Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Homage to Batukeshwar Dutt

The Unsung Braveheart Who Launched Smoke Bombs Alongside Bhagat Singh

"At the appointed time, Bhagat Singh and BK Dutta threw the bombs over the empty seats in the Central Assembly, threw the historic pamphlets 'To Make the Deaf Hear' and shouted slogans: 'Inquilab Zindabad' and 'Samrajyavaad ka naash ho'."

On 8 April 1929, members of the Central Legislative Assembly had gathered together and begun their regular discussions, when suddenly, a strange object flew from the visitor's gallery and landed in an empty space in the hall. Within moments, smoke started filling the area and shouts of "Inquilab Zindabad" (long live the revolution) were heard. Following this, the two men who had bombed the hall began to throw leaflets that carried the slogan, "It takes a loud sound to make the deaf hear."

Given the scare that the bomb had created, members of the assembly were running helter-skelter. The bombers, Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt, could have easily escaped in the commotion, but they stayed—the bomb wasn't an empty threat. They wanted to make their voices heard.

Batukeshwar Dutt, fondly known as BK Dutt, Mohan or Battu was born on 18 November 1910 in the Oari village in what is now West Bengal.

He shifted to Kanpur to study in the PPN High school, from where he graduated. In 1924, Dutt met Bhagat Singh, and the two became thick friends. Bhagat Singh was an active member of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) when he met Dutt, and soon, the latter joined the force too. Like Singh and Chandrashekhar Azad, Dutt learned how to make bombs during this time.

When the British Government passed the Defence of India Act, 1915, it gave them the undisputed power to control revolutionaries and their activities. HSRA declared their staunch opposition to the act, and Lala Lajpat Rai's death in a lathi charge further infuriated the association.

In the book, 'The Jail Notebook and Other Writings" compiled by Chaman Lal, he writes,

"It was clear from the beginning that these bombs were to be harmless, not designed to kill or injure anyone, but to create an explosion that would make the deaf hear… At the appointed time, Bhagat Singh and BK Dutta threw the bombs over the empty seats in the Central Assembly, threw the historic pamphlets 'To Make the Deaf Hear' and shouted slogans: 'Inquilab Zindabad' and 'Samrajyavaad ka naash ho' (down with imperialism)."

Singh and Dutt never wanted to escape. They readily accepted imprisonment, as they believed that it would inspire the next generation of revolutionaries to fight for the cause of freedom.

In fact, several years later, Asaf Ali, the lawyer who represented Dutt in the bombing case, revealed in an interview that Dutt had not actually thrown a bomb that day. He wanted to stay with Singh from the beginning to the end, so he allowed himself to be arrested.

Both the revolutionaries were sentenced for transportation for life (convicts were deported from mainland India for the remainder of their lives) in this case for "causing explosions of a nature likely to endanger life, unlawfully and maliciously." Singh was sent to the Mianwali Jail and Dutt, to the Central Jail in Lahore. Soon, Singh was transferred to the same jail that Dutt was in.

Here, they realised that they were treated like criminals, not political prisoners. Their European counterparts were treated with dignity and were provided with good food, clothes, books and newspapers. On the other hand, Indian political prisoners were made to perform undignified labour.

Furious with the treatment being meted out to them, they wrote an impassioned letter to the government of India, stating, stating that their diet needed to be better, and of the same standard as that of European prisoners. They also demanded that they be given "at least one standard daily paper, and "all books, other than those proscribed, along with writing materials, without any restriction."

The two revolutionaries sat on a legendary hunger strike to demand these rights from the British authorities and succeeded in securing some of them.

Many political prisoners were released by the British before they served their sentence if that meant appeasing the public. While Singh was hanged to death for shooting British officer John Saunders, Dutt was released from jail a few years later. He was in the Kalapani cellular jail in Andaman when he was released and had unfortunately contracted tuberculosis.

As soon as he was released, Dutt joined the Quit India movement initiated by Mahatma Gandhi. This earned him jail time, once again.

Five years later, India finally achieved independence from colonial rule. Even as several freedom fighters were honoured across the country, Dutt did not get his due, even though there was clear evidence of his involvement in the struggle.

Forced to live in dire poverty and without a government job, Dutt passed away in the AIIMS hospital in Delhi in 1965 and was cremated at the same spot where his comrades, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were cremated several years ago.

Somewhere between the legendary bombing incident and India finally achieving its dream of independence, Dutt's story got lost.

A friend so loyal that he told a lie which sent him to prison, and a revolutionary so fierce that he participated in the freedom movement even when he had contracted a dreaded disease, BK Dutt undoubtedly deserves greater respect and recognition.

courtesy : thebetterindia (Edited by Gayatri Mishra)

Monday, 16 November 2020

बिरसा मुंडा : जिनके उलगुलान और बलिदान ने उन्हें 'भगवान' बना दिया

let New India arise in your place. Let her arise — out of the peasants' cottage, grasping the plough; out of the huts of the fisherman, the cobbler, and the sweeper. Let her spring from the grocer's shop, from beside the oven of the fritter-seller. Let her emanate from the factory, from marts, and from markets. Let her emerge from groves and forests, from hills and mountains. These common people have suffered oppression for thousands of years — suffered it without murmur, and as a result have got wonderful fortitude. They have suffered eternal misery, which has given them unflinching vitality. Living on a handful of grain, they can convulse the world; give them only half a piece of bread, and the whole world will not be big enough to contain their energy; they are endowed with the inexhaustible vitality of a Raktabija. (A demon, in the Durgâ-Saptashati, every drop of whose blood falling on the ground produced another demon like him.) And, besides, they have got the wonderful strength that comes of a pure and moral life, which is not to be found anywhere else in the world. Such peacefulness, such contentment, such love, such power of silent and incessant work, and such manifestation of lion's strength in times of action — where else will you find these! Skeletons of the Past, there, before you, are your successors, the India that is to be. Throw those treasure-chests of yours and those jewelled rings among them, as soon as you can; and you vanish into the air, and be seen no more — only keep your ears open. No sooner will you disappear than you will hear the inaugural shout of Renaissant India, ringing with the voice of a million thunders and reverberating throughout the universe, "Wah Guru Ki Fateh" — victory to the Guru!
--  Swami Vivekananda

महान उपन्यासकार महाश्वेता देवी के उपन्यास 'जंगल के दावेदार' का एक अंश :

सवेरे आठ बजे बिरसा मुंडा खून की उलटी कर, अचेत हो गया. बिरसा मुंडा- सुगना मुंडा का बेटा; उम्र पच्चीस वर्ष-विचाराधीन बंदी. तीसरी फ़रवरी को बिरसा पकड़ा गया था, किन्तु उस मास के अंतिम सप्ताह तक बिरसा और अन्य मुंडाओं के विरुद्ध केस तैयार नहीं हुआ था....,' डॉक्टर को बुलाया गया उसने मुंडा की नाड़ी देखी. वो बंद हो चुकी थी। बिरसा मुंडा नहीं मरा था, आदिवासी मुंडाओं का 'भगवान' मर चुका था।

आदिवासियों का संघर्ष अट्ठारहवीं शताब्दी से चला आ रहा है। 1766 के पहाड़िया-विद्रोह से लेकर 1857 के ग़दर के बाद भी आदिवासी संघर्षरत रहे। सन 1895 से 1900 तक बीरसा या बिरसा मुंडा का महाविद्रोह 'ऊलगुलान' चला। आदिवासियों को लगातार जल-जंगल-ज़मीन और उनके प्राकृतिक संसाधनों से बेदखल किया जाता रहा और वे इसके खिलाफ आवाज उठाते रहे।

बिरसा मुंडा का जन्म 15 नवंबर 1875 को बंगाल प्रेसीडेंसी, उलीहातू, रांची जिला, बिहार में हुआ था। यह स्थान अब झारखंड के खुंटी जिले में आता है। मुंडा एक भारतीय आदिवासी स्वतंत्रता सेनानी, धार्मिक नेता और लोक नायक थे, जो मुंडा जनजाति से ताल्लुक रखते थे। उन्होंने 19वीं सदी के अंत में बंगाल प्रेसीडेंसी (अब झारखंड) में ब्रिटिश राज के दौरान हुए एक आदिवासी धार्मिक आंदोलन की अगुवाई की थी। इसने उन्हें भारतीय स्वतंत्रता आंदोलन के इतिहास में एक महत्वपूर्ण व्यक्ति बना दिया। यह आंदोलन मुख्य रूप से खूंटी, तामार, सरवाड़ा और बंदगांव के मुंडा बेल्ट में केंद्रित था। उनकी तस्वीर भारतीय संसद के संग्रहालय में मौजूद है। भारत सरकार ने 1988 में उनके सम्मान में एक डाट टिकट भी जारी किया था।

2० साल की उम्र में 1895 में बिरसा ने अंग्रेजों की लागू की गयी ज़मींदारी प्रथा और राजस्व-व्यवस्था के ख़िलाफ़ लड़ाई के साथ-साथ जंगल-ज़मीन की लड़ाई छेड़ी थी। बिरसा ने सूदखोर महाजनों के ख़िलाफ़ भी जंग का ऐलान किया। ये महाजन, जिन्हें वे दिकू कहते थे, क़र्ज़ के बदले उनकी ज़मीन पर कब्ज़ा कर लेते थे। यह मात्र विद्रोह नहीं था. यह आदिवासी अस्मिता, स्वायतत्ता और संस्कृति को बचाने के लिए संग्राम था।

बिरसा मुंडा को उनके पिता ने मिशनरी स्कूल में भर्ती किया था जहां उन्हें ईसाइयत का पाठ पढ़ाया गया। कहा जाता है कि बिरसा ने कुछ ही दिनों में यह कहकर कि 'साहेब साहेब एक टोपी है' स्कूल से नाता तोड़ लिया। 1890 के आसपास बिरसा वैष्णव संप्रदाय की ओर मुड गए। जो आदिवासी किसी महामारी को दैवीय प्रकोप मानते थी उनको वे महामारी से बचने के उपाय समझाते। मुंडा आदिवासी हैजा, चेचक, सांप के काटने बाघ के खाए जाने को ईश्वर की मर्ज़ी मानते, बिरसा उन्हें सिखाते कि चेचक-हैजा से कैसे लड़ा जाता है। बिरसा अब धरती आबा यानी धरती पिता हो गए थे।

धीरे-धीरे बिरसा का ध्यान मुंडा समुदाय की ग़रीबी की ओर गया। आज की तरह ही आदिवासियों का जीवन तब भी अभावों से भरा हुआ था। न खाने को भात था न पहनने को कपड़े. एक तरफ ग़रीबी थी और दूसरी तरफ 'इंडियन फारेस्ट एक्ट' 1882 ने उनके जंगल छीन लिए थे। जो जंगल के दावेदार थे, वही जंगलों से बेदख़ल कर दिए गए। यह देख बिरसा ने हथियार उठा लिए. उलगुलान शुरू हो गया था।
अपनों का धोखा

संख्या और संसाधन कम होने की वजह से बिरसा ने छापामार लड़ाई का सहारा लिया। रांची और उसके आसपास के इलाकों में पुलिस उनसे आतंकित थी। अंग्रेजों ने उन्हें पकड़वाने के लिए पांच सौ रुपये का इनाम रखा था जो उस समय बहुत बड़ी रकम थी। बिरसा मुंडा और अंग्रेजों के बीच अंतिम और निर्णायक लड़ाई 1900 में रांची के पास दूम्बरी पहाड़ी पर हुई। हज़ारों की संख्या में मुंडा आदिवासी बिरसा के नेतृत्व में लड़े। पर तीर-कमान और भाले कब तक बंदूकों और तोपों का सामना करते? लोग बेरहमी से मार दिए गए। 25 जनवरी, 1900 में स्टेट्समैन अखबार के मुताबिक इस लड़ाई में 400 लोग मारे गए थे।

अंग्रेज़ जीते तो सही पर बिरसा मुंडा हाथ नहीं आए।

हालात तो आज भी नहीं बदले हैं। आदिवासी गांवों से खदेड़े जा रहे हैं, दिकू अब भी हैं. जंगलों के संसाधन तब भी असली दावेदारों के नहीं थे और न ही अब हैं। आदिवासियों की समस्याएं नहीं बल्कि वे ही खत्म होते जा रहे हैं। सब कुछ वही है। जो नहीं है तो आदिवासियों के 'भगवान' बिरसा मुंडा।

ऐसे में कवि भुजंग मेश्राम की पंक्तियां याद आती हैं :

' बिरसा तुम्हें कहीं से भी आना होगा
घास काटती दराती हो या लकड़ी काटती कुल्हाड़ी
यहां-वहां से, पूरब-पश्चिम, उत्तर दक्षिण से
कहीं से भी आ मेरे बिरसा
खेतों की बयार बनकर
लोग तेरी बाट जोहते.'

15 नवंबर, झारखंड  अपना 20वां स्थापना दिवस मना रहा है। 15 नवंबर, 2000 को बिहार से अलग होकर इस राज्य की स्थापना हुई थी। इस मौके पर प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी जी ने राज्य के लोगों को अपनी शुभकामनाएं दी हैं। साथ ही बिरसा मुंडा की जयंती पर उन्हें नमन भी किया है।

प्रधानमंत्री मोदी ने आदिवासी नेता और स्वतंत्रता सेनानी बिरसा मुंडा को उनकी जयंती पर नमन किया है। प्रधानमंत्री ने लिखा, 'भगवान बिरसा मुंडा जी को उनकी जयंती पर शत-शत नमन। वे गरीबों के सच्चे मसीहा थे, जिन्होंने शोषित और वंचित वर्ग के कल्याण के लिए जीवनपर्यंत संघर्ष किया। स्वतंत्रता आंदोलन में उनका योगदान और सामाजिक सद्भावना के लिए किए गए उनके प्रयास देशवासियों को सदैव प्रेरित करते रहेंगे।'

The main theme of my life is to take the message of Sanatana Dharma to every home and pave the way for launching, in a big way, the man-making programme preached and envisaged by great seers like Swami Vivekananda. - Mananeeya Eknathji

विवेकानन्द केन्द्र कन्याकुमारी (Vivekananda Kendra Kanyakumari)
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Thursday, 12 November 2020

Homage to Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya

The Honorable Prime Minister of India Shri Narendrabhai Modi Ji paid tribute to Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya on his 158th birth anniversary (25th December, 2019).

Born on 25th December 1861, in Allahabad (now Prayagraj) in Uttar Pradesh, Malviya played a key role in the Indian independence struggle against British rule and founded the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in 1916.
  • He is also remembered for his role in ending the Indian indenture system, especially in the Caribbean.
    • Indentured labour was a system of bonded labour that was instituted following the abolition of slavery in 1833.
    • Indentured labour were recruited to work on sugar, cotton and tea plantations, and rail construction projects in British colonies in West Indies, Africa and South East Asia.
  • He popularized the term 'Satyamev Jayate'. However, the phrase originally belongs to the Mundaka Upanishad. The term now is the national motto of India.
  • He was given the title of 'Mahamana' by Rabindranath Tagore and the second President of India, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan gave him the status of a 'Karmayogi'.
  • Devnagri was introduced in the British-Indian courts because of Malviya's efforts with the British government. This is still considered as one of his greatest achievements.
  • Madan Mohan Malviya was expelled from the Brahmin community for expressing his views on caste discrimination and Brahmanical patriarchy. He worked immensely for Hindu-Muslim unity. He is known to have given famous speeches on communal harmony.
  • He helped establish the Hindu Mahasabha ("Great Society of Hindus") in 1906, which brought diverse local Hindu nationalist movements together.
  • Malaviya's consciousness toward the public led to the launch of his own Hindi-language weekly, the Abhyudaya (1907); the Leader of Allahabad, an English-language daily (1909); and the Hindi monthly the Maryada (1910). He also served as the chairman of the board of Hindustan times and facilitated the launch of its Hindi edition.
  • He died on 12th November, 1946, at the age of 84.
  • In 2014, he was posthumously conferred with Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian award.