Monday, February 12, 2007

Katra Bi Arzoo

Sholay, a name all the Indians are very well familiar of. A movie, even after three decades still looks fresh and entertaining.

But how many of us really know that what state India was passing through when this movie was released in 1975?

‘Emergency’, a word which still creates waves of shivering among many non congress families. In the June 1975, the Election of Mrs. Indira Gandhi was declared null and void by Justice Sinha of Allahabad High Court and unseated her from the Lok Sabha. Not only that, court also banned her from contesting any elections for next six years. Though a resignation on the moral ground was expected from her, she chose the other way and declared Emergency in India. The Indian National Congress of Ahimshavadi Mahatma Gandhi sat a new record of torture, humiliation, dictatorship, and cruelty in the history of independent India for long one and half year.

Katra Bi Arzoo by Dr. Rahi Masoom Raza is the heart touching novel on the state of emergency in India. I have read a couple of books on Indian emergency but this is something different. A 250 pages novel roams around the very very common man of India, whose course of life was decided by the Smt Indira Gandhi and his son Sanjay Gandhi.

Billo, Desh, Asharam Badar, Shahnaj, Prema are some names who lived in the neighborhood called Katra Bi Arzoo and they innocently saw little big dreams for their small lives despite their poverty and hunger. They did tremendous efforts and hard work for those little dreams and at the time of achievement not only those dreams but also their lives were shattered by that emergency. It is stunning to read how their bodies and souls were crushed under the heels of Smt Gandhi and how an unmarried guy who was saving money for marrying his beloved was forcefully sterilized on the name of family planning drive planned by Sanjay Gandhi.

Novel very dramatically describes the then state of India. Most of the opposition leaders were thrown in the darkness of imprisonment. Newspapers were stopped and no other source was there to provide platform to the voice of public. Only AIR was being aired for propagating ‘how emergency was a boon for Indian people’. Police was given full authority for witch hunting on the name of MISA. Millions of people were jailed and personal scores were settled for the sake of ‘politics’. New records of sycophancy were set by many congress leaders. 'Indira is India and India is Indira' was the mantra of such leaders. So many so called intellectuals of today jumped in the feet of Indira Gandhi with their pens and ink. And those who dared to stand against her had to go through hell. (I know it personally, as my own maternal uncle had to go underground and later serve one month imprisonment during emergency only because he was activist of RSS.)

Dr. Rahi has used very typical street language which does not let a reader realize that he is reading a book or watching things happening in front of eyes. One may find this book very dramatic and sensational. But this should keep in mind once of all that this book in not at all a fiction. It really happened. But for what?

For protecting a seat of Lok Sabha? Great!
PS. I wonder how people enjoyed Sholay those days when the whole country was burning?


shazia zaidi said...

hey..nice work!!! i have read this novel n its really pathetic to note dat.....during those scary the people enjoyed "sholey" d block buster movie..when dere was chaos in d whole country .....those were the worst period in independent india...but i still believe dat common people like ..."desh n billo " hadn't enjoyed d movie...but d so called local "Mehnaj n Jokhan" have enjoyed d movie.....

varun said...

please tell me the name of the publication