31st August 2008: A day in pre-Delhi Capital of British India: Kolkata
Mithila samad, Koshi, NMO
There was a furor on Rajiv Gandhi’s statement that Kolkata was a dying city tough still sign of regeneration in Kolkata is not fast visible and like others I again found beggars on the street and the man –pulled rickshaw which attracted Domnique to put that as an nsignia of the town he cherished as ,’The City of Joy,’ which is still if not cultural capital of India as remarked by Ashok Jha, president of the Mithila Vikash Parishad, Kolkata while delivering his long address on the release of only Maihtili daily, Mthila Samad , in the historic Mahajati Sadan which Gurudeo Rabindranath Thakur had dreamt to be a hall where many jatis(rastras ) will meet as rightly said by Tapas , ex MLA of the Trinamool Congress.
For me the most important piece from the Sadan where I had onced listened to Advani and Rajnath Singh was not merely the relase of the Maithili premiere but while coming out almost unnoticed to catch my train was the gallery which had portraits of the great martyrs in which one of the medical student , Binoy of BBD(Binoy Badal Dinesh on which the Dalhousie was renamed) on whom I had once written in the Aayurvigyan Pragati attracted me
Benoy Krishna Bose( 11.9.1908 -self immolation 13.12.1930)
Badal Gupta (1912--self immolation 8.12.1930)
Dinesh Gupta( 6.12.1911-hanged 7.7.1936)
Khudiram Bose( 3.12.1989- hanged 11.8.1908)
And there were many more Shahids portraits which was asking me to pay my attention despite my train was about :
Prafulla Chaki(10.12.1880-self immolation 1.5.1908)
Matangini Hazra(though not mentioned probably Bagnla 1277 saal- shot dead 19.4.1942)
Pritilata Ohededar(5.5.1911- self immolation 24.3.1932)
Subasher Mitra( 15.5.1900-10.9.1931)
Manoranjan Sen( hanged 22.11.1915)
Chittaranjan banerjee( 3.12.1919- hanged 27.9.1943)
Man Kumar Basu Thakur(28.6.1920- 22.9.1943)
Prasanna Majumdar ( 19.5.1892-15.6.1918)
Jatindra Nath Mukherjee(8.12.1887- shot dead 10.5.1915)
Kanhai Lal Dutta(10.9.1847-10.11.1908)
Jatin Das( 1900- who died after 63 days hunger strike on 13.2.1929).
It seems some of the dates I noted in haste are ineligible.
There were many portrait on the top galleries which I could not read though saw.
There was a small gallery depicting Indian Independence Movement from 1857 onwards.
While I was writing the above on a note some of the eminent Maithils crossed me, one story writer Anmol who had met at Ranchi some months back and then I came out with Satyanand Pathak, Guwahati editor, Hindi daily Purvoday and Maithili quarterly, Purvottar Maithil whom at the first glance I had not recognized in the hall. I was happy that he was reactive after bereavement of his wife who was a lovely face of Guwahati meet I had attended some years back. Pathakji was unaware that I was back to Ranchi from Bangalore. While coming to road, a call from delhi by BK Jha for providing food to flood victims coming by free relief train from Saharsa. I requested him to contact AMP, G.Secy. Kripananad Jha who had that morning contacted me after consulting Prof. Gaurishankar Jha for a relief camp by the AMP. I had told him that by then money was pouring and as happened in all previous calamities, mismanagement because of nil infrastructure for the calamities will come on the surface with scams making holes by two legged rats.
When I was young I had participated in many relief camps from Andhra cyclone to floods in Mihtils and had sent teams to MIC Bhopal tragedy to Gujarat quakes but probably I am not having my ageing effect and so want to take a smoother route. Still when this morning I had a call from Pawan Jha of Jamshedpur to contact Gopi Raman Chaudhary , I tried to contact first Forbesganj which had flood waters as my sister was informed from my young brother at Mumbai, however, I could not get Prof. Das at Forbesganj or Dr. L. Jha, Saharsa, Bhuvan Chaudhary, Khagaria or Prof. Gaurishankar Jha, Purnea. The bell in the telephome exchange was ringing in my mobile but by then Bhuvan Chaudhary rang back and I could confirm that water has entered in the low lying area of Purnea, Forbesganj, and Saharsa; Madhepura has deep water; Khagaria’s Beldaur-Choutham is flooded.
He was of the opinion that the flood effect will last long and hence, we decided that during Oct.3-5 he will accompany me to Purnea- Madhepura- Arariya- Forbesganj- Supaul and before I reach Jaynagar to commence cycle yatra a bit late curtailing the routes would it be possible to go via Bhardah/ Biratnagar to Sirha- Marari reaching Jaynagar?
We, are not whole timers and we have constraints of leaves and hence through Maithili Workers training Camp we intend to have some part/whole timers who can be posted priority wise at Khagaria(for Samastipur-Munger- Bhagalpur); Saharsa(for Saharsa division); Purnea(for Purnea division); Muzaffarpur(Tirhut division); Jaynagar(Darbhanga- Madhubani and adjoining Terai).
I mentioned industrialist Kamdeo Jha to sponsor such workers though I could not tell him my dream to have a Medical College in Mithila for many more such big personalities will be required. Kamdeo Jha listened to me sympathetically and also gave number to contact his village manager for meeting there during cycle Yatra.
We need many more workers as floods will come again and again and so many problems of Mithila which has population of 4-5 crore, bigger than many states of India.
Surprisingly the Mithila Samad releasing ceremony had a remark by a Bakshi, leader of the TMC that Mithila deserved Statehood which Ashok Jha in his long list of achievements and promises did not mention (and probably anticipating that I may echo the slogan of Mithila was not invited on the dais?- anyway there was hardly time after long speeches and audience assembled for watching cultural fete which though was untimely when eastern Mithila was ravaged by floods I commented Dr. Vidya Nath Jha Vidit that some Bengali artists would have been welcomed but not almost all presentation in dances.
Not that those were not good but because I feel Mithila’s vacant space was being utilized by others not merely in the fields of arts and culture also in the journalism too like the Mithila Samad was from a group owned by a Knaykubja Brahmin from UP , Shri Vajpayee who was given traditional Maithili honour on the dais. In contrast it was a matter of self inspection that a legendary maithil Prakash Jha opted for a non- Maithili channel and so Maithil singer Udit Narayan or lady singer from Madhepura (I have certainly a memory block naming that famous singer) chose Bhojpuri songs for their creer growth. Whether such all had a feeling Yatri had when he had to write in Hindi as Nagarjuna for his self- sustenance!
Rightly an ex- MLA, commented 4 crores of Maihtils should have it long back!
Not that attempts were done- late Surendra Jha’ Suman’ tried his best for publishing Swadesh and then of Mithila Mihir but they were aborted like most of the Maithili journals starting from Mithila Hit Sadhan of Jaypur in 1905.
This morning I read in the Prabhat Khabar’s Surendra pathak’s comment on Mithila samad’s release who had cautioned for internal differences and non-purchasing habits of books and periodicals among Maithils which should be seen with some grave warnings by Sri Nebar and others from the dais for difficulties in continuation of a paper . Yet , the city which had given birth to Hindi’s first newspaper, Udit Martand will it be long lived Maithila Samad is in every one’s mind. No doubt, it needs some dedicated and obstinate persons like Ashok Jha but it needs even him to forget he had done it even if he would be forgotten like me in many spheres of my life.
My firm view is that till Govt. support as advertisement is available dailies would not run though I wish Mithila Samad to run (and to help getting Mithila superscripted to its name of Samad or news in English).
Though Vidit ji mentioned my name from the dais many persons were serching me and I could meet some like Manish of Raipur.
I could see, Rajnanadn Lal Das, a veteran Maithili journalist who has a track record of continued publication of Karnamrit and had attended I International Maithili Conference in 1993 tghough could not recognize him and like wise one of the person, Bishnudeo Mishra in his home at Sugauna in Madhubani district I had a night stay in 1994. People think I have an amazing memory but recalling someone after 14 years is not humanly possible always though once I had recollected a person, Vijay Singh of village Jhanjhari after 29 years in a distant place, Madhubani where I had stayed with him at his sister’s sasur. Was it die to sonorous word Jhanjhari!
There was a dance demonstration on jhijhia like domkach etc. as well as Mithila’s marriaqge system done well by Bengali artists.
A time will come when others will emulate us and our children will prefer otherwise!
I could also not recognize Vinay Pratihast whose daugheters presented sonorous Maithili songs and one of her song was very much challenging to Maithils which was taken note by one of the political Bengali leaders’ speech following much later in series . Vinayji was of my ex- sasur(I was married to a Kolkatia aam, born and brought up in the vicinity of that Chitpur though it was too sweet to assume souness that we could not be gulped by each other for long! Her gradfather was teaching in a school, in the same area).
Though media person, Mamta Choudhary with her friend had tried to contact me for an interview in the Dharmshala and when I had asked for a minute time to take my shirt on banyan in formality, they did not wait. Media persons are always prime time but it was delighting to answer a pertinent question from an old Maithil and writer Susil Jha of Bajbaz, said to be the greatest store of oil in Kolkata,”While other languages of the country might have downfall after an up-rise why not any up-rise of our Maithili?”
He asked me because of his thinking that I was the most known Maithili organizer(and Maithili representative in Sahitya Akademy, Viditji had told Tarakantji, the editor of Mithila Samad,for me, only second to Dr. Lakshan Jha!) though I know that I am not that in the matters of scholarship or work and many more would have been higher place than me. I answered the question:
“40-50 million people do not as a whole even know that Maihtili is thjeir mother tongue.
Mithila, Maithili, Maithils are three different though related terms.
Migrant Maithils in MP, Chhattisgarh, Bengal, Braj areas call themselves Maithil but do not speak Maithili.
Downsouth Ganga, though calling themselves Maithils, they speak Maithili’s dialect but call Angika.
In Mitila politicians have been against Maithili as majority of the oppressed people were anti-Maharaja who incidentally being Maihtil Brahmnis the target became his language though only such oppressed majority speak Maithili, not the elite who have changed to Hindi and Hinglish.
It is all because we do not have a Mithila state which can sponsor its language.
Union of India has Maithili its language in Schedule but State of Bihar or Jharkhand does not recognize Maithili as State language.
99 per cent of Maithili organization has doors opened for all Maithils but 99 per cent of workers are from Brahmins(add to some extent Karn Kayasthas) and therefore the language of crores has leadership in some families of (Kaulik than kotik). And hence, no propagation of literature which is of literates and scholars and even otherwise Mithila has more illiterates than literates!
He said that Maithili is being used by some persons for going to Patna and Delhi to which I opposed that for this it is a weak path. For it persons should join Mayawati or Ramvilas or even Lalu thugh it was true that Lalu lost due to slide shifting of votes-
Saharsa commissionaryme ekhu lalten nahee jarlay was reported to me by Dr. LN Jha AMP, Patron there (though Darbhanga returned some MLAs)
There were many talks related to his son’s marriage which I after giving him some information said that due to one caste- dominance such meetings become venue for such social exchanges!
I had reached Dharmshala where I saw Vidit ji with Dr. Majar Suleman and Amarnath Jha from Darbhanga. It took me time to cojmprehend Amarnathji’s name whom I had met only few months back also but recognized Suleman at once; he is a rare Maithili commodity!
I was late because I did not see Viditji on Howrah station –my coach had been reversed to back at Muri in night and had gone to Kalighat to sister’s sasur where her father in law had forced me for many to big two size sandesh sweets ( after 2 rosugulla, 2 sandesh and sweet curd). I had not even washed my teeth and no puja but to get out of his house taking sweets was necessary.
I walked down to Dr. Sujit Dhar’s house where his Mrs. Talked to me in some neutral way. Dr. Satish Midha had also stayed to his house and he must have told her against me that I disobeyed RSS.
I tried to remove her misconception that the NMO was founded was some great person no more(I feel she was Dr.Abaji Thatte in her mind!).
The fact is that I had any such organization in my mind while I had been to jails in anti-capitation fee agitation of medicos in 1977 and on the suggestion of Govindacharya , I had gone to Varansi where I could gather some 40 medicos when NMO was found and Ma. Abaji came in 1988 first time at Bhagalpur’s NMO Conference though he always promoted NMO work. Dr. Sujit Dhar came first in 1987 at our Jamshedpur conference and there I even consulting many announced his name as the President.
So, NMO was founded by us and we asked help from the RSS which its members gave.
Now Dr. Sujit is seriously ill and was sleeping and hence I could not meet her but probably it was last visit to that house also where my marriage was also settled.
I know I am not in the habit of telling,”I did this/that,” and it was taken as a point for newcomers otherwise and some old who knew the facts meshed things to their benefit.
It was however, difficult to accept for me the assimilation of the NMO in Aarogya Bharati as well as to forget the role of non-RSS people( like Dr. BN Das Gupta) who nutured NMO thinking its indepedent/ autonomous status.
The truth is that the NMO was nurtured by most of the RSS workers but it was for all medicos who had nationalistic views and hence I was made an scapegoat which happily I accepted and we are pursuing to the right path without any compromise with national ethos.
I saw the Ttopical school and the Indian Institute of Public Health in the way again which I had seen first with Dr.Lalji Tiwary.
Calculating the high calories of sweets and being in no mood to go down in the humid climate of Kolkata where in the famous frit market though not a single fly it had a stinking path with many loaded and unloaded buses, I preferred not take food after doing Puja rather took a big guava and two small coconut laddos and two puris put as Prasad by Viditji. Shri Tulananad Mishra the senior Maithili writer whom I had met to take guidance when I had entered Maithili work in 1992 and who had correctd my manuscript of Maithili Gita, gave some dried chura made in Nadia which he had purchased while coming from Bokaro via Taraperth of Bengal. It was too salty and I took only some and drank water brought by Nabendu son of my great friend late Chadraknt Jha, Station manager of Ranchi Railway Station.
Dr. Hridesh saha phoned me in the evening but I had no time to meet him. I asked him to join NMO’s Bhopal Conference.
After talking to Satyanand Pathak, who was also in view that with better time management many scholars available from different parts of countries would have made better impact for strengthening Maithili Samad .
I took a bus to Howrah with one Maihtil Kaushal Kishore Jha of Durgauli village,near which I had passed in way to Mapaur and Tyotha while on pad yatra in 1992.He had to take a local train to Belur.
After seeing him off I saw there were few minutes and I went out to take four littis and came to PF-23 . My berth was confirmed and I took littis, had introduction with a young boy Tiwary who was working for the Cholamandalam Bank at Ranchi. I told him about Chola, Pallawans, Pandyans and Cheran of South, took two gulps of water from hjis bottle and slept informing my sister that I was in train from the pre-Delhi Capital of British India which has always attracting me since 1977 when I crossed through in way to cyclone ravaged Andhra(and I was trapped in the lift there while using for the first time in SE Railway’s Strand Road Office!). My area was ravaged today by Koshi Mai though Mithila Samad had first editorial and many photos on that we Maithils there could not deliberate out of organizational priorities of the organizers. Though it was not like ”When Rome was burning Nero was playing his flutes,” we lost a time in deed in some way or other .