Pleasures of Reading Qurrat-ul-Ain-Haider


The things which I never did in life, am doing in Trinidad.Never went to Gym before, here in the University Gym, go three times a week.My most cheerful time of the day is small walk in my complex in fresh breeze, listening to ghazals sung by Mehdi Hasan, Begum Akhtar, Malika Pukhraj,Iqbal Bano,Jagjit Singh, Munni Begum, Farida Khanum, Ghulam Ali and many more.Then reading few pages of Qurrat-ul-Ain-Hyder’s huge novel ‘Kare Jahan Daraz Hai’ in Urdu, while sipping my large cup of tea!

Kare Jahan Daraz Hai, though story of Muslim gentry or feudal classes, is written in such a fascinating manner and history is recreated in a way as if events are passing before your eyes.Creation of pro peasant land law by a Muradabadi Muslim officer posted in Gurdaspur,journeys of Turkey, Egypt and other countries,Hindi Urdu controversy, reproduction of full speech of President of the session in 1951, at Hindustani Academy Lucknow, after partition.

It is one of the greatest fiction of the world literature, I have still not crossed even half of it in 2-3 months.It is long time after that I am enjoying reading historic fiction as a reader and can’t tell you the kind of aesthetic pleasure I draw of it.The recreation of 1857 and its impact on Indian society, various social reformist movements, like women education among Muslim community, creation and development of Aligarh Muslim University, which became the base of enlightenment among rich Muslim community and gave chances to poorer section for education as well.The first generation Pakistani elite came mostly from Aligarh Muslim University and for this very reason Pakistan is in such fraternal bond with India that any departure from liberal education of AMU, just leads to the dark age of Mullagardi and jehadi terrorism.

Salute to the great creative genius called Qurrat-ul-ain haider! Other than Urdu language readers/writers know her because of ‘Aag Ka darya’, translated in English by herself as ‘River of Fire’, which I also like, but perhaps I like ‘Kare Jahan ..even more! As in case of Bhisham Sahni, I like his ‘Mayya Das ki Madi’, again a recreation of socio-cultural history of Khalsa period and later in Punjab, beginning of women education among Hindus, curiosity of people to have a look for the first time of a train!


‘Antyaj’–Hindi translation of ‘Mukkam Post Devache Gothne’-Marathi Dalit autobiography by Madhav Kondvalikar


‘Antyaj’–Hindi translation of ‘Mukkam Post Devache Gothne’-Marathi Dalit autobiography by Madhav Kondvalikar
by Chaman Lal on Sunday, 08 May 2011 at 19:16

15. **’Antyaj’, Madhav Kondvalikar, translation from Marathi,Uttam Kanitkar, Vidya Prakashan Mandir, New Delhi, Ist ed. 1992, Price Rs. 125/, pages 222

Hindi translation of Marathi Dalit autobiographical novel-‘Mukkam Post Devache Gothne’, published in Marathi in 1977. Ist published in ‘Tanmay’ magazine’s Dipavli issue of 1977.Written in diary form from 17-11-1969 to last entry 1-2-1977, covering little over eight year period of struggles of author in his own village, where he got posted as Govt. school teacher and his sufferings include at the hands of his own caste men. Madhav Kondvalikar was born on 15th July 1941 in a Chamar or cobbler family of Devache Gothne village, where he got posted as school teacher after getting education in trying circumstances, but his sufferings did not end with getting respectable job. Village children and his students insulted him by taking bath in river, after the touch of ‘Chamar’ teacher and his writing to a paper about it became further cause for harassment. His house was few miles away, so he wanted to live near the school, no one was ready to rent him house and in compulsion, he had to accept a house of his own caste man, which he would not have accepted, given other option. The boy of the house is spoiled child and harasses Master and later his wife to no end. Seven years he runs after any person with influence in society, big names in literary world like P L Deshpande, Baba Aadhav try their best to just get him transferred from the harassed place, but do not succeed and he go through all kinds of indignities, but getting established as significant writer in the Marathi literary world. At long last he is transferred to Rajapur in early 1977 and his diary concludes at this relieving juncture, though it is still not certain that he would not go through another bout of harassment at Rajapur.

Writer is unhappy at the flaws of his own Dalit society, where untouchability exists even among various dalit castes. Mahars and Chamars of his village don’t live in harmony, rather they are in conflict, makes writer sad, he wishes to see enlightenment in his own alit society, but which is not visible.

‘Antyaj’ is term used for fifth among four varna Hindu society-Brahmins,Kshatriyas, Vaishya and Shudras are four tier varna system of Hindus, Antyajs are considered ati shudra or untouchable castes among Shudras.

Madhav Kondvalikar referred to many Marathi classics, which he has been reading through all his sufferings. In fact books are his only solace during this period and he spends most of his salary on books, annoying his parents to no end, as he is not giving any financial support to family, which they expect from him.

Writer has claimed it to be first Dalit autobiography of Marathi, which I doubt. Marathi Dalit literary scholars can shed some light on it. On the whole it is an important dalit narrative of Marathi literature; writer rightly got many literary honours.

Satya sai Baba-Reality of @Godman


Some years ago, ‘India Today’ a prestigious English weekly, still popular, had brought out a special number on Sai Baba, which depicted many murders and six-seven rapes in his Ashram, directly relating him to these criminal activities.No case was ever registered, no enquiries were made, as, the whole political establishment from Congress to BJP falls at the feet of so called ‘Godman’, he was never able to accept challenge from rationalist Society and Dr. Abrahma Kavoor, internationally renowned Sri Lankan rationalist to show the ash produced from his hands to befool his followers.His properties now range billions world over and all the ‘Godmen’ like Bapu Asaram , himself accused of rapes and other crimes, are shouting at rooftop to stop any Government to take over these public properties for social use.There is world of difference between the surface and deeper reality ,what goes in the name of religion!

More details of Godman on link below-

Most Memorable visit to Canada and USA


I thank all my friends in Canada and USA, who made my lecture-cum-historic sites visit as one of the most memorable in my life.The list is long and I may forget some names.Starting from Edmonton-Dr. P R Kalia, Jasvir Deol,Navtej Rana,Dalbir Sangian, Raj Pannu,Darshan Baghi;in Vancouver-Gurpreet from Radio India and his whole family,particularly their little daughter,Sadhu Binning, Dr. Sadhu, Ujjal Dosanjh, Chetna,Ajmer Rode-Kalsi,Shehzad Khan, Dr. Saif,Sansad,Raj Chouhan, Harry Bains,Jagrup Brar(NDP MLA’s),Jimmy Sandhu(NDP MP)….

In California-Kulwinder Plahey and family, Kuldip Dhaliwal, Sohan Singh Sandhu and family, Gulshan Dayal, my old student Resham, Jagjit Naushehrvi,Navneet Pannu,Khwaja Ashraf, farooq, Adil in Berkely University…..

In New York–Surinder Sohal family, Mustafa Sufi,Michele,Elizabeth, Susham Bedi, Tahira Naqvi family……

Apart from delivering few lectures on Bhagat Singh and Kartar Singh Sarabha, I could visit historic Kamagatamaru sites in Canada,Gadar party sites in California and could also briefly consult Gadar archives in Berkely campus library of University of California. In New York could see catalogue on India in New York Public Library and visit Monthly Review office,the institution I respect most in life. Clicked nearly 1700 photographs, shall share in due time.