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Tuesday, November 23, 2010


(Short story)

Although the decision to dispose off the revolver was a crucial decision but he had to resolve to sell it. He could tolerate any calamity – starvation, poverty, aversion, unemployment but he was unable to digest the venom of facing the stark reality when he saw his mother begging a few loaves of bread from her neighbourhood. After the demise of his father he had endeavored endlessly to procure a job even that of a peon in an office, but his pursuit ended in futility. He wandered from pillar to post with the photocopies of his certificates but the money-power and favoritism dashes his hopes to pieces. When he returned home with the fatigue of day’s futile pursuits in the evening he found his mother waiting for him. She would cajole him to eat the simple dal and chapaties. He thought that the mother must have labored hard to prepare the meals since there was no regular supply of provisions to their kitchen and the food would refuse to slip through his gullet. But the affectionate insistence of the mother made him receptive to this token of her love. But……. Today’s deadly spectacle had stunned him. The mother had been dodged to beg alms for satiating his hunger. Now……. He resolved to sell the remaining property…. The revolver….. the only and the last property bequeathed to the family by his father.

He would have sold his revolver long- long ago but whenever he thought of selling it the angry face of his father haunted him and stared hard in his face which stunned him. The entire property, including domestic utensils, was sold by the mother but even she never thought of selling this revolver. The reason being that this was the last remembrance of his father and also the symbol of the family’s high renown. His father was the ‘kul guru’ of the Maharaja of Faridkot and this revolver was the grand reward for the unique valor shown by his father when he saved the Maharaja from the clutches of a fierce lion .He took out the revolver from the dilapidated wooden almirah and stared at it. The furious visage of his father also emerged from the same apparition and putting the revolver in the pocket of his worn out overcoat came out of his house. The distance to the bazaar was not more than crossing the street itself. He traversed the street with his long strides and the image of his father once again flashed across his mind’s eye. In spite of his forced effort to dissociate himself from the vision, he could not halt his steps before the ‘Punjab Armoury’. In this state of conflict, he crossed the shop and traversed the entire bazaar which led him to the open footpath which was the link between the town and the villages nearby. This path, between the green fields, was usually untrodded but it was bustling with human activity for the last few days. The prime cause of this activity was the advent of Baba Neelgiri in the ancient temple. Baba used to deliver religious discourse every morning and evening and many women and a few men started frequenting the temple to listen to the sermons. While moving past the temple he looked towards it. The carpet was spread in the courtyard and a score of women and a few men were seated on it. In one corner of the courtyard of two rooms Baba Neelgiri was seated on a raised pedestal and delivering his sermon. Suddenly, his feet turned towards the temple. By taking long strides he moved towards the courtyard and sat on one corner of the carpet. Baba Neelgiri was saying,

“O’ Man! Think who has created this universe? Who is operating it? If there is no power like God, then who operates the rise of the Sun that dawn daily to spread his golden beams of light and ultimately sets in the evening? Who brings rains through the clouds? Who feeds the myriad creatures of the universe? Who creates the infant and fills the breasts of the mother with milk to feed him? Certainly, He is God. But you will ask me, Baba, who is He, how He looks like, where is He……well, Ladies and gentlemen, this mystery remained unsolved even by the great saints and sages. God is invisible, formless and unseen. He can only be felt by the spirit within. As you can not see the air but can surely feel it, similarly, God’s presence can be felt at every step but can not be seen………”

He heard the sermon of the Baba and felt like shrieking, “Stop this nonsense. God does not exist anywhere. This universe operates through its inbuilt system. Science has proved that there is no external power. You are just befooling the ignorant people and dragging them back into hoary centuries by giving vent to your ignorance in religious phraseology”. But he did not utter a word as he was lost in deep thoughts. Baba was continuing in his natural and spontaneous flow—“This implies that there is Brahman, Omnipresent, all pervasive but we can not know him by size, form and face….”

He felt that the Baba was unleashing the strings of his mysterious intrigue. If there were some power like Brahman, God, Ishwar or Bhagwan, then would he have starved even after passing his degree examination? Who is that Brahman, who in spite of being Omni- present can not see that the widow of Rajpurohit Pandit Mool Chand has begged the loaves of bread from her neighbourhood? With this thought, the image of his late father Pandit Mool Chand flashed across his imagination once again. But this time the image was not fierce as usual but benign and smiling with love and affection. He saw his father in velvet gown moving through the bazaar holding the finger of his innocent son. The shopkeepers saluted him with folded hands. The people on the road bowed and touched his feet. The royal guard of the palace salaamed him and the king himself bowed to his knees and he was blessing everybody. With the blood of this Mool Chand flowing in his veins, he was being subjected to the cold indifference and sharp criticism of the people. Where is Brahman? Where is God? His father devoted his entire life in the worship of God but still his mother was deprived of her suhag in spite of her own devotion and prayers. Her Brahman could not hold her hand from selling every utensil of the house- hold. Certainly god does not exist and the concept of the existence of God is a sheer concoction, a fabricated lie and a delusion.

Baba concluded his discourse and was chanting ‘Shanti Path’ with his eyes closed. With his chanting of the hymn almost all the people stood up and one by one prostrated themselves and put their heads on the feet of the Baba and received the prasad. Neither he stood up from his seat nor did he prostrate before the Baba to put his head on his feet. All the people departed and even the Baba directed his steps towards the room. The courtyard of the temple was deserted. Even the birds had retired to their nests after the hectic activity of the day. The rays of the setting sun were feeling restless to submerge their identity in the twilight. While returning to the room, the Baba looked back and saw him lost in his thoughts and staring the ground. Baba approached him slowly and asked in a benign tone ---- “who are you, son?”

He was jerked back to reality and look up. Baba Neelgiri was facing him. He cast a cursory glance to find that the courtyard of the temple was deserted. In this dreary place these two were the living human creatures on earth and many birds on the branches of the trees and the blank blue sky, vast and ready to engulf the atmosphere in the darkness of the night.

“I…..I am a human being, Baba”, he stood up saying “That I can see, but what is your name?”
“Uh, name? Unemployed, hunger, frustration, defeat, call me by any name”.

Baba was silent for a moment. He tried to be natural and suggested,

“The discourse is over. Go to your home, son”.

“I will go, Baba, I have listened to your discourse. You were just telling about the invisible, formless and unseen nature of God”.

Baba nodded in assent and astonishment.

“Have you ever seen God?”
“No, son. He is formless. He can not be seen”.

With the speed of lightening he searched the pocket of his overcoat and flashed the revolver in his right hand and aimed at the heart of the Baba. Baba was stunned. He felt as if the darkness of night had descended on his eyelids alone.

“Look, Baba”. He thundered. His voice was charged with excitement, reverberation and power.

“This is God. This is your Brahman. With its action none starves. If its trigger is pulled then no body’s mother would have to beg from anybody. Understand?”

The terror- stricken Baba was standing non- plus and dazed. But that very moment the essence of his entire experience of life flashed. He sensed the gravity of the situation. And he bowed before the revolver with folded hands.

“It is true, son. This is Narayana. This is the Brahman. This is the God. You are blessed soul who brought me face to face with God. May God bless you”.

He thundered his wild laughter in his face. Putting the revolver back in his pocket he exhorted the Baba.

“Alright, Baba, Go in and relax. You must be exhausted of delivering the sermon. I will sell myself but I will never sell my Brahman, my God, never.

And he came out with the triumphant air as if he had triumphed over the entire cosmos.

(Translated from Urdu)

Friday, November 19, 2010


कर दिया ख़ुद से भी जुदा कैसे I
जिस्म दीवार बन गया कैसे I

मुंजमिद होंठ आँख पत्थर सी ,
कल हुआ था विसाल-सा कैसे I
(मुंजमिद - जमे हुए; विसाल-सा - मिलन)

जाने क्या लफ्ज़े-अलविदा में था,
जाते-जाते वो रुक गया कैसे I

मर रहा हूँ तलाशे-हस्ती में,
हो रहा है ये हादिसा कैसे I
(तलाशे-हस्ती - जीवन कि तलाश)

भीड़ में बात हो गयी उनसे,
शोर भी काम आ गया कैसे I

नोंच कर पर 'नरेश' तुम ख़ुश थे,
फिर भी देखो वो उड़ गया कैसे I
(पर - पंख)