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Poems of Joke Kaviaar

Joke Kaviaar
(Joke Kaviaar is a Dutch human rights activist and political poet. Who is facing 6 months of jail sentence. In recent years she has been struggling for equal human rights to ‘people-without-papers’. The state of the Netherlands sees her -therefore- as a threat to homeland security and forced her to censor all her poetry and art work. She – of course – refused, but is now facing prison for not complying to the call for self-censorship on her art work. The state wants to criminalize her words and actions under the term ‘intent to terrorism’. This is yet another instance of severe violation of principles of free speech and basic human rights. Ironically in the Netherlands, the country that hosts the human rights tribunal in The Hague. These poems were originally written in Dutch and translated by poet herself. — Editor)

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Write it – Ignite it!

Charged with the crime of speaking your mind
You better shut up – or we’ll lock you up

It is time to define we got the right to incite
Call out! Call out! Call out! Call out!

We gotta write it – ignite it
Burn the prosecution
and the ministry of justice!

We gotta light it and fight it
Burn down the profits
of the prisons, institutions!

Charged with the crime of speaking your mind
It is time now to fight – Not to listen to the lies

They make ya do time for a thought crime
Only one solution is to call out revolution!

One solution: Revolution!

Charged with the crime of speaking your mind
Down with the nations – Stop deportations!

It is time to define we got the right to incite
Call out! Call out! Call out! Call out!

We gotta write it – ignite it
Burn the prosecution
and the ministry of justice!

We gotta light it and fight it
Burn down the profits
of the prisons, institutions!

Charged with the crime of speaking your mind
Down with the borders – Fuck law and order!

They make ya do time for a thought crime
Only one solution is to call out revolution!


Beat the borders!

Who is telling us where to go and
where to stay and who says NO to
questions asked, permits applied for?
Who declared the immigrants war?

Who is standing in our way and
who is law and who is paid for
stamps to give, entrance denied to
those that tried to make it up here?

Who makes money and has a say in
who gets locked up, has to pay
for being here or being there and
either way nowhere is safe, – Let’s..

Take no orders
Let’s beat the borders
Let’s cross the lines
Let’s ignore the signs

Who’s responsible, who is rich and
who is pulling strings, and which
politicians do not lie or cry them
crocodile tears when you die?

All they ever do is take, turning
people into slaves, turning slavery
into profit, turning profit into property
into poverty for you and for me!

There is no reason to obey, living
lives that lead to the grave
Let’s be standing in the way,
make a difference, start today, – Let’s

Take no orders
Let’s beat the borders
Let’s cross the lines
Let’s ignore the signs


Collateral Damage

This war, it isn’t safe for our soldiers
Assassins crawling all over the place
It’s not even safe for our armored trucks

We keep sending the bodies back home
Bags with bones and flesh and blood
To be the heroes we need to create

It is part of our duty, the price that we pay
And the whole world is paying attention
as mothers and children cry, flags raised

As we pray for our martyrs, their honor
The just cause we pretend it to be,
this war to be played out inevitably

All so far away from our homes
claiming just another bare necessity
or mercy, peace, international ease

We can’t tell you that it is propaganda
but the truth of politics, it belongs to us
No interests, no secret agenda, say hush-

We’re only in it for the oil
We’re only in it for the soil
We’re in it for power, you know
Human rights? My ass! No show

To hell with them refugees
To hell with them deportees
To hell with these so called liberties
It ‘s only collateral damage, you see

as another childs dream is blown to smithereens!


SLAVES OF US

Let’s forget about those slaves of us
they’re not really here
they are not really there
they are the unseen
they’re not even between
a wall of concrete
and a door one way open
not even between us, the unseen

they are nameless, faceless
criminals, hookers, don’t have any papers
they are ‘they’
they are nowhere and all over the place
say they’ve been stripped whipped ripped and clipped
but they are no slaves of mine
’cause I am not feeding
and they’re not the slaves of my neighbour
’cause he’s not needing

So let’s forget about those enslaved by us
we don’t really know about it
can not even be proud of it
we are the ones clean
the ones that never have been
nor judge nor jury
at the gallows of starvation
not one us has seen

all those nameless and faceless
we are builders, colonists, traders
we are ‘we’
we are everywhere and on top of it all
we’re the ones used and accused but excused
’cause they are no slaves of us
they simply don’t exist
they pretend, offend, they intend to take over
all that we’ve built for us

So how can they be slaves of us
as their shackles are made of cotton
as our mercy is forgotten?
All they do is prey on us
lean on us, invade us
that’s why they are no slaves of us
we are even prepared to pay
just to make them go away
Sure we will pay to
forget about those slaves of us


SALT

My tear strikes a ripple into an ocean
The ocean says nothing of it
An even smile That is all

My paddles can make more waves
So I splatter and
the ocean pulls a grin
of foam around its lips

Tell me, human!
Will there be no more crying?
Out of so little tears
I can’t make any crystal
Grief on earth must be over!

No, I say
We’ve run out of tears and
this was the last one I had

Ever since,
the ocean, again and again,
tries to overthrow
my little ship


Lady, You Are Safe With Me

Lady,
you are safe with me
like money in a bank
Do not be ashamed for me
In me you can confide
I am the good guy
the law on my side
I’ll listen
I’ll write
We’ll make a report

So
you thought you were promised
by these men,
a career in the spotlights,
in dressing room mirrors
where the face of a poor girl
would soon fade away
behind glamourous make up

You were one of the lucky girls
to escape the stripped land
to escape the sick water
The rape, the stoning, the razorsharp knife

So
you thought this was
Your opportunity to make it
An airway to freedom
paved with drifting clouds
You’d send
money home to mama
A flow of finances
laced with lipstick
and ‘wish you well’s’

So
you dug up the coins
you had secretly saved
in a hole in the ground
to pay for the trip
You could earn the rest later
as soon as you got settled down
in a furnished appartment Up-Town
High above the dirt
Windows so large
you’d forget they were there
and the light in the sky
would forever change the eye
of the innocent child from the wild
and her coconut smile
So
you came here
in a box of death,
You’d been wondering
why everyone else kept so quiet

So quiet

They
must have been tired
Must have been afraid
They must have been told
not a sound to make
So you figured
you just had to wait

So
you woke up
when they opened the truck
and told you
that you were there
in this world where
the rain was made of champagne
where all of your misery
would soon be forgotten
in the rush of
the hush new reality,
and in that truck
was this familiar smell,
and in that truck
there was no-one that could tell
where you came from

But hey,
You were there!
and from now on
all you had to do was to
Just follow the man

You lost your bag
You lost your cash
You lost your sense of direction

You lost your passport
You lost your rags
You lost but soon would win Just trust the man
’cause you’re exotic
A special brand of bush bush bitch

So
you were given new underwear
Unworthy of a girl like you
You were given a new name
for whitey easy to pronounce

So
you thought
you’d be a model
You were chosen
to parade down the aisle
You would be rewarded
by this body builder Caucasian male
with a hairy chest

Bad breath
Bad manners So
you wanted to leave
To walk away from
all you were about to become…

SHAME!

but you never did walk away
and there were many more
teeth-missing
nose-dripping
smelly-feet
unzipping burping
filthy-fingered
crude-no-rubbers-creatures
for you in store
until all that was left of you
was what I see before me

A bony clap spreading prostitute
Worth nomore
than five bucks
for a blow job given
in a dark corner
of a sleazy establishment
to young kids,
still the smell of
yesterday’s diapers
babylotion children
that could learn from you
what women are for

You would still be there,
swollowing,
If it wasn’t for us

But
we want to catch the big boys
the ones with the balls and the bills
So we need you
We need your statement

So you need us
to read to you
what you just said
and to tell you
where to sign

Lady,
you are safe with me
like a package in the mail
What did you say your name was?
We’ll make a report
We’ll make them pay
their taxes

and we regret
to have to inform you
that there is no way
that you can stay
in our nation
of liberty and equality
without a work-permit,
without a curriculum vitae,
without a proper address

This case is closed
and so are the frontiers
that you
unlawfully crossed

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January 11, 2013 Posted by | कविता, Breaking with the old ideas, culture, movements, poetry | Leave a comment

Fast unto Death

August 22, 2011 Posted by | Art, cartuns, culture, images, Media, movements, news | Leave a comment

Interview with Julian Assange

(This is a transcript of a very important interview of Julian Assange taken by Laura Emmett for rt.com. He talks about Arab ‘Revolutions’, Media, Internet, The facebook phenomina and Wikileaks itself in a clear and coherent manner. The video of the interview can be watched here.)

RT: Julian, thank you for talking to RT. Now, through the course of your work, you have some insight into the way that political decisions are made throughout the world. What do you make of the recent developments in the Middle East and North Africa at the moment? Do you think that we are seeing genuine social unrest or are we seeing some kind of orchestrated revolt and if so, who do you think is behind all this?

JA: There is genuine change in some parts of the Middle East. I mean Egypt is a clear case. I was concerned at the beginning over the Egyptian revolution: whether we just saw a changing of the chairs and the maintenance of the same existing power structure, or whether something was really happening.

But after Mubarak fled Cairo, you saw mini-revolutions occurring in every institution within Egypt, from Alexandria to Cairo. So, that’s the sort of change that’s hard to undo.

What’s happening in some other countries is a bit different. The situation in Libya clearly has an involvement of state actors in it from many different areas. That’s something that has been driven by state actors. Now, it is normal for neighboring countries to have interconnections with each other: the activists in different countries, families in different countries, businesses in different countries, and the states from neighboring countries. That’s normal.

When outside forces from very, very far-flung countries start to take an aggressive role in a regional affair, then we have to look a bit more and say that what is going on is not normal. So, what’s happening in Libya, for example, is not normal. Continue reading

May 7, 2011 Posted by | A World to Win, articles, Breaking with the old ideas, culture, Education, History, Media, movements | Leave a comment

Egypt: disturbing trends above, contradictory trends below

A World to Win News Service.

Recent events in Egypt indicate attempts by the US-backed military regime to restabilize the situation on a basis that goes against the aspirations and expectations of many of the youth and others who toppled Hosni Mubarak.

The attacks on women demonstrators in Cairo 8 March were a weather vane. There is a rising cold wind representing a convergence between the regime, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists as a force standing against basic social change, and what must be frankly seen as the force of tradition and backwardness that is contending with the people’s deep longing for liberation.

What was called for as a “Million Woman March” on International Women’s Day, in a reference to one of the final demonstrations before Mubarak was forced out, did not reach its goals. The crowd in Tahrir Square numbered only a few hundred or a thousand at most, according to news reports. But it was extremely important in two ways. First, the radicality and relevance of its demands for equal rights for women can be seen in the viciousness with which it was attacked. Second, it brought together a broad section of women, especially but not only young, including women wearing hijab (head scarves) and those whose heads were defiantly uncovered. Some men came out with them as well. These are brave forces with broad roots who are determined to keep the movement going forward.

The protest was surrounded by a far larger crowd of men, who heckled them and chanted that women’s place is in the home. There was a long period of shouting and debate. Some men argued that this demonstration, held in honour of the martyrs of the anti-Mubarak movement as well as demanding rights for women, was an insult to men. They were incensed by the women’s demand that women be allowed to run for the presidency, since, they said, women shouldn’t be involved in politics at all.

The women persisted in the face of verbal and physical abuse and danger. Many argued vigorously with their accusers. Groups of women and men fought to free women who were being grabbed at and abused. Army security forces in the square did not intervene, except to fire shots in the air at the end as the demonstrators were finally forced to withdraw. Continue reading

March 31, 2011 Posted by | A World to Win, articles, Breaking with the old ideas, communalism, culture, History, kashmir, movements | Leave a comment

STANDARD OIL CO.

by Pablo Neruda

When the drill bored down toward the stony fissures
and plunged its implacable intestine
into the subterranean estates,
and dead years, eyes of the ages,
imprisoned plants’ roots
and scaly systems
became strata of water,
fire shot up through the tubes
transformed into cold liquid,
in the customs house of the heights,
issuing from its world of sinister depth,
it encountered a pale engineer
and a title deed.

However entangled the petroleum’s arteries may be,
however the layers may change their silent site
and move their sovereignty amid the earth’s bowels,
when the fountain gushes its paraffin foliage,
Standard Oil arrived beforehand
with its checks and it guns,
with its governments and its prisoners.

Their obese emperors from New York
are suave smiling assassins
who buy silk, nylon, cigars
petty tyrants and dictators.

They buy countries, people, seas, police, county councils,
distant regions where the poor hoard their corn
like misers their gold:
Standard Oil awakens them,
clothes them in uniforms, designates
which brother is the enemy.
the Paraguayan fights its war,
and the Bolivian wastes away
in the jungle with its machine gun.

A President assassinated for a drop of petroleum,
a million-acre mortgage,
a swift execution on a morning mortal with light, petrified,
a new prison camp for subversives,
in Patagonia, a betrayal, scattered shots
beneath a petroliferous moon,
a subtle change of ministers
in the capital, a whisper
like an oil tide,
and zap, you’ll see
how Standard Oil’s letters shine above the clouds,
above the seas, in your home,
illuminating their dominions.

Translated by Jack Schmitt

March 9, 2011 Posted by | Art, कविता, culture, movements, poetry, video | Leave a comment

The voice of my protest

Dear Friends,
Twenty nine organizations and many individuals in West Bengal have organized a citizens’ campaign against Operation Green Hunt “Operation Green Hunt-virodhi Nagarik Andolan” to raise the popular voice against the war being waged by the state against people and the rampant violation of democratic and human rights, all in order to facilitate to taking over of natural resources by corporate interests.

The Operation Green Hunt-virodhi Nagarik Andolan plans to conduct a sustained campaign against all aspects of Operation Green Hunt and expose the larger economic designs behind it to the general public. As the first among the series of campaign actions, a day long public cultural protest action, “The Voice of My Protest” is planned in the heart of Kolkata on 18th December, 2010, from 10 am onwards. Cultural activists from all over Bengal and beyond will participate in this programme to express their protests against state repression and the corporate looting of resources in the name of Operation Green Hunt.

December 17, 2010 Posted by | A World to Win, culture, movements, news, statements, tribal life | Leave a comment

The Unknown Cultural Revolution – Life and change in a Chinese village

(Dongping Han grew up in China during the Cultural Revolution and now teaches in the U.S. He is the author of the book The Unknown Cultural Revolution—Life and Change in a Chinese Village. Following is an abridged version of the session at the end of a speech he gave in December 2008 at the New York symposium “Rediscovering the Chinese Cultural Revolution: Art and Politics, Lived Experience, Legacies of Liberation,” sponsored by Revolution Books, Set the Record Straight Project and Institute for Public Knowledge-New York University. The full version appeared in the 6 September 2009 issue of Revolution, voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. (revcom.us))

Question: You went back to China in 1986. When did you and others like you start to see that things were different, that China had become very different than what it had been during the Cultural Revolution?

Dongping Han: I think people realized right away. The land was privatized in China in 1983. Many people tend to think that farmers are stupid and ignorant. But I think the farmers are very intelligent people. Many of them realized the implications of private farming right away. That was why they resisted it very hard in the beginning. And in my village and in other villages I surveyed, the overwhelming majority of people, 90 percent, said the Communist Party no longer cares about poor people. Right away they felt this way. The Communist Party, the cadres, no longer cared about poor people in the countryside. The government investment in rural areas in the countryside dropped from 15 percent in the national budget in 1970s to only 3-4 percent in the ’80s. So the Chinese public realized that the Chinese government no longer cared about them by disbanding the communes. But I was in college at the time and I didn’t start to think about the issue very hard until 1986.

Q: Can you explain a little bit more how the Cultural Revolution came to your village?

DH: The Cultural Revolution started slowly. Before the start of the Cultural Revolution, there was a call to start to study Mao’s works. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army came to the village to read Chairman Mao’s works. They held performances in the village. They came to people’s home to teach people to read Mao’s three classic articles: “Serve the People”, “In Memory of Norman Bethune” and “The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains”. They explained to the villagers what these articles were about. After the PLA soldiers left, many school children, like myself, started to teach villagers about Mao’s works as well. When the central government announced the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, high school and middle school students left their schools, and began to write big character posters in the streets. The high school students dragged 20 of their teachers to the marketplace and denounced them publicly and shaved off half their hair in front of a big crowd. I do not think that most people knew what the Cultural Revolution would be like at the beginning.

Many students began to publish newspapers and pamphlets. There were so many pamphlets at the time, criticizing government officials. In the beginning they were mostly written by students. Not long after this, farmers and workers began to write them as well. There was so much information going on at the time. Later on, there was a group of high school and middle school students from my county that travelled all the way to Beijing to see Chairman Mao. When they came back in August 1966, they began to organize into different Red Guard factions. They started to organize mass rallies to criticize the county and commune leaders. All officials were under some kind of popular scrutiny and attack at the time.

Almost everybody, I would say 90 percent of the population, was part of a mass organization.

I was in third grade at that time. Five of my friends and I also organized a Red Guard organization. We designed our Red Guard symbols and began to publish a single page newspaper. We collected enough money to get a hand printer to print our newspaper. In my school there were 13 small newspapers. We would recruit others and write something and go to the marketplace to distribute it to the people. That’s how it started. There were big character posters everywhere. The village streets were plastered with big character posters, mostly criticizing village leaders. Before the Cultural Revolution, the village leaders had a lot of power. They normally didn’t work in the field and they would eat and drink a lot at the village’s expense. And the Cultural Revolution held them to task. That’s how it started actually.

In all these activities with the big character posters, all were written by the farmers themselves. And I remember some of the farmers who didn’t know how to write. They came to us, they came to the school kids, and we would write it for them. So it was a very mobilizing movement. Everybody in the village was touched by that.

The reason the officials are corrupt today and were not during the Cultural Revolution years is because the masses were really empowered. There was always a mass meeting every night and all the government policies and directives were read to the farmers. And it was required by the government at the time. They were read to the farmers and then the farmers discussed these documents, so everybody knew what was going on and why. The reason why the Chinese people were eager to read and willing to recite Mao’s works at the time is because they found what Mao said represented their best interests. And Mao said what they wanted to hear. For example Mao’s article “To Serve the People” is only one and a half pages long. But in this short article Mao elaborated on how a communist official should behave. A communist official shouldn’t have any self interests. He should work for the people and serve the people. They should care about the poor people and the farmers. They should welcome criticism. If they were not doing something right, they should change it for the sake of the people. This is all something the farmers never heard and they wanted to hear.

Q: Why during that time, during those 10 years of the Cultural Revolution, was there no effort made to purge the Communist Party of the right-wing capitalist roaders?

DH: The Cultural Revolution was not to purge people, it was to educate the people. Many of the capitalist roaders had fought for the revolution and made important contributions to the Chinese revolution. It was an accepted traditional idea that those who fight for the revolution should enjoy the privileges when the revolution succeeded. It was not enough to purge these people. The problem was the old traditional ideas. So the Cultural Revolution was to do away with the traditional ideas and educate the people through mobilizing the farmers and the workers. I think if there was no coup in 1976, I doubt that this government apparatus would have changed by itself. It happened because there was a coup. But I don’t think to purge people is a solution either. I remember during the Cultural Revolution there were some high officials in my county who encouraged their own children to work with the farmers and to ask for the most difficult assignments and tasks to build their character. It seemed that these high officials did change with the change of social climate during the Cultural Revolution years. But when the social climate changed, they changed back.

Most people were not aware that there was a coup in 1976. Mao’s wife and three other important leaders were arrested. And there was a very extensive purge throughout China. Hundreds of thousands of people who supported the Cultural Revolution were arrested right away. Some people argue that Mao should have killed Deng Xiaoping and a few others to prevent the arrest of the Gang of Four. Maybe he should have, but he did not.

Q: Could you paint a picture comparing what the average daily life was like for you and your family during the Cultural Revolution compared to, on the one hand communism before the Cultural Revolution, and then compared to your family now in capitalist China?

DH: The Cultural Revolution was launched because the Great Leap Forward failed. It failed partly because there was a 100-year natural disaster on the one hand. On the other hand, it failed because communist officials in the villages were not really socialist yet. They ordered farmers to do too much and they themselves didn’t want to work hard. There was not enough to eat during the Great Leap Forward because of the natural disasters on the one hand and mismanagement on the other. So the reason I think the Cultural Revolution was launched by Mao was that he realized at the time that the Chinese officials needed to be educated and that the Chinese people needed to be educated through a socialist movement. That’s why he mobilized the Chinese farmers to criticize the officials in the village. And of course, I was too young, I don’t remember too much about the Great Leap Forward. But during the Cultural Revolution, I remember very well. I was working in the fields with the farmers and at that time in the rural areas, each village had a production brigade, and each brigade was divided into several production teams. In my village there were eight production teams. Each production team had about 40 families. We elected five production team leaders each year. We had a production team head, a woman leader, an accountant, a cashier, and a store keeper. Before the Cultural Revolution these people were appointed by the village leaders and the village leaders were appointed by the commune leaders. It was not democratically elected. During the Cultural Revolution years, these production team leaders were elected by the farmers.

We worked in the fields together. Everybody came out and worked together. And at the end of the day the cashier would record how many people worked that day. And at the end of the year, when the harvest came in, the village accountant, together with the production team accountant, would develop a distribution plan. Seventy percent of the grain was distributed according to how many people you had in your family. Thirty percent was distributed according to how much you worked in the collective. So if you did not work in the fields, you were still entitled to 70 percent of the grain from the collective. That was the distribution on the production team level. There was also distribution at the production brigade level. The village owned many enterprises. After putting away money for a welfare fund, money to purchase new equipment and so on, the village would distribute its income according to how much you had worked in the collective. The collective also produced vegetables, fruits, peanuts and we also raised pigs. These would be distributed to villagers regularly according to the same distribution schedule as grain was distributed. We also purchased fish, wine, cigarettes collectively with the money earned by the village enterprises, and this was distributed to each family on important occasions like Chinese New Year and other holidays. We got almost all our supplies from the collective.

After the Cultural Revolution years, I went to college and my two sisters who used to work for the village, found jobs in a state-owned factory in the early ’80s. Now the factory has been sold and my two sisters have been unemployed since 1996. My younger sister is still working in the village, as the village cashier now. My village is doing well compared with other villages. Life has changed dramatically in the countryside. I think for most working class people, life has changed for the worse. Even though they may get more money, they have lost benefits like free medical care and free education of the socialist past. They now have to pay for their education. They have to pay for their medical care. Most farmers cannot afford the medical care. If they are sick for a small problem, they just endure the problem. If they are sick for a big problem, they just wait to die. Many of them say they do not want to leave a big debt for their children by going to the hospital. The medical care is very expensive now and it is beyond the reach of most farmers and working class people in urban areas.

Q: Could you talk a little about what the cultural life was like in your village and how that changed?

DH: Before the Cultural Revolution, Chinese performing arts were mostly about talented young men and beautiful ladies, kings, generals and so on. That’s what the Chinese traditional plays were about. During the Cultural Revolution, there was a surge of a new kind of art. Every village at the time had a group of farmer artists and they played instruments, sang revolutionary songs, danced revolutionary dances, and staged revolutionary plays. There was some kind of performance in the village almost every night. These performances became educational tools. Revolutionary ideas spread because of these revolutionary performances. And it was very powerful. But of course today you don’t see that any more in the countryside. But if you go to China today, you can still see older people singing the revolutionary songs in parks and public spaces to entertain themselves.

Q: In the movies that we see about China and the Cultural Revolution, there is a representation of people being picked up and tried by popular tribunals and paraded around town, punished. My question is: where does this image come from, did you hear about things like this in China, how widespread was this?

DH: That image was from the Cultural Revolution years. For a few weeks in the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, many Chinese officials were being criticized on the stage. That was very common. I saw it many times. I would say most government officials went through some of that at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution. At the same time, I would argue, many of these people deserved some kind of punishment. They had made mistakes in their work. And because of their mistakes, people suffered. People were looking for ways to air their anger. In the villages, the struggle against village leaders was more gentle and peaceful.

These public struggle sessions to deal with officials who committed crimes and made mistakes were different ways of dealing with these people. After they were struggled with for a day or two, they were allowed to go free. They were taught a lesson by the people. In the U.S. people are sent to prison. I still think this public education during the Cultural Revolution was very effective, not only to educate the village officials, but also everybody else. After the session, they were free. So I don’t think that was a bad practice. I think it was a very good practice.

Q: What about the situation in China now, particularly the economic crisis and how you think that’s working itself out, especially in the rural areas, but more generally?

DH: The Chinese government is faced with a huge challenge today and the Chinese government officials themselves have admitted that on many occasions. Some people estimate that there are 100 incidents involving more than 100 people challenging the government and 300 incidents involving less than 100 challenging the government each day. I read in a document about an incident in Guangdong province where three police officers stopped a car without a license plate and upon further check they found the driver without a driver’s license. But the three people came out the car and yelled that the police are harassing people and about 2,000 people came out. They turned the police car upside down and set it on fire. The government is warning the police to be careful because the tension between the people and the government is very high.

And there are a lot of people in the countryside who are very angry with the township government. I was told by a farmer about an incident in a rural township. The party secretary was taking a nap one day. But about 100 farmers ,who were angry with the township government’s decision to move the market to a different place, went to his bedroom. They actually dragged him by his four limbs into the marketplace and threw him up into the air for a half hour. They didn’t hit him. They just toyed with him for a half hour. In the end the government had to remove him from office because he had become an embarrassment for the government. This happened last year. There was another government official who was beaten by the farmers. The villagers wanted him to take a patient to the hospital. He refused. He said that not everyone could ride in his car. The farmers almost killed him, but the government didn’t punish the people who did it. So I think the government realizes how tense its relationship is with the masses.

In the old days, the Chinese government officials came to the village and worked with the farmers. And today they don’t do that. They come to the village in big cars, only to get money from farmers and to enforce the one child policy… I think the government has a legitimacy crisis. The Chinese government was able to survive the challenges of the Great Leap Forward posed by unprecedented natural disasters and mismanagement by its officials because of the socialist legitimacy. I don’t think it will be able to survive any challenges close to that of the Great Leap Forward.

Q: Could you talk about what happened during the coup in 1976 and also how that whole period was being understood where you were?

DH: I still remember where I was on 9 September 1976. At 4 o’clock that day, I was walking with my friend outside the village when the loudspeaker said there was a very important announcement. And we immediately realized something was wrong. And they said Chairman Mao had passed away. I don’t know how I walked home that day. I remember that everybody around me was crying. Finally I reached home. My father cried all the way home from his factory. When my grandpa died he didn’t cry. He gathered the family together and he said, today our poor people’s sky has fallen and we do not know what life will be like tomorrow. At the time, I thought, in my heart, how could that be possible? We have built the socialist state. How could the poor people’s sky fall just because Chairman Mao died?

It turned out that my father was right. When the Gang of Four was arrested, the Chinese government said the people were really happy. That was not true. In my home town many young people really respected Jiang Qing because of an incident that happened in a neighbouring commune. On Chinese New Year in 1975, the village leader played over the loudspeaker a traditional drama which was criticized during the Cultural Revolution. A young man in the village criticized the village leader for playing that over the loudspeaker. But the village leaders accused him of causing trouble in the village. He called the police and the police took him away. While he was in prison, he wrote a letter to Jiang Qing, and in less than five days, Jiang Qing responded to his letter. Jiang Qing ordered that the person be released. And the village leader was dismissed from office. Young people in my area loved Jiang Qing. When the Gang of Four was arrested a few weeks after Mao died, we knew things were going to be different.

Question: You were saying that the 10 years of the Cultural Revolution were the most exciting of your life. Could you give some examples of that spirit that you felt?

DH: The way that I felt at that time was that I had a strong sense of security. I was not alone in this world. My neighbours, my production team leaders, the village leaders would take care of anybody if they needed help.

In 1998, one of my friends who worked with me committed suicide. When I received the news from my village I cried. The reason I cried was because I felt that if the collective had not been disbanded he would not have died; he would not have committed suicide. And this person was about my age. When he was young, he couldn’t get up early in the morning. So every morning my production team leader told me to go to wake him up. When I went to wake him up the first time, he answered me, and got up. The second day, he said, I’ll get up but he never got up. So I had to drag him up from his bed. The third day his grandmother was very upset that I woke him up every day. She told me that her grandson needed more sleep. But the production team leader said to me: “Do not mind his grandmother. Wake him up. He needs help.” So he came to work with us with my help. He worked every day. He was a very good worker. He was very talented as well. He played the Chinese instrument, the erhu very well and he also painted well. But after the collective was disbanded, nobody went to wake him up anymore. He was able to sleep as much as he wanted. So eventually his wife left him. And by 1996, 1997 he became mentally disturbed. And the last time I saw him was in 1997 when I went back home. I saw him walking naked on the street. He saw me and ran back home. I followed him to his house. I asked him why he walked naked in the streets. He said that life was bad for him. He did not want to live any more. I told him that he had to change his mindset, that he needed to face the challenges. I asked him why he didn’t go back to painting if he could not do anything else. I told him that I would be in the village for another 10 days, and I would like to buy a painting from him. He promised that he would do it. But the next day, he came to see me. He said that he could not do it now. He told me that he would do it for me the next year. I told him that it was him that I was interested in not the painting. I wanted to see him stand up and take control of his life. But three months after I left the village, he committed suicide. He hung himself. When I learned of this news from my younger sister, I cried very hard. I felt that if the collective were not disbanded, he did not need to commit suicide. The community was no longer there. Your friends and your neighbours became competitors and strangers to you. The security network had been taken away. For Americans you’re used to this kind of competition. But for Chinese farmers who lived under the socialist system before, the change was too dramatic for many people.

Q: The Cultural Revolution sent shock waves around the world. In your village, how much were you aware of the international situation, the influence this was having internationally?

DH: At that time when I was in the village, I really felt we were part of the international revolution. We were young and we were part of a big picture. I remember in 1971 there was a huge drought in our area. The county government held a huge rally in the marketplace. At the rally, government leaders and representatives of farmers and workers said that we were fighting this drought not just for ourselves. We were fighting this in support of the Vietnamese people’s fight against U.S. imperialism. We were fighting this drought to support oppressed people in Africa and so on. After the rally, everybody in our school wrote a pledge to join the fight against the drought. The school was closed for two weeks. We went back to the village to fight the drought with the villagers for two weeks. Everybody worked very hard. I felt that I was doing something significant to help the revolution. At that time I didn’t really understand what it meant. It was standard language. I believed what we were told by the government that we had friends all over the world. After the Cultural Revolution was over, the Chinese elite told us that it was government propaganda. But it was not simply propaganda. I found this out when I studied in Singapore. When Mao died in 1976, China did not have diplomatic relations with Singapore. So the branch bank of Bank of China decided to hold a memorial service for Mao for three days. Ordinary Singaporeans and seaman from all over the world came to show their respect for Mao day and night. The line was so long, the staff at the Bank of China had to extend the memorial service from three days to ten. I realized then that our fight in China was connected with the struggle of oppressed people all over the world.

Q: I want to step back to your experience in the Cultural Revolution. You were able to go to school, you grew up and became an educated youth in the countryside, and yet there was this political campaign that was going on for 10 years. How did this intersect with you, how much were you continuing to follow it?

Dongping Han: My whole value system was changed very dramatically. Before the Cultural Revolution, my father never allowed me to talk back to him; that’s how the Chinese family was. He never allowed me to talk back to him. Whenever there were guests in the house I was never allowed to say a word. But during the Cultural Revolution years that changed. I said, “Chairman Mao said I can talk back to you!” But many people in the U.S. country think that the revolutionary campaign is an interruption of life. No. The revolution did not disrupt most people’s lives, particularly in the village. During the day most work continues, and at night people went out to the streets and there was a lot of debate; different groups debate in the streets. My cousin and I went to shops at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution to propagate Mao’s ideas. The government-owned shops extended their hours until 10 at night at the time. So we went to the shops to read Mao’s teachings and perform the plays, and so on. We loved that.

Maybe I can give you an example to illustrate the change. Before the Cultural Revolution years, people in my area never gave blood to anybody. If you needed a blood transfusion, you went to your family: your wife, your father or your brothers. People thought that if you gave blood to another person, you would lose your own vitality in life. But one day, one of my colleagues was sick and needed a blood transfusion. Most of the factory workers were working in fields harvesting. It was a busy time in the village. Twenty young people who were working in the village went to the hospital. The nurses checked our blood types. I was the only person who qualified to give the blood. I knew at the time any one of the 20 people would give their blood to save my colleague. The village party secretary asked me what to do. I said that we needed to save the patient. They took more than 700 cc from me and after that I couldn’t walk and they had to take me home in a wheelbarrow. And the next morning I woke up and my mom and my two aunts were all crying. They actually cried the whole night. They thought I wouldn’t be able to get married, nobody would marry me. But life changed, and it wasn’t just me. All the people who went to the hospital that day would have happily given blood to that person that day.

Whenever there was a storm, even at midnight people would get up to cover the collective crops. If it snowed we would get up to clean the streets. We did not have bulldozers. Everybody would get out to clean the streets. Another important change in the rural life was that there were almost no crimes during the Cultural Revolution years. For 10 years, we did not have any crime in the village. In my commune of 50,000 people, I did not hear of any serious crime for 10 years. But now, crime has become so common in China.

Q: Could you compare your daily life during the Cultural Revolution to what the daily life would have been like for your grandparents before 1949?

DH: The reason why my father was so supportive of the Communist Party was that he had to work 18 hours a day. He had to pick up the capitalists′ night soil and did household chores beside long hours of work in the workshop. When the communists came to power, the workday became eight hours, so my father’s life changed for the better under socialism. My father used to believe in Buddhism. After the communists came to power, he no longer believed it any more. On the Chinese New Year, my mom always asked to kowtow to the gods of the family. My father would always tell me not to do it. He was told that he was suffering because he did something wrong in the previous life. He changed his previous life, but his life suddenly changed for the better with the Communist Party in power.

Both my father and my mom begged before 1949, and were hungry all the time. Both my grandmothers died in their 30s in 1944, without any medical care. But ever since I could remember, I never felt hungry. I always had enough to eat. My father never bought any toys for me when I was young. I often compare my childhood with my son’s in the U.S. At the time, we had a lot of kids in the neighbourhood to play with and we made toys for ourselves. We played a lot of games ourselves. We worked on the collective farm during the summer, spring and fall. In winter we played popular games in the streets when there was nothing to do in the fields. And I always ask my son which childhood is better. Of course it’s very hard for him to imagine. But I strongly believe that my childhood was much more healthy, much more creative than that of my son who has nothing else but toys and video games. We had community, and we learned how to interact with one another; we learned how to build up leadership skills and things like that. And my son didn’t have those skills. When I first came to the U.S, I had a class on the Cultural Revolution. And the professor said that Cultural Revolution education was a disaster, and most students in the class agreed with him. In the end, I told the class that I was a product of the Cultural Revolution education. I challenged the whole class to a competition with me to see who is better educated. Nobody was willing to take on the challenge.

October 25, 2010 Posted by | A World to Win, Art, articles, Breaking with the old ideas, culture, Education, History, marxism-leninism-maoism, movements, pedagogy of oppressed | 1 Comment

Living Dolls: Are women considered human yet?

A World to Win News Service.
The following book review is by Lindsay Wright. We welcome book and film reviews and other articles that express our readers’ opinions.

Living Dolls, by Natasha Walter, Virago, 2010

It can be easy for those of us who grew up in the 60s to believe that in the West much of the battle to win equality between the sexes has been won. Living in London in 2010, my gas engineer is a woman and the midwife a man; I can obtain as much free contraception and abortions as I require; most schools now provide childcare from 8 am to 6 pm, allowing mothers to work full-time; and the social controls attempting to prevent women having sex before marriage appear to have been lifted with young women appearing to be having sex whenever they want, with whom ever they want.

However, a deeper look at reality shows that the inequalities that women rebelled against in the 60s are alive and well, even if in some countries these inequalities are taking different forms. Living Dolls exposes extremely well the inequalities that exist between men and women in 21st century England and how these inequalities are (pseudo)”scientifically” explained away and justified by the current revival of biological determinism.

Most of us were brought up in the 50s and 60s grew up with societal norms that said that only bad girls had sex before marriage and that sex, when it did occur, was about ensuring the man’s pleasure. In Living Dolls Walter illustrates how young women today are exposed to just as heavy societal pressures and norms as we were then, except now they face extreme pressure to have sex whenever the men in their life want it. So, in the middle of the 20th century women were under extreme pressure to not have sex before marriage and then to stay with their husbands “until death thy do part”; now young women are under extreme pressure to have sex and are commodified as much as they ever were. Physical appearance and the ability to satisfy men still determine a woman’s value.

Walter argues very convincingly that women and girls, “are encouraged to see their sexual allure as their primary passport to success.” Today’s society equates women’s empowerment and liberation with sexual objectification, women are encouraged to look like Barbie dolls and to see their value by how well they meet the sexual needs of others. She quotes UK research from 2006 that found that half of the teenagers surveyed would consider becoming fashion models and half see Jordan (a glamour model famous for her huge breast implants) as a role model!

Walter exposes how the “marketplace” reinforces certain acceptable behaviours for women and makes it hard for women, particularly young women, to behave differently or to seek their empowerment in ways that are not about being sexually promiscuous. She states that, “Many young women seem to believe that sexual confidence is the only confidence worth having, and that sexual confidence can only be gained if a young woman is ready to conform to the soft-porn image of a tanned, waxed young girl with large breasts ready to strip and pole dance…the constant reinforcement of one type of role model is shrinking and warping the choices on offer to young women.”

Chapter 2 focuses on pole-dancing and prostitution, and Walter exposes the impact of these on both the individual women involved and on the community as a whole. For example, she quotes research from the Lilith Project in Camden Town in north London that found that in the three years after four lap-dancing clubs opened in Camden Town the “incidents of rape and sexual assault rose in the area”. She believes that lap-dancing clubs are responsible for changing cultural attitudes towards the greater objectification of women. She notes that in the 21st century prostitution, rather than being shameful, is now increasingly seen as an aspirational career choice for women, yet the misogyny expressed by the men who use prostitutes remains ugly and the stories told by the many prostitutes remain disturbing. She notes that the standardised mortality rates for sex workers in the UK are six times higher than the general population.

Chapter 3 focuses on young girls, in particular, how “the main journey for a young girl is expected to lie along her path to winning the admiration of others for her appearance.” So that it is becoming more and more prevalent for girls as young as eight or nine to become involved in ‘the body project’, i.e., being “expected to devote energy to dieting, grooming and shopping…The imperative is to better oneself not through any intellectual or emotional growth, but through physical remaking.” So from this viewpoint, one achieves empowerment only through physical perfection. One study, reported in 2005, found that most six year olds “would prefer to be thinner than they are”, and another in 2006 found that one in four girls were considering plastic surgery by the age of sixteen. Continue reading

October 19, 2010 Posted by | A World to Win, articles, Books, Breaking with the old ideas, culture, Media | Leave a comment

The Lalgarh Revolt a ‘Festival of the Masses’


Chirag

What has been taking place in Lalgarh during the mid-June period was a festival of the masses. It is a festival the like of which was not seen anywhere else in our country for a long time. People who had been oppressed and humiliated for a long time have stood up with arms, with their heads held high like a mighty storm and are attacking their enemies, and destroying their property, annihilating the most hated among them. The CPI (M) leaders and cadres–the most trusted stooges of the ruling classes, the revisionists and most notorious of the reactionary elements have been rightly identified as the main enemies of the people and they are being dealt crushing blows with ferocity. Never in the wildest of dreams could these enemies of the people think that they would be reduced to such a fate in a state where they had been lording over for more than three decades with sky-kissing arrogance. The heroic people of Lalgarh have targeted those symbols of power—the most hated CPM leaders and goons, those social fascists, their party offices and property. It was a scene worth beholding. :…. Continue reading

August 19, 2009 Posted by | A World to Win, articles, culture, marxism-leninism-maoism, movements | Leave a comment

मैं नास्तिक क्यों हूं

(यह लेख भगत सिंह ने जेल में रहते हुए लिखा था और यह 27 सितम्बर 1931 को लाहौर के अखबार “ द पीपल “ में प्रकाशित हुआ । इस लेख में भगतसिंह ने ईश्वर कि उपस्थिति पर अनेक तर्कपूर्ण सवाल खड़े किये हैं और इस संसार के निर्माण , मनुष्य के जन्म , मनुष्य के मन में ईश्वर की कल्पना के साथ साथ संसार में मनुष्य की दीनता , उसके शोषण , दुनिया में व्याप्त अराजकता और और वर्गभेद की स्थितियों का भी विश्लेषण किया है । यह भगत सिंह के लेखन के सबसे चर्चित हिस्सों में रहा है।
स्वतन्त्रता सेनानी बाबा रणधीर सिंह 1930-31के बीच लाहौर के सेन्ट्रल जेल में कैद थे। वे एक धार्मिक व्यक्ति थे जिन्हें यह जान कर बहुत कष्ट हुआ कि भगतसिंह का ईश्वर पर विश्वास नहीं है। वे किसी तरह भगत सिंह की कालकोठरी में पहुँचने में सफल हुए और उन्हें ईश्वर के अस्तित्व पर यकीन दिलाने की कोशिश की। असफल होने पर बाबा ने नाराज होकर कहा, “प्रसिद्धि से तुम्हारा दिमाग खराब हो गया है और तुम अहंकारी बन गए हो जो कि एक काले पर्दे के तरह तुम्हारे और ईश्वर के बीच खड़ी है। इस टिप्पणी के जवाब में ही भगतसिंह ने यह लेख लिखा।)


एक नया प्रश्न उठ खड़ा हुआ है। क्या मैं किसी अहंकार के कारण सर्वशक्तिमान, सर्वव्यापी तथा सर्वज्ञानी ईश्वर के अस्तित्व पर विश्वास नहीं करता हूँ? मेरे कुछ दोस्त – शायद ऐसा कहकर मैं उन पर बहुत अधिकार नहीं जमा रहा हूँ – मेरे साथ अपने थोड़े से सम्पर्क में इस निष्कर्ष पर पहुँचने के लिये उत्सुक हैं कि मैं ईश्वर के अस्तित्व को नकार कर कुछ ज़रूरत से ज़्यादा आगे जा रहा हूँ और मेरे घमण्ड ने कुछ हद तक मुझे इस अविश्वास के लिये उकसाया है। मैं ऐसी कोई शेखी नहीं बघारता कि मैं मानवीय कमज़ोरियों से बहुत ऊपर हूँ। मैं एक मनुष्य हूँ, और इससे अधिक कुछ नहीं। कोई भी इससे अधिक होने का दावा नहीं कर सकता। यह कमज़ोरी मेरे अन्दर भी है। अहंकार भी मेरे स्वभाव का अंग है। अपने कामरेडो के बीच मुझे निरंकुश कहा जाता था। यहाँ तक कि मेरे दोस्त श्री बटुकेश्वर कुमार दत्त भी मुझे कभी-कभी ऐसा कहते थे। कई मौकों पर स्वेच्छाचारी कह मेरी निन्दा भी की गयी। कुछ दोस्तों को शिकायत है, और गम्भीर रूप से है कि मैं अनचाहे ही अपने विचार, उन पर थोपता हूँ और अपने प्रस्तावों को मनवा लेता हूँ। यह बात कुछ हद तक सही है। इससे मैं इनकार नहीं करता। इसे अहंकार कहा जा सकता है। जहाँ तक अन्य प्रचलित मतों के मुकाबले हमारे अपने मत का सवाल है। मुझे निश्चय ही अपने मत पर गर्व है। लेकिन यह व्यक्तिगत नहीं है। ऐसा हो सकता है कि यह केवल अपने विश्वास के प्रति न्यायोचित गर्व हो और इसको घमण्ड नहीं कहा जा सकता। घमण्ड तो स्वयं के प्रति अनुचित गर्व की अधिकता है। क्या यह अनुचित गर्व है, जो मुझे नास्तिकता की ओर ले गया? अथवा इस विषय का खूब सावधानी से अध्ययन करने और उस पर खूब विचार करने के बाद मैंने ईश्वर पर अविश्वास किया?

मैं यह समझने में पूरी तरह से असफल रहा हूँ कि अनुचित गर्व या वृथाभिमान किस तरह किसी व्यक्ति के ईश्वर में विश्वास करने के रास्ते में रोड़ा बन सकता है? किसी वास्तव में महान व्यक्ति की महानता को मैं मान्यता न दूँ – यह तभी हो सकता है, जब मुझे भी थोड़ा ऐसा यश प्राप्त हो गया हो जिसके या तो मैं योग्य नहीं हूँ या मेरे अन्दर वे गुण नहीं हैं, जो इसके लिये आवश्यक हैं। यहाँ तक तो समझ में आता है। लेकिन यह कैसे हो सकता है कि एक व्यक्ति, जो ईश्वर में विश्वास रखता हो, सहसा अपने व्यक्तिगत अहंकार के कारण उसमें विश्वास करना बन्द कर दे? दो ही रास्ते सम्भव हैं। या तो मनुष्य अपने को ईश्वर का प्रतिद्वन्द्वी समझने लगे या वह स्वयं को ही ईश्वर मानना शुरू कर दे। इन दोनो ही अवस्थाओं में वह सच्चा नास्तिक नहीं बन सकता। पहली अवस्था में तो वह अपने प्रतिद्वन्द्वी के अस्तित्व को नकारता ही नहीं है। दूसरी अवस्था में भी वह एक ऐसी चेतना के अस्तित्व को मानता है, जो पर्दे के पीछे से प्रकृति की सभी गतिविधियों का संचालन करती है। मैं तो उस सर्वशक्तिमान परम आत्मा के अस्तित्व से ही इनकार करता हूँ। यह अहंकार नहीं है, जिसने मुझे नास्तिकता के सिद्धान्त को ग्रहण करने के लिये प्रेरित किया। मैं न तो एक प्रतिद्वन्द्वी हूँ, न ही एक अवतार और न ही स्वयं परमात्मा। इस अभियोग को अस्वीकार करने के लिये आइए तथ्यों पर गौर करें। मेरे इन दोस्तों के अनुसार, दिल्ली बम केस और लाहौर षडयन्त्र केस के दौरान मुझे जो अनावश्यक यश मिला, शायद उस कारण मैं वृथाभिमानी हो गया हूँ।

मेरा नास्तिकतावाद कोई अभी हाल की उत्पत्ति नहीं है। मैंने तो ईश्वर पर विश्वास करना तब छोड़ दिया था, जब मैं एक अप्रसिद्ध नौजवान था। कम से कम एक कालेज का विद्यार्थी तो ऐसे किसी अनुचित अहंकार को नहीं पाल-पोस सकता, जो उसे नास्तिकता की ओर ले जाये। यद्यपि मैं कुछ अध्यापकों का चहेता था तथा कुछ अन्य को मैं अच्छा नहीं लगता था। पर मैं कभी भी बहुत मेहनती अथवा पढ़ाकू विद्यार्थी नहीं रहा। अहंकार जैसी भावना में फँसने का कोई मौका ही न मिल सका। मैं तो एक बहुत लज्जालु स्वभाव का लड़का था, जिसकी भविष्य के बारे में कुछ निराशावादी प्रकृति थी। मेरे बाबा, जिनके प्रभाव में मैं बड़ा हुआ, एक रूढ़िवादी आर्य समाजी हैं। एक आर्य समाजी और कुछ भी हो, नास्तिक नहीं होता। अपनी प्राथमिक शिक्षा पूरी करने के बाद मैंने डी0 ए0 वी0 स्कूल, लाहौर में प्रवेश लिया और पूरे एक साल उसके छात्रावास में रहा। वहाँ सुबह और शाम की प्रार्थना के अतिरिक्त में घण्टों गायत्री मंत्र जपा करता था। उन दिनों मैं पूरा भक्त था। बाद में मैंने अपने पिता के साथ रहना शुरू किया। जहाँ तक धार्मिक रूढ़िवादिता का प्रश्न है, वह एक उदारवादी व्यक्ति हैं। उन्हीं की शिक्षा से मुझे स्वतन्त्रता के ध्येय के लिये अपने जीवन को समर्पित करने की प्रेरणा मिली। किन्तु वे नास्तिक नहीं हैं। उनका ईश्वर में दृढ़ विश्वास है। वे मुझे प्रतिदिन पूजा-प्रार्थना के लिये प्रोत्साहित करते रहते थे। इस प्रकार से मेरा पालन-पोषण हुआ। असहयोग आन्दोलन के दिनों में राष्ट्रीय कालेज में प्रवेश लिया। यहाँ आकर ही मैंने सारी धार्मिक समस्याओं – यहाँ तक कि ईश्वर के अस्तित्व के बारे में उदारतापूर्वक सोचना, विचारना तथा उसकी आलोचना करना शुरू किया। पर अभी भी मैं पक्का आस्तिक था। उस समय तक मैं अपने लम्बे बाल रखता था। यद्यपि मुझे कभी-भी सिक्ख या अन्य धर्मों की पौराणिकता और सिद्धान्तों में विश्वास न हो सका था। किन्तु मेरी ईश्वर के अस्तित्व में दृढ़ निष्ठा थी। बाद में मैं क्रान्तिकारी पार्टी से जुड़ा। वहाँ जिस पहले नेता से मेरा सम्पर्क हुआ वे तो पक्का विश्वास न होते हुए भी ईश्वर के अस्तित्व को नकारने का साहस ही नहीं कर सकते थे। ईश्वर के बारे में मेरे हठ पूर्वक पूछते रहने पर वे कहते, ‘’जब इच्छा हो, तब पूजा कर लिया करो।’’ यह नास्तिकता है, जिसमें साहस का अभाव है। दूसरे नेता, जिनके मैं सम्पर्क में आया, पक्के श्रद्धालु आदरणीय कामरेड शचीन्द्र नाथ सान्याल आजकल काकोरी षडयन्त्र केस के सिलसिले में आजीवन कारवास भोग रहे हैं। उनकी पुस्तक ‘बन्दी जीवन’ ईश्वर की महिमा का ज़ोर-शोर से गान है। उन्होंने उसमें ईश्वर के ऊपर प्रशंसा के पुष्प रहस्यात्मक वेदान्त के कारण बरसाये हैं। 28 जनवरी, 1925 को पूरे भारत में जो ‘दि रिवोल्यूशनरी’ (क्रान्तिकारी) पर्चा बाँटा गया था, वह उन्हीं के बौद्धिक श्रम का परिणाम है। उसमें सर्वशक्तिमान और उसकी लीला एवं कार्यों की प्रशंसा की गयी है। मेरा ईश्वर के प्रति अविश्वास का भाव क्रान्तिकारी दल में भी प्रस्फुटित नहीं हुआ था। काकोरी के सभी चार शहीदों ने अपने अन्तिम दिन भजन-प्रार्थना में गुजारे थे। राम प्रसाद ‘बिस्मिल’ एक रूढ़िवादी आर्य समाजी थे। समाजवाद तथा साम्यवाद में अपने वृहद अध्ययन के बावजूद राजेन लाहड़ी उपनिषद एवं गीता के श्लोकों के उच्चारण की अपनी अभिलाषा को दबा न सके। मैंने उन सब मे सिर्फ एक ही व्यक्ति को देखा, जो कभी प्रार्थना नहीं करता था और कहता था, ‘’दर्शन शास्त्र मनुष्य की दुर्बलता अथवा ज्ञान के सीमित होने के कारण उत्पन्न होता है। वह भी आजीवन निर्वासन की सजा भोग रहा है। परन्तु उसने भी ईश्वर के अस्तित्व को नकारने की कभी हिम्मत नहीं की।

इस समय तक मैं केवल एक रोमान्टिक आदर्शवादी क्रान्तिकारी था। अब तक हम दूसरों का अनुसरण करते थे। अब अपने कन्धों पर ज़िम्मेदारी उठाने का समय आया था। यह मेरे क्रान्तिकारी जीवन का एक निर्णायक बिन्दु था। ‘अध्ययन’ की पुकार मेरे मन के गलियारों में गूँज रही थी – विरोधियों द्वारा रखे गये तर्कों का सामना करने योग्य बनने के लिये अध्ययन करो। अपने मत के पक्ष में तर्क देने के लिये सक्षम होने के वास्ते पढ़ो। मैंने पढ़ना शुरू कर दिया। इससे मेरे पुराने विचार व विश्वास अद्भुत रूप से परिष्कृत हुए। रोमांस की जगह गम्भीर विचारों ने ली ली। न और अधिक रहस्यवाद, न ही अन्धविश्वास। यथार्थवाद हमारा आधार बना। मुझे विश्वक्रान्ति के अनेक आदर्शों के बारे में पढ़ने का खूब मौका मिला। मैंने अराजकतावादी नेता बाकुनिन को पढ़ा, कुछ साम्यवाद के पिता माक्र्स को, किन्तु अधिक लेनिन, त्रात्स्की, व अन्य लोगों को पढ़ा, जो अपने देश में सफलतापूर्वक क्रान्ति लाये थे। ये सभी नास्तिक थे। बाद में मुझे निरलम्ब स्वामी की पुस्तक ‘सहज ज्ञान’ मिली। इसमें रहस्यवादी नास्तिकता थी। 1926 के अन्त तक मुझे इस बात का विश्वास हो गया कि एक सर्वशक्तिमान परम आत्मा की बात, जिसने ब्रह्माण्ड का सृजन, दिग्दर्शन और संचालन किया, एक कोरी बकवास है। मैंने अपने इस अविश्वास को प्रदर्शित किया। मैंने इस विषय पर अपने दोस्तों से बहस की। मैं एक घोषित नास्तिक हो चुका था।

मई 1927 में मैं लाहौर में गिरफ़्तार हुआ। रेलवे पुलिस हवालात में मुझे एक महीना काटना पड़ा। पुलिस अफ़सरों ने मुझे बताया कि मैं लखनऊ में था, जब वहाँ काकोरी दल का मुकदमा चल रहा था, कि मैंने उन्हें छुड़ाने की किसी योजना पर बात की थी, कि उनकी सहमति पाने के बाद हमने कुछ बम प्राप्त किये थे, कि 1927 में दशहरा के अवसर पर उन बमों में से एक परीक्षण के लिये भीड़ पर फेंका गया, कि यदि मैं क्रान्तिकारी दल की गतिविधियों पर प्रकाश डालने वाला एक वक्तव्य दे दूँ, तो मुझे गिरफ़्तार नहीं किया जायेगा और इसके विपरीत मुझे अदालत में मुखबिर की तरह पेश किये बेगैर रिहा कर दिया जायेगा और इनाम दिया जायेगा। मैं इस प्रस्ताव पर हँसा। यह सब बेकार की बात थी। हम लोगों की भाँति विचार रखने वाले अपनी निर्दोष जनता पर बम नहीं फेंका करते। एक दिन सुबह सी0 आई0 डी0 के वरिष्ठ अधीक्षक श्री न्यूमन ने कहा कि यदि मैंने वैसा वक्तव्य नहीं दिया, तो मुझ पर काकोरी केस से सम्बन्धित विद्रोह छेड़ने के षडयन्त्र तथा दशहरा उपद्रव में क्रूर हत्याओं के लिये मुकदमा चलाने पर बाध्य होंगे और कि उनके पास मुझे सजा दिलाने व फाँसी पर लटकवाने के लिये उचित प्रमाण हैं। उसी दिन से कुछ पुलिस अफ़सरों ने मुझे नियम से दोनो समय ईश्वर की स्तुति करने के लिये फुसलाना शुरू किया। पर अब मैं एक नास्तिक था। मैं स्वयं के लिये यह बात तय करना चाहता था कि क्या शान्ति और आनन्द के दिनों में ही मैं नास्तिक होने का दम्भ भरता हूँ या ऐसे कठिन समय में भी मैं उन सिद्धान्तों पर अडिग रह सकता हूँ। बहुत सोचने के बाद मैंने निश्चय किया कि किसी भी तरह ईश्वर पर विश्वास तथा प्रार्थना मैं नहीं कर सकता। नहीं, मैंने एक क्षण के लिये भी नहीं की। यही असली परीक्षण था और मैं सफल रहा। अब मैं एक पक्का अविश्वासी था और तब से लगातार हूँ। इस परीक्षण पर खरा उतरना आसान काम न था। ‘विश्वास’ कष्टों को हलका कर देता है। यहाँ तक कि उन्हें सुखकर बना सकता है। ईश्वर में मनुष्य को अत्यधिक सान्त्वना देने वाला एक आधार मिल सकता है। उसके बिना मनुष्य को अपने ऊपर निर्भर करना पड़ता है। तूफ़ान और झंझावात के बीच अपने पाँवों पर खड़ा रहना कोई बच्चों का खेल नहीं है। परीक्षा की इन घड़ियों में अहंकार यदि है, तो भाप बन कर उड़ जाता है और मनुष्य अपने विश्वास को ठुकराने का साहस नहीं कर पाता। यदि ऐसा करता है, तो इससे यह निष्कर्ष निकलता है कि उसके पास सिर्फ़ अहंकार नहीं वरन् कोई अन्य शक्ति है। आज बिलकुल वैसी ही स्थिति है। निर्णय का पूरा-पूरा पता है। एक सप्ताह के अन्दर ही यह घोषित हो जायेगा कि मैं अपना जीवन एक ध्येय पर न्योछावर करने जा रहा हूँ। इस विचार के अतिरिक्त और क्या सान्त्वना हो सकती है? ईश्वर में विश्वास रखने वाला हिन्दू पुनर्जन्म पर राजा होने की आशा कर सकता है। एक मुसलमान या ईसाई स्वर्ग में व्याप्त समृद्धि के आनन्द की तथा अपने कष्टों और बलिदान के लिये पुरस्कार की कल्पना कर सकता है। किन्तु मैं क्या आशा करूँ? मैं जानता हूँ कि जिस क्षण रस्सी का फ़न्दा मेरी गर्दन पर लगेगा और मेरे पैरों के नीचे से तख़्ता हटेगा, वह पूर्ण विराम होगा – वह अन्तिम क्षण होगा। मैं या मेरी आत्मा सब वहीं समाप्त हो जायेगी। आगे कुछ न रहेगा। एक छोटी सी जूझती हुई ज़िन्दगी, जिसकी कोई ऐसी गौरवशाली परिणति नहीं है, अपने में स्वयं एक पुरस्कार होगी – यदि मुझमें इस दृष्टि से देखने का साहस हो। बिना किसी स्वार्थ के यहाँ या यहाँ के बाद पुरस्कार की इच्छा के बिना, मैंने अनासक्त भाव से अपने जीवन को स्वतन्त्रता के ध्येय पर समर्पित कर दिया है, क्योंकि मैं और कुछ कर ही नहीं सकता था। जिस दिन हमें इस मनोवृत्ति के बहुत-से पुरुष और महिलाएँ मिल जायेंगे, जो अपने जीवन को मनुष्य की सेवा और पीड़ित मानवता के उद्धार के अतिरिक्त कहीं समर्पित कर ही नहीं सकते, उसी दिन मुक्ति के युग का शुभारम्भ होगा। वे शोषकों, उत्पीड़कों और अत्याचारियों को चुनौती देने के लिये उत्प्रेरित होंगे। इस लिये नहीं कि उन्हें राजा बनना है या कोई अन्य पुरस्कार प्राप्त करना है यहाँ या अगले जन्म में या मृत्योपरान्त स्वर्ग में। उन्हें तो मानवता की गर्दन से दासता का जुआ उतार फेंकने और मुक्ति एवं शान्ति स्थापित करने के लिये इस मार्ग को अपनाना होगा। क्या वे उस रास्ते पर चलेंगे जो उनके अपने लिये ख़तरनाक किन्तु उनकी महान आत्मा के लिये एक मात्र कल्पनीय रास्ता है। क्या इस महान ध्येय के प्रति उनके गर्व को अहंकार कहकर उसका गलत अर्थ लगाया जायेगा? कौन इस प्रकार के घृणित विशेषण बोलने का साहस करेगा? या तो वह मूर्ख है या धूर्त। हमें चाहिए कि उसे क्षमा कर दें, क्योंकि वह उस हृदय में उद्वेलित उच्च विचारों, भावनाओं, आवेगों तथा उनकी गहराई को महसूस नहीं कर सकता। उसका हृदय मांस के एक टुकड़े की तरह मृत है। उसकी आँखों पर अन्य स्वार्थों के प्रेतों की छाया पड़ने से वे कमज़ोर हो गयी हैं। स्वयं पर भरोसा रखने के गुण को सदैव अहंकार की संज्ञा दी जा सकती है। यह दुखपूर्ण और कष्टप्रद है, पर चारा ही क्या है?

आलोचना और स्वतन्त्र विचार एक क्रान्तिकारी के दोनो अनिवार्य गुण हैं। क्योंकि हमारे पूर्वजों ने किसी परम आत्मा के प्रति विश्वास बना लिया था। अतः कोई भी व्यक्ति जो उस विश्वास को सत्यता या उस परम आत्मा के अस्तित्व को ही चुनौती दे, उसको विधर्मी, विश्वासघाती कहा जायेगा। यदि उसके तर्क इतने अकाट्य हैं कि उनका खण्डन वितर्क द्वारा नहीं हो सकता और उसकी आस्था इतनी प्रबल है कि उसे ईश्वर के प्रकोप से होने वाली विपत्तियों का भय दिखा कर दबाया नहीं जा सकता तो उसकी यह कह कर निन्दा की जायेगी कि वह वृथाभिमानी है। यह मेरा अहंकार नहीं था, जो मुझे नास्तिकता की ओर ले गया। मेरे तर्क का तरीका संतोषप्रद सिद्ध होता है या नहीं इसका निर्णय मेरे पाठकों को करना है, मुझे नहीं। मैं जानता हूँ कि ईश्वर पर विश्वास ने आज मेरा जीवन आसान और मेरा बोझ हलका कर दिया होता। उस पर मेरे अविश्वास ने सारे वातावरण को अत्यन्त शुष्क बना दिया है। थोड़ा-सा रहस्यवाद इसे कवित्वमय बना सकता है। किन्तु मेरे भाग्य को किसी उन्माद का सहारा नहीं चाहिए। मैं यथार्थवादी हूँ। मैं अन्तः प्रकृति पर विवेक की सहायता से विजय चाहता हूँ। इस ध्येय में मैं सदैव सफल नहीं हुआ हूँ। प्रयास करना मनुष्य का कर्तव्य है। सफलता तो संयोग तथा वातावरण पर निर्भर है। कोई भी मनुष्य, जिसमें तनिक भी विवेक शक्ति है, वह अपने वातावरण को तार्किक रूप से समझना चाहेगा। जहाँ सीधा प्रमाण नहीं है, वहाँ दर्शन शास्त्र का महत्व है। जब हमारे पूर्वजों ने फुरसत के समय विश्व के रहस्य को, इसके भूत, वर्तमान एवं भविष्य को, इसके क्यों और कहाँ से को समझने का प्रयास किया तो सीधे परिणामों के कठिन अभाव में हर व्यक्ति ने इन प्रश्नों को अपने ढ़ंग से हल किया। यही कारण है कि विभिन्न धार्मिक मतों में हमको इतना अन्तर मिलता है, जो कभी-कभी वैमनस्य तथा झगड़े का रूप ले लेता है। न केवल पूर्व और पश्चिम के दर्शनों में मतभेद है, बल्कि प्रत्येक गोलार्ध के अपने विभिन्न मतों में आपस में अन्तर है। पूर्व के धर्मों में, इस्लाम तथा हिन्दू धर्म में ज़रा भी अनुरूपता नहीं है। भारत में ही बौद्ध तथा जैन धर्म उस ब्राह्मणवाद से बहुत अलग है, जिसमें स्वयं आर्यसमाज व सनातन धर्म जैसे विरोधी मत पाये जाते हैं। पुराने समय का एक स्वतन्त्र विचारक चार्वाक है। उसने ईश्वर को पुराने समय में ही चुनौती दी थी। हर व्यक्ति अपने को सही मानता है। दुर्भाग्य की बात है कि बजाय पुराने विचारकों के अनुभवों तथा विचारों को भविष्य में अज्ञानता के विरुद्ध लड़ाई का आधार बनाने के हम आलसियों की तरह, जो हम सिद्ध हो चुके हैं, उनके कथन में अविचल एवं संशयहीन विश्वास की चीख पुकार करते रहते हैं और इस प्रकार मानवता के विकास को जड़ बनाने के दोषी हैं।

सिर्फ विश्वास और अन्ध विश्वास ख़तरनाक है। यह मस्तिष्क को मूढ़ और मनुष्य को प्रतिक्रियावादी बना देता है। जो मनुष्य अपने को यथार्थवादी होने का दावा करता है, उसे समस्त प्राचीन रूढ़िगत विश्वासों को चुनौती देनी होगी। प्रचलित मतों को तर्क की कसौटी पर कसना होगा। यदि वे तर्क का प्रहार न सह सके, तो टुकड़े-टुकड़े होकर गिर पड़ेगा। तब नये दर्शन की स्थापना के लिये उनको पूरा धराशायी करकेे जगह साफ करना और पुराने विश्वासों की कुछ बातों का प्रयोग करके पुनर्निमाण करना। मैं प्राचीन विश्वासांे के ठोसपन पर प्रश्न करने के सम्बन्ध में आश्वस्त हूँ। मुझे पूरा विश्वास है कि एक चेतन परम आत्मा का, जो प्रकृति की गति का दिग्दर्शन एवं संचालन करता है, कोई अस्तित्व नहीं है। हम प्रकृति में विश्वास करते हैं और समस्त प्रगतिशील आन्दोलन का ध्येय मनुष्य द्वारा अपनी सेवा के लिये प्रकृति पर विजय प्राप्त करना मानते हैं। इसको दिशा देने के पीछे कोई चेतन शक्ति नहीं है। यही हमारा दर्शन है। हम आस्तिकों से कुछ प्रश्न करना चाहते हैं।

यदि आपका विश्वास है कि एक सर्वशक्तिमान, सर्वव्यापक और सर्वज्ञानी ईश्वर है, जिसने विश्व की रचना की, तो कृपा करके मुझे यह बतायें कि उसने यह रचना क्यों की? कष्टों और संतापों से पूर्ण दुनिया – असंख्य दुखों के शाश्वत अनन्त गठबन्धनों से ग्रसित! एक भी व्यक्ति तो पूरी तरह संतृष्ट नही है। कृपया यह न कहें कि यही उसका नियम है। यदि वह किसी नियम से बँधा है तो वह सर्वशक्तिमान नहीं है। वह भी हमारी ही तरह नियमों का दास है। कृपा करके यह भी न कहें कि यह उसका मनोरंजन है। नीरो ने बस एक रोम जलाया था। उसने बहुत थोड़ी संख्या में लोगांें की हत्या की थी। उसने तो बहुत थोड़ा दुख पैदा किया, अपने पूर्ण मनोरंजन के लिये। और उसका इतिहास में क्या स्थान है? उसे इतिहासकार किस नाम से बुलाते हैं? सभी विषैले विशेषण उस पर बरसाये जाते हैं। पन्ने उसकी निन्दा के वाक्यों से काले पुते हैं, भत्र्सना करते हैं – नीरो एक हृदयहीन, निर्दयी, दुष्ट। एक चंगेज खाँ ने अपने आनन्द के लिये कुछ हजार जानें ले लीं और आज हम उसके नाम से घृणा करते हैं। तब किस प्रकार तुम अपने ईश्वर को न्यायोचित ठहराते हो? उस शाश्वत नीरो को, जो हर दिन, हर घण्टे ओर हर मिनट असंख्य दुख देता रहा, और अभी भी दे रहा है। फिर तुम कैसे उसके दुष्कर्मों का पक्ष लेने की सोचते हो, जो चंगेज खाँ से प्रत्येक क्षण अधिक है? क्या यह सब बाद में इन निर्दोष कष्ट सहने वालों को पुरस्कार और गलती करने वालों को दण्ड देने के लिये हो रहा है? ठीक है, ठीक है। तुम कब तक उस व्यक्ति को उचित ठहराते रहोगे, जो हमारे शरीर पर घाव करने का साहस इसलिये करता है कि बाद में मुलायम और आरामदायक मलहम लगायेगा? ग्लैडिएटर संस्था के व्यवस्थापक कहाँ तक उचित करते थे कि एक भूखे ख़ूंख़्वार शेर के सामने मनुष्य को फेंक दो कि, यदि वह उससे जान बचा लेता है, तो उसकी खूब देखभाल की जायेगी? इसलिये मैं पूछता हूँ कि उस चेतन परम आत्मा ने इस विश्व और उसमें मनुष्यों की रचना क्यों की? आनन्द लूटने के लिये? तब उसमें और नीरो में क्या फर्क है?

तुम मुसलमानो और ईसाइयो! तुम तो पूर्वजन्म में विश्वास नहीं करते। तुम तो हिन्दुओं की तरह यह तर्क पेश नहीं कर सकते कि प्रत्यक्षतः निर्दोष व्यक्तियों के कष्ट उनके पूर्वजन्मों के कर्मों का फल है। मैं तुमसे पूछता हूँ कि उस सर्वशक्तिशाली ने शब्द द्वारा विश्व के उत्पत्ति के लिये छः दिन तक क्यों परिश्रम किया? और प्रत्येक दिन वह क्यों कहता है कि सब ठीक है? बुलाओ उसे आज। उसे पिछला इतिहास दिखाओ। उसे आज की परिस्थितियों का अध्ययन करने दो। हम देखेंगे कि क्या वह कहने का साहस करता है कि सब ठीक है। कारावास की काल-कोठरियों से लेकर झोपड़ियों की बस्तियों तक भूख से तड़पते लाखों इन्सानों से लेकर उन शोषित मज़दूरों से लेकर जो पूँजीवादी पिशाच द्वारा खून चूसने की क्रिया को धैर्यपूर्वक निरुत्साह से देख रहे हैं तथा उस मानवशक्ति की बर्बादी देख रहे हैं, जिसे देखकर कोई भी व्यक्ति, जिसे तनिक भी सहज ज्ञान है, भय से सिहर उठेगा, और अधिक उत्पादन को ज़रूरतमन्द लोगों में बाँटने के बजाय समुद्र में फेंक देना बेहतर समझने से लेकर राजाआंे के उन महलों तक जिनकी नींव मानव की हड्डियों पर पड़ी है- उसको यह सब देखने दो और फिर कहे – सब कुछ ठीक है! क्यों और कहाँ से? यही मेरा प्रश्न है। तुम चुप हो। ठीक है, तो मैं आगे चलता हूँ।

और तुम हिन्दुओ, तुम कहते हो कि आज जो कष्ट भोग रहे हैं, ये पूर्वजन्म के पापी हैं और आज के उत्पीड़क पिछले जन्मों में साधु पुरुष थे, अतः वे सत्ता का आनन्द लूट रहे हैं। मुझे यह मानना पड़ता है कि आपके पूर्वज बहुत चालाक व्यक्ति थे। उन्होंने ऐसे सिद्धान्त गढ़े, जिनमें तर्क और अविश्वास के सभी प्रयासों को विफल करने की काफ़ी ताकत है। न्यायशास्त्र के अनुसार दण्ड को अपराधी पर पड़ने वाले असर के आधार पर केवल तीन कारणों से उचित ठहराया जा सकता है। वे हैं – प्रतिकार, भय तथा सुधार। आज सभी प्रगतिशील विचारकों द्वारा प्रतिकार के सिद्धान्त की निन्दा की जाती है। भयभीत करने के सिद्धान्त का भी अन्त वहीं है। सुधार करने का सिद्धान्त ही केवल आवश्यक है और मानवता की प्रगति के लिये अनिवार्य है। इसका ध्येय अपराधी को योग्य और शान्तिप्रिय नागरिक के रूप में समाज को लौटाना है। किन्तु यदि हम मनुष्यों को अपराधी मान भी लें, तो ईश्वर द्वारा उन्हें दिये गये दण्ड की क्या प्रकृति है? तुम कहते हो वह उन्हें गाय, बिल्ली, पेड़, जड़ी-बूटी या जानवर बनाकर पैदा करता है। तुम ऐसे 84 लाख दण्डों को गिनाते हो। मैं पूछता हूँ कि मनुष्य पर इनका सुधारक के रूप में क्या असर है? तुम ऐसे कितने व्यक्तियों से मिले हो, जो यह कहते हैं कि वे किसी पाप के कारण पूर्वजन्म में गधा के रूप में पैदा हुए थे? एक भी नहीं? अपने पुराणों से उदाहरण न दो। मेरे पास तुम्हारी पौराणिक कथाओं के लिए कोई स्थान नहीं है। और फिर क्या तुम्हें पता है कि दुनिया में सबसे बड़ा पाप गरीब होना है। गरीबी एक अभिशाप है। यह एक दण्ड है। मैं पूछता हूँ कि दण्ड प्रक्रिया की कहाँ तक प्रशंसा करें, जो अनिवार्यतः मनुष्य को और अधिक अपराध करने को बाध्य करे? क्या तुम्हारे ईश्वर ने यह नहीं सोचा था या उसको भी ये सारी बातें मानवता द्वारा अकथनीय कष्टों के झेलने की कीमत पर अनुभव से सीखनी थीं? तुम क्या सोचते हो, किसी गरीब या अनपढ़ परिवार, जैसे एक चमार या मेहतर के यहाँ पैदा होने पर इन्सान का क्या भाग्य होगा? चूँकि वह गरीब है, इसलिये पढ़ाई नहीं कर सकता। वह अपने साथियों से तिरस्कृत एवं परित्यक्त रहता है, जो ऊँची जाति में पैदा होने के कारण अपने को ऊँचा समझते हैं। उसका अज्ञान, उसकी गरीबी तथा उससे किया गया व्यवहार उसके हृदय को समाज के प्रति निष्ठुर बना देते हैं। यदि वह कोई पाप करता है तो उसका फल कौन भोेगेगा? ईष्वर, वह स्वयं या समाज के मनीषी? और उन लोगों के दण्ड के बारे में क्या होगा, जिन्हें दम्भी ब्राह्मणों ने जानबूझ कर अज्ञानी बनाये रखा तथा जिनको तुम्हारी ज्ञान की पवित्र पुस्तकों – वेदों के कुछ वाक्य सुन लेने के कारण कान में पिघले सीसे की धारा सहन करने की सजा भुगतनी पड़ती थी? यदि वे कोई अपराध करते हैं, तो उसके लिये कौन ज़िम्मेदार होगा? और उनका प्रहार कौन सहेगा? मेरे प्रिय दोस्तों! ये सिद्धान्त विशेषाधिकार युक्त लोगों के आविष्कार हैं। ये अपनी हथियाई हुई शक्ति, पूँजी तथा उच्चता को इन सिद्धान्तों के आधार पर सही ठहराते हैं। अपटान सिंक्लेयर ने लिखा था कि मनुष्य को बस अमरत्व में विश्वास दिला दो और उसके बाद उसकी सारी सम्पत्ति लूट लो। वह बगैर बड़बड़ाये इस कार्य में तुम्हारी सहायता करेगा। धर्म के उपदेशकों तथा सत्ता के स्वामियों के गठबन्धन से ही जेल, फाँसी, कोड़े और ये सिद्धान्त उपजते हैं।

मैं पूछता हूँ तुम्हारा सर्वशक्तिशाली ईश्वर हर व्यक्ति को क्यों नहीं उस समय रोकता है जब वह कोई पाप या अपराध कर रहा होता है? यह तो वह बहुत आसानी से कर सकता है। उसने क्यों नहीं लड़ाकू राजाओं की लड़ने की उग्रता को समाप्त किया और इस प्रकार विश्वयुद्ध द्वारा मानवता पर पड़ने वाली विपत्तियों से उसे बचाया? उसने अंग्रेजों के मस्तिष्क में भारत को मुक्त कर देने की भावना क्यों नहीं पैदा की? वह क्यों नहीं पूँजीपतियों के हृदय में यह परोपकारी उत्साह भर देता कि वे उत्पादन के साधनों पर अपना व्यक्तिगत सम्पत्ति का अधिकार त्याग दें और इस प्रकार केवल सम्पूर्ण श्रमिक समुदाय, वरन समस्त मानव समाज को पूँजीवादी बेड़ियों से मुक्त करें? आप समाजवाद की व्यावहारिकता पर तर्क करना चाहते हैं। मैं इसे आपके सर्वशक्तिमान पर छोड़ देता हूँ कि वह लागू करे। जहाँ तक सामान्य भलाई की बात है, लोग समाजवाद के गुणों को मानते हैं। वे इसके व्यावहारिक न होने का बहाना लेकर इसका विरोध करते हैं। परमात्मा को आने दो और वह चीज को सही तरीके से कर दे। अंग्रेजों की हुकूमत यहाँ इसलिये नहीं है कि ईश्वर चाहता है बल्कि इसलिये कि उनके पास ताकत है और हममें उनका विरोध करने की हिम्मत नहीं। वे हमको अपने प्रभुत्व में ईश्वर की मदद से नहीं रखे हैं, बल्कि बन्दूकों, राइफलों, बम और गोलियों, पुलिस और सेना के सहारे। यह हमारी उदासीनता है कि वे समाज के विरुद्ध सबसे निन्दनीय अपराध – एक राष्ट्र का दूसरे राष्ट्र द्वारा अत्याचार पूर्ण शोषण – सफलतापूर्वक कर रहे हैं। कहाँ है ईश्वर? क्या वह मनुष्य जाति के इन कष्टों का मज़ा ले रहा है? एक नीरो, एक चंगेज, उसका नाश हो!

क्या तुम मुझसे पूछते हो कि मैं इस विश्व की उत्पत्ति तथा मानव की उत्पत्ति की व्याख्या कैसे करता हूँ? ठीक है, मैं तुम्हें बताता हूँ। चाल्र्स डारविन ने इस विषय पर कुछ प्रकाश डालने की कोशिश की है। उसे पढ़ो। यह एक प्रकृति की घटना है। विभिन्न पदार्थों के, नीहारिका के आकार में, आकस्मिक मिश्रण से पृथ्वी बनी। कब? इतिहास देखो। इसी प्रकार की घटना से जन्तु पैदा हुए और एक लम्बे दौर में मानव। डार्विन की ‘जीव की उत्पत्ति’ पढ़ो। और तदुपरान्त सारा विकास मनुष्य द्वारा प्रकृति के लगातार विरोध और उस पर विजय प्राप्त करने की चेष्टा से हुआ। यह इस घटना की सम्भवतः सबसे सूक्ष्म व्याख्या है।

तुम्हारा दूसरा तर्क यह हो सकता है कि क्यों एक बच्चा अन्धा या लंगड़ा पैदा होता है? क्या यह उसके पूर्वजन्म में किये गये कार्यों का फल नहीं है? जीवविज्ञान वेत्ताओं ने इस समस्या का वैज्ञानिक समाधान निकाल लिया है। अवश्य ही तुम एक और बचकाना प्रश्न पूछ सकते हो। यदि ईश्वर नहीं है, तो लोग उसमें विश्वास क्यों करने लगे? मेरा उत्तर सूक्ष्म तथा स्पष्ट है। जिस प्रकार वे प्रेतों तथा दुष्ट आत्माओं में विश्वास करने लगे। अन्तर केवल इतना है कि ईश्वर में विश्वास विश्वव्यापी है और दर्शन अत्यन्त विकसित। इसकी उत्पत्ति का श्रेय उन शोषकों की प्रतिभा को है, जो परमात्मा के अस्तित्व का उपदेश देकर लोगों को अपने प्रभुत्व में रखना चाहते थे तथा उनसे अपनी विशिष्ट स्थिति का अधिकार एवं अनुमोदन चाहते थे। सभी धर्म, समप्रदाय, पन्थ और ऐसी अन्य संस्थाएँ अन्त में निर्दयी और शोषक संस्थाओं, व्यक्तियों तथा वर्गों की समर्थक हो जाती हैं। राजा के विरुद्ध हर विद्रोह हर धर्म में सदैव ही पाप रहा है।

मनुष्य की सीमाओं को पहचानने पर, उसकी दुर्बलता व दोष को समझने के बाद परीक्षा की घड़ियों में मनुष्य को बहादुरी से सामना करने के लिये उत्साहित करने, सभी ख़तरों को पुरुषत्व के साथ झेलने तथा सम्पन्नता एवं ऐश्वर्य में उसके विस्फोट को बाँधने के लिये ईश्वर के काल्पनिक अस्तित्व की रचना हुई। अपने व्यक्तिगत नियमों तथा अभिभावकीय उदारता से पूर्ण ईश्वर की बढ़ा-चढ़ा कर कल्पना एवं चित्रण किया गया। जब उसकी उग्रता तथा व्यक्तिगत नियमों की चर्चा होती है, तो उसका उपयोग एक भय दिखाने वाले के रूप में किया जाता है। ताकि कोई मनुष्य समाज के लिये ख़तरा न बन जाये। जब उसके अभिभावक गुणों की व्याख्या होती ह,ै तो उसका उपयोग एक पिता, माता, भाई, बहन, दोस्त तथा सहायक की तरह किया जाता है। जब मनुष्य अपने सभी दोस्तों द्वारा विश्वासघात तथा त्याग देने से अत्यन्त क्लेष में हो, तब उसे इस विचार से सान्त्वना मिल सकती हे कि एक सदा सच्चा दोस्त उसकी सहायता करने को है, उसको सहारा देगा तथा वह सर्वशक्तिमान है और कुछ भी कर सकता है। वास्तव में आदिम काल में यह समाज के लिये उपयोगी था। पीड़ा में पड़े मनुष्य के लिये ईश्वर की कल्पना उपयोगी होती है। समाज को इस विश्वास के विरुद्ध लड़ना होगा। मनुष्य जब अपने पैरों पर खड़ा होने का प्रयास करता है तथा यथार्थवादी बन जाता है, तब उसे श्रद्धा को एक ओर फेंक देना चाहिए और उन सभी कष्टों, परेशानियों का पुरुषत्व के साथ सामना करना चाहिए, जिनमें परिस्थितियाँ उसे पटक सकती हैं। यही आज मेरी स्थिति है। यह मेरा अहंकार नहीं है, मेरे दोस्त! यह मेरे सोचने का तरीका है, जिसने मुझे नास्तिक बनाया है। ईश्वर में विश्वास और रोज़-ब-रोज़ की प्रार्थना को मैं मनुष्य के लिये सबसे स्वार्थी और गिरा हुआ काम मानता हूँ। मैंने उन नास्तिकों के बारे में पढ़ा हे, जिन्होंने सभी विपदाओं का बहादुरी से सामना किया। अतः मैं भी एक पुरुष की भाँति फाँसी के फन्दे की अन्तिम घड़ी तक सिर ऊँचा किये खड़ा रहना चाहता हूँ।

हमें देखना है कि मैं कैसे निभा पाता हूँ। मेरे एक दोस्त ने मुझे प्रार्थना करने को कहा। जब मैंने उसे नास्तिक होने की बात बतायी तो उसने कहा, ‘’अपने अन्तिम दिनों में तुम विश्वास करने लगोगे।’’ मैंने कहा, ‘’नहीं, प्यारे दोस्त, ऐसा नहीं होगा। मैं इसे अपने लिये अपमानजनक तथा भ्रष्ट होने की बात समझाता हूँ। स्वार्थी कारणों से मैं प्रार्थना नहीं करूँगा।’’ पाठकों और दोस्तों, क्या यह अहंकार है? अगर है तो मैं स्वीकार करता हूँ।

March 23, 2008 Posted by | articles, हिन्दी, Bhagat Singh, Breaking with the old ideas, communalism, culture, History | 6 Comments