The America of today has its roots in the India of Mahatma Gandhi – Obama

Barack Obama on 140th birthday of Gandhi

A stamp released by UN on 140th birthday of Gandhi

A stamp released by UN on 140th birthday of Gandhi

On behalf of the American people, I want to express appreciation for the life and lessons of Mahatma Gandhi on the anniversary of his birth. This is an important moment to reflect on his message of non-violence, which continues to inspire people and political movements across the globe. We join the people of India in celebrating this great soul who lived a life dedicated to the cause of advancing justice, showing tolerance to all, and creating change through non-violent resistance.

Americans owe an enormous measure of gratitude to the Mahatma. His teachings and ideals, shared with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on his 1959 pilgrimage to India, transformed American society through our civil rights movement. The America of today has its roots in the India of Mahatma Gandhi and the nonviolent social action movement for Indian independence which he led.

Tomorrow, as we remember the Mahatma on his birthday, we must renew our commitment to live his ideals and to celebrate the dignity of all human beings.

Source:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Statement-by-the-President-on-Mahatma-Gandhis-Birth-Anniversary/

The America of today has its roots in the India of Mahatma Gandhi – Obama

Barack Obama on 140th birthday of Gandhi

A stamp released by UN on 140th birthday of Gandhi

A stamp released by UN on 140th birthday of Gandhi

On behalf of the American people, I want to express appreciation for the life and lessons of Mahatma Gandhi on the anniversary of his birth. This is an important moment to reflect on his message of non-violence, which continues to inspire people and political movements across the globe. We join the people of India in celebrating this great soul who lived a life dedicated to the cause of advancing justice, showing tolerance to all, and creating change through non-violent resistance.

Americans owe an enormous measure of gratitude to the Mahatma. His teachings and ideals, shared with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on his 1959 pilgrimage to India, transformed American society through our civil rights movement. The America of today has its roots in the India of Mahatma Gandhi and the nonviolent social action movement for Indian independence which he led.

Tomorrow, as we remember the Mahatma on his birthday, we must renew our commitment to live his ideals and to celebrate the dignity of all human beings.

Source:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Statement-by-the-President-on-Mahatma-Gandhis-Birth-Anniversary/

The America of today has its roots in the India of Mahatma Gandhi – Obama

Barack Obama on 140th birthd

A stamp released by UN on 140th birthday of Gandhi

A stamp released by UN on 140th birthday of Gandhi

On behalf of the American people, I want to express appreciation for the life and lessons of Mahatma Gandhi on the anniversary of his birth. This is an important moment to reflect on his message of non-violence, which continues to inspire people and political movements across the globe. We join the people of India in celebrating this great soul who lived a life dedicated to the cause of advancing justice, showing tolerance to all, and creating change through non-violent resistance.

Americans owe an enormous measure of gratitude to the Mahatma. His teachings and ideals, shared with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on his 1959 pilgrimage to India, transformed American society through our civil rights movement. The America of today has its roots in the India of Mahatma Gandhi and the nonviolent social action movement for Indian independence which he led.

Tomorrow, as we remember the Mahatma on his birthday, we must renew our commitment to live his ideals and to celebrate the dignity of all human beings.

Source:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Statement-by-the-President-on-Mahatma-Gandhis-Birth-Anniversary/

A stamp released by UN on 140th birthday of Gandhi

A stamp released by UN on 140th birthday of Gandhi

A stamp released by UN on 140th birthday of Gandhi

FUEL Workshop on Marathi Computing Terminology

fuel marathi meet

fuel marathi meet

A two days workshop on the standardization of Marathi computing terminologies was organized on July 31st -August 01st 2009 at: Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Pune under the FUEL project. This FUEL Marathi workshop aimed at the community review and standardization of frequently encountered computing terminologies in Marathi. FUEL Marathi Evaluation meet aimed at solving the problem of inconsistency and lack of standardization in computer software translations in Marathi language. This workshop was hosted and sponsered by C-DAC, Pune.

At this occasion Mr. Mahesh Kulkarni, Programme Coordinator, GIST, C-DAC has given inaugral speech for this FUEL Marathi Meet. He emphasnized on the need of selecting those types of words that can give end user a smooth feeling of a computer in their native language. He added that with this type of community review what under the FUEL is being organized is the need of the time. An this occassion, By quoting Sant Tukaram FUEL coordinator Mr. Rajesh Ranjan told that worlds are the only wealth FUEL really aims for. Mr. Sandeep S has presented on the Marathi effort related to FUEL project. In this meet, linguists, translators, technical persons, and users were invited to participate. In this Meet, Harshad Gune of Symbiosis, Sudhanwa Joglekar of PLUG, Karunakar of Indlinux, Chandrakant D of CDAC, Madhura of CDAC, Parag Nemade, Ankit P, Fliex I, Parvin S of Red Hat, Dr Mukund Joglekar, Shirsh Bhagwat were among the more than 20 participants.

This workshop discussed on 578 commonly appearing entries people use. FUEL Marathi Evaluation meet was a concrete move towards solving the problem and after the meet, FUEL Marathi came with the standard translation of entries in Marathi language for the first time that are frequently being used by a normal user.

Localization is the process of transforming a product into different languages and adapting it for a specific locale. As the localization process becomes more complex and involves more players and tools, problems related to consistency of translations and terminology are faced. Heceforth, in this context the need of such type of meet is significant and important. Accept few languages, this type effort is generally the first effort for most of Indic languages for computing terminologies.

FUEL tries to provide a standardized and consistent computer interface for users. Before Marathi language FUEL already completed evaluation phase for Hindi and Maithili languages though there are currently eight languages working on it. So one by one, FUEL will try to come with this type of review for all Indic language.

FUEL Workshop on Marathi Computing Terminology

fuel marathi meet

fuel marathi meet

A two days workshop on the standardization of Marathi computing terminologies was organized on July 31st -August 01st 2009 at: Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Pune under the FUEL project. This FUEL Marathi workshop aimed at the community review and standardization of frequently encountered computing terminologies in Marathi. FUEL Marathi Evaluation meet aimed at solving the problem of inconsistency and lack of standardization in computer software translations in Marathi language. This workshop was hosted and sponsered by C-DAC, Pune.

At this occasion Mr. Mahesh Kulkarni, Programme Coordinator, GIST, C-DAC has given inaugral speech for this FUEL Marathi Meet. He emphasnized on the need of selecting those types of words that can give end user a smooth feeling of a computer in their native language. He added that with this type of community review what under the FUEL is being organized is the need of the time. An this occassion, By quoting Sant Tukaram FUEL coordinator Mr. Rajesh Ranjan told that worlds are the only wealth FUEL really aims for. Mr. Sandeep S has presented on the Marathi effort related to FUEL project. In this meet, linguists, translators, technical persons, and users were invited to participate. In this Meet, Harshad Gune of Symbiosis, Sudhanwa Joglekar of PLUG, Karunakar of Indlinux, Chandrakant D of CDAC, Madhura of CDAC, Parag Nemade, Ankit P, Fliex I, Parvin S of Red Hat, Dr Mukund Joglekar, Shirsh Bhagwat were among the more than 20 participants.

This workshop discussed on 578 commonly appearing entries people use. FUEL Marathi Evaluation meet was a concrete move towards solving the problem and after the meet, FUEL Marathi came with the standard translation of entries in Marathi language for the first time that are frequently being used by a normal user.

Localization is the process of transforming a product into different languages and adapting it for a specific locale. As the localization process becomes more complex and involves more players and tools, problems related to consistency of translations and terminology are faced. Heceforth, in this context the need of such type of meet is significant and important. Accept few languages, this type effort is generally the first effort for most of Indic languages for computing terminologies.

FUEL tries to provide a standardized and consistent computer interface for users. Before Marathi language FUEL already completed evaluation phase for Hindi and Maithili languages though there are currently eight languages working on it. So one by one, FUEL will try to come with this type of review for all Indic language.

FUEL Workshop on Marathi Computing Terminology

fuel marathi meet

fuel marathi meet

A two days workshop on the standardization of Marathi computing terminologies was organized on July 31st -August 01st 2009 at: Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Pune under the FUEL project. This FUEL Marathi workshop aimed at the community review and standardization of frequently encountered computing terminologies in Marathi. FUEL Marathi Evaluation meet aimed at solving the problem of inconsistency and lack of standardization in computer software translations in Marathi language. This workshop was hosted and sponsered by C-DAC, Pune.

At this occasion Mr. Mahesh Kulkarni, Programme Coordinator, GIST, C-DAC has given inaugral speech for this FUEL Marathi Meet. He emphasnized on the need of selecting those types of words that can give end user a smooth feeling of a computer in their native language. He added that with this type of community review what under the FUEL is being organized is the need of the time. An this occassion, By quoting Sant Tukaram FUEL coordinator Mr. Rajesh Ranjan told that worlds are the only wealth FUEL really aims for. Mr. Sandeep S has presented on the Marathi effort related to FUEL project. In this meet, linguists, translators, technical persons, and users were invited to participate. In this Meet, Harshad Gune of Symbiosis, Sudhanwa Joglekar of PLUG, Karunakar of Indlinux, Chandrakant D of CDAC, Madhura of CDAC, Parag Nemade, Ankit P, Fliex I, Parvin S of Red Hat, Dr Mukund Joglekar, Shirsh Bhagwat were among the more than 20 participants.

This workshop discussed on 578 commonly appearing entries people use. FUEL Marathi Evaluation meet was a concrete move towards solving the problem and after the meet, FUEL Marathi came with the standard translation of entries in Marathi language for the first time that are frequently being used by a normal user.

Localization is the process of transforming a product into different languages and adapting it for a specific locale. As the localization process becomes more complex and involves more players and tools, problems related to consistency of translations and terminology are faced. Heceforth, in this context the need of such type of meet is significant and important. Accept few languages, this type effort is generally the first effort for most of Indic languages for computing terminologies.

FUEL tries to provide a standardized and consistent computer interface for users. Before Marathi language FUEL already completed evaluation phase for Hindi and Maithili languages though there are currently eight languages working on it. So one by one, FUEL will try to come with this type of review for all Indic language.

fuel_marathi

fuel marathi meet

Mahesh Kulkarni addressing FUEL workshop

The Shifting Sands of Kanjar Hinterland

by Anup Beniwal

Bhagwandas Morval

Bhagwandas Morval

A formidable presence in contemporary Hindi literature, Bhagwandass Morwal has been hailed as the chronicler of Mewat, the land of his birth and nurture. Straddling Rajasthan, UP and Haryana, the region of Mewat, despite its unique cultural compositeness, lies on the socio-economic margins of India. The creative contours of Morwals much hailed Kala Pahad (1999) and Babal Tera Des Mein (2004) are shaped by the shifting sounds, sights and sensibility of Mewat that are as much rooted in the individual experiences of the author as in the collective memory of the region. However, the consumerist-communalist onslaught of the contemporary, in the guise of modernity, progress and vote-politics, has started asserting both due and undue pressure on the composite Mewati life style. Morwal makes this experiential reality, a poignant blend of memory and desire, emotion and thought, the takeoff point of his creative imagination to offer a fictional glimpse into the present day Mewat. As such his narratives are in the service of common people; they take sustenance from the existential aspirations and inspirations of the laity, pitchforks it within the social, economic and political contours of contemporary India to present a simultaneous critique both of the local and the national, the subaltern and the mainstream.

Ret, Morwals latest novel marks a transition both a departure and continuity in his narrative-aesthetic oeuvre. Though he moves away from his conventional creative turf in Ret, yet he persists with his imaginative and ideological sympathies. Ret is a story of Kanjars, a tribal community of North India, and the shifting matrix of their lives and times at the cross-section of caste, class, gender and community. It provides an anthropological peep into the psyche of a community precariously positioned at the margins of a society as the nation trudges along on its way to democratic equality, social justice and empowerment; a peep that soon implicates both the writer and readers as involved interpreters of this trajectory.

At the centre of the story lie the inhabitants of Kamala Sadan, presided over by Kamala Bua, the grand matriarch of this Kanjar family. The narrative is woven around the economics of the body and the way this economics impinges on the culture and everyday relational and existential dynamics of Kanjars, especially the Kanjar women. In the very process of capturing and interpreting the complex and contradictory aspect of their everyday reality, the author weaves an engrossing tale that treads a thin line between fact and fiction, imagination and exotica, but, nevertheless, with a pulsating human sensitivity.

Ret, however, is not a maiden foray into tribal hinterland. A tradition of tribal writing already exists in Hindi and, in fact, constitutes a distinct sub-genre in Hindi literature. Kab Tak Pukarun by Rangaye Raghav, Shailoosh by Shivprasad Singh, Alma Kabootri by Maitree Pushpa, Picchhle Panne Ki Auratein by Sharad Singh are some of the important literary works that have helped forge this creative subgenre. But Ret is different from its predecessors in the sense that, in making Kanjars the centre of his narrative, Morwal brings a comparatively unknown but much misunderstood tribal face of India to the literary and hence discursive center-stage. In contrast his predecessors, except Sharad Singh, have mostly focused on Nats, a tribe traditionally closer to mainstream life and imagination. At the receiving end of mainstream social imagery as uncouth, immoral and literally untouchables, Kanjars have traditionally been ostracized by their surrounding communities and pushed into isolation, and socio-political wilderness. Moreover, Morwal has been able to capture his narrative subject without eroticizing, exoticizing or othering it. He opens up for his readers a realm of life with rare maturity and restrain that does not let it turn into a sensational stuff or slogan. Though realistic and even graphic in details, Morwal is never frivolous in intent.

Beginning on a rather dramatic note encapsulating the existential predicament of Kanjar women, the narrative evolves as a historio-cultural and communitarian topography of Gaajuki, a Kanjar inhabitation, tucked away from the National Highway, yet enticingly close to it. This proximity and distance, the socio-cultural and spatio-temporal hiatus, apart from acting as an organic and metaphoric backdrop to Gaajuki, also patterns the personal and professional lives of its inhabitants. Positioning himself into this narrative through the persona of Vaidji, an involved-outsider, Morwal offers a women-sensitive and centric peep into Kanjar life; he guides the readers through the intricacies of their culture specific customs such as Matha Dhakai, haggling over bride-price during matrimonial alliances, the feudal underpinnings of mehfils, the working of tribal panchayats and their arbitration-rituals like dharod , their religious and social beliefs and their various encounters with the state and outer society in the form of police, politicians, izzatdars, kajjas and sex customers. This community of Kanjars, virtually insulated, and even jealously guarding itself from the outside world, is, within itself, surprisingly uninhibited, despite its rigid social and moral codes. It is a world whose socio-economic and conceptual matrix is woven around the notion of khilawadies, buas and bhabhies. These cultural notions not only structure the lives of Kanjar women but, in constituting their life trajectories, imbue Ret with a rare narrative potential. Having grounded the readers into Kanjar consciousness and conscience, Morwal shifts focus to tell the story of Rukmini. By far the most engaging character of the novel, her tale etches out the contours of individual and collective resistance and empowerment of Kanjar/tribal woman. Wriggling her way through the social norms, economic and political potentials of the body, the bureaucratic and political matrix of the mainstream and even gender-competition from within and outside the community, she makes a palpable dent in power-politics of the day.

It is this narrative strand, the constitutive contours and direction of this empowerment trajectory that reveals the strengths and weaknesses of Morwals poetics and politics in Ret. An exclusive focus on this trajectory seems to belie the initial potential of the narrative in the sense that instead of culminating into a nuanced and inclusive tale of the community, the novel tends to become a predictable quest of an individual. No doubt, Rukmini by her virtue of unique location/subjectivity is no run of the mill character. As a matter of fact she is a representation of a complex cultural trope. But in making her exclusive focus of Rets latter narrative, Morwal compromises with numerous strands of his inherently ambitious narrative canvass. The stories of Santo and to an extant Pinky, which otherwise were pregnant with possibilities, for example, are left incomplete or unresolved. As a consequence the narrative that begins with a bang ends in many diffused whimpers. The overall impression that an expectant Morwal reader is left with is that of a narrative cobbled up in a hurry, using all the ploys of popular fiction, namely, suspense and mystery (the long and ill/unexplained absences of Rukmini from Gaajuki for instance); rivalry, intrigue and one-up-man-ship; a heady mix of Kanjar whisky and raw sexuality coupled with an intriguing blend of unarticulated romance and unrequited sensuousness simmering beneath the surface.

On the face of it even the journey of Rukminis political success, premised as it is on the transactional sex and political cunning, appears more as a case of ambiguous and opportunistic rather than genuine empowerment of the subaltern/Kanjar woman; it doesnt gel with the apparently progressive thrust of the narrative and even fails to address comprehensively the underlying structural inequalities that the novel seeks to unravel. However, a patient and sensitive reading and Morwals narratives demand it helps put this empowering trajectory in proper perspective. It is not the economic empowerment that Rukmini or other Kanjar women in the novel are seeking; they are surprisingly affluent and display this affluence to the hilt on occasions that demand it. It is the social and political power that they lack. Rukminis eventual political empowerment is only a culmination of the agential/self conscious exercise of the choices that her context offers her, when her circumstances and convictions virtually push her into a blind alley. In refusing to be an available body, i.e., in asserting moral and professional right over her body within the normative closures of her trade/culture, she withstands the gaze of the appropriatory/alien/colonizing masculinity/power and in the process comes face to face with the emancipatory potentials of her body. This renewed awareness of the body or deh-darshan, as the author succinctly describes it, has the necessary wherewithal of empowerment. It proves to be an identity endowing amalgam of agency, choice and power for Rukmini with its roots in Kanjar ethos and worldview. In short, the transformation in Rukminis life indicates a qualitative shift from body as tool of survival/commerce to body as a tool of power, and this shift in body praxis, and the way Rukmini exploits it pragmatically, is perhaps the only viable option available to her, given the realities that surround her. Both sinned against and sinning, Rukmini, nevertheless, brings out the hollowness of contemporary political system and also helps problematise extant feminist positions by turning discourses on sexuality and economic empowerment on their heads.

An active and affirmative interface between the folk, popular and the modern is a distinguishing feature of Morwals narrative style. Ret is no exception. Caught in a dramatic situation, one is not only strategically positioned in the midst of the fictional events, but also finds ones self immersed, ever so tantalizingly, into Morwals enticing narrative/communicative texture. Culled from folk sensibility, his vocabulary not only authenticates the experience he depicts, but also makes it more nuanced and textured. Creativity for Morwal entails a simultaneous process of language augmentation; by co-opting culture specific idioms he not only reclaims them in Hindi but also turns them literary. Ret is replete with such linguistic sedimentation. And all through, Morwal is ever-present to guide the reader through the cultural milieu of his narratives in his own unique style. This narrative style is premised on a stimulating author-reader partnership, a unique kissagoi that is an amalgam of the folk and popular in expression, objective in analysis and democratic in spirit. It is an art of story telling where the artist picks up episodes which run into and out of each other. Morwal has often been criticized for the rawness of his plots and style. But in Ret this rawness seems to be a deliberate ploy that imparts its deceptive simplicity and endows it with a structurally suited episodic and narrative spontaneity. In fact, this apparent puerility of form, being a function of the lived/empathized, emerges as a typical signature of Morwals fiction.

If the crux of creativity lies in becoming one with ones imaginative territory and, in the process, resurrecting the human possibilities within its life problematic, Morwals Ret admirably qualifies this creative test. Herein the folk sensibility is organically enmeshed within its spatio-temporal dynamics, constitutes and is constituted by it. The folk confronts, collides and colludes with the contemporary. The dialectics of this interaction impinges on the existential dynamics of the folk in a complex way it simultaneously hurts and invigorates, appropriates and gets appropriated, modifies and is modified, brings in existential and cultural crisis and also offers a blueprint for empowerment. This maneuverability and hardy commonsense enables the folk to affirmatively negotiate its temporality despite its internal contradictions or external exigencies. Morwal seems to have an undying faith in the intuitive yet ironic faculty of the folk that specially equips it with fortitude sans cynicism.

The Shifting Sands of Kanjar Hinterland

by Anup Beniwal

Bhagwandas Morval

Bhagwandas Morval

A formidable presence in contemporary Hindi literature, Bhagwandass Morwal has been hailed as the chronicler of Mewat, the land of his birth and nurture. Straddling Rajasthan, UP and Haryana, the region of Mewat, despite its unique cultural compositeness, lies on the socio-economic margins of India. The creative contours of Morwals much hailed Kala Pahad (1999) and Babal Tera Des Mein (2004) are shaped by the shifting sounds, sights and sensibility of Mewat that are as much rooted in the individual experiences of the author as in the collective memory of the region. However, the consumerist-communalist onslaught of the contemporary, in the guise of modernity, progress and vote-politics, has started asserting both due and undue pressure on the composite Mewati life style. Morwal makes this experiential reality, a poignant blend of memory and desire, emotion and thought, the takeoff point of his creative imagination to offer a fictional glimpse into the present day Mewat. As such his narratives are in the service of common people; they take sustenance from the existential aspirations and inspirations of the laity, pitchforks it within the social, economic and political contours of contemporary India to present a simultaneous critique both of the local and the national, the subaltern and the mainstream.

Ret, Morwals latest novel marks a transition both a departure and continuity in his narrative-aesthetic oeuvre. Though he moves away from his conventional creative turf in Ret, yet he persists with his imaginative and ideological sympathies. Ret is a story of Kanjars, a tribal community of North India, and the shifting matrix of their lives and times at the cross-section of caste, class, gender and community. It provides an anthropological peep into the psyche of a community precariously positioned at the margins of a society as the nation trudges along on its way to democratic equality, social justice and empowerment; a peep that soon implicates both the writer and readers as involved interpreters of this trajectory.

At the centre of the story lie the inhabitants of Kamala Sadan, presided over by Kamala Bua, the grand matriarch of this Kanjar family. The narrative is woven around the economics of the body and the way this economics impinges on the culture and everyday relational and existential dynamics of Kanjars, especially the Kanjar women. In the very process of capturing and interpreting the complex and contradictory aspect of their everyday reality, the author weaves an engrossing tale that treads a thin line between fact and fiction, imagination and exotica, but, nevertheless, with a pulsating human sensitivity.

Ret, however, is not a maiden foray into tribal hinterland. A tradition of tribal writing already exists in Hindi and, in fact, constitutes a distinct sub-genre in Hindi literature. Kab Tak Pukarun by Rangaye Raghav, Shailoosh by Shivprasad Singh, Alma Kabootri by Maitree Pushpa, Picchhle Panne Ki Auratein by Sharad Singh are some of the important literary works that have helped forge this creative subgenre. But Ret is different from its predecessors in the sense that, in making Kanjars the centre of his narrative, Morwal brings a comparatively unknown but much misunderstood tribal face of India to the literary and hence discursive center-stage. In contrast his predecessors, except Sharad Singh, have mostly focused on Nats, a tribe traditionally closer to mainstream life and imagination. At the receiving end of mainstream social imagery as uncouth, immoral and literally untouchables, Kanjars have traditionally been ostracized by their surrounding communities and pushed into isolation, and socio-political wilderness. Moreover, Morwal has been able to capture his narrative subject without eroticizing, exoticizing or othering it. He opens up for his readers a realm of life with rare maturity and restrain that does not let it turn into a sensational stuff or slogan. Though realistic and even graphic in details, Morwal is never frivolous in intent.

Beginning on a rather dramatic note encapsulating the existential predicament of Kanjar women, the narrative evolves as a historio-cultural and communitarian topography of Gaajuki, a Kanjar inhabitation, tucked away from the National Highway, yet enticingly close to it. This proximity and distance, the socio-cultural and spatio-temporal hiatus, apart from acting as an organic and metaphoric backdrop to Gaajuki, also patterns the personal and professional lives of its inhabitants. Positioning himself into this narrative through the persona of Vaidji, an involved-outsider, Morwal offers a women-sensitive and centric peep into Kanjar life; he guides the readers through the intricacies of their culture specific customs such as Matha Dhakai, haggling over bride-price during matrimonial alliances, the feudal underpinnings of mehfils, the working of tribal panchayats and their arbitration-rituals like dharod , their religious and social beliefs and their various encounters with the state and outer society in the form of police, politicians, izzatdars, kajjas and sex customers. This community of Kanjars, virtually insulated, and even jealously guarding itself from the outside world, is, within itself, surprisingly uninhibited, despite its rigid social and moral codes. It is a world whose socio-economic and conceptual matrix is woven around the notion of khilawadies, buas and bhabhies. These cultural notions not only structure the lives of Kanjar women but, in constituting their life trajectories, imbue Ret with a rare narrative potential. Having grounded the readers into Kanjar consciousness and conscience, Morwal shifts focus to tell the story of Rukmini. By far the most engaging character of the novel, her tale etches out the contours of individual and collective resistance and empowerment of Kanjar/tribal woman. Wriggling her way through the social norms, economic and political potentials of the body, the bureaucratic and political matrix of the mainstream and even gender-competition from within and outside the community, she makes a palpable dent in power-politics of the day.

It is this narrative strand, the constitutive contours and direction of this empowerment trajectory that reveals the strengths and weaknesses of Morwals poetics and politics in Ret. An exclusive focus on this trajectory seems to belie the initial potential of the narrative in the sense that instead of culminating into a nuanced and inclusive tale of the community, the novel tends to become a predictable quest of an individual. No doubt, Rukmini by her virtue of unique location/subjectivity is no run of the mill character. As a matter of fact she is a representation of a complex cultural trope. But in making her exclusive focus of Rets latter narrative, Morwal compromises with numerous strands of his inherently ambitious narrative canvass. The stories of Santo and to an extant Pinky, which otherwise were pregnant with possibilities, for example, are left incomplete or unresolved. As a consequence the narrative that begins with a bang ends in many diffused whimpers. The overall impression that an expectant Morwal reader is left with is that of a narrative cobbled up in a hurry, using all the ploys of popular fiction, namely, suspense and mystery (the long and ill/unexplained absences of Rukmini from Gaajuki for instance); rivalry, intrigue and one-up-man-ship; a heady mix of Kanjar whisky and raw sexuality coupled with an intriguing blend of unarticulated romance and unrequited sensuousness simmering beneath the surface.

On the face of it even the journey of Rukminis political success, premised as it is on the transactional sex and political cunning, appears more as a case of ambiguous and opportunistic rather than genuine empowerment of the subaltern/Kanjar woman; it doesnt gel with the apparently progressive thrust of the narrative and even fails to address comprehensively the underlying structural inequalities that the novel seeks to unravel. However, a patient and sensitive reading and Morwals narratives demand it helps put this empowering trajectory in proper perspective. It is not the economic empowerment that Rukmini or other Kanjar women in the novel are seeking; they are surprisingly affluent and display this affluence to the hilt on occasions that demand it. It is the social and political power that they lack. Rukminis eventual political empowerment is only a culmination of the agential/self conscious exercise of the choices that her context offers her, when her circumstances and convictions virtually push her into a blind alley. In refusing to be an available body, i.e., in asserting moral and professional right over her body within the normative closures of her trade/culture, she withstands the gaze of the appropriatory/alien/colonizing masculinity/power and in the process comes face to face with the emancipatory potentials of her body. This renewed awareness of the body or deh-darshan, as the author succinctly describes it, has the necessary wherewithal of empowerment. It proves to be an identity endowing amalgam of agency, choice and power for Rukmini with its roots in Kanjar ethos and worldview. In short, the transformation in Rukminis life indicates a qualitative shift from body as tool of survival/commerce to body as a tool of power, and this shift in body praxis, and the way Rukmini exploits it pragmatically, is perhaps the only viable option available to her, given the realities that surround her. Both sinned against and sinning, Rukmini, nevertheless, brings out the hollowness of contemporary political system and also helps problematise extant feminist positions by turning discourses on sexuality and economic empowerment on their heads.

An active and affirmative interface between the folk, popular and the modern is a distinguishing feature of Morwals narrative style. Ret is no exception. Caught in a dramatic situation, one is not only strategically positioned in the midst of the fictional events, but also finds ones self immersed, ever so tantalizingly, into Morwals enticing narrative/communicative texture. Culled from folk sensibility, his vocabulary not only authenticates the experience he depicts, but also makes it more nuanced and textured. Creativity for Morwal entails a simultaneous process of language augmentation; by co-opting culture specific idioms he not only reclaims them in Hindi but also turns them literary. Ret is replete with such linguistic sedimentation. And all through, Morwal is ever-present to guide the reader through the cultural milieu of his narratives in his own unique style. This narrative style is premised on a stimulating author-reader partnership, a unique kissagoi that is an amalgam of the folk and popular in expression, objective in analysis and democratic in spirit. It is an art of story telling where the artist picks up episodes which run into and out of each other. Morwal has often been criticized for the rawness of his plots and style. But in Ret this rawness seems to be a deliberate ploy that imparts its deceptive simplicity and endows it with a structurally suited episodic and narrative spontaneity. In fact, this apparent puerility of form, being a function of the lived/empathized, emerges as a typical signature of Morwals fiction.

If the crux of creativity lies in becoming one with ones imaginative territory and, in the process, resurrecting the human possibilities within its life problematic, Morwals Ret admirably qualifies this creative test. Herein the folk sensibility is organically enmeshed within its spatio-temporal dynamics, constitutes and is constituted by it. The folk confronts, collides and colludes with the contemporary. The dialectics of this interaction impinges on the existential dynamics of the folk in a complex way it simultaneously hurts and invigorates, appropriates and gets appropriated, modifies and is modified, brings in existential and cultural crisis and also offers a blueprint for empowerment. This maneuverability and hardy commonsense enables the folk to affirmatively negotiate its temporality despite its internal contradictions or external exigencies. Morwal seems to have an undying faith in the intuitive yet ironic faculty of the folk that specially equips it with fortitude sans cynicism.

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