Today is the birth anniversary of Upanyas Samrat Munshi Premchand. A few government establishments I am aware of celebrated the day with very poignant tributes discussing his work and life. But pro BJP establishment and right wing ecosystem celebrating #MunshiPremchand’s birth anniversary in this year 2018 is ironical.
In four years of Modi rule India changed so rapidly, that I no longer understand how can we celebrate Munshi Premchand? How can we dare to discuss Premchand’s work with the young college students today, what if they get inspired and start a revolution? Isn’t it true that the seditious writings of the likes of Premchand and Tagores is what inspired the “anti-national tukde tukde gang and urban naxals” of JNU and Jadavpur University to be the way they are, they don’t respect government’s decision, they keep asking question to Modiji. Is that how we want our future generation to be? Constantly fighting?
Certainly not. We live in Modi raj, the golden age is back, how can there be any valid ground to stir up negative feelings of despair and revolution.
The things Premchand wrote is not good. The things he wrote in his time against the British Raj, if he wrote today, he would be labelled anti-national and anti-Hindu. Born as a “Shrivastava” in UP, he studied in a Madrasa. Can you imagine the horror.
With every word he wrote, he gave us those very values which made today’s artists, writers, film makers return their awards to the government after the mob lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri. If Premchand lived today, he too would have given up his award and joined the infamous “Award wapsi gang”. He too would have joined the “Not In My Name Campaign.”
Take the novel Rangbhoomi, making a hero out of a blind lower caste beggar Surdas, who would simply not give up his small land and jhopra to make space for a new fancy factory. He doesn’t want money, he doesn’t want urbanisation, he refuses to give up the life he had for crony capitalism. Surdas sparks a campaign, thousands rally in support of him, to control crowd police fire bullets. Police, an institution owned by British Raj back then, but manned by Indians. They fire three rounds. They refuse when ordered to fire again. Their conscience refuse to kill Indians. At one point one bullet hits Surdas, he dies. Becomes a martyr, the nation weeps and a revolution erupts.
Imagine what happens today when Government and corporate together tell villagers and farmers that they must give up their lands for car factories, SEZs, roads, flyovers, bullet trains, dams, give up farming get jobs in the new industry that would be built, this is great for the country. And if you oppose it you are anti-national. If the villagers and farmers are helped by educated leaders from the city in their protest against government those leaders are called anti-national, urban naxals. Today, in the independent India, Police continue to fire bullets upon Indians – protesters, farmers dead in Mandsaur, Tuticorin. Where is the conscience? Whose conscience?
Premchand created characters which inspired a nation to keep up the fight. Every time they burn down your poor hut, rebuild. Once, twice, a million times but don’t stop the fight. The enemy Premchand wanted the nation to fight was British Raj.
Today, who is the enemy we must fight? How must we fight? How would children born in this decade read a Munshi Premchand novel today and what message they will take? Will they have the courage to resist land grabbing? Will they question Modi’s love for capitalist, the dilution of environmental laws, forest laws and social impact assessment to make land grabbing easy which he calls “Ease of Doing business?” Will the future of India read and be inspired from a Surdas created by Premchand? Or will Surdas be trolled on Twitter for being anti-national at best and be killed like Gauri Lankesh at worst?
Where are we taking this nation? Who will address these.