Abhay Shivgounda Patil

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कविता १०१

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IrshaadStageगणित अाणि कविता या दोन गोष्टीत कमालीचं साम्य अाहे. दोन्ही अल्पाक्षरी – फाफटपसारा अजिबात नाही. दोन्हीत अाशय अाणि अर्थ ठासून भरलेला. अाणि, “अाम्हाला त्यातलं काही कळत नाही” असं म्हणून त्यापासून दूर पळणारे लोकही दोन्हीकडे. गेल्या महिन्यात संदीप खरे अाणि वैभव जोशी या कवीद्वयांचा “इर्शाद” हा काव्यवाचनाचा कार्यक्रम कॅलिफोर्नियाच्या सिलीकॉन व्हॅलीत झाला तेंव्हा प्रेक्षकांत “कविता कळत नाही” संप्रदायातले जे कोणी होते त्या सगळ्यांचं  irreversible ह्रदयपरिवर्तन झालं असणार यात शंका नाही! मित्र संजय अापटेची फेसबुकवरची प्रतिक्रिया प्रातिनिधिक होती.

शाळेत मराठी पद्य म्हणजे आम्ही जेमतेम पास. कुठल्याही कवितेने मला मुळापासुन हलवल वगैरे नाही की कधी माझ्या मनात कसलेही तरंग वगैरे निर्माण केले नाहीत, त्यामुळे कवितांच्या कार्यक्रमापासून मी बहुधा लांबच राहतो पण काल कॅलिफोर्निया आर्टस् ससोसिएशन (Calaa) च्या १५ वर्ष निमित्त झालेल्या संदीप खरे आणि वैभव जोशींच्या ‘इर्शाद’ कार्यक्रमात जरा डोकावलो आणि मेलो. चक्क कविता ऐकत बसलो, नुसत्याच ऐकल्या नाहीत तर प्रचंड आवडल्या.

म्हणजे Science मधे गोडी निर्माण व्हावी म्हणून Popular Science लिहीणाऱ्या शास्त्रज्ञांसारखंच या कवींचं काम महत्वाचं अाहे. “मंचीय कविता” असं म्हणून काहीजण काव्यवाचनाच्या कार्यक्रमाला कमी लेखत असतीलही, पण या निमीत्ताने कवितेकडे लोक वळतील हे नक्की. अमेरिकेत विद्यापीठात विषयाची अोळख करून देणाऱ्या course ला “अमुक तमुक १०१” असे नाव देतात – तसा हा “कविता १०१”! कर्मधर्मसंयोगाने मला हा कार्यक्रम त्यांच्या शेजारी बसून ऐकता अाला. अोळख करून देतांना मी कवी नारायण कुळकर्णी कवठेकर यांच्या या ओळी उधृत केल्या.

अनुल्लेखानं वाळलं तर
किंवा
पायाखाली चुरगाळलं तर;
पण
याहून मोठा
अन्याय होईल फुलांवर
त्यांचं नाव
जीवनावश्यक वस्तूंच्या यादीतून
गाळलं तर.

कविताही फुलांसारखीच जीवनावश्यक गोष्ट अाहे हे नक्की!

बरं, इथपर्यंत अालाच अाहात तर मी वाचलेल्या (माझ्या नाहीत – घाबरू नका) या कविताही जाता जाता ऐका.
एक दिवस मी परमेश्वराला – कवी केशव मेश्राम

अमेरिकन शेतकरी भाऊ! – कवी वसंत बापट

तू हवीस यात न पाप – कवी पु. शि. रेगे

शिरच्छेद – कवी वैभव छाया

 

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Written by Abhay Shivgounda Patil

May 13, 2017 at 8:42 pm

Sharad Joshi – Four Decades of Farmer Agitation and Politics

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Courtesy Loksatta.com

Courtesy Loksatta.com

Sharad Joshi, the thinker economist, who led historic farmers’ agitations in the eighties turned  eighty this year.  An ardent votary of globalization and free market economy, it is interesting to read his unsparing and candid commentary on the farmers’ issue, the state of affairs, the current crop of farmer leaders, Modi and Sharad Pawar. 

Translated (abridged) from original Marathi interview in Loksatta, Sunday, August 30, 2015. Interviewer Satish Kamat Email: pemsatish.kamat AT gmail DOT com.

Four decades ago, an urbane 40 something left a plum job at the United Nations and settled in a village near Pune (Maharashtra) to experiment with farming. His foray in agriculture confirmed his belief that farming could never be profitable in India, as the market prices of farm produce are not linked to the production costs. He spearheaded two major agitations – one of the onion growers in 1978, and the other of sugar cane and onion producers together in 1980.  The politicians who used to pay lip service to farmers’ plight woke up from their slumber. They realized that farmers could no more be taken for granted. Some of them did manage to build bridges with him to weather the storm. Following are the excerpts from his interview by Mr. Satish Kamat.

On the current leadership of farmers.

While it is good to find many farmers’ organizations taking up the cause – I find them bereft of vision. They are mostly copying what I propounded decades ago without checking it’s relevance in today’s times. It was the market price then, but now it is about water management and crop control.  These leaders may appear successful in pockets, but in reality they are extremely ordinary people without any solid understanding of the issues.

You agitated only for the well-to-do farmers – the onion and sugar cane growers.

Onion is linked to the political sensitivity and sugar cane is about economic elasticity. Maharashtra’s share in national onion production is 40%. I knew that if I took up these crops we could choke the nation. One has to also think about one’s ability to sustain the agitation. How could I do that with the marginal farmers and landless laborers? It was a part of our war plan.

You were apolitical in the beginning, then went as far as sharing  stage with politicians of all hues who had barely any interest in farmers’ issues. In 1985 Sharad Pawar in opposition supported you, and then in 1988 VP Singh, Chandrashekhar and Vajpayee attended your rallies. Even the extreme right wing Patit Pawan was your ally in some agitations. What gives?

At various stages of our movement I was looking for allies to work with me. But unfortunately Sharad Pawar’s casteist position proved to be more powerful than our economic agenda. For better market prices people were with us, but they voted for Pawar during elections.  We couldn’t shake off influence of caste among our followers.  One more thing, Pawar’s allegiance to the co-operative movement has always been stronger than his affinity to farmers. That was the legacy of his mentor Yashwantrao Chavan anyway. Their primary interest was ensuring uninterrupted flow of money from the center for the co-operative movement. As for agriculture, for example, today he is endorsing what we said about GM crops 25 years ago. I often joke – Pawar gets it drip by drip! As for elections, we had no choice but to resort to electoral politics as we needed to create a pressure group inside the assembly and not just outside. Unfortunately we failed.

Your agitation was known for the way it focused on women participation. Have women really become empowered?

Our 1985 Chandwad women’s convention was historic. Women account for eighty percent of farm work – but hardly get their due share. The bonus for us was that these women, once convinced, got their men folk into the movement. We were the first one to raise the issue of reservations for women. But I am against political reservations. It has made women as corrupt as men and they have lost their faith in their own strength and abilities.

In 1980 you toured Vidarbha and that region has participated in the movement in a big way. But it’s also where farmer suicides are prevalent. What should be done about it?

That’s a fact. I believe I taught them to fight but never managed to prepare them for calamities such as what they face today – that’s my failure. When one is on the verge of suicide, there needs to be someone or something that could give them strength and persuade them away from that decision. We could not create such a system. It’s also about the cultural heritage of the region. Had it been some other society, they would have indulged in thievery and plunder – but Vidarbha farmer chooses to embrace death in desperation. Fact is, farming that is solely dependent on the water from the skies is not sustainable. Water management is the key.

You have always stood for globalization and the free market economy. Debt-free farming, and not waiver for debts, was your mantra. Do you believe the current Government can change the face of farming?

Even today I remain a strong votary of globalization. Freedom is the most important value and I believe I could convince farmers about that. But now the situation has turned far more complicated. I see a lot of parallels between the socialism of the first Prime Minister Nehru and the so-called “development-politics” of PM Narendra Modi. It is clear that both are anti farmer. For Modi Industrialization means development. Period. This is the Government that brands onion as an “essential commodity” – how to confront such a regime is the key problem before farmers. Dishonest Government and weak leadership are the bane of today’s farmers.

Written by Abhay Shivgounda Patil

September 3, 2015 at 6:49 am

My blogs – So far!

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[Updated on September 2, 2017.]

Latest blog on the Musical form Tarana.

My recent “professional” blogs on LinkedIn here:
Demystifying Continuous Performance Management
Life Lessons from Originals – a wonderful book by Adam Grant
Interviewing for Hiring: Nobel Laureate’s Advice
Leadership Learning
Self-healing Systems

A few personal blogs on education, society and stuff.
If you don’t see beauty, you are not seeing
Notes from a talk by K B Jinan, the activist, designer and disruptive educationist.
Geshe Dorji Damdul on Mindfulness:
HH Dalai Lama’s confidante’s take on mindfulness.
Remembering Dijkstra
My talk on some of the quotes by the eminent computer scientist Edsgar Dijkstra.
Turning Around Universities
My notes of a talk by Prof. Deepak Phatak on how MOOC can dramatically change the role of a traditional University.
Gen Y For Dummies
Had a good time attending the NASSCOM (Pune) session on Gen Y management.
The Loss of Innocence – The IIT, Then and Now
A typical IIT student was intelligent, unassuming, self made, studious and rooted well in the “local” ethos.
Mathematics for justice!
Can we divide something between people such that everyone is guaranteed to be satisfied?
Let’s Talk Dirty!
That’s right. I do want to talk about things dirty.
Watch Thyself!
What do I do when I see an accident?
Wages of Inequality – P. Sainath’s lecture in Pune
Will we ever stop wearing our ideologies on our sleeves and instead focus on the human side of the story?
Can we ever read History with an open mind?
As an 11 year old in the 9th grade, untouched by any “ism” and totally oblivious of the label p-secular …

And here are some personal musings!
Some Poetry recital (काव्यवाचन) on Soundcloud!
संदीप खरे अाणि वैभव जोशींच्या “इर्षाद” च्या निमीत्ताने

Sharad Joshi Interview
“I see a lot of parallels between the socialism of the first Prime Minister Nehru and the so-called development-politics of PM Narendra Modi.” Always insightful to know what this iconic leader has to say on the issues that confront us. (Translated from original Marathi.)
Uniqueness of Religious Regions of Maharashtra
Religious Geography of Maharashtra – now that’s one scary academic sounding topic!
Tale of Two Relocations
My experience of two relocations – first in the year 1993 to the USA and then in 2001 to India.
दोन स्थलांतरांची गोष्ट
“तुम्ही भारतात परत का आलात?”
बोलाचे साहित्य बोलाचेच विश्व, रंकाचे धन आणि रावांचे कवित्व ॥
विश्व मराठी साहित्य संमेलन!
आता तुम्हीच काळजी घ्यायला हवी…
A poem by Shankar Vaidya.
One year of JM – FC road one way plan
Serious issues needing urgent corrective measures. (August 20, 2010)
Was ist Mitaan bitte?

Written by Abhay Shivgounda Patil

February 22, 2015 at 7:32 pm

Uniqueness of Religious Regions of Maharashtra

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(Picture: downtoearth.org.in/)

(Picture: downtoearth.org.in/)

Religious Geography of Maharashtra – now that’s one scary academic sounding topic! But after I skimmed through a delightful note by Prof Anne Feldhaus, I decided to attend the talk and boy was it wonderful!  Here are my notes.  Disclaimer: I have paraphrased what I heard and I am no academician myself. 

As Prof. Suhas Palshikar spoke in Marathi about late Prof. Rajendra Vora, in whose memory the talk was organized, the sari clad elderly Caucasian American lady with snow white hair was seen nodding appreciatively.  A small disappointment then when Prof. Palshikar announced that Ms. Feldhaus would be speaking in English.

Ms. Feldhaus talked about six patterns that have created regions bound by common threads  of faith.  These patterns were stories, body images, goddess sisters, numbered sets, biography of saints and pilgrimage.

She narrated the story of the birth of river Karha.  Arjun and Nakula in search of water, toppled the kamandalu of a sage and thus was born the river Karha.  They  ran for their life with the sage in hot pursuit.  Whenever the sage would get close, they would throw a rice grain behind them.  The grain would turn in to a shiva-linga and the sage would stop in his tracks to worship it!  That explains the Shiva temples along the bank of Karha.  The villages around Karha, in a sense, signify a region defined by this story.

The Purush Sukta in Rigved uses the metaphor of human body to describe rivers.  Interestingly, eight locations of the river Godavari have been likened to eight angas – body parts – of a woman; from head to toe.

Then she talked about seven goddesses, the Malai sisters, who once in a year visit their maher, i.e. home of their parents, from seven different locations.  This religious event binds the eight locations.

Then there are these numbered locations – the ashta-vinayak, the 11 Maruti, the three and a half shakti-peeths and so on.  These sets too define a region.

The holy places of he Mahanubhav panth are all about the activities of their founder, Chakradhar Swami, and his guru.  The place where he slept, where he delivered his message – even where he went to the bathroom – are enshrined as holy places!

And the last, and the most significant, pattern that creates religious regions is the pilgrimage.  The wari of Pandharpur being the most significant example.

At this point, she came up with two key observations.

Some of the regions overlap geographically, but, interestingly, they don’t meet!  She cited Jejuri as an example.  It happens to be near Karha, the annual palakhi of Janai originates from there, the Morgao of ashta-vinayak is not too far, one of the Malai sisters belongs to this place and the Pandharpur pilgrimage passes through Jejuri.  However, folks who are passionately involved in one of the regions are often found to be completely oblivious to the other regions which exist there!

Her second observations was that, with one notable exception, none of these religious regions has metamorphosed into any administrative or political entity.  The glorious exception being the wari of Pandharpur which united the Marathi speaking folks not withstanding the cast and class differences.  She credited the wari with the creation of the state of Maharashtra.

Personally, it was a very different perspective for me, coming from  an American scholar  who has almost adopted Marathi as her language.  To know more about Anne, do read this immensely entertaining note she wrote for her colleagues at the Arizona State University.

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Written by Abhay Shivgounda Patil

February 24, 2014 at 10:47 pm