IN MY STUDY
By Dr. Motilal Jotwani
It will be interesting to know the genesis of my column entitled 'In My Study' in the esteemed quarterly Sindhishaan, for these things quite happen in the world of journalism and there is no secret about them. When I wired my article “Reflections on being a Sindhi” to Shri Ranjit Butani, the Managing Editor of the said quarterly on the afternoon of 26th October 2006, he, with no loss of time emailed a message to me, saying, “Thanks a million for your prompt response with a wonderful article which I will proudly carry in the forthcoming 5th anniversary issue of Sindhishaan…. As a matter of fact, it will be my honour to carry a regular feature penned by you under a suitable and appropriate trademark column which will be identified with you in all future issues of Sindhishaan.”
After having a good comfortable siesta and also tea at the tea time, I went back to my computer once again at about half past five and said to Shri Ranjit Butani, “First things first: please read 'is' in place of 'was' on p.2 line 23 in my article sent earlier today. Thus, the sentence would read, 'And the multi-culturalism, or societal pluralism, is the hallmark of this valley…….. As regards your kind e-mail message received today, I feel tempted……... If you really mean what you say therein, you may expect from me a good regular feature on Sindhi Men and Matters. When I say 'Sindhi Men'. I mean 'Sindhi humans' in a non-sexist language, which includes 'Sindhi Men and Women'. In this connection, I shall humbly say, among other things, that (a) the Sindhishaan feature would be known as IN MY STUDY, its length being about 1500 words, b) the feature would highlight an event, a book, or a personality separately, or all the three in one piece, and (c) the Editor(s) would, as expected in an enlightened democracy, respect my freedom of opinion.”
On the very same day of 26th October, he agreed to all that and asked me to endearingly address him 'Ranjit', thereafter. Thus, we came to address each other on the first-name basis: I became 'Moti' for him and he 'Ranjit' for me. Ever since he established Sindhishaan five years ago, I have been writing for it. As in the last five years I have honed my skills as a writer and grown, so has Ranjit Butani come across many Sindhi writers, known them through close quarters, spearheaded many Sindhi causes and developed. While many people do articles on the writers of the day, or of the yesteryear, they very seldom do this on the editors. I do this, and rightly so, in my inaugural piece here. Ranjit Butani does not have any pretensions to reading and writing in Sindhi himself, but his Sindhishaan in the English language serves the interests of young Sindhi generation people in that it keeps them abreast of what they were in the past, what they are today and what they expect to be in the future.
During the last five years, we (Ranjit and Moti under discussion) have grown together beyond our known proportions.
100 Years of Satyagrah (1906-2006)
While making a kind reference to the book “Gandhiji on Sindh and the Sindhis” (1998), compiled and introduced by this writer and brought out by the Sindhi Academy, Delhi, Dr. Savita Singh, Director, Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti, New Delhi invited me, among others, to a one-day Seminar on Satyagraha: A Media Perspective to be held at New Delhi on 28th October, 2006. The Seminar was inaugurated by Shri Arjun Singh, the Union Minister of Human Resource Development, and the Key Note Address was given by Shri Prabhash Joshi, an eminent journalist. Shri Joshi dwelt on the circumstances in which Gandhiji developed Satyagraha, the truthful and non-violent method of resistance on 11 September 1906. He specially drew a parallel between 11 September 1906 and 11 September 2001, when in the USA the World Trade Centre was 'untruthfully and violently' attacked, and exhorted us, for that matter everybody all over the world, to make a choice between the two methods of resistance. Dr. Savita Singh said, “In a world darkened with intolerance, greed and hatred, the life and teachings of Gandhiji shine as a beacon light.”
Nearer home, the Sindhis seem to have occupied a special space in Gandhiji's heart, his heart having special spaces for all the segments of humanity notwithstanding. One has to thumb through the pages of “Gandhiji on Sindh and the Sindhis” to realize this. The names of Acharya J. B. Kripalani, Jairamdas Doulatram, N. R. Malkani, Anand T. Hingorani and Dr. Choithram Gidwani figure in it very often. I am reminded of the last page No. 554 of the said book on which it says that a deputation, led by Dr. Choithram Gidwani, narrated grievances and woes of the Sindhis and talked of the restrictions imposed by the Pakistani Government on their evacuation. That happened to be the fateful day of 30 January, 1948, when the deputation had met him before he was shot at thrice, at point-blank range and uttered 'Hey Ram' and breathed his last. During the time he met the deputation his heart was smitten with grief at the wave of insanity which swept over the land. He thought, this must end, or he must die.
This Upanishad belongs to the Vajasaneyi School of Yajur Veda – Yajur Veda, which was created along with the three other Vedas on the banks of the Sindhu river in Greater Sindh. Considered to be the first Upanishad, it contains eighteen slokas, in which the eighteen chapters of the Geetaa are aptly summarized. As its first mantra in Sanskrit begins with 'Ishaavaasya' (hidden in jeev/jagat, or chetanaa/jada), it is called so. Before and after the eighteen slokas, the moolamantra 'Om Shaanti' is given, which means all things moving on earth are hidden in One Isha (the Super Self). When it is One, and you have surrendered all this to It, why covet others? If we know ourselves well and add anything to It, or subtract anything from It, It will ever remain One. That is One and This is One. Om Shaanti…… Om Shaanti.
Way back in 1997, I translated all the eighteen slokas in the Sindhi poetic form of bait. I am transliterating (mark the difference between 'translating' and 'transliterating') those baits in the Roman script for the benefit of the Sindhishaan readers:
Ishaavaasya jeevu-jag'u, hiku pooranu, vadhi na ghati,
bhog'i, jo bi mile, baaqee tunhinjo ee b'iyani vati.
Kamu kande jeeu saala sau, ee to lai dharmu,
bini phala jee vaasanaa je. Chho keena maargu karmu.
Aatama-gyaana jaa dushmana, asuree jooni paaini,
mauta puj'aanaa panhinje, oondaaho vasaaini.
Hika handhi sattaa poi bi, mana jaan tezu j'aani,
sthitee ain gatee b'e-ee aatam-tatva pachhaani.
Sattaa chala, sattaa achala, aahi doori ain paas,
andari b'aahari saa vase, dharatee ain aakaas.
Jo bi d'ise sadaaeen, aatmaa mein sabhu hoond,
biru na thie manu sandasi, hiku samundu hika bund.
Bhautikee chetanaamaee, aatmaa mein sabhu bhoot,
jo moha shoka khan pare, so gyaanee avadhoot
Aahi kavee kraanti-darsee, deha hoonde videhu,
amar arthu saadhiyaaeen, aatam-tatva saan nehu.
Avidyaa ta odah aa, vidyaa na judaa j'aani,
hika moha-paasha mein b'adhe,b'ee b'ode abhimaani.
Vidyaa khan bi ghano pare, aatam tatva shai alag'i,
dheer purushani d'ekharyo, vehaare paana lag'i.
Avidyaa jot a maut d'e, vidyaa amrit safar,
saadhanani b'inhee saan ee, sunjaani sattaa amar.
Kini kayo sata jo vikaasu, kini asata jo nirodhu,
b'e-ee oondahi mein thiyaa, b'uddhee khan pare b'odhu.
Privrittee nivritee khan judaa aa aatam tatu,
dheera varaani d'ekhaaryo, b'udhayo tinheen satu.
Nirodh wa vikaas b'e-ee, patha aatam tata laai,
aatam tata je sahaare, sattaa amrit paai.
Sonee jog'a-maayaa saan, satya jo munhun dhakiyalu,
dhakanahaar! kholi toon, d'ekhaari satya likalu.
D’isana-d'ekhaarana waaro, too nee paalana-haar,
d'isaan haani tokhe, sacha! Maan ee hina-huna paar.
Medi praana amar tata mein, kare shareeru rakha-rakha,
kari smranu sandasi kayo, visaare hiti jaa kakha.
Vaani-vaaniyalu sansaar, hee paapee vada-vakada,
moon vathee halu sawalo, eh toon b'edee-a rahabar!