Masterji: As I remember

Yes, you wore many hats.
I remember you.
Those were the sixties of the previous century when rickshaws were everywhere. The migrants from our neighbouring state, Telugu speaking from Andhra Pradesh drove those cheap, but friendly and ubiquitous vehicles. They were early days to understand eco-friendly modes of mobility.Maybe, there was only a handful, rich enough to own private cars.
In your spare time which was very little, I’d imagine, you worked on these simple contraptions, repaired and even assembled them. There were quite a few of these rickshaws that you owned and employed many robust and hardworking Telugus at your popular outlet, near the erstwhile Capital Cinema Hall. Many who had seen this part of you either quietly sniggered in the shadows or shamefacedly criticised in front.
Now I know and understand the hands-on man, that was you: pioneering, courageous and entrepreneurial. Not for you were the cosy comforts of a staid world bound by non-enterprising mores or pettiness borne out of lazily held property or decadent riches. You were your own man.
I remember the three daughters in their very early teens in colourful Salwar Kameez or flowering skirts on bicycles would set the dry and dusty streets of Cuttack a flutter. They rode the lady-cycles without a carrier in front of the seat and without a care.From “Sati Chaura” to “Chauliaganj” they biked equally comfortable talking to boys as with the others.Eyeballs surely would have rolled like Chinese toys.The girls next door or the touch-me-not unmarried maids and mocking mothers would miss this liberating sight when bounded indoors for their stuck up elders believed that good girls were not to be touched by the polluting influence of the “chokris”.. If there were sighs, heartaches or secret desires seeking such freedom by the nubile lovelies inside of their homes we do not know but can only guess! That besides the cry and spit of contempt of the gentlemen and women could not be hidden and their evil gazes dotted the trail of these innocent, freewheeling cyclists. The mother of the Singh Family, however, dignified and distinguished both in looks and education lovingly let her girls fly.( And mind you, they could cook too!) Masterji was nonchalant, unfazed and happily cheered the family on, well ahead and above of it all. You were modern enough without the usual trappings.
I remember you could drink “lotas”(round vessel of brass or aluminium) of water through your nose and relish a full mouthful of fresh green chillies in equal measure with a “handi”(earthen pot) of Rasogoolas .Dread and awe transfixed the gazes of the uninitiated and the young while the matured and smug continued with their snigger. Who was to tell the latter of their native ignorance’s when they beheld these spectacular feats?
I remember the gather of the men, women, and children from Bihar who found in your home succour, support, and shelter. You were the mentor, guide and father to them who nostalgically missed their distant homes, families, and friends left behind through the humming and mostly loud singing of Bhojpuri folk to the accompaniment of Harmonium, dholaks and manjiras(little brass cymbals) clanging tunefully against each other. The taste of the wonderful choka, puris , dum alloo,dai bhalles and what-have-you still lingers of the many feasts of Holi, Chhat Puja, and Diwali. You made this happen Masterji to get the merry band of migrant Biharis coming together.One question though naggingly lingers.Was your politics not about the belted oversized khaki shorts, lathi and the white gangees(vests)?Just as an aside, good :they are good:those that wear the same today ,a lbeit in trousers they are! But well, that is another story.
Today, you leave me and many else wondering why do we remember now. Why do ideators,polygots,musicians, filmmakers, painters, and authors, artists philosophers while on their path-breaking and innovative drives during their lifetime seldom get recognised or discovered? Why do we not see the many flavours of life and its struggles that different people, cultural diversity, languages, and places bring? Why does it take time to see the seeds being sown for the many flowers to be born from the energy, courage, vision, sweat and toil of an unsung but tireless gardener?
Sadly, it is only, much after, that we do! In most instances, that is, By then, it is but the tale of too little too late I’ d suppose

P.S. After Pappu’s tribute.Another reminisce…

Continue reading “Masterji: As I remember”

MayDay!May Day!May Day!

#Left-Out: Not the football of Politics!
It is May Day and what a travesty.That day which symbolises everything about empowerment of the labour, justice, fair play, egalitarianism and power to the people is no longer celebrated.Much less remembered.In another extraordinary way the call – ” May Day! Mayday! May Day!” is an internationally acknowledged call of distress.Is it frightful coincidence or serendipity that such a call for help is being heard for some time now from the fore and aft of the sinking ship: the Left?

The Left would need to explain at the grass roots what it is to be seeking its own individual identity, a collaboration with the far left and the broader spectrum of the unity of pro-secular forces.It would need to examine the globalised surge towards individualism and self-aggrandisement and the disenchantment of the millennials: the young who grew to adulthood without a sense of history and pride of the nation’s true strengths of diversity and pluralism and near-obsessive preoccupation with poverty.The people would like to know how and why the world is swinging to an anti-people philosophy and programme of action and the sudden honeymoon to play surrogates to the vile designs of world domination of the USA.

The downslide had started since Independence.Only the termites of compromise were too small or invisible.The legacies of anti-colonial movements and the overarching presence of the Soviet Union and the rise of China had kept the Left lulled and seduced in a sense of false well-being.Until the deluge…

The people would like to see the Left to once again be on the streets among them and from whose seeds this radical idea of political, social and economic transformation was born.The people want to be led and also to lead.Leadership, organisation, participation, party, flag and a philosophy of action is the crying need.

Bengal stands in the crosshairs of all such questions and much more.Chauvinistically, perhaps pride in that very parochial saying”what Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow.” might still leave them inspired, to say the least!

Setbacks, retreats or defeats can only be temporary.Do they have it in them to arrest the decline, overturn the debacle to rise in defiance and usher in hope for the victory of the people?may day

Sitaram Yechury with great political acumen and sagacity talks honestly about what went or is going wrong with the Left movement and CPI(M) in particular.For all patriots irrespective of where you stand in the final analysis: an insightful and must read…

Click Here

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Musings on Martyrdom: Ibaadat sey Shahdat!

Since India became independent its uneven development and fractured growth, huge differences between the rich and poor or the majority and minority communities, the disenfranchisement of the tribal and the Dalits, among other things, have raised ugly questions afresh on the basic concept of freedom, egalitarianism, justice and sovereignty. State power has been frequently misused to repress the various voices of dissent, agitations and resistance struggles, who have strongly challenged the meaningless of it all. People’s Movements like Tebhaga, Telangana, the Naxalism, Free Kashmir and the demand of Naga liberation have left many thousands dead, even more, embittered. It is today in the crosshairs of what is true martyrdom. In Free India are they to be called, known, reviled or celebrated as terrorists or Freedom Fighters, secessionists or liberators? Is violence against organised state power unconstitutional and only non-violent resistance legit? Is defending and fighting for your legitimate rights fundamental? Will dying in such actions honour them to be called martyrs?

Source: Musings on Martyrdom: Ibaadat sey Shahdat!

 

Akashganga: They also Serve, who Just Stand and Wait – XV

Behind the risk of life and limb stood the woman by his man. Running from sick quarters to banks and schools, buying groceries riding cycles or by walk, receiving and seeing off loved relatives all by themselves, while her loved man was away is a quality taken for granted and an unwritten part of the wife’s job description. Cooking late meals without notice with nothing in store for an unannounced number of gatecrashers, the free-flowing rum and groggy men being the proverbial last straw. Do not get it wrong here! These were still early days for the women to enjoy much less taste the tabooed liquor. It took a while before the docile and submissive Nari came into her own. In her Sunday best, she soldiered on with a smile. Tears there must have been and many at that but these were to be borne and shared by each husband in the dark corners of the bedroom.

Source: Akashganga: They also Serve, who Just Stand and Wait – XV

Akashganga: Daffodils in the Sky and Butterflies in the Belly – XIV

Akashganga never had it so good. Enthused and awed by the sense of spectacle, for the first time in the history of the Air Force, a full load of 37 skydivers in spanking new and fancy dungarees jumped to join an assembled parade contingent on ground consisting of nine Squadrons of three flights each of about a thousand Vayuputras, in 1989. They then joined the ceremonial march past in the august presence of Mini Bawa, the Mukhya Deva Adhikari of the Central Command. Banjo was commended by the Chief of Air Staff for this unique planning and exhibition of military freefalling skills imbued with the spirit and festivity of sports skydiving. Sunil tells us more about the thrill and threats of Akashganga, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.

Source: Akashganga: Daffodils in the Sky and Butterflies in the Belly – XIV

Akashganga: Trails of Stardust and Swirling Black Holes – XIII

Members of Akashganga moved on to multi-tasking and become a lean mean fighting machine. Sport and military parachuting complemented each other. for more

Source: Akashganga: Trails of Stardust and Swirling Black Holes – XIII

Akashganga: The Old Maketh way for the New- XII

On having reached a destination or goal is not to be at the finish line.The struggle begins only then and afterwards.To nurture,develop and sustain the new born. Akashganga the Indian Air Force Skydiving Team was poised to undergo that much known journey.For more read on…

Source: Akashganga: The Old Maketh way for the New- XII