खैट - एक प्रसंग

"भुला! ये खैट पर्वत किस ओर पड़ेगा?" उस लड़के ने ऐसे देखा, मानो साँप सूँघ गया। "मुझे नहीं पता," इतना कहकर वो एकदम तेज़ी से चलने लगा, और क्षण भर में भाग कर अदृश्य सा हो गया। दीपक और उसका मित्र वरुण दोनो ने यह निर्णय किया था के वो अंधविश्वास के विरुद्ध मुहिम छेड़ेंगे। दिल्ली में विज्ञान विषय पढ़ने के बाद उनका दैवीय शक्ति, भूत, अभिचार, इन सब को संदेह से देखना आम बात थी। फिर क्या था -, सत्यशोधन समाज की सदस्यता लेकर उन्होंने जगह जगह जाकर अंधविश्वास के विरुद्ध जागरूकता फैलाने का काम शुरू किया। अभी भी कॉलेज में ही थे, लेकिन शेष समय में जगह जगह जाकर समाज का काम करना उनकी पहचान बन गया था। "कमाल है," वरुण ने एक सिगरेट निकाली और लाइटर से सुलगा कर एक कश भरा। "तीसरा व्यक्ति है, जो बिन बताए चला गया," यह कहकर वरुण ने सिगरेट को दीपक के साथ साझा किया। दीपक ने उस सिगरेट से एक कश भरा, और लौटा दिया। टिहरी के खैट की यह यात्रा बहुत ही कठिन होती जा रही थी। यातायात की समस्या, फिर सड़क की दुर्घटनाएं, ऊपर से लोगों का असहयोग। सब कुछ ही देख लिया था, लेकिन चलो, ऐसा ही होता है

शान ए डुग्गर

माँ, कौन हूँ मैं? तू आज बता क्या असल मेरी पहचान है? बेटी तू शान ए डोगरा है डुग्गर से ही तेरी पहचान है तवी की तेज़ धार बावे की माता तेरी शान है बाहु के किले का सूरज जंबु की तेग की धार है डीडो के क्रोध की ज्वाला, और ब्रजदेव की वीरता की अंगार है शिव के माथे का चंदन रघुनाथ कुल का आशीर्वाद है नीला रानी का सतीत्व तू है तू गुलाब सिंह का स्वाभिमान है मालदेव की तलवार का लोहा है तू भाभोरी सुरजदेव वफादार है रणजीत देव की बुद्धिमता तू भारत की पहरेदार है इन गलियों में छुपी हरेक कहानी यह सभी तेरी पहचान हैं तो क्यों मुझे आज छोड़ा मां? क्या मुझसे नहीं तुझे प्यार है तुझमें कोई कमी नहीं बेटी मेरे दोषों का तुझपे प्रहार है तेरे लिए हम लड़ न सके, और अब अब जर्जर तेरी हर दीवार है हरि सिंह सा तुझको छोड़ दिया भूल गए सब तेरी पहचान हैं ब्याह में तुझको यादें दीं पर जोड़ा तेरा तारतार है छत झूल रही अंतिम पग पर तेरी नीलामी का इंतज़ार है मुझे पता नहीं मैं क्या कहूं सिर झुकने को आया आज है डुग्गर धरोहर होना था तुझे अब होटल का तुझसे निखार है सोचा, तुझे मिलेगा प्यार, मगर तुझे बेचा बीच बाजार है तेरे आंसू की गर्मी की ये जलन

The Senseless Obsession with a Uniform Civil Code - Hindus Will be Net Losers

Once again, the bogey of Uniform Civil Code (UCC) has come to the forefront of political deliberations. UCC is being seen as some kind of panacea for a variety of problems that the Hindus face in India. The worst part is that many right minded Hindus seriously believe that UCC will be some kind of game changer in this country. This, when fact remains that UCC does nothing to solve the challenges of Hindus and their second class status in India. Nevertheless, one must realise that UCC does more harm to Hindus than good, and a few good and solid reasons exist for this.  For this, let us have a look at what is being pushed for in the Uttarakhand draft of the UCC bill. As per twitter discussions, these are the thirteen key features of the bill: 1: Polygamy will be banned. 2: The age of marriage of girls will be increased so that they can graduate before marriage. 3: Declaration of live in relationship will be necessary. Parents will be informed. 4: In succession, girls will get an equal sh

Remembering Rajaji's Words on Hinduism and the Economy

As the brouhaha on the rightful restoration of the Dharma Danda or Sengol handed over in 1947 by the Adheenams of Tamil Nadu continues, one cannot help but wistfully remember a man whose civilisational roots held up and influenced this nation underneath the currents in ways we can only appreciate today. C Rajagopalachari, or Rajaji as he was known, was the brain behind the Sengol , thanks to his vast expanse of knowledge that was able to recall the traditions of the Chola empire of yore. This very Chola empire had deep connections with Ganga, Aryavarta, Jambudvipa and the pancha tattva of the cosmos among other innumerable Dharmic concepts. Even though he was called the Southern General of Mahatma Gandhi, the outlooks on Hinduism, Dharma, and its role in society were vastly different. Be it in the recensions on Mahabharata and Ramayana or his thoughts on the Upanishads, one senses this deeply. A lecture delivered in Patna in 1953 on the relevance of Hinduism as a religion for modern

Village Defense Committees in Jammu - Some Thoughts on the Dangerous Ongoing Game

Kanta Devi, an erstwhile VDC Head in village Choura Kot, district Reasi (courtesy: Daily Excelsio r) The recent outrage and noise following the Dangri massacre of Hindus by terrorists brought to focus a rather interesting feature of the security apparatus in Jammu's hilly region of Rajouri and other such regions in and around the Chenab region. A major question asked in the entire debate was the conspicuous absence of the Village Defense Committees (VDCs) and their inability to fight off terrorists. Of course, people have at best only heard about VDCs, and there is little by way of popular writings till very recently that I have come across on this subject, so I am going to attempt to capture some critical moments of the emergence of VDCs, their role in fighting off militancy, some attempt at explaining their success, and how since 2010 there have been attempts to actually de-arm these groups, one way or the other. Tracing the Origins After the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits

Some Thoughts on Delhi's Administrative Chaos

Map of Delhi-NCR (source: NCR Planning Board) The problem of Delhi in Independent India has perhaps been a puzzle since its inception.  Until 1901, Delhi was one of the five administrative units of Punjab province, comprising the five districts of Karnal, Ambala, Rohtak, Hissar and Gurgaon . However, as Delhi became the capital of British India in 1911, these districts were reconfigured and placed under its own local government as a separate province. Later, some areas of Meerut District (Shahdara) of the then United Provinces (today's Uttar Pradesh) was merged into Delhi. Eventually, the British government classified as a Chief Commissioner's Province under the Government of India Act, 1919 and 1935, equivalent to a present-day Union Territory.  Post independence, Delhi was a Category C state at the time of Independence, with Chaudhary Brahm Prakash being its first Chief Minister. A Nairobi returnee, the man had despite being a Congressman faced significant problems with Anand

Shakti's Authority in India - Two Traditions Show a Path of Dialogue

Durga Fighting Mahishasura, Nurpur Shaili ca 1760 (courtesy Victoria and Albert Museum )   Ever so often there is so much noise about the power of the Divine Feminine, the Mother Goddess. Some generated veneration, while others generated debate and controversy. In the midst of all this has been lost the celebration of the Shakti, the Cosmic Force that drives the entire cosmos. That she is the progenitor of everything is perhaps why Shakti was visualised as The Mother, the Jagat Janani, the Jagat Amba among the Hindus. As the great revolutionary and thinker Sri Aurobindo had written in his pamphlet Bhawani Mandir : The Shakti of war, the Shakti of wealth, the Shakti of Science are tenfold more mighty and colossal, a hundredfold more fierce, rapid and busy in their activity, a thousandfold more prolific in resources, weapons and instruments than ever before in recorded history. Everywhere the Mother is at work; from Her mighty and shaping hands enormous forms of Rakshasas, Asuras, Devas