आज कवि लेखक, साहित्यकार डा. हरिवंशराय बच्चन की जयंती है .उत्तर छायावाद के प्रमुख कवि और हालावाद के एक प्रणेता होने के साथ साथ हिन्दी गद्य साहित्य में भी उनका एक अलग स्थान है.मधुशाला, मधुबाला और मधुकलश की त्रयी से रचना कर्म आरंभ करने के उपरांत उन्होंने अनेकों कविताएं लिखीं. चार भागों में लिखी उनकी आत्मकथा ने हिन्दी गद्य साहित्य में नए प्रतिमान स्थापित किए .कैंब्रिज विश्वविद्यालय से अङ्ग्रेज़ी साहित्य में पी.एचडी हासिल करने वाले दूसरे भारतीय होने का गौरव भी उन्हें प्राप्त है 1935 से ले कर 1985 तक पाँच दशकों की सृजन यात्रा में, कविता, गद्य , आलोचना, निबंध , अनुवाद आदि का बृहद साहित्य संसार रचने वाले इस महान लेखक कवि को साहित्य अकादमी पुरस्कार, सोवियत लैंड पुरस्कार, लोटस अवार्ड, सरस्वती सम्मान यहाँ तक कि पद्मभूषण से भी सम्मानित किया गया.दो बार राज्यसभा के सदस्य भी रहे . परंतु फिर भी लगता है कि हिन्दी साहित्य जगत में अभी उनका मूल्यांकन उस तरह से नहीं हो पाया जैसा कि अपेक्षित था .
Thursday, November 20, 2014
‘The Last Leaf’ can easily be called O Henry’s masterpiece. Two girls–Sue and Johnsy, both painters share a studio. Johnsy gets afflicted with illness and despite the doctor’s best efforts, does not show any improvement in her condition. The doctor has almost given up on her saying that she herself does not want to get well and recover , and rightly so. Bed ridden as she is, she keeps looking at an ivy creeper visible through the window and keeps counting the number of leaves left on it , it being the Autumn season. Mysteriously , she thinks that with the dropping of each leaf, her life is nearing its end. Sue wants to drive her away from this foolish thought , but it is of no use . Behrman, an old painter, past sixty, and a failed artist, who still harbours dreams of painting a masterpiece one day, also has a studio in the same building and manages to earn a little by modelling for the young artists. Sue approaches him for a similar assignment and incidentally shares her concern regarding Johnsy ‘s deteriorating condition. For once dismissing Johnsy’s foolish idea of associating her life with the Ivy leaves, he also gets serious and during a stormy night when the last leaf has also fallen, paints a leaf on the wall at the same place where the last leaf hung. Unmindful of this, seeing that the ‘ last leaf ‘ has not fallen and is still there, Johnsy regains her desire to live and shows visible signs of improvement . Only later , when told that Behrman has died of Pneumonia , do they come to know that ‘the last leaf’ which had survived the winds and the storm was actually a painting done by him during that stormy night , so that Johnsy won’t give in and somehow get over her illness and recover. ‘The last leaf ‘ painted by Berhman was certainly his masterpiece that had saved Johnsy’s life .
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Lately I have read a story ‘The Vendetta’ by Guy de Maupassant in which the main character is an old lady, the widow of Paulo Saverini . It so happens that her son, Antoine gets killed by one Nicholas Ravolati after a dispute and the widow left alone full of sorrow and sadness , spends sleepness nights thinking of ways to avenge the murder of her son. She has a shepherd dog called Semillante . An idea strikes her and she experiments by starving the dog and making him attack a dummy. The result is encouraging as the hungry dog pounces upon the dummy and mauls it completely. After a few days she again starves the dog and disguised as an old man, takes it to the village of Nicholas Ravolati, the murderer of her son. She calls out to him by name and when he comes out , she lets the dog loose and motions it to attack Nicholas, who in a short while makes a short work of the murderer . Having completed her mission , she returns to her house and sleeps well .
In contrast, I am reminded of a poem ‘ Yousuf ‘ which I read in school. Since this was more than four decades ago, I have forgotten the name of the poet , and unfortunatelu even the Google has been of no help in tracing the poem and the poet. Yousouf, a man of God, welcomes a stranger to his home for the night and the stranger, overwhelmed by the hospitality and burdened with guilt discloses the fact that he is the murderer of Yousuf’s son . To his utter surprise, Yousuf instead of abusing him or cursing him, gives him money and asks him to get away at once before the feeling of revenge gets the better of him . In the latter case, the virtue of forgiveness comes to the fore .
In both the cases, a son has been murdered , but the reaction of the survivors of the victims is exactly the opposite. This shows the complexity of human nature and psyche.