। पूर्व प्रधानमंत्री वाजपेयी की श्रद्धांजलि उनकी मेज पर शेष रह गई।

नैयर साहिब एहशास-ए-निहां: खिरद-ओ-रवायत नामक किताब के लोकार्पण समारोह की अध्यक्षता करने वाले थे। संवाद की इस कड़ी मे ऐसा मोहब्बतवाला उभरता है, जो इस उपमहाद्वीप के दो बेहद चमकीले दिनों के बीच की घनी स्याह रात को रौशन करने के कारण मोमबत्तीवाला कहलाता है। इस सिलसिले में कुछ हफ्ते पहले ही मैंने दो खत लिखा था। मैं इस बात पर टिप्पणी करने में सक्षम नहीं हूं कि उन्होंने 15 अगस्त से पहले यह आयोजन करने का जिक्र किया था। हमारे बीच उनकी विरासत है। यह विभाजन रेखा के आर-पार शांति की पहल के ‘आगाज-ए-दोस्ती’ और ‘अमन की आशा’ जैसे प्रयासों में बेहतर प्रकट होता है। 19 सितंबर को हम बलवंतराय मेहता की शहादत पर उन्हें याद करने का विचार रखते हैं।


 

Mobocracy: Where Actually We Arrived?

Kaushal Kishore | Follow @HolyGanga

Swami Agnivesh was subjected to mob lynching. A series of things are everywhere ever since I heard about it from Dr. Vaidik that Tuesday. It was not a faceless mob. The name of youth wing poster-boys from the ruling party is in public. Both the heads of state Draupadi Murmu and Raghubar Das were aware of this yet to be delivered address on the plight of natural resources. The social reformer was engaged in the process of uniting certain public movements of different regions, the dream that Lok Nayak JP had before formation of the PUCL–Public Union for Civil Liberty. He is on this agenda since joining the Gangaputra, Swami Sananda, who has been fasting for Aviral Ganga since 22nd June. The state has fielded C.P. Singh to defend the accused with a bundle of allegations suitable to the Anti-Hindu agenda. Meanwhile scaring visuals of the act repeats on the screens. Fear factor is at its peak. How a bunch of so-called Hindus were beating the monk in saffron robe? It sounds like Lala ki Lathi aur Lala ka Sir (the Hindu’s baton and the Hindu’s head).

What a perfect timing! It happened the moment Supreme Court has issued directives on such horrendous acts of mobocracy. Suddenly the WhatsApp message flashed on mobiles of a couple of hundred people from around Pakur in Jharkhand on 17th July. They were all prepared sleeper-cells or robots to reach the venue performing what the bench headed by the CJI was afraid of. The digital army of New India seems to be invincible in the Facebook and WhatsApp era. Similar mob gathered around the residence of veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani in 2013 when the party was about to declare its campaign head for 16th Lok Sabha. After that more than 65 people died due to mob lynching. The crime record bureau is not keeping an up-to-date report on lynching, however, the PM has referred to the dossier on it in the Town Hall address in 2016. He said, 80% members are fake in the cow protection brigade. Since then onwards there is an outstanding order under Article 256 and 257 of the Constitution. After the verdict, the govt. is all the more serious on amendments in I.P.C., Cr.P.C. and the Evidence Act. to address this crisis. Now the debate on plundering of resources shifted to Anti-Hindu rhetoric. This beauty is the scholasticism that prevails today.

Next morning an article, Faith vs Blind Faith, appeared in the English daily, The Indian Express. Swami Agnivesh and Valson Thampu are coauthors of this brilliant piece. These couple of Indian Protestants from Hinduism & Christianity have bluntly offended the clergy involved in immoral and unlawful acts. They come up with specific evidences and plausible reasoning. I do in fact endorse the idea of religious reform shifting the perception from life-after-death to life-before-death. Here, they have deliberately used the wired term Christian community that purports to define a religion as a community. Sadly these rationalists failed to distinguish the two separate terms. Most of their pains are due to this repeatation of an old misnomer that started with Judaism and nourished with Christianity and Islam only to prove a fact that the two are different sides of the same coin.

Emergence of the Hindu in 19th century India was due to Maharishi Dayananda and his brainchild Arya Samaja. All his monotheism and criticism of idol worship proved the best tools to bring the converted back after purification. In 20th century R.S.S. emerged after fifty years with the same Ghar Vapsi idea shifting the focus on idol worship that further unfolded with the Ram Mandir movement. The politics is all about endeavours to convert the religion thriving on morality neutral clergy and leader into a virtual community. No one can imagine about religion without its dogmas, books and the clergy. Similarly basic ingredients of community are cohabitation, life and people. Community is older than religion; a village or a tribe is an example of the former, and Christian, Islam, etc. are examples of the latter.

Everyone has some convenient facts on Swami Agnivesh. Once I’ve heard him during the Muslim gathering at the Ram Lila ground. In the 17 minutes lecture he preferred to react on the cartoon of the Prophet, and narrated the event how their leader approached the woman known only to humiliate him, before shifting to political-economy of the terror trade. I really had no idea that he will go beyond limits to criticise the hosts. The other noticeable memory from the same night is that the dais coordinator got changed as if it was certain kind of the punishment. Democracy and Constitution are meaningless terms in absence of critics. The PM has recently remembered the poet-saint Kabir at Maghar. He was an excellent critic.

Subodh Kant Sahai, former union minister and President of JP’s brainchild All India Panchayat Parishad, reacts to it. The moment it occurred, he was addressing the public gathering of more than fifty thousands at Littipada not far away from ground zero. He has asked a million dollar question, what could have happened if this mob turned back? It was only possible if they were aware of this lynching of the Hindu monk from Maharishi Dayananda’s order at their mother-land. The next day they were talking to the press together at Ranchi, the state capital. He said to me on phone that they have been friends for last fifty years. Then we shared views on the position of the community that was used to be placed between the poles of Atithi Devo Bhava (guest equals to god) and Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (one planet home), the political-economy of this series of events, and impact of Bhasmasura that neither spared Advani nor Agnivesh, a couple of staunch Hindus from the cadre of R.S.S. & Arya Samaja. If the crisis prolongs it may prove to be the cause of the civil war. That evening the victim of Pakur lynching has reached JPN Apex Trauma Centre of AIIMS. I went to see him with one of my loveliest friends. Thanks to its head Dr. Rajesh Malhotra for briefing us on his health condition. His assistant Dr. Viplab allowed us to meet their patient. And he opened up with an unusual smile and the usual handshake. I fumbled, “Where actually have we arrived, Swamiji?” He, then, asked the name of my friend next to me. I replied, “This is Shyam.” I wanted to say that Shyam does not stand for black, but for the term Hindu in the Persian and Indian in European language. Shyam Sunder, the poet.

The Hindu used to be the idea of tolerance, acceptance, harmony and love. Unfortunately the opposite of that is occupying the public sphere of the day. The Hindu is not involved in scholastic debate on the Taliban. How can they forget the fact that it was raised in the Parliament? Perhaps! Rahul Gandhi has copiously hugged Narendra Modi in the house. Someone among Hindus was allowed to hallucinate His Holiness instead of the Congress President. Meanwhile the deep state has placed the Bhasmasura to play overtly bringing us face-to-face with Dalitacharya. After Kabir, the Prime Minister should remember martyrdoms of Maharishi, Lalaji and Swami Shradhananda, proponent of back to the Vedas.

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Author is General Secretary (Publication) AIPP-All India Panchayat Parishad and Managing Editor of its monthly journal Panchayat Sandesh | Author of The Holy Ganga (Rupa, 2008) |

पंचायत धाम में धूमधाम से घमासान तक

कल्याणी झा और सिद्धार्थ शंकर झा

आजकल हमारे लिए पंचायत परिषद से जुड़ी बातों की जानकारी का मुख्य श्रोत पंचायत सन्देश और इससे जुड़े लोग हैं। इसी माध्यम से हमें ज्ञात हुआ कि जनवरी के दूसरे हफ्ते में पंचायत धाम में लाल बहादुर शास्त्री के बलिदान दिवस पर शीतला शंकर विजय मिश्र और कौशल किशोर ने अविस्मरणीय व्याख्यान दिया था। उन्होंने शास्त्री जी के जन्म, जीवन और बलिदान से जुड़े ऐसी बातों का जिक्र किया, जिसे आज भी ध्यान में रखना जरुरी है। उस दिन दोनों महानुभावों ने मिल कर भी बीस मिनट का समय नहीं लगाया था। इस अवसर पर अध्यक्षीय भाषण के दरम्यान डा. अशोक चैहान ने शास्त्रीजी के बलिदान से जुड़ी फाइलों को सार्वजनिक करने के मामले में अखिल भारतीय पंचायत परिषद की रुचि पर प्रकश डाला तो कोषाध्यक्ष जयंतीभाई पटेल ने इस अवसर को महोत्सव में बदलने की अहमियत पर गौर फरमाया। 

पंचायत धाम में फिर 21 जनवरी को पंचायत के लाल का जन्मोत्सव धूम-धाम से मनाया गया। डा. लाल सिंह त्यागी ने ही बलवंतराय मेहता पंचायत भवन को पंचायत धाम नामक तीर्थ की उपमा दी। उन्होंने ही जयप्रकाश नारायण और पंडित बिनोदानंद झा जैसे गांधीवादियों द्वारा स्थापित त्रिस्तरीय पंचायती राज के जनक शहीद शिरोमणिDrTyagi108 बलवंतराय मेहता की स्मृतियों को सहेजने के लिए स्थापित इस पीठ को पंचम पीठ की संज्ञा देकर भारतीय समाज को प्रेरित करने का काम किया था। अखिल भारतीय पंचायत परिषद के राष्ट्रीय अध्यक्ष सुबोध कांत सहाय ने 21वीं सदी में इसे साकार करने की योजनाओं को कार्यरु
प देने के लिए शीतला शंकर विजय मिश्र और कौशल किशोर को जिम्मेदारी सौंपी। परिणामस्वरुप पंचायत धाम में 2 जुलाई 2016 से लगातार चर्चाएं चल रही हैं। उन्होंने देश के अलग-अलग भागों में इस मामले पर जन जागृति अभियान का सूत्रपात किया है। त्यागी जी के जन्मोत्सव पर हुए आयोजन से स्पष्ट होता है कि इसमें सभी तरह के विचारधाराओं के समर्थक भाग लेते हैं। इस अवसर पर सामयिक वार्ता के प्रबंध संपादक महेश जी के पहुंचने से किशन पटनायक और डा. लाल सिंह त्यागी की मैत्री का जिक्र होता है तो समाजवादी विचारक गोविन्द यादव द्वारा वर्तमान परिदृष्य और भविष्य के मार्ग पर प्रकाश डाला जाता है। ललित जोशी जैसे विद्वान भाजपा सरकार के दौर में परिषद को उन्नतिपथ पर कायम रखने की कोशिश करते हैं। 

अखिल भारतीय पंचायत परिषद और बलवंतराय मेहता पंचायती राज फाउंडेशन में 19 फरवरी को पंचायत दिवस मनाने का रिवाज है। हमें अब तक यह नहीं ज्ञात हो सका कि वास्तव में किसने मेहताजी का जन्मोत्सव पंचायत दिवस के रुप में मनाने की पैरवी किया था। परंतु यह इस संस्थान के वार्षिकोत्सव की तरह वर्षों से मनाया जाता है। यद्यपि इस अवसर पर सार्वजनिक जीवन में पंचायत और स्वराज से जुड़े मामलों में सक्रिय लोगों की अहम भागीदारी होती रही, परंतु इस वर्ष पंचायती राज मंत्रालय में सेवारत भारतीय प्रशासनिक सेवा के अधिकारी को मुख्य अतिथि बनाया गया था। इससे एक प्रश्न खड़ा होता है कि क्या अब पंचायत परिषद में पंचायतों से जुड़े लोगों का रुझान कम हो रहा है? इस प्रश्न को हल करने के क्रम में कई ऐसी बातें सामने आती हैं, जिन्हें जानकर हैरत होती है। पिछले साल के अंतिम दिनों में उत्तर प्रदेश राज्य पंचायत परिषद के पदाधिकारियों ने अलीगढ़ में सम्मेलन किया था, जिसमें गुजरात में अगला राज्य सम्मेलन करने की घोषणा किया गया। परंतु यह अभी तक नहीं हो सका है। गुजरात के पदाधिकारी नाम नहीं छापने की शर्त पर बताते हैं कि परिषद के राष्ट्रीय अध्यक्ष सुबोध कांत सहाय को कोई पंचायती नेता नहीं मानता है। राजीव गांधी की हत्या का प्रसंग छेड़ते हुए उनके कांग्रेसी होने पर भी शंका किया जाता है। इसके अतिरिक्त एक ऐसी कहानी सामने आती है, जिसे जानकर पंचायतों की राजनीति में सक्रिय लोगों को भारी निराशा होती है। मनोज सिंह जादौन और बाल्मीकि प्रसाद सिंह द्वारा चलाए जा रहे ऐसे कार्यक्रमों का खुलासा होता है, जो मेहता और जय प्रकाश जैसे विभूतियों की छवि धूमिल करती है। साथ ही अखिल भारतीय पंचायत परिषद से सज्जन लोगों को दूर करने का प्रयास करती प्रतीत होती है। 

DSC_0151 AligarhAIPP

आजकल बाल्मीकि प्रसाद सिंह और उनकी मंडली ने पता बताना शुरु किया है, पंचायत धाम के गेट पर। 30 मार्च 2017 की शाम उन्होंने पंचायत धाम के बंद गेट पर धरना शुरु किया। बैनर और छप्पर टांग कर इसे जंतर-मंतर की तरह धरनास्थल में परिवर्तित कर दिया। फिर

Balmiki

Controversial Panchayati Leader Balmiki Prasad Singh at AIPP gate

यहां एक और बैनर भी लगाया जाता है, जिसे पंचायत परिषद के महासचिव (विधि) अनिल शर्मा की ओर से जारी किया गया है। इसमें ठगों से सावधान रहने की सूचना देने के क्रम में बाल्मीकि प्रसाद सिंह की तस्वीर के साथ उनके काले कारनामों का व्यौरा दर्ज है। मीडिया के कुछ लोग उनकी मंडली से अनिश्चितकालीन धरना के बारे में बातें करने भी पहुंचे। फिर इस मामले में अफवाहों का प्रसारण हुआ। इलेक्ट्राॅनिक मीडिया के एक पत्रकार ने परिषद के वास्तविक पदाधिकारियों से बात कर दूसरा पक्ष भी रखने का काम किया है। परंतु यह बड़े दुख की बात है कि मीडिया की सत्यनिष्ठा पर प्रश्न उठे। स्वतंत्र भारत में त्रिस्तरीय पंचायती राज के जनक अमर शहीद बलवंतराय मेहता और लोक नायक जयप्रकाश नारायण जैसे गांधीवादियों की परिषद के लिए भी यह बड़े दुर्भाग्य की बात है। पंचायत परिषद के विषय में खबरें प्रकाशित करने से पहले इसे ठीक से जानना जरुरी है। हमने इस विषय में फाउंडेशन के ट्रस्टी और इन संस्थानों के मुख पत्र ‘पंचायत संदेश’ के प्रबंध संपादक से संपर्क किया। उनकी दी जानकारियों को खंगाल कर हमने इस विषय में सही समझ कायम करने की कोशिश किया है। 

पंडित बिनोदानंद झा, डा. लाल सिंह त्यागी और बलवंतराय मेहता ने लाल बहादूर शास्त्री और लोकनायक जयप्रकाश नारायण के निर्देशानुसार त्रिस्तरीय पंचायती राज संस्थाओं को संवैधानिक दर्जा दिलवाने एवं देशभर की पंचायतों को एक सूत्र में बांधने के उद्देश्य से अखिल भारतीय पंचायत परिषद का सूत्रपात किया। यह महान कार्य 12 अप्रैल 1958 को झारखंड के जसीडीह में संपन्न हुए राष्ट्रीय सम्मेलन में हुआ था। और फिर भूदान आंदोलन के दौर में इसका विकास बलवंतराय मेहता की शहादत के बाद हुआ। 1966 में जयप्रकाश नारायण ने अमर शहीद मेहता की स्मृति में बलवंतराय मेहता पंचायती राज फाउंडेशन की स्थापना किया था। इसके लिए 1965 में तत्कालीन प्रधानमंत्री लाल बहादुर शास्त्री की अपील भी मौलिक है। उसी साल भूदान में इसके लिए जमीन मिली थी। और बीस साल बाद 1986 में यह मुख्यालय पंचायत धाम (मयूर विहार फेज 1) में स्थानांतरित हुआ था। उन्होंने वास्तव में पंचायतों के लिए एक स्वायत्तशासी, लोकतांत्रिक और गैर-राजनीतिक संस्थान बनाने का काम किया था। यह परिषद राज्यों में स्थित पंचायत परिषदों के साथ मिलकर देशभर की पंचायती राज संस्थानों को मजबूत बनाने का कार्य करती है। तीसरी सरकार को परिभाषित करने में इस परिषद की अहम भूमिका रही है। लोकतांत्रिक मूल्यों के अनुरुप जनवरी 1961 में इसका संविधान लागू हुआ। इसके तहत तीन प्रतिशत ब्लाॅक के प्रतिनिधियों को इसकी काउंसिल के लिए नामित करने हेतु राज्य परिषदों को अधिकृत किया गया है। संविधान के प्रावधानों के तहत काउंसिल के सदस्य आम सहमति से अध्यक्ष का चुनाव करते हैं। 

सन 2003 से सुबोध कांत सहाय अखिल भारतीय पंचायत परिषद के निर्विरोध निर्वाचित अध्यक्ष चले आ रहे हैं। उन्होंने तीन बार लगातार चुनाव जीतकर यह मुकाम हासिल किया है। उनका कार्यकाल दिसंबर 2018 तक शेष है। गौर करने की बात है कि उनकी अध्यक्षता पर प्रश्न होने के बावजूद भी कोई मामला किसी न्यायालय में नहीं चल रहा है। अलबत्ता बाल्मीकि प्रसाद सिंह और उनकी मंडली के लोग कई आपराधिक मामलों में लिप्त हैं, जिसका खुलासा सीबीआई तक की रिपोर्ट से होता है। आखिरी बार 22 दिसंबर 2013 को हुई पंचायत परिषद की महासमिति की बैठक में उनके निष्कासन की पुष्टि हुई थी। 

1986 से अखिल भारतीय पंचायत परिषद का मुख्यालय बलवंतराय मेहता पंचायत भवन में चला आ रहा है, जो मयूर विहार फेज 1 में स्थित है। वास्तव में यह बलवंतराय मेहता पंचायती राज फाउंडेशन की सम्पत्ति है। इसके ट्रस्टी और सचिव शीतला शंकर विजय मिश्र इससे जुड़ी तमाम बातों के विषय में जानकारियों के अधिकृत पदाधिकारी हैं। पंचायत धाम स्थित उनके कार्यालय से आसानी से संपर्क किया जा सकता है। 

सीबीआई रिकार्ड में करोड़ों की हेराफेरी करने के मामले में अभियुक्त मनोज सिंह जादौन ने बाल्मीकि प्रसाद सिंह को पंचायत परिषद की जमीन कब्जाने के लिए गांधी का नया अवतार बनाने का नाटक रचा है। गांधी टोपी और गांधी की लाठी ही नहीं बल्कि मीरा, आभा और सुशीला जैसी महिलाओं के चरित्र पर भी खूब मेहनत किया गया है। आज बापू के सशक्त अभिनय की प्रस्तुति प्रियंवदा, सरिता और रेणु जैसी महिलाओं के सौजन्य से हो रहा है। उन्हें ठीक से प्रशिक्षित कर मैदान में उतारा गया है। दुर्भाग्यवश यह नाटक किसी रंगमंच पर नहीं किया जा रहा है। बल्कि पंचायत धाम के बाहर पिछले एक सप्ताह से दिन-रात जारी है। 

अपनी टीम के साथ बाल्मीकि प्रसाद सिंह ने बलवंतराय मेहता पंचायत भवन के गेट नंबर एक पर निहित स्वार्थों की पूर्ति के लिए धरना शुरु किया है। इस धरना के विषय में बीते दिनों मीडिया में भ्रामक रिपोर्ट प्रसारित हुई है। इनमें से कुछ रिपोर्ट एक पक्ष की बातों को प्रचारित कर अखिल भारतीय पंचायत परिषद की छवि को धूमिल कर रही है। इस मामले में परिषद की ओर से दोषी मीडिया कंपनी और उससे जुडे़ लोगों को लीगल नोटिस भेजने की बात कही जा रही है। अगले दिन इस मामले में कार्यसमिति ने विचार-विमर्श कर बाल्मीकि प्रसाद सिंह एवं उनके साथियों के विषय में तथ्यपरक जानकारी सार्वजनिक करने का निर्णय लिया गया था। 

बिहार राज्य पंचायत परिषद द्वारा बाल्मीकि प्रसाद सिंह को 1993 में अखिल भारतीय पंचायत परिषद की महासमिति के लिए सदस्य नामित किया गया था। बाद में उन्हें भ्रष्टाचार और अनियमितताओं का दोषी पाया गया। परिषद विरोधी कृत्यों में संलिप्त होने के कारण 3 अगस्त 2004 को बिहार राज्य परिषद द्वारा बाल्मीकि प्रसाद सिंह को निष्कासित किया जा चुका है। इस निष्कासन के उपरांत उनकी अखिल भारतीय पंचायत परिषद की सदस्यता स्वतः समाप्त हो जाती है। फिर न ही वह अधक्ष्य पद के लिए चुनाव लड़ सकते हैं और न ही किसी चुनाव में मतदान ही कर सकते हैं। इस परिषद के सभी सदस्य इस तथ्य से वाकिफ हैं।

सन 1998 में राजेन्द्र कुमार त्रिपाठी और बाल्मीकि प्र्रसाद सिंह को अखिल भारतीय पंचायत परिषद का महामंत्री नियुक्त किया गया था। बाद में 17 अक्टूबर 2000 को निष्कासित भी किया गया। इस बीच उन्होंने पंचायत धाम की जमीन लीज पर देना आरंभ किया। उन्होंने रितु कपूर से पांच लाख रुपये लेकर 10000 वर्ग फीट जमीन पट्टे पर दे दिया। साथ ही फाउंडेशन की जमीन को शादी-व्याह के लिए ठेके पर देना, सब्जी मंडी लगाना और पार्किंग जैसे व्यावसायिक कार्याें के लिए उपयोग शुरु किया। कई लोगों को पंचायत धाम की जमीन बेचने और दूसरी तमाम शिकायतें मिलने पर फाउंडेशन ने कड़ी प्रतिक्रिया व्यक्त किया था। तत्कालीन अध्यक्ष श्रीराम तिवारी ने इन आपराधिक तत्वों को परिषद से निष्कासित कर इनके विषय में अखबारों में विज्ञापन भी छपवाया था। इसके बाद ही मनोज कुमार सिंह जादौन और बाल्मीकि प्रसाद सिंह ने पंचायती राज अनुसंधान एवं विकास परिषद बना कर इसे अखिल भारतीय पंचायत परिषद का अनुसांगिक संस्थान बताकर काले कारनामों को अंजाम देना आरंभ किया। क्या इन कुकृत्यों में अखिल भारतीय पंचायत परिषद् अथवा इसके पदाधिकारियों की कोई भूमिका है? कागजातों के अवलोकन से स्पष्ट है कि परिषद् के अध्यक्ष सुबोध कांत सहाय ने ही इन्हें निष्कासन के बाद पुनः शामिल किया था। 

यहाँ इतनी बात साफ़ है कि बाल्मीकि प्रसाद सिंह, राजेन्द्र कुमार त्रिपाठी, राम अवध उपाध्याय और मनोज कुमार सिंह जादौन लंबे समय से निजी स्वार्थों की सिद्धि के लिए अखिल भारतीय पंचायत परिषद के नाम का दुरुपयोग करते रहे। परिणामस्वरुप उनके खिलाफ कई आपराधिक मामले चल रहे हैं। अखिल भारतीय पंचायत परिषद की महासमिति की संस्तुति के बगैर ही बैंकों में खाते खोल कर संस्थान का धन कई बार गबन किया गया। मयूर विहार फेज 1 स्थित आंध्रा बैंक में खाता संख्या 1588101100015160 के माध्यम से इन्होंने 61 लाख 40 हजार रुपये का गबन किया है। इन लोगों ने इसी बैंक में फर्जी कागजातों के बूते दूसरा खाता संख्या 1588101100022993 खोल कर 2 लाख 60 हजार रुपये का गबन किया। मार्च 2011 में आशुतोष मल्टीमीडिया व बालाजी मल्टीमीडिया नामक कंपनी ने इन पर लाखों रुपये अखिल भारतीय पंचायत परिषद के नाम पर ठगने का आरोप लगाया है। इनके अतिरिक्त भी ठगी के कई मामले बाल्मीकि प्रसाद सिंह और उनकी मंडली के सदस्यों के नाम दर्ज हैं। परंतु इनकी गतिविधियों से पुलिस-प्रशासन का रुख समझा जा सकता है। 

सितंबर 2008 के पहले हफ्ते में सीबीआई ने अखिल भारतीय पंचायत परिषद के महासचिव को एक पत्र लिखा था। जांच अधिकारी क्षेत्रपाल धीरज द्वारा जारी पत्र संख्या 3/3(एस)/2008-एससीबी-1/न्यू देलही2868 में पंचायतीराज अनुसंधान एवं विकास परिषद (पताः 167 ए, खिड़की गांव, प्रेस इंक्लेव, मालवीय नगर, नई दिल्ली) का जिक्र किया गया है। इस संस्थान के अध्यक्ष समेत 11 लोगों ने मिल कर आम लोगों को करोड़ो रुपये का चूना लगाया था, जिसमें बाल्मीकि प्रसाद सिंह अहम कड़ी रहे। इन सभी के नाम हैंः मनोज कुमार सिंह जादौन, (2) राजेन्द्र कुमार त्रिपाठी, (3) निशात नियाजी, (4) डा. नरेंद्र सिंह गौतम, (5) बाल्मीकि प्रसाद सिंह, (6) ए.के. कौल, (7) कमल कांत ओझा, (8) सत्य नारायण शर्मा, (9) नंद किशोर, (10) आई.एस.एन. राजू और (11) संजय राय के नाम शामिल हैं। इनमें से राजेन्द्र कुमार त्रिपाठी, राजेन्द्र प्रसाद शर्मा और सत्य नारायण शर्मा की मृत्यु हो चुकी है। इन लोगों ने कई अखबारों में विज्ञापन छाप कर लोगों को पंचायत स्टोर के नाम पर नौकरी देने का छांसा दिया। इस क्रम में पंचायतीराज अनुसंधान एवं विकास परिषद के नाम पर 100 रुपये के डिमांड ड्राफ्ट के साथ आवेदन भेजने को कहा गया था। केंद्र सरकार में तत्कालीन पंचायती राज मंत्री मनीशंकर एैय्यर ने इस घटना का संज्ञान लेकर सीबीआई को जांच सौंप दिया था। सीबीआई की टीम ने इन लोगों के कब्जे से कम से कम तीन करोड़ मूल्य के डिमांड ड्राफ्ट वसूल किये। लोगों से उगाहे वास्तविक रकम का सही आंकड़ा मौजूद नहीं है। इस विषय में मुकदमा संख्या आर.सी3(एस)/2008 (भादसं की धारा 420, 467, 468, 471 एफ) आज भी सीबीआई कोर्ट में लंबित है। इस मामले में सीबीआई ने बाल्मीकि प्रसाद सिंह और उनके साथियों की गतिविधियों का जिक्र करते हुए यह बताने को कहा था कि अखिल भारतीय पंचायत परिषद से इनका क्या संबंध है? उल्लेखनीय है कि इस हेराफेरी की सूचना पाकर बाल्मीकि प्रसाद सिंह, मनोज कुमार सिंह जादौन, राजेन्द्र कुमार त्रिपाठी और डा. नरेद्र सिंह गौतम, जो अखिल भारतीय पंचायत परिषद से जुड़े थे, उन्हें फिर से निष्कासित किया गया था। 

अखिल भारतीय पंचायत परिषद से निष्कासन और विभिन्न आपराधिक मामलों में संलिप्त होने के बावजूद यह दल बेखौफ घूम रहा है। परिषद के नाम का दुरुपयोग कर लोगों को ठगने का सिलसिला बदस्तूर जारी है। 2015 में बाल्मीकि प्रसाद सिंह और मंडली द्वारा राजा चैहान, सत्येन्द्र तोमर और अनूप अग्रवाल से मध्य प्रदेश पंचायत परिषद का अध्यक्ष बनाने के नाम पर लाखों-लाख की ठगी की है। इस मामले में भादसं की धारा 420, 467 और 34 के अंतर्गत ग्वालियर थाना (म.प्र.) में एफआइआर संख्या 11/114/2015 पंजीकृत है। इसके अतिरिक्त भी कई मामले हैं। दक्षिणी दिल्ली में हौजखास थाना ने बीस लाख की जालसाजी का मामला एफआईआर संख्या 235/28.02.2015 भादसं की धारा 420, 467, 471 और 34 के अंतर्गत पंजीकृत किया है। 2016 में 8 अक्टूबर को पूर्वी दिल्ली के पांडव नगर थाना में वेद प्रकाश शर्मा ने ठगी का मामला (डी.डी. नंबर 51बी) दर्ज कराया है। 

बाल्मीकि प्रसाद सिंह की आपराधिक गतिविधियों में संलिप्तता के मामले विचाराधीन हैं। उनका अथवा उनके साथियों का अखिल भारतीय पंचायत परिषद से कोई ताल्लुक नहीं है। परिषद के दफ्तर में अवैध धुसपैठ और चोरी करने के कई मामले भी दर्ज किए जा चुके हैं। 30 सितंबर 2015 को पंचायत धाम में ताला काट कर कब्जा करने का मामला सामने आया था। इस विषय में भादसं की धारा 341, 506, 448 और 34 में एफआइआर संख्या 698/2015 पांडव नगर थाना में दर्ज है। हाल ही में 23 मार्च 2017 को इसी थाना में एफआइआर संख्या 98/2017 दर्ज किया गया है। इनसे जुड़े लंबित मामलों का विवरण थाना और न्यायालय से किया जा सकता है। 

इन कारनामों को अंजाम देने में लगे बाल्मीकि प्रसाद सिंह की गतिविधियों पर शासन-प्रशासन का रुख हताश करने वाला है। संभव है कि राजनाथ सिंह, नितिन गडकरी और डा. नरेन्द्र सिंह तोमर जैसे केन्द्र सरकार के मंत्रियों को अपना आका बताने वाले बाल्मीकि प्रसाद सिंह पुलिस पर रौब गांठने में सफल हो रहे हों। परन्तु माननीय मंत्रियों ने इस विषय में कोई सकारात्मक कार्यवाही किया हो यह भी जमीन पर दिख नहीं रहा है। साथ ही सड़क पर चल रहे इस तमाशा को देखने में लगे लोग तथाकथित गांधी के ‘वाकिंग स्टिक’ का करतब देख कर आश्चर्यचकित हैं। वस्तुतः इस लड़ाई के लंबे अर्से से जारी रहने की तह में दूसरी बातें भी हैं। पिछले तीन चुनावों में अखिल भारतीय पंचायत परिषद के संविधान का अनुपालन सुनिश्चित करना जरुरी नहीं समझा गया। दरअसल परिषद के अध्यक्ष को ग्राम सभा का मतदाता होना चाहिए। साथ ही इसके संविधान में वर्णित गैर-राजनैतिक संस्थान की छवि को बरकरार रखने के लिए पूर्व अध्यक्षों की तरह वर्तमान अध्यक्ष को कांग्रेस पार्टी की सदस्यता से इस्तीफा देना जरुरी था। इस विषय  में अब तक कोई संविधान संशोधन भी नहीं किया गया है। इन्हीं बातों को ध्यान में रखकर ग्रामसभाओं के सदस्य पंचायत परिषद को निहित स्वार्थों की पूर्ति में लगे तत्वों से बचाने की मुहिम का समर्थन करते हैं। 

AIPP-Gate

https://www.docdroid.net/eqdsw7a/ps-decmber-2016.pdf

White Revolution and Crisis of Livestock Farming

Kaushal Kishore | Follow @HolyGanga
India tops the world over so far production and consumption of milk is concerned. On 31st March, the milk production in the country was recorded at 146.8 million liters per day. In this the contribution from buffaloes are 51%, from high breed cows are 25%, from native cows are 20% and the remaining 4% from small animals like goat to big animals such as camels. Meanwhile, the consumption of milk was recorded at 640 million liters per day. The significant difference between production and consumption, about 500 million liters per day, is a serious threat.
The milk procured from milk powder has an equal share. Despite this major supply in the market is from the adulterated milk. Certain reports based on various parameters mention this figure from 65 to 89 percent. This milk is a mixture of various hazardous chemicals like urea, detergent, ammonium sulfate, caustic soda and formalin. The body part of consumers can cease to work and it can cause malfunctioning of liver and other diseases like cancer. In spite of these facts this business is continued for many years as if no one is responsible for this offense. The farmers engaged in livestock farming are also suffering due to this unlawful act.
The last three decades of twentieth century are known for the success of White Revolution or Operation Flood. It was an ambitious project. As a consequence the natural milk metamorphosed into the commercial product. The cooperative societies like Amul, Sumul, Panchamrita, Dudhsagar, Vasudhara and Banas have not only changed the colour, shape and breed of the animals but the condition of livestock farmers were also changed considerably. The World Bank sponsored milk movement is better known as White Revolution. The methods of processing and use of preservatives were introduced to make the milk obtained from different animals uniform and durable for longer than usual. This commercialisation has its own grammar that is more or less similar to the one that is between language and dialect. Today its outcome is in public. India has left behind rest of the world not only in the milk production but also in the cases of milk adulteration. In the twenty-first century, private sector participation has increased in this business. Besides Parag, Tirumala, Milk Mantra, Phontera from New Zealand, Lectalis and Denone from France came into picture. They have initiated second phase of the white revolution.
The quality of organic milk obtained from native animals is found to be better for health in the scientific research. This is called A2 milk. In 2007, Keith Woodford, the agriculture expert from New Zealand, wrote a book, Devil in the Milk. He refers to A1 beta-ceso-morphin-7 as the devil in the milk, and attributes this remarkable research to Professor Bob Elliot, who is known to work on children’s medicines at the Auckland University. This research will have a big impact on the milk business worldwide. Govt. of India has started the National Gokul Mission. This is a project worth billions for promotion of the native breeds like Gir, Sindhi and Sahiwal. Mihir Kumar Singh, Joint Secretary of the concerned ministry, calls it the third phase of the White Revolution. Meanwhile, the work of promoting the export of milk products is also in full swing. The Union Agriculture Minister, Radha Mohan Singh, has recently expressed about this estimate of export that is going to be around 35 thousand tons in this financial year.
Many surprising things came out while considering the figures of production and consumption. Assocham has conducted a study on the development prospects of the Indian dairy industry. It found that despite being largest milk producer in the world, per capita milk consumption in India is 252 grams per day. It is less than 279 grams per person worldwide. On the other hand, milk consumption in certain small countries like New Zealand is 9773 grams, in Ireland is 3260 grams, and in Denmark is 2411 grams. Today livelihood of 60 million people in India are dependent on this business. Agriculture and livestock farming are the means of available employment in rural areas. It is surprising that the consumption of milk in such families is the lowest. Those involved in the business of adulterated milk never use this poison themselves.
The government has been trying to curb the menace of adulterated milk unsuccessfully for several years. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has introduced the use of electronic kits for its investigation. The questions were raised in the Parliament on this issue. Minister of State for Agriculture, Krishna Raj told in the Lok Sabha that the government has funded 58 thousand test kits. Definitely these tools will help the investigation, but it is not possible to claim that the business of such adulterated milk will be over for ever.
The World Health Organization has found that 87 percent Indians are prone to cancer by 2025 due to the use of adulterated milk. They have sent advisory to the govt. After that India is going to allow the import of milk products from the United States on certain conditions. The dairy sector is suffering there for sometimes. This crisis looms large as they used to export 52 percent of milk powder to China. The report of the United State Department of Agriculture states that our neighbour has imposed 25 percent duty on it after the trade war. On this issue, Canada is not ready to help them after ignoring its own interests. In this trouble, the US is focused towards the Indian market. It will not guarantee the closure of milk adulteration, but the problems of Indian farmers will increase definitely.
In last couple of years, farmers of Maharashtra have marched on the road. Their demand is to increase milk prices at least five rupees per litre. More or less the same situation is in Odisha and other milk producing states. It is obvious that the condition of farmers engaged in livestock farming is not bearable. This was one of the reasons behind the recent series of protests. Sadly the whole issue is stuck on the question of debt. In the twenty-first century, the trade of milk products seems to be tangled in an interesting conflict between import and export. This will help to ease the global trade balance. But the condition of innocent people of the village involved in livestock farming will be such that they will not be able to consume their own produce.

(Social activist Kaushal Kishore is the author of The Holy Ganga [Rupa, 2008] and Managing Editor of Panchayat Sandesh. His weekly column Across The Lines appears in the vernaculars.)

Development: Rising City vs Shrinking Village

Kaushal Kishore | Follow @HolyGanga

The government of Jharkhand has acquired the land of tribe’s village Mali in Godda district for certain corporate group to prove investment friendly atmosphere of the state. Simultaneously the employees of that group destroyed standing crops in order to take possession on land, as if it was their birth right. The mute and helpless Santhal tribes had nothing to do other than holding their feet and joining the palms together.
The pictures depicting this story is viral in social media with various types of comments. This is one of those news from remote countryside that does not easily reach the media of the metropolis. Now the people of this village have no farming land, and the state is involved in wonderful project to turn these tribes into citizens so as to run the wheel of the development. This practice is unique to impose freedom and development on tribal community, who are used to live with the nature.
Gurgaon, situated near Delhi, is now Gurugram. Although the name seems to be old, the millennium city is quite new and modern. The magnificent high-rising towers are enough to beat Paris and Rome. All its developments happened on the arable land of the village that was known to produce golden crops. Unlike the villages of tribes unknown to the language of the educated people, it was not so difficult to transform these fields into plush buildings. Their dialects are still capable to tune in with the nature.
The villagers of Gurugram were inclined to be citizens, although the old villages now look undeveloped and backward. There is no need to go far away from these towers of development, the stinking areas full of all sorts of pollution is also visible. The situation in Faridabad is exactly the same. Ghaziabad and Gautam Buddha Nagar, often referred as Noida, are regions of Uttar Pradesh and part of National Capital Region. The village associated with Ravana can be found here. Local people used to earn their livings from farming on these lands. Today they are victims of civilization of development and lost all courage to remember their own culture.
The geography of more than three hundred villages in Delhi has been wiped out, but history still remains. In these villages, there used to be farm-barn, various types of wells and ponds including the panchayat. The government issued an order to ban elections in these panchayats in the eighties. In last more than three decades, the activities of these panchayats are stalled without any democratic process. As a result, old things will be new for the people of new generation. Pollution and misery prevalent in outer Delhi is a dominating factor. The top class government of the city-state refers to it as a part of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. The situation of most of such villages situated near cities are more or less similar.
Ashis Nandy, the well known scholar, said that village and city started together, but today the former is spreading and the latter is shrinking. The village devoid of agriculture field is a turning point towards urbanisation. On this point even the definition of a village is changed. Once it used to be surrounded by greenery of the fields that has been replaced by the huge structures of concrete. The rest is done by the factories and outlets. This state of affairs may be the cause of happiness among visionaries of the development. It reminds the blow of storm that worked hard to separate the leaves from the branch. People in rural and tribal areas are also glad in this dark phase. All the leaders of Left, Right and Center are engaged in the exercise of their skill in their own ways. The throne also kisses the feet of the one, who does not make any mistake in doing so.
The country is changing. Now India is also going to be Neo India. People are also changing. But a need that keeps distance from change is that of food. It is a strange fact that proponents of green and white revolutions are demanding organic substances for consumption. The agriculture fields of the villages supplied it to feed the huge population of the cities. Now even in remote areas the villages are devoid of the farming land. The farmers and peasants are bound to change profession to save their precious lives. 80% of population of India was used to be dependent on farming. But in the 2011 census, total population of farmers have been reduced to 8%. Now every year thousands of farmers are shifting from farming. This is the real certificate of shrinking villages. The step-after-step description of this change is going to have a long-term impact on the mind.
During the days of Mahatma Gandhi, raw materials were sent to factories in Britain. Clothes and other products were imported back for Indian market. The freedom fighters considered it a symbol of slavery, and used to torch such clothes. Do you think that India has forgotten that self reliance in the age of Make in India? The truth is that the concept of literacy among the educated people is only to forget it. The recent agitations of farmers did not have any impact on this class. They believe, it is easy to import grains and other such products from countries like USA and Canada. In this age of consumerism food grains are being imported often. The government and society are dedicated together to hand over everything in favour of this development. Consequently the villages are destined to be devoid of agriculture field.
Today the Santhal tribes of Mali resorted to protest instead of collecting compensation for their land. They know the fact that separation from the branch is needed once, the powers to complete the rest is already active. The Jadava tribes of Andaman are not educated. But before the tsunami, they climbed onto the trees that was not destroyed by the destructive waves in 2004. Now that day is not far away, when someone arrives from Harvard and Cambridge to teach the art of living with the mother nature. The proponents of the development should turn their heads away from the village that still has its agriculture land in order to save them from further destruction.

(Social activist Kaushal Kishore is the author of The Holy Ganga and Managing Editor of Panchayat Sandesh. His weekly column Across The Lines appears in the vernaculars. Follow him on Twitter @HolyGanga)