Colonel: [moments before the Amritsar Massacre] Should we issue a warning, sir?
Gen. Dyer: They've had their warning. No meetings.
Gen. Dyer: *Fire!*
(from Gandhi(1982), source : IMDB)
After visiting Harmandir Sahib, we went to the Jallianwala Bagh. It is situated at around 300 meters from the main entrance of Harmandir Sahib. Jallianwala Bagh reminds us of our past, of our freedom struggle against British colonialism. For people of our generation who are used to the violent protests everyday on any type of issue, this place reminds us what was it like to stage a peaceful protest or even to assemble peacefully. Such was the tyranny of British Raj that even a gathering on a festive occasion was fired upon. 

On 13th of April, 1919, there was a gathering of people in Jallianwala Bagh on the traditional festival of Baisakhi. At the scheduled time, the meeting started. Nearly an hour after the meeting started, then-Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer arrived there with a small contingent of Gurkha soldiers. Without even a warning Dyer ordered to fire upon the assembly. The Park was surrounded from all the sides by houses and there were narrow entrances which were chained. Only the main entrance was open for passage, which was manned by soldiers firing indiscriminately. There was no way to leave the park and subsequently most of the people died from the resulting stampede. Many of them jumped into a well inside the park to escape from bullets. More than a hundred bodies were recovered later from the well. This incident is known as Jallianwala Bagh Massacre. After the massacre, curfew was imposed in the city due to which wounded could not be taken out of the park to provide medical support and many more succumbed during the night to the injuries. Official sources placed the number of deaths at 379 while unofficial sources claimed that the total number of casualties were more than a thousand.

Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar

Today the 6.5-acre site is managed by Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Trust established in 1951. While entering the park, the spot from which bullets were fired could be seen. Looking from there it could be easily deduced that there was no way to escape the bullets other then coming towards the guns and trying to flee from the main gate. The bullet marks on the surrounding walls are encircled and carefully preserved. There are plaques installed near these marks giving details about the location of the bullets. The well in which people jumped to save their life is also a protected monument inside the park. A stone memorial with stone lanterns at its four corners was inaugurated on 13th April 1961. Later on, one eternal flame ("Amar Jyoti") was also installed.

amar jyoti at Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar

Near the main entrance to the park, there is a small hall in which a short documentary is played on a projector. The short movie gives a detailed account of what happened on that fateful day. Among other things, the documentary had some rare footage and voices of freedom fighters. This emphasized on the much talked-about right to protest peacefully which modern democracies boast of. If people can not protest in a peaceful manner against a decision of the establishment then how it is different from a dictatorship. 

Durgiana Temple, Amritsar

Then we went to Durgiana Temple, which derives its name from Goddess Durga. Built in 1908, this temple is also called Silver Temple because of its carved silver doors and is structurally similar to Golden Temple. Kar Sewa was performed to desilt the tank in 1921, 1975 and 1999. Durga is the main deity of this temple and Lakshmi and Narayan are the two other presiding deities of Durgiana Temple. That is why it is also called Lakshmi Narayan Temple. After visiting this temple it was time to go to Wagah Border to watch Beating Retreat Ceremony.

Also, see Amritsar : Jallianwala Bagh and Durgiana Temple in PicturesSee photos of Jallianwala Bagh and Durgiana Temple on Flickr here.

Also, see Amritsar : Jallianwala Bagh and Durgiana Temple. See photos of Jallianwala Bagh and Durgiana Temple on Flickr here.

A painting near entrance depicts the the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919.
Martyr's Well, Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar

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"In this game that we are playing, we can't win. Some kinds of failure are better than other kinds, that's all."
English author George Orwell wrote '1984' in 1948 and wrote so well that whole description of a society as mentioned in 1984 has since changed. Such a society is often called Orwellian. '1984' is a dystopian novel about a futuristic totalitarian regime where the wish of a supreme ruler is everything and that too when nobody is sure whether that ruler even exists or not.  Unlike his other novel 'Animal Farm', Orwell does not take overt political sides but instead sets up his story in future. Although the elements of this book were inspired by what was happening in the communist regime of Soviet, what he suspected or rather prophesied is true for any regime, even regimes that are claiming to be most democratic ones. 

The protagonist of the novel '1984' is a middle-class clerk Winston Smith working in Ministry of Truth, tasked with rewriting history. His job was to erase any traces of something which happened but is in contrast to the present stand of the regime. At his home, he was keeping a diary and made daily entries, hiding from the telescreen which was used to do surveillance on Party members, something which amounted to thoughtcrime. He eventually falls in love with Julia, which was not allowed for Party members. The main antagonist is O'Brien who is the Inner Party member and whom Winston initially thinks to be a member of underground movement Brotherhood. In fact, it was O'Brien who sets up a trap to catch Winston and Julia red-handed. 

'1984' by 'George Orwell'
Orwell's love for details makes me his fan easily. The setup of the story, the characters all are well researched and well thought. In a war-torn world, there are three nations or entities, Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia. These three are at perpetual war with each other as spread by the Ministry of Truth. Whether that war is even happening or it's just a tool to intensify nationalism and deflect the attention from other severe problems and lack of basic tenets of personal freedom, is unknown. Orwell even develops a minimalist language Newspeak, which was to be used by Party. The argument that Party gives for promoting the Newspeak is that we do not require so many words when we can work with fewer words. This was one more way to curtail thinking and expression of views, devised by the Party. 

Many incidents described in the novel were taken from what was happening around the world. While 'purging' can be said to be taken from the Soviet regime where political opponents were killed and records mentioning them were modified to remove their names. The news of war with other nations or news reading record productions is regular propaganda used by governments to inflate the feelings of citizens. The image created of brotherhood leader Emmanuel Goldstein is strikingly similar to that of Leon Trotsky who was defeated by Stalin in a power struggle after Lenin’s death. In fact, most of the incidents resembled what happened in Soviet Russia, with Thought Police's idea taken from NKVD which arrested people even for a slightest anti-government talk.

The concerns which '1984' brought to the fore are more relevant today for democratic countries than they were in 1948 when the book was published. The widespread surveillance of citizens using social networks and other things on the internet by governmental organizations are a major concern. The demand of executive to have more powers is threatening. Many times an external threat is used to justify all wrong doings by a government. The intimidation by the authorities to do what they want was an extension of the surveillance. The censorship as depicted in the novel is slowly becoming the order of the day. More and more governments and courts are increasingly banning books and movies on flimsy grounds that these may hurt feelings of society. Instead, these governments should research why societies have gone so intolerant. Revision of history by the governments to suit their purpose is also portrayed. History should be 'as it was' not 'as it should be'. Author says through one of the characters about the importance of revisionism:

"He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past."

The '1984' is a must read as it may be described as it stands out in dystopian novels. This book is more of a description than storytelling. Sometimes author describes the events taking place, sometimes he describes what is going on in the minds of the Winston and Julia and sometimes he describes what happened in the past to those revolted. There is another book 'The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism' written by 'Emmanuel Goldstein' within the book. This book within the book forms the major philosophical content of '1984'. The novel is not that easy to read especially the third part which describes the torture that the protagonists have to go through. This novel is frequently described as one of the most disturbing books. 

"Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing."

क्रीमिया को रूस में शामिल करने के बाद पुतिन के हौसले बुलंद हैं। कल शाम रुसी राष्ट्रपति के आधिकारिक आवास क्रेमलिन में बुलाई गई सुरक्षा अधिकारियों की बैठक में पुतिन का एक अलग ही रूप देखने को मिला। सामान्यतः अपने कड़क मिज़ाज के लिए पहचाने जाने वाले पुतिन आज बहुत भावुक थे। कमरे में लगी हुई ज़ार पीटर महान की फोटो को निहारते हुए कहा कि अगर आज पीटर जी जीवित होते तो कितने खुश और गर्वान्वित होते। हमने उनकी मेहनत से बनाए गये रूसी साम्राज्य को फिर से जोड़ने की तरफ पहला कदम बढ़ाया है। निकिता ख्रुसचेव ने क्रीमिया को यूक्रेन को देकर बहुत बड़ी ग़लती की थी, आज हमने उस ग़लती को सुधार लिया है। किसी अधिकारी ने कहा, "लेकिन सर आपने रूसी लोगों के हितों वाला दाँव बहुत मस्त चला था।" पुतिन ने हल्की मुस्कराहट के साथ स्वीकार किया। अधिकारियों से मुखातिब होते हुए कहा कि अब हमारा अगला लक्ष्य अलास्का है। हमारे पूर्वजों ने इसे अमेरिका को औने पौने दाम पर बेच कर जो ग़लती की है, उसको भी सुधारना पड़ेगा। इस बार हम अलास्का चीन को बाज़ार भाव पर देंगे। 

इधर संयुक्त राज्य अमेरिका दादागिरी में रूस से पिछड़ने पर बहुत शर्मिंदा है। राष्ट्रपति ओबामा ने जर्मन चांसलर मर्कल को फोन करके कहा कि अब आप ही पुतिन से बात कीजिये और रूस को समझाइये। ओबमा के स्टाफ ने पूर्व में ना जाने कितनी बार की गई दादागिरी का उदाहरण दिया मसलन विएतनाम, इराक़, अफ़ग़ानिस्तान, लीबिया इत्यादि इत्यादि लेकिन ओबामा इस बार पिछड़ने पर अब तक सदमे से बाहर नहीं आ पा रहे हैं। ओबामा ने आदेश दिया कि संयुक्त राष्ट्र में अमेरिका के राजदूत को बुलाया जाए। दूत हाज़िर हुआ। दूत से कहा गया कि संयुक्त राष्ट्र सुरक्षा परिषद में क़ानून पारित करवाया जाए कि जनमत संग्रह दादागिरी का उचित आधार नहीं है और आज के बाद से किसी भी दादागिरी पर उचित अनुचित का अंतिम फ़ैसला अमेरिका का ही रहेगा। जब राजदूत ने कहा कि इस प्रस्ताव को रूस वीटो कर देगा तो ओबामा ने रूस पर आर्थिक प्रतिबंध लगाने की धमकी दी। अर्जेंटीना ने ऐसे किसी प्रस्ताव की भनक लगते ही कहा कि क्रीमिया और फाल्कन द्वीप समूह के लिए अलग अलग मानक क्यूँ। आखिर फाल्कन द्वीप समूह पर कब्ज़ा करने का अधिकार भी तो एक जनमत संग्रह के द्वारा ही सही ठहराया गया था। जवाब में ओबामा ने अर्जेंटीना की राष्ट्रपति (या राष्ट्रपत्नी ) किर्चनेर से कहा, "आपके पास एटम बम है?"
किर्चनेर ने कहा, "नहीं।"
ओबामा ने कहा , "सख्त आर्थिक प्रतिबन्ध झेलने लायक अर्थव्यवस्था है?"
किर्चनेर ने कहा, "नहीं।"
ओबामा ने कहा, "तो जाइये, हम आपकी बात नहीं सुनेंगे।"

यूक्रेन के सत्तापलट करने वाले राष्ट्रपति अपने सलाहकारों के बीच बैठे रुसी वोडका के शॉट पे शॉट लगा रहे हैं। साथ ही सबको चेताया भी रुसी वोडका वाली बात बाहर नहीं जानी चाहिए। अबसे जनता को जैक डेनियल और क्राउन रॉयल व्हिस्की के साथ अन्य पश्चिमी पेयों के लिए प्रोत्साहित किया जायेगा। किसी ने शराब के नशे में अपने दिल की बात कह दी, "सर, चुनाव जीत कर राष्ट्रपति बनना ज्यादा मुश्किल होता। अच्छा किया जो विरोध प्रदर्शन के जरिये ही राष्ट्रपति बन बैठे। वैसे आपने सोचा है कि अगर दो महीने बाद चुनावों में जीत नहीं मिली तो क्या किया जायेगा?"  राष्ट्रपति ने हँसते हुए कहा ,"तो हम रूस पर हस्तक्षेप का आरोप लगाकर दोबारा विरोध प्रदर्शन शुरू कर देंगे। आखिर इजिप्ट में भी तो प्रदर्शनकारियों की भीड़ ने चुनी हुई सरकार बदल के दिखा दिया है कि ऐसा करना सम्भव है। इस बारे में अमेरिका और यूरोपीय यूनियन से बात हो गई है और उन्होंने पूरे समर्थन का वादा किया है।"

इस बीच अपने देश में जनमत संग्रह के आधार पर देश बदलने की नयी अर्जियां आयी हैं। नेपाल ने दार्जीलिंग में नेपाली भाषा बोलने वाले लोगों को दोबारा सहायता का भरोसा दिलाया है। फिजी और मॉरिशस की भोजपुरी भाषी जनता ने जनमत संग्रह की मांग की है और कहा है कि उस जनमत संग्रह के आधार पर भारत में उनके विलय का फैसला होना चाहिए। बिहार के मुख्यमंत्री नीतीश कुमार ने इस मुद्दे पर जोर शोर से बोलते हुए कहा है कि केंद्र सरकार को वहाँ के लोगों की सहायता करनी चाहिये। विलय में देरी के लिए हमेशा की तरह केंद्र सरकार को आड़े हाथों लेते हुए कहा कि यदि हमारी सरकार बनेगी तो हम सौ दिन के अंदर उन देशों को भारत का भाग बना देंगे। इधर इस मुद्दे पर खुद को नीतीश से पिछड़ता हुआ देखकर लालू ने भोजपुरी भाषी लोगों के लिए समर्थन जुटाने के उद्देश्य से अगले रविवार को पटना के ऐतिहासिक गांधी मैदान में महा रैला की घोषणा की है।

"To sell your soul is the easiest thing in the world. That's what everybody does every hour of his life. If I asked you to keep your soul - would you understand why that's much harder?"

'The Fountainhead' along with 'Atlas Shrugged' are the two novels that established Ayn Rand as the pioneer of the objectivist philosophy after the lukewarm response to her initial works 'Anthem' and 'We The Living.' You can get the taste of her philosophy in 'Anthem' but it is 'The Fountainhead' where you experience in detail the symbolism of individualism, objectivism, and selfishness. Since then the novel has become a cult and now has a huge fan following. Ayn Rand worked as an unpaid typist in an office of a famous architect to do extensive research on the central theme of this novel, architecture. This novel is about how a man stands against the system. As happens with other novels based on not-so-acceptable topics, Rand had difficulty in finding a publisher for this novel.

The story of 'The Fountainhead' revolves around a struggling architect Howard Roark who is not willing to compromise on his ideals to achieve success. Due to this, he was refused contracts many times but nothing deters him. He does everything for himself and has no responsibility towards society. He has a complex relationship with Dominique Francon who writes on architecture. She has a notion that the world is not yet ready or not worthy to receive the creations of Howard Roark. Howard Roark's batch-mate at his college, Peter Keating symbolizes everything which Howard stands against to. He has no principles and runs for the success, howsoever that is achieved. He makes it a point to have a reach in the social circles to make contacts and later use them for getting contracts. The main antagonist of the novel is Ellsworth Toohey, the socialist person organizing the workers at a newspaper company and the champion of the collectivist cause. He sees individualistic mindset of Roark as a major threat and does everything to destroy that. Gail Wynand is another personification of Rand's virtuous spirit. Via the character of Gail, rand has communicated the virtues of selfishness and her stand against socialism. 

'The Fountainhead' by 'Ayn Rand'
The character of Roark is not of someone that will be liked by everyone. At times he is incorruptible, likable and at times he is obnoxious, failing even to smile. Right from the college where he was expelled for failing to conform to the traditions of college to the industry where he refused to allow changes in his design, he had been unyielding to the will of others. Consider the situation that with so many directors and board members and everybody wanting to have his opinion count, how difficult it will be to have a design of a skyscraper go unchanged? He asked for the rationale behind the suggestions by everyone and everybody came with a response, "It is the tradition to build like that."

If delved deeply, like Roark, Toohey is also doing everything for himself and he is running for the power as evident from his long speech at the end of part three. The recurring theme of the Rand's novels are the long speeches by the characters as seen in Anthem's end or in 'The fountainhead' by Toohey and Roark. In this speech, Toohey lays down his approach and tells what he wants to achieve by standing against anyone embodying the free thought, in this case, Roark. So if Toohey is also selfish and doing everything for himself, why is he main antagonist of the novel? Isn't' it something that would have made him virtuous? He is doing under the garb of collectivism, treating all the people as representative of collective which Rand does not seem to like. She is averse to any hint of socialism and communism. 

Rand has chosen deliberately not to insert politics or economics in this novel despite trying that in 'We the Living'.  Roark's courtroom speech in his defence was the words which tell us more about the philosophy of Rand. Roark argues that when everything is discovered by an individual and later adopted by the society, then why is that individual made to suffer just because he ventured into forbidden territory and brought something which was unknown to men before. Roark says,
"No creator was prompted by a desire to serve his brothers, for his brothers rejected the gift he offered and that gift destroyed the slothful routine of their lives. His truth was his only motive. His own truth, and his own work to achieve it in his own way. A symphony, a book, an engine, a philosophy, an airplane or a building—that was his goal and his life. Not those who heard, read, operated, believed, flew or inhabited the thing he had created. The creation, not its users. The creation, not the benefits others derived from it. The creation which gave form to his truth. He held his truth above all things and against all men."
While traditions want the men to move on like they have done for the centuries, an enlightened individual refuses to work according to the conditions laid down and works for his own satisfaction, his own prosperity. This type of selfishness, according to Rand, is virtuous.  

Ayn Rand succeeds in creating a new philosophical thought of individualism and objectivism. She wrote many books mostly collection of essays on thoughts like virtues of selfishness, capitalism and individualism for others to know about this school of thought. 'The Fountainhead' is a long novel running around seven hundred pages with many philosophical conversations between characters. Not an easy read, especially when you ponder over what you have read and think about the evolution of that philosophical thought.

उम्र कटती है बहुत तेज़
ज़िंदगी धीरे धीरे चलती है।

आटा तेल की मग़ज़मारी रोज़ रोज़
गिरस्ती धीरे धीरे चलती है।

बारिश से गिर गयी खड़ी फसल
साँस धीरे धीरे चलती है।

पापी पेट के इरादों की सोच में
रात धीरे धीरे चलती है।

बेघरों की हालत का अंदाज़ा है
हवा धीरे धीरे चलती है।

मुनादी हो गयी कब की, अमल बाकी
सरकार धीरे धीरे चलती है। 

While planning for this trip we had in a mind a place which we could visit in a day and which should offer a variety of places to visit. Amritsar excelled on all those accounts: it had one of the holiest religious places, a memorial which reminded the atrocities of British rule in India and a military ceremony on Indo-Pak border. We reached Amritsar in the morning by a direct train. The name Amritsar loosely translates to a "Pond of Nectar", which can be attributed to the holy tank which was dug as instructed by the fourth Sikh Guru Ram Das. The district of Amritsar had five holy ponds, one of which surrounded holiest Sikh shrine, The Harmandir Sahib, also Darbar Sahib and in common conversation referred as Golden Temple or Swarna Mandir. Fifth Guru Arjun completed the construction of Harmandir Sahib and installed Adi Granth, the holy scripture of Sikhism in it.

Main entrance to Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar

We entered the main compound of Harmandir Sahib. This religious place is different from most of the other places in a way that while at other places you have to climb some steps to reach to sanctum sanctorum, here it situated at a lower height compared to the surroundings. Also, the Gurdwara has four entrance, signifying that Sikhism is open for all regardless of their belief, region, race etc. When entered from the main gate you see the Holy Pond, the Gurdwara situated in the center of the Pond. Taking a dip in Holy Pond is considered to be auspicious. Those colorful fishes swimming in the Pond looked very beautiful. 
queue from Akal Takht to Golden Temple

After taking one or two round of the Pond we went inside the Gurdwara. It was connected by a causeway. Facing the causeway on opposite side was the Akal Takht, literally meaning The Throne of the Timeless One. It is the temporal seat of Khalsa and was built by sixth Guru Hargobind. Having the Gurdwara and Akal Takht in vicinity symbolises the connection between spiritual and worldly activities. There was a large queue of pilgrims waiting to enter the Gurdwara, but we were told that it was nothing as compared to days when a good part of the Pond’s perimeter gets occupied by the queue. With a place having a footfall of more than hundred thousand per day, maintaining such high level of cleanliness should have been a great effort. We saw volunteers picking pieces of cloths and paper from the pond using a large stick. 

Inside the Gurdwara, it was soothing and peaceful as expected from a holy place. The number of visitors was huge to allow one to stay there for long. Guru Granth Sahib was installed here by Guru Arjan. The Gurdwara is gold plated from outside which gives it the common name: "Golden Temple". Then we went to the top floor of the Gurdwara, which is normally prohibited at other religious places. Also, if you like Shabad or Kirtan, the recital of Holy Text that appears in Guru Granth Sahib, this place will give you something to remember for a long time.  I still remember when I went there, ragis were playing:

"Jis ke sir upar tu swami,

So dukh kaisa paave
Bol na jaane maayaa madmaataa
Marnaa chitt na aave"

from the roof of Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar

After visiting Gurdwara, it was time to go to the langar area. We have heard that the food offered here is very tasty. Especially the kheer was very tasty. Offering food to such a large number for the whole of the year is no small feat in itself keeping in mind that most of the work are done by volunteers. Langar serves one more purpose : the feeling of equality. Every person irrespective of his background has to sit on the ground with other persons and have the same food offered to others. Guru Amar Das started Guru Ka Langar or Community Kitchen when he was the third guru. The whole process was very organised. 

We also went to the Central Sikh Museum situated near the main entrance. In this museum, we looked at a glance the history of Sikhism. Right form the foundation of Sikhism to recent events, it described all of them. Names, statues, tales - all of them you can see when you move from one room to another. Also, on display were old weapons with which Sikh wars were fought. Established in 1960’s, the museum also housed a library. The wooden comb (Kangha) of Guru Gobind Singh, Arrows, and Bow, Iron Chakras (circles) to be worn on the turban by a warrior and an iron jacket made of wires (Sanjoe) are among the precious collections of the museum. 

Soon we left Harmandir Sahib for Jallianwala Bagh.

See Amritsar : Golden Temple in Pictures, also. See photos of Amritsar on Flickr here.

Also see Amritsar : Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple). See photos of Amritsar on Flickr here.

main entrance of Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar
colorful fishes in Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar

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(आपने हरिशंकर परसाई जी की रचना भेड़ और भेड़िये अवश्य पढ़ी होगी। अगर नहीं पढ़ी तो जरुर पढ़ें। प्रस्तुत कहानी उसी जंगल में चालीस साल बाद घटे घटनाक्रम पर आधारित है और परसाई जी की रचना के पात्रों ने प्रस्तुत कहानी में अपना योगदान देने से मना नहीं किया जिसके लिए हम उनके आभारी हैं। )

चालीस साल बाद जब भेड़ों को दिखने लगा कि भेड़ियों का जीवन दिन प्रतिदिन सुविधाओं से भरपूर होता जा रहा है और उनको बिना कुछ किये रोज आहार के लिए पौष्टिक भेड़ें मिल रही हैं, तो उन्हें लगा कि जिस उद्देश्य से जंगल में पशुतंत्र की स्थापना हुई थी, वो रास्ते से भटक गया है। भेड़ियों को जंगल की सबसे अच्छी गुफाओं में रहने को मिल रहा है, जबकि भेड़ें अभी भी जंगल में सर्दी, गर्मी, बरसात से लड़ती रहती हैं। भेड़िये सामान्य दिनों में अपनी गुफाओं से बाहर निकलते ही नहीं थे, भेड़ों को ही अपनी समस्याओं को लेकर उनकी आलीशान गुफाओं में जाना पड़ता था। उन गुफाओं की साज-सजावट देखकर और वहाँ सेवा के लिए लगी हुई अनेक भेड़ों को देखकर उनकी आँखें आश्चर्यचकित रह जाती थीं। जबकि चुनाव आते ही ये भेड़िये भी पेड़ों के इर्द-गिर्द दस भेड़ों को सम्बोधित करते हुए दिख जाते थे।

चालीस साल तक ऐसा होता रहा और किसी भेड़ ने आवाज नहीं उठाई और अगर उठाई भी तो उसे ठिकाने लगा दिया गया। भेड़ों में असंतोष बढ़ता गया। बहुत दिनों के बाद जंगल के दूर दराज़ के इलाकों में खबर गई कि बूढ़े पीपल के पास एक भेड़, जो किसी दूर के जंगल से उच्च-शिक्षा ग्रहण करके आया है, भेड़ों को भेड़ियों के खिलाफ जागरूक कर रहा है। बूढ़ा पीपल एक तरह से जंगल की राजधानी हुआ करता था। जंगल के सारे बुद्धिजीवी पशु यहीं पर इकठ्ठा होकर सम-सामायिक विषयों पर चर्चा किया करते थे। उस पढ़े लिखे भेड़, जिसका नाम बुधई था, ने पूरे जंगल में घूम घूमकर भेड़ियों के खिलाफ भेड़ों को बताना शुरू किया और देखते ही देखते ही जंगल में एक लहर सी व्याप्त हो गई। इस अभियान में भेड़ों का नेतृत्व करने के लिए बुधई की अगुवाई में एक समिति का गठन किया गया जिसमें जंगल के विभिन्न क्षेत्रों के भेड़ों को प्रतिनिधित्व मिला। 

नियत समय पर समिति ने बूढ़े पीपल के पास एक विशाल विरोध प्रदर्शन का आयोजन किया, जिसमें भेड़ों ने बढ़-चढ़कर हिस्सा लिया। भेड़ों से मिले समर्थन को देखकर अभिभूत होते हुए बुधई ने भेड़ों को सम्बोधित करना शुरू किया, "मित्रों! आज हमारे लिए बहुत बड़ा दिन है। आज हर एक भेड़ अपने अधिकारों के लिए जाग चुकी है। हम इन भेड़ियों को भेड़ों की असली ताकत दिखाकर रहेंगे। आज तक भेड़ियों ने जो भी सुविधाएं ली हैं उसके लिए जांचपाल नाम की एक संस्था बनाई जाये जो कि यह फैसला करेगी कि ये सुविधाएं वैध हैं या अवैध। बस यही हमारी मांग हैं। और हम यह मांग मनवाकर रहेंगे।"  भेड़ों ने एक स्वर में क्रन्तिकारी नारे लगाकर अपनी हामी भरी। 

लेकिन इतना प्रयास करने के बाद भी भेड़ियों ने सिर्फ आश्वासन दिया और कोई ठोस प्रगति नहीं हुई। इससे समिति के सदस्यों में रोष व्याप्त हो गया और उन्होंने दोबारा विरोध प्रदर्शन का आयोजन करने की घोषणा की। इस बार भी पहले की तरह भेड़ों का व्यापक समर्थन मिला लेकिन इस बार भी भेड़िये टस से मस नहीं हुए। जब समिति को लगा कि बार बार के विरोध प्रदर्शनों से कुछ नहीं होगा तो उन्होंने अगला चुनाव लड़ने की घोषणा कर दी। बुधई ने भेड़ों से कहा, "एक आम भेड़ की आवाज कोई नहीं सुनता। इस जंगल की सारी समस्याओं की जड़ दो मुख्य भेड़िया दल, जंगलदेश और जंगल भेड़ पार्टी ('जे बी पी' ) हैं। हमें इनको उखाड़ फेंकना है। भेड़ियों को लगता है कि जांचपाल के आने के बाद उनके कारनामों की पोल खुल जायेगी इसीलिए वो यह मांग मानने को तैयार नहीं हैं लेकिन मित्रों जब जंगल की हर एक आम भेड़ जाग जायेगी तो हमें कोई रोक नहीं सकता। इस जंगल की समस्याएं तभी दूर होंगी जब एक ईमानदार भेड़ चुन कर जायेगी। आप हमें अपना बहुमूल्य मत दीजिये और हम आपको जांचपाल और भेड़राज देंगे।" बुधई ने जंगल के लिए जो नयी व्यवस्था सोची थी उसका नाम भेड़राज था और उसको विस्तार से बताने के लिए 'भेड़राज' नामक एक पुस्तक भी लिखी थी। जब नया दल बनाया गया तो उसका नाम रखा गया : 'आम भेड़ दल', जिसको संछेप में 'अभेद' नाम से जाना गया। जब किसी ने इंगित किया कि संछेप में उसे 'अभेद' नहीं बल्कि 'आभेद' नाम से जाना जायेगा तो उसे 'जे बी पी' का एजेंट बताकर चुप करा दिया गया। 

जैसे जैसे चुनाव नजदीक आता गया, अपने प्रचार के लिए समिति ने नए नए तरीके खोजने शुरू किये। सबसे पहले यह फैसला किया गया कि हर एक भेड़ अपने गले में एक पट्टा बांधेगी जिसपे लिखा होगा - "मैं हूँ आम भेड़।" जंगल के पशुओं को जंगल के हर एक कोने में 'अभेद' का सन्देश पहुंचाने का काम दिया गया। और स्वयं बुधई अपने समर्थकों और स्वयंसेवकों के साथ हर भेड़ के इलाके में पहुंचे और उनसे 'अभेद' के लिए मतदान करने का आग्रह किया। चुनाव हुआ और चुनाव में 'अभेद' थोड़े से अंतर से दूसरा सबसे बड़ा दल बनके उभरी। सबसे बड़े दल के सरकार बनाने से मना करने के बाद 'अभेद' से सरकार बनाने की अपेक्षा की जाने लगी। 'अभेद' की समिति ने सोचा कि चूँकि उन्होंने भेड़ों से पूँछकर ही सब काम करने का वादा किया था अतः उनकी राय ली जानी चाहिए। उन्होंने फैसला किया कि कल सुबह बूढ़े पीपल के आगे इस प्रस्ताव पर भेड़मत संग्रह किया जायेगा। जो भेड़ इससे सहमत हैं वो गुलाब का फूल लेकर आएंगी और जो इससे असहमत हैं वो चमेली का फूल लेकर आएंगी। उनका मानना था भेड़ें भेड़ियों से बहुत त्रस्त हैं इसलिए कभी उनके साथ जाने का समर्थन नहीं करेंगी। लेकिन परिणाम इससे ठीक विपरीत निकला। गुलाब के फूलों की संख्या चमेली के फूलों से कहीं ज्यादा निकली। 

इसके बाद बुधई ने मुख्य शाषक की शपथ ली। बुधई ने आते ही अपने लिए एक बड़ी गुफा की मांग की। जैसे ही भेड़ों को ये पता चला, हाहाकार मच गया। भेड़ों ने चुनाव के पहले और चुनाव के बाद के बुधई में काफी अंतर पाया। इतना होने के बाद बुधई ने कहा ,"मुझे पुरे जंगल का सञ्चालन करने के लिए एक गुफा तो चाहिए ही लेकिन आम भेड़ अगर इससे सहमत नहीं हैं तो मैं गुफा नहीं लूंगा, यहीं आपके बीच में रहूँगा।" बुधई के पद सँभालते ही लोग अपनी मांगो का पुलिंदा लेकर उसके पास पहुँचने लगे। बुधई ने घोषणा की भेड़ों को सप्ताह के पहले तीन दिन चारा मुफ्त में दिया जायेगा। भेड़ों को सरकारी तालाब से पीने के लिए कर चुकाना पड़ता है, अब से उन्हें दिन में सात लीटर पानी मुफ्त दिया जायेगा। चूँकि भेड़ों के बालों को काटने से उन्हें ठण्ड लगने की सम्भावना अधिक रहती है अतः आज के बाद से उनके बालों को काटने पर पूर्ण प्रतिबन्ध लगा दिया जायेगा।

ऐसे ही रोज रोज नयी शिकायतों और मांगो का अम्बार बुधई और उसकी सरकार के आगे आने लग गया। इसमें कुछ मांगे मान ली गई और कुछ पर गम्भीरतापूर्वक विचार करने का आश्वासन दिया गया। इस बीच कुछ अप्रिय घटनाएं घटी जिससे भेड़ों में 'आम भेड़ दल' के बारे में गलत सन्देश गया। समिति ने फैसला किया इस जंगल में शाषन करते हुए बाकी जंगलों में हो रहे चुनावों में हिस्सा ले पाना सम्भव नहीं है। अतः सरकार छोड़ने का कोई तरीका खोजा जाए। यहाँ पर फिर जांचपाल 'आम भेड़ दल' के काम आया। सरकार में इतने दिन रहने के बाद भी भेड़ों को 'जांचपाल अधिनियम' के बारे में विस्तारपूर्वक नहीं बताया गया।  समिति ने फैसला किया जांचपाल के नाम से फिर से भेड़ों से मत माँगा जायेगा और इसी के नाम पर सरकार की बलि दे दी जाये। और 'अभेद' ने ठीक वैसा ही किया भी। भेड़ों ने जो एक बदलाव की उम्मीद देखी थी, वह उम्मीद धूमिल हो गयी। भेड़िये अपनी गुफाओं में जमे रहे। 

(लेखकीय टिप्पणी : भेड़ और भेड़ियों के संघर्ष की कहानी आगे भी जारी रहेगी। इस कहानी का वर्तमान राजनीतिक स्थिति से कोई सम्बन्ध नहीं है। अगर किसी को कोई सम्बन्ध लगता है तो उसे 'जे बी पी' का एजेंट कहा जायेगा। ) 

The city of Chandigarh is one of the most well-planned cities in India rather I should say one of the few planned cities, comparable only to few areas in Lutyens' Delhi. Even when compared with Lutyens' Delhi, Chandigarh should win easily. With broad roads and vegetation on both sides of the road, this is one of the greenest cities in the country. We arrived in Chandigarh from Shimla and the cleanliness and order in the city impressed us. 

roads of Chandigarh

Chandigarh is the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana. After partition when Punjab was divided into East Punjab and West Punjab, Lahore became the capital of West Punjab and Shimla became the capital of East Punjab. Later in India, when demands increased to divide East Punjab and carve a hill state, a Punjabi-speaking majority state, and a Hindi-speaking majority state, three new states were created from erstwhile East Punjab. Shimla became the capital of Himachal Pradesh and being on the border of both states and their failure to settle in on any other city as their capital, Chandigarh became the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana. To settle the dispute it was made a union territory. Chandigarh metropolitan area comprises of Chandigarh-Mohali-Panchkula, forming a tri-city area. 

Chandigarh is the proud creation of many famous architects including Le Corbusier, the famous architect who was one of the pioneers of what is now called modern architecture. Chandigarh is home to the largest of Open Hand sculptures. These Open Hand sculptures represent The Open Hand Movement which, according to Le Corbusier himself, is a symbol of peace and reconciliation. The open hand is open to giving and open to receiving. Among his monumental designs is the Capitol Complex, which houses the Assembly, the Secretariat and the High Court of Punjab and Haryana. The name of Chandigarh is derived from an old temple of Goddess Chandi, Chandi Mandir.

Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh

The first place that we visited was Sukhna Lake. Situated in the foothills of Shivalik Hills, this lake was formed by holding the waters of Sukhna Choe, a seasonal stream. Due to the problem of silting, later on, Sukhna Choe was made to bypass completely the lake. Today this lake is one of the major tourist destinations of Chandigarh. What can be better than starting your lazy morning with boating in a lake surrounded by trees from all sides? We were welcomed in the water by ducks who followed us sometimes but ran away when we got closer to them. Although we were doing boating with safety jackets on, it reminded us of a boating that we did in Naukuchiatal in Nainital district without wearing any safety jacket. That was a risky one because none us knew how to swim. In Sukhna Lake, we went from corner to corner. 

Rock Garden, Chandigarh

After Sukhna Lake, we went to the Rock Garden situated nearby. History of this garden tells us that it was secretly built by Nek Chand from the urban thrown-away items like bangles, ceramic pots, tiles, sinks, bottles etc. In the park, there are many sculptures made of these scrap items. Sometimes we tried to mimic many of the dance poses of those sculptures. The garden has peacocks, marching warriors, village ladies carrying water giant courtyards among many others and all made of otherwise waste materials. The beautiful waterfalls were many in numbers and near few of them you will even forget that you are in such a big city, such were the effects that these man-made structures were able to create. Then we saw beautiful fishes in the garden and after that, it was time to find us in interesting shapes in the  reflection of distorting mirrors. 

Rose Garden, Chandigarh

After that, we went to Rose Garden, a botanical garden. This garden houses hundreds of different varieties of the roses and other vegetation.  A board nearby reads the name of the park as Zakir Hussain Rose Garden and describes the count of varieties of the roses to be more than 1600. The garden was well-kept. We reached their late afternoon, but we should have been there in the evening to enjoy the beauty of the garden. After spotting few colorful butterflies we left for sector-17, a major shopping center in the city of Chandigarh. There also we felt like we reached little early. The shops were just opening up. 

The visit to the Chandigarh was memorable because hardly you find such a planned city in the northern part of the country. Situated in the thick forest cover, the city was very close to nature, something which is rarely found in the cities as big as Chandigarh.

See Chandigarh : Le Corbusier's city in pictures, also. See photos of Chandigarh on Flickr here.

See Chandigarh : Le Corbusier's city, also. See pictures of Chandigarh on Flickr here.

first impression of Chandigarh
A beautiful park near Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh
Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh
Ducks in Sukhna lake, Chandigarh
Boating in Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh
On the banks of Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh
Windmill near Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh
A wall made up of waste tiles in Rock garden, Chandigarh
insulators used to make walls in Rock Garden, Chandigarh
small fort like structures in Rock Garden, Chandigarh
small waterfall in Rock Garden, Chandigarh
waterfall and pond in Rock garden, Chandigarh
more waterfalls in Rock garden, Chandigarh
still more waterfalls in Rock garden, Chandigarh
small fishes in a tank in Rock Garden, Chandigarh
courtyard like area in Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh
broadway in Chandigarh
near Rose Garden, Chandigarh
inside Rose Garden, Chandigarh
butterflies in Rose Garden, Chandigarh

Animal Farm is a novel written by George Orwell in 1945. This allegorical and dystopian novel has since become a masterpiece and was included in 100 best English-language novels (1923 to 2005) by Time magazine. Unlike his other work '1984', Orwell has a significant political tone in this novel. In fact, many of the incidents have similarity with political events in authoritarian regimes across the world. 

Animal Farm is a story of one Manor Farm in England where the animals revolt against the owner of the farm. Led by the pigs, all the animals form a regime based on equality of animals in the farm. News of the revolution is sent to others farms in the neighborhood and a revolution is tried to bring in those neighboring farms. Gradually, pigs modify all the rules that were formed after the revolution and a heavy propaganda machine convinces other animals that nothing has changed, and the changes were the required in order to sustain the rule of the animals and to avoid the farm being taken over by the humans again. Animal Farm is the story of the struggle of other animals with the changing laws and tactics of pigs to convince them that this suited the animal farm.

'Animal Farm' by George Orwell
The great symbolism in Animal farm is apparent. Humans on the Manor Farm represent the rule of Bourgeois on Proletarians.  The pigs represent the ruling class after the revolution. The Old Major resembles Karl Marx and has some elements of Lenin. Napoleon represents Stalin and Snowball's character is based on Leon Trotsky. The nine dogs that were raised by Napoleon represent the soviet secret police that used to ruthlessly suppress any voice of dissent against the soviet regime. Then there was Squealer who represented the propaganda department of the establishment used to manipulate the opinions and perceptions of the animals. The animals, except pigs, represent the common public living under the fear of government.

The events and incidents closely resemble that of the Russian revolution and the aftermath of that. The choice of pigs as ruling class was deemed offensive by many. This book along with '1984' was banned in USSR. George Orwell himself was democratic socialist but he thought the revolution is diverting from its objective. That is why he chose to write a novel about the Stalin regime. Around 1945, the sentiments of World War 2 was still high and USSR was still considered to be a friend in England. Orwell had great difficulty in finding a publisher and took him about two years to find one.

The love for the details by the author is pleasantly surprising. He has described in detail how the flag of the animal farm was designed, how the Manor Farm was rechristened to the Republic of Animal Farm, how the political opposition was purged, how the pigs became the rulers after they set out to establish equality. These incidents satirically describe events in the communist movement of Russia. I would recommend this book if you want to read a satire on the Russian communism and on Stalin’s rule.

Quotes from 'Animal Farm':
  1. Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself.
  2. The animals were happy as they had never conceived it possible to be. Every mouthful of food was an acute positive pleasure, now that it was truly their own food, produced by themselves and for themselves, not doled out to them by a grudging master.
  3. The human beings did not hate Animal Farm any less now that it was prospering; indeed, they hated it more than ever.
  4. Surely, comrades, you don't want Jones back?

इश्क़-बयानी बदनाम कर देगी उनको
फिर भी जो सज़ा होगी मुझे मंज़ूर है

नज़र मिलाने से वो भी तो डरते हैं
उधर भी कुछ ना कुछ तो ज़रूर है

महफ़िल में जो आज चर्चा-ए-आम है
इसमें भी कहीं न कहीं मेरा ही कसूर है

आते आते उनको आ ही जाता है ख़याल
उनकी चितवन में दिखी शिद्दत ज़रूर है

हर किसी से पूछी होगी उन्होंने मेरी दास्ताँ
उधर अब बेसब्री भी है, दिल भी मज़बूर है

मुझे आदत नहीं रोज़ दीदार-ए-आफताब की
सामने दाखिल होता रोज़ दरिया-ए-नूर है

ज़ुल्फ-ए-यार में उलझती हैं नज़रें मेरी
तह-ए-ज़ुल्फ मख़मूर चश्म-ए-हूर है