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naamaaloom see ek khata

garmee ke din the. baadashaah ne usee phaagun mein saleema se naee shaadee kee thee. saltanat ke jhanjhaton se door rahakar naee dulhan ke saath prem aur aanand kee kalol karane ve saleema ko lekar kashmeer ke daulatakhaane mein chale aae the.

raat doodh mein naha rahee thee. door ke pahaadon kee chotiyaan barph se saphed hokar chaandanee mein bahaar dikha rahee theen. aaraamabaag ke mahalon ke neeche pahaadee nadee bal khaakar bah rahee thee. moteemahal ke ek kamare mein shamaadaan jal raha tha aur usakee khulee khidakee ke paas baithee saleema raat ka saundary nihaar rahee thee.

khule hue baal usakee phirojee rang kee odhanee par khel rahe the. chikan ke kaam se sajee aur motiyon se gunthee huee phirojee rang kee odhanee par, kasee kamakhaab kee kuratee aur pannon kee kamarapetee par angoor ke baraabar bade motiyon kee maala jhoom rahee thee. saleema ka rang bhee motee ke samaan tha. usakee deh kee gathan niraalee thee. sangamaramar ke samaan pairon mein jaree ke kaam ke joote pade the, jin par do heere dak-dak chamak rahe the.

kamare mein ek keematee eeraanee kaaleen ka pharsh bichha hua tha, jo pair rakhate hee haath-bhar neeche dhans jaata tha. sugandhit masaalon se bane shamaadaan jal rahe the. kamare mein chaar poore kad ke aaeene lage the. sangamaramar ke aadhaaron par sone-chaandee ke phooladaanon mein taaje phoolon ke guladaste rakhe the. deevaaron aur daravaajon par chaturaee se gunthee huee naagakesar aur champe kee maalaen jhool rahee theen, jinakee sugandh se kamara mahak raha tha. kamare mein anaginat bahumooly kaareegaree kee desh-videsh kee vastuen kareene se sajee huee theen.

baadashaah do din se shikaar ko gae the. itanee raat hone par bhee nahin aae the. saleema khidakee mein baithee prateeksha kar rahee thee. saleema ne ukataakar dastak dee. ek baandee dastabasta haajir huee.

baandee sundar aur kamasin thee. use paas baithane ka hukm dekar saleema ne kaha-

“saakee, tujhe been achchhee lagatee hai ya baansuree?”

baandee ne namrata se kaha- “hujoor jisamen khush hon.”

saleema ne kaha- “par too kisamen khush hai?”

baandee ne kampit svar mein kaha- “sarakaar! baandiyon kee khushee hee kya!”

saleema hansate-hansate lot gaee. baandee ne banshee lekar kaha- “kya sunaoon?”

begam ne kaha- “thahar, kamara bahut garam maaloom deta hai, isake tamaam daravaaje aur khidakiyaan khol de, chiraagon ko bujha de, chatakhatee chaandanee ka lutph uthaane de aur ve phoolamaalaen mere paas rakh de.”

baandee uthee. saleema bolee- “sun, pahale ek gilaas sharabat de, bahut pyaasee hoon.”

baandee ne sone ke gilaas mein khushaboodaar sharabat begam ke saamane la dhara. begam ne kaha- “uph! yah to bahut garm hai. kya isamen gulaab nahin diya?”

baandee ne namrata se kaha- “diya to hai sarakaar!”

“achchha, isamen thoda sa istambol aur mila.”

saakee gilaas lekar doosare kamare mein chalee gaee. istambol milaaya aur bhee ek cheej milaee. phir vah suvaasit madira ka paatr begam ke saamane la dhara.

ek hee saans mein use peekar begam ne kaha- “achchha, ab suno. toone kaha tha ki too mujhe pyaar karatee hai; suna, koee pyaar ka hee gaana suna.”

itana kah aur gilaas ko galeeche par ludhakaakar madamaatee saleema us komal makhamalee masanad par khud bhee ludhak gaee aur ras-bhare netron se saakee kee or dekhane lagee. saakee ne banshee ka sur milaakar gaana shuroo kiya-

dukhava main kaase kahoon moree sajanee…

bahut der tak saakee kee banshee kanth dhvani kamare mein ghoom-ghoomakar rotee rahee. dheere-dheere saakee khud bhee rone lagee. saakee madira aur yauvan ke nashe mein choor hokar jhoomane lagee.
geet khatm karake saakee ne dekha, saleema besudh padee hai. sharaab kee tejee se usake gaal ekadam surkh ho gae hain aur aur taambul-raag ranjit honth rah-rahakar phadak rahe hain. saans kee sugandh se kamara mahak raha hai. jaise mand pavan se komal pattee kaanpane lagatee hai, usee prakaar saleema ka vakshasthal dheere-dheere kaanp raha hai. prasved kee boonden lalaat par deepak ke ujjval prakaash mein motiyon kee tarah chamak rahee hain.

banshee rakhakar saakee kshanabhar begam ke paas aakar khadee huee. usaka shareer kaanpa, aankhen jalane lagee, kanth sookh gaya. vah ghutane ke bal baithakar bahut dheere-dheere apane aanchal se begam ke mukh ka paseena ponchhane lagee. isake baad usane jhukakar begam ka munh choom liya.

phir jyon hee usane achaanak aankh uthaakar dekha, to paaya khud deen-duniya ke maalik shaahajahaan khade usakee yah karatoot acharaj aur krodh se dekh rahe hain.

saakee ko saanp das gaya. vah hatabuddhi kee tarah baadashaah ka munh taakane lagee. baadashaah ne kaha- “too kaun hai? aur yah kya kar rahee thee?”

saakee chup khadee rahee. baadashaah ne kaha- “javaab de!”

saakee ne dheeme svar mein kaha- “jahaanpanaah, kaneej agar kuchh javaab na de, to?”

baadashaah sannaate mein aa gae- “baandee kee itanee himmat?”

unhonne phir kaha- “meree baat ka javaab nahin? achchha, tujhe nirvastr karake kode lagae jaenge.!”

saakee ne akampit svar mein kaha- “main mard hoon.”

baadashaah kee aankhon mein sarason phool uthee. unhonne agnimay netron se saleema kee or dekha. vah besudh padee so rahee thee. usee tarah usaka bhara yauvan khula pada tha. unake munh se nikala- “uph! phaahasha!” aur tatkaal unaka haath talavaar kee mooth par gaya. phir unhonne kaha- “dojakh ke kutte! teree yah majaal!”

phir kathor svar se pukaara- “maadoom!”

ek bhayankar roop vaalee taataaree aurat baadashaah ke saamane adab se aa khadee huee. baadashaah ne hukm diya- “is maradood ko tahakhaane mein daal de, taaki bina khae-pie mar jae.”

maadoom ne apane karkash haathon se yuvak ka haath pakada aur le chalee. thodee der baad donon ek lohe ke majaboot daravaaje ke paas aa khade hue. taataaree baandee ne chaabhee nikaal daravaaja khola aur kaidee ko bheetar dhakel diya. kotharee kee gach kaidee ka bojh oopar padate hee kaanpatee huee neeche dhasakane lagee!

prabhaat hua. saleema kee behoshee door huee. chaunkakar uth baithee. baal sanvaarane, odhanee theek kee aur cholee ke batan kasane ko aaeene ke saamane ja khadee huee. khidakiyaan band theen. saleema ne pukaara- “saakee! pyaaree saakee! badee garmee hai, jara khidakee to khol de. nigodee neend ne to aaj gajab dha diya. sharaab kuchh tej thee.”

kisee ne saleema kee baat na sunee. saleema ne jara jor se pukaara- “saakee!”

javaab na paakar saleema hairaan huee. vah khud khidakeekholane lagee. magar khidakiyaan baahar se band theen. saleema ne vismay se man-hee-man kaha- “kya baat hai, laundiyaan sab kya hueen?”

vah dvaar kee taraph chalee. dekha, ek taataaree baandee nangee talavaar lie pahare par mustaid khadee hai. begam ko dekhate hee usane sir jhuka liya.

saleema ne krodh se kaha- “tum log yahaan kyon ho?”

“baadashaah ke hukm se.”

“kya baadashaah aa gae.”

“jee haan.”

“mujhe ittila kyon nahin kee?”

“hukm nahin tha.”

“baadashaah kahaan hain?”

“jeenatamahal ke daulatakhaane mein.”

saleema ke man mein abhimaan hua. usane kaha- “theek hai, khoobasooratee kee haat mein jinaka kaarabaar hai, ve muhabbat ko kya samajhenge? to ab jeenatamahal kee kismat khulee?”
taataaree stree chupachaap khadee rahee. saleema phir bolee- “meree saakee kahaan hai?”

“kaid mein.”

“kyon?”

“jahaanpanaah ka hukm.”

“usaka kusoor kya tha?”

“main arj nahin kar sakatee.”

“kaidakhaane kee chaabhee mujhe de, main abhee use chhudaatee hoon.”

“aapako apane kamare se baahar jaane ka hukm nahin hai.”

“tab kya main bhee kaid hoon?”

“jee haan.”

saleema kee aankhon mein aansoo bhar aae. vah lautakar masanad par gad gaee aur phoot-phootakar rone lagee. kuchh thaharakar usane ek khat likha:

“hujoor! kusoor maaph pharmaaven. dinabhar thakee hone se aisee besudh so gaee ki hujoor ke istakabaal mein haajir na rah sakee. aur meree us laundee ko bhee jaan bakhshee kee jae. usane hujoor ke daulatakhaane mein laut aane kee ittala mujhe vaajibee taur par na dekar beshak bhaaree kusoor kiya hai. magar vah naee kamasin, gareeb aur dukhiya hai.”
– kaneej saleema

chitthee baadashaah ke paas bhej dee gaee. baadashaah ne aage hokar kaha- “laee kya hai?”

baandee ne dastabasta arj kee- “khudaavand! saleema beebee kee arjee hai!”

baadashaah ne gusse se honth chabaakar kaha- “usase kah de ki mar jae! isake baad khat mein ek thokar maarakar unhonne udhar se muh pher liya.”

baandee saleema ke paas laut aaee. baadashaah ka javaab sunakar saleema dharatee par baith gaee. usane baandee ko baahar jaane ka hukm diya aur daravaaja band karake phoot-phootakar roee. ghanton beet gae, din chhipane laga. saleema ne kaha- “haay! baadashaahon kee begam hona bhee kya badanaseebee hai. intajaaree karate-karate aankhen phoot jaen, minnaten karate-karate jabaan ghis jae, adab karate-karate jism tukade-tukade ho jae phir bhee itanee see baat par ki main jara so gaee, unake aane par jag na sakee, itanee saja! itanee beijjatee! tab main begam kya huee? jeenat aur baandiyaan sunengee to kya kahengee? is beijjatee ke baad munh dikhaane laayak kahaan rahee? ab to marana hee theek hai. aphasos! main kisee gareeb kisaan kee aurat kyon na huee!”

dheere-dheere streetv ka tej usakee aatma mein uday hua. garv aur drdh pratigya ke chinh usake netron mein chha gae. vah saanpin kee tarah chapet khaakar uth khadee huee. usane ek aur khat likha:

“duniya ke maalik!

aapakee beevee aur kaneej hone kee vajah se main aapake hukm ko maanakar maratee hoon. itanee beijjatee paakar ek malika ka marana hee munaasib bhee hai. magar itane bade baadashaah ko auraton ko is kadar naacheej to na samajhana chaahie ki ek adanee-see bevakoophee kee itanee kadee saja dee jae. mera kusoor sirph itana hee tha ki main bekhabar so gaee thee. khair, sirph ek baar hujoor ko dekhane kee khvaahish lekar maratee hoon. main us paak paravaradigaar ke paas jaakar arj karoongee ki vah mere shauhar ko salaamat rakhe.
– saleema

khat ko itr se suvaasit karake taaje phoolon ke ek guladaste mein is tarah rakh diya ki jisase kisee kee us par phauran hee najar pad jae. isake baad usane javaaharaat kee petee se ek bahumooly angoothee nikaalee aur kuchh der tak aankhen gada-gadaakar use dekhatee rahee. phir use chaat gaee.

baadashaah shaam kee havaakhoree ko najarabaag mein tahal rahe the. do-teen khoje ghabarae hue aae aur chitthee pesh karake arj kee- “hujoor gajab ho gaya! saleema beebee ne jahar kha liya hai aur vah mar rahee hain!”

kshan-bhar mein baadashaah ne khat padh liya. jhapate hue saleema ke mahal pahunche. pyaaree dulahin saleema jameen par padee hai. aankhen lalaat par chadh gaee haiain. rang koyale ke samaan ho gaya hai. baadashaah se na raha gaya. unhonne ghabaraakar kaha- “hakeem, hakeem ko bulao! kaee aadamee daude.”

baadashaah ka shabd sunakar saleema ne usakee taraph dekha aur dheeme svar mein kaha- “jahe-kismat!”

baadashaah ne najadeek baithakar kaha- “saleema! baadashaah kee begam hokar kya tumhen yahee laajim tha?”

saleema ne kasht se kaha- “hujoor! mera kusoor bahut maamoolee tha.”

baadashaah ne kade svar mein kaha- “badanaseeb! shaahee janaanakhaane mein mard ko bhesh badalakar rakhana maamoolee kusoor samajhatee hai? kaanon par yakeen kabhee na karata, magar aankhon-dekhee ko bhee jhooth maan loon?”

tadapakar saleema ne kaha- “kya?”

baadashaah darakar peechhe hat gae. unhonne kaha- “sach kaho, is vakt tum khuda kee raah par ho, yah javaan kaun tha?”

saleema ne achakachaakar poochha- “kaun javaan?”

baadashaah ne gusse se kaha- “jise tumane saakee banaakar paas rakha tha.”

saleema ne ghabaraakar kaha- “hain! kya vah mard hai?”

baadashaah- “to kya tum sachamuch yah baat nahin jaanateen?”

saleema ke munh se nikala- “ya khuda!”

phir usake netron se aansoo bahane lage. vah sab maamala samajh gaee. kuchh der baad bolee- “khaavind! tab to kuchh shikaayat hee nahin; is kusoor ko to yahee saja munaasib thee. meree badagumaanee maaph pharmaee jae. main allaah ke naam par padee kahatee hoon, mujhe is baat ka kuchh bhee pata nahin hai.”

baadashaah ka gala bhar aaya. unhonne kaha- “to pyaaree saleema! tum bekusoor hee chaleen?” – baadashaah rone lage.

saleema ne unaka haath pakadakar apanee chhaatee par rakhakar kaha- “maalik mere! jisakee ummeed na thee, marate vakt vah maja mil gaya. kaha-suna maaph ho aur ek arj laundee kee manjoor ho.”

baadashaah ne kaha- “jaldee kaho saleema!”

saleema ne saahas se kaha- “us javaan ko maaph kar dena.”

isake baad saleema kee aankhon se aansoo bah chale, aur thodee hee der mein vah thandee ho gaee.!

baadashaah ne ghutanon ke bal baithakar usaka lalaat chooma aur phir baalak kee tarah rone lage.

gajab ke andhere aur sardee mein yuvak bhookha-pyaasa pada tha. ekaek ghor cheetkaar karake kivaad khule. prakaash ke saath hee ek gambheer shabd tahakhaane mein bhar gaya- “badanaseeb naujavaan! kya hosh-havaas mein hai?”

yuvak ne teevr svar mein poochha- “kaun?”

javaab mila- “baadashaah.”

yuvak ne kuchh bhee adab kie bina kaha- “yah jagah baadashaahon ke laayak nahin hai. kyon tashareeph lae hain?”

“tumhaaree kaiphiyat nahin sunee thee, use sunane aaya hoon.”

kuchh der chup rahakar yuvak ne kaha- “sirph saleema ko jhoothee badanaamee se bachaane ke lie kaiphiyat deta hoon. sunie! saleema jab bachchee thee, main usake baap ka naukar tha. tabhee se main use pyaar karata tha. saleema bhee pyaar karatee thee, par vah bachapan ka pyaar tha. umr hone par saleema parde mein rahane lagee aur phir vah shahanshaah kee begam huee. magar main use bhool na saka. paanch saal tak paagal kee tarah bhatakata raha, ant mein bhesh badalakar baandee kee naukaree kar lee. sirph use dekhate rahane aur khidamat karake din gujaarane ka iraada tha. us din ujjval chaandanee, sugandhit pushparaashi, sharaab kee uttejana aur ekaant ne mujhe bebas kar diya. usake baad mainne aanchal se usake mukh ka paseena ponchha aur munh choom liya. main itana hee khataavaar hoon. saleema isakee baabad kuchh nahin jaanatee.”

baadashaah kuchh der chupachaap khade rahe. isake baad ve bina daravaaja band kie hee dheere-dheere chale gae.

saleema kee mrtyu ko das din beet gae. baadashaah saleema ke kamare mein hee din-raat rahate hain. saamane nadee ke us paar pedon ke jhuramut mein saleema kee saphed kabr banee hai. jis khidakee ke paas saleema baithee us din-raat ko baadashaah kee prateeksha kar rahee thee, usee khidakee mein usee chaukee par baithe hue baadashaah usee tarah saleema kee kabr din-raat dekha karate hain. kisee ko paas aane ka hukm nahin. jab aadhee raat ho jaatee hai, to us gambheer raatri ke sannaate mein ek marmabhedinee geetadhvani uth khadee hotee hai. baadashaah saaph-saaph sunate hain, koee karun-komal svar mein ga raha hai..

dukhava main kaase kahoon moree sajanee…

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