Author, Burning for Freedom

Author, Burning for Freedom
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Thursday, August 14, 2014

I love my India

Hi, Everyone! On the occasion of this Independence day of India, I am just going to let a collection of my favorite Indian patriotic youtube videos speak for me:

 Jahan Dal Dal Pe Sone Ki

Jan Gan Man

Vande Mataram  

 Jayostute (part II)

Ab Tumhare Hawalein Watan Sathiyo

Ay Mere Watan Ke Logon

Taqat Watan Ki Humse Hain

 Ye Hindustan Mera

 Ay Watan

 I Love My India

 Ay Mere Pyare Watan

 NaMo NaMo

Vande Mataram!!!

- Anurupa

Friday, June 13, 2014

Babarao Savarkar excerpt 1 from Burning for Freedom

Hi, Everyone! As a tribute to Babarao (Ganesh) Savarkar (June 13, 1879 – March 16, 1945) on his birth anniversary, I am posting an excerpt on him—one of the scenes I utterly enjoyed writing—from my novel on Savarkar Burning for Freedom:

“We work with him on the freedom plan and make sure the rights of the Hindus are not sacrificed, then.” Babarao checked his watch. “Oh well, let us wait and see! The older kids must be home from school now. I am going to take them all, even little Chapala, to the beach. Baby Nima is only a few weeks old—it will give Vahini a break.”

The little troop headed for the beach. Just as they were about to turn into the beach lane, they heard shouts: “Babarao! Babarao!”

They stopped, surprised. Two figures were coming toward them practically at a run.

“Mohite! Namaskar,” said Babarao.

“Ah … Babarao … ah … namaskar!”

Mohite, of a plump figure, was somewhat out of breath with the short sprint. “We just missed you at the house. My friend here, Kambli, wanted to speak to you.”

“Well, let us get to the beach first, shall we? The children can play as we talk.”

At the beach, Babarao warned the children to stay close and away from the water. The currents didn’t make it safe to go in.

“Babarao,” said Ashok, “we will build Shivaji’s fort!”

Babarao beamed. “That’s my boy! Go for it.”

The older boys scavenged for some coconut shells to dig with. Prabhat watched over the little ones; no easy job, what with the twinkle-toed Harsh and the ‘I love to eat sand’ Chapala! Babarao settled down on a rock outcropping as the kids began the serious work of building a fort.

“Now, Kambli, what is it you want to talk about?”

Kambli was obviously a Congress member—wearing khadi and sporting the oval cap popularly known as the ‘Gandhi topi,’ a Congress member uniform.

“Well, Babarao … well …,” he said, smoothing his clipped mustache nervously. Unlike Tatyarao, who was soft-spoken and in control, Babarao was known to be excitable. His grip on the stick looked a little ominous—not, of course, that there was ever a time when he had used it on anyone. But he wouldn’t like today to be the first time! How stern Babarao looked; those sharp, deep-set eyes and thick eyebrows—quite ferocious!

Babarao banged his stick in the sand. “Kambli! We don’t have all day! Get on with it!”

Kambli came to with a start. “Babarao … I don’t think it behooves you to call the Mahatma a traitor.”

Babarao’s eyebrows snapped together; a wave of anger rushed to his head. He strove to master it. It wasn’t the first time anyone had said this to him, and it won’t be the last! Kambli stepped back two paces.

“I don’t say it without proof, Kambli! You have read Karandikar’s articles on the Gandhi-Muslim conspiracy?”

“Yes, yes I have.”

“Oh, you are a doubter then, are you?”

Babarao jumped up, groped in his jacket pocket, and whipped out a piece of paper. “Here, read this. I keep it in my pocket just for people like you. You will at least believe the evidence of your eyes, won’t you?”

“We-e-ell,” Kambli opened his mouth to argue.

Babarao rustled the paper impatiently. Prudently, Kambli took it. That paper was a cutout of an article written by Swami Shraddhananda, a religious Hindu leader. In the months before he was murdered, he had written a spate of articles exposing the shenanigans of Congress. One of the articles was particularly noteworthy. The Swami had met Maulana Mohammad Ali, leader of the Khilafat Movement, Gandhi’s bosom buddy. Mohammad Ali mentioned to him a plan they had been hatching to get King Amanullah of Afghanistan to invade India and overthrow the British. That the Muslim hordes from the north should subjugate Hindustan would be the very worst fate. The Swami was horrified, but there was more. As proof, Mohammad Ali showed him a draft of the telegram that had been sent to the King. To the Swami’s horror, he recognized the writing to be the distinctive writing of Gandhi …!

Mahatma of the Indians secretly betraying India to the age-old enemy, Afghanistan …! The Mahatma, who swore against secrecy, publicly reviled the revolutionaries for their secret operations, himself plotting and scheming, not for the freedom of his country, but to deliver her into more monstrous hands than the British …!

Swami Shraddhananda saw fit to publicize this atrocity in an article.

“Ye-e-s,” Kambli was saying, still looking at the paper, “indeed, I have to believe my eyes”—he looked up straight into Babarao’s eyes—“even so, you are unwise to say such things about the Mahatma. He is the uncrowned King of India. Are you not afraid of being entrapped and thrown into jail, of being sent to the gallows?”

Babarao laughed sarcastically. “I have been down that road with the British—and without fear. All the might of the British didn’t divert me from my cause, from truth and justice—you think fear of the Mahatma will do the trick? Ha!”

This squashed Kambli; he and Mohite took their leave. Babarao took a deep breath to calm himself. The kids were getting a bit tired too.

“Who wants to hear the stories of our great kings?”

“Me!” cried everyone.

Little Chapala climbed on to his lap. His pristine clothes were all sandy now, but he didn’t mind. They spent a pleasant hour. The kids listened raptly. Babarao always had wonderful stories and never tired of recounting them. Stern taskmaster he undoubtedly was; everything had to be just so! But when it came to kids his heart was mush.

*   *   *
Read the first chapter here
- Anurupa Cinar
Author, Burning for Freedom, a novel on Savarkar

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Savarkar's Swadeshi Drive, 1898

Hi, Everyone! One of Savarkar’s traits that make him such a remarkable person is that he had pride in his nation, people, and country and his thirst to free his motherland from slavery from a very early age.

He also had the courage, strength, and capability to vocalize it and organize a revolution toward that goal. It was in 1898 that he took the formidable oath for the cause—at the tender age of fifteen. It was in that same year that he wrote a poem advocating swadeshi.

In 1898, India was far, far away from such a concept, indeed! It was extremely remarkable that a young boy of fifteen should recognize that the British were looting the wealth of India, taking raw materials from her, and bringing back a finished product to make a whopping profit off the Indians and wiping out all their arts. In 1898, Savarkar went beyond recognizing this to urging his fellowmen to do something about it: adopting of swadeshi goods!

His poem, Swadeshicha phatka, which I have translated as Swadeshi Stroke, is a masterpiece! It is most excellently conceived and written.  Besides the general rhymes, meter, and tone, I really love the way he has rhyming words or repetition of sounds in the same line while portraying its import:

“आर्यबंधु उठा उठा कां मठासारखे नटा सदा

हटा सोडूनी कटा करूं या म्लेंछपटां ना धरूं कदा”

मलमल त्यजुनी वलवल चित्तीं हलहलके पट कां वरितां ?”

कामधेनुका भरतभूमिका असुनि मागे कां ती भिक्षा ?”

My translation, of course, does not do justice to Savarkar’s poetry, but I do hope that it does justice to the content of it. The lines 31-40 are missing from it as I was not confident that I had grasped the meaning. I shall add them at a later date.

On an aside, to enjoy this poem to the fullest, you must listen to the excellent musical rendition of it by Swardish Bharat Balvalli. I listen to this song many times a day! The CD is available here:

So here I put before you Savarkar’s Swadeshicha Phatka  and my translation of it on the occasion of his birth anniversary:

                          Swadeshi Drive
आर्यबंधु उठा उठा कां मठासारखे नटा सदा
हटा सोडूनी कटा करूं या म्लेंछपटां ना धरूं कदा
काश्मीराच्या शाली त्यजुनी अलपाकाला कां  हो भुलतां
मलमल त्यजुनी वलवल चित्तीं हलहलके पट कां वरितां ?
राजमहेंद्री चीट त्यजोनी विटकें चिट तें का घेतां
दैवें मिळतां वाटि इच्छितां नरोटी नाहीं का आतां ?
नागपुरचें रेशिम भासे तागपटासें परि परक्या
रठ्ठ बनाती मठ्ठ लोक हो मऊ लागती तुम्हां कश्या ?
येवलि सोडून पितांबरांना विजार करण्या सटिन पहा
बेजारचि तुम्हि नटावयामधिं विचार करतो कोणि हा   १०
केलि अनास्था तुम्हीची स्वतः मग अर्थातचि कला बुडे
गेलें धनची नेलें हरूनी मेलां तुम्हि तरि कोण रडे ?
अरे अपणची पूर्वी होतों सकल कलांची खाण अहा
भरतभूमीच्या कुशीं दीप ते कलंक आतां अम्ही पहा
जगभर भरुनी उरला होता नुरला आतां व्यापार
सकलही कलाभिज्ञ तेधवां अज्ञ अतां आम्ही थोर
निर्मियली मयसभा अम्हिंचिना पांडव किरिटी अठवा रे
मठ्ठ लोक हो लाज कांहिंतरि ?  लठ्ठ असुनी शठ बनलो रे
आम्रफलाच्या कोईमध्यें धोतरजोडा वसे तदा
होते जेथें प्रतिब्रह्मेची, धिक् अम्हि जन्मुनि अपवादा २०
हे परके हरकामीं खुलविति भुलविति वरवर वाचेनें
व्यवहारी रीत असे बराबर सदा हरामी वृत्तीनें
कामधेनुका भरतभूमिका असुनि मागे कां ती भिक्षा ?
सहस्त्र कोसांवरुनी खासा पैका हरतो प्रभुदीक्षा
नेउनि कच्चा माल आमुचा देती साचा पक्क रुपें
आमच्यावरी पोट भरी परि थोरि कशाची तरी खपे
पहा तयांची हीच रीत हो मिती नसे त्या लबाडिला
नाना कर्में नाना वर्में देश असा हा लुबाडिला
निमुलीं हातांमधलीं फडकीं फडकत नाना ध्वज वरतीं
हडेलहपसे करुनि शिपाई निघत सवारी जगभर ती  ३०
याला आतां उपाय बरवा एकी करवा मन भरवा
ओतप्रोत अभिमानें हरवा देशी धंदे पट धरवा
परके वरवर कितीहि बोलति गोडगोड तरि मनिं समजा
सुंदर म्यानीं असे असिलता घातचि होइल झट उमजा
रावबाजि जरि गाजि जहाले राज्यबुडाऊ तरि मुख्य
सख्य असें परक्यांचे यांचे गोष्ट हृदयिं ही धरुं लख्ख
वैर टाकुं या यास्तव लवकर खैर करो परमेश्वर ती
निश्चय झाला मागें अपुला परदेशि पटें ना धरुं तीं
चलाचला जाउं या घेउं या देशि पटांला पटापटा
जाडेंभरडें गडे कसेंही असो सेवुं परि झटाझटा            ५०
ना स्पर्शूं त्या पशूपटाला मऊ वर, विखारचि भावूं
घेऊं खडतर अंतीं सुखकर धर्माचि मानुनियां जाऊं
आजवरी जरि भुललों खुललों तत्कपटाला अविचारे
जाउं द्या चला गतगोष्टींचें स्मरणची नको हेंचि बरें
द्रव्यखाणि ही खोरें घेउनि परकीं पोरें खणती रे
एकचित्त या करूं गड्यांनों वित्त जिंकुं तें पुनरपि रे
विश्वेश्वरि ती नारायणि ही यमहरिहर अदि सुरवरिणी
कर्मसिध्दिसी दावो नेउनि मोद देति निजभक्तजनीं
दर अज्ञानी रजनी जावो सांग प्रकाशो रवि थोर
वरावयाला रत्नपटाला करो आर्य ते रण घोर       ६०
कवितारूपी माला अर्पी आर्य बुधांला सार्थक हा
भक्तांकरवीं मन देवासी सेवायासी अर्पण हा
Wake up, O Arya Brothers,
Ever you are dressed like a fop
Put aside this obstinacy
Plot to never touch foreign cloth
Lured by trifles as you are
Kashmir shawl you forgo
Why fancying the cheap stuff
Precious mulmul you let go?
Rajmahendri chintz giving up
Cheap quality chintz you favor
When God has given you a bowl
Why the coconut shell you prefer?
Nagpur silk to jute you liken
O Ye Fools! But how come
The rough foreign fabrics
As being soft you welcome?
You look to trousers made of satin
N’ matchless pitambar you dismiss
Beffuddled, in the throes of bedecking
You utterly fail to grasp this  II 10 II
By this treachery that you fostered
Art is lost, wealth looted n’ taken away
So even upon your death
Who shall shed tears, pray?
We were the seat of all arts fine
In the days bygone, oh
In the shining beacon of our Bharatland
Just look at the blot we are, lo
No more is the trade
That once worldwide was in full spate
Ignoramuses when connoisseurs of art
Now we are great?
Oh do dwell upon the great Pandavas
Recall they built the Mayasabha for us
Oh Fops, have some shame
Though replete, you became foolish thus
Two dhotis could then be
Packed in a mango seed
Fie! Where existed utopia, we were born
And took exception, indeed!  II 20 II
Lure us with their flattering speech
Do these foreign master of all trades
Their modus operandi may seem correct
But always their attitude is base
Our Motherland is a Kaamdhenu
Why should she be begging for alms, aye?
From thousands of miles away
The British our wealth shanghai
Taking away our raw materials
They give it a fine polished form, lo
Live off us they do
But whose greatness goes?
Look, ‘tis this very style of theirs
With no end to their skullduggery
With various acts and denunciations
They looted so much our country
Now all kinds of flags wave o’er us
Our hands of children’s shawl bereft
The procession of marching troops
Off to the wide world it left  II 30 II
For this there is but one answer
Let immense pride soak afresh
Into every corner of your mind
And support our local business
Sweet though the foreigners glib words
But one thing is very plain
Beautiful the sword’s sheath may be
The sword is bound to give pain
Though we had many heroes and brave ones
Responsible they are for our country’s plight
For they surely befriended the foreigners
Hold this thought in your hearts tight
Let’s quickly be rid of antipathy
May we be blessed by God
Long ago we took an oath
Never to touch the foreign cloth
C’mon! C’mon! Let us go
Get the local cloths, quickly-quickly
Thick n’ coarse, however it may be
We will don it in a jiffy  II 50 II
Softer though it may be
We will not touch that cloth so beastly
Dharma it is to embrace the local
Difficult now, will bring joy ultimately
Enchanted n’ deceived by fabrications
So thoughtlessly we were though
Let it be, it’s better not to
Dwell over things past so
With spades in their hands
These foreigners dig our gold mine
Folks, come together and single-mindedly
Take over our lost wealth fine
Vishweshwari, Narayani, Yama
Vishu, Shiva, n’ Suvarini
May they bless our acts to fruition
And delight their devotees many
Let every ignoramus advise the mighty sun
To shed light that night begone
Let such Aryas fight fiercely to
Maintain their bedecked foppish tone
I offer unto the wise Aryas
My garland of this purposeful rendering
That dedicatedly in the service of God
They may fulfill this offering