On Peasant Suicide Reports in The Tribune-My response

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http://epaper.tribuneindia.com/694013/The-Tribune/TT_16_January_2016#page/12/2

Tribune letter-16-1-16

‘This is full letter to The Tribune-These stories should come in Punjabi Tribune also, so that victims could read their own tragic tales!
For the last few days, The Tribune is carrying field reports on peasant suicides in Punjab prominently, which brings out the humane aspect-the tragedy of human lives-of these unfortunate happenings, which were otherwise just reported as anonymous numbers. I must record my appreciation of The Tribune and its young reporters-Vishva Bharti, Amninder Singh and Sanjiv Bariana, who are doing these most significant and unusual stories, which were earlier done only by P Sainath. I am sure P Sainath will feel vindicated to see that some young reporters are following his leads on India’s most tragic social phenomenon in the era of liberalization, which created 100+ billionaires in this liberal economy in the name of development, but at the cost of three lakh+ peasant suicides in 15 years or so. And the tragedy is unending, everyday there is news of suicide of peasants in many states, including Punjab. Irony is that in this era of ‘Deshbhakti’, everyone is charged with fever for 5, 6, 7 Jawans ‘martyrdom’, but there are no tears, no discussants on 24%7 TV shows, for those, whom in 1965, an humble Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri has given equal status with Jawan, by saying-‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’! Who is there to bother about this ‘kisan’, who was called ‘Anndata’-the caretaker of providing food, without which no Jawan can fight?
The Tribune stories are presented with passion and concern for the peasant-70% or so stake holder in country’s economy and with objectivity of the journalist. I wish that The Tribune continues with these stories and later bring these out in a book collection to be sent to all members of Parliament, if it could shake the conscience of some of them and bring a tear or two, as these stories had in eyes of a supposedly ‘Detached Academic’ like me!
During my Mauritius stay in 2009, I had visited a Monument, which was built in memory of those Indian labour, who used to commit suicide from that hilltop, not being able to bear the tortures of their life conditions in early 20th and late 19th century. Would one think about building a monument in memory of these three lakh and growing martyred peasants of 21st century India?!’

‘For the last few days, The Tribune is carrying field reports on peasant suicides in Punjab prominently, which brings out the humane aspect-the tragedy of human lives-of these unfortunate happenings, which were otherwise just reported as anonymous numbers. I must record my appreciation of The Tribune and its young reporters-Vishva Bharti, Amninder Singh and others, who are doing these most significant and unusual stories, which were earlier done only by P Sainath. I am sure P Sainath will feel vindicated to see that some young reporters are following his leads on India’s most tragic social phenomenon in the era of liberalization, which created 100+ billionaires in this liberal economy in the name of development, but at the cost of three lakh+ peasant suicides in 15 years or so. And the tragedy is unending, everyday there is news of suicide of peasants in many states, including Punjab. Irony is that in this era of ‘Deshbhakti’, everyone is charged with fever for 5, 6, 7 Jawans ‘martyrdom’, but there are no tears, no discussants on 24%7 TV shows, for those, whom in 1965, an humble Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri has given equal status with Jawan, by saying-‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’! Who is there to bother about this ‘kisan’, who was called ‘Anndata’-the caretaker of providing food, without which no Jawan can fight?
The Tribune stories are presented with passion and concern for the peasant-70% or so stake holder in country’s economy and with objectivity of the journalist. I wish that The Tribune continues with these stories and later bring these out in a book collection to be sent to all members of Parliament, if it could shake the conscience of some of them and bring a tear or two, as these stories had in eyes of a supposedly ‘Detached Academic’ like me!
During my Mauritius stay in 2009, I had visited a Monument, which was built in memory of those Indian labour, who used to commit suicide from that hilltop, not being able to bear the tortures of their life conditions in early 20th and late 19th century. Would one think about building a monument in memory of these three lakh and growing martyred peasants of 21st century India?!’

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Peasant Suicides-Biggest Tragedy-Unwept, Unsung-through 20 Tribune reports

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Peasant suicides is the most tragic happening in India since the beginning of 21st century….every day reports from all states…three Lakhs…suicides….and unending tragedy continues…but no effect on our pig skinned politicians..bureaucrats….sadly not even on democratic organisations….The Tribune is carrying every day reports from field..taking forward P Sainath yeoman mission to record and document this biggest tragedy of post 1947 India…A poem in England could shake British conscience in early Industrial revolution to change the lives of workers…but. When the conscience of war monger ‘Bharat Mahan’- India Great will awaken and it will learn to respect Jai Kisan…and not all the time chant Jai Jawan..mind Jawan will not survive without Kisan.

As per P Sainath-the best reporter on peasants, peasant suicides had crossed three lakh marik in 2014 itself, he gave exact official figures in September 2015 as two lakh 96 thousand plus-

https://psainath.org/the-slaughter-of-suicide-data/

http://psainath.org/maharashtra-crosses-60000-farm-suicides/

This is first story of Field Reports from The Tribune on peasant suicides in Punjab. Beginning 11th January Monday Tribune is carrying these must read stories of biggest tragedy of Punjab and India. Series continues and today’s story is already shared on wall. Shall be putting all links together in myblog-Random Thoughts-My letter on these stories has been published today in Tribune, but in edited form, sharing both forms of letter in separate post. Kudos to The Tribune and its reporters- Vishav Bharti, Amaninder Pal and Sanjiv Singh Bariana for these highly relevant stories! Out of total 20 reports maximum six are by Vishav Bharti, followed by four of Amninder Pal and others.

First report-Vishav Bharti

http://epaper.tribuneindia.com/689581/The-Tribune/TT_11_January_2016#page/2/2

Second report-Amaninder Pal

http://epaper.tribuneindia.com/690453/The-Tribune/TT_12_January_2016#page/2/2

Third Report-Amaninder Pal

http://epaper.tribuneindia.com/691324/The-Tribune/TT_13_January_2016#page/2/2

Fourth Report-Sanjiv Singh Bariana

http://epaper.tribuneindia.com/692341/The-Tribune/TT_14_January_2016#page/2/1

Fifth Report-Vishav Bharti

http://epaper.tribuneindia.com/693287/The-Tribune/TT_15_January_2016#page/2/1

Sixth Report-Sanjiv Singh Bariana

http://epaper.tribuneindia.com/694013/The-Tribune/TT_16_January_2016#page/2/1

Seventh report-Praful Chander Nagpal-17th January

http://epaper.tribuneindia.com/c/8231020

Eighth report-Amninder Pal-18th January

http://epaper.tribuneindia.com/c/8230994

Ninth report-19th January-Gurdeep Singh Mann

http://epaper.tribuneindia.com/c/8230958

10th report-20th January-Sushil Goyal

http://epaper.tribuneindia.com/c/8230927

11th report-21st January-Vishav Bharti

http://epaper.tribuneindia.com/c/8227985

12th Report-22nd January-Archit Vats

http://epaper.tribuneindia.com/c/8348299

13th report-22nd January-Kulwiner Sandhu

http://epaper.tribuneindia.com/c/8272904

114th report-23rd January-Vishav Bharti

http://epaper.tribuneindia.com/c/8272904

15th report-24th January-Vishav Bharti

http://epaper.tribuneindia.com/c/8272904

16th Report-25th January-Amarjit Thind

http://epaper.tribuneindia.com/c/8337811

17th Report-29th January-Vishav Bharti

http://epaper.tribuneindia.com/c/8400019

18th Report-30th January-Amaninder Pal

http://epaper.tribuneindia.com/c/8460005

19th Analytic report-Sarabjit Dhaliwal-31st January

http://epaper.tribuneindia.com/c/8365275

20th Analytic report-Kuljit Bains-1st February

http://epaper.tribuneindia.com/708428/The-Tribune/TT_01_February_2016#page/2/2

http://epaper.tribuneindia.com/c/8460043

 

 

 

Loss of Indian Literature-Viren Dangwal and Pankaj Singh

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Pankaj Singh

 

What a sad news posted by Ajay K. Mehra at JNU First Decade page of facebook–Poet Pankaj Singh is no more-a shock—will take time to accept it….Now so many friends have written over it, I have also to admit,  that Pankaj is no more. When I had joined JNU as student in 1977 or even before started trying for it since 1976, ManMohan and Pankaj both were popular among JNU community as poets. Both had written sharp poems criticizing Indira Gandhi and her emergency regime. Pankaj later went to London in BBC as journalist. He was fond of travelling and stayed in Paris also for few years. During my student days in Periyar hostel he would stay for weeks together and we both sleeping on rooftops in summer days. We shared lot of our dukh-sukh as we had many common friends as well. He had a zeal for living and his last activity was joining campaign against intolerance against writers and society in general. He supported award returnee writers and stood in solidarity with them..his passing away so suddenly is saddening…

Pankaj Singh was a student of JNU in School of International Studies during 1972-75, before I joined, but he stayed mostly in JNU after leaving his formal studies. He worked as PRO in Rajsthan University for few months and then returned to Delhi. He had married with Padma or Padmja, herself a poet and later Congress activist, perhaps it was also a love marriage, but did not last very long. Padma or Padmja perhaps was once elected as Congress MLA also from Bihar, they probably had a son from the marriage. During his JNU days, beautiful women were fascinated towards Pankaj Singh, as he was romanticist to the core. He had friendship with a French woman, who was in India in those days, later he stayed with her in Paris for some  time, before shifting over to BBC London Hindi service. He was a good conversationalist in Hindi and English both, apart from being a good poet as well, like a Lord Byron of Hindi. After his return from London, probably he had developed friendship with Savita Singh, Hindi poet and faculty member in a Delhi college and later in IGNOU. They married and I had lost regular touch with him, though we have many chance meetings in Delhi, as and when I was visiting Delhi from Patiala or later when I joined JNU s faculty member in 2005.

Pankaj Singh was known for his temperamental behavior also and in few cases he had beaten up the persons who clashed with him. First such talked about case in literary world was of Arvind Kumar, then who was owner of Radhkrishan Prakshan. I don’t now remember what was the issue, but it was talk of the town then. He was a good poet but not very prolific. He remained left activist throughout but not affiliated with any party or group. He remained more on radical left side and participated in their protest meetings in the field of literary and cultural world as well as on civil rights issues. Like Kumar Vikal in Chandigarh, Pankaj also had wide contacts among influential people. In JNU, he was very close to my class fellow Suresh Sharma, but they had fallen out at some stage.

Pankaj left suddenly at the age of 67 and prior to him another eminent Hindi poet Viren Dangwal left at the age of 68. His going was not sudden, he fought with cancer for many years and set an example of resistance with cheer. Viren was very gentle and friendly and I had met him first in Shahjahanpur in 1989, when I was invited there for a function of Pash and Bhagat Singh. I had few pleasant meetings with him, one at Braille, on a visit to that place and perhaps Viren took me around also to some monuments. I could not meet him during his last days of suffering at Delhi as I had left the city, but perhaps spoke once on phone, he was as cheerful as ever.

200px-Virendangwal

With the loss of Viren Dangwal and Pankaj Singh, Hindi literature has suffered a big loss. Democratic  movement has equally lost sincere activists.

Ramashankar Vidrohi, another Hindi poet related to JNU left on 8th December quite suddenly, collapsing while demonstrating with students in OccupyUGC movement. Ramashankar had joined Centre of Indian languages for doing MA in Hindi way back when I was still a student. He had come with his wife and was given married hostel. Somehow he did not complete his degree, but continued to stay around JNU, first with his family, his wife was working for bread and butter, but Vidrohi was not doing any thing to earn for family. Later he started living alone on JNU campus with every morning having bedding on his shoulder. He developed into a popular poet on campus after I had left JNU and when I rejoined as faculty in 2005, Vidrohi used to wish me, but we never spoke too each other. JNUSU and AISA supported him and he used to sleep in hostels and later in JNUSU office and used to eat at dhabhas or hostel messes.

JNU had some rebel personalities, who lived in JNU without being its student or remained student for a while, then lived on. During my student days, there were Ibne Bhai, known for his melodious singing, Dilip-once a SFI activist, later wanderer, died, Dr. Baljit Ustad-victim of obsessive involvement emotionally and got mentally sick, stayed for few years then returned to Patiala to live with his parents but with schizophrenia, he did not return to JNU and no news these days. He got infatuated with one of his teachers. Then Gorakh Pandey-the fine poet and PhD in philosophy, radical activist of JSM, got infatuated with one of student and got schizophrenic, recovered but committed suicide in his hostel. Anand from German centre, was involved with some of student, but could not pull on,left studies and became wanderer, bringing out pamphlets every now and then, radical writings. These days he is also seen very little, he was Akshya Bakaya’s friend. These persons on JNU campus has shown campus to be humane one, which took care of these wayward without disowning or hating them. Sometimes administration tried to be tough, but then students and faculty would stand by them and save them from harassment. Whether this humaneness of JNU is going to survive or not in coming days, it is to be seen.

यशपाल: जिन्होंने कलम को बनाया अंग्रेजों के खिलाफ क्रांति का हथियार-One minute read

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http://hindi.thequint.com/india/2015/12/26/profiling-yashpal-an-author-a-freedom-fighter#.Vn4AIxXh2fg.facebook

http://xp2.zedo.com/jsc/xp2/ff2.html?n=3294;c=34;s=1;d=9;w=300;h=250

भारत की आजादी के लिए सैकड़ों-हजारों क्रांतिवीरों ने आहुतियां दीं और अपने-अपने तरह से विरोध दर्ज किया. कोई लाठी के साथ क्रांति में शामिल हुआ तो कोई अहिंसा के विचारों के साथ.

लेकिन यशपाल तीसरे तरह के थे, उन्होंने कलम को अपना हथियार बनाया.

क्रांति का सफर

यशपाल का जन्म 3 दिसंबर 1903 को फिरोजपुर में हुआ था, जहां उनकी मां एक शिक्षिका थीं. यशपाल आठवीं कक्षा में पढ़ाई के दौरान ही राष्ट्रवादी आंदोलन के प्रभाव में आ गए थे. दसवीं कक्षा तक आते-आते तो उन्होंने भाषण देना और सफेद कुर्ता-पायजामा पहनना शुरू कर दिया था.

इसके बाद की उनकी शिक्षा-दीक्षा गुरुकुल कांगड़ी में हुई और यहीं से उनका मन आर्य समाज के नैतिकतावाद से उचाट हो गया. बाद में जब उन्होंने लाहौर के नेशनल कॉलेज में दाखिला लिया, जहां उनके साथी भगत सिंह, सुखदेव और भगवती चरण वोरा जैसे लोग थे.

नेशनल कॉलेज में यशपाल क्रांतिकारी बने, और 1932 में गिरफ्तार होने तक क्रांतिकारी ही बने रहे. यशपाल ने भारत के ब्रिटिश वायसरॉय की ट्रेन में 23 दिसंबर 1929 को बम लगा दिया था. बम से हुए धमाके में वायसराय तो बच गए, लेकिन कई अन्य लोग मारे गए.

इस घटना के बाद वह 6 साल से भी ज्यादा समय तक जेल में रहे और 1938 में यूपी की कांग्रेस मिनिस्ट्री ने उन्हें रिहा किया. हालांकि इसके बाद भी उन्हें अपने गृह-प्रदेश पंजाब जाने की मनाही थी.

लेखन से जुड़ाव

यशपाल ने जेल में ही हिन्दी में कहानियां लिखनी शुरू कर दी थीं और कहानियों का उनका पहला संकलन 1939 में उनके जेल से बाहर आने के बाद प्रकाशित हुआ.

जेल से छूटने के बाद यशपाल ने लखनऊ को ही अपना ठिकाना बनाया और वहीं से हिंदी में ‘विप्लव’ और उर्दू में ‘बागी’ नाम से पत्रिका निकालने लगे.

विप्लव को इसके उग्र लेखों की वजह से बैन कर दिया गया. विप्लव का चंद्रशेखर आजाद पर निकाला गया संस्करण पाठकों के बीच खासा लोकप्रिय हुआ था.

एक नजर डालिए यशपाल पर बने इस डॉक्यूमेंटरी पर.

आजादी के बाद के साहित्य को परिभाषित किया

यशपाल नागरिक अधिकारों की लड़ाई भी लड़ते रहे और आजादी के बाद भी जेल गए. वह एक दमदार लेखक थे और दुनिया भर में घूमे थे.

उन्होंने कुल मिलाकर 12 उपन्यास लिखे, जिनमें से ‘झूठा सच’ को उनकी सर्वश्रेष्ठ कृति माना जाता है. यह उपन्यास भारत के विभाजन और उसके बाद की घटनाओं पर आधारित है.

इसके अलावा यशपाल ने 300 से ज्यादा लघुकथाएं भी लिखी थीं. वहीं कई किताबों और तीन यात्रा संस्मरणों को भी उन्होंने अपनी कलम से कागज के पन्नों पर उतारा था.

उनके उपन्यास ‘मेरी तेरी उसकी बात’ के लिए मृत्यु से कुछ ही दिन पहले उन्हें साहित्य अकादमी अवॉर्ड से नवाजा गया था. 26 दिसंबर 1976 को 73 साल की उम्र में यशपाल ने इस दुनिया को अलविदा कह दिया.

(लेखक चमल लाल, जवाहरलाल नेहरू यूनिवर्सिटी से रिटायर्ड प्रोफेसर हैं और शहीद भगत सिंह और यशपाल की जीवन पर रिसर्च से जुड़े रहे हैं.)