इंडियन आवाज़     04 Mar 2024 07:10:49      انڈین آواز

Politics over Rashtrakavi Dinkar


Barely a few months ahead of the Assembly polls in Bihar, the BJP today made a bid to coopt yet another national icon to its fold. No one knows how exactly the well-known Hindi poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar became a “Rashtrakavi”, an unofficial honour unlike the Padma awards.

DinkarHowever,when the government of India’s official website describes him as such, it is to be hoped it is in recognition of his popularity as a poet, whose works are simple and easily understood by the common man.

Few people, however, know that he was thrice elected to the Rajya Sabha as a Congress nominee from Bihar (and not a presidential nominee as renowned literatteur). Perhaps he was picked by the then ruling party (Congress ) as he was the most presentable Bhumihar face from the state at a time when the young generation of Bhumihars were flocking to the Socialist and Communist parties. However,Dinkar ,despite being author of “Lok Deva Nehru”, which can best be described as a eulogy of former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, did not submit to the political ideology of the Congress entirely. In his Bharat Ka Yeh Reshmi Nagar (read Delhi), the poet described it as the city where children of poor Indians are worse off than the pet dogs of the rich rolling in wealth.

The insensitivity of the capital city to the woes of the poor that he descibed appears real even today: Reshmi kalam se bhagyalekh likhne waalon Tum bhi kabhi abhaavgrast ho roye ho? Biimaar kisi bachhe ki davaa juTaane ko Tum bhi kya ghar bhar peT baandh kar soye ho? (You, who write the destiny of others with a silken pen Have you ever cried, suffering from acute deprivation? To be able to buy medicine for a sick child, Have you ever gone hungry, along with the whole family?)

These and many other works suggest that Dinkar as a poet never compromised his objectivity despite being a Rajya Sabha member of the party in power. Ironically, Dinkar, who in his writings, rebelled against the age old bondage of the caste system, is now being projected as a poet belonging to a particular caste. In his ‘Rashmi Rathi’, Dinkar said Karna and Ekalavya symbolise the struggle of people of lowly and downtrodden castes for development of their personalities. Now, Dinkar is being invoked to garner votes of a community in which the peot could not find ‘a suitable boy’ to marry his granddaughter whose father had died young.Bhumihars of Bihar, whose votes political parties are eyeing today, were eyeing as dowry a large part of the Rs 1 lakh (a princely sum then) that Dinkar had got as a Jnanpith awardeee . Therefore, there is more than meets the eye to the function organised today by the government to mark the golden jubilee of two of Dinkar’s great works: “Sanskriti ke chaar adhyaay,” and “Parshuram ki pratiksha.”

Notwithstanding Prime Minister Narandra Modi calling upon the people to end caste-based politics,the truth remains that the BJP is desperate to wean Bhumihars from the Janata Dal (U) as there are an unprecedented four ministers from that caste in Nitish Kumar’s cabinet. EOM

Courtesy The Statesman

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