Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Review - Samvedna (By Atal Bihari Vajpayee & Jagjit Singh)

If I admire any one in Indian Politics, then that person is Shri. Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji. He is the true Bheeshma Pitahmah of Indian Politics. And it is not just his political skills but the poetic skills as well which mesmerize me. And just imagine if you get to hear these poems in the divine voice of the Ghazal King Jagjit Singh, then it makes a perfect combination. This album "सम्वेदना" is the true example of two maestros of their fields blending together and producing a master piece. Although this album was released in 2002 but I got to hear it just now.

The speciality of the album and which makes it outstanding is the narration by Vajpayee ji. He narrates the incidents and reasons behind the creation of each poem. The period during the Emergency which was imposed on us in 1975 and later inspired quite a few poems and the former Prime Minister elucidates the reasons well before quoting a few introductory lines. The lines are simple and easy to understand. There is a sensitivity to each song and most of them are are thought provoking. And Jagjit Singh has tuned them melodiously bearing in mind the mood of each poem. Since most of them are stirred by real life incidents there is an element of melancholy and poignancy about them and Jagjit Singh's strains bring this alive. He, as usual, mesmerizes with his voice.

The first poem is "क्या खोया क्या पाया". The song contains a preface for the album by the legend himself Mr. Amitabh Bachchan. The poem has a philosophical angle which highlights what one loses and gains in his life. And at the last when the death arrives, one opens the doors for it to come himself. क्या खोया क्या पाया जग मे, मिलते और बिछडते मग मे, मुझे किसी से नही शिकायत, यद्यपि छला गया पग पग ।

The second poem is "एक बरस बीत गया". This poem was written after an year of Emergency, when all leaders including Atal ji were jailed and all rights and independence of the people was curbed by the Indira Government. The poem describes the hardships and life led by the people at that tough time. झुलसाता जेठ मास, शरद चान्दनी उदास, सिसकी भरते सावन का अन्तर्घट रीत गया, एक बरस बीत गया ।

The next one is "चौराहे पर". This one is my favourite. The prelude is too loaded with meaning. जो कल थे वे आज नही है, जो आज है वो कल नही होगे, होने ना होने का क्रम इसी तरह चलता रहेगा, हम है, हम रहेगे, ये भ्रम भी सदा पलता रहेगा, सत्य क्या है? होना या ना होना, या दोनो ही सत्य है, जो है उसका होना सत्य है, जो नही है उसका ना होना सत्य है, मुझे लगता है कि होना ना होना एक ही सत्य के दो आयाम है, शेष सब समझ का फ़ेर, बुद्धि के व्यायाम है ।

The next poem is "जीवन बीत चला". This poem was written by him on one of his birthday. He confesses that due to lack of time, he didnot write much, but when his birthday comes, he do write on his past experiences. The opening lines of "Jeevan Beet Chala" reflects the years gone by. जीवन की ढलने लगी सान्झ, उम्र घट गयी, डगर कट गयी, जीवन की ढलने लगी सान्झ, बदले है अर्थ, शब्द हुए व्यर्थ, शान्ति बिना खुशिया है बान्झ, जीवन की ढलने लगी सान्झ ।

"दूर कही कोई रोता है" was inspired by the crying sounds of people heard by Vajpayee ji when he was admitted to AIIMS, New Delhi. This happened during Emergency when he fell ill in the Bangalore jail. In the opening lines he narrates that every morning, he woke up by the crying sounds of the relatives of the patients who died at the night. That was the time when thier dead bodies were handed over by the hospital authorities to their beloved ones. This scenario tore his heart apart and he expressed his pain by writing this poem.

After Emergency, all the parties except Congress united together to form Janta Party under the leadership of Jayprakash Narayan to contest the election and vowed to work together at Raj Ghat, a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, which marks the place of his cremation. But later, Janta Party broke up and the leaders couldnot keep their vows. This last poem "कदम मिला कर चलना होगा" brings out his sorrow at the breaking of the promise. क्षमा करो बापू तुम हमको, वचन भन्ग के हम अपराधी, राज घाट को किया अपावन, मन्ज़िल भूले, यात्रा आधी, जयप्रकाश जी रखो भरोसा, टूटे सपनो को जोडगे, चिता भस्म की चिन्गारी से, अन्धकार के गढ तोडगे ।

The album has to be heard in leisure, for each song to be enjoyed slowly. Every song has a deep meaning and overall it is a masterpiece. In the words of Vaibhav Sir... 5 on 5.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

6th December, 1992: The Day India Changed

Sixteen Years have passed since the Ayodhya incident but for those who know about it or witnessed it, it seems as if it was yesterday. What happened that day, was never happened before in the history of India. The Hindu-Muslim relations in India have never recovered since then and are always under threat.

The incident was not anonymous, nor it was accomplished under some instantaneous rage. Rather, it was all previously planned strategy of some religious leaders and political parties. The communal tension was at its peak and the controversial site where Babri Masjid stood was barricaded and security was tightened to avoid any mishap. Under the influence of Hindu Dharm Gurus and certain political groups, around 1.5 lac people were gathered in Ayodhya for the inauguration ceremony of the site and to lay the first bricks for the Ram Mandir at the Ram Janma Bhoomi. The day before the D-day, there was a mass rally organised by Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Shiv Sena under the leadership of Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Mr. Lal Krishna Advani. Many speakers gave infuriating speeches about the alledged existence of the Ram Mandir at the place where Babri Masjid stood, and also that at the time of Mughal rule, the mandir was demolished by Babur and converted to the masjid. This further gave fuel to the fire already ignited in the hearts of ignorant public.

Despite the Supreme Court order, that Babri Masjid should not be harmed in any way during the process of the ceremony, angry mob stormed into the masjid premises and demolished it alledgedly by pelting stones, sticks and trishuls they were having. Within no time, the masjid was rampaged to dust. The police and the security personnels felt helpless at the hands of the mob as the slogans of "Jai Shree Ram" rocked the atmosphere.

The aftermath of this incident resulted in the worst communal riots occured in India since the time of Independence in 1947. The country was under chaos and over 2000 innocent people were butchered in various cities. Curfew was imposed in the sensitive areas and all schools and colleges were closed. Daily life of the people was affected to a greater extent. The Muslim community was shocked by the incident and this feeling of anger and dissatisfaction led some youth of the community to go against the law. The biggest and the most devastating example of
this was serial bomb blasts that took place in Mumbai (then, Bombay) on March 12th, 1993 which shook the whole world, and was considered as one of the most organised terror attacks till then. The blasts claimed more than 250 lives and injuring hundreds others.

The Pakistan supported Terrorism which is the biggest problem faced by Indians today, is the result of that day. Pakistani intelligence Agency ISI and also their government under cover have exploited the anger and dissatisfaction amongst Muslims in India and used it against Indians itself. They fund these igonorant Indians and infuriate them against their own country and cause havoc. The country which was once known for its peace and brotherhood, and also for the Unity in Diversity, is now facing such difficulties in controlling and avoiding these terrorist activities because of some insiders who do not want the people here to live a peaceful and happy life. The seed of hatred and terror, which was sowed then and irrigated by the blood of innocent citizens has acquired a dangerously big tree, filled with fruits in the form of terrorist activities, explosions, deaths, killings, massacres...