Peasant Revolts in Awadh

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Subhash Kushwaha-Avadh ka Kisan vidroh
1. अवध का किसान विद्रोह, सुभाष चन्द्र कुशवाहा ,२०१८, राजकमल प्रकाशन दिल्ली, प्रष्ठ 328, मूल्य 299/ रुपए

 This is Subhash Kuhwaha’s second book on history of people’s movements, he earned laurels with his first book on Chauri Chaura and now he has come up with peasant revolts in Awadh region during 20th century in British colonial period. In the beginning author has spoken about common understanding about peasants that ‘good peasants are of docile nature’! Poor peasants also lack unity. Awadh peasant revolts also made Jawaharlal Nehru realise the reality of poor peasantry. There was spontaneous revolt of peasants in all districts of Awadh region during 1920-22. The leaders of revolt were Baba Ramchander, Chhote Ramchander, Dev Narain Dwidey, Rehmat Ali, Madari Pasi and others. Subhash Kushwaha opines that revaluation of Awadh peasant revolt is necessary so he undertook this task. He thinks that though Baba Ramchandder led the revolt, the role of Suraj Prasad or Chhota Ramchnder and Madari Pasi has been neglected. He has referred to few other studies of peasant struggles-D N Dhangere, Kapil Kumar and Sushil Srivastva’s works in English and Mahender Pratap work-Peasant movement in UP- in Hindi are referred. Book contains nine appendices which include the details of sale of eight girls between 5 to 12 years by their father or brothers in 200 to five hundred rupees to landlords in first appendix. In second appendix details of war fund given to British for world war by landlords is noted. Third appendix carries the 22 pledges of Baba Ramchander for peasants. Fourth appendix has noted the rules of Pratapgrah Kisan Sabha. Fifth appendix carries list of 65 people who gave evidence in favour of Pratap editor Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi, which included Nehrus and Malviya. Sixth appendix is depiction of firing at Munshiganj Bridge. Appendix seven carries the list of 21 persons listed killed in firing at Munshiganj memorial. Appendix eight carries the official list of wounded people in Munshiganj firing and appendix nine carries the list of six dead in firing. The last six appendices are related to one incident of firing in Munshiganj. Bibliography is provided by the author.
 The book is well organised into eleven chapters. The first chapter focusses upon British land revenue system evolved from 22nd March 1793 after East India company had occupied most of India after 1757 Plassey war. There is reference to Jat revolts in Agra and Dhaulpur area in 1669 and 1672. Second chapter focusses upon peasant and workers revolts during British Indian period. This is a general survey of revolts at all India level like Chuad revolt during 1767-1777 of lower classes, 1770-77 Chero revolt, 1772 Sanyasi-fakir revolt led by Manju Shah. Mostly these revolts were against higher rate of land tax, which continued continuously in 1817-25, 1831, 1843, 1846 and had bigger revolt during 1855-56 of Santhals. There was forced sowing of Neel, which led to revolt during 1859-60. By 1920 end, British had laid down 35000 miles Rail lines, fourth largest in the whole world. 1917 was the year of Champarn peasant movement, which gave Gandhi a boost in Indian politics. Around 1920 there were peasant, worker revolts and alongside communal riots. With the impact of 1917 Soviet Bolshevik revolution, there were 110 strikes, participated by 25 lakh workers. By 1921, 48 labour unions had come up in Bombay. In 1921 there was Moplah revolt in south India, which took hundreds of lives. There was Bardoli peasant satygrah in Gujarat in 1927 led by Vallabh Bhai Patel. With Swami Sehjanand Saraswati appearing on scene there were number of peasant organisations coming up after 1930. In 1932, there was revolt led by Titu Mir in Barasat, there was Tebhaga and Telangana massive peasant revolts before and after partition in 1947. 
        In this general context, author has planned to study Awadh peasant revolt of 1920-22 which include Madari Pasi led Eka movement, which became news even for London newspapers. 
    Third chapter of book is focussed on peasant revolts in United Province (UP) prior to 1947. It gives background of Awadh which became part of UP in 1856. Awadh feudal lords were so dehumanised that in seven droughts, 15 lakh people were killed, these happened n 1877, 1878, 1889, 1892, 1897 and 1900. All kinds of oppression was there on peasants, they were subjected to Begaar, Nazrul 
 Fourth chapter draws attention to awakening among Awadh peasants and formation of peasant bodies. In 1917, initiative was taken by Jhinguri Singh and Mahadev Singh in Pratapgarh district to form Kisan Sabha. Baba Ramchander whose real name was Shridhar Balwant Jodhpurkar was born on 28th March 1863 in Maharashtra, he was a Dakshini Brahmin and left home in childhood and came to Ujjain. He went to Fiji in 1905 at the age of 42 years as Girmitia and returned in 1916. He was in touch with CF Andrews, close friend of Mahatma Gandhi. In 1917 there was peasant association formed in Allahabad also which led to formation of UP peasant association under the leadership of P D Tandon. In Kanpur also Kisan Sabha was led by Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi in 1919. Baba Ramchander reached these areas in 1920 and got organised more kisan sabhas leading to formation of centralised Awadh Kisan Sabha in October 1920. There was a massive convention of peasants on 20-21 December 1920 at Faizabad with 80 thousand to one lakh peasants participating, where Ramchander put forward 14 point demand charter. Baba Ramchander was taken to Anand Bhavan at Allahabad and Motilal Nehru was made President of UP Kisan Sabha.

The next five chapters focus upon peasant revolts in five major districts of Awadh-Pratapgarh, Rai Braille, Faizabad, Sultanpur and Hardoi.
In fifth chapter-Peasant revolt of Pratapgarh, author gives the socio-economic data of 1901 census as out of 9 lakh population, largest population of one lakh were Kurmis, Brahmins and Rajputs were at no. two and three respectively. Awadh peasant revolt began from Pratapgarh where a mass of people got even Baba Ramchander freed from jail. Largest number of peasant organisations 20-25, here were made of lower castes by Jhinguri Singh. The impact of Baba Ramchnader returned from Fiji was at its peak during 1920-21, who was Ramkatha sayer. By June 1920, there were fifty branches of Kisan Sabhas. There were eight anti-feudal pledges which included -No to land tax, No to free labour, No to mutual clashes, Help others, no fear from police to stop oppression and trust in God. As per author’s interpretation these were very weak pledges. Pandit Nehru and Gauri Shankar visited this place in September 1920, when there was 38 hour revolt on 10-11th September. There was massive gathering of sixty thousand peasants of lower castes. Here the displacement was most cruel, agitation was against this. There was Mehta committee formed to enquire. V N Mehta was liberal Deputy Commissioner of Pratapgarh.
Sixth chapter focusses upon peasant revolt in Rai Braille, Out of 10 lakh population of district, 90% were Hindus and Rai Braille city had population of 18 thousands. Here there was extreme exploitation of lower class peasants and it led to spontaneous revolt in 1921. First violent incident occurred on 2nd February 1921. Peasants attacked Fursatganj and Munshiganj bazar. There was crowd of 8-10 thousand people. Six peasants were killed and 24 were arrested. On Munshiganj Bridge, crowed swelled from three to ten thousand, Pandit Nehru reached there despite notice to return. He addressed 3-4 thousand peasants. A feudal Veerpal Singh incited the people by firing. There was fifteen rounds of firing. Even British papers carried the news of firing. 600 peasants were arrested, situation could be controlled by 11-12th January only. Pratap edited by Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi was subjected to trial, which was defended by Hindi novelist Vrindavan Lal Verma. Moti Lal/Jawaharlal Nehru and Madan Mohan Malviya appeared as witnesses in favour of Vidyarthi ji. There were revolts in more areas as well.
Seventh chapter is focussed on Faizabad peasant revolt. Faizabad remained capital of Awadh during 1760-80. In 1921, city population was as high as eighty thousands. As per US newspaper report army was sent to quell ten thousand revolting peasants here in February 1921. It was mainly lower and untouchable castes revolt against Brahmin landlords. Revolt was led by young revolutionaries-Devnarain Pandey, Kedarnath and Suraj Prasad or Chhota Ramchander. Chhota Ramchander wished to set up parallel government. The leaders did not like each other and Congress party did not like all the leaders, who were trying to follow Bolshevik principles to organise landless hungry peasants. Abu Zafar, a cruel landlord was getting forcible poppy cultivation from peasants. London newspapers published revolts in 37 villages of the area during January 1921. There was revolt in Baskhari, 77 kilometres from Faizabad. Alopi Brahmin was a cruel landlord, on 27th January 1921, 30-40 thousand peasants gathered in Gohanna to protest. Nehru addressed the gathering in five hour long meeting. There was spirit of Hindu-Muslim unity during protest. Suraj Prasad or Chhota Ramchander was landless peasant of revolutionary nature. On his arrest there was revolt in Gosainganj railway station. There was firing on five thousand peasant gathering, no report of death but number of wounded was very high. Ahmad Khaleel was peasant leader in Akbarpur area in 1922 peasant revolt
Eighth chapter focusses upon Sultanpur. On 14th November 1920 was Kisan Sabha of Sultanpur, which got peasants from Lucknow and Gonda. There were far reaching consequences of Awadh peasant revolt which erupted due to feudal oppression patronised by colonial power.
Ninth chapter focusses upon an important Eka movement led by Madari Pasi in Hardoi district. There were Eka meetings in villages through distribution of supari. Quran Sharif and Gita-both Muslim and Hindu scriptures were kept together. Daily Mail of London described this movement in March 1922 as ‘dangerous’. There are fewer facts available about Madari Pasi, who had turned into legend. Madari was born around 1860 in village Mohankheda, tehsil Sandila. He died at the age of 70 years in 1930, there are stories of Madari meeting Bhagat Singh, but not supported by facts. There is no arrest or trial shown in British records, though Kamtanath has depicted his popularity in his epic novel Kalkatha There were more heroes of peasant revolt which was crushed by army by 1922.
Tenth chapter has focussed on creation of Gandhi myth, which was created after 1917 Champaran peasant movement. Gandhi joined 25th November 1920 ten thousand peasant meeting with Baba Ramchander. Baba Ramchander arrest on 10th February 1921 was in Gandhi presence. Swami Sehjanand Saraswati the undisputed peasant leader was disillusioned by Gandhi approach towards peasant issues.
Author highlights the fact that 70 Moplah prisoners were choked to death in goods train compartment, in this movement 3266 peasants died.
Author also refers to Dr. Manilal, who played important role in Fiji and Mauritius Indians and who was close to CF Andrews.
In the last chapter-In conclusion, author refers to Baba Ramchander’s release from jail in 1923 and his love for Congress. He faced charges of misappropriation f funds in 1924. He tried to get involved with peasant issues in 1929 again. In 1930, Jawaharlal Nehru became Congress President, but Congress avoided taking up peasant issues. Finally All India Kisan Sabha came into existence on 11th April 1936 in Sehjanand Saraswati leadership with CPI patronisation. Around same time came into existence PWA and AISF. Baba Ramchander again went to jail during 1930, 1941 and 1942. He died in 1950.
Subhash Chander Kushwaha has organised his research in chronological order using research methodology without being himself an academician or professional researcher. This book is continuation of his earlier work-Chauri Chaura which was based on 1922 incidents, this book focusses more on 1920-21 incidents, but he time span is more or less same. This study again underlines the fact that peasant movements and issues have been neglected by academicians as well as left activists. Peasantry which is the core of social change remains a periphery of left jargon despite the fact that since the ushering of British colonial regime, peasants had suffered maximum oppression and they had revolted, but in a scattered form, there had been no well organised all India level peasant revolt or movements. In west Bengal CPM could rule for 34 years just on the strength of Operation Burga, a major land reform, as was done earlier in Kerala, which still pays the left parties there. Suppressing peasant revolt in Singur and Nandigram caused the nemesis of left movement in West Bengal, which has by now slipped so much that they are losing all mass base in the state and even in adjoining Tripura.
Author has underlined the specific aspect of Faizabad’s landless peasant struggle. Awadh peasant struggle should be studied in link with Tebhaga, Telangana and Pepsu’s Mujara-landless peasant movement of 1948 led by Red Party, which was also crushed by army.
It is worthwhile study of peasant movement of Awadh.

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Rajmohan Gandhi Book On History of Punjab

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1. Rajmohan Gandhi, ‘Punjab-A History from Aurangzeb to Mountbatten’, Aleph Delhi, 2013, pages 432, price Rs. 695/
It took more than a month to read this book, a good history of Punjab of about two and half hundred years. Book is dedicated to Khushwant Singh, Mubasir Hussain and Pyare Lal Nayar. It is divided into 11 chapters along with Preface, Introduction, Note, Bibliography and Index.
In Preface written in 2012 end, Rajmohan refers to his 11-12 years age in 1947, he remembers 1945 trial of three INA Punjabis-Hindu, Muslim and Sikh. He visited Lahore fifty years later for first time, where he found similarities between Lahore and Delhi. Born in 1935 Delhi, which was not Punjabi city and which almost became after 1947, though from 1858 to 1911 it was part of Punjab province. Mother Laxmi Devi of Rajmohan was C Rajgopalacharya daughter. Father was Devdas Gandhi editor HT.

References to contacts are Javed Akhtar, class fellow son of later Pakistan Prime Minister Ch. Mohd. Ali, Principal Mahndernath Kapoor, Amtus Salam from Rajpura, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur and Gulzari Lal Nanda and NMML Balram Nanda. From Lahore references are of Ishtiaque Ahmad book, Anarkali archives, Babar Ali of LUMS etc.
In introduction Rajmohan has answered question-Why Punjab History? In 2012, six innocent Sikhs killed by shoot out in Wisconsin. Pakistan Punjab population more than Egypt or Turkey. Punjabiyat defined by Amrita Pritam, Faiz, Manto and Khushwant Singh, Kundan Lal Sehgal, Noor Jahan, Mohd. Rafi, Nusrat Fateh < Nargis, Devanand, Rajkappor, Rajesh Khanna, Sunil Dutt. Panchnad and Panj Aaab-five rivers, Do-ab river between rivers-Chej between Chenab and Jhelum, Rachna between Ravi and Chenab, Bet between Beas and Sutlej, Bari doab between Beas and Ravi, Sindh Sagar doab between Jhelum and Sindh. Five Divisions of Punjab-Multan having Montgomery, now Sahiwal, Lyallpur now Faisalabad, Jhang, Dera Ghazi Khan, Jullundur, Ambala, and Lahore and Rawalpindi. Rawalpindi, Lahore and Multan had Muslim majority ad Jullundur/Ambala others. Book starts with 1707 demise of Aurangzeb, 1739-Nadir Shah Attack, 1758-Adina Beg Governor, 1799-1846-Khalsa raj, 1849-1947-British raj. Gandhian nationalist Congress movement failed in Punjab-1919-1947. So writer moves to the chapters.
In Bibliography the important books on Punjab history referred are-
1. Ali Imran-Punjab under Imperialism (1885-1947)
2. S M Latif-History of the Punjab, 1889 ed.
3. S M Burke-Akbar: The Greatest Moghul, 1989
4. Ishtiaque Ahmad, Punjab Bloodied, Partitioned and Cleansed, 2011
5. Malcom Darling-Punjab Peasant in Prosperity and Debt, 1947
6. Lepel Griffin, Punjab Chiefs,
7. Prakash Tandon, Punjabi Century
8. Denzel Ibbetson, Punjab Castes
9. H.A.Ross, Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of Punjab
10. Ian Talbot, Punjab and the Raj (1849-1947), 1988
11. Ian Talbot, Khizar Tiwana: The Punjab Unionist party and partition of India,
12. Sujan Rai Bhandar, Khulastae-Twarikh, 1696
The first chapter of the book-Punjab Until Aurangzeb’s Death-gives an overview of Punjab history from its inception. It was seat of ancient Harappan civilization. Persians ruled it in sixth century BCE and two centuries later Alexander forayed. Chandergupt Maurya-Kautilya ruled. Taxila grew as seat of learning. Panini, the Grammarian, was born in Attock in 4th century BC.
First three centuries CE, were ruled by Kanishka and Kushan , Buddhism had a sway in Punjab areas. Gupta king followed, Harshvardhan ruled in seventh century. Early eighth century Sindh was captured by Arabs. Ghazni Mahmud ran over it, resisted by Anang Pals. Punjabi old tribes included-Gakhars, Khokhars, Syals and Bhattis. Multan was business city. Data Ganj Baksh died in 1070 AD, writing Kashful Mahjub. Ghori-Prithviraj fought in Bathinda.-Aibek first Sultan and Iltutmish followed. Persian became court language. Ali Qalandar, Panipat-1209-1324,
Farming castes-Arain, Awan, Jatt, Kamboj, Rajput, Saini
Pastoral-Gujjar/Ranghar
Trading-Aroraa/Khatri/Bania
Menial-Chamar/Chuhra/Julaha
Brahmins/Sheikhs-upper
Punjab Muslims mostly Sunnis
Amir Khusro poet
Jasrat Khan Gakhar stood up to Timur. Lodhis ruled, defeated by Moghuls-Babar in 1526 at Panipat. Akbar ruled for fifty years-1556-95, Lahore his third capital .Four great Sufis-Baba Farid-1266 died Pakpattan , his master Qutabdin Kaki, died in 1236, Farid disciple-Nijamudin Auliya died in Delhi 1335, Kaki master Moindin Chisti-died Ajmer 1233.
Deception, war, fratricide, murder, blinding’s of close relative rivals marked every succession in Moghul sultanate
This chapter has Sikh Gurus history as well.
Badshahi mosque built in Lahore between 1671-73, for 300 years, world‘s largest mosque..
In 1707, Aurangzeb died at 88 years in Aurangabad. Guru Teg Bahadur executed under Aurangzeb orders. Arjun Dev under Jahangir orders.

      Second chapter is 1707-1757-Collapse of Authority
  Aurangzeb 63 year old son Muazzam, known as Shah Alam or Bahadur Shah1, proclaimed himself as emperor at Aurangzeb’s death. Challenged by two brothers, defeated/killed. 38 year old Kashmiri Rajput became Madho Das Bairagi and in 1708 Guru Gobind Singh turned him into Gurbax Singh , who became known as Banda Bairagi. Guru stabbed by Afghan Jamshid Khan, related to Sirhind Nawab Wazir Khan. In 1709, Banda descended on Samana with his forces and massacred 10 thousand plus Muslims in the town. Some other killed Wazir Khan too and razed Sirhind to ground. Banda took wife from hills and held on in Lohgarh, later sixty six year emperor Bahadur Shah, whose mother Bai Begum was Punjabi, tried to locate Banda, who hid in hills.In June 1716 Banda and thousands Sikhs executed, tortured badly in Delhi, near Qutab tomb, four year old son of Banda also killed. 18 year old Muhammad Shah was installed as emperor in 1719, who ruled for 3o years. Guru Gobind Singh companion Bhai Mani Singh took care of Golden Temple affairs. Governor Samad Khan moved to Multan, his son Zakariya took over and fought Sikhs. Jat Raja Suraj Mal ruled near Delhi in 1722, Zakariya Chief Minister was Lakhpat Khatri, who served his father too. Iran ruler Nadir Shah raided Punjab in 1739, executed 1007 prisoners, Delhi citizenry to the extent of 20 thousand massacred. Nadir attack in Sikh history is known as Chhota Ghallughara.
 Bulle Shah born around 1680, Adina arose around 1710, became Adina Beg Khan, Jassa Singh Ramgarhia confronted him. Afghan Ahmad Shah Abdali made ten invasions of India, from 1748. By 1757, Moghul authority ceased to exist in Punjab. England’ East India company got trading licenses in Surat 1612, Bombay 1638, and Madras 1639. From 1690, they held Fort William fort Calcutta. By 1757, Britain obtained Bengal, Afghans annexed Punjab, Sindh and north west, Punjab had no ruler.
  Chapter 3-1757-1799: Adina Beg Khan, Afghans and Sikhs.

Abdali 11 year old son Timur given authority. Sikh chief Ala Singh of Patiala entrenched forces in Sirhind town. 2 lkh Maratha forces got support from Sikhs, Adina celebrated Maratha victory in Lahore on 12th April 1758, Adina Beg conferred Nawab title by Raghunath Rao. British defeated French in Buxar in 1757, by 1764, East India Company claimed revenue of Bihar and Odisha as well. Shah Alam2 was recognised as emperor in Delhi, but without power. First Sikh rupee minted in name of Jassa Singh in November 1761, withdrawn quickly. Abdali stayed in Punjab to subdue Sikhs in 1762, Hindu Kabul Mal made Lahore Governor .Ala Singh bought Sirhind ruins for 25 thousand rupees. Abdali invaded again in 1766. Sikh Misals and not Punjabi Muslims filled the power vacuum. Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, Gujjar Singh Bhangi and Charhat Singh Shukarchakia like warriors resisted Afghan attacks. Racially Punjabi Sikhs and Muslims were same, both had farming profession. Sikh rural society was more egalitarian. In same period in South 1760-90, father-son duo-Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan defied British rule in Mysore.
Quest for power in Sikh misals increased. Maha Singh Shukarchakia led missal after death of his father Charhat Singh, it dominated other misals. 18 year old Ranjit Singh succeeded his father Maha Singh as Shukarchakia missal chief. In 1799, Zaman Khan forced to leave Lahore and Ranjit Singh occupied it.
Chapter four-1799-1849-Ranjit Singh and his successors.
Born in Gujranwala or close to Jind, his Nana of Kanhaiya missal was Jind chief. With pit of smallpox on face, Ranjit had dark skin, and short in stature, left eye blinded, never learnt to read or write. Ugly looking Ranjit loved horses, married Mahtab Kaur daughter of Sada Kaur of Kanhaiya missal, he took another wife Raj Kaur from Nakai missal. Willing to become king at early age, earlier Ala Singh was designated king by Abdali. Kharak Singh was his first son from Raj Kaur. Wishing to be people’s monarch, Ranjit sat in a chair or on a carpet, while giving audience to people, not sitting on a throne. His govt. was called Khalsa Sarkar and court as Khalsa Durbr ith clear Hindu-Sikh imprint. Paid homage at two mosques-Badshahi and Wazir Khan Masjid. City kotwal was Muslim.
East India company ruling from 1750 onwards by 1800, took over much of India, including South with killing of Tipu in 1799. A rogue adventurer George Thomas proclaimed himself as ruler of Hansi in 1797. Ranjit Singh engaged Sufi Fakir Azizudin Bukhari as minster and confidant. French mission also had diplomatic engagement with Ranjit. Kangra ambitious king Sansar Chand gave some territory to Ranjit mother-in-law Sada Kaur. Ranjit triumphed Amritsar and more territories. In 1802, three year old Kharak was betrothed to Kanhiya girl and Ranjit fell for attractive Muslim courtesan Mohran, whom he apparently married and got a coin in her name.
Agreement with Fateh Singh Ahluwalia and British, kept away from Jaswant Rai Holkar. In 1807, twins born to Mahtab-Sher Singh and Tara Singh, rumour galore, but Ranjit attached to Sher Singh. In 1809, Ludhiana became British controlled, Union Jack flown. In 1818, Multan brought to knees, Sawan Mal made governor. Kapurthla king Fateh Singh Ahluwalia also subdued, who tried get British support, failed and went ton knees to Ranjit, got back and died in 1837. In 1821 biggest wins-Kashmir, Multan and Peshawar, annexed hill states of Bilaspur, Chamba and Kullu. In 1831, Ranjit ruled over 14-15 million people out of which Sikhs were only 1.5 million or so, just 12.5%. Persian was official language of Khalsa durbar.French military officers in Ranjit army. Hari Singh Nalwa, governow of Peshawar moved closer to Kabul in 1834, died in war. In 1837, seventeen year old Victoria became queen of England. Kunwar Naunihal Singh, son of Kharak Singh and grandson to Ranjt grew..Ranjit died on 27th June 1839, four of his Ranis including Raj Devi daughter o Sansar Chand of Kangra and seven slave girls mounted funeral pyre with him. Ten years later Sati was banned by British. Kharak Singh anointed King. Some wanted his son Naunihal to be king. Crowning ceremony on 1st September 1839 by Dhian Singh, Chet Singh was murdered On 5th November both Kharak Singh and Naunihal died, Khark of disease(poisioned) and Naunihal in accident. Six princes in line for succession-Sher-Tara twins, Sada Kaur grandson in 30’s Peshaura, Kashmira and Multana in 20’s and two year old Duleep from Rani Jindan, youngest wife of Ranjit. 9th November 1840 Sher Singh proclaimed king. Chand Kaur widow of Kharak wanted to act a Regent and Naunihal son in his wife’s womb to be proclaimed king. Gulab Singh with Chand Kaur. Army divided. Dhian Singh manipulated abortion of Naunihal child and murder of Chand Kaur. Sandhawalias switched to Sher Singh and then killed him on 15th September 1843. Sher Singh son Pratap was also killed simultaneously by Sandhawalias. Dhian Singh also killed. Dhian Singh widow demanded Sandhawalias heads before cremation of Dhian Singh, got next day of both Lehna and Ajit. All burnt together including widow going on pyre. Dhian Singh son Hira became Sher Singh faction leader. Six year Dalip named king, Jindan Regent and Hira became wazir. Hira and his uncle Gulab tried to kill Princes Peshaura and Kashmira, as his other uncle Suchet claimed wazir seat, he was also killed by Hira. Pandit Jalla made insolent remarks on Rani Jindan and Hira/Jalla and 1000 army all killed. By 1845, 1 lakh 20 thousand military was costing 50% more than in 1839,
Jindan brother Jawahar, Fakir Nurudin, brother of late Azijudin and Diwan Dinanath ran show. Prince Peshaura revolted killed at Jawahar order then Jawahar killed and his four wives mounted pyre, cursed end of Khalsa raj.Two wars with company in 1845-46 and in 1848-49 extinguished the raj.
Ranjit Singh in his regime took no life. Company lost in Afghanistan got compensated in victory of Sindh in 1843.Dalhousie became governor-general in 1848. Lal Singh and Tej Singh of Khalsa army betrayed to hand over Khalsa raj to British. Gulab Singh made wazir, war in Sabraon Sham Singh Attariwala the hero of defeated Khalsa army, 10 thousand Sikhs and 2400 Britishers killed in Sabraon war on 10th February 1946, Gulab Singh rewarded with Jammu state, Dalip Singh now eight became protectorate of British. Rani Jindan removed as Regent, banished from kingdom. Shah Muhamad Jangnama..Punjab and Hind warring parties..Chillianwala on 14th January 1849, worst defeat of Britishers loosing 3000 men. On 13th March 16000 Sikh army laid down arms. On 29th March ten year boy king signed document renounced kingdom, all property including Kohinoor jewel. All of Punjab annexed that day. Dost Muhmmad ceded Peshawar
British had four armies in India. Smallest was purely British ‘Queen’s regiment’, other three racially mixed ‘presidencies’ armies of Bengal, Bombay and Madras. In 1840, three armies contained 40 thousand whites and two and half lakh Indians. No white served under any Indian and the highest paid Indian earned less than lowest paid Britisher. More than half of Bengal army had high caste Hindus from Awadh, 1/3 Muslims from UP/Bihar.
Chapter Five-1849-1859-British Punjab and the 1857 Rebellion
Mogul ruled Punjab 156 years from Akbar’s 1556 to Shah Alam2 till 1712. Zakariya Khan, Mir Mannu, Adina Beg ruled during 18th century. British ruled 1846/49 to 1947 101/98 years. In 1848, Dalhousie was replaced by Hardinge as Governor General. Cornerstone of British rule-DC-Deputy Commissioner. Henry Lawrence/ John Lawrence two brothers. 1853-John Lawrence named Chief Commissioner of Punjab. 1857 Punjab had 36000 sepoys, by the end of revolt they had 58000 men, 11000 Europeans, 24000 Muslims, 13000 Sikhs and 10000 Hindus. Cooper got shot hundreds near Ajnala, 40 blown by guns in Peshawar, 870 shot in Jamrud. Gogena’s Ahmad Shah Kharal roused tribes against British, killed. Insurrection ended by November only, but 19 year old Duleep did not condemn revolt. Between May and 20th September 4000 British side killed, before Delhi was back in British hands. On 21st September Hodson brought Zafar, his wife Zeenat and son Jawan Bakht and imprisoned.. . Next day Hodson arrested from Humanyu tomb and shot dead three princes-Mirza Moghul, Mirza Khizr Sultan and Mirza Abu Bakar, twenty one other Moghul scions were hanged in few days and Moghul dynasty wiped out. Blood thrust had free paly in recaptured Delhi. In March 1858, a military court condemned Bahadur Shah Zafar to exile and life imprisonment, they were taken to Rangoon, where Zafar died in 1862, just four years later. In March 1858, Sikh soldiers plundered Lucknow. Nana Fadnavis and Hazrat Mahal ran to Nepal, never caught. British Parliament abolished Company rule and Queen Victoria assumed direct control,, Governor general became Viceroy. In February 1859, military rule ended in Delhi and it was made a district of Punjab.
Chapter six- 1859-1919-Imperial High Noon
Post 1857, British rulers decided-
• Separate Christianity from British rule
• Recognise aristocrat sensitivities
• Rule Punjab and India as superior race
• Focus on better quality of life through roads, railway, post/telegraph, canals., hospitals, education, law courts
• Cultivate farmer
• Recruit new soldiers ,keep them away from big weapons
• Make soldier agent of Empire in villages.
This strategy art of 1858 queen proclamation.
Canals built during 1860-1920 brought ten million acre land under irrigation. Schools/ educational institutions opened Lahore Govt. College in 1864. By 1900, Punjab supplied half of combatants of entire Indian army. Biggest grant to Baba Khem Singh Bedi from Nanak clan for canal colony in Montgomery
1907 land colonisation bill brought rebellion in Punjab. Ajit Singh, Lala lajpat Rai, Banke Dayal song. Umar Hayat Khan MLC also protested
Duleep and Harnam Singh Ahluwalia of Kapurthla converted to Christianity. Namdhari suppression, Singh Sabha and Dayanand Saraswati Arya Samaj movements, Qadian’s Mirza Ghulam Ahmad founded Ahmadiya sect. 1881 launch of The Tribune in Lahore. Punjab Muslims inspired by Syed Ahmad Khan-1817-98, founder of Aligarh’s Anglo Oriental college in 1875.
Sir Ganga Ram-1861-1927 talented civil engineer, built Lahore, Amritsar Patiala historic buildings. Rudyard Kipling English poet lived in Lahore for five years-1882-87 as assistant editor of Civil and Military gazette. , father Lockwood Kipling founder curator/Principal of Lahore Museum/Mayo arts college. By 1905, Punjab had 263 journals/papers published. Contrast between Bengal and Punjab-Bengali common language with script of all Bengalis-Muslims and Hindus, Punjab-divided in Hindu-Hindi, Sikh-Punjabi/Gurmukhi and Muslims-Urdu. In 1909, first Bengali/Indian VC of PU Lahore P C Chatterjee tried for Punjabi to be language of instruction, failed. 1881 Multan ban on cow slaughter demand. Punjab communal situation worsened in March 1897, 40 year Arya Samajist Lekh Ram stabbed to death. DAV College Lahore started in 1888, Islamia College in Lahore in 1892 and Khalsa College in Amritsar in 1892. Lord Curzon 1859-1925 pushed land alienation act, he split Bengal into two in 1905-divide and rule policy given shape. Most of the Muslims in Bengal were happy at separate Muslim majority province. Shimla interaction of 1st October 1906, 35 member strong Muslim deputation led by Agha Khan. All India Muslim League founded in Dhaka on 30th December 1906. Bengal partition annulled in 1911 for 36 years only. Bihar, Orissa and Assam became separate provinces. Undoing of Bengal partition shocked Muslims in Bengal and elsewhere in India. Muhammad Ali Jinnah joined Congress in 1906-1876-1948. In 1908, Jinnah defended Tilak in court, his closest friend was Gokhale. He won Muslim seat in assembly in 1909, he joined Muslim League in 1913. In 1916-Congress-League pact first time after 1857, demanded common things. Maulana Zafar Ali-1873-1956, editor Zamindar-foremost Urdu daily of Punjab. . Mohd. Ali’s English Comrade and Urdu Hamdard both from Delhi, Maulana Azad’s Al Hilal from Calcutta all opinion makers. Mohd. Iqbal- Turkey’s Khilafat issue was in centre focus. Fazal Hussain, Punjab Congress President and General Secretary of Punjab Muslim League.
Out of 683149 combatants recruited in 1914-18, sixty percent 349688 were from Punjab. Titles given to Sir-Umar Hyat, Sir Khem Singh Bedi, Rai Saheb Chhotu Ram.
Reference to Hardyal and Ghadar movement in Half page, ends with Gandhi’s rise.
Chapter seven-1919-22: Together for Freedom

 Gandhi returned to India from South Africa in 1915, in 1917, Champarn Satyagrah took place. Following year Textile workers in Ahmedabad and Kheda farmer’s demands. Gandhi turned fifty in 1919 was aiming for deeper Hindu-Muslim alliance. He befriended Delhi’s Hakim Ajmal Khan, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad Ansari who was league President in 1918. Rowlett act made a strong movement, Jallianwala happened. Between 10th and 13th April, British writ did not run in Lahore. On 11th April, 35 thousand strong rally with 2/3 Muslims held at Badshahi mosque. Swami Shrdhanand 1856-1926, Munshi Ram-both friends with Charles Andrews. Shradhanand became famous with baring chest on 30th March 1919 to be shot during Delhi protest. 

August 1921, Moplah protest in Kerala, February 1922-Bardoli satyagraha in Gujarat, Chauri Chaura occurring in February 1922, Gandhi withdrew non-cooperation Satyagrah, inviting seventy page indictment from Lala Lajpat Rai, who acknowledged that during 1919-21-Hindu-Muslims were fairly united.
Chapter 8-1922-42: Collaboration and Separation Call
Unionist party raised in 1923-Fazal Hussain and Chhotu Ram energies combined for interests of Punjab landed peasantry. Elections in 1923 gave clear majority to Unionist party in legislature assembly. Lala Lajpat Rai, member of Central assembly, writing in The Tribune in November/December 1924 proposed Punjab/Bengal partition in Muslim and Hindu Majority portions. Many Congress Hindus moved to Hindu Sabha. After 1926 elections, Manohar Lal, Cambridge educated became education minister. Fazal as revenue minister tussled in 1928 for Land revenue act. In December 1926, Shradhanand for his Shudhi movement was stabbed to death in Delhi by a Muslim, In 1927 publisher Rajpal acquitted by court for publishing pamphlet on prophet Mohamad. Later killed by Ilm din in December 1927, who was hanged in October 1929.
RSS formed in 1925 ith Maharashtra Brahmin group initiative.
During 1927-29, Fazal influenced Delhi privately through men like Feroze Khan Noon, Sikandar Hyat Khan, Chaudhary Zafarulla and Ahmad Yar khan, from 1930, he had direct influence through Viceroy council member. Bhagat Singh story is wound up in just two pages-304/305, showing of no consequences. Only information worthi afer Jatin Das death in hunger strike Gopi Chand Bhargav and Dr Mohd Alam resigned from Punjab council.
In 1931 agitation for democratic rights in Kashmir aginst Hari Singh by Muslim peasant did not get Congress support. A Simon commission gave 18% seats to Sikhs in Punjab council as against 30% demand, Dr. Satya Pal did not protest with Sikhs alienated from Congress party. In 1930, Iqbal expressed separation wish and in 1933, Chaudhary Rehmat Ali drafted Pakistan demand, he was born in Balachaur of Hoshiarpur district. P-Punjab, A-Afghania or North West-Kashmir, S-Sindh and Tan-Baluchistan. Bhai Parmanand wanted Hindu majority area of Punjab to be joined with Delhi or UP!
After 1937 elections, Sikandar Hyat Khan succeeded Fazkl Hussain, Jinnah-Sikandar pact was formed Out of 175 Punjab seats, Muslim league won only two, Congress got 28, Hindu Sabha 11, different Sikh groups 24, independents 19. Unionist party wining 95 seats formed govt under Sikandar Hyat with Chhotu Ram, Manohar Lal, Khizar Hyat, son of Umar Hyat Tiwana as minister. In 1939 Congress ministries resigned against war situation, Jinnah and Ambedkar celebrated 22nd December as Deliverance day. Khalistan was demanded by Sikhs in 1940. In March 1942 Cripps came to India called Cripps mission for India’s future plans. Congress rejected his federal structure plan proposal, Jinnah was willing to accept. Rajgopalacharya wanted agreement with empire and Muslim League. SIKANDAR Khan died on 26th December 1942 at 50 years only.
Chapter Nine: 1942-47: Independence and Trauma
Sikandar succeeded by 43 year old Khizar Hyat Khan as Punjab Premier. Within Unionist party, he faced lot of problems, many siding with Jinnah. Nawab Mamdot’s residence was Jinnah abode during his Punjab visits. Chhotu Ram died in 1945. A leftist Punjab Congress chief Iftikhardin went over to League. In 1945-46 elections Muslim League won 75 of 86 seats in 175 member house. Congress got 55, Sikhs and Unionist party 21 each. In March 1946, Khizar Hyat became Premier again with Congress and Akali support, taunted as Sardar Khizar Singh.
On 15th March 1946, Premier Attlee told British parliament to leave India. Stafford Cripps with Pethik Lawrence sent again for future plans. All three spent three months in India, proposal of three tier India with fedral structure. Jinnah was ready to accept, but Nehru-Patel rejected. It was called 16th May scheme. On 6th June League formally accepted. Nehru replaced Maulana Azad as Congress President. Interim Govt. under Nehru took shape, Liaqat Ali Khan joined as finance minister from League. Baldev Singh, defence minister, Patel home. Raja Ghaznafar Ali another Punjabi but league representative in cabinet. Jinnah direct action call for 16th August caused tensions. Khizar wanted independent multi-faith independent Punjab, day dream was late many a year, nor pursued by Khizr. Both Bengal and Punjab feebly tried for independent status, both failed. Master Tara Singh unleashing his sword at the gate of Punjab assembly brought destruction in communal flare up. Labh Singh killed while pacifying in Jullundur. Saifudin Kitchlew stripped to see being a Muslim. Raj reluctant to check violence, even though Jinnah asked for shooting rioters, even if Muslims. Gandhi became back number since 1945. 3rd June plan by Mountbatten more devastating, to leave before June 1948, but left in three months! RSS involved in Hindu attacks in Lahore lesser than Muslim guards. Punjab Boundary force under T W Rees od-f 9 thousand soldiers was incapable of controlling riots. On 14th October two Punjab’s decided to exchange their minorities formally.
Chapter Ten: Insaniyat amidst Insanity
There are ample examples of humanity as happens everywhere in the world. Rajmohan noted some, but can’t be all. Ahmad Hayat Khan of Sargodha, Ch. Mohd Hayat of Gujrat. Three part report of Lahore visit published in The Tribune.
Chapter 11-Divided Punjab and the future of Punjabiyat
Reference to literature of Amrita Pritam, Faiz, Manto etc. During 1955-57, Dr. Khan Saheb functioned as Chief Minister of single West Pakistan, then he was assassinated. In 1969, old provinces came back. Saraiki movement referred. APNA website referred, focus on promoting Punjabiyat.
While reading it appeared good book, during taking notes, looked weak in presentation of historic facts and interpretation also not very objective. But there is a sense of objectivity and non-biasedness.

Raazi film by Meghna Gulzar-deeply disturbing

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First posted on Facebook
After posting this note I was corrected by two of my friends one on this wall by Kavita Krishnan and another also of facebook but msg on WhatsApp by Mumbai filmmaker Aarti Shrivastava who mentioned that Sehmat never aborted the child and he was shown serving naval forces.
I admit my error due to my hearing handicap, I thank them for correcting me and today I saw Calling Sehmat review in Indian Express, though book is not reviewed very favorably, I reiterate my view that using so-called ‘Patriotism’ for molding natural emotions is not only demeaning, it is dangerous as well for the general citizens of such countries like-India-Pakistan-Bangladesh, Two Korea’s, China-Taiwan earlier two Germans and such culturally integrated countries, where despite political enmities between rulers/armies and not peoples at large of such countries. As there are large numbers of marriages among citizens of these countries due to kinship reasons, such films and writings will affect their personal lives, as the countries intelligence agencies would start looking at such brides and bridegrooms as suspects. I can better appreciate the tragedy of Sehmat as a lonely person at the end of life, yet again even after giving birth to son from Pakistani husband, if the son again goes the way of family tradition of ‘Nationalism/Patriotism’ and does not opt for some more compassionate profession like teacher or doctor or becoming peace activist, it serves the purpose of hyper-nationalist rulers only.
Raazi
Everybody is going gaga about film Raazi, in fact, I too liked it, yet it is a deeply disturbing film. How an artificial emotion of ‘Nationalism’ or “Patriotism’ can be used against the natural emotion of love or affinity in the theme of the film and people or critics or audience is taking the picture to skies for Kashmiri girl’s patriotic act. I haven’t read the text of Harinder Sikka-’Calling Sehmat’, but as it has been presented in the film is reactionary and dehumanizing. The way father in the film and in text perhaps prepares his daughter psychologically to get ‘married’ for the purpose of ‘patriotism’ and bring information to his parent country is most obnoxious, to say the least. India and Pakistan are created from colonial past with blunders of its own leaders on both sides and are like estranged brothers, acting as enemies by their rulers since 1947. Rather than creating narratives of human stories of empathy among citizens of estranged ‘enemicial’ brothers, the so-called progressive writer Gulzar and his talented daughter has pleased the present rulers with their so-called ‘humanized’ kind of tragic human situation. But first of all, why a most regressive theme of using ‘emotion of nationalism/patriotism’ to kill or rather disorient natural emotion of ‘love’ and ‘affinity’ has been used to make a film to promote so-called Kashmiri ‘patriotism’? Even though the film is technically made impressive, I did not like it at all for killing a natural emotion of human bonding. (Deleted)! It serves only ‘jingoism of reactionary nationalism/patriotism’ without any substance of humanism, except the last scene of ‘total loneliness’ of Sehmat, but it is of her own doing, it is perhaps her penance and self-realisation. Alia Bhatt has, of course, played her difficult role impressively so have other actors.
1. Raazi, a film by Meghna Gulzar, Alia Bhattnatioanlism/patriotism, Vickey Kaushal, written by Harinder Sikka-Calling Sehmat.
Raazi
Material down is from Wikipedia-
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Directed by
 
Produced by
 
Vineet Jain Karan Johar Hiroo Yash Johar Apoorva Mehta
Screenplay by
 
Based on
 
Calling Sehmat by Harinder Sikka
Starring
 
Music by
 
Release date
 
· 11 May 2018[1]
Running time
 
140 minutes
Country
 
India
Language
 
Box office
 
₹161.64 crore[2]
Raazi (lit. Agree, Hindi pronunciation: [ɾaːziː]) is a 2018 Indian spy thriller film directed by Meghna Gulzar[3] and produced by Vineet Jain, Karan Johar, Hiroo Yash Johar and Apoorva Mehta under the banner of Dharma Productions. It features Alia Bhatt and Vicky Kaushalin lead roles.[4][5] The film is an adaptation of Harinder Sikka’s novel Calling Sehmat which is inspired by real events.[6][7] It is about an Indian spy married to a Pakistani military officer (played by Vicky Kaushal) during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 on the order of her father played by Rajit Kapur.[4][8][9]
Principal photography of the film began in July 2017 in Mumbai and the shooting was wrapped up on 27 October 2017.[10] Raazi was shot across several locations including Patiala, Nabha, Malerkotla and Doodhpathri.[11] The film was released on 11 May 2018.[1] It earned over ₹154 crore (US$24 million) worldwide to emerge as one of the highest-grossing Indian films featuring a female protagonist.[12]
Contents
 
Plot[edit]
The film opens with a senior Indian Army Officer Lt. Gen. Bakshi addressing a group of soldiers on board the INS Viraat. The story flashes to the 1971 India-Pakistan war and the events preceding and following it. Sehmat is a college student from Kashmir. Her father and grandfather were Indian freedom fighters. She learns of her father’s impending death from cancer and his last wish for her to continue the family tradition of being in service to the country. She is soon to get married to an officer, the son of an Army Brigadier in the Pakistani Army, who is promoted to Major General. A few days before the marriage ceremony, Sehmat is hastily trained by members of RAW, India’s external intelligence agency, in various skills required to be a spy.
While being trained at RAW, Sehmat learns the contact numbers to be used in future while contacting anyone from Pakistan. She practices converting text information to morse code, which she had to use while transmitting information to India.
After the marriage and migration to Pakistan, Sehmat quickly settles into her married life, adjusts to a new country, and establishes the trust and confidence of her in-laws. She also falls in love with her husband Iqbal, though she shortly establishes communication channels with her handlers back in India and starts relaying information. Eventually, she spots information related to the planning of some sort of offensive against India and, at great risk, is able to gather the necessary details and pass them on to her handlers.
It turns out that this information points to a possible attack on the Indian aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, then deployed in the Bay of Bengal. The storyline suggests that this information provided one of the initial warnings to the threat which could have some bearing on the sinking of the submarine PNS Ghazi off Visakhapatnam‘s coast.
Toward the end, Sehmat is discovered as a spy but manages to escape with the help of her handlers, at the cost of Iqbal’s death. She ultimately returns to India, after which it is discovered that she is pregnant with Iqbal’s child. She says that she will raise the boy alone; the boy, Samar Syed, later joins the Indian Army.
In the concluding scene, an aged Sehmat sits alone at the window of a small house.
 
Cast[edit]
· Alia Bhatt as Sehmat Syed (born Khan)
· Vicky Kaushal as Iqbal Syed
· Rajit Kapur as Hidayat Khan
· Shishir Sharma as Brigadier Syed
· Jaideep Ahlawat as Khalid Mir
· Aman Vasishth as Nikhil Bakshi
· Ashwath Bhatt as Mehboob Syed
· Arif Zakaria as Abdul
· Amruta Khanvilkar as Munira
· Soni Razdan as Teji Khan
· Sanjay Suri as Samar Syed (in a guest appearance)
· Kanwaljit Singh (in a guest appearance) (As older Nikhil Bakshi)

Remembering Principal Sujan Singh

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On 21st April, it will be 25 years of Principal Sujan Singh’s departure from this world. A two-day national seminar on this occasion is being held at Punjabi University Patiala by Kendri Punjabi Lekhak Sabha, of whose Sujan Singh was himself President once. I had a pleasant association with him in his lifetime, though not very close. He had visited our Baradari Garden house once with his close friend Kartar Singh Sumer, a frequent visitor at Baradari Patiala. He also presided over first Kavita Divas in memory of revolutionary Punjabi poet Pash on 9th September 1989, organised by Paash memorial international trust. This grand function was co-chaired by Hindi progressive writer Nagarajuna and revolutionary Jaidev Kapoor, now all three are not in this world. At one time I wished to translate Sujan Singh stories in Hindi, as well as of Kulwant Singh Virk and Gurbachan Bhullar’s, also the poetry of Navtej Bharti. I could not do it but did translate one of Sujan Singh story Rajai in Hindi. Sharing few of his photographs here.

Sujan-Jansatta (2)

Remembering-‘Khuni Baisakhi'(Bloody Baisakhi-1919-Jallianawalabagh

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Jansatta write ups (10)

Jallianwalabagh Amritsar-2008

A Century of Jalianwala Bagh Massacre

Reposting to pay tribute to martyrs of Jallianwalabagh, happened 99 years ago in Amritsar. Nanak Singh novelist wrote a poem in Punjabi called Khooni Baisakhi to mark the day!

These are some photographs of this historic place, where on 13th April, 1919,General Dyer killed hundreds of Indians, who had gathered to protest against British oppression

It was on 13th April 1919, Baisakhi day that General Dyer had killed hundreds of people from Amritsar and surrounding areas, who had gathered to listen and protest against Rowlatt Act, an oppressive legislation being enacted by British colonial regime of that time.It all started from with the ‘Sedition Committee’ report prepared under Rowlatt itself and published in 1918, which listed the revolutionary(terrorist in British terms) nationalist movements of the country at that time.Starting from the killing of cruel British officer Rand in Pune, after the outbreak of plague in 1897, the report has listed Bengal division and revolutionary activities of Anushilan and Jugantar in Bengal, Ghadar party in Punjab etc. and recommended strict laws, so accordingly Rowlat act was prepared.Nationalist movement resisted throughout the country and in Punjab, after a strike of 30th March, when Mahatma Gandhi was not allowed to enter Punjab, the situation became explosive.British deceitfully arrested Dr. Saifudin Kitchlew and Dr. Satya Pal on 10th April, invited to his office by the Deputy Commissioner for discussion, leaders of the movement. Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs, showing exemplary unity, drank water from same glasses and took food together and gathered in Jallianwala Bagh, adjoining Golden Temple on 13th April 1919.It has a narrow gate even today this area is a congested residential area.When Hans Raj, an activist was addressing, around 5 p.m. in the evening, Gen. Dyer, who had encircled the Bagh from all sides and closed the only exit gate ordered fire straight on the bodies of people.One can imagine the scene. British Government of the day with Punjab governor O’Dwyer at that time, itself first admitted 291 deaths, later in Hunter commission inquiry in London admitted more than 300 killings.Despite hue and cry all over the world, Hunter Commission gave no punishment to Dyer, however, he got afflicted with so many diseases that he did not survive beyond 1927 and died on 23rd July that year, as per his family, he died of ‘heartbreak’.Nigel Collett, his biographer, gave the title of his biography-‘The Butcher of Amritsar’-General Reginald Dyer, this was published in India by Rupa in 2005.
Congress party, which instituted its own enquiry committee on this ghastly massacre, could start functioning only in November 1919 and as per its voluminous report in two parts, republished by National Book Trust and Nehru Memorial Museum and Library New Delhi, assesses more than one thousand deaths.Sewa Samiti Amritsar of that time insisted that they had cremated more than 500 bodies, the substantial number of Muslims and Sikhs remained outside its count.Now Govt. of India has assigned ICHR to have the count of deaths.Punjab Govt and some others have got names of more than 400 persons on record.Raja Ram in his Punjab University Chandigarh publication has listed 381 names in 1969 first edition of his book. Ram Singh Majitha has listed 406 names of martyrs in his Punjabi language publication in 1988, this includes 200 plus Hindu names,80 plus Muslim names and 120 plus Sikh names, including two women.One can very well imagine that how Punjabi society in 1919 was integrated at the religious level, later developments have made it disintegrate, leading to its tragic division, against the wishes of common people.
Jallianwala Bagh massacre was seen by Udham Singh, who was 15 or 16 years at that time and was in an orphanage in Amritsar, it is he, who avenged the massacre in 1940, full 21 years later in London, by shooting Micheal O’Dwyer, Governor of Punjab in 1919.The hated Dyer was already dead in 1927.Udham Singh was executed on 31st July 1940 in London.Jallianawala Bagh was also visited by 12-year-old Bhagat Singh, who was a student at Lahore in those days and he brought the bloodstained earth from the Bagh, which is still preserved in Bhagat Singh memorial museum at Nawanshehar, now called Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar in east Punjab.
In today’s Punjabi tribune magazine, a full booklet of the long poem written by famous Punjabi novelist Nanak Singh at that time under the title-‘Khooni Baisakhi’ has been reproduced.This was perhaps first Punjabi publication, which was proscribed by British government at that time. I wish that ‘Sanjh’. ‘Pancham’ or other Punjabi journals in Pakistan transliterate in Persian script and publish it there.It is really moving poem.
in a seminar on Dr.Ambedkar, held in Lahore by Sir Ganga Ram foundation on 13th April 2007, I had started my address by saying that ‘ as the earth of Lahore is pious for me or other Indians, because it has the executions of Bhagat Singh, Kartar Singh Sarabha and so many other revolutionaries in its jail, now demolished, so is Amritsar pious for Pakistanis, as the blood of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs was shed together here on 13th April 1919’.The audience got so emotional that so many people hugged me after the programme was over.Now every incident of police brutality in India is called-‘another Jallianawala bagh’, such as the symbolic value of that place.India, Pakistan and Bangla Desh should commemorate Jallianawala Bagh every year jointly, as it is part of their joint tradition of struggle for freedom, as was 1857 revolt, which unfortunately has been commemorated separately by all three in its 150th anniversary in 2007.

My tributes to dedicated Jamaican scholar activist Norman Girvan

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Dear Chaman,

my warmest congratulations on the publication on this important subject. I was interested to read of the role and case of Bhagat Singh, who sought to avenge a brutal and tyrannical act, one of many of British imperialism, for which a proper historical accounting has never been rendered,

Best wishes for 2014! 

Norman 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Girvan

My tributes to dedicated Jamaican scholar activist Norman Girvan

Norman Girvan passed away in Cuba at the age of 72. He fell from a mountain extridition in Dominica in early 2014 and was taken to Cuba for treatment. I was hoping he would recover, he did not. We both felt sorry for not meeting each other at The University of West Indies, St. Augustine in Trinidad, where he was Professor Emirtus and I was visitng Professor in year 2011. We got connected through mail and social media and he wished to post my article on his bloghttp://www.normangirvan.info/- published in Trinidad Guardian in October 2011, for which I had to face the adverse action by Indian High Commission of that time in Port of Spain, who was my paying master, being on deputation from ICCR. He published my article in full, including one part, which was not published by Guardian, he gave even better title to the article_

    Later we remained in correspondence, which I am sharing here to remember him fondly

I wrote him with others:

Dear friends,

     Some of you know the name of Rahul Bhattacharya, I myself was mentioned about him here in Trinidad by some local friend. While I have not read the novel, but The Hindu, the most prestigious English daily of India, has conferred its first ever literary prize to the young writer, among his competitors were many literary giants. I hope my Caribbean friends will be happy at this, one of most prestigious award from India on writing based on Caribbean life.

Greetings

Chaman Lal

He replied:Dear Chaman, this is indeed a great honour for the Caribbean and the Indo-Caribbean connection. I would love to have a copy of the Citation and of Bhattacharya’s acceptance speech, to post on my blog. Can you help?Best wishes, Norman

Another exchange:

Norman Girvan norman.girvan@gmail.com

30/05/2012

to me

Good Morning Prf Lal,in yesterday’s Trinidad Guardian there is a reference to your articles on Indentureship which were published on Ocrobe23 and 24 2011. Would you be able to send copies of same?Thank you, Norman

On 26 April 2012 14:15, chaman lal  wrote:

How colonial UK and neo-colonial US have committed worst fascist crimes against humanity, one can see here!Guyana popular leader Dr. Cheddi Jagan was toppled and was not allowed to be in power for two decades. His book ‘The West on Trial’ also lists the crimes of US-UK

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/article3353535.ece

Chaman Lal prof.chaman@gmail.com

31/05/2012

to Norman

Dear Norman Girvan,

    I probably may be having links to my Trinidad Guardian articles,but I am interested to know in what reference the articles have been mentioned.Article is probably available on TT Guardian website also.

regards

Norman Girvan norman.girvan@gmail.com

31/05/2012

to me

Hi Prof,it was mentioned in a letter to the Guardian on Tuesday saying you had denounced the celebration of Indian Arrival Day and the exploitation of Indian indentured workers by the imperialists. I searched the Guardian website and couldnt find your articles. If you have the links please send. I would like to read and possibly post on my blog, www.normangirvan.infoToo often people forget that Indians and Africans were both the victims of the same forces. The historical similarities need to be recalled in view of the present politically motivate divisions in the society.Norman

Here are the links of the paper, which has published my article in two installments, on the basis of which ,I am sought to be persecuted.

Regards

Chaman Lal

   

Chaman Lal prof.chaman@gmail.com

31/05/2012

to Norman

This is Pandit Priag Sooku letter,I just checked.At least there are people,who appreciate rational views!

Thanks and regards

Chaman Lal

 Chaman Lal,

Professor &amp; Former ChairpersonCentre of Indian Languages, JNU, New DelhiFormer President JNU Teachers Association(JNUTA)

Norman Girvan norman.girvan@gmail.com

01/06/2012

to me

Prof Lal,thank you very much. A very informative and thought-provoking perspective.I agree that in the same way that African-descendants celebrate Emancipation Day it is appropriate for the Indo-descendants to celebrate the Indentureship Abolition day which was a victory coming from years of struggle. It seems to me that the main point about celebrating Indian Arrival Day is to validate the presence of East Indians and their descendants in these societies and their contribution, in spite of prejudice and policies of social and political exclusion by the  colonial authorities. I suspect that both events should be marked (Arrival and Abolition) each being given their own significance. 

I am really happy that you made the point about Walter Rodney too. In fact the main reason he was assassinated is that he was threatening to succeed in forging a Working People’s Alliance between the African and the Indian workers. His book on How Europe Underdeveloped Africa has just been republished by Pambazuka Press.  

By the way I am not sure if you meant to imply that Spartacus was a Caribbean slave rebel leader; of course he was not but I think led a slave rebellion against the Roman Republic in the 1st Century BC. Famous slave uprisings in the Caribbean were led by Bussa (Barbados 1816) Cuffy (Guyana 1763) and Sam Sharpe (Jamaica 1831), and Nanny of the Maroons in Jamaica led successful Maroon wars against the British in the 18th century. And the first country to abolish slavery in the Americas was Haiti (on Jan 1 1804, in the Declaration of Independence) Britain is often erroneously given the credit. Very interesting to take a look at Professor Hilary Beckles, The Hate and the Quake, at http://www.normangirvan.info/beckles-hate-quake/

I would love to publish your two articles on my blog, it would be good if you could look into the possibility of checking out those particular historical facts as I am sure that others would do so i it were to published as it is.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Norman

Chaman Lal prof.chaman@gmail.com

09/06/2012

to Norman

Dear Norman,

    Reference to Spartacus is in general context of slavery and not in particular context of Caribbean.I got the copy of Black Jacobins during my stay in Trinidad, which I could not find in India since many years. I have a piece on the book if you like I can mail it to you.Of course, Haiti was the first country not only to abolish slavery but make first black revolution in history and I admire CLR James for bringing out that history through his classic book.

   I was joining most of the time MSJ/OWTU activities during my stay in The University of the West Indies,I regret we did not meet those days.

Regards

Norman Girvan norman.girvan@gmail.com

09/06/2012

to me

Categorise this message as:

Personal

Never show this again

Dear Chaman,I am sorry we did not meet too. So you do you wish me to use your articles as they are, without any changes?I will send you a flyer about an event next week.Best wishes, Norman

Norman Girvan norman.girvan@gmail.com

13/06/2012

to me, Ozzi

Prof Lal–thank you. I hope you approve of the new title I have given it. This is posted on my blog to coincide with the event to re-launch Rodney’s book on How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. It makes an excellent companion piece!In solidarity, Norman

Imperialism and East Indian Indentureship, Chaman Lal

Posted by Norman Girvan

Chaman Lal, who was visiting Professor at Hindi Chair at the UWI , St Augustine, is Professor &amp; Former Chairperson at the Centre of Indian Languages, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. His article recounts the cruel history of Indian indentureship as a source of exploited labour post-Emancipation and the long and ultimately successful struggle to eliminate it and to forge African-Indian Unity, highlighting the role of Mahatma Gandhi, Cheddi Jagan, CLR James and Walter Rodney.

Read Imperialism and East Indian Indentureship

Chaman Lal prof.chaman@gmail.com

13/06/2012

to Norman

Dear Norman,

  I do like your new shape to article,but I missed one thing,as TT Guardian left one part of my article,for blog,complete article would have been better,I am attaching the left out part,which in fact is the last part,which you can put as you deem right.

In solidarity

 Chaman Lal,Professor &amp; Former ChairpersonCentre of Indian Languages, JNU, New DelhiFormer President JNU Teachers Association(JNUTA)_Lalwww.facebook.com/Dr.Chaman.JNU  http://in.linkedin.com/in/chamanlaljnu

Left Out part of What to Celebrate from The Guardian published article.doc

Norman Girvan norman.girvan@gmail.com

13/06/2012

to me

So happy to get this. I will fix it.PS You can listen to the Rodney Forum tonight at 6 PM TT time in radio I95, link.Norman

CLICK HERE FOR LIVE AUDIO STREAMING OF PANEL DISCUSSION, WEDNESDAY 13 JUNE 6 PM TT TIME ON RADIO I95 FROM TRINIDAD

Go to the link above, bottom bar  and Click on “HI”, “MD” or “LO

How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

Walter Rodney’s classic study, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa has just been republished by Pambazuka Press. You are invited to a Panel Discussion on the book at the Cipriani Labour College, CLR James Auditorium, on Wednesday June 13 at 6 PM. Speakers will include Dr Patricia Rodney, Dr George Lamming, Dr Jerome Teelucksing, Mr David Abdulah, Mr Firoze Manji and myself as Chair. The event is sponsored by the O.W.T.U. as the C.L.R. James Memorial Lecture for 2012.

Norman Girvan norman.girvan@gmail.com

13/06/2012

to me

Chaman–I have added the last section. Also I’ve changed the title because of your point.I’ve also taken the liberty of inserting references to the Caribbean slave revolts and Haiti in place of Spartacus. I hope you dont mind’.This is really good.Norman

Imperialism and Indian Indentureship, Chaman Lal

Posted by Norman GirvanChaman Lal, who was  visiting Professor at Hindi Chair at the UWI , St Augustine, is Professor &amp; Former Chairperson at the Centre of Indian Languages, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. His article recounts the cruel history of Indian indentureship as a source of exploited labour post-Emanicpation and the long struggle to eliminate it and subsequent movements to forge African-Indian Unity, including  the roles of Mahatma Gandhi, Cheddi Jagan, CLR James and Walter Rodney.

Norman Girvan norman.girvan@gmail.com

05/09/2012

Please note the addition of the following:

A Lost Opportunity? The Jamaican Independence Experience  Taitu Heron

The entire selection can be accessed at the home page ofwww.normangirvan.info

Thanks, Norman

On 5 September 2012 09:07, Norman Girvan  wrote:

CRITICAL COMMENTARIES ON CARIBBEAN ‘INDEPENDENCE’

50 Years of Jamaican In-Dependence  Norman Girvan

The Colonisation of Independence  Lloyd Best

The Myth of Independence  Louis Lindsay

Trinidad and Tobago – A State But Not Yet A Nation  Michael Harris

Towards a New Democracy and a New Independence  Tennyson Joseph

George Lamming on Collective Caribbean Amnesia

— Norman GirvanProfessor Emeritus, UWI (Trinidad)

And the last message:



Norman Girvan norman.girvan@gmail.com


25/12/2013





to me




Dear Chaman,


my warmest congratulations on the publication on this important subject. I was interested to read of the role and case of Bhagat Singh, who sought to avenge a brutal and tyrannical act, one of many of British imperialism, for which a proper historical accounting has never been rendered,


Best wishes for 2014! 



Norman 

  And shortly after I got the news of his fall, which I shared on face book with my wishes for his recovery and suddenly this news, feel really sad, but pay my tributes to great humanist schaolar activist:

Razia Sultan-The only Empress of India was a Muslim   

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The only Empress of India was a Muslim

DR CHAMAN LAL

Razia Sultan’s tomb in Delhi; Razia Fort in Bathinda

Not many Indians realise or remember that the only Empress of India lived and died 800 years ago

There have been films, TV serials made, plays staged and biographies written on the first empress of India in many languages. Punjabi playwright Balwant Gargi, who was from Bathinda, and in his childhood lived near the fort, where Razia Sultan was kept imprisoned, wrote a full length play in Punjabi-Sultan Razia in 1973, which was staged in Urdu in Delhi by Ibrahim Alkazi.

In 1983, Kamal Amarohi made a feature film Razia Sultan, featuring Dharmendra and Hema Malini, both joining BJP for a political career. While Dharmendra lost a re-election bid, Hema Malini continues to be a Member of the Lok Sabha.

Jamila Brijbhushan’s biography of Razia was published in 1990 and Shahana Dasgupta’s Razia: The People’s Queen came out in 2001. Meva Ram wrote a long, 670 page novel Sultan Razia in Hindi in 2011. In 2015, a television channel aired 170 episodes on Empress Razia Sultan.

And yet, she has not been given her due in Indian history. Now when there is so much sympathy for Muslim women, who are supposedly all victims of Triple Talaq, the great role played by a slave emperor’s brave daughter Razia Sultan, whom her father preferred over his sons in the thirteenth century, appears more relevant than ever.

India was ruled by slave dynasty from Turkey during 1206 and 1290 AD. Qutab-ud-din Aibak was the first emperor from slave dynasty and he set up the Delhi Sultanate. His son-in-law Iltutmish succeeded him. Razia was the daughter of Iltutmish and granddaughter of Qutab-ud-din, who had begun building the Qutab Minar in Delhi and who lies buried in Lahore.

Razia Sultan ruled over India for just about four years between 1236 and 1240, but she left an indelible imprint during this short period on Indian history.

Born in 1205 at Badaun, her grandfather Sultan Qutab-Din-Aibak died when she was just five years old.

After the fall of the Gupt dynasty, India was divided into many small states and these states were fighting with each other. Thanesar was the strongest of these states under Emperor Harshvardhan during 590-647 Ad. Later India was subjected to Arab attacks and Mohammad Bin Qasim succeeded in conquering Sindh in 711 AD and Islam took roots in India and spread to many more areas. After three hundred years Ghazni’s Turk ruler Mahmood Ghaznavi attacked India 17 times in a period of 27 years, but he returned every time after plundering India and had no interest in setting up his rule directly. Yet it led to influence of Turks, Mongols and Pathans in the area.

In the 12th century another Turk ruler from Afghanistan Muhammad Ghori attacked India many times conquered many states. Decisive wars were fought between Muhammad Ghori and Rajput ruler Prithviraj Chauhan in 1192 in Tabarhind (Now Bathinda), which led to the long Muslim rule in India.

Qutab ud din Aibak was the army chief of Ghori and he won Delhi and established Ghulam dynasty in India in 1206 AD after the death of Muhammad Ghori. Aibak married his daughter Qutab Begum to his favourite slave Shamshudin Iltutmish and after Aibak’s death, Iltutmish provided stability to Ghulam dynasty in India.

Razia was daughter of Iltutmish and she was given training in arms and administration at an early age. Elder son of Iltutmish Nasiruddin died, whom Iltutmish wanted to hand over his kingdom. Two other sons of Iltutmish from another wife Turkan, were incompetent, so Iltutmish designated Razia as his successor. During his absence from the capital, Razia was given charge of the kingdom, which she ran with competence.

In 1236, just before his death following a palace intrigue by his wife Shah Turkan, Iltutmish revised his decision and nominated his son Rukandin to be his successor, who succeeded him in 1236 after his death. But Rukandidn could rule for only six months, before he was assassinated along with his mother. After Rukandin’s death Razia Sultan was designated as empress or Sultan by the chiefs and she ruled with distinction for nearly four years.

Though historian Satish Chandra called her ‘a romantic figure in medieval Indian history’, another historian Prateeti Bhatacharya from Calcutta University describes her as ‘People’s queen’, who built roads to link villages and cities, and was also the first to abolish Jazia tax charged from Hindus. She was coroneted in November 1236 and given the title of Jalalat-al-din Razyia Sultan.

She would wear male army attire and did away with the veil or Burkha to have direct contact with her people. Razia established schools, academies, centres for research and public libraries that included works of ancient philosophers along with the Qur’an. Hindu works in literature, philosophy, the sciences, and astronomy were reportedly studied in schools and colleges.

Jamal Yakut, an African, was her favourite officer, fully loyal to her. By some accounts she even wanted to marry him. But she was also a childhood friend of the Governor of Tabarhind-Altunia as well. A few of the Governors of states under the Delhi Sultanate were unhappy with the coronation of Razia, so they conspired to remove her. They gathered their armies to attack on Razia, who was not unnerved and successfully created division among the rebels and even got several of them killed.

She proved her mettle as Sultan, but was too independent to the liking of a group of 40 chiefs of her durbar, who wanted the Empress to be pliable and kept under their thumbs. They were also offended at the appointment of Yakut, a black, called Habshi derogatively, as a senior official.

The group of forty chiefs encouraged Razia’s confidant and Tabarhind Governor Malik Altunia to rebel against her and she was imprisoned at Tabarhind by Altunia following a conspiracy. Yakut was killed. Tabar-e-Hind or Gateway to India was the name of present day Bathinda, the fort there is called now Qila Mubark, where Razia was kept imprisoned.

Later Razia married Altunia in order to regain her kingdom from her brother Bahram Shah who had been installed as Sultan. With no major office given to Altunia, he felt betrayed by the chiefs. Altunia and Razia set out for Delhi from Tabarhind, but they were betrayed and killed near Kaithal in Haryana on October 14, 1240, thus ending the tragic story of the first and the last woman Sultan of India.

There is dispute about her tomb, three places are referred—at Kaithal, where she was killed with Altunia, Bulbul Khana in Delhi and Tonk in Rajasthan. The Delhi tomb is maintained by the archaeological department. It is said that her step brother Bahram Shah who succeeded her, brought her remains to Delhi and buried her properly, the second tomb at Delhi is not identified, but could be of Altunia.

Razia Sultan lived with great grace and dignity and died fighting bravely, showing exemplary courage, intelligence and independence under extreme feudal and patriarchal conditions of Indian society in the 13th century.

That she became a symbol of feminist power in South Asia in the 13th century is remarkable indeed. Not many women in Islamic countries have achieved what Razia Sultan did eight hundred years ago. She is the real inspiration for not only Muslim women, but all women of India!

The author is a retired Professor from JNU and comes from Bathinda. It was by sheer chance that he stumbled upon Qutab-Din Aibak’s tomb in Lahore in 2007

Alvida Asma Jahangir-in Filhal Patna

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अलविदा अस्मा जहाँगीर-दक्षिण एशिया की शेरनी

चमन लाल*

11 फरवरी २०१८ का दिन दक्षिण एशिया के देशों पर कहर की तरह टूटा, जब अभी दो सप्ताह पहले 66 वर्ष पूरे करने के बाद अचानक घातक हृदयाघात से पाकिस्तान में शेरनी कही जाने वाली मानवीय अधिकारों की अंतर्राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर जानी जाती कार्यकर्ता अस्मा जहाँगीर के देहांत की खबर पूरे विशव में फ़ैल गयी. कुछ घंटे पहले उन्हें दिल का दौरा पड़ा और उन्हें हमीद हस्पताल लाहौर में भरती करवाया गया था. अभी मोबाइल पर वे किसी वकील से पाकिस्तान के किसी महत्वपूर्ण केस पर बातचीत कर रहीं थी कि अचानक उनके हाथ से मोबाइल गिरा और वे दुनिया से रुखसत हो गयी.

अस्मा जहाँगीर का जन्म लाहौर के एक जाने माने परिवार में २७ जनवरी १९५२ को हुआ था. उनके पिता मलिक ग़ुलाम जिलानी एक बड़े सरकारी अधिकारी के पद से रिटायर होने के बाद राजनीती में सक्रिय थे,पाकिस्तान सरकार का विरोध करने से कई बार जेल जा चुके थे. बांग्लादेश की मुक्ति का उन्होंने और फैज़ अहमद फैज़ ने समर्थन किया था,जिसके लिये बांग्लादेश की प्रधान मंत्री शेख हसीना ने उन दोनों की बेटियों –अस्मा और सलीमा हाश्मी को २०१३ में उनके पिताओं के लिए ‘बांग्लादेश के मुक्ति युद्ध के दोस्त’ रूप में सम्मानित किया था. अस्मा के एक साल बाद पैदा हुई हिना जिलानी और अस्मा दोनों ने अपने अब्बा की इसी गौरवशाली विरासत को आगे बढाया. अस्मा और हिना की माँ बेगम सबीहा जिलानी भी अपने वक़्त से आगे बढ़ी हुई महिला थीं, जिन्होंने लाहौर के मशहूर कालेज एफ. सी. कालेज से शिक्षा हासिल की थी और अपना खुद का कपड़ों का व्यापार किया था. १९६७ में पति की नज़रबंदी के दौरान परिवार की पुश्तैनी जायदाद भी सरकार ने ज़ब्त कर ली थी. अस्मा २० वर्ष की उम्र में ही जुलिफकार भुट्टो के शासन काल में अब्बा की नज़रबंदी के दौरान १९७२ में ही सक्रिय हो गयी थीं. लाहौर के किन्नौर्ड कालेज से उन्होंने स्नातक परीक्षा पास की तो पंजाब विशवविद्यालय लाहौर से कानून की स्नातक डिग्री हासिल की. 1980 में अस्मा और हिना दोनों बहनों ने पाकिस्तान की पहली ‘औरत कानून फर्म’ स्थापित कर इतिहास रचा. साथ ही उन्होंने ‘औरत एक्शन फोरम’ नाम का सामाजिक संगठन भी स्थापित किया. बेसहारा औरतों के लिए ‘दस्तक’ नाम से एक ‘शरणागत घर’ की भी उन्होंने स्थापना की. १९८२ में पाकिस्तान के अब तक के सबसे बदनाम शासक जिया-उल-हक़ के धार्मिक कानूनों के खिलाफ जब अस्मा ने विरोध प्रदर्शनों में हिस्सा लिया तो उन्हें ‘नन्ही नायिका’ का लोक ख़िताब भी मिला. उन्होंने अपनी कानून फर्म से पाकिस्तान के उस धार्मिक कानून के खिलाफ लड़ाई शुरू की, जिसके तहत अदालत में मर्दों की एक गवाही के बरक्स औरत की गवाही आधी ही मानी जाती थी. १९८३ के एक पब्लिक प्रोटेस्ट में उन्हें मारा गया और उन पर अश्रु गेस छोड़ी गयी. उन्होंने १३ वर्ष की अंधी बच्ची बीबी साफिया का केस लड़ा, जिस पर उसके मालिक ने बलात्कार किया और ‘जिना’ कानून के तहत सजा मर्द को ना दे कर पीड़ित लड़की को कोड़ों से मारने और तीन साल क़ैद की सजा दी गयी. लम्बी क़ानूनी लड़ाई के बाद अस्मा-हिना इस फैसले को रद्द करवा पीड़ित बच्ची को छुडवा सके. १९८६ में अस्मा और हिना ने पकिस्तान में पहली बार ‘क़ानूनी सहायता केंद्र खोला, जिससे गरीब औरतों की मदद हो सके.

1996 में लाहौर हाई कोर्ट ने ये फैसला सुनाया कि बालिग मुस्लिम औरतों को अपने पुरुष सरंक्षक की इज़ाज़त के बगैर अपनी मर्ज़ी से शादी करने का हक नहीं है. इसी दौरान एक दुखद घटना घटी. साईंमा नाम कि औरत अपने पति से तलाक चाहती थी, जिसे अस्मा की फर्म ने शरण भी दी थी और उसका मुकदमा भी वे लड़ रहे थे. साईंमा के परिवार वालों ने अस्मा-हिना को धोखा देकर उस लड़की से मिलने के बहाने से उसका अदालती परिसर में कतल कर दिया. लेकिन अस्मा-हिना की लॉ फर्म ने अब इतनी प्रतिष्ठा हासिल कर ली थी कि अस्मा को दुनिया भर से सम्मान हासिल हो रहे थे. अनेक विशाव्विद्यलों ने उन्हें मानद उपाधियाँ प्रदान कीं, जिनमें स्विट्ज़रलैंड, कनाडा और अमेरिका के अनेक विशव्विद्यालय शामिल हैं. संयुक्त राष्ट्र ने उन्हें ‘धर्म और विश्वास की आज़ादी के मानव अधिकारों’ के लिए २००४ से २०१० तक अपना प्रतिनिधि बनाया. संयुक्त राष्ट्र प्रतिनिधि रूप में ही उन्होंने मुंबई में शिव सेना प्रमुख बाल ठाकरे और तब के गुजरात के मुख्य मंत्री नरेंदर मोदी से भी सवाल किये थे, जो काफी सख्त सवाल थे. अस्मा ने ही पाकिस्तान में सबसे पहले ‘मानव अधिकार कमिशन’ की स्थापना के लिए शुरुआत की और खुद कमिशन की सेक्रेटरी जनरल और बाद में अध्यक्ष रही. 2010 में ही अस्मा जहाँगीर ने पाकिस्तान सुप्रीम कोर्ट बार एसोसिएशन का चुनाव लड़ा और पहली महिला अध्यक्ष चुनी गयी. २००७ में पाकिस्तान सुप्रीम कोर्ट के चीफ जस्टिस इफितिखार चौधरी की बहाली के संघर्ष में हिस्सा लेकर ९० दिन की नज़रबंदी  उन्होंने झेली, लेकिन बाद में चीफ जस्टिस के कई फैसलों की उन्होंने आलोचना भी की. इस मामले में अस्मा ‘बेख़ौफ़ आज़ादी’ की प्रतीक थीं. अभी हाल में जिस तरह फ़ौज और कोर्ट्स ने मिल कर नवाज़ शरीफ को सत्ता से हटाया उसकी भी बेख़ौफ़ आलोचना अस्मा ने की. अस्मा कश्मीर और बलोचिस्तान दोनों जगह मानवीय अधिकारों के उल्लंघन की सख्त आलोचक थी और इस वजह से पाकिस्तानी सेना की आँख का रोड़ा थीं. पाकिस्तानी सुरक्षा बालों ने उसे दहशतगर्दों के हाथों मरवाने की कई साजिशें कीं, जैसे बेनजीर भुट्टो को मरवाया गया था, लेकिन अस्मा को तो डर छू भी नहीं गया था.

अपने अत्यंत सक्रिय जीवन में अस्मा ने लिखने का वक़्त भी निकाला. उनकी दो किताबें काफी प्रसिद्ध हैं –‘Huddud ordinance और Children of Lesser God:Child Prisoners of Pakistan. डौन अख़बार में छपा उनका लेख-Whither are we? भी काफी चर्चित है. पाकिस्तान में औरतों, बच्चों और धार्मिक अल्प संख्यकों के अधिकारों की रक्षा के लिए अस्मा ने अपना जीवन समर्पित किया था. भारत में समान रूप से बदनाम और अंग्रेजों के बनाये ओपनिवेशिक ‘blasphemy’ कानून के खिलाफ उन्होंने निरंतर लड़ाई लड़ी, जिनमें १९९५ में इसाई बच्चे सुल्तान मसीह का केस भी शामिल था. धार्मिक कानूनों की आड़ में अल्प संख्यकों के उत्पीडन के खिलाफ उन्होंने निरंतर क़ानूनी और सामाजिक लड़ाई लड़ी और उन्होंने एक मार्के की बात कही-‘जब एक बार आप धर्म का राजनीतिकरण करना शुरू कर देते हैं तो आप आग से खेलते हैं और आप इसमें जल भी जाते है.’

अस्मा की ये चेतावनी पकिस्तान् के बाद अब भारत को भी अपनी लपेट में ले रही है और इसे रोका नहीं गया तो हिंदुस्तान को ‘हिन्दू पाकिस्तान’ बनने से रोका नहीं जा सकेगा. अस्मा-हिना ने २००५ में लाहौर में औरतों और मर्दों की सांझी दौड़ आयोजित की, ताकि औरतों की दशा की ओर ध्यान खीचा जा सके, लेकिन इसकी उन्हें सरकार और मुल्लायों दोनों की तरफ से कड़ी सजा दी गयी, पब्लिक में उनके कपडे फाडे गए, ताकि उन्हें अपमानित किया जाये.

 

अस्मा भारत और पाकिस्तान के बीच मित्रता और अमन चाहती थीं और इसके लिए कोशिशें भी करती रहती थीं. मैंने भी उन्हें दिल्ली में ऐसी कोशिशों में भारत-पाक मित्रता की गोष्ठियों में सुना है. यही कारण है कि उनकी वफात पर जितना दुःख पाकिस्तान में मनाया गया, लगभग वैसा ही दुःख भारत में भी महसूस किया गया.

अस्मा जहाँगीर को मानवीय अधिकारों के क्षेत्र में सक्रियता से बहुत से अंतर्राष्ट्रीय सम्मान/पुरस्कार हासिल हुए, जिनमें १९९५ में magasyse पुरस्कार,२००० में पाकिस्तान में मानवीय अधिकारों के लिए अंतर्राष्ट्रीय विकास पुरस्कार, २००१ में दोनों बहनों के लिए UNIFEM पुरस्कार, २००५ में वैकल्पिक नोबल पुरस्कार के लिए नामांकन, 2010 में हालेंड से मैडल, 2010 में ही UNESCO पुरस्कार, २०१३ में पिता के लिए बांग्लादेश से पुरस्कार, २०१४ में नॉर्वे से पुरस्कार, २०१४ में ही फ्रेंच पुरस्कार, सितम्बर २०१४ में snowden के साथ वैकल्पिक नोबेल पुरस्कार आदि शामिल हैं. पाकिस्तान सरकार ने भी उन्हें दुसरे सबसे बड़े नागरिक सम्मान-हिलाल-ए-पाकिस्तान से नवाज़ा और सिंध सरकार ने तो उन्हें सरकारी सम्मान सके साथ दफ़नाने की भी बात कही, जो उनकी बेटियों ने नहीं की.

उनके परिवार और मित्रों-साथियों ने उनके उसूलों को उन के ज़नाज़े में भी रूप दिया. पहली बार सैंकड़ों औरतें १३ फरवरी को लाहौर में हजारों लोगों के साथ उनके ज़नाज़े में शामिल  हुईं और उनकी दोनों बेटियों और औरतों ने मर्दों से आगे रह कर ज़नाज़े की रसम निभाई, जो पाकिस्तान जैसे मुल्क के लिए एक अजूबा था. पाकिस्तान की तमाम वामपंथी संगठन उनके ज़नाज़े में शामिल रहे और नारों के साथ उन्हें अंतिम विदाई दी. उनकी दो बेटियों में एक मुनीज़ा पत्रकार हैं तो सुलेमा जहाँगीर उनकी तरह वकील, उनका एक पुत्र भी है.

लाहौर के कायदे-आज़म लॉ कालेज में वे कानून की प्रोफ़ेसर भी थीं. उनके देहांत पर दुनिया भर के नेताओं ने शोक व्यक्त किया जिनमें कनाडा के न्याय मंत्री, संयुक्त राष्ट्र महासचिव, बांग्लादेश की प्रधान मंत्री शेख हसीना, कामनवेल्थ के महासचिव आदि शामिल हैं, हालाँकि भारतीय शासकों ने उन्हें औपचारिक श्रधान्जली भी नहीं दी. लेकिन भारत में तमाम जगहों पर जनतांत्रिक आंदोलनों में शोक व्यापत रहा. दिल्ली, चंडीगढ़ व् अन्य कई शहरों में उनकी स्मृति में सभाएं हुईं. भारतीय मीडिया में उन पर ढेरों लेख, ख़बरें प्रकाशित हुईं. जिनसे ये भी साबित हुआ कि वास्तव में भारत और पाकिस्तान के जनतांत्रिक अन्दोलोनों में एक दूसरे के प्रति गहरी संम्वेदना है और दोनों एक दूसरे के दुःख में शामिल होकर दोनों देशों के शासकों की दोनों देशों में हर समय तनाव बनाये रखने की नीति को गलत मानते हैं.

अस्मा जहाँगीर के सरोकार औरतों, बच्चों और धार्मिक अल्प संख्यकों को न्याय दिलाना और पाकिस्तानी समाज को जनतांत्रिक बनाना था, इसी में उन्होंने अपना जीवन होम कर दिया, उन्हें पाकिस्तान की सबसे सशक्त महिला कहा गया और प्यार से पाकिस्तान की शेरनी कहा गया, वास्तव में वे पुरे दक्षिण एशिया के शेरनी थीं. भारत के जनतांत्रिक लोगों का अस्मा जहाँगीर को जज्बाती सलाम!


*चमन लाल जवाहरलाल नेहरु विशव्विद्यालय से रिटायर प्रोफेसर और भारत-पाक मित्रता आन्दोलन से जुड़े हुए हैं.Prof.chaman@gmail.com     09868774820

 

Life memoir of Ruchi Ram Sahni in Punjabi translation

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  1. ਸਵੈ ਲਿਖਤ ਜੀਵਨ ਯਾਦਾਂ: ਰੁਚੀ ਰਾਮ ਸਾਹਨੀ , ਅਨੁਵਾਦ ਖੁਸ਼ਵੰਤ ਬਰਗਾੜੀ, ਪੀਪਲਜ਼ ਫੋਰਮ ਬਰਗਾੜੀ, ੨੦੦੮/੨੦੧੬, ਸਫ਼ੇ ੧੩੫, ਮੁੱਲ 100/ ਰੁਪਏ

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    Lala Ruchi Ram Sahni was the founder of science education in undivided Punjab, yet his historic role has not been properly acknowledged by historians and activists for scientific temper in education nor by Punjabi language supporters. He along with Principal Chhabil Das and Profesor Brij Narayan like people brought subjects and topics like Science, Politics and Economics close to people in the Punjabi language with public speeches to common people like rural and urban people-peasants, workers, middle classes. Those who are holding Dharnas etc for the promotion of Punjabi language, mostly from the creative literary world are not looking back at the legacy of hundred years during British colonial period and linking it up with the present situation in Indian or Pakistani Punjab.

        This book-Life memoir of Ruchi Ram Sahni was edited by Narinder K. Sehgal and Subodh Mohanti probably in 1994 as the year given in preface, has been translated in Punjabi by Khushwant Bargadi, who is also a publisher of People’s Forum books from Bargadi. On the back of the cover page, there is a comment of R Ramachandran quoted from The Economic Times, which may be the review of this book itself, underlining the real role of Ruchi Ram Sahni as ‘of popularising science in common people’. It happened during 1880’s in Punjab, but these were the first attempts to promote science.

   Subodh Mohanti has a chapter introducing Ruchi Ram Sahni’s life and works, who became Assistant Professor in Physics and Chemistry in Govt. College Lahore in 1887 and retired as senior Professor in 1918. Prior to Him J C Bose started teaching science in Presidency College Calcutta in 1985, P C Ray returned from Edinburg in 1988 and became an assistant professor in Presidency in 1989. Mohinder Lal Sarkar set up ‘Indian Association for the cultivation of science’ in Calcutta in 1887, C V Raman joined this association in 1907. Calcutta University VC Ashutosh Mukherjee played a key role in giving institutional form to modern science in India. The first Indian Science Congress was held in 1914 under Ashutosh Mukherjee’s chairmanship. When Ruchi Ram Sahni joined Punjab Education Service(P.E.S.), then only three Indians were part of Indian Education Service(I.E.S.). Ruchi Ram Sahni was among first Indians to promote science education and popularising it among common people.

   Ruchi Ram Sahni played an active role in freedom struggle. He worked with Pt. Motilal Nehru, C R Das, Madan Mohan Malviya and other leaders during the enquiry of Jallianwala Bagh terror. He was also close to Mahadev Govind Ranade.

  Sahni was born on 5th April 1863 in Dera Ismail Khan. His father Karam Chand Sahni was a businessman and mother Gulab Devi came from moneylender’s family. Mulkh Raj Sahni, son of Ruchi Ram has noted these facts in his biography of his father-‘Landmarks and Strandlines: An Autobiography’. He set up Zoology department at Panjab University. Ruchi Ram started going to a Pandhey for study at the age of five years. At the age of nine years, he worked with Seth Kalyan Das.He took his education in Chruch school Dera Ismail Khan, he topped in Punjab in the middle-class examination in 1878. He did his Matriculation from Adiwal school and joined Govt. college Lahore, where Dr. G L Litner was Principal. He did his intermediate in 1881 and graduation in 1884, topping the examination. Despite his interest in Mathematics, he did his M.A. in Physics and Chemistry. Even before completing his MA, he got a job in weather dept and was posted in Calcutta, where he was allowed to complete his studies. He was made Assistant Professor in Govt. College Lahore in 1887. There was no library, he set up himself. For long time he remained a member of University Syndicate. To popularise science among masses, he established Punjab Science Institute and delivered more than five hundred lectures on common issues. He used to deliver lectures in Punjabi and English, using Urdu words. Punjab Science institute produced scientific instruments also. In patronisation from Indian National Congress, Punjab Science Institute took part in many exhibitions in the country. Eminent scientist Dr. Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar, the founder of CSIR, was much influenced by Ruchi Ram Sahni, who was his teacher. Sahni was a liberal in thinking, he became Brahmo along with Dyal Singh Majithia in Punjab. He was elected member of Punjab legislative council in 1923. After breathing in independent India, he took his last breath on 3rd June 1948.

       Birbal Sahni, his son, set up service for one month less than one  Birbal Sahni Institute of Zoology in Lucknow University. National Council for science and technology communication claimed that they found Ruchi Ram Sahni autobiography, though few portions of this are not found. It was published in two issues of NCSTC communications journal in November 1991 and January 1992 issues, which probably has taken the shape of this book. The text of Ruchi Ram Sahni is spread in 113 pages from page no 22 to 135 and is in six chapters.

       Ruchi Ram Sahni begins his story with the description of his job in the first chapter –Story of Indian official’s struggles and tests’. He tells us that he had done official service for just one month less of 1/3 of a century. He was recruited in weather dept. on 10th January 1885,  by the end of March 1987, his services were transferred to Education department of Punjab Government and he was appointed assistant Professor in Physics and Chemistry at Govt. College Lahore, from where he retired as Senior Profess on 15th April 1918 at the age of 55 years. He worked as Director of Multan Schools for ten months in 1908 and in 1905 as officiating Director of EducationAmritsar schools for three months. Sahni worked under eight Principals and five DPI. In his 31-year college service, he developed warm relations with more than thirty European Professors. At that time only three Indians were part of Indian Education service, among whom Jagdish Chander Bose was one. During his MA studentship, Sir Denzel Ibbetson visited his college and was impressed by his experiments. Sahni soon got an offer from weather department to join as the assistant weather reporter. He was to appointed at Calcutta and he was assured that he could continue his MA studies in Presidency College there. In Presidency college he met Sir Ashutosh Mukhrejee, who was considered great educationist of his times. His class fellows included Upender Kishore Chaudhary, who was the father of Satyajit Ray and was later known as U Ray as a singer. Sahni was influenced by Brahmo Samaj there, which was set up by Raja Ram Mohan Roy, founder of Bengal enlightenment and renaissance. Tagore’s father Devender Tagore was bit elder than Ruchi Ram. In Calcutta, Sahni used to go to listen to Mohinder Lal Sarkar lectures in ‘Indian Association for the cultivation of science’, which Sarkar set up in 1876. This first institute for scientific research in India. Ruchi Ram Sahni set up ‘Punjab Science Institute’ in Lahore inspired by Mohinder Lal Sarkar. Ruchi Ram’s boss Blandford was a very kind person. He contrasts him with the bullying conduct of his successor John Eliot. In the meantime, Sahni got a letter of appointment from Govt. College Lahore, where he was appointed as assistant professor at 200/ Rupees per month.

                Ruchi Ram joined in College on 29th March 1887 and spent all his life there till retirement. Though in between, he got a chance to visit Europe for research and was stuck up in Germany during First World War. Ruchi Ram worked hard to prepare for his lectures, which he used to deliver in morning from 9.30 am to 11.30 am and supervised practicals from 2 pm onwards. He used to have a nap for an hour after lunch. First, five years in College job were hectic for Sahni, in which he set up Punjab Science institute workshop also. There was no library in University, so set up his personal library. Durin his college job Ruchi Ram joined Mayo Arts College to learn art work of wood for about six months, where he came in contact with Bhai Ram Singh and Lockwood Kipling, father of Rudyard Kipling. As per Ruchi Ram, Bhai Ram Singh designed best building is that of Khalsa College Amritsar.

          Ruchi Ram was taking part in Congress activities also, though Govt. employees were supposed to remain away from political activities. Ruchi Ram refers to scandals in University examination system also, for which he was made to suffer at the hands of some British faculty members. He remained a longtime member of University senate and syndicate. Sahni went to Europe for the first time after 1914, during world war-1, in which more than 80 lakh people got killed and 21 crore were injured. It was fought between- Britain/France/Russia/Belgium/Japan on one side and Germany/Austria/Turkey on another. Britain side won the war. He had difficult experience during the war and was helped by Ranjit Pandit, who became Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit husband later.

        Ruchi Ram Sahni spent most of his time and attention to Punjab Science Institute, which was suggested by Prof. J C Omman, during Sahni’s student days at college. In 1885, a society was set up for the institute, whose secretary was Prof. Oman and the joint secretary was Sahni. In this chapter, Ruchi Ram refers to his close association with Mahadev Govind Ranade(!1842-1901), who is considered the father of Indian economics. He remained Judge in Bombay High Court during 1893-1901. Deccan Education society Pune was set up by his inspiration. Ruchi Ram Sahni refers to public lectures delivered by him from Panjab Science Institute.. There was a fee to listen to this lecture, which was one or two annas. Sahni delivered at least two lectures in Patiala. Lectures were on common themes like-how telegram works, Panjab and its rivers etc. Sahni used Punjabi medium for delivering his scientific lectures, which were listened by Guru Nanak family ancestor Baba Khem Singh Bedi, who said that he could never think before this lecture that Science can be taught through Punjabi medium also. Institute was closed some time by end of 19th century, despite its role in promoting science. In 1905 another body0’Society for the promotion of scientific knowledge’ was formed, the whole property and belongings of the institute were given to the new body, which was led by Dr. C.C. Kleb. Ruchi Ram refers to efforts about the workshop which was set up as part of Punjab Science Institute and whose head technician was Mistri Allah Bakhsh. The workshop produced a lot of scientific instruments. Sahni spent much money from his own savings from salary for the workshop. The workshop produced instruments were sent for display in industrial conferences organised by Congress party. The last chapter of memoirs of Lala Ruchi Ram Sahni is focussed on his long and healthy life.( He lived up to 85+ years). He refers to his disciplined life, daily walk, controlled food, he was non-vegetarian. Nowhere he refers to religion or superstitions about anything in a successful life, his focus is on Science.

    Lala Ruchi Ram Sahni played a yeoman’s role in promoting and popularising Science education and its practice in Punjab, he is the pioneer of rational thinking in Punjab, he has not been given his due credit in Punjab education. Along with Principal Chhabil Das and Prof. Braj Narain, he developed Punjabi language for advanced education in Punjab and their pioneer role must be underlined and made part of school education in Punjab.

        This book is a good contribution to understanding Ruchi Ram Sahni role in the enlightenment of Punjab.

Colours of Cage : A Prison Memoir-Arun Ferreira

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 Arun Ferreira

  1. Arun Ferreira, Colours of Cage : A Prison Memoir, 2014, Aleph Book Company Delhi, Pages 164, Price 295/Rupees

  This is the second book after Mary Tylor’s ‘My Years in Indian Prisons’, which has been written by a ‘Naxalite’ prisoner in English, there may be many more in other Indian languages, as the number of prisoners, even political prisoners too high in India and many of them are not only well read, they are writers in their own right, but to whom Indian state treats like dungeon. The treatment of political prisoners may be one among the worst in the whole world and Indian police and jail officials always vie with American prison in Guantanamo in the occupied area of Cuba in its brutalities on prisoners, despite the façade of human rights signatory.

   Arun Ferreira, a young human right activist, spent just four months less than Mary Tylor, who spent five years in Bihar prisons during the seventies after marrying a Bengali Naxalite and moving in jungles of India. Arun Ferreira has dedicated the book to ‘thousands of political prisoners incarcerated throughout the country and to their dream of a more just society that will raze the prisons to the ground.’ While Mary Tylor was saved from brutal physical tortures of Indian police, being a British citizen, Arun has to go through it in worst possible form. But both have sensitivity towards their fellow prisoners. Mary Tylor is also remembered for her narration of poor women in jails suffering from social oppression and Indian criminal justice system, Arun has also narrated male poor prisoner’s fate in jails.

     A brief introduction to the prison memoirs has been written by The Scroll editor Naresh Fernandez, who coaxed his college friend to write full-fledged memoirs when Arun showed him prison made sketches and in two years after this sensitive memoir has come out in 2014. Naresh has opined that there are very few memoirs/documents of horrific Indian jails. He has castigated Maharashtra police for not paying attention Guantanamo’s Abu Ghraib photographs of torture, condemned world over and continuing that tradition in India!

    Arun Ferreira has written these memoirs in attractive narrative style without any rancour or bitterness, despite suffering worst kind of physical tortures at the hands of Maharashtra anti-Naxal police units. Memoirs are divided into seven chapters and begin with Hauladi no. 3479, in which author narrates that how he was arrested from Nagpur railway station on 8th May 2007, where he had gone for some fifteen police men had pounced upon him, while he was waiting for some activists to come and taken to after kicking and bundling into a car with the threat of killing in encounter-maar dalo sale ko, encounter men use khatam karo’-the standard sentence of police in all states, not only in Maharashtra after arresting any radical left activist since 1967, after the Naxalite movement began from Bengal and spread to many parts of the country. It has completed five decades of its existence and is nowhere close to achieving its goal of revolution, once thought of achieving in 70’s itself, when Charu Majumdar was still alive. But neither the Indian state has been able to uproot it, as declared many times boastfully by different governments in centre and states. As the poor people’s problems of livelihood continue, so continues the Naxalite movement, though going through many upheavals and splits/changes.

    At one time Arun was taking notes in jail for its use later, but by the caution of not getting the notes in hands of jail officials, which may have been used against his own self, he destroyed and rebuilt his memoirs from the letters he wrote to his family members. Every chapter begins with some quote from the letter and then he begins his narration. So in the first chapter is a narration of Nagpur jail’s ‘Anda cell’, HIGH-SECURITY JAIL, where he was kept in isolation. Before being sent to jail in judicial custody, he had to spend 23 days in police custody or remand, in which he was tortured with kicking, flogged with belts, slapped, legs stretched and more painful tortures were inflicted upon his body. Few more were arrested and they were all subjected to such and more heinous tortures in the police station, of which Arun Could hear screams in his cell from neighbouring cells. With such torture, his ear starts bleeding and jaws swelled, which made his eating difficult when he was served-‘dal roti and abuses’! He was presented to media with black hood overhead as ‘dreaded terrorist’, propaganda chief of Maoist party! Others arrested were one journalist Dhanendra Bhurule,  Andh Shradha Nirmulan Samiti of Dabholkar fame activist Naresh Bansod and trade unionist Ashok Reddy, who had come to blast ’Deekshabhumi’ of Ambedkar in Nagpur as per police! In police custody, he was not allowed to take bath for three days in scorching May heat of Nagpur. Arun has named his sadistic IPS police officers, who tortured him along with lower officials. They were made to go through torturous narco-tests against their consent. So after torturing them to the maximum extent, they were shifted to jail, where jail officials were trained to treat them as humiliatingly as police torture. After entering the jail, he was given under trial no. called Havalathis, pronounced as Hauladi, so 3479 was his no.! Though in jail principle is to treat any under trial not guilty until convicted, the treatment is of ‘convict’ till proved innocent! Arun has given the narration of narco test dialogues also, where the doctor will keep hitting him to keep awake to reply.

  In terms of police tortures, Maharashtra is at no. one in the country as it recorded highest custodial deaths of 22 in the year 2011, followed only by Gujarat. Arun was allowed to meet his family for the first time after a month and half of custody and torture. Since Arun did not confess as per their wish despite tortures, he was slapped as many as eleven cases, some for taking police custody/remand for torturing him, some to extend his stay in jail. He was not bailed for years, despite having good advocates. The tag of ‘dreaded Maoist’ was enough to deny bail in any court! All chapters begin withdrawing from jail by author and extracts from his letter to the family. The second chapter is The Anda -most dreaded part of the jail where he was kept. In this chapter, Arun narrates how he came across the radical movement in his college days through a friend Karthik Pannalal, who died in an accident in Delhi in 1977, but he got Arun join radical student organisation- Vidyarthi Pragati Sangthan, which was part of All India Revolutionary Students Federation. After college, he joined Naujwan Bharat Sabha, set up by Shaheed Bhagat Singh in 1926. Arun refers to many co-prisoners of Nagpur jail, who had been convicted of many heinous crimes like murder but committed in compulsive social conditions. The third chapter is Phasi yard-where only those prisoners were kept who were to be hanged. Arun was kept here after agitation to move out of Anda cell. They held many hunger strikes in jail against official apathy and mistreatment of prisoners, who were not treated as per jail manual. The fourth chapter is Gunahkhana-crime yard-there is a bootlegger who died due to jail officers’ mistreatment and led to massive agitation. Arun has been teaching English to co-prisoners and has been reading a number of novels and books some from jail library, but more from getting outside. He also did Diploma in Human rights from a Delhi institute through online and forced jail authorities to give permission for it. He refers to how Shahid Azmi arrested did his law degree in jail and later became a lawyer in Mumbai, but was assassinated later for taking up mostly Muslim cases, accused of terror crimes. On which Hansal Mehta made the biopic. 5th Chapter is Hope since Arun was being acquitted in many cases, there was a hope of release, but he was picked up at jail gate after release, rather abducted and trapped in two more cases. 6th Chapter is Lal Gate, the day of release and abduction. 7th and last chapter is Beyond Lal Gate-the date of his final release when the two more forced cases also fell through and on 4th January 2012, he was finally released, though there was still a fear of another arrest. His final acquittal from a bailed out case happened in 2014. He has briefly commented on post-release feelings of confusion and readjusting to life, but he is happy that he got a lot of support from friends and others.

   In acknowledgements, he has thanked many of his friends for the selfless support extended to him and his family during this turbulent time. This is really touching memoir of jail from an innocent sensitive chronicler of our times. It has been translated into Punjabi recently by Master Tarsem with introduction by Rahul Amaninder, a Doctor and ex-journalist.

(Read on 7-10th January)