Maya's delusions

SWEET AND SOUR


However, our hopes were cruelly belied. Success went to her head and she began to indulge in delusions: “If I can become chief minister of the largest state in the country, nothing can stop me from becoming the Prime Minister of India.”

She began to amass real estate in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, decked herself in expensive jewellery, have a fleet of aircraft including helicopter for her personal use. A helicopter and a private plane are understandable, but luxury planes are not. She mocked people like Rahul Gandhi for staying in Dalit homes and eating with them as if Dalits were her monopoly.

And worst of all was her lopsided priorities. Parks and monuments came first. Dozens of marble statues of Bala Sahib Ambedkar, Kanshi Ram and her own. Erecting one’s own statues is nothing less than self-worship in the vulgerest form. She says they will become places of pilgrimage and inspire people. If there are any pilgrims, she will be the only one. If they inspire anyone; she will be the only one to be inspired. It never occurred to her that everyone of these statues and the innumerable elephants of black stone could have given the poor a hundred village schools and clinics.

If anyone of her minions who dared to tell her not to do so, he was fired or transferred. She did not want honest advisers but yes-men who endorsed whatever she wanted to do: “Jee Hazoor Chief Minister Sahiba, your wish is our command”, etc.

There can be little doubt that Mayawati has dug her own grave. To cap it all, she denounced Mahatma Gandhi as a ‘Natakbaaz’ — who made it a point to stay in Bhangi colonies at different cities only to enact a drama. He was in fact the first to rouse the country’s conscience against indignities our forefathers had inflicted on Dalits. To describe him as a dishonest play-actor is an unpardonable act of arrogance for which no Indian will forgive her.

The only word I think appropriate to describe her is ‘Moorakh’.

Ahmed Faraz

Ahmed Faraz died last August in Chicago. He was in his 60s. He was born in Nowshera and educated in Peshawar University.

Like Faiz Ahmed Faiz he was a frequent visitor to India and a great draw at Mushairas. I have happy memories of evenings we spent together in Islamabad and Delhi. He had a great deal in common with Faiz. They experimented with new forms of poetry, were fiercely opposed to dictatorships and were put in jail for their defiance of authority. Both sought asylum abroad, but never compromised. And both were hard drinkers and chain smokers.

Despite knowing Faraz over the years, most of his poems I was familiar with were those sung by Mehdi Hassan. His melodious voice made many poets into literary celebrities. In the case of Faraz, it was Mehdi’s rendering of ‘Ranjish hee sahee and ab kay hum bichrey to shayad kabhi khwabon mein miley, Jis tarah sookhey huey phool kitabon mein miley’ — next time we meet will be in our dreams like dry flowers preserved in pages of books.
So I was happy to read some of his poems. I was not aware of an anthology of selected poems of seven poets recently published, entitled ‘Master Pieces of Urdu Poetry — Gul-e-haft rung’, compiled and translated into English by Amar Delhavi. One short poem ‘Vapsee’ (return) specially attracted my attention. It is in two parts and the first about the break up of lovers and the second about yearning for a re-union. I did my own translation:

Uss nay kahaa, ‘Sunn,
Ehad nibhaney kee khatir mat aana
Ehad nibhaney vaaley aksar
Majbooree ya mehjooree ki thakan say lauta kartey hain
She said, “Listen to me
Don’t comeback only to keep your word
People who stick to their promises often do so
Because they feel they must or being tired of loneliness
decide to return to their old love.”

Then come lines yearning for the lover’s return:

Tum Jao, and darya darya pyaas bujhao
Jin aankhon mein doobo, jis dil mein bhee utro
Meri jalan aavaaz na degi
Lekin jab meyree chaahat
Aur meri Khwaish kee lao
Itnee tez aur bhee oonchee ho jaiye
Jab dil ro dey
Tab laut aanaa
Now you go and slake your thirst in every river
No matter whose eyes captivate you,
I will not let my jealousy speak out,
But when my love for you gathers stormy heights,
And makes your heart cry out for me
Than come back to me.
Threat to die
A medical student wrote a love letter in blood to a fellow girl student, ending with “You must reply, otherwise I’ll die.”

The girl replied: “Your Blood Group is B positive.”

(Contributed by Rajeshwari Singh, Delhi)

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