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sharanadaata – a story by Agyeya

“yah kabhee ho hee nahin sakata, devindaralaalajee!”

rafeekuddeen vakeel kee vaanee mein aagrah tha, chehare par aagrah ke saath chinta aur kuchh vyatha ka bhaav. unhonne phir duharaaya, “yah kabhee nahin ho sakata devindaralaalajee!”

devindaralaalajee ne unake is aagrah ko jaise kaboolate hue, par apanee laachaaree jataate hue kaha, “sab log chale gaye. aapase mujhe koee dar nahin, balki aapaka to sahaara hai, lekin aap jaanate hain, jab ek baar logon ko dar jakad leta hai, aur bhagadad pad jaatee hai, tab phija hee kuchh aur ho jaatee hai, har koee har kisee ko shubahe kee nazar se dekhata hai, aur khaamakhaah dushman ho jaata hai. aap to muhalle ke saravara hain, par baahar se aane-jaane vaalon ka kya thikaana hai? aap to dekh hee rahe hai, kaisee-kaisee vaaradaaten ho rahee hain!”

rafeekuddeen ne baat kaatate hue kaha, “nahin saahab, hamaaree naak kat jaegee! koee baat hai bhala ki aap ghar-baar chhodakar apane hee shahar mein panaahagarjee ho jaen? ham to aapako jaane na denge, balki zabaradastee rok lenge. main to ise mejaaritee farj maanata hoon ki vah mainaaritee kee hifaazat kare aur unhen ghar chhod-chhodakar bhaagane na de. ham padosee kee hiphaazat na kar sake to mulk kee hifaajat kya khaak karenge! aur mujhe poora yakeen hai ki baahar kee to khair baat hee kya, panjaab mein hee koee hindoo bhee, jahaan unakee bahutaayat hai, aisa hee soch aur kar rahe honge. aap na jaie, na jaie. aapakee hifaajat kee zimmedaaree mere sir, bas!”

devindaralaal ke pados ke hindoo parivaar dheere-dheere ek-ek karake khisak gaye the. hota yah ki dopahar-shaam jab kabhee saakshaat hota, devindaralaal poochhate, “kaho laalajee (ya baoojee ya pandajjee) kya salaah banaayee hai aapane?” aur ve uttar dete, “jee, salaah kya banaanee hai, yaheen rah rahe hain, dekhee jaegee…” par shaam ko ya agale din savere devindaralaal dekhate ki ve chupachaap jarooree saamaan lekar kaheen khisak gaye hain, koee laahaur se baahar, koee laahaur mein hee hinduon ke muhalle mein. aur ant mein yah paristhiti aa gayee thee ki ab unake daahinee or chaar makaan khaalee chhodakar ek musalamaan goojar ka ahaata padata tha, jisamen ek or goojar kee bhainse aur doosaree or kaee chhote-mote musalamaan kaareegar rahate the. baayeen or bhee devindar aur rafeekuddeen ke makaanon ke beech ke makaan khaalee the aur rafeekuddeen ke makaan ke baad mojang ka adda padata tha, jisake baad to vishuddh musalamaan bastee thee. devindaralaal aur rafeekuddeen mein puraanee dostee thee, aur ek-ek aadamee ke jaane par unamen charcha hotee thee. ant mein jab ek din devindaralaal ne jataaya ki vah bhee chale jaane kee baat par vichaar kar rahe hain tab rafeekuddeen ko dhakka laga aur unhonne vyathit svar mein kaha, “devindaralaalajee, aap bhee!”

rafeekuddeen ka aashvaasan paakar devindaralaal rah gaye. tab yah tay hua ki agar khuda na kare, koee khatare kee baat huee bhee, to rafeekuddeen unhen pahale hee khabar kar denge aur hifaajat ka intazaam bhee kar denge – chaahe jaise ho. devindaralaal kee stree to kuchh din pahale kee jaalandhar maayake gayee huee thee, use likh diya gaya ki abhee na aaye, vaheen rahe. rah gaye devindar aur unaka pahaadiya naukar santoo.

kintu yah vyavastha bahut din nahin chalee. chauthe hee din savere uthakar unhonne dekha, santoo bhaag gaya hai. apane haathon chaay banaakar unhonne pee, dhone ko bartan utha rahe the ki rafeekuddeen ne aakar khabar dee, saare shahar mein maarakaat ho rahee hai aur thodee der mein mojang mein bhee hatyaaron ke giroh bandh-bandhakar nikalenge. kaheen jaane ka samay nahin hai, devindaralaal apana zarooree aur keematee saamaan le len aur unake saath unake ghar chale chalen. yah bala tal jaaye to phir laut aaenge.

‘qeematee’ saamana kuchh tha nahin. gahana-chhanna sab stree ke saath jaalandhar chala gaya tha, rupaya thoda-bahut baink mein tha; aur jyaada phailaav kuchh unhonne kiya nahin tha. yon grhasth ko apanee girastee kee har cheez keematee maaloom hotee hai – devindar laal ghante-bhar baad trank-bistar ke saath rafeekuddeen ke yahaan ja pahunche.

teesare pahar unhonne dekha, hullad mozang mein aa pahuncha hai. shaam hote-hote unakee nirnimesh aankhon ke saamane hee unake ghar ka taala toda gaya aur jo kuchh tha, lut gaya. raat ko jahaan-tahaan lapaten uthane lageen, aur bhaadon kee umas dhuaan khaakar aur bhee galaaghontoo ho gayee.

rafeekuddeen bhee aankhon mein paraayaj lie chupachaap dekhate rahe. keval ek baar unhonne kaha, “yah din bhee tha dekhane ko – aur aazaadee ke naam par! ya allaah!

lekin khuda jise ghar se nikaalata hai, use phir galee mein bhee panaah nahin deta.

devindaralaal ghar se baahar to nikal hee na sakate, rafeekuddeen hee aate-jaate. kaam karane ka to vaataavaran hee nahin tha, ve ghoom-ghaam aate, baazaar kar aate. aur shahar kee khabar le aate, devindar ko sunaate aur phir donon bahut der tak desh ke bhavishy par aalochana kiya karate. devindar ne pahale to lakshy nahin kiya lekin baad mein pahachaanane laga ki rafeekuddeen kee baaton mein kuchh chinta ka, aur kuchh ek aur peeda ka bhee svar hai jise vah naam nahin de sakata – thakaan? udaasee? virakti? paraajay? na jaane.

shahar to veeraan ho gaya tha. jahaan-tahaan laashen sadane lageen; ghar lut chuke the aur ab jal rahe the. shahar ke ek naamee doktar ke paas kuchh pratishthit log gaye the yah praarthana lekar ki ve muhallon mein jaaven; unakee sab log ijzat karate hain, isalie unake samajhaane ka asar hoga aur mareez bhee ve dekh sakenge. ve do musalamaan netaon ke saath nikale. do-teen muhalle ghoomakar musalamaanon kee bastee mein ek mareez ko dekhane ke lie stethaskop nikaalakar mareej par jhuke the ki mareej ke hee ek rishtedaar ne peeth mein chhura bhonk diya…

hindoo muhalle mein relave ke ek karmachaaree ne bahut-se niraashriton ko apane ghar mein jagah dee thee jinake ghar-baar sab lut chuke the. pulis ko usane khabar dee thee ki ve niraashrit usake ghar tike hain, ho sake to unake gharon aur maal kee hifaajat kee jae. pulis ne aakar sharanaagaton ke saath use aur usake ghar kee striyon ko giraphtaar kar liya aur le gayee! peechhe ghar par hamala hua, loot huee aur ghar mein aag laga dee gayee. teendin baad use aur usake parivaar ko thaane se chhoda gaya aur hifaajat ke lie hathiyaaraband pulis ke do sipaahee saath kiye gaye. thaane se pachaas qadam ke faasale par pulisavaalon ne achaanak bandook uthaakar us par aur usake parivaar par golee chalaee. vah aur teen striyaan maaree gayeen. usakee maan aur stree ghaayal hokar gir gayeen aur sadak par padee raheen.

vishaakt vaataavaran, dvesh aur ghrna kee chaabuk se tadaphadaate hue hinsa ke ghode, vish phailaane ko sampradaon ke apane sangathan aur use bhadakaane ko pulis aur naukarashaahee! devindaralaal ko achaanak lagata ki vah aur rafeekuddeen hee galat hain jo ki baithe hue hain jabaki sab-kuchh bhadak raha hai, uphan raha hai, jhulas aur jal raha hai, aur ve lakshy karate ki vah aspasht svar, jo ve rafeekuddeen kee baaton mein paate the, dheere-dheere kuchh spasht hota jaata hai – ek lajjit-see rukhaee ka svar!

hindustaan-paakistaan kee anumaanit seema ke paas ek gaanv mein kaee sau musalamaanon ne sikkhon ke gaanv mein sharan paayee. ant mein jab aas-paas ke gaanv ke aur amrtasar shahar ke logon ke dabaav ne us gaanv mein unake lie phir aasann sankat kee sthiti paida kar dee, tab gaanv ke logon ne apane mehamaanon ko amrtasar steshan pahunchaane ka nishchay kiya jahaan se ve surakshit musalamaan ilaake mein ja saken, aur do-dhaee sau aadamee kirapaanen nikaalakar unhen gher mein lekar steshan pahuncha aaye – kisee ko koee kshati nahin pahunchee.

ghatana sunakar rafeekuddeen ne kaha, “aakhir to laachaaree hotee hai, akele inasaan ko jhukana hee padata hai. yahaan to poora gaanv tha, phir bhee unhen haarana pada. lekin aakhir tak unhonne nibaaha, isakee daad denee chaahie. unhen pahuncha aaye.”

devindaralaal ne haamee bharee. lekin saahas pahala vaaky unake smrti-patal par ubhar aaya- “aakhir to laachaaree hotee hai – akele inasaan ko jhukana hee padata hai!”

unhonne ek teekhee najar se rafeekuddeen kee or dekha, par ve kuchh bole nahin.

aparaahn mein chhah saat aadamee rafeekuddeen se milane aaye. rafeekuddeen ne unhen apanee baithak mein le jaakar daravaaze band kar lie. dedh-do ghante tak baaten huee. saaree baat praayah dheere-dheere hee huee, beech-beech mein koee svar ooncha uth jaata aur ek-aadh shabd devindaralaal ke kaan mein pad jaata -‘bevakoofee, ‘gaddaaree’, ‘islaam’ – vaakyon ko poora karane kee koshish unhonne aayaasapoorvak nahin kee. do ghante baad jab unako vida karake rafeekuddeen baithak se nikal kar aaye, tab bhee unase lapakakar poochhane kee svaabhaavik prerana ko unhonne dabaaya. par jab rafeekuddeen unakee or na dekhakar khincha hua chehara jhukaaye unakee bagal se nikalakar bina ek shabd kahe bheetar jaane lage tab unase na raha gaya aur unhonne aagrah ke svar mein poochha, “kya baat hai, rafeek saahab, khair to hai?”

rafeekuddeen ne munh uthaakar ek baar unakee or dekha, bole nahin. phir aankh jhuka leen.

ab devindaralaal ne kaha, “main samajhata hoon ki meree vajah se aapako zaleel hona pada raha hai. aur khatara uthaana pad raha hai so alag. lekin aap mujhe jaane deejiye. mere lie aap jokhim mein na paden. aapane jo kuchh kiya hai usake lie main bahut shukragujaar hoon. aapaka ehasaan!”

rafeekuddeen ne donon haath devindaralaal ke kandhon par rakh diye. kaha, “devindaralaal jee!” unakee saans tez chalane lagee. phir vah sahasa bheetar chale gaye.

lekin khaane ke vaqt devindaralaal ne phir savaal uthaaya. bole, “aap khushee se na jaane denge to main chupachaap khisak jaoonga. aap sach-sach batalaie, aapase unhonne kaha kya?”

“dhamakiyaan dete rahe aur kya?”

“phir bhee, kya dhamakee aakhir…”

“dhamakee ko bhee kya hotee hai kya? unhen shikaar chaahie – halla karane na milega to aag laga kar lenge.”

“aisa! tabhee to main kahata hoon, main chala. main is vakt akela aadamee hoon, kaheen nikal hee jaoonga, aap ghar-baar vaale aadamee – ye log to sab tabaah kar daalane par tule hain.”

“gunde hain bilakul!”

“main aaj hee chala jaoonga…”

“yah kaise ho sakata hai? aakhir aapako chale jaane se hameen ne roka tha, hamaaree bhee to kuchh jimmedaaree hai…”

“aapane bhala chaahakar hee roka tha – usake aage koee jimmedaaree nahin hai…”

“aap jaavenge kahaan…”

“dekha jaega…”

“nahin, yah naamumakin baat hai.”

kintu bahas ke baad tay hua ki devindaralaal vahaan se tal jaenge. rafeekuddeen aur kaheen pados mein unake ek aur musalamaan dost ke yahaan chhipakar rahane ka prabandh kar denge – vahaan takaleef to hogee par khatara nahin hoga, kyonki devindaralaal ghar mein rahenge. vahaan par rahakar jaan kee hifaazat to rahegee, tab tak kuchh aur upaay socha jaega nikalane ka…

devindaralaal shekh ataullaah ke ahaate ke andar pichhalee taraph pedon ke jhuramut kee aad mein banee huee ek gairaaj mein pahunch gaye. theek gairaaj mein to nahin, gairaaj kee bagal mein ek kotharee thee jisake saamane deevaaron se ghira ek chhota-sa aangan tha. pahale shaayad yah draivar ke rahane ke kaam aatee ho. kotharee mein theek saamane aur gairaaj kee taraph ke kivaadon ko chhodakar khidakee vagairah nahin thee. ek taraph ek khaat padee thee, aale mein ek lota. pharsh kachcha, magar lipa hua. gairaaj ke baahar loh kee chaadar ka majaboot phaatak tha, jisamen taala pada tha. phaatak ke andar hee kachche pharsh mein ek gaddha-sa khuda hua tha jisakee ek or choona-milee mittee ka dher aur ek mittee ka lota dekhakar gaddhe ka upayeaag samajhate der na lagee.

devindaralaal ka trank aur bistar jab kotharee ke kone mein rakh diya gaya aur baahar aangan ka phaatak band karake usamen bhee taala laga diya gaya, tab thodee der ve hatabuddhi khade rahe. yah hai aazaadee! pahale videshee sarakaar logon ko kaid karatee thee, ve aazaadee ke lie ladana chaahate the; ab apane hee bhaee apanon ko tanahaee qaid rahe hain kyonki ve aazaadee ke lie hee ladaee rokana chaahate hain! phir maanav praanee ka svaabhaavik vastuvaad jaaga, aur unhonne gairaaj-kotharee-aangan ka nireekshan is drshti se aarambh kiya kiya ki kya-kya suvidhaen ve apane lie kar sakate hain.

gairaaj – theek hai; thodee-see durgandh hogee, jyaada nahin; beech ka kivaad band kaamachalaoo roshanee aangan se pratibimbit hokar aa jaatee haai, kyonki aangan kee ek or saamane kee makaan kee kone vaalee battee se roshanee padatee hai. balki aangan mein is jagah khade hokar shaayad kuchh padha bhee ja sake. lekin padhane ko hai hee kuchh nahin, yah to dhyaan hee na raha tha!

devindaralaal phir thithak gaye. sarakaaree qaid mein to ga-chilla bhee sakate hain, yahaan to chup rahana hoga!

unhen yaad aaya, unhonne padha hai, jel mein log chidiya, kabootar, gilaharee, billee aadi se dostee karake akelaapan door karate hain; yah bhee na hotee to kotharee mein makadee-cheetee aadi ka adhyayan karake… unhonne ek baar chaaron or najar daudaee. machchharon se bhee bandhu-bhaav ho sakata hai, yah unaka man kisee tarah nahin sveekaar kar paaya.

ve aangan mein khade hokar aakaash dekhane lage. aajaad desh ka aakaash! aur neeche se, abhyarthana mein – jalate hue gharon ka dhuaan! dhoopen dhaapayaamah. laal chandan-rakt chandan…

achaanak inhonne aangan kee deevaar par ek chhaaya dekhee – ek bilaar! unhonne bulaaya, “aao, aao!” par vah vaheen baitha sthir drshti se taakata raha.

jahaan bilaar aata hai, vahaan akelaapan nahin hai. devindaralaal ne kotharee mein jaakar bistara bichhaaya aur thodee der mein nirdvandv bhaav se so gaye.

din chhipe ke vaqt keval ek baar khaana khaata tha. yon ve do vaqt ke lie kaafee hota tha. usee samay kotharee aur gairaaj ke lote bhar die jaate the. laata tha ek javaan ladaka, jo spasht hee naukar nahin tha; devindaralaal ne anumaan kiya ki shekh saahab ka ladaka hoga. vah bolata bilakul nahin tha. devindaralaal ne pahale din poochha tha ki shahar ka kya haal hai to usane ek ajanabee drshti se inhen dekh liya tha. phir poochha ki abhee aman hua hai ya nahin? to usane nakaaraatmak sir hila diya tha. aur sab khairiyat? to phir sir hilaaya tha – haan.

devindaralaal chaahate to khaana doosare vakt ke lie rakh sakate the; par ek baar aata to ek baar hee kha lena chaahie, yah sochakar ve darakar kha lete the aur baaqee bilaar ko de dete the. bilaar khoob hil gaya tha, aakar god mein baith jaata aur khaata rahata, phir haddee-baddee lekar aangan ke kone mein baithakar chabaata rahata ya oob jaata to devindaralaal ke paas aakar ghuraghuraane lagata.

is tarah shaam kat jaatee thee, raat ghanee ho jaatee thee. tab ve so jaate the. subah uthakar aangan mein kuchh varazish kar lete the ki shareer theek rahe; baaqee din kotharee mein baithe kabhee kankadon se khelate, kabhee aangan kee deevaar par baithanevaalee goraiya dekhate, kabhee door se kabootar se gutaragoon sunate aur kabhee saamane ke kone se shekhajee ke ghar ke logon kee baatacheet bhee sun padatee. alag-alag aavaazen ve pahachaanane lage the, aur teen-chaar din mein hee ve ghar ke bheetar ke jeevan aur vyaktiyon se parichit ho gaye the.

ek bhaaree – zanaana aavaaz thee – shekh saahab kee beevee kee; ek aur teekhee zanaana aavaaz thee jisake svar mein vay ka khuradaraapan tha – ghar kee koee aur bujurg stree; ek vineet yuva svar tha jo praayah pahalee aavaaz kee ‘jaiboo! jaiboonee!’ pukaar ke uttar mein bolata tha aur isalie shekh saahab kee ladakee zaibunnisa ka svar tha. do mardaanee aavaazen bhee sun padatee theen – ek to aabid miyaan kee jo, shekh saahab ka ladaka hua aur jo isalie vahee ladaka hai jo khaana lekar aata hai, aur ek badee bhaaree aur charabee se chikanee aavaaz to shekh saahab kee aavaaz hai. is aavaaz ko devindaralaal sun to sakate lekin isakee baat ke shabdaakaar kabhee pahachaan mein na aate – door se teekhee aavaazon ke bol hee spasht samajh aate hain.

jaiboo kee aavaaz se devindaralaal ka lagaav tha. ghar kee yuvatee ladakee kee aavaaz thee, is svaabhaavik aakarshan se hee nahin, vah vineet bhee thee isalie. man hee man ve jebunnisa ke baare mein apane oohaapoh ka romaanee khelabaad kahakar apane ko thoda jhijhak bhee lete the, par aksar ve yah bhee sochate the ki kya yah aavaaz bhee logon mein firakaaparastee ka zahar bharatee hogee? bhar sakatee hogee? shekh saahab pulis ke kisee daphtar mein shaayad hed klark hain. devindaralaal ko yahaan laate samay rafeekuddeen ne yahee kaha tha ki pulisiyon ka ghar to surakshit hota hai!

vah baat theek hai, lekin surakshit hota hai isalie shaayad bahut-se upadravon kee jad bhee hota hai. – aise ghar mein log zahar phailaanevaale hon to achambha kya…

lekin khaate vakt bhee ve sochate, khaane mein kaun-see cheez kis haath kee banee hogee, parosa kisane hoga. sunee baaton se ve jaanate the ki pakaane mein bada hissa to us teekhee khuradaree aavaazavaalee stree ka rahata tha, par parosana shaayad jebunnisa ke hee zimme tha. aur yahee sab sochate-sochate devindaralaal khaana khaate aur kuchh jyaada hee kha lete the…

khaane mein badee-badee musalamaanon rotee ke bajaay chhote-chhote hindoo phulke dekhakar devindaralaal ke jeevan kee ekarasata mein thoda-sa parivartan aaya. maans to tha, lekin aaj rabadee bhee thee jabaki peechhe meethe ke naam par ek-aadh baar shaah tukada aur ek baar phiranee aayee thee. aabid jab khaana rakhakar chala gaya, tab devindaralaal kshan-bhar use rakhate rahe. unakee ungaliyaan phulkon se khelane-see lageen – unhonne ekaadh ko uthaakar phir rakh diya; pal-bhar ke lie apane ghar ka drshy unakee aankhon ke aage daud gaya. unhonne phir do-ek phulke uthaaye aur phir rakh diye.

hathaat ve chaunke.

teen-ek phulkon kee tah ke beech mein kaagaj kee ek pudiya-see padee thee.

devindaralaal ne pudiya kholee.

pudiya mein kuchh nahin tha.

devindaralaal use phir gol karake phenk denevaale hee the ki haath thithak gaya. unhonne kotharee se aangan mein jaakar kone mein panjon par khade hokar baahar kee roshanee mein purja dekha, us par kuchh likha tha keval ek satar!

“khaana kutte ko khilaakar khaiega.”

devindaralaal ne kaagaz kee chindiyaan keen. chindiyon ko masala. kotharee se gairaaj mein jaakar use gaddhe mein daal diya. phir aangan mein laut aaye aur tahalane lage.

mastishk ne kuchh nahin kaha. sann raha. keval ek naam usake bheetar khoya-sa chakkar kaatata raha, jaiboo… jaiboo… jaiboo…
thodee der baad vah phir khaane ke paas jaakar khade ho gaye.

yah unaka khaana hai – devindaralaal ka. mitr ke nahin, to mitr ke mitr ke yahaan se aaya hai. aur unake mezabaan ke, unake aashrayadaata ke.

jaiboo ke.

jaiboo ke pita ke.

kutta yahaan kahaan hai?

devindaralaal tahalane lage.

aangan kee deevaar par chhaaya sarakee. bilaar baitha tha.

devindaralaal ne bulaaya. vah lapakakar kandhe par aa raha. devindaralaal ne use god mein liya aur peeth sahalaane lage. vah ghuraghuraane laga. devindaralaal kotharee mein gaye. thodee der bilaar ko pukaarate rahe, phir dheere-dheere bole, “dekho, beta, tum mere mehamaan, main shekh saahab ka, hai na? ve mere saath jo karana chaahate hain, vahee main tumhaare saath karana chaahata hoon. chaahata nahin hoon, par karane ja raha hoon. ve bhee chaahate hain ki nahin, pata nahin, yahee to jaanana hai. iseelie to main tumhaare saath vah karana chaahata hoon jo mere saath ve pata nahin chaahate hain ki nahin… nahin, sab baat gadabad ho gayee. achchha, roz meree joothan tum khaate ho, aaj tumhaaree main khaoonga. haan, yah theek hai. lo, khao…”

bilaar ne maans khaaya. haddee jhapatana chaahata tha, par devindaralaal ne use godee mein liye-liye hee rabadee khilaee – vah sab chaat gaya. devindaralaal use godee mein liye sahalaate rahe.

jaanavaron mein to sahaj gyaan hota hai khaady-akhaady ka, nahin to ve bachate kaise? sab jaanavaron mein hota hai, aur billee to jaanavaron mein shaayad sabase adhik gyaan ke sahaare jeenevaalee hai, tabhee to kutte kee tarah palatee nahin… billee jo kha le vah sarvatha khaady hai – yon billee badee machhalee kha le jise inasaan na khaaye vah aur baat hai…

sahasa bilaar zor se gusse se cheekha aur uchhalakar god se baah ja kooda, cheekhata – gurraata-sa koodakar deevaar par chadha aur gairaaz kee chhat par ja pahuncha. vahaan se thodee der tak usake kaanon mein apane-aapase hee ladane kee aavaaz aatee rahee. phir dheere-dheere gusse ka svar dard ke svar mein parinat hua, phir ek karun ririyaahat mein, ek durbal cheekh mein, ek bujhatee huee-see karaah mein, phir ek sahasa chup ho jaane vaalee lambee saans mein…

mar gaya…

devindaralaal phir khaane ko dekhane lage. vah kuchh saaf-saaf deekhata ho so nahin; par devindaralaal jee kee aankhen nihspand use dekhatee raheen.

aazaadee bhaeechaara. desh-raashtr…

ek ne kaha ki ham zor karake rakhenge aur raksha karenge, par ghar se nikaal diya. doosare ne aashray diya, aur vish diya.

aur saath mein chetaavanee ki vish diya ja raha hai.

devindaralaal ka man glaani se umad aaya. is dhakke ko raajaneeti kee bhurabhuree ret kee deevaar ke sahaare nahin, darshan ke sahaare hee jhela ja sakata tha.

devindaralaal ne jaana ki duniya mein khatara bure kee taaqat ke kaaran nahin, achchhe kee durbalata ke kaaran hai. bhalaee kee saahasaheenata hee badee buraee hai. ghane baadal se raat nahin hotee, sooraj ke nistej ho jaane se hotee hai.

unhonne khaana uthaakar baahar aangan mein rakh diya. do ghoont paanee piya. phir tahalane lage.

tanik der baad unhonne aakar trank khola. ek baar sarasaree drshti se sab cheezon ko dekha, phir oopar ke khaane mein do-ek kaagaj, do-ek photo, ek seving baink kee paas-buk aur ek bada-sa lifaafa nikaalakar, ek kaale sheravaanee-numa kot kee jeb mein rakhakar kot pahan liya. aangan mein aakar ek kshan-bhar kaan lagaakar suna.

phir ve aangan kee deevaar par chadhakar baahar phaand gaye aur baahar sadak par nikal aae – ve svayan nahin jaan sake ki kaise!

isake baad kee ghatana, ghatana nahin hai. ghatanaen sab adhooree hotee hain. pooree to kahaanee hotee hai. kahaanee kee sangati maanaveey tark ya vivek ya kala ya saundary-bodh kee banaee huee sangati maanav par kisee shakti kee- kah leejie kaal ya prakrti ya sanyog ya daiv ya bhagavaan kee- banaee huee sangati hai. isalie maanav ko sahasa nahin bhee deekhatee. isalie isake baad jo kuchh hua aur jaise hua, vah bataana zarooree nahin. itana bataane se kaam chal jaega ki dedh maheene baad apane ghar ka pata lene ke lie devindaralaal apana pata dekar dillee-rediya se apeel karava rahe the tab ek din unhen laahaur kee muharavaalee ek chhotee-see chitthee milee thee.

“aap bachakar chale gaye, isake lie khuda ka laakh-laakh shukr hai. main manaatee hoon ki rediyo par jinake naam aapane apeel kee hai, ve sab salaamatee se aapake paas pahunch jaen. abba ne jo kiya ya karana chaaha, usake lie main maafee maangatee hoon aur yah bhee yaad shaayad dilaatee hoon ki usakee kaat mainne hee kar dee thee. ahasaan nahin jataatee – mera koee ahasaan aap par nahin hai – sirf yah iltaja karatee hoon ki aapake mulk mein aqaliyat ka koee mazaloom ho to yaad kar leejiega. isalie nahin ki vah musalamaan hai, isalie ki aap inasaan hain. khuda haaphiz!”

devindaralaal kee smrti mein shekhullaah kee charabee se chikanee bhaaree aavaaz goonj gayee, “jaiboo! jaiboo!” aur phir gairaaj kee chhat par chhatapataakar dheere-dheere shaant honevaalee bilaar kee vah dard-bhaaree karaah, jo keval ek lambee saans banakar chup ho gayee thee.

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