From chapter, Rajneesh… Acharya… Bhagwan… Osho, of Jawahar Lal Taruns’ book, Sudhiyon ke Rajhans (King Swans Remembered).
The fifth decade of the 20th Century was drawing to a close and the footsteps of freedom sounded ever closer. At the same time murder and mayhem were running rampant. Faced by this firestorm of criminality, various organisations formed to combat the crisis, each in their own way. Myself, I undertook to help in gathering signatures for a petition to the Government, to protest this endless butchery. Our leaflet expressed particular concern about the danger to Hindus, Hindu culture, and to our sacred cows.
In that year, 1947-48, I was a student in the 11th grade. Together with 15-16 classmates, we boys took our leaflet to every home in the neighbourhood, reading it out to the householders and explaining our intentions. Gathering as many signatures from each family as possible, we worked our way along the streets. Having made progress in several wards and colonies we came around the back of the old Plaza Talkies, Naya Mohalla.
Up to this point our campaign had been a great success, but then suddenly we encountered something unexpected. As we entered a house, we came upon a young man, maybe just a little older than myself. Simply dressed, with a thin body, he was sitting on a bed, absorbed in the thick book held in his hands, when he heard our approach. The young man looked up at us. I saw a radiant face with bright eyes and a calm and fascinating personality. With a beautiful smile, he bade us welcome and asked what we were doing. My friends and I launched into our usual routine, explaining the points on the leaflet and requesting his signature. Much to our disappointment, he refused to sign. Didn’t he comprehend the reality of rioting across the country?
Speaking with evident compassion, he answered, “Brother, why are you parroting this nonsense about protecting Hinduism and cows? Talk about humanity, talk about the world. This is the country of Rama, Krishna, Pratap, Shiva Ji, Durgawati, Laxmi Bai, Guru Govind Singh and Banda Bairagi, Vivekanand and Dayanand. And you are concerned merely about Hinduism and its so-called glory?”
My adolescent understanding stirred in agreement: “Yes, brother, add some more names like Balmiki, Vyas, Tiruvaher, Mahavir, Buddha, Kabir, Taj Mahal, Himalaya, Ganges, Narmada. This country is theirs, it comes from them. This too is Hindu tradition.”
“No, it is India Tradition. It goes far beyond the word Hindu and reaches all the way through to us, like a precious thread.”
‘Is Hindu tradition different to the country’s interest?”
“I said already, talk of the world. Think of humanity.”
“You are right, but today’s question is about protecting the nation and its mainstream Hindu culture and symbols.”
“It is not good for the health to live in a narrow street. This is the principal vision and philosophy of Bharat. My brother, you are young. You want to protect the country. If you want to make this country of India stand up on its own feet, then stop using the sort of words that separate man from man, Indian from Indian.”
We never did get a signature from this very special person. It had been a new experience for the group, especially for me. I was impressed by his vast knowledge, irrefutable logic and fascinating style. As we left, I asked: “How come I only got to meet you today even though I go through this locality every day.?”
“I arrived from Gadarwara only a few days ago, for my education.”
“Must be doing BA or MA?”
“No, I am in Intermediate class.”
“Strangely enough, your ideas do not suggest that you are in Intermediate class.”
The young man smiled: “No, brother, I am in Inter class only.”
“Your good name please?”
“Rajneesh Chandra Mohan, and yours?”
“Jawahar Lal. I am in 11th grade.”
He smiled and said, “There is a Jawahar Lal in Jabalpur also. Your name is already renowned for patriotism.”
I told him about my family background. “My father Shri Manik Lal Chaurasia is a true dedicated freedom fighter. Also, he is a singer of patriotic songs. My name is given by him.”
“Not only in your name; patriotism speaks through in your words also. Your campaign has arranged our meeting. Now we will be meeting again, won’t we? And yes, all that I said, think about it.”
“Sure, how can I live now without thinking it over and without meeting you again!”
I took my leave of him and the group carried on walking.
This was the first obstacle we had faced in our campaign – but what significant new ideas! What insights!
I had, for the first time in my young life, seen a light that shone through my Darkness. Confronting an obstacle had brought awareness. What was the main purpose of the country? There were ways beyond the narrow streets… free thoughts… free journeying!
Time moved quickly along. The fifteenth of August arrived and the country became both free and divided. Beastliness gave birth to so much bloodshed. Then Gandhi too passed away. For the country, it seemed like the end of an age and the beginning of something new.
Note: Beginning part of a long chapter titled, Rajneesh… Acharya… Bhagwan… Osho, in Jawahar Lal Taruns’ book named Sudhiyon ke Rajhans that means, King Swans Remembered.
Translated by Ageh Bharti with editing by Hafiz Ladell
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