Tuesday, 9 September 2014

दिल की कलम से...

ख़यालों  ने  उनके  सताया  है  इस  क़दर,   के  राबता  हो  उनसे....तो  पूछेंगे  ज़रूर ;
तराशा  है  तुम्हें  खुद  उस  ख़ुदा  ने,   या  हो  तुम  परी....या  कोई  हूर |

है  तुमसे  ही  धड़कन  इस  दिल  की,   और  तुम्ही  से  इन  आँखों  का  नूर;
मर  ही  मिटा  तुमपर,  तो  इस  दिल  का  क्या  क़सूर |

 के   इस  दिल  ने  ही  दिखाई  अंधेरों  में ,  नज़रों  को  राहें  तमाम  हैं;
माना  हुई  है  इससे  ख़ता,   पर  क़ुबूल  हमें  भी  ये  ख़ूबसूरत  इल्ज़ाम  है |

न  जाने  हुआ  ये  कैसे ,   के  एक   ही   झलक  में  दिल-ओ-जान  गवाँ  बैठे;
अजनबी  हुए  ख़ुद  से,  और  उन्हे  भगवान  बना  बैठे |

जादू  चला  उनका  कुछ  इस  तरह ,  के  हम...रहे  नहीं  हम;
पर  मिल  जाए  उनका  साथ  अगर,   तो  ख़ुद  को  खोने  का  भी  नही  ग़म |

के  इस  बेखुदी  में  जो  मज़ा   है,   वो  होश  में  आने  में  कहाँ ;
उनकी  नज़रों  में  अपनी  तस्वीर  सा  नशा ,   किसी   पैमाने   में  कहाँ |

बयाँ  करूँ  भी  तो   कैसे,   के  बीते  कैसे  बरसों... इन  नज़रों  की  तलाश  में;
ज़िंदा  होने  के  इल्ज़ाम  तले ,   चल  रही  थी  साँसें ...ज़िंदगी  की  आस  में |

ज़िंदगी  की  तपती  धूप  में ,   राहत...शाम  में  हमने  पाई  है;
गुज़र  गये  वो  झुलस्ते  मंज़र,    के  जीवन  में  शब  लौट  आई  है|

ख्वाबों  के  इस  वीराने  में ,   क्या  खूब  हरियाली  छाई  है;
के  ढूंड  रहे  थे  हम  अल्फाज़ों  को,  और...खुद  ग़ज़ल  ही  चली  आई  है |

के   बयान   हो  कैसे  इन   लफ़्ज़ों   में,   जो  शख्सियत  ही  ख़ुदाया  है;
याकता  वो  हीर,    जिसने  इस  दिल  को  सजाया  है |

Monday, 8 September 2014

Indian Army : The saviour of sportsmen


    “करके  फरियाद  जाने  क्यूँ  उसे  शर्मिंदा  किया  करते  हैं........ख़बर  जिसे  हर  राज़-ए-दिल  की है;
                      ख़्वाब  वो  सुनहरे  चूमेंगे  ख़ुद  ही  कदम.......गर  हम  उनके  क़ाबिल  भी  हैं...”

                The name of Indian Army is almost synonymous with bravery and glory. Every single soldier is a hero himself. Their eyes  shining  with  pride, head held high  and their uniform studded with medals speak of their heroics and valor. Some of these brave hearts rise to heaven protecting the mother India  while  some hold our hands with compassion  when  mother nature gets angry. Each one of them deserves a grand  salute. The Indian Army  have been formidable in the battlefield but not many know that they have also  dominated  the sports arena for many years. They have given some of the greatest sporting legends to the country and put India on a global stage. In the social turmoil of poverty ridden India, the Indian Army proved to be the perfect breeding ground for legends whose extraordinary feats totally eclipsed their meager  backgrounds. Undoubtedly, it was their sheer hard work  and passion for their sport that took them to such great heights but the Indian army certainly laid down the foundation stone. The army aptly played the best matchmaker here and who knows how they would have met their dreams without the Indian Army by their side. Sadly,  still many of such prodigies might not have made it out of their backyards.
              First among such heroes to rise to the occasion was the one who went on to become the face of the Indian national sport - Major Dhyan chand (1905- 3 Dec, 1979). He is best remembered for his extraordinary goal scoring feats and the 3 successive Olympic gold medals in 1928, 32 and 36 in hockey. But this legend first met with  his  hockey stick in the army grounds only and they fell in love instantly. The Army gave him the much needed opportunity and then there was no turning back. He did not just win matches but hearts also and that too of the likes of Adolf Hitler and Sir Don Bradman. He was truly the “magician of hockey” and  his  dream run in hockey never had any major low points.
                                        “He scores goals like runs in cricket”                                                                                                              - Sir Don Bradman

                 To commemorate his contribution to the legacy, his birthday, 29th August, is celebrated as the National Sports Day and the highest award for lifetime achievement in sports is named after him. He went all over the world and left his mark everywhere, from Vienna to London. But  after  he retired from the army as Major, all his medals lost their luster. He couldn't tackle  this time and destiny scored. He was left penniless and debilitated. It  is a  shame  that  a legend of  his stature had  to die of liver cancer in a financial crisis. If you think it was sad then  the  next   story  was  even worse in terms of  its  climax. He was Subedar Paan Singh Tomar. He  never  always  knew what steeple chase was but the hurdles were no match for his agility  and hard work. He became the National Champion seven times and his record of 9 min 4 sec in 3000 mtr steeple chase remained unbeaten for a decade. But then a family feud went berserk and he had to retire early only to fall prey to the dark side of his destiny. Further events took such a tragic turn that the story culminated in the transformation of an international sportsperson into a dacoit. He  was  hunted down and killed in an encounter few years later. It is a pity that a champion died a criminals  death. But this next legend’s past was as gory and filled with bloodshed as were Paan Singh’s last days. He was the ‘flying Sikhhimself - Milkha Singh

                   He also met the sprinter in him after joining the army as Sepoy only. The feats he achieved set a new benchmark in athletics. After amassing a pile of medals, he ran his dream run in 1960 Olympics. He just missed the medal but his record time of 45.73 sec for 300 mtr was glued to his name for 40 years. He was the only male individual to win athletics gold medal in commonwealth games until Vikas Gowda did it in discus throw in 2014. He subsequently became the Director of Sports in the Punjab Ministry of Education, from which he retired in 1998 but still serving the country in one way or the other. This next legend is also serving the country and is still active in sports and preparing to fetch 6th World Champion Title for her three kids. She is M.C. Mary Kom. She never served in the army but the Indian navy cheekily played a vital role in boosting her career. Mary Kom was deeply inspired by a Manipuri boxer ‘Dingko Singh’ who served in Indian navy and won 1998 Asian Games gold medal in boxing. She later trained under the same coach and went on to become a boxing legend. The connection is small but nevertheless important.
                  All these legends were unique in their own way but they all shared something in common too. They all belonged to meager backgrounds and realized their dreams only after joining the Armed forces. They were all naturally gifted and born winners and the army catapulted their potential to another level. The Armed Forces deserves a salute for their contribution to their sporting careers. These legends dominated each of their sporting fields for decades and set unmatchable records but sadly, some of them were forgotten in their last days. With their splendid performances they made one thing more than clear that 

“we may be lagging behind in medal tallies 
but we were never scarce in talent”. 

                       We just need to look around with intent and such legends will keep coming up, each with a more inspiring story than the other. But a performer is nothing without an audience and the least we can do is, pick a sport and follow and support it with all our heart and let them hear the echoes of our screams till their last breath. The political and administrative changes will take their time but we have our hearts and that’s all we have to give. These legends need us as much as we need them. So, come forward and make India proud.

Dhyan Chand  - Goal                                                                               
Milkha Singh   - Race of my life               
Mary Kom        - Unbreakable                                       

Friday, 5 September 2014

Dr. Bhimrao Ramjee Ambedkar : The Messiah Misconstrued


" बिन  माँगे  मोती  कहाँ , और  क्यूँ  माँगे  हम  भीख ;
ऐ  दलित ! अपने  अधिकारों  को , छीन  के  लेना  सीख..."

                   As the unquestioned leader of depressed classes and the principal architect of the Indian constitution , the name of Dr. B.R. #Ambedkar will always be remembered in Indian history. His entire life has been a saga of relentless crusade for social justice and a symbol of revolt against all oppressive features of the Hindu society. He was not just a social revolutionary but also a prolific scholar, a lawyer, an economist and a true ‘Bharat Ratna’ indeed. He played a vital role in shaping the modern Indian society. Even at the peak of India's freedom struggle with the British (a struggle of  our past and present) , he was fighting for social and economic equality (our future). His own struggle had started  the moment he was born in a poor mahar family  but as  non-violence  was to Mahatma Gandhi, education was to #Babasaheb. With his resoluteness and hard work he went up against all odds and became the first  person ever from the backward classes of India to earn a law degree and various doctorates from Columbia university and the London school of economics.

"When everyone else was worried about bread , 
he chose pen;

He righteously rose  to the position, 
apt for extra-ordinary men..."

He firmly believed that “cultivation of mind should be the ultimate aim of human existence”. His endeavor for pursuit of knowledge continued till his last breath. He founded ‘bahishkrit hitkarini sabha’ in 1924 to educate and unite the depressed classes  and rouse self consciousness and self respect among them. He started many publications including ‘mooknayak in 1920’ to agitate the people against the oppression, which was the need of the hour. He knew knowledge and unity, strengthened  with agitation can bring down anything.
                       Dr. Ambedkar has left a legacy so rich that it is nearly impossible to match his steps but after more than 66 years of independence the BIG QUESTION is   “Are we anywhere near to what Babasaheb set out to achieve ?”. He believed ideas need propagation as much as plants need water to flourish. His garlanded idols have definitely cropped up all over the country but unfortunately his ideas are scarcely witnessed. Parroting his name on politically crucial occasions and social gatherings is not enough but sadly this is where most of his ‘followers’ now stop. Times have changed and so should we. The first challenge is to transform and redirect the feeling of raw , stifling anger against the upper castes into intra-community caring and unity. We should come forward and socially help and mentor each other for the betterment of the backward community on the whole . Dalits should realize that government policies and programs and all legal and political protections can only facilitate them but cannot fully change the society on their behalf. They should stand tall and open up new grounds for an innately positive moral and social identity and accept the fact that dalits and non-dalits are here competitors in many ways but are not enemiesDr. Ambedkar himself drafted the constitution to ensure equality of all citizens and made special provisions to safeguard socially and educationally backward class’s interests but if they cannot help themselves,  nobody else can.
                        Two of the most important contributions of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar have sadly been misconstrued by dalits and non-dalits alike. First was the introduction of positive discrimination of depressed classes. The idea was to break monopoly by proportional representation and bring all backward classes on one platform (SC/ST/OBC) to break the caste system. This step has been criticized and opposed all along but more so in the past few years. Nevertheless,  it has survived for so long because it is the least expensive and politically most rewarding of all policy options. However, it is a matter of debate that ‘whether reservations have been successful or not’ but it is a common notion that it has benefited only a small section of the backward classes. It must, however , be admitted that even if this small number can throw up leadership for the community to bargain for the larger interests and help a lot more people around them, the purpose is more or less met. Although more and more people are willing to lend their hand forward, the numbers are still not enough to make an imprint on the larger front or just to shut the opposition. As a result, a lot many of the backward classes are still suffering. Moreover, the over-estimation of the amount and effectiveness of preferential treatment reinforces the notion that enough (too much) is already being done and nothing more is called for. This mindset prevents non-dalits, private sector or even the ‘developed dalits’ to come forward with a small or large contributions. Also, the fact that ‘Dr. Ambedkar professed for pursuit of knowledge his whole life’ has lost place to  his contribution to introduction of reservation policy. People feel more proud of his contribution to the reservation system than his hard work for his own education against all odds, when there was not just 'no reservation' but also no place for a so-called  untouchable in the whole education system.  Many people still rely more on reservation than their own hard work which Babasaheb must have never intended to. The reservation system should compensate for the educational, social and financial background and not for hard work. It will be a tribute to the legend if we can remain true to this simple fact. His another contribution was rejuvenating Buddhism in India. He accepted Buddhism after a lot of research and study with the sole aim of abolishing discrimination against the backward classes. But it is unfortunate to say that this discrimination still exists in India to the extent that it can be seen  even among different backward classes clubbed together by Babasaheb himself  as  ‘SC/ST/OBC’ with the intention of uniting them as one. It is unwise, illogical  and  unfair to be riding on both the boats simultaneously. Even Buddhism is based on rational thinking and reasoning and is free from any form of discrimination or hatred. But  neither Buddha nor Babasaheb is among us anymore and their ideologies are waning very fast or  at  least  being bent for personal or political gains by politicians, communities and even the dalits themselves.  Dr. B.R. Ambedkar has certainly succeeded in bringing about a very evident change  in  the life style of backward classes and practically influenced every single person  belonging  to depressed classes or not,  in some way or the other but a lot of ground work (primary education, health, unemployment)still needs to be done for the overall development. He has done more than any human could possibly do for the depressed classes and  bring  them  this  far. Now  it  is upon them to  rise  to the  occasion  and   help him achieve  what  he  has  always  dreamed  of   and  the  mindset  of   the  people    certainly  needs  to  change   for  this  to  happen  and  for  the  greater  good  of  the  Indian  society  as  a  whole.

Note: The word dalit is not used  in any derogatory sense here but  to denote all the depressed  classes clubbed together.