11 December 2012

Katju and Phoolan - काटजू और फूलन


Katju and Phoolan -Dilip Mandal

दुनिया फूलन देवी को जॉन ऑफ आर्क और आंग सान सू की की लिस्ट में रखकर सलाम करती है (देखें दुनिया की सबसे बड़ी पत्रिका TIME की लिस्ट http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,2057714_2251971,00.html लेकिन मिस्टर काटजू के लिए वे पिछड़ी जाति यानी OBC की डकैत और हत्यारिन मात्र थीं, जो अपने चुनाव क्षेत्र में पिछड़ी जातियों की ज्यादा संख्या होने के कारण जीत गईं. मिस्टर काटजू, क्या आप बताएंगे कि भारत का कौन सा लोकसभा चुनाव क्षेत्र ऐसा है जहां OBC मेजोरिटी में नहीं है. बताएं, क्योंकि आप बेवकूफ नहीं हैं.

.क्योंकि मिस्टर काटजू को फूलन देवी होने का मतलब नहीं मालूम और क्योंकि उन्हें लगता है कि फूलन देवी जैसी "डकैत और हत्यारिन" सिर्फ जाति के दम पर चुनाव जीत जाती हैं, इसलिए यह बताना जरूरी है कि दुनिया की सबसे बड़ी पत्रिका TIME ने फूलन देवी को विश्व इतिहास की 16 शीर्ष विद्रोहिणियों की लिस्ट में चौथे नंबर पर रखा है. भारत में यह एकमात्र एंट्री है. काटजू जी, TIME मैगजीन में आप सिंगल कॉलम नहीं छप पाते.

Phoolan Devi

Indian folk hero who metamorphosed from outlaw into law-maker
The Guardian, Thursday 26 July 2001 23.36 BST

Phoolan Devi, who has been gunned down, aged 38, on her own doorstep in New Delhi's high-security area in broad daylight, has an assured place in contemporary Indian history. She was an opposition MP but, before that, she had been the legendary "Bandit Queen". This honorific generated a lot of glamour - and led to the Channel 4-backed feature film Bandit Queen (1994) - but it gained momentum not because of any Robin Hood-like acts during her years as a dreaded dacoit and killer but because of her metamorphosis, during the last seven years of her life, from notorious outlaw into law-maker.

In the latter incarnation she did not make much contribution to parliamentary debate, but fought valiantly, more outside the House than inside, for the poor and the downtrodden, the class into which she was born. She was even more ferocious in seeking gender equality and justice in a male-dominated society in which the oppression and exploitation of women is egregious. Her passion wasn't based on hearsay - she had been subjected to unspeakable physical and sexual abuse. It was that which had driven her to the Chambal ravines in central India, citadel of murderers, robbers, marauders and gangsters.

She was born into an utterly impoverished, low-caste family of boatmen, the second of four siblings. At 11 she was married off to a much older man - and a sadist. Within a year she was back in the parental hovel, but not for long.

A gang of upper-caste robbers abducted her and took her to their Chambal hideout. Thus began her career in crime. In 1980 she was gang-raped by the desperados belonging to the upper-caste Dhakurs. She took her revenge in 1981, slaughtering 22 Dhakur gangsters, including her one-time gang leader and lover. There was sensation and shock across India and a massive, fruitless hunt for Phoolan.

In 1983, she surrendered to the authorities, reportedly in return for a promise that she would stay behind bars for only eight years. But she was released only in 1994. It is a measure of the notorious judicial delays in India that although she was charged with 49 heinous crimes, she was never convicted.

The victims of her killings, however, kept demanding that she be put on trial again. But politically the times in India had changed. The backward-castes had suddenly become important in India's electoral calculus. Devi's caste became her passport to politics.

In 1996 she was first elected to parliament with a big majority on the ticket of Samajwadi (Socialist Party). But parliament was dissolved two years later and she lost her seat in the ensuing election; she was elected again in 1999.

By this time she had become a cult figure with a large following, especially among the lower-caste and the former untouchables. By this time she had remarried; he was a small-time politician, Umed Singh. More importantly, she had also started going to beauty parlours and wearing designer clothes, thus joining the great Indian middle class even while leading the fight of the poor and the disadvantaged for empowerment.

There were many biographies, including India's Bandit Queen: The True Story of Phoolan Devi (1991) by Mala Sen. This formed the basis of the Channel 4 production, which was only one of several films made about her. It was only released in India after several cuts. The Indian authorities did not want to show gory scenes of rape and murder. Thus, ironically, the films and the books gave Phoolan tremendous publicity and glamour - and a great deal of money by Indian standards.

Yet the circumstances of her death and the reaction it has produced indicate that Phoolan might now be more powerful than at any time during her life. Large-scale and at times violent demonstrations have erupted in her state, Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous, and a key political area. The leaders of her party have openly accused the Nationalist Hindu Party (BJP) of conspiracy to kill her. They say that UP's BJP government deliberately scaled down her security, something done also in the case of other opposition leaders. The government has denied the charges.

UP is going to the polls to elect a provincial parliament in February. The BJP's future prospects are uncertain, and the main challenge comes to it from the party to which Phoolan belonged. It is led by Mulyam Singh Yadav, a former chief minister of UP and a former Indian defence minister. He has vowed that Phoolan's murder will be avenged by the people, routing the BJP at the polls.

For the republic's president, K R Narayanan, Phoolan Devi was the symbol of the struggle of the poorest of the poor and of the feminist crusade at its finest.

• Phoolan Devi, campaigner, born 1963; died July 25 2001

MEGHnet