Posts Tagged ‘marathi’

The Victim – a short story by Avinash Dolas

November 17, 2018

Avinash Dolas was a thinker and activist of Dalit Buddhist Movement in Maharashtra. He was also a prolific writer of fiction and non-fiction related to the movement.

Here is one of his stories The Victim translated into English and published in Indian Literature, a journal by Sahitya Akademi, in its March-April 1985 issue.

For reading convenience, I converted the story into an ebook that can be downloaded freely from here: epub mobi PDF

The Victim by Avinash Dolas

IT is the fifth day today. I have developed an unbearable backache because of continuous attendance at the bedside of my mother. Our eyes that streamed with tears on the first day have gone dry now. It has been indeed beyond our forbearance to see her writhe in pain. For the past five days in succession we have been awaiting her last moment from dawn to dusk. Her piteous groaning today does not move us as we have grown immune to pain and emotion. She tries to move her tongue over her dry lips intermittently, indicating the dryness in her mouth. She can just suck a small quantity of water that is fed into her mouth. And like a lump of flesh she is lying motionless on the ground. Men and women attending on her have no other work than merely sit by her side. Tired of this monotonous duty, Bahi sits whiling away his time with a bidi in his mouth outside the hut. Meanwhile, one or two villagers casually drop in at the hut to see what stage the ailing mother has reached and they go back thinking that they have to wait for some more time before the inevitable happens. And nothing more!

To mother, Sumi is the dearest of all her children. On the first day, Sumi wept and wailed aloud. She did not take her food and vowed not to touch it unless mother took it. But all that was in vain as none cared to persuade her to take food, nor was anyone in a mood to do so. Sumi wept and wept till she fell exhausted and lay down on the ground beside mother. Father, who rivetted himself at her feet, saw her piteously writhe and groan. Whenever he felt drowsy, he just lit a bidi and exhaled smoke through his nostrils to keep himself awake. Last night we neither ate nor slept. Now everyone is awaiting mother’s last moment.

All this physical strain and mental fatigue have rendered me unfit to sit beside mother any longer. Mother’s room has gone damp and is stinking with the stench of her half-burnt body. Except for a torn dhoti of father, there is no cover over her ailing body. She cannot bear even the light weight of a blanket or a quilt as her skin has become highly sensitive to any covering. Whenever some covering is spread over her body, it extracts a lump of burnt flesh. She makes only a slow movement of her neck and legs. Otherwise she is as good as dead.

Like earthworms writhing in mud, our innards have now started convulsing with hunger. For the past five days, our hearth has been cold. Nevertheless, we could get a few cups of tea offered by our neighbours. That’s all. Nothing else to eat or drink. For the last couple of days, Sumi is sitting outside and Bahi is trying to quench the fire of his hunger with the smoke of the bidis. Now he is unable to bear the smell of mother’s body. Actually, he is trying to swallow open air under the excuse of smoking bidis. Everyone is dying of hunger.

Once, seeing mother try to move her legs, I went near her and saw that there was little trace of skin on her legs. It was all half-burnt pulp of flesh with flies hovering over it. Father came near her and I moved away a bit to the back as I could not face him. My eyes had lost their retentive power and were too weak to see anything. All the while, my conscience pricked me as mother was confined to deathbed mainly on my account. My heart was torn like a worn-out cloth.

As we could not send word to uncle and aunt, we felt guilty over it. The guilt was all the more as we could not send a message to Shanta at a time when mother was counting her last moments. Even the village dogs have gone dumb ever since the horrible incident took place five days back. Further, as we could not remove ailing mother to the hospital for treatment, it has been pricking our conscience all the more. At the time of the incident, her body, swallowed by flames, was actually dragged out of the hut. However, the residue of the gutted hut was thrown away into the river by Yesaji, the village chairman. We appealed to the villagers, prayed to them, prostrated at their feet, but they did not show even an iota of mercy on us. They burnt up mother and hut and all our belongings.

As a result of this, the rebel in us is also turned to ashes. We are all burning with anger, but are weak, meek and helpless. We are lifeless skeletons. Every day, the State Transport bus passes our village several times. Hundreds of villagers come and go, but none opens his mouth to talk of the dreadful incident. Everyone was to witness to the tragedy, but none cares to make a courtesy call on us. None wants to speak out the fact that our mother sustained burns and our hut was set on fire.

One day, remembering Shanta, accompanied by Kachru Baba, I myself approached Baburao, the foul-mouthed village boss. Kachru Baba imploringly appealed to him:

“Sirkar, now everything is over. Let Shanta see the face of her ailing mother at least in the last moment of her life.”

“Kachrya!” the boss roared.

“Yes, Sirkar,” said Kachru.

“Don’t you know what I told your father?”

“I quite know IL But, Sirkar…”

“Shut up. Don’t utter a word more.”

“No, Sirkar. Please be kind enough to allow Shanta to see her mother.”

“No, not at all. They have eaten dung. They have trespassed on our status and power. Let them go to the dogs.”

“Let me apologise for their offence, Sirkar.”

“You people wanted to call the police. Didn’t you?”

“Kindly forget it and forgive us, Sirkar!”

“Nothing doing! It is no loss if one Mahar woman died?”

On hearing this, we were crestfallen and returned home dumbfounded. Here at home all are impatiently waiting for mother’s last moment. Everyone wants her to breathe her last. If she does not die now, all will go mad. The watering-place will be forgotten within a short time. Henceforth there will be no resentment on that account. The rebel in me will die a premature death. It was mother who led the agitation for drawing water from the Panchayat well and setting the watering-place there. Father, being a damper, was of no use then as now. As he wants to befriend all, he never opens his mouth to give vent to our grievances and hence avoids all trials and tribulations.

I still remember how my militant mother, in contrast to my gutless father, was pitched against Chairman Baburao who was opposed by Aawloo in the Panchayat elections. On the day of polling, the Chairman called and brainwashed me at lnamdar’s house and threatened to crush me if I voted against him. The police had to intervene then. All this still lingers with photographic vividness before my eyes. Tired of sitting beside mother, I just stretched myself on the ground and saw whitish fluid trickling from her body. The foul smell of her body became all the more nauseating now. I tried to stand up, but very nearly collapsed on her body.

“What’s the matter?’ asked father.

“Nothing,” I said.

“If you are tired, lie down for a while,” he advised.

“No, no, I don’t want to relax,” I said.

However, I just reclined slightly on the pile of sacks for a few minutes, shook my hand and found that a lump of the burnt-up flesh of mother’s body was struck to my elbow. I was stunned. My tongue went dry.

Soma and Chimi quietly entered the hut. Soma sat speechless beside father and Chima started sobbing fast. Mother was seen struggling to open her mouth to speak out something, but in vain. When I started weeping loudly, she said in an indistinct voice:

“Don’t weep… Some day or the other, everyone has to bid good-bye to this world. Now, no use crying over what happened.”

She could speak no more. Father looked at me and said: “You bastard, you wanted to be an agitator, a leader. Didn’t you? Now see the consequences of your agitation. You did not listen to my advice then. Now, no use crying over spilt milk.”

Father wanted to say more, but his tongue did not cooperate with him. On Aawloo’s getting elected to the Panchayat, we had resolved to open the watering-place near the Panchayat well. The entire Mahar-Mang colony stood by us then, except father who is a coward of the first water. The villagers led by Salu Mali, Ganpat Teli and the Chairman were pitched against us. The two parties armed with sticks and lathis were arrayed on either side and the village had turned into a battleground. I still remember how one afternoon we started to offer Satyagraha for drawing water from the Panchayat well and how at about four o’clock we saw the police jeep descend on the village heath when the resistance was in full swing. The lathis of the police fell on our heads till we bled. The well turned red with blood. The police arrested the sarpanch and Ganapat Teli, and placed them behind the bars. They were released from the jail after a week.

The routine life of the village began afresh, as usual. All kept mum over the bloody incident. In this way, two months elapsed. Residents of the Mahar-Mang colony did not utter a word of protest. All over the village, there was a total lull. But, all of a sudden, to our surprise and shock, one night our huts were set on fire and burnt down. Everything went to rack and ruin. Mother, encircled by flames, was dragged out from the hut. She could not be removed to the hospital and treated for her burns. Sitya, who went to call the police was found dead in the river, with his backbone broken. All roads were blocked.

Five days have elapsed since this fatal incident. My mother became a victim of my ego and the brutalities of the villagers. Though she has been on her deathbed for the last five days, she said to me in an emaciated voice:

“Don’t be silly, son. Don’t kill your hunger, eat something. You have neither eaten nor slept for five days.”

Ignoring her advice, I just lay down by her side with my ears, eyes and entrails all burning with anger and agony. I heard something drop down. I strained my eyes and saw that the stinking hand of mother had fallen on my body. Whitish fluid started trickling from her mouth. I held my hand over her nostrils to feel her breath and found that she had breathed her last. Our eyes went dry with sorrow. My mother was an unwept and unsung victim!


Tr. from Marathi by V.D. KATAMBLE

[epub mobi PDF]

Ek dost bahut duur se aata hai..

October 4, 2014

Finally, I did go Bhopal yesterday.  The feeling that I could actually meet dear Shams bhai proved stronger than my laziness.

I reached Bhopal station and he came to pick me.  We went his home. We went out.  Visited places – the lakes, Taj-ul-Masajid (Crown of the Mosques), the shaheen (Eagle) of Iqbal, curfew waali maata, various historical structures in Bhopal, many of them in ruins, few maintained.  We rode on his bike on roads.  We had samovar tea.  We had lunch.

Me with Mr. Shams Adanan Alavi.

And we talked, talked, and talked –

of the city, it’s people, it’s structures and monuments, it’s literature, it’s language.  We talked of Maharashtra, it’s politics, the social movements of Maharashtra, and the literary movements thereof.  We talked of Mahatma Phule.  We talked of Sikandar Jahaan Begum.  We talked of Annabhau Sathe and Dr. Ambedkar.  We talked about the Dhamma Chakra Pravartan festival at Deekahsbhoomi, Nagpur.  We talked of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.  We talked of Maratha Seva Sangh.  We talked of Marathi ghazal.  We talked of poetic meter.  And then it was a time to finish the visit and come back!

Later I felt like I talked too much and made him listen all the time.  I had gone there to listen to him.  I noted a few times when he was talking about himself, I myself started talking.  Perhaps, I was so excited..  Perhaps some other time..

I came back.  Today, he posted a poem on his Facebook.. A poem dedicated to me.. “a friend comes from far away..” ek dost bahut door se aata hai.. Never believed someone would dedicate me a poem..

And I am overwhelmed.. almost in tears to read it!

Ek dost bahut duur se aata hai

Dedicated to Ganesh Dhamodkar
نذر گنیش دھاموڈکر

Ek dost bohat door se aata hai
arz-e-baraar٭ ki Khusbhu lata hai
kehta hai Marathi aur Urdu mein Ghazal voh
aur mujhe Chakbast** ka she’r sunaata hai
ab tak rabt tha us se
magar mulaqaat na thi
hoti thee.n baate.n magar shayad milne ki saa’at na thii
voh naujawaa.n jahaaN bhi jaata hai
saath Gahlib ka barqi diivaa.n le jaata hai
Ek dost bohat door se aata hai…
dhyaan se dekhe usne shahr ke dar-o-faseel
taal ke aks meiN nazar aayii use ‘Ambazari jheel’
hai kam-sukhan magar kamaal kar jaata hai
yakdam Taj Bhopali ke baare me.n savaal kar jaata hai
Ek dost bohat door se aata hai…
Uski aankho.n meN kuchh khwaab haiN
khamushi ke pas-e-pusht kaii inqelab haiN
apne kuchh Khwaab mujhe sunaata hai
ham se jab misra mauzoo.n nahi hota
voh jumla bhi ‘beher’ mein keh jaata hai
Ek dost bohat door se aata hai…

                                                                        Shams ‘Adnan’ Alavi

[Arz-e-Baraar=Land of Berar in today’s Maharashtra
٭٭Renowned Urdu poet late Brij Narayan Chakbast
barqi divaa.n=Diwan in file in computer/pen drive/pdf]

Shivaji: Saffronization of a secular king

February 20, 2012

Yesterday was the birth anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj (1627-1680).  It was celebrated with great joy all over the Maharashtra and by all Marathi-speaking people wherever they are in some form or other.  Shivaji was one national hero of who is still revered by millions above cast and creed.  Indeed Shivaji is a towering name above all, and if you ask anyone to give just one name that binds all Marathi people together, it would be that of Shivaji without a second thought.

Let him remain as he was.  Don't color him saffron.

The popularity and greatness of Shivaji’s character have given rise to a typical phenomenon in the modern India.  Each and every ideological group want him colored in their own color, and unfortunately the far-right saffron Hindutva folks succeeded in it.  They distorted his image so much that he is almost deified as an incarnation of God who took birth “to save the Hindu people from the tyranny of Muslim rulers”; and this is far from truth.

This needs to be checked against historical facts and people should be made aware about this.  This has become more important in the post-1992 and post-Godhra India where Shivaji is again and again projected as a destroyer and enemy of Muslims.


Of a wonderful evening and National Book Fair

January 8, 2012

What what what a wonderful evening this had been!  I just went out for a Sunday-evening ride and saw an ad of National Book Fair held at Kasturchand Park, Nagpur.  This is a yearly book exhibition fair and I kind of wait for this fair every year.  I saw the ad and then what could stop me!  I had only 100 rupees in my wallet, but said “let’s see” and made my way to Kasturchand Park.

It usually takes me more than three-four hours to go through the fair, more than 100 book stalls each with thousands of books.  Although conscious of my wallet size, today I had thought of only a short stride.  And Look what I came back with:  Eleven books, more than 1800 pages!  I could not resist.  Chose the books, talked to the shopkeeper, went to an ATM, got the money out, paid, and done!  Very unlikely of me, I took all the books from one stall only, by National Book Trust.  They are wonderful people, consistently publishing standard books, and a lot of nonfiction!  I picked every book like pick-at-first-site, without even bothering to peek through it, like I was looking for them all my life.  And look what I came up with:


Kailash makes his very first Wikipedia edit!

December 19, 2011

I’m quite happy.  Today Kailash made his very first edit on Marathi Wikipedia.  I was almost pushing him to do this for the last two to three years, and finally he did it.  He created his first article about Ambhora, a small village in Nagpur district, famous for its confluence of five rivers.  This article is yet a stub; you can have a look at it here (Marathi content).

I mailed him a little manual this evening on basic Wikipedia editing and formatting as per his request.  He chose the subject and wrote it on his own.  We solved the little difficulties he had via phone.  As it was a learning experience for him, it was a learning experience for me too!

Kailash made my day today!

Bless me O God!

November 10, 2011

Morning!  I started the PC and was about to start work.  I usually keep humming all the time, may be it at home, at work, while riding a bike, or while doing nothing (no one has ever enlightened me on how to do nothing).  And I started humming an abhanga by Tukaram:  हेची दान देगा देवा तुझा विसर न व्हावा, विसर न व्हावा तुझा विसर न व्हावा!!  “Bless me O God; I shall never forgot thou, never, never ever!”  How couldn’t I love these words, how couldn’t I!! Oh God, bless me, I shall never forget thou, never ever!

I knew a similar couplet by Bashir BadrWo bada rahim o karim hai mujhe ye sifat bhi ata karein, tujhe bhulne ke duaa karoon to meri duaa mein asar na ho.”  He is really a kind one, He should grant me a wish–if I ever wish to forget you, I wish must never be granted.  And I loved these lines too, but this time Tukaram took my heart away!

In case of Bashir Badr, he wishes he should never forget his beloved one.  And Tukaram?  For him, the God is his beloved, and he is asking the God never to let him forget Him.

I was humming it all over the day, it was constantly going in my head while all the work was going:  हेची दान देगा देवा तुझा विसर न व्हावा, विसर न  व्हावा तुझा विसर न व्हावा!!

For a moment I thought did Tukaram mean that God should always keep us unhappy that we must not forget him?  Nay, it cannot be such.  Tukaram didn’t mean it that way.  May be it was the case with Bashir Badr, certainly not with Tukaram!

Be with me! Never let me go! Hold me to your heart!! And how can I forget you?  Isn’t it what Tukaram means?  Never let me go!

Tukaram made my day today!!

Tukaram (1608-1650) was a Marathi seer poet and is considered the zenith of the Warkari tradition, which sought salvation for all irrespective of caste and creed.  Tukaram wrote poetry in the form of abhangas (literally something that cannot be broken).  Tukaram is considered as one of the best poets the language has ever produced.  Tukaram’s abhangas are still played in the households of Maharashtra.

Bashir Badr is a contemporary Urdu poet, one of my favorite.

Books, internet, and a giant wheel? It’s really random!!

October 15, 2011

I love books, I love the feel they give me while reading, it cannot be felt such while reading books on screen.  It’s fine when we cannot get hard copies, may be the book is rare, or too costly, or just you don’t want to buy it, but still there is nothing like reading a book, in printed characters, on paper.

Definitely, my net habits have affected my reading a lot.  I stay online almost 12-13 hours a day everyday, may be for work, and then for my personal use too, blogging, random surfing, social networking, uploading photos; reading has taken a back seat, it’s unfortunate, really!

A giant wheel at Dhantoli, Nagpur

I had been to a book exhibition at Shankar Nagar today; brought a novel by Sane Guruji Ramacha shela (रामाचा शेला); I really wanted to read something by him other than Shyamchi aai (श्यामची आई).  At this moment, I should have been reading the book, in print.  I am instead tuck-tucking here.

On a different note, sharing the picture of a giant wheel I pic’ed last Sunday in Dhantoli, Nagpur.  I didn’t get a chance to upload it earlier.  Giant wheels look good only from a distance.  I am afraid of even the thought of sitting in it.  So, I have look at it, from a distance.

N.B. Clicking on the giant wheel will take you to Panoramio photo page, if you are interested in exactly where the photo was taken, to be precise, it was taken at 21° 8′ 5.88″ N  79° 5′ 4.24″ E.  Good Night 🙂

Related Posts:

Day 1: Post a Day October 2011 — A thirty-day challenge

October 1, 2011

So, here am I with the first post of my 30-day challenge for the month of October 2011.  The idea of posting everyday on a blog is really fascinating and it will be more so with continued support and motivation from all of you.

There are certainly some reservations.  Can it really be creative?  Won’t it just be writing for the sake of writing?  Won’t it be writing because I have the challenge to complete?  Yes, it will be, but writing something is better than not writing at all.  And I know, whatever I will write, I would always be kind of creative in some way or other.

Creativity is “to create”.  He who creates is a creative and not the one who just thinks.  Having some feelings and putting them down on the paper (or on screen) are two really different things.  One cannot be called creative unless he transforms his thinking in the form of creation.

I think I won’t fall short of ideas for at least this 30-day challenge.  I have a lot to tell you.  If I just wait for the form, the form would never come and whatever I am thinking will fade out.  So, before it fades out, I want to put in out in whatever form it takes.

Once a Prashant Vaidya (a Marathi ghazal writer from Kalyan) told me, “Ganesh, we won’t become a poet by just writing good poems for say three months or three years.  To be called a poet, you must give out good poetry for some 30 years. ”  Soon after that, I almost stopped writing poems.  My short poetic career did not even last for three years.  After a keen reading of classics, I had made my taste so special and had raised my bars so high that I could never reach them, and I never wrote again.  And then a lot of things happened and eventually the ideas stopped to occur to me.  Thus, I became a no-poet.

So now, without waiting for ideas or form, I am going to start writing.  And I know, as I will move ahead, I will get my form back.  I know what my form is; I will rediscover it.  I don’t mean that I will start writing poetry again, or stories or novel or some sort of book, but certainly I will start loving writing as it used to do.

So, this is for today, for the first of October 2011; and a whole month of excitement ahead.

P.S.  And I will have to learn to stop too, otherwise I will write a long, long posts for the first few days and will stop writing altogether after that.  So, stop, stop, stop… Enough for today.

Stubbing on Wikipedia

September 19, 2011

I have not been working on any major projects on Wikipedia for the last few months.  I have not created a single full-fledged article after a couple of “Did you know?” articles about an year ago.  Life is getting more and more demanding and I can find almost no time to do the research it needs to create a good article on Wikipedia.  So, I have just been stubbing.

Stub is a little Wikipedia article that contains only very basic information.  It may consist of just a line or two about what really the object in question is.  A good stub is expected to contain some basic information with proper references.  It can further be expanded in a full-length article with community collaboration.

I have written about four stubs around the last month, all of them just a few-liners.  I created them just because I thought the topic important enough to be covered on Wikipedia.  New users usually hesitate starting a new article; I wanted to make these stubs available for them so that they can add information to it.

My first stub was about Maharashtra State Highway 196.  This state highway passes via my village Manegaon.  I just wanted to create this article as a part of major project covering all the highways in India.

The next stub was about Marathi author Sadanand Deshmukh.  He was awarded with Sahitya Akademi award in 2004 for his novel Baromas (बारोमास).  This article was a long-due.  He is certainly a notable personality and there is almost no information available about him on net.  He belongs to the same district of Maharashtra that I do.  I had very little biographic information about him, so I was waiting for someone to write an article about him, but as nobody did it, I had to take initiative and create a stub.  The article is still in a stub state and I have no means to find any information about him other than getting one of his books and find some author info, so it is pending.

Nag River was the article that I was really expecting someone to start.  It is a tiny river, rather a stream that drains the garbage and sewage water out of Nagpur.  But it certainly has an encyclopedic value as it provides the etymology to the City of Nagpur.  According to a theory, Nagpur is named so because of this river (there is also another theory proposed by Dr. Ambedkar that the river and the city are named after Naga people who settled here in the distant history).  The Wikipedia article about Nagpur has just mentioned this river, so I took the opportunity to create a separate article about it.  It still lacks a lot of information, but still I am expecting some expert to work on it, or I will have to find some time to do some research.  Just googling will not work here, I will have to find printed resources.

The fourth article Machchhindrakhed (मच्छिंद्रखेड) is just a little village in Buldhana district, famous in the locality for the aasara devi temple there.  I had my first family trip there as a kid.  Again, this article was created as a part of better coverage of local knowledge on the world wide web.

So my overall activity on Wikipedia is limited to stubbing only nowadays.  Hope I can get some leisure to do something more!

Once I used to be a poet! (Another junk from my Outlook draft folder!)

August 31, 2011

They say once I used to be a poet. I have a diary full of poems I had written in my hostel days. Some of my poems were published in local newspapers, and one of them had gotten a wide critical acclaim. I still occasionally get messages, are you the same Ganesh Dhamodkar, the poet of that ghazal? I hesitantly say, yes, I am the same one, but it was a thing of past; I don’t write anymore! And practically, it was one of the very last poems of mine. My short poetic career ended just in less than a couple of years.

Why did I stop writing, in particular writing poems?