Monday, February 07, 2011

Nalbari Nerve

I reached backed to Shillong on 4th night (4.2.11), though I had planned to come on 5th evening after the seminar at Nalbari Commerce College.  The conditions in the hotel as to Food as well as other things somehow made me think that it might be little difficult to stay one more night here until it is really required. I spoke to the organizers and they readily arranged a Taxi for me to reach Guwahati. It was a great travel of around 70 kms from Nalbari to Guwahati and the best part of this was the learning from Dr Basanta Kumar Dev Goswami who is the president of the governing council of the Nalbari Commerce College and former principal. He is a renowned Sanskrit scholar though he wanted to study Mathematics.

As I see lot of banners of BABA RAMDEV on the way, and all in Assamese I inquire from him - what does it mean? He tells me, Baba Ramdev is coming to this place on 13th Feb and it is Nihhulka. I somehow only get that he is coming on 13, I again inquire what is this Nihhulka. He tells me in English... Free... Oh I got it now: S is H in Assamese so Nishulka becomes Nihhulka which just reminds me of my Assamese friends and conversations with them. Then the conversations started up and we started talking on different issues. I was keen on knowing more about this district of NALBARI, more so since it has been in news for all wrong reasons and at times people from other places think twice before visitng this place. It is Bodo dominated area, Barpeta on one side, Kamrup on the other side, and Rangia (which is 54 kms from Samdrup Jhonkhar which is an adjoining district in Bhutan) on another side. I found people of Nalbari very kind, accomodating, traditional, religious minded and simple. Dr Goswami has spent many years here at Nalbari so who could be a better person than him to tell me more about this place.

Nalbari is known far and wide for its strength to spread the knowledge of Sanskrit all over the places. There is Sanskrit school and college here and a central university of Sanskrit is proposed, which is going to be inaugurated within this month or so. The people have donated 122 bigahs of land for this cause. All over Assam and other places as well man Sanskrit teachers are from Nalbari. MahaMahopadhyay Dhireswar Acharya, who is also known as next to Kalidas, was a great scholar of sanskrit and he hailed from Nalbari, donated all his wealth for the cause of sanskrit education and hence Nalbari became the land of Sanskrit.

Then he tells me little about his family, he says that after his retirement from the services in 2005, he has moved to Guwahati where his children are reading. I again tend to think what is this... reading or studying... then give the benefit of doubt of not knowing the usage of correct words of english.. to him. However I have always been thinking that here in this part of the world most of the students are found to be reading and not studying. Anyways jokes apart there are some great scholars from this part of the world and they have believed in strong values and developed huge literature for the benefit of scholars. I am told by him about four sources of values and traditions: Oral tradition, Manuscripts/Written tradition, Art and Dance and Pictorial tradition and he seems to have done his research related to these areas. At present he is working on monucriptology. I have never heard of this term. At present there is a Mission for manuscript which works under the department of Culture, Government of India. 

I would like to thank the principal of the college who provided this opportunity to me to learn about many things which I would never have learnt about the place, people and practices as told to me by Dr Goswami. Thanx Dr Goswami, it gives a great feeling when I learn from you that at your age you keep yourself busy and pursue somethings which many of us are unware of...Manuscriptology. You have made a manuscriptological influence on me. I shall cherish this travel for long.

Bareilly Blues

My stay in Bareilly has been short this time, unlike earlier years, this time I stayed here just for 10 days or so and that too at a time when the cold wave kept me almost inhouse.  Every time we visit Bareilly we witness change, change in its physical as well as behavioural context.  
I posted on my wall: It looked quite different than before... more rush, no traffic rules, shabby roads, arrogant attitude, corruption everywhere, Cold Weather-Hot Behaviour, Personalised Hoardings of Opportunist Politicians.  I was just thinking UP has gone worst than Bihar.  The replies of friends from all over the places made me believe that it is really a fact and though these are things which concern us, we still keep our roots and respect them.  
Yesterday when I got back to home I was just thinking on the amount which must have been spent on putting the hoardings of the Birthday celebration of Mayawati, the chief Minister of UP.  On almost every available space there were posters, banners, huge size hoardings on the grand celebration of her birthday on 15th of this month.  It comes every year, it goes every year and in a country where more than one third still does not get enough to eat, in a state where around half of the population does not get a square meal, people, we can afford to spend so much of money on just putting these banners etc forget about the amount of gifts, donations, gratifications etc that floods around the state.  Bareilly is just a small city of this state of around 85 districts and I have strong reasons to believe that this must be the case in almost every city of this state.  Bareilly which does not have BSP MP, yes MLAs are there, can boast of such an stupid act of flattery seeking favors.  
Where are we heading?

(Jan 13, 2011, Lucknow)