50 Years of A Friendship


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JULY 24, 2016           11.00 P.M.

With My Friend Mohd. Masood Saheb at His Lucknow Residence

With My Friend Mohd. Masood Saheb at His Lucknow Residence

 

After a month-long wet and rainy monsoon season in Mumbai, sky is clear today. Warmth of July sun, after a month-long continuous rain, is pleasant.

As I sit in my study watching sunrays slowly and victoriously taking over the Mumbai skyline from hovering clouds, my mind takes me back to my Allahabad days. 50 years back it was same bright, sunny July in 1967. The place was Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh.

In that year after passing High School, I left my native place Deoria, Uttar Pradesh and reached Allahabad to take admission in the Government Inter College. I got admission in the college and was lucky to find a place in the hostel too, which was in the same campus.

Shy and reticent as I was in those days, it took some time before I got acquainted with my class-mates. PRAMOD VAJPAYEE, MOHD. MASOOD & SHEEL BHADRA DIKSHIT were few names, which are still there with me. Of the three, SHEEL BHADRA DIKSHIT died before he could complete intermediate. PRAMOD VAJPAYEE, MOHD. MASOOD and myself passed intermediate and went to Allahabad University. We took English Literature as our subject so our friendship continued.

After completing graduation in 1972, I came to Mumbai [ then Bombay ] . After spending one year in Mumbai, I returned to Allahabad and completed post graduation in English Literature. Before I could embark on my new journey, my father died. I returned to Deoria.

When I returned from Allahabad after my father’s demise, I thought that now I have lost forever all the friends and acquaintances from Allahabad. SHEEL BHADRA DIKSHIT gone to his eternal journey, PRAMOD VAJPAYEE untraceable and now MASSOD Saheb will also be lost on the long, tortuous, unknown and speedy highways of life.

One day door-bell of my Deoria residence rang. I came out and to my utter surprise, I saw Masood Saheb standing there. He was getting married and his would be wife’s family lived in Deoria.

Destiny! ………………….. O Destiny!! …………………. Unknown are thy ways!!!

I attended his marriage and since he used to come to Deoria quite often, our friendship continued. Whenever I used to visit Lucknow, I always used to go to his Aminabad office and used to have chat with him over a cup of tea.

In October 1989, I left Deoria again and came to Mumbai. Masood Saheb visited Mumbai once and we met.

I go to my native place Deoria once or twice in a year. These days I take Mumbai – Lucknow flight and then take a taxi to Deoria. My younger brother and sister are based in Lucknow so I stay there for few days. Since Masood Saheb is now retired and settled in Lucknow, it has become a habit to visit him too.

This year in May, when I paid a visit to his house, he reminded me that we first met in July 1967 and that July 2016 is the 50th year of our friendship.

When I revisit our 50 long year association, I find very few similarities between us. I was a right-winger Hindu nationalist and Masood Saheb was a left-winger Muslim nationalist. We both are same even now. So where is the meeting point?

As I try to find out, our meeting points are HUMAN VALUES, RATIONAL NATIONALISM, LOVE for URDU LANGUAGE & LITERATURE and RESPECT for EACH OTHER’S CORE VALUES.

I remember, I used to write him letters in Urdu on RSS letterhead. And he used to send Urdu newspaper AZAYEM from Lucknow to Mumbai for me.

And so, our friendship endured all the bygone 50 years. As I said earlier I met him this year in May 2016 in Lucknow. He was frail as usual but his indomitable spirit is still there. And his love for books , literature and Urdu language still continues. And yes, he is still a LEFT-WINGER MUSLIM NATIONALIST.

May God permit him to be so!!!

May God give him a long, happy and active life!!!

Amen!!!!

 

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Father’s Day & My Brothers-In-Law


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JUNE 21, 2015           11.55 P.M.

 

For me Sunday is the day of reading and writing. As I am sitting in my study in Mumbai and watching rain water caressing window panes of my study, I started pondering about the subject of my blog. As it is the 1st International Yoga Day today, the obvious choice seems to be the 1st International Yoga Day.

But I suddenly realise that it is FATHER’S DAY also and today youngsters are celebrating it with gusto. So I think it is better to write about it.

In India is there any need for a day like this? A country which since time immemorial pronounced :

पिता स्वर्ग , पिता धर्म , पिता ही परमंतपो ,
पितोरि प्रीतिमापन्ने , प्रीयन्ते सर्व देवता ॥

[ Father is like heaven, father is like religion, father is like supreme penance / meditation. If your father is pleased with you, all the Gods are pleased with you automatically. ]

यः प्रीणयेत् सुचरितैः पितरं स पुत्रो ॥

[ They are the worthy sons, who please their fathers with their good conducts. ]

So where is the need for this obnoxious FATHER’S DAY?

But these days youngsters celebrate just one day as FATHER’S DAY, because their father and mother don’t exist for them for the rest of 364 days.

Today as I write this blog about FATHER’S DAY, I remember my two brothers-in-law, Shri Krishna Mohan Shukla and Shri Gyan Prakash Chaturvedi. I have never seen such devout father worshippers in my life. They never criticise their respective fathers. They never crib about some imaginary short-comings of their fathers. Their fathers must have made few mistakes in their lives. But I have never heard them complaining about that. They belong to rich and respectable families. Still their fathers were unable to provide them fancy cars, private jet planes and a personal / private islands for vacation. But they don’t complain. They were not sent to foreign countries for so-called better education but they don’t accuse their fathers for that.

They are always full of gratitude because they know that their fathers had made supreme sacrifices for their education and upbringing. Their fathers did everything which they could. And which they couldn’t do, they are not blamed, insulted or cursed for that.

For such people every day is FATHER’S DAY. Because gratitude and respect is in their DNA. I always respect Shri Krishna Mohan Shukla and Shri Gyan Prakash Chaturvedi from the bottom of my heart. I know that my sisters are married to good human beings and that they will live a secure and satisfied life till their end. Whenever death will knock at my door, I will die a satisfied death fully knowing that after I am gone my sisters won’t face any difficulties in their marital lives because they have such good-hearted men as their spouses.

With Shri Krishna Mohan Shukla

With Shri Krishna Mohan Shukla

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With Shri Gyan Prakash Chaturvedi [ Extreme Left ] & My Brother Devesh [ Middle ]

With Shri Gyan Prakash Chaturvedi [ Extreme Left ] & My Brother Devesh [ Middle ]

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I don’t know I am a good son or not. But whenever I think about my father, I feel that I never betrayed him. I may not be a good son but he was a good father. He took extremely good care of me. He did everything what he could do for my well-being. He supported me with the kind of money which was genuinely required. He bought me a Herculis Cycle. I still cherish the gift. And I don’t blame him that he was unable to provide me fancy cars, sport bikes and that he never send me abroad for holidaying. I wore normal clothes and Bata shoes. We had no fridge, cooler or radiograme at home, which were common in those days. But I have no grudge against him for these things. He sent me to Allahabad for higher studies. I still feel indebted for that. I don’t blame him that he couldn’t dole out money for me to get admitted in Oxford or Cambridge.

My Father Late Shri Lakshmi Kant Chaturvedi

My Father Late Shri Lakshmi Kant Chaturvedi

 

He did everything which he could do. I am happy that I never pestered him with unnecessary requests. I never forced him to take loan to give me a life of so-called luxury. In fact my two other brothers and two sister have the same feelings for him. We don’t blame our father for anything.

He died on February 27, 1974 due to heart failure. I was 22 and studying at Allahabad. I was not there at the time of his death. I have a regret. I was not able to help him in his old age. I couldn’t do anything for him, though he did everything for me. My younger brother Atul was more fortunate. He was always at his side. He was there when he died. He served him well and I couldn’t. I still regret it but …………………

 

इस जीवन की चादर में , साँसों के ताने – बाने हैं ,
दुःख की थोड़ी सी सलवट है , सुख के कुछ फूल सुहाने हैं ,
क्यों सोचें आगे क्या होगा , अब कल के कौन ठिकाने हैं ,
ऊपर बैठा वो बाज़ीगर , जाने क्या मन में ठाने है ,
चाहे जितना भी जतन करें , भरने का दामन तारों से ,
झोली  में वो ही आएंगे , जो तेरे नाम के दाने हैं ……

 

As I ponder on my life this night, I don’t find any reason to blame my father for anything. I am myself responsible for my failures, short-comings and misfortunes, if there are any. I don’t need my father as a scapegoat for my wretched life.

A new day of my life starts tomorrow. When all my friends, even my younger brother Devesh, have retired, I am preparing for a 18-hour-working-schedule at the age of 63. Death will knock at my door any day. Though I regret that I wasn’t able to serve my father but I will leave this world with extreme satisfaction that I have no complaint against my father. I don’t blame him for anything.

For this simple reason I don’t need a FATHER’S DAY. My father is always with me. He will remain there till my last day on earth, till my last breath.

 

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NAMITA ; The Daughter I Never Had


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           MARCH 09, 2015           11.55 P.M.

Sometimes hidden hands of unknown and mysterious future play cruel, cussed and complicated games with our lives. To know how, have a look : My elder son Nitin was born on February 21, 1977.  And my younger son Gaurang got married to Namita on February 21, 2015.  There is 38 year gap between the two chapters of my life but the date [ February 21 ] is same.

Nitin, at the age of 18, died a premature death in Mumbai on February 25, 1994. And my daughter-in-law Namita entered into my house for the first time on February 25, 2015.   Again there is 21 year gap between these two chapters of my life’s journey but again the date [ February 25 ] is same.

Isn’t it uncanny? Though it all started with Gaurang’s engagement to Namita on November 24, 2014. But the similarity of other two dates make me numb. It seems surreal. It seems quirky. It seems strange. It is definitely uncanny.

Is there some hidden meaning, which I am unable to read? Is there some mystery, which I am unable to unravel? Is God trying to say something in a subtle way, which I am unable to understand? Is there some divine signal, which I am unable to see? I have no answers. Only time knows. Only fate will tell.

Namita  नारी तुम केवल श्रद्धा हो , विश्वास रजत नग पगतल में , पीयूष स्रोत सी बहा करो , जीवन के  सुन्दर समतल में ।।

Namita
नारी तुम केवल श्रद्धा हो , विश्वास रजत नग पगतल में ,
पीयूष स्रोत सी बहा करो , जीवन के सुन्दर समतल में ।।

At the time of writing this blog, I am a bit unnerved and concerned for my future. After marriage, daughters go to their husband’s house and sons take a new path. They start preparing for their own lives. A new life begins, but sadly an old journey comes to an abrupt end. With my elder son gone 21 years back and other two sons starting their own individual journey, I stare at a lonely future. And yes, I am getting old and I am becoming weak too by each passing day.

हर रोज़ निकलता है सूरज , और शाम को ढलता जाता है ,

प्रभु तेरे दिए इस जीवन का , हर दिन कम होता जाता है ।।

Nitin Chaturvedi [ BORN February 21, 1980 - DIED February 25, 1996 ]

Nitin Chaturvedi [ BORN February 21, 1977 – DIED February 25, 1994 ]

My 3 Sons : [ From Right to Left ] Nitin, Abhinav & Gaurang

My 3 Sons : [ From Right to Left ] Nitin, Abhinav & Gaurang

I would love to have my sons in my life as they look in the above picture. But alas! they are grown up now. Even if I desire, and even if they wish, they can’t be kids again.

I always secretly wish that my wife should precede me in death. I don’t want her to live longer than me and suffer. Though, not a good husband myself, I still feel that I can take better care of her. I am stronger than her and have thick skin to tolerate all kinds of old-age related family problems. Her death will certainly make me lonely, forlorn and melancholy but for her peace of mind, I wish it to happen.

With everyone gone or getting busy with their lives, I dread a hypothetical scenario of my future life, which might happen soon, rather very soon.

I imagine and visualise myself as an old, frail, emaciated, infirm and rickety man with a forlorn mind and dotage-stricken body.  I see that I am unable to walk ………………….. unable to do my daily chores ………………………………. waiting for my morning cup of tea, but in vain ……………… looking for my cold breakfast, delayed lunch and much delayed dinner with unending anticipation …………………….. waiting hopelessly for someone to spend time with me  ………………………… somebody to listen to my asinine talks ……………………………  someone to share my toothless chuckle …………………….. but alas ………………… ! Wait might be unending. Perhaps no one will be there.

My two sisters are definitely there for me but they are happily married. They do care for me. They do try to help me and solve my problems as much as possible. They are really concerned for my well-being. But they too have their own lives. They have their own family. They have their own problems.

My brothers are there. We have now much better understanding among ourselves. We have become mature and have become more sensitive about each other’s feelings and way of thinking. But they too are getting old. They don’t tell me but they must be having their own problems and complications.

We - The People of KRISHNA KUNJ

We – The People of KRISHNA KUNJ, DEORIA

I don’t have a daughter. Tanya a.k.a. Aryama is my niece. She has grown up as a beautiful swan. During the marriage, I had severe pain in my right leg. Tanya came to me. She gave me helping hand, so that I can climb stairs of the hotel, I was staying in. She served me lunch and dinner and that too with perfection. She is still a kid with dreams in her eyes. But she gave me succour and that too without being asked. She could have been a support in my old age. But as stated earlier, one day she has to marry and leave me permanently for her marital bliss. Same is the case with Saumya, another niece of mine.

With My Niece Tanya , a.k.a. Aryama

With My Niece Tanya , a.k.a. Aryama

Whenever I used to think about my advancing age, my impending loneliness and the above mentioned imaginary future, I used to just sit and ponder. But now I think I have an answer. I am sensing the divine signal.

Namita’s wedding date and Nitin’s birth date is same. The date when she entered into my house, never to leave us and the date when my elder son left this world, never to return to us, is same. First letter of their names are also same. I think NAMITA has been sent by God to replace my deceased son and yes, She is also the daughter I never had. I feel she has come as a succour to my future melancholic being and a helping hand during my lonely old age.

A day after her arrival, my wife got hurt. She sat near her and nursed her till the wee hours of dawn. She massaged her body, put ointment, made hot water bag to sooth her. Even when her husband called her she firmly replied that “at this moment mummy ji needs me more than you.”

NAMITA With My Wife

NAMITA With My Wife

I couldn’t say anything. I heard the conversation in silence, in disbelief. I was standing there dumbfounded. I never realised when tears started rolling down my cheeks. That night, in the pitch darkness, I could see a faint glimmer of hope for me and my future.

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With tears in my eyes, gratitude in my heart and a faint hope for my future life, I welcome the new member in my family. I welcome NAMITA ; The Daughter I Never Had !

शत – शत तुमको धन्यवाद है , सुखी रहो जीवन भर ;

झरें शीश पर सुमन सुयश के , अम्बर तल से झर – झर ॥

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Visiting Lar After 22 Years


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DEORIA – UTTAR PRADESH – INDIA           JUNE 30 , 2013           08.30 P.M.

Yesterday on June 29 , 2013 I visited Lar , a small town in Deoria district . It was a visit which happened after almost 22 years . So naturally when I was passing through the rain – washed roads of Lar , several floodgates of memory suddenly got opened and I was inundated with myriads thoughts , various feelings – some fresh , some a little bit obfuscated .

Main Road Lar - Deoria

Main Road Lar – Deoria

I vividly remember my first visit of the town , which I visited 39 years back . My father died in February 1974 and then I started managing my ancestral properties . In that connection I paid visit to Sohagara , a village in Bihar on the bank of river Gandak , which is the village of my forefathers . It was noon time in April 1974 . I alighted from the bus in the blistering heat and proceeded for my onward journey to Sohagara . Since there were no pucca roads or any vehicles to ferry me to Sohagara ,  I started my journey on foot .

I passed through the market . It was first time that I saw Lar town and the bazar , which is situated on the both sides of a narrow pathway . I crossed the bazar and took the road connecting Lar to Chanuki Ghat . After crossing Gandak river I set foot on the dusty road of Sohagara village .

Chhoti Gandak River- Sohagara is on the right of the river

Chhoti Gandak River- Sohagara is on the right of the river

Main Road of Sohagara

Main Road of Sohagara

It happened 39 years back but visuals are still fresh in my memory as if it all happened recently . After that day it became almost a monthly ritual to pass through Lar for onwards journey to Sohagara . In those days I had no friends or acquaintances in Lar . Barring a Mithai / tea shop near Bus Station , I had no place to even sit for some time .

After few years , around 1985 I started working in social field . Now  my visits to Lar became more frequent . From monthly visit to the town , it became almost weekly . I started interacting with people . During my those social service days , I got to know Shri Bhanu Ji and various other people of Lar .

Suddenly life took an unknown turn . It took another route ; a route less travelled , a route not well-known , a route very daunting , a road full of pitfalls . I left Deoria for Mumbai [ then Bombay ] in 1989 and after that my association with Lar was snapped abruptly . I was not able to visit Lar . I did visit Sohagara but I always took another road through Majhauli . Relationships , friendships and all the connections got frozen and they remained in frozen state since then . Lar did remain in my memory but as I said earlier everything remained frozen , dormant .

I was busy in Mumbai . Running acting institute is not an easy task . It took most of my time . Because of the nature of my work , I got used to internet and became active on various social networking sites . Suddenly and unexpectedly life again took another turn and a turn for better . Bhanu Ji’s son Suryendu Kumar caught hold of me through facebook . Ice started melting suddenly . As if ice – age ended and warmth of  life was there again for everyone to feel . Relationships came out of deep-freezer and once again got fresh lease of  life .

In June 2013 I reached Deoria for my annual trip and Bhanu Ji and his son Suryendu Kumar came to meet me . They were kind enough to invite me to inaugurate the new session of their school , ANJANEYA PUBLIC SCHOOL .

I readily accepted the invitation . I started in the morning from Deoria , reached Lar around 8.30 . The town has changed drastically . Chanuki Mod , which was a desolate corner 39 years ago , is bustling with activity and is changed beyond recognition .

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I had tea at Bhanu Ji’s house . Then we proceeded for Matiyara .

Fate is strange . Destiny is mysterious . They play curious games with hidden hands . Once again I was travelling on the same road , which I took 39 years ago for my journey to Sohagara . When I left Deoria , I thought that I would never be able to see the road again . But as I said , destiny plays strange and curious games . 39 years ago it was blistering heat of April and I was walking on the dusty road . And this time it was wet , rain – washed June and I was travelling in a car . But the road was same .

Anjaneya Public School , Matiyara , Lar , Deoria

Anjaneya Public School , Matiyara , Lar , Deoria

I am happy that I agreed to go for the function . It was nice to meet bright boys and girls of ANJANEYA PUBLIC SCHOOL . It was heart-warming to meet some old acquaintances . It was nostalgic to travel on the same road after 22 years .

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On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , which is known as Vidur’s Kreating Charakters  , I wish the boys and girls of ANJANEYA PUBLIC SCHOOL a very bright future .VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Theatre would also like to wish them well in their glorious journey ahead .

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Life At 60 : Sixty Thousand Hits On My Blog


In My Office at Vidur's Kreating Charakters

In My Office at Vidur’s Kreating Charakters

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER 18 , 2012           11.45 P.M.

I write blogs regularly , almost daily on wordpress.com . Its URL is :

http://www.mevidur.wordpress.com

I started writing and posting blogs hesitatingly from March  30 , 2009 . And now after 3 months , in March 2012 , I would be completing 4 momentous years as blogger . It is continuous 3 years and 9 months or 1358 days of blogging till date .

It is so uncanny that yesterday I completed 60th year of my life and simultaneously my blog post got 60,000 hits . Today I entered in the 61st year of my life and my blog space got 60,101 hits .

When I started blogging , I used to get 1 or 2 or maximum 5 hits per day . But from mid November , 2012 , I am getting  more than 100 hits per day . Highest hit in a day on my blog was 628 . It happened when I wrote about the coup of Maldives .

As I was culling the statistics for this blog , it came out as following :

Blogs posted : 370

Categories : 48

Hits : 60,101

Highest Hit In A Day : 628

Tags : 4,775

Followers : 599

Comments : 164

 

Widgets : 25

Countries : 140

It is so heartening that out of 193 countries of the world , people of 140 countries have visited my blog space till date . 53 more countries and the whole world will be in my oyster .

Students of my acting class always comment whenever they happen to visit my blogs written on films .

I started writing this blog while sitting in the office of my acting academy Vidur’s Kreating Charakters and as I am completing it , I am thinking about the uncanny coincidence of my age and hits of the blog .

Life at 60 is turning interesting . Very interesting .

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Life at 60 : No Retirement At The Age Of Retirement


In My Office at Vidur's Kreating Charakters

In My Office at Vidur’s Kreating Charakters

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER 17 , 2012           11.59 P.M.

Yesterday I got a call from my younger brother , Atul  . He was calling from Lucknow and reminded me that today I would be completing 60 years of my existence . Tomorrow 61st year will start and according to government rule , it is time to retire and take rest .

I was bemused . It suddenly dawned on me that all my childhood friends are now leading a retired life and are busy in asinine activities with their grand-children .

Today , when I returned from my acting institute , I got a call from my younger brother , Devesh . He was calling from Jabalpur and he too gently reminded me that it is very important day of my life and now it is time to slow down .

Throughout the day I got calls and messages from my nephews and nieces . Their calls were also a silent and wordless reminder that they have grown up and yes , I am getting old . Or I am rather old .

Life at 60 is definitely different .

It is the time when you become feeble and vulnerable .

It is the time when any uncouth , uncultured and abusive upstart can abuse and threaten you with impunity .

It is the time when you are looking for help , another muscular accomplice keeps a vigil at the door , so that you can’t get any timely succour .

It is the time when you would like to react but have no physical strength to fight or even oppose the brute , his accomplice and his factotum .

It is the time when a person , unworthy of even becoming your peon or a scavenger in your house , can sent you an abusive message on facebook and you have to behave stoically because you are unable to give a tight slap on his abominable face .

It is the time when people working for you and who are family , can be abused and beaten up , and you are unable to protect them and you have to look the other way .

It is the time when you can be called fake by some people who are themselves unscrupulous and unethical .

It is the time when all the credits are usurped and blames are put on your door-steps.

I laughed at turning 60 . When my friends and peers are leading a retired life , I am waging a relentless struggle for my survival .

When my class-mates are leading peaceful life and enjoying fruits of their hard-earned money , I have to wager my house and other belongings and start my professional life from scratch .

When people of my age are playing with their grand children , I am risking my existence , my reputation and 23 years of my life as an acting trainer , tutor or whatever you can call me , and trying to shield myself from continuous and unabated onslaught of a brute , his accomplice and his factotum .

And then I remember phone calls of my brothers . Is it really a day to plan retirement ? Is it time to call it a day ?

No , my work is not over yet . I have to wager my existence , my whole life and prepare for a new Mahabharat . Sound of Krishna‘s Panchajanya is reverberating in my mind . His voice beseeching relentless war against lie and untruth is filling my psyche . As I am writing this blog Robert Frost’s lines are coming to soothe my frayed tempers :

My horse must think it queer ,

To stop without a farm-house near ,

Between the woods and frozen lake ,

The darkest evening of the year .

The woods are lovely dark and deep ,

But I have promises to keep ,

And miles to go before I sleep ,

And miles to go before I sleep !!

I know that I am in minority but I know that I am not alone . Conspirators have their accomplices but I have my benefactors . Children of a lesser God stood with me in my darkest hour . Apart from these 6 people shown in the photograph , 2 more have joined me in my was against lie and injustice .

Children Of A Lesser God

Children Of A Lesser God

Bhishma Pitamah stood to fight , when he was 120 years old . I am half his age . Time is not yet ripe for retirement .

Krishna fought when he was in minority . Chankya fought when was alone . But they defeated mightiest of armies .

I thank all my extended family at Vidur’s Kreating Charakters for standing with me . At the age of 60 , when I have become feeble and vulnerable , they stood with me , became my shield , braced all the hardships , worked without money and still they never complained .

I have to re-pay their debt . So even though government decides to retire people at the age of 60 , I won’t be able to take this luxury .

Battle goes on . The Saga still continues .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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In Search Of My Roots In Bihar


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA                 JUNE 17 , 2011                      11.55 P. M.

This blog is personal in nature , definitely very personal . People who generally visit my blog space , are not going to find it very interesting. But I am writing it for the posterity , for the future generations of my family. Youngsters of my family should know about our roots and traditions and should get familiar with the family history and the place of our ancestors, even if it is through the photos.

Map of Sultanpur District of U.P.showing Amethi

Map of Sultanpur District of U.P.showing Amethi

We originally hail from Amethi, Sultanpur , a district in Uttar Pradesh. then known as United Provinces of Agra & Awadh. We were Raj Guru of a particular clan of Thakur chieftains of Amethi, known as Amethiya Rajputs. Few centuries ago during British era , a branch of Amethiya Rajputs , in search of greener pastures , left their native place Amethi and came and settled in Sohagara village in the erstwhile Saran district of Bihar. This district is now known as Siwan and is situated on the banks of Ghaghara river a.k.a. Chhoti Gandak.

Map of Siwan District of Bihar showing Sohagara Village

Map of Siwan District of Bihar showing Guthani Block of Sohagara Village

[ On the South-Western corner of the map is Guthani Block. Sohagara and Bishunpura villages come under the jurisdiction of Guthani Block  and are situated on the banks of Ghaghara ( Chhoti Gandak ) , where borders of Bihar end and borders of Uttar Pradesh begin. ]

Amethiya Rajputs bought land in Sohagara and settled there. Later on , a branch of their Raj Gurus also followed them and came and settled in Sohagara. They also bought large swath of land and properties and made Sohagara their home , completely forgetting Amethi of Sultanpur district.

Main Road of Sohagara

Main Road of Sohagara Village , still pristine

Another Road of Sohagara Village

Another Road of Sohagara Village

[ I clicked these two photographs when I visited Sohagara recently .  These two village roads are still pristine and primitive .]

Chhoti Gandak River- Sohagara is on the right of the river

Chhoti Gandak River- Sohagara is on the right of the river

[ My wife is partly seen in this photo in yellow sari , taking water from the river before worshipping our family deity ]

I don’t know how many centuries had gone since my forefathers came and settled in Sohagara. How many wet monsoons came and drenched them , how many thunder and lightning frightened them in dark nights, how many grey , dreary and dull winters came , tormented them and then went away , how many scorching summer greeted my forefathers with all the furies …. I don’t know but I know for sure that they survived in their new adopted land. Far away from Amethi , my ancestors made Sohagara their home and gradually prospered.

This Brich House is being made , Where my Ancestral House used to be before1875

This Brick House is being made , Where my Ancestral House used to be before1873

This Brich House is being made , Where my Ancestral House used to be before1875

This Brick House is being made , Where my Ancestral House used to be before 1873

[ Two photographs , which are given here , show a house under construction . This house is being constructed on the plot of land , where my ancestral house stood once. My forefathers lived in that house , which was made of mud and tiles. ]

We trace our known family history from Ram Charitra Chaturvedi. He was my great-great-grandfather. He was the person who left Sohagara with his two grown up sons, Shrikrishna Chaturvedi and Raghunandan Chaturvedi , came to Sonbarasa in the erstwhile Gorakhpur district of Uttar Pradesh and settled there. This part of Gorakhpur district is now known as Deoria. Of his two sons , the elder one , Shrikrishna Chaturvedi was my great-grandfather.

This incident of leaving Sohagara happened in 1873. So once again my family came to Uttar Pradesh. From Amethi of Uttar Pradesh to Sohagara of Bihar and then again to Deoria of Uttar Pradesh, it was like completing a full circle. But leaving one’s place is not an easy thing for anyone. So what was the cause of this migration ?

Our family tradition says that Sohagara was frequently attacked and plundered by some nomadic tribes. Those aggressive and barbarous nomads used to burn crops and loot the valuables. My forefathers , to eliminate the tyranny once and forever, fought them once and in the ensuing battle which was fought with lathis , spears and trident , a pregnant tribal woman got killed. Before her death, she cursed our forefathers that the clan of Chaturvedis would never prosper in Sohagara. After that fight and their subsequent defeat , nomadic tribes left Sohagara . They never returned. But King of Majhauli , who was the tax-collector and owner of the village , wanted to punish my forefathers for the killing of the tribal woman. So my great-great-grandfather , after consulting his well-wishers and after giving due consideration to all the pros and cons, left Sohagara in 1875 for good and made Sonbarasa his new home in Deoria district.

Map of Deoria District of U.P. showing Salempur where our Village Sonbarsa is located

Map of Deoria District of U.P. showing Salempur where our Village Sonbarsa is located

Thought they left the Sohagara village and started living in Sonbarsa, they still kept their agricultural land in Sohagara and even bought agricultural land in another nearby village Bishunpura. Our family members used to go there and used to manage the agricultural property. This happened till my time , precisely till 1989 , before I left Deoria and came and settled in Mumbai. There after my visits dwindled.

My land in Bishunpura Village of Bihar , village is being seen in the foreground

My land in Bishunpura Village of Bihar , village is being seen in the foreground

My land in Bishunpura village in Bihar, village is seen in the foreground

My land in Bishunpura village in Bihar, village is seen in the foreground

I visited Sohagara this year , in June 2011 after a gap of almost 15 years. Vast swath of agricultural land , which was maintained and held by us till 2000 , have been sold. Sohagara and Bishunpura , both the villages , were managed by my family even after Ran Charitra Chaturvedi’s migration from the village in 1873 , But alas ! everything was disposed off during my tenure . I am not blaming anyone . I was also part of the sin and crime. We started selling the property at the time of my younger sister Neelima’s marriage in 1993 and within 7 years everything was sold off.

Ancestral property is like heritage and we are supposed to be only the trustees and not the owners of that property. As our forefathers bequeathed the property to us , it is one’s pious duty to maintain that property and bequeath it to their progeny. From 1873 to 2000 , these villages were maintained for almost 127 years and now they are gone and gone forever. My great-grandfather Shrikrishna Chaturvedi , my grandfather Kunj Bihari Chaturvedi and my father Lakshmi Kant Chatuevedi took every care to maintain these villages. But today , after 138 years of the migration of my great-great-grandfather, as I write this blog after visiting Sohagara , I am sorry to say that I was unable to maintain and take care of this heritage. I betrayed my ancestor’s trust and faith . I don’t know what would I say to them when I will face them after my death ? How would I face them , when I will meet them after my death ?

The house in the photo , is the residence of Ram Nageena Singh , a burly scion of Amethiya Rajputs who came and settled here. For four generations of my ancestors this house served as the residence cum administrative headquarters. After almost a century , it still stands there calmly and bears silent testimony of my forefather’s toil , strife and difficulties , which they faced while maintaining these lands. I have spent many days and nights in this house , when I used to visit these villages during Summer. Some times my stay was for a week or even for a fortnight at a stretch.

House of Ram Nageena Singh at Sohagara , Purab Patti

House of Ram Nageena Singh at Sohagara , Purab Patti

Sohagara is a beautiful village. It is still quite primitive and pristine . It has grand Shiva temple , believed to have been built by demon king Banasur.

Shiva Temple of Sohagara built by Demon King Banasur

Shiva Temple of Sohagara built by Demon King Banasur

The Lingam in Sanctum Sanctorum , My Wife & Sister paying Obeisance

The Lingam in Sanctum Sanctorum , My Wife & Sister paying Obeisance

Apart from this Shiva temple , Sohagara also has a ramshackle temple of my family deity. Family tradition says that a lady of my family committed Sati after the death of her husband. Later on in her memory a temple was built on the same spot where funeral pyre was lit . I don’t know who will visit these temples after my death. May be my family deity will wait endlessly and that too in vain for my future generations to come and pay obeisance. Who knows what will happen ? May be her temple will be forgotten in future . May be none from my family will visit her . May be this dilapidated place will succumb to the vagaries of nature’s fury and in some distant future will completely vanish from the earth. Or may be rampaging waters of Ghaghara will change its course and engulf the place during some monsoons and there will be no trace of even the very place. No one knows .

Loss of Sohagara is painful . It is not only loss of property but it is loss of a whole tradition , loss of our clan’s history and family folklore .

Ramshackle Temple of my Family Deity , My Wife & Sister at the left

Ramshackle Temple of my Family Deity , My Wife & Sister at the left

Ramshackle Temple of my Family Deity Kul Devi , my wife is inside

Ramshackle Temple of my Family Deity Kul Devi , my wife is inside

Me & My Wife in front of Ramshackle Temple of my Family Deity , Kul Devi

Me & My Wife in front of Ramshackle Temple of my Family Deity , Kul Devi

I started writing this blog after my Sohagara visit , when I was still in Deoria. I could not complete it because of my hectic schedules. Then I returned to Mumbai. As I was returning to Mumbai after 15 days , my schedules went haywire and I couldn’t complete the blog . I am finally completing it today and posting it on my blog space.

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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