ON PASH -the Rebel Poet

 

The above link contains a beautiful rendition of “Sabse Khatarnak” ,written by Avataar Singh Sandhu,aka Pash.

JNU is in news again,and as expected for  all kinds of wrong reasons .Sometimes for celebrating the slaying of Indian jawans in Dantewada, at other times for welcoming YasinMalik and showing black flags to Omar Abdullah, or the then incumbent PM,Manmohan Singh,and many a times for raising the Tukde-tukde slogans and furthering the separatists’ agenda of Kashmiris .  Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhatt are their heroes ,and Modi is their pet hate – JNUites surely know how to stay relevant !
AT one point in time, while persuing graduation in mechanical  engineering from ITBHU, I often wished I was rather a part of the fabled liberated, intellectual environs of the JNU . Unfortunately,that dream was never to be realized,but  I had the good fortune to make acquaintance and become close friends with many JNUites . Years later,when I reflect upon my association with the institution,howsoever,cursory and shallow , I cant help reminiscing about some revolutionary poets,who names and gradually works  I picked up on recommendation of some of my friends. Noteworthy among them being- Baba Nagarjuna, Sarveshwar Dayal Saxena, Pash ,Gorakh Pandey and Naamvar Singh.

pash
The works of Pash ,and in particular ,his signature  poem,Sabse Kharatnak just blew me off.His rebellious streak, Naxal leanings and subsequent assassination by Khalistanis are stuff of legends . In this particular poem, Pash raises the most  basic of existential  queries ,”What is it that is the most dangerous ?”. He then goes on to offer,dissect and discard a myriad of answers,until he settles on the most humdrum of them all-the routine of daily life.
This poem is a scathing attack on the routine life of an ordinary man who has no time to pause,reflect and enjoy himself  or persue his dreams.He has acquiesced in his own exploitation and leads a life full of drudgery and bereft of meaning. This is a universal conundrum.Anyone living his life as per the set pieces is going through it- be it an industrialist,a poor farmer,a landless labourer or an office clerk.
Pash had no tolerance for corruption , was disgusted with police atrocities and raised his cry against  the fist of oppression that subjugated  the impoverished,but he did not consider  them as the worst signals of individual ,as well as societal decay.  He conceded it was disasterous  to be charged with an offence that  one didn’t commit ,or to offer oneself willingly as  cannon –fodder in the machinery of systematic oppression, but worse could happen .

“मेहनत की लूट सबसे ख़तरनाक नहीं होती
पुलिस की मार सबसे ख़तरनाक नहीं होती
ग़द्दारी और लोभ की मुट्ठी सबसे ख़तरनाक नहीं होती
बैठे-बिठाए पकड़े जाना बुरा तो है
सहमी-सी चुप में जकड़े जाना बुरा तो है
सबसे ख़तरनाक नहीं होता ”

 

Pash laments the corpse-like placidity that envelopes the populace. It is a most dangerous situation when populations  hear nothing,bear everything and begin to cower before the powers without a whimper of protest.

What is that existence when all one cares about between  waking up and lying down is work ? What is that life which counts hours till you sleep,days till your get paid and years till you get superannuated ? A man without any entertainment,vices,hobbies and most importantly ,plans and dreams,is hardly alive.
That beautiful  watch which graces your wrists ,which you assume must always run in time  ,yet fails to  bother you if it is not ,is the most dangerous symptom of your decay.
” सबसे ख़तरनाक होता है मुर्दा शांति से भर जाना
तड़प का न होना
सब कुछ सहन कर जाना
घर से निकलना काम पर
और काम से लौटकर घर आना
सबसे ख़तरनाक होता है
हमारे सपनों का मर जाना
सबसे ख़तरनाक वो घड़ी होती है
आपकी कलाई पर चलती हुई भी जो
आपकी नज़र में रुकी होती है ”

The capitulation of masses before  relentless forces  of exploitation hurts Pash .The failure of humanity ,a life devoid of romance and  death of his dreams sadden Pash.

The poem is potent enough to wake any sleeping elephant. It is bitter enough to make one  taste quinine on one’s tongue. It is depressing enough to goad a thinking man into action.

This is also a sad commentary on the state of JNU. What should have been a citadel of Left,and ideological purity has sadly been hijacked by wannabe politicians.Some ride the wave of populism,and indulge in substandard rhetoric.Others use the platform to peddle hate against India and promote the agenda of Kashmiri separatism.Almost everyone wants to ride the horse of pseudosecularism and gallop to fame.

Whither is gone the Left ?

Why have the heroes like Bhagat Singh,Pash and Gorakh Pandey been forgotten ?

The aggressive Right wing is as guilty as the SFI and AISA in ruining the reputation of JNU. Is there a way back,or has the bus travelled too far already ?

 

This is  the whole text of the poem  …

सबसे ख़तरनाक नहीं होता

सबसे ख़तरनाक होता है मुर्दा शांति से भर जाना
तड़प का न होना
सब कुछ सहन कर जाना
घर से निकलना काम पर
और काम से लौटकर घर आना
सबसे ख़तरनाक होता है
हमारे सपनों का मर जाना
सबसे ख़तरनाक वो घड़ी होती है
आपकी कलाई पर चलती हुई भी जो
आपकी नज़र में रुकी होती है

सबसे ख़तरनाक वो आंख होती है
जिसकी नज़र दुनिया को मोहब्‍बत से चूमना भूल जाती है
और जो एक घटिया दोहराव के क्रम में खो जाती है
सबसे ख़तरनाक वो गीत होता है
जो मरसिए की तरह पढ़ा जाता है
आतंकित लोगों के दरवाज़ों पर
गुंडों की तरह अकड़ता है
सबसे ख़तरनाक वो चांद होता है
जो हर हत्‍याकांड के बाद
वीरान हुए आंगन में चढ़ता है
लेकिन आपकी आंखों में
मिर्चों की तरह नहीं पड़ता

सबसे ख़तरनाक वो दिशा होती है
जिसमें आत्‍मा का सूरज डूब जाए
और जिसकी मुर्दा धूप का कोई टुकड़ा
आपके जिस्‍म के पूरब में चुभ जाए

मेहनत की लूट सबसे ख़तरनाक नहीं होती
पुलिस की मार सबसे ख़तरनाक नहीं होती
ग़द्दारी और लोभ की मुट्ठी सबसे ख़तरनाक नहीं होती ।

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s