Triveni Journal

1927 | 11,233,916 words

Triveni is a journal dedicated to ancient Indian culture, history, philosophy, art, spirituality, music and all sorts of literature. Triveni was founded at Madras in 1927 and since that time various authors have donated their creativity in the form of articles, covering many aspects of public life....

Books and Authors

Dr. D. Anjaneyulu

By the time these words appear in print, the country would have elected a new President. The outcome of this election was treated only as a foregone conclusion. Then, what exactly was notable about it? It was being mentioned in many quarters that India would be having a Dalit as its President for the first time. Not a Dalit woman though, as envisaged by Mahatma Gandhi, accepted as the Father of the Nation.

This kind of compliment or comment does inadequate justice to the incoming Head of the State. Mr. K. R. Narayanan deserves to Be the First citizen on the strength of his intrinsic merits, unrelated to the accident of his birth. To him go the best wishes of all his countrymen. Earlier, we had Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, who takes pride of place among the founding fathers of the Constitution, a social thinker of great significance. His thoughts on all aspects of Indian society remain as stimulating today as they were when first made six to seven decades ago.

If the Dalits are seen to be at the crossroads of history, it cannot justly be held against their great leader. It can only be a measure of the weight of the deadwood of tradition and the power of obscurantist vested interests in Indian Society.

It is to the credit of Dr. A. Padmanaban, who had come up the hard way in the official hierarchy and since chosen to be a social activist, that he has not only grasped the message of Dr. Ambedkar in its entirety but has been striving to keep it alive. In his book on “Dalits at the Crossroads” (Poompuhar Pathippagam, 63, Prakasam Road (Broadway), Madras - 600 108), he presents their struggle past and present, in the light of that message.

He says:

“Dr. Ambedkar’s ideal of a Hindu society without caste and untouchability has not been achieved so far. Religion and Caste continue to play havoc in the minds of the masses in villages. The struggle of the untouchables continues in the drop of Dr. Ambedkar’s lasting and lustrous legacy which he has left to his followers and Countrymen”.

In the 21 compact chapters of this book, Dr. Padmanaban discusses a wide variety of subjects, covering all aspects of the Dalits and their problems. They range from Enumeration in the 1911 census, reservation in services and provisions in the constitution, basic differences in approach between Gandhi and Ambedkar, Dalit Christians, Civil rights, the emergency of Mayavati as Chief Minister of U.P. up to an Agenda for Action. The Agenda emphasises the need for effectively implementing the items already provided for in the constitution.

The author reminds the SCs and STs about the urgent duty of the community to “Educate, Organise and Agitate”, as exhorted in Dr. Ambedkar’s motto. It is also important that the educated men and women of the community espouse the cause of their less fortunate brethren and help them in all possible ways. He regrets that in spite of good intentions and good schemes, the lot of these people has not improved in the fifty years since Independence.

There are a number of useful annexures at the end of the book, giving details of the Supreme Court judgment in a case relating to the Mandal Commission Report; the three communal G.O.s; the number of cases of crime against the S.C’s; and a State-wise list of the number of seats reserved for S.C’s and. S.T’s in the Parliament and the State Assemblies.

Those who invoke the name of Gandhi in season out of season nowadays would have everyone believe that he had solved the problem of Muslims as well as that of Harijans. The leader who protested: “Pakistan over my dead body”, was fated to see its emergence in his life time, while its consequences are being faced by those who are alive today in this country.

It is worth asking ourselves now: Was Pakistan part of an inevitable historical process or the end product of an inflated ego struggling to find expression in an inflammatory atmosphere. Prior to 1940, few would take the slogan of Pakistan seriously. Not even Jinnah, perhaps. After 1945, few could remain unmoved at the disturbing prospect. Neither Punjab nor Bengal were amenable to Jinnah’s dictates until 1943-44.

Punjab was then under the control of the unionist party, a secular organisations of agriculturists founded by Sir Fazl-i-Hussain and led later by Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan, Sir Chhotu Ram and Malik Khirr Hayat Khan Tiwana. Jinnah, as the hot gospeller of the Pakistan formula was kept at bay in Punjab until 1944, when Chhotu Ram died. Mr. Madan Gopal, in his biography (Sir Chhotu Ram - the Man and the Vision, Bhagirath Sewa Sansthan, Ghaziabad - 201 001) feels that Chhotu Ram had lived another three or four years, there would possibly have been no partition of the Country.

It was only after his death that the Unionist party succumbed to Jinnah’s onslaught of contrived fundamentalism, leading to separation. Then as now, Punjab (or West Punjab) formed the hard core of Pakistan. It was the party’s stronghold. The grip on it of Chhotu Ram was so firm that Jinnah was literally made to flee from it in 1944. Chhotu Ram vehemently opposed communalism and was able to carry his colleagues with him.
In this biography, which is informative and readable, the author, who knows Punjab like the palm of his right hand, presents a vivid and lucid portrait of a strong and straight forward man, who shaped the destinies of that province for many years, before Independence. He cherishes his image as a man of personal integrity and political sagacity. Rather a rare combination nowadays.

There are stereotyped views, accepted with no questions, in the appreciation of literature, no less than in the understanding of politics. In Telugu literature, in particular. One of them is the grudging place given to literacy criticism, well below almost all the other branches of writing. To some extent, C.R. Reddy was able to assert the value of criticism, in his ‘Kavitvatattva Vichaaramu’ (an Enquiry into the nature of Poesy) written about a century ago. Not that there had been no competent critics thereafter. But their influence was not adequate or effective.

In more recent times, Dr. G. V. Subrahmanyam has been striving his utmost, by precept and by example, to demonstrate the importance of literary criticism in Telugu. During the last nearly forty years, first as Lecturer and then Reader, at Osmania and later as Professor at Hyderabad (Central) University, he had covered a wide variety of aspects of literary criticism in Telugu. Recognition had come to him in ample measure in the shape of awards and honours, culminating in the award by the (Central) Sahitya Akademi in 1986, for his book, ‘Andhra Sahitya Vimarsa - Angla Prabhavamu’ (i.e. The Influence of English on literary criticism in Telugu).

The souvenir volume, Chandana (literally ‘Sandal Paste’) presented to him recently on his completion of 60 years (GVS Kala Peetani, Nallakunta, Hyderabad - 500044, A.P.), contains a wealth of material, both in Telugu and in English. The Telugu section comprises mostly tributes and appreciations by his teachers, friends, colleagues, former students and other well-wishers. The English section presents his own articles, papers and speeches on subject close to his heart, like the identification of an intrinsic principle of evolution in literary history, influence of Jaina puranas, on ‘Basava Purana’, Research in Telugu, Poet Srinatha, among other things.

It is amusing but paradoxical to find that half-a-century after the English had left, more people speak and write in English than ever before. Many write in verse too, unmindful of the unsolicited discouragement and disapproval. But the more sophisticated and successful of them choose to be modishly obscure with no provocation and puzzling with no profundity. Luckily, we still have quite a few who prefer to be sincere and spontaneous.

Dr. L. H. Rizvi is one of them. With six collections of verse to his credit, he has come to be identified as a poet of love, of humanity and of social consciousness, without going far away from the Indian ethos. He is an impenitent Romantic, in whom are blended the Keatsian element of sweet sorrow and the Shelleyan mood of thoughtful dejection. Most of his poems are marked by a depth of sensibility, as could be seen in the present collection, ‘Gathering Broken Glasses’ (Prakash Book Depot, Bara Bazar Bareilly - (UP) - 243 003’ Rs. 75/-).

Typical of this is the title piece, which reads:

“The glass pieces are lying on the ground
in the dark on a lonely path.
Rays of red, blue and yellow hues
try to shoot out of the pieces ­
Do not pick them up, please;
they may pinch your fingers
and if even one drop of blood
comes out of your tender fingers
my heart will start bleeding again”.

These from the poem, ‘In Vain’:
“I sigh for the faded blooms
which dry and twist and fall.

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