Sunday, December 20, 2015

Work in progress : 7
By Dr BSM Murty
Extract from Part VI, Chapter 1
Independence had come to India and after a long and arduous struggle for freedom Congress had arrived at a crossroads. It had achieved its goal : power, but lost its political cohesion. Gandhi had been cast away from the centre to the periphery, soon to be done away with. His radical vision of the transformation of Congress into a social reform movement had no takers in the now ruling party. It was a twilight scenario of an euphoria of independence with a darkening horizon of a scramble for power, increasing communal antagonism and rapid dissipation of patriotic idealism… 

Congress at crossroads
Independence had come and the new government was rapidly accommodating itself to the myriad complicated issues of internal governance including the continuing problems thrown up by the partition. One of the major emergent problems was the growing rift between the Congress party and the post-independence government; a developing conflict between those within the hallowed circle and those without it. One immediate fallout of this schism was Kriplani’s resignation as Congress President. “Acharya Kripalani [writes Prasad],…was dissatisfied with Government, for he felt that he was not able to pull as much weight with the Cabinet as he thought he should be able to”. In that uneasy situation, remarks Durga Das, “Nehru suggested that Prasad become President of the Congress Party. Prasad objected strongly to what appeared to him an attempt to push him out of the Cabinet and Presidentship of the Constituent Assembly.”  Prasad’s own version of this unfortunate imbroglio, however, is rather different as he writes about it at some length in his book At the Feet of Mahatma Gandhi.
Already saddled with two burdensome responsibilities of overseeing the wearisome task of  ‘framing the Constitution’ as President of the Constituent Assembly, and grappling with the precarious situation on the twin fronts of food and agriculture, particularly in the aftermath of the War and the countrywide near-famine conditions, Prasad was undertstandably reluctant to take up the Presidentship of the Congress already in the throws of disintegration. “I felt [he writes]…that the additional responsibility of becoming President of the Congress would prove too much for me. Accordingly, I told Pandit Nehru and Sardar Patel that if I accepted their suggestion, I should be relieved of my office as Minister in charge of Food and Agriculture, and that perhaps I might also want to be relieved of the responsibility of presiding over the Constituent Assembly, particularly as guiding the Congress, in which internal differences had already become manifest, would be a difficult enough task. [Patel and Nehru], however, felt that I must take the place of Kripalaniji. I could not refuse, for the inference would have naturally been that I was not prepared to give up my place in the Cabinet.”
Gandhi was not in favour of Prasad’s being relieved from his responsibilities as Minister of Food and Agriculture as the latter was working very hard to cope with the grim food situation in the country and there had been a remarkable all-round improvement in the situation even during his short tenure. Also both these departments were directly concerned with the uplift of the rural population, an area close to Prasad’s experience and disposition as well as among Gandhi’s top priorities. Besides, Gandhi was already quite unhappy about the tussle developing between the Congress party and the new government. “Gandhiji was of the opinion”, writes Prasad, “that either Shri Jai Prakash Narain or Acharya Narendra Deo, both leaders of the Socialist Party, should be offered the presidentship. When, however, he realized that the Working Committee was not prepared to accept that proposal and that some of the members were very much opposed to it, he kept quiet…”  Obviously Gandhi had come to realize that the section of Congress leadership on board the new government now wanted the party only as a compliant appendage. With his enormous influence among the newly elected legislators, Prasad knew that both Patel and Nehru wanted him to be away from the helm of affairs. Prasad could not justifiably be accused of any ‘lure of power’. He had been drawn away from his organizational key position in the party to the centre of power mainly because of his long political experience, his proven integrity and his sterling capabilities. But now in the new government of an independent India both Patel and Nehru seemingly had their own axes to grind, and Prasad for them as a cabinet colleague would now only be an inconvenience and embarrassment as later developments amply showed. Even at the cusp of independence serious differences had already started emerging between Patel and Nehru, something that had added to Gandhi’s darkening despair.
Under such conflicting circumstances, however, Prasad had to accept the presidentship of the Congress, though on condition that ‘I would give up my place in the Cabinet and would take charge of the Congress work only after I was relieved of that office.’ [AFM318] As stipulated, Prasad was finally relieved of his Cabinet position on 14 January, 1948, and ‘formally took over as President of the Congress’. The ‘lured by power’ observation, attributed to Gandhi in Das’s journalistic reporting, is thus soundly nullified both by Prasad’s own testimony and by the familiar course of events. Unfortunately it’s quite common in journalism, on occasions, to find trivial and insignificant details or observations overly magnified for special effect. In fact, only a few pages earlier in his book, Das uses acclamatory phrases for the great leaders. Nehru is ‘the darling of the nation’ and ‘the refuge of the minorities’; Patel, ‘The Iron Man [who] inspired trust in those days of uncertainty’, and Rajendra Prasad is ‘the embodiment of Gandhian humility and the spirit of selfless service’. [DD261]. Even Louis Fischer, Gandhi’s celebrated hagiographer, had paid high tributes to Prasad when he had taken over as Congress President from Kripalani in January, 1948. “ He was”, wrote Fischer, “ a gentle, modest, compliant, retiring, well-intentioned, high-minded person more inclined to serve than to lead.”
It is relevant here to remember that towards the end of both his Autobiography and At the Feet, Prasad discusses in minute details the challenges and the attainments of the projected goals during his sixteen-month long tenure as Minister of Food and Agriculture. The year-long first part of this tenure fell under the Interim government with all the tumult and strife of the partition. During this pre-partition phase, he had also to preside over the Constituent Assembly, besides discharging his onerous duties as a member of the Partition Committee. With characteristic modesty he admits: “Somehow I managed to carry on all these responsibilities with the blessings of Bapuji. I had, moreover, no reason to be dissatisfied with myself as regards the work which was entrusted to me.” 
Prasad had little administrative experience to help him in managing two of the most difficult Central ministries assigned to him when he was invited to join the problematic Interim coalition Cabinet. After the ravages of the War and the consequent widespread famine conditions in the country, later compounded by the massive influx of refugees caused by the partition, Prasad had been saddled with the most exhausting load of work, particularly in view of his fragile health. He had justifiably expressed his preference for the presidentship of the Constituent Assembly, but was equally determined to grapple with the grass-root level problems of food and agriculture that were virtually in a shambles. In fact, among all his other colleagues in the government, if there was one person absolutely free from any ‘lure of power’, it was Rajendra Prasad and none else. Patel had tenaciously clung to the Home ministry for obvious reasons, and even though he had a majority mandate of the PCCs for the Congress presidentship, he wanted that contentious responsibility to be shouldered by Prasad. The same was true of Nehru who was right from the start keen on Foreign Affairs which most suited his propensities and for which he was also, perhaps, the most capable. As a matter of fact, since its Tripuri session the Congress presidentship had practically become something like a loose-fitting mantle which could be conveniently put on or off as the situation demanded. Maulana Azad, Congress President for six terms during the War (1940-’46), had to give place to Nehru for just a short while when the Congress President had to join the Interim government as the leader of the coalition team. And only a couple of months later the mantle was draped over Kripalani’s shoulders at Meerut in November, 1946. But Kripalani was smart enough to realize that the mantle had lost most of its authority and its relevance and he preferred to lay it off even before the completion of his term in 1947.
By then it had become quite obvious that the mantle of Congress presidentship had become sufficiently torn and discoloured. All the glory and relevance of the Congress as a political party that had successfully led a unique non-violent national revolution to the ultimate freedom for India – even though a freedom tragically divided - lay faded and diminished. Indeed the organization had become so superfluous and disorganized, thought Nehru and Patel, that only Prasad, perhaps, could put it back into shape. Virtually abandoned by Gandhi, its patriarch ‘Bapu’, it had now become almost an orphan, a nobody’s baby.                                                                                      Pds:291113
Lok Sevak Sangh
It might be useful in this context to remember that as early as 1917, during his Champaran satyagraha, Gandhi had scrupulously kept the farmers’ movement disassociated with the name of the Congress. He made an intuitive distinction between a grass-root level revolution of a social and moral character, essentially non-political and basically experimental, and a manifestly political movement with the primary objective of getting freedom from imperial rule. It is important to see the fundamental difference between the two approaches. Gandhi had given practical demonstrations of the first kind of transformational revolution in Champaran, in Kheda, Bardoli and Dandi. Those were all models of a social revolution that could bring about change at the grass-root level; a revolution meant to change the rural face of India.
It was only when Congress agreed to adopt his unique principles of transparency (Truth) and peaceful moral resistance (Ahimsa) that Gandhi consented to lead the political movement of the Congress for the ouster of the British Raj. In fact, had the Congress refrained from haste and continued with Gandhi’s unique political strategy with a little more patience and sagacity, and unity of purpose, it could well have attained an undivided freedom for India. Right from the beginning, Gandhi always realized and emphasized the value of communal harmony and eradication of social inequalties, along with a ‘constructive programme’ that was ideally suited to bring about a grass-root level transformation of the national polity. For him the two movements were parallel and complementary, the ‘grass-root’ one having a long-term objective, and the ‘freedom’-oriented one with a short term political goal of national independence.
It remains a historical fact that since the Civil Disobedience movement of the thirties, Congress had lost its political focus and thrust leading to Gandhi’s withdrawal from the active leadership of the party. Already a parting of ways was discernible between his own perceptions of the political situation and its necessary strategies and those of his very closest and most loyal followers. Gandhi’s branching off into a countrywide parallel movement of a ‘constructive programme’ and creating a cadre of dedicated Congressmen for its effective implementation was a decisive step he took in that direction. This disjunction between the two approaches started getting more and more pronounced as the political movement became more strident and focused on ‘power transfer’. That is, a divided and limited ‘dominion’ variety of freedom rather than the purna swaraj unequivocally envisaged in the Lahore (1929) session of the Congress.
This was clearly a minimalization of the Congress’ political objectives to suit the interests of some individuals, including Jinnah and Mountbatten, rather than to serve the broader political objectives in the national interest and in the interest of the people. Obviously for Gandhi such minimalization of the broader objectives in the interest of political expediency was unacceptable. Also, perhaps, Prasad was being compelled to be a party to this expedient policy in order to neutralize Gandhi’s principled opposition. To make Prasad accept Congress presidentship and relinquish his responsibility midway as Food and Agriculture Minister (both actions disapproved by Gandhi) was a calculated move to distance him from Gandhi and compromise his moral credibility. It’s appropriate in this context to recall Fischer’s words ‘gentle, modest, compliant’, etc describing Prasad’s personality. At the same time the ‘lure of power’ remark about Prasad attributed to Gandhi must be seen in the context of these circumstances deliberately created to bring about a misunderstanding between the mentor and his loyal disciple.
Contrasting Prasad with Patel, Michael Brecher, Nehru’s biographer, finds Patel ‘cold’ with ‘almost icy reserve about him, a pronounced aloofness and stern composure’ whereas Prasad he describes as ‘a kindly, gentle-looking man… a devout believer in pure non-violence…among all of Gandhi’s leading political disciples, the most spiritually akin to the Mahatma…[one who] has been loyal to his mentor throughout his public life’. In fact, when Gandhi had wanted one of the senior Congress leaders to stay out of the government, he had actually meant Patel rather than Prasad. “Though coming together”, writes Rajmohan Gandhi, “to defeat some of Gandhi’s solutions, Nehru and Patel were often in conflict. At the end of September [1947] Gandhi had thought that for cohesion one or the other should leave the government.” As Nehru was his preferred choice and had become almost indispensable as leader of the governing team, Gandhi obviously meant Patel as the one ‘to stay out of the government’. Gandhi knew that the equilibrium between the Congress party which had ultimately secured the ‘transfer of power’ after decades of struggle and sacrifice and its top leadership now holding the reins of the government had now reached almost a breaking point. As Durga Das says, Gandhi was now fully convinced that Congress should ‘cease to be a political party’ as the intra-party conflicts scenario was getting quite dismal after independence.
Already, the element of durbar was creeping in….The politicians I tapped for their views were of three categories. The giants were loyal to Gandhi to a man, but they felt a growing estrangement from the Mahatma in that the business of government had made them abandon their Gandhian ideals both under political and administrative compulsions as well as their own personal craving to wield power as the British had done and to live like the ‘White Sahibs’. They could not resolve this conflict, and the more Gandhi spelled out his views at his daily prayer meetings on how they should conduct themselves the more they shrank from his commandments. In fact, they charged him in private with attempting to exercise power without responsibility. Those in the second rank openly exhibited their itch for power and pelf, and those at the bottom rungs of the political hierarchy also saw in the advent of freedom the long-awaited opportunity to cash in on their sacrifices for the cause.                                                                         
Conflict of interest between the party and the government was inevitable. As Fischer points out:      “ [Gandhi] realized that a one-party system could actually be a no-party system, for when the Government and party are one, the party is a rubber stamp and leads only a fictitious existence…. The election of a puppet who obeyed the government would signalize the elimination of effective political opposition." The rejection by both Nehru and Patel of Gandhi’s suggestion that either Jayaprakash or Narendra Dev be elected Congress president, only meant to keep Congress in a submissive status quo mode. That is precisely why they had insisted on Prasad’s taking over as Congress president from Kripalani. Gandhi, soon after that AICC session, had said: 
I am convinced that no patchwork treatment can save the Congress. It will only prolong the agony. The best thing for the Congres would be to dissolve itself before the rot sets in further. Its voluntary liquidation will brace up and purify the political climate of the country. But I can see that I can carry nobody with me in this. 
The agony could not have been more intense for Gandhi who had returned in early September from Calcutta to a riot-torn Delhi where the Muslims were now being subjected to horrific violence following the large-scale influx of embittered refugees from divided Punjab. To add to the agony, there were ugly squabbles now between Nehru and Patel over the post-partition problems both in the government and the party. Notwithstanding his ill-health, Prasad as usual was overburdened with multiple responsibilities, one of them being
[the] amendment of the Congress Constitution, which had been under discussion for some time and for which a Committee had been appointed….[Only] a few hours before his assassination, he put down in writing his views in regard to the amendment of the  Congress Constitution. He was of the opinion that the Congress should cease to be a political organization, in which capacity it had been taking part in political activity and had been controlling the Ministries that had been functioning, and that it should work as a body of social workers and influence government through social work. This view, however, did not find favour with prominent Congressmen. The Congress Constitution, therefore, as amended, did not provide that the Congress should develop into a Lok Sevak Sangh… The [other] task… was Gandhiji’s constructive programme, to which he attached as much importance as he did to Hindu-Muslim unity.  
Prasad had just been relieved of his responsibility as Food and Agriculture Minister and been elected Congress President. But he had also been actively engaged in the drafting of the new Constitution as President of the Constituent Assembly, besides being a member of the Partition Committee. In spite of being overworked, Prasad had been meeting Gandhi almost every day for urgent consultations and acquainting him with the developments on all fronts.
Meanwhile, the situation in Delhi was very tense. Even the top leaders in the Congress, including Patel, were unhappy with Gandhi’s alleged partiality towards Muslims, particularly after his last fast over the delay in the transfer of money to Pakistan. Serious differences over policy matters between Patel and Nehru had become Gandhi’s greatest worry. Accusations were being made that there were no proper security arrangements at the prayer meetings in spite of Patel being the Home Minister. A bomb incident had already taken place in one of Gandhi’s daily evening prayer meetings at Birla House, just ten days before his tragic assassination. In fact, on the very day of the assassination, till only a few hours before, Gandhi had been drafting the new constitution for the Congress in its new avatar as the Lok Sevak Sangh conceptualised as a purely non-political organization focused on the ongoing constructive programme. But, perhaps, destiny was scripting another pitiless narrative for that evening and beyond in history. In keeping with the tragic irony, Prasad had left Delhi the same morning as he narrates the whole sequence of events.
This matter [the Sevagram conference] had been under [Gandhiji’s] consideration for some time, and it had been decided that a conference of constructive workers should be called at Sevagram. A date had been fixed for it in the first week of February. Mahatmaji had decided to attend it and was anxious to go to Wardha for this purpose…. Early on the morning of January 30, 1948, I left for Wardha by plane. Before that, however,… I saw Gandhiji….He said that he would leave for Wardha in a day or two to attend the conference….I left Delhi in the hope that I would see Bapuji at Wardha within the next few days, and that the constructive programme, which was the very basis of the strength of the Congress, would receive a new impetus….I arrived at Wardha about half-past two in the afternoon. By that time, because of the cold and the exhaustion consequent on the journey, I had started a temperature. A doctor came to see me at about five o’clock in the evening. While I was talking to him, a boy came running and told us that Mahatmaji was dead….[The] announcement had come on radio.
As I reproduce these lines, I am struck by a personal flashback of that terrible radio announcement. I was just about ten years old. We lived in Chhapra (in Bihar) where my father was a college professor. It was around six in the evening. I was playing on the street with other boys. Across the street lived our landlord, the only person in the locality who owned a big radiogram in his drawing room. The news of Gandhiji’s murder came in a special announcement: some Hindu fanatic had just shot Mahatma Gandhi as he was proceeding to his prayer meeting in Birla House. The news stunned everyone. I immediately ran into my house to convey this terrifying news to my father. He looked paralysed by the news.

That night he recorded in his diary. 30 January, 1948: “Right at nightfall, heard that at New Delhi’s Birla Bhawan, a youth named Nathuram Vinayak, around five in the evening, fired three shots at Mahatma Gandhi, killing him instantly. But God was merciful to Muslims. Had the killer been a Muslim, the entire Indian Muslim community would have been annihilated in a day. Even in his death Gandhiji protected the Muslims. Mother India became sonless today.”

Prasad recollects: “I could not sleep that night”. Though early next morning he was able to get a lift in a flight from Nagpur to Delhi with Gandhi’s son Ramdas and just made it to the last darshan and the funeral. The Sevagram Constructive Workers’ Conference was put off and met in March when it  ‘decided to establish the Sarvodaya Samaj’.

Soon after that announcement of Gandhi’s assassination, Nehru’s voice had come on the radio: “The light has gone out of our lives and there is darkness everywhere…” It was a voice soaked in tears and anguish. “Our beloved leader, Bapu as we called him, the Father of the Nation, is no more…”  The brief speech was followed by Patel’s: “My heart is aching. What shall I say to you?...Perhaps God wanted Gandhiji’s mission to fulfil and prosper through his death.” Though it all sounded so bizarre as only a few hours before Gandhi had been trying to reconcile the increasing differences between these two great disciples. Prasad, ironically at that tragic moment, was away in Wardha on his master’s bidding for the Constructive Workers’ Conference.

The Lok Sevak Sangh draft that Gandhi had been working on, and which he had finished hours before his death, contained the blueprint of a new organization that was to supplant the Congress which Gandhi had wished to dissolve itself after it had fulfilled its purpose of attaining freedom for India. Apparently, Gandhi was thinking of the future political system for an independent India that would be truly democratic and secular with the seven million villages as its base. The colonial system of parliamentary democracy which India had inherited in its imperialist form needed a fundamental change to suit the Indian polity and its social fabric. He wanted Congress ‘to dissolve itself before the rot sets in further’. He knew it could not save itself by any ‘patchwork treatment’. A complete overhaul was the need of the hour. As Fischer had indicated, Gandhi realized that ‘a one-party system could actually be a no-party system’. Congress could not rule and put curbs on itself at the same time. A single party dominance would ultimately lead to authoritarianism. It must discard its colonial legacies and develop a new dispensation, a new, village-oriented democratic system that could turn the ‘freedom of India’ into a ‘freedom in India’. [LF/603] A Congress that had led a nation-wide freedom movement for decades, suddenly converting itself from a mighty pluralist political force into a monolithic political party inheriting a century-old colonial system of governance was, in Gandhi’s view, something of an awkward transformation. Unfortunately, however, that ‘sacred’ document penned by ‘Bapu’ in the final hours of his life, perhaps as a warning to his loyal disciples to read the writing on the wall, was casually thrown into time’s dustbin. “Never did it make its way”, writes Lelyveld, “onto the agenda of any meeting of the Indian National Congress as a subject for serious discussion.”  And it now finds a place in history only as the ‘Last Will and Testament’ of Gandhi.

© Dr BSM Murty

Read more extracts of earlier episodes from this ongoing book by clicking on OLDER POSTS.            

Friday, November 13, 2015

द्विवेदी-स्मरण-प्रसंग : ३
‘नव-परिणीता का पत्र’

डॉ. मंगलमूर्ति

आ. महावीर प्रसाद द्विवेदी का एक लेख है ‘आत्मकथा’ जिसमें संक्षेप में उन्होंने  अपनी जीवन-गाथा लिखी है| इस लेख को शिवपूजन सहाय ने ‘गद्य-कलश’ नामक अपने एक संकलन में संग्रीहीत किया है जो १९६२ में प्रकाशित हुआ था| लेख के प्रारम्भ में द्विवेदीजी ने ‘आचार्यत्व’ की अपनी लोकार्पित उपाधि को किंचित संकोच के साथ किन्तु विनम्रतापूर्वक स्वीकार किया है| थोडा व्यंग-विनोद का स्वर भी है – देहात तक में माता-पिता और गुरुजन अपने लूले-लंगड़े, काने-अंधे,जन्मरोगी  और महाकुरूप लड़कों का नाम श्यामसुंदर, मनमोहन, चारुचंद्र और नयनसुख रखते हैं| लेकिन हिंदी संसार की कृपा और प्रेम के प्रसाद के रूप में वे इस पदवी को शिरोधार्य कर लेते हैं| वे यह भी स्वीकार करते हैं कि जीवन के बाल्यकाल में अपने ज्ञान और प्रतिभा से स्वाभिभूत होकर उनमें थोडा अहंकार भी उपजा था –

जब मुझमें ज्ञान की कुछ यों हीं जरा-सी झलक थी तब मैं मदांध हाथी-सा हो रहा था – तब मुझमें अहंकार की मात्रा इतनी अधिक थी कि मैं अपने को सर्वग्य समझता था , परन्तु किसी अदृश्य शक्ति की प्रेरणा से जब मुझे कुछ विज्ञ विद्वानों की संगति नसीब हुई और जब मैनें प्राकृत पंडितों की कुछ पुस्तकों का मनन किया, तब मेरी आँखें खुल गयीं, तब मेरा सारा अहंकार चूर्ण हो गया| उस समय  मुझे ज्ञात हुआ कि मैं तो महामूर्ख हूं |

फिर वे कहते हैं कि इसी मिथ्या अहंकार के कारण मैनें आजतक आमंत्रित होने पर भी, साहित्य-सम्मलेन के सभापति-पद को स्वीकार नहीं किया”| अपने  इस आत्मकथ्य के विषय में भी कहते हैं कि यह कार्य भी संकोचपूर्वक कृपालु हितैषियों के बार-बार आग्रह पर ही किया है| और इसके बाद वे संक्षेप में अपना जीवन-वृत्त सुनाते हैं|

द्विवेदीजी के जीवन के रेखाचित्र से उनको जाननेवाले सुपरिचित हैं.| रेलवे की २०० रु. की अच्छी पगार वाली, आरामदेह नौकरी को स्वाभिमान में त्याग कर १९०३ में द्विवेदीजी ने ‘सरस्वती’ साहित्य-पत्रिका का सम्पादन-पद २५ रु. की तनखाह पर स्वीकार कर लिया था और १९२२ तक निष्ठापूर्वक अपने सम्पादन-कर्म में प्रवृत्त रहे | उनके मौलिक सृजन-लेखन और सम्पादन-कर्म का विस्तृत अनुशीलन शिवपूजन सहाय ने अपने कई लेखों-सम्पादकीय टिप्पणियों में किया है जिन्हें ‘शिवपूजन सहाय साहित्य-समग्र’ के विभिन्न प्रकाशित खण्डों में देखा जा सकता है| वहीं सहायजी को लिखे द्विवेदीजी के १६ पत्र भी पढ़े जा सकते हैं जिससे उन दोनों साहित्य-महारथियों के बीच की अंतरंगता का पता चलता है|

‘सरस्वती’ का सम्पादन प्रारम्भ करने के समय, १९०३ में, द्विवेदीजी की उम्र लगभग ४० साल की हो रही थी और उनका बहुत सारा सृजन-लेखन तब तक हो चुका था. उनका विस्तृत ज्ञानार्जन भी पर्याप्त परिपक्व हो चुका था | हिंदी और अंग्रेजी के अलावा  संस्कृत, फारसी, मराठी, गुजराती, बंगला आदि भाषाओँ पर भी उनका अधिकार हो गया था| वे लगभग अपने जीवन के मध्य-काल से गुज़र रहे थे| फिर आगे ‘सरस्वती’ के सम्पादन-क्रम में तो सम्पूर्ण हिंदी-जगत सहज ही उनके प्रभा-मंडल के अंतर्गत आ गया और हिंदी-नवजागरण का वह समय राष्ट्रीय-जागरण के समानांतर द्विवेदीजी के साहित्यिक-नेतृत्व में ऐसे उत्कर्ष को छूने लगा कि उस पूरे युग को जैसे हम राजनीति में गाँधी के नाम के साथ जोड़ते हैं वैसे ही उसे हम हिंदी साहित्य में ‘द्विवेदी-युग’ के नाम से जानने लगे हैं |
‘शिवपूजन सहाय साहित्य-समग्र’ के लेखों-संस्मरणों में द्विवेदीजी की कृतियों की एक पूर्ण तथा प्रामाणिक सूची छपी है जिनमें अधिकाँश कृतियाँ तो सुज्ञात हैं| साहित्य से इतर विषय पर उनकी मौलिक और बड़ी पुस्तक ‘सम्पत्तिशास्त्र’ है, और वह न तो अनुवाद है और न स्पष्टतः  किसी अन्य भाषा की किसी पुस्तक पर आधारित है| मौलिक लेखन और भी द्विवेदीजी ने पर्याप्त किया और अनुवाद कार्य भी प्रचुर मात्र में किया | लेकिन उस ज़माने में हिंदी का लेखक केवल पुस्तक-लेखन से जीविकोपार्जन नहीं कर सकता था और शायद आज भी नहीं कर सकता| प्रेमचंद इतने सफल लेखक थे फिर भी उनको बनारस में ‘सरस्वती’-प्रेस चलाना ही पड़ा था और फिर भी आर्थिक कठिनाईयां उनके जीवन में बनी ही रहीं| केवल साहित्य-सृजन से जीविकोपार्जन दुर्भाग्यवश आज भी संभव नहीं दीखता|

द्विवेदीजी के मित्रों ने उनसे कहा कि कुछ ऐसी चीज़ें लिखो – कामकला , रति-रहस्य, अनंग-रंग - जिनसे तुम्हे आर्थिक लाभ हो, द्रव्य-प्राप्ति हो| द्विवेदीजी ‘आत्मकथा’ में ही लिखते हैं -

बहुत दिनों तक चित्त चलायमान रहा| अंत में जीत मेरे मित्रों ही की रही|...कवि  तो मैं था ही, मैनें चार-चार चरण वाले लम्बे-लम्बे छंदों में एक पद्यात्मक पुस्तक लिख डाली – ऐसी पुस्तक जिसके प्रत्येक पद्य से रस की नदी नहीं तो बरसाती नाला ज़रूर बह रहा था|...मैं तीस-चालीस साल पहले की बात कह रहा हूँ| नाम भी मैंने ऐसा चुना...अपने बूढ़े मुहं के भीतर धसी हुई ज़बान से...उस नाम का उल्लेख करते मुझे बड़ी लज्जा मालूम होगी| पर पापों का प्रायश्चित्त करने के लिए...शुद्ध ह्रदय से उसका निर्देश करना ही होगा...उसका नाम था या है – सोहागरात| मेरे मित्रों ने इस पुस्तक को बहुत पसंद किया, उसे बहुत सरस पाया...मेरी पीठ खूब ठोंकी|...

लेकिन उस किताब को प्रकाशित कराने और उससे अपार धनराशि अर्जित करने का उनका  स्वप्न बेरहमी से छिन्न-भिन्न हो गया|

मेरे हवाई महल एक पल में ढह पड़े| मेरी पत्नी कुछ पढ़ी-लिखी थी|...उसने यह पुस्तक देख ली| देखा ही नहीं,उलट-पलट कर उसने पढ़ा भी| फिर क्या था उसके शरीर में कराला काली का आवेश हो आया|...उसने उन दोनों पुस्तकों की कापियों को आजन्म कारावास या काले पानी की सजा दे दी| वे उसके संदूक में बंद हो गयीं| उसके मरने पर ही उनका छुटकारा...हुआ| छूटने पर मैंने उन्हें एकांत-सेवन की आज्ञा दे दी है| क्योंकि सती की आज्ञा का उल्लंघन करने की शक्ति मुझमें नहीं|.
द्विवेदीजी ने अंततः ‘सती की आज्ञा’ का उल्लंघन नहीं किया| और आज भी उस ४९ छंदों वाली लम्बी कविता को प्रकाशित करना देवी की उसी आज्ञा का उल्लंघन करना होगा| लेकिन उसके स्वरुप की एक संक्षिप्त झलक आज उस कविता की रचना के लगभग ११२ वर्ष बाद हिंदी संसार के सम्मुख देखी जा सकती है| और उस कविता से इन पंक्तियों के लेखक का साक्षात्कार कैसे हुआ इसकी रोचक कथा पहली बार कही जा सकती है| मेरे पिता - जिन्हें भी ‘आचार्य’ की लोक-उपाधि सहज ही प्राप्त हुई थी और जिसके प्रति उनके मन में भी एक अनिच्छा बराबर रही – आचार्य शिवपूजन सहाय भी हिंदी के एक महत्वपूर्ण लेखक हुए जिन्होंने द्विवेदीजी के मार्ग पर चलते हुए हिंदी पत्रकारिता और सम्पादन-कला को बहुत समृद्धि प्रदान की| उनको लिखे द्विवेदीजी के और - जो बाद में ‘सरस्वती’ के संपादक हुए - श्री देवीदत्त शुक्ल के, पत्र स्वयं इसके प्रमाण हैं, क्योंकि शिवजी प्रारंभ से ही ‘सरस्वती’ में नियमित लिखते रहे जिसकी चर्चा उन दर्जनों पत्रों में है|

 द्विवेदीजी का पहला पत्र शिवजी के नाम से जुही (कानपुर) से लिखा १२.१२.१९१० का है| शिवपूजन सहाय तब आरा (बिहार) में स्कूली छात्र थे और साहित्य-लेखन में प्रवेश ही कर रहे थे| द्विवेदीजी से शिवजी का साहित्यिक संपर्क उन्हीं दिनों से बन गया जो अंत तक निभा| यह एक अलग प्रसंग है जिसकी चर्चा अन्यत्र होगी कि कैसे सबसे पहले शिवपूजन सहाय ने बनारस में ‘जागरण’ पत्रिका का संपादन करते हुए १९३२ में नागरी प्रचारिणी सभा को द्विवेदीजी के सम्मान में उनके सत्तरवें वर्ष-प्रवेश के अवसर पर उनको एक ‘अभिनन्दन ग्रन्थ’ भेंट करने का प्रस्ताव किया और फिर ३-४ महीने बनारस- इलाहाबाद आना-जाना करते हुए उस सुन्दर ग्रन्थ का संपादन किया| और फिर  उसके कुछ ही दिन बाद शिवजी पुस्तक भंडार की संपादन-सेवा में बनारस से दरभंगा चले गए जहाँ से भी उनकी सम्पादकीय देख-रेख में द्विवेदी जी की कई पुस्तकें प्रकाशित हुईं | वहीं रहते हुए शिवजी का संपर्क मिथिला के पं. जनार्दन झा ‘जनसीदन’ से हुआ जो द्विवेदीजी के पुराने अन्तरंग मित्र थे|

जनसीदनजी पूर्णियां (बिहार) के राजा कमलानंद सिंह के साहित्य-सचिव के रूप में कार्य-रत थे और उनके प्रयास से ही जब ‘सरस्वती’ की सदस्य-संख्या गिरने लगी थी और वह घाटे के कारण बंद होने की स्थिति में आ गयी थी तो राजा साहब ने अपने राज्य के अनेक स्कूलों आदि को उसका ग्राहक बना कर उसकी आर्थिक सहायता की थी| जनसीदनजी के ही प्रयास से द्विवेदीजी राजा साहब के घनिष्ठ संपर्क में आये थे, और राजा साहब ने द्विवेदीजी को अनेक प्रकार से आर्थिक सहायता देने का सफल प्रयास किया था| जनसीदनजी के द्विवेदीजी को लिखे पत्रों में इन बातों की चर्चा है| और वहीँ द्विवेदीजी की इस कविता ‘सोहागरात’ की भी चर्चा है| द्विवेदीजी ने मार्च, १९०३ के आस-पास वह कविता ‘राजा साहब को गुप्त रीति से भेजी थी’ लेकिन उससे आह्लादित होने के बजाय राजा साहब कुछ अप्रसन्न हो गए और द्विवेदीजी को एक कड़ी चिट्ठी भेज दी| जनसीदनजी ने लिखा है कि ‘वह कविता अभी तक अविकल रूप में मेरे पास सुरक्षित है’| मित्र-भाव से शिवजी ने उस कविता की एक नक़ल अपनी एक नोटबुक में रख ली थी जो उनके संग्रह में थी| वहीँ टिप्पणी में शिवजी ने लिखा –

ऊपर लिखी हुई कविता, जिसमें उनचास पद्य हैं, सरस्वती-संपादक आचार्य महावीर प्रसाद द्विवेदी की रचना है| इसे उन्होंने श्रीनगर (पूर्णिया) के राजा कमलानंद सिंह ‘साहित्यसरोज’ के पास भेजा था | दरबार के कवि और सभापंडित श्रीजनार्दन झा ‘जनसीदन’ ने कविता की नक़ल रख ली थी| उसी से मैनें नक़ल की है| जनसीदनजी  के सुपुत्र प्रो. हरिमोहन झा द्वारा वह पुरानी कापी मिली, जिसमें यह कविता कापी की गयी थी| -  शिवपूजन सहाय, पुस्तक-भण्डार (२८.६.४०)|

इस कविता की कहानी में एक और मोड़ तब आता है जब अगस्त, १९७३ में एक दिन – उन दिनों मैं मुंगेर (बिहार) में एक कॉलेज में अंग्रेजी का प्राध्यापक था – मैं अपने एक मित्र, जो मुंगेर में तब एस.डी.ओ. थे, उनके दफ्तर में बैठा था| अचानक मुस्कुराते हुए उन्होंने दराज से निकाल कर चुपचाप एक छोटी सी नोटबुक मुझे दी जिसमें एक अंग्रेजी कविता टाइप की हुई थी| शीर्षक था – Lord Byron’s “A Bride’s Confession”| घर आकर मैंने द्विवेदीजी वाली कविता की नक़ल से उस टाइप की हुई अंग्रेजी कविता को मिलाया तो स्पष्ट हो गया कि यही मूल कविता थी जिससे द्विवेदीजी ने यह अनुवाद किया था| फिर मैंने कॉलेज लाइब्रेरी से बायरन के Collected Poems  में उस अंग्रेजी कविता को ध्यान से खोजा, पर उसमे यह कविता नहीं थी| तब जनसीदनजी के सुपुत्र और मेरे शिक्षक प्रो.हरिमोहन झा जीवित थे| मैंने उनको पत्र लिखा और उन्होंने संपुष्टि की कि यह बायरन की कविता का ही अनुवाद है| इधर गूगल पर खोजने पर भी इसकी पुष्टि हो गयी| वहां The Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature Vol 3 में पे.२०६ पर बायरन की कविताओं में The Bride’s Confession’,  Paris, 1916 (Privately Printed) का स्पष्ट उल्लेख है| इस कविता की ४८ पृष्ठों की केवल ५०० प्रतियां ही छपी थीं जो अब अत्यंत दुर्लभ हैं| (यही कविता 'The Bridal Night' शीर्षक से भी  १९१६ में पेरिस से प्रकाशित हुई थी|)

अंग्रेजी मूल कविता ‘The Bride’s Confession’ में १२ अनुच्छेद हैं और कुल ३२६ पंक्तियाँ हैं| प्रत्येक अनुच्छेद में अलग-अलग संख्या में अंग्रेजी छंद के कुछ २-२ पंक्तियोंके सम-तुकांत  ‘कप्लेट’ या पद हैं| नमूने के तौर पर पहले अनुच्छेद के पहले कुछ ‘कप्लेट’ और तीसरे अनुच्छेद के कुछ ‘कप्लेट’ इस प्रकार हैं, और उनके नीचे उनका द्विवेदीजी का किया अनुवाद है|

Dear Bella,
When you parted you begged me to write
And to inform you of all that occurred the first night
When Frank and your Emma were joined hand to hand
And free to enjoy all that love can command…. (Part 1)

And now we are on the tip-toe of great expectation
To arrive at the peak of my tale’s consummation.
Well, attend, and I will draw the curtain aside
And reveal all the sports of a bridegroom and bride
Detailing the whole of the process of bewitching
By which the girls are cured of troublesome itching…(Part 3)

द्विवेदीजी ने इन पंक्तियों का अनुवाद ‘रोला’ छंद में इस प्रकार किया है –
बिदा हुई उस दिन मैं तुमसे जब हे कलावती प्यारी,
तुमने कहा, भेजना लिख कर बात प्रथम निशि की सारी|
वही आज यह सखी तिहारी लिखने को ललचाती है;
बार-बार आनंद-सिन्धु में गोते खूब लगाती है|...

मेरी रुचिर कथा सुनने को तुम भी अकुलाती होगी;
देरी देख-देखकर, मुझको दोषी ठहराती होगी |
इस कारण लज्जा का पर्दा अब मैं शीघ्र हटाती हूँ,
पति-पत्नी के प्रथम समागम की सब बात सुनाती हूँ|...    

द्विवेदीजी ने ३२६ पंक्तियों का अनुवाद ४-४ पंक्तियों के ४९ छंदों में, अर्थात १९६ पंक्तियों में किया है, जिससे कविता की लम्बाई लगभग आधी हो गयी है और उसका घनत्व बढ़ गया है| यह शायद उस देवी ‘सती की आज्ञा’ के अनुरूप ही है कि पूरी की पूरी दोनों ही (हिंदी और अंग्रेजी) कवितायेँ आज भी अनुपलब्ध ही हैं| और उसी देवी ‘सती’ की इच्छा के अनुकूल उन दोनों ही कविताओं का सार्वजनिक प्रकाशन आज भी प्रतिबंधित है| लेकिन द्विवेदीजी के उस ऐतिहासिक महत्त्व के काव्यानुवाद की पार्श्व-कथा से परिचय मात्र भी आज के लिए अत्यंत महत्वपूर्ण है| और यह जानकारी भी महत्वपूर्ण है कि सामाजिक नैतिकता और मानव जीवनादर्शों के कठोर प्रतिपोषक द्विवेदीजी ने – जिनकी अंग्रेजी रोमांटिक कवि बायरन से किसी अर्थ में तुलना नहीं की जा सकती – अपने जीवन के प्रारंभिक काल में मित्रों की सलाह पर काव्याभ्यास के रूप में एक ऐसी कविता का अंग्रेजी से हिंदी में अनुवाद करने का साहस दिखाया जिसके मूल अंग्रेजी-रूप की प्रामाणिकता पर आज भी सहज विश्वास करना कठिन लगता है | यह भी स्मरणीय है कि उसी लेख ‘आत्मकथा’ में द्विवेदीजी ने लिखा है –

झाँसी आने पर जब मैनें पंडितों की कृपा से, प्राकृत कवियों के काव्यों का अनुशीलन किया, तब मुझे (काव्य-रचना की) अपनी भूल मालूम हो गयी और छंदोबद्ध प्रलापों के जाल से मैंने सदा के लिए छुट्टी ले ली| पर गद्य में कुछ-न-कुछ लिखना जारी रक्खा | संस्कृत और अंग्रेजी पुस्तकों के कुछ अनुवाद भी मैंने किये|

स्पष्ट है कि इस रचना के पीछे मित्रों का प्रोत्साहन एवं काव्याभ्यास की दृष्टि से अनुवाद-कर्म, दोनों ही प्रेरक कारण रहे| राजा कमलानंद को इसकी गुप्त प्रति भेजने के पीछे एक विलास-प्रेमी राजा को प्रसन्न करने की मंशा ही रही होगी| साहित्य-प्रेमी राजा द्वारा इस रचना पर प्रतिकूल प्रतिक्रिया एवं पत्नी द्वारा ऐसे रचना-कर्म की निंदा द्विवेदीजी के लिए गहरे पश्चाताप का कारण बनी होंगी | साहित्य में मर्यादा एवं श्लीलता की लक्ष्मण-रेखा का असमंजसपूर्ण अतिक्रमण ही इस रचना के प्रतिबंधन और एक समर्पित साहित्य-सेवी के आजीवन संकोच का कारण बनी, और इस तरह एक महत्वपूर्ण रचना गुमनामी के बक्से में बंद पडी रह गयी|

प्रत्येक रचनाकार अपने प्रारंभिक रचना-कर्म में बहुविध अभ्यास के क्रम में बहुत सारा ऐसा उत्पाद तैयार करता है जो एक प्रकार से उसका आनुषांगिक उत्पाद होता है, और जो कभी प्रकाश में नहीं आ पाता है, अथवा बहुलांशतः तो रचनाकार द्वारा ही नष्ट कर दिया जाता है| लेकिन किसी रचनाकार के रचना-संसार का  उसकी समग्रता में अनुशीलन करने के लिए इस तरह की आनुषांगिक सामग्री का भी बहुत महत्व होता है, इसमें कोई संदेह नहीं किया जा सकता |

©  डा. मंगलमूर्ति
Mob. O7752922938  पर पढ़ें - सबद भेद: ‘द्विवेदी-अभिनन्दन-ग्रन्थ’: एक पूरक टिप्पणी|


श्रृंगार-रस की कविता
अनुवादक : शिवपूजन सहाय

[श्रृंगार-रस की यह कविता यहाँ पहली बार इस ब्लॉग पर प्रकाशित हो रही है| शिवजी की डायरियों और नोटबुकों में इस तरह की छिट-फुट रचनाएं मिलती हैं जो समय-समय पर लिखी गयीं और स्पष्ट कारणों से अब तक कहीं प्रकाशित नहीं हुई हैं| काव्याभ्यास अथवा मनोविनोद के लिए किसी व्याज से लिखित ऐसी रचनाओं का भी लेखक के सृजन-मनोविज्ञान को समझने के लिए अथवा उन विशिष्ट परिस्थितियों को जानने के लिए जिनमें ऐसी रचनाएं सृजित हुईं, अपना निश्चित महत्व है| कविता के नीचे शिवजी की पाद-टिप्पणी भी अंकित है| यहाँ कविता की छाया-प्रति प्रकाशित की जा रही है| (इंगित राजदरबारी कवि थे श्री गौरीनाथ झा जो ‘गंगा’ के सह-सम्पादक थे)
‘गंगा’-कार्यालय (सुल्तानगंज, भागलपुर) में रहते समय (१९३१ में) एक उच्च राजदरबारी की मैथिली कविता का हिंदी रूपांतर उन्हीं की आज्ञा से प्रस्तुत किया था| उनकी मूल कविता के सारे भाव इसमें आ गए हैं| उनको प्रसन्नता हुई| मुझे ग्लानि हुई| नौकरी में रहकर स्वाभिमान या स्वतंत्रता कहाँ?

[इस रचना का पूर्ण स्वत्त्वाधिकार ‘आचार्य शिवपूजन सहाय स्मारक न्यास’ में सुरक्षित है और इसका किसी भी रूप में अन्यत्र प्रकाशन पूर्णतः वर्जित है|]