Monthly Archives: December 2017

चाबहार बंदरगाह और नरम कूटनीति भारत के लिए एक मौका नवीना जाफ़ा @navinajafa

 

Balochistan 1

हाल में हिंद महासागर से जुड़ी भू राजनीति के विषय में ग्वादर और चाबहार बंदरगाह काफी चर्चित रहें हैं। इस सख़्त कूटनीति के शतरंज के खेल में भूल जाते हैं कि आविष्कार नरम कूटनीति एक आकर्षक क्षमता रखती है। अगर आधुनिक दृष्टि से देखा जाए, यह दोनों बंदरगाह हालांकि पाकिस्तान व ईरान में स्थित हैं, मगर उनकी अंदरूनी प्राकृतिक पहचान बलूचिस्तान कि बलूचिता है जिसमें हमें ज्यादातर लगता है कि वहाँ के लोग केवल पहाड़ी और मुसलमान हैं मगर एक आम धारणा है कि वह लोग घुमंतू व खेती-बाड़ी के जीवन में लिपटे हैं।

Balochistan 2

हम नज़रअंदाज़ कर देते हैं कि उनकी आंतरिक सामूहिक स्मृति में पश्चिम, मध्य तथा दक्षिण एशिया और यूनानी संबंधों की छवि दिखाई देती है। उनकी धारणाओं में हिंदु, ज़ोराष्ट्रियता और सूफी के रंग शामिल हैं जो कि उनकी अनेक भाषाओं में, हाथ कलाओं में, नाच-गाने,रस्मोरिवाज़, जीवन-मरण की प्रथा तथा परंपराओं में प्रदर्शित होतीं हैं। यह सारी छवियां हमें याद करने पर मजबूर कर देती हैं कि मनुष्य का इतिहास अलग-अलग समय पर ज़मीन व समुद्र पर सदियों से चला आ रहा है और यह विचारधाराओं और परंपराओं के अदले-बदले के रूपरेखा के सिलसिले का प्रमाण है।

Balochistan 3

यह ही सांस्कृतिक धागे भारत को इस बलूचिस्तान के इलाके से एक अटूट बंधन में जोड़ देता है। कितनी ही आधुनिक राजनीतिक दीवारें खड़ी हो जाएँ यह बंधन कायम रहता है। एक ऐसा पहलू भारत को बालुचिस्तान तथा एशियाई देशों से जोड़ता है और वह है देवी के पंथ की परंपरा चाहे वह ईरान में इश्तार के नाम से जानी जाती है चाहे अफ़गानिस्तान में नाना के नाम से और चाहे हिंगलाज देवी की प्रथा। हिंगलाज देवी बलूच में काफी मान्यता रखतीं हैं। पौराणिक कहानी के अनुसार यह सती की कहानी से जुड़ी है। हिंगलाज देवी शाक्तों में 52 पीठ में से एक पीठ मानी जातीं हैं।

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इस जोड़ की कहानी सती की कहानी से जुड़ी है माना जाता है कि  देवी का सिर इसी स्थान पर गिरा था और यह अमूल्य कड़ी देवी की प्रथा से जुड़ जाती है। हिंगलाज देवी की पीठ पाकिस्तान में, हिंगोल राष्ट्र पार्क, लास बेला प्रान्त मकरन्त तट में बीहड़ पहाड़ों के बीचों-बीच में स्थित है, जिसकी तीर्थ-यात्रा बहुत कठिन व जटिल है और आज के आतंकवाद और राजनीतिक गड़बड़ी के कारण और भी खतरनाक बन गयी है।

balochistan 5

हिंदुस्तान में भी हिंगलाज देवी काफी सारे सांस्कृतिक सामूहिक से जुड़ीं  हैं। यह ज़रूर है कि हिंगलाज देवी शाक्तों के लिए खास है मगर यह भी आगे आता है कि हिंगलाज देवी की गुफा के अंदर एक शिला है जिसकी मान्यता गोरखनाथ कानफाटों के लिए दीक्षा समारोह के समय बहुत महत्त्वपूर्णता रखती है और सांस्कृतिक सामाजिक समूह जैसे कि अनेक व्यापारी कृषि समूह खत्री, चारण और आबाणियों के लिए भी यह ईष्ट देवी का स्थान रखतीं हैं और तो और हिंगलाज देवी के धार्मिक परिदृश्य के आसपास कई कुंड हैं, एक तिल का कुंड है जहां माना जाता है कि काले तिल धोने पर वह सफेद हो जाते हैं।

balochistan 7

सेंटर फॉर न्यू पर्सपेक्टिव एक दिल्ली में स्थित गैर सरकारी संगठन प्रबंध मंडल ने स्किल कॉरिडोर-कौशल गलियारी का विचार आगे रखा है और इस संकल्पना पर सेंटर फ़ॉर न्यू पर्सपेक्टिव के पास ट्रेडमार्क, व कॉपीराइट भी है। सेंटर फॉर न्यू पर्सपेक्टिव पारम्परिक कौशलताओं  में काम कर रहा है, इस छोटे से गैर सरकारी संगठन ने भारत और एशिया के अनेक हिस्सों पर स्किल मैपिंग का काम किया है। उसके विचार में यह बलूचिस्तान से भारत को जोड़ने में एक अनोखा मौका है जिसमें साझा सांस्कृतिक भूगोल एक अनोखी कूटनीति का अवसर बन सकता है, जिसमें हम एक पारंपरिक सांस्कृतिक कौशलता गलियारी (स्किल कॉरिडोर) का निर्माण कर सकते हैं। इस योजना की सहायता में भारत अनेक एशियाई देशों के साथ पारंपरिक कौशलताओं के सतत विकास प्रोग्राम के साथ-साथ लोगों का आदान-प्रदान बढ़ा सकता है और भावी एशिया की अनोखी पहचान बनाने में वह अपनी प्रमुख भूमिका अदा कर सकता है।

 

 

 

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From Compassion to Militancy- Reversing A Sacred Metaphor www.navinajafa.com

Published as: Of Rats, Rituals and Rajputs in THE HINDU Friday Review : 15th December, 2017 http://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/of-rats-rituals-and-rajputs/article21665281.ece

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Recently, The Rajput Karni Seva, a self-styled outfit drew attention to itself by expressing its aggressive resentment against the depiction of certain Kshatriya values in the Bollywood film Padmavati. Significant of those Rajput beliefs are drawn from the cult of Karni Mata.

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The 15thc sacred shrine of the Karni Mata also known as the Rat Temple of India is located in village Desnok 30 kilometers from Bikaner in the Marwar region of the Thar Desert.As one nears the temple, it is inevitable that the internet images of the more than 20,000 rats makes one skeptical on enduring the presence of the rodents and simultaneously reconciling to the blessing if a rat crawls over one’s feet.

Karni Mata-2

Intricately carved rows of sculpted rats on the borders of the door panel with a tree of life in the center forms on the marble gates presents the theme of co-existence where predators and prey namely, rats, serpents, and squirrels and lizards are woven within the branches of the tree.

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On crossing the threshold rats are evident everywhere in the courtyard and beyond and yet they fail to frighten. A sublime energy of calm fills the visitor who is transformed into a pilgrim. His audience with the image in the sanctum is intensified by the phonetic poetic devise sonorous flow dingal sung by the dholis, describing the story and miracles of Karni Mata.

Dholis singing dingal

The goddess as dharini represents the female principal in Nature, upholding human, animal and natural creation, she symbolizes compassion, coexistence, and nonviolence.

The ritual priests of the temple known as the Charan Brahmins draw on the one hand their ritual sacred identity as children of Karni Mata and on the other hand their antiquity from Ramayana, Mahabharata, and even the Jain Prabandha where they are mentioned as bards and minstrels.  And while on the one hand, the Charans sing elegies and genealogies of monarchs that connect the Rajputs to mythological pasts and timeless dharma and which function to legitimize the power of the rulers; for example, a bardic rendition mentions that it was Karni Mata who defined the political territories for the Rajput rulers of Bikaner, Jodhpur, and Jaisalmer. On the other hand, Karni Mata is perceived in other narratives as a protector of the pastoral and marginalized communities. The metaphor of the Goddess serves to invoke coexistence of disparate human classes and emphasis nonviolence.

The local spiritual creed of Karni Mata is linked to a larger canvas with that of the cult of the Great Mother Goddess – the idea of Shakti. Her story is connected to that of Devi Hinglaj whose temple is located within the Hingol National Park in the Lasbela District of Baluchistan on the Makran coast in Pakistan.  It is one of the 52 Shakti peeth, which are major shrines associated with the cult of the Mother Goddess. Hinglaj Devi was reborn as Karni Mata to a Charnan Brahmin couple who had only daughters. From an early age, the child exhibited miracles and was bestowed the name Karni, ‘the doer’ by her paternal aunt when the latter was cured of her paralyzes. Later, to relieve her parents, young Karni married Kipoji Charan of Sathika village, but before the marriage was consummated she revealed herself as a Devi to her husband and commanded him to marry her younger sister by whom there were among several children four boys. When one male child died, it is believed that Karni went to ask for his life from Yama, the God of death who refused to say that to bring the boy alive will be an intervention in the natural cycle of life and death meant for all living organisms.  Karni admitted that she was in the wrong, but her compassionate nature made her tell Yama that from now on, the responsibility of all the children from her family will be hers. They will be born in two forms – as rats or Kaaba and as men they are known as Charans.  Secondly, they will remain in her in her service in the temple, and her space will remain for them until eternity their earth, heaven, and hell. As Kaaba they carry a special spiritual energy and an occasional white rat is a goddess herself. The sacred food blessed by the Kaabas is known to have cured ailments and diseases including plague. What is more amazing is that there has never been any plague or disease usually associated with rodents, neither is there any smell of dead Kaabas or attacks on the Kaabas by cats or desert snake, and even though they are fed with ample food, the Kaabas are all of one size.

Karni Mata

The spiritual importance of the symbol of the Karni Mata as that of nonviolence, protector, peaceful coexistence and provider of the power legitimacy to the Rajputs who are supposed to function to uphold these values is ironically subverted by the Rajput Karni Sena in their assertion of a new kind of political power.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

India-Balochistan Ports & Potential of Cultural skill Diplomacy www.navinajafa.com

Published in an Editorial – titled –  “A Shared Cultural Map

Much more than politics and security links Balochistan and India” –  Much more than politics and security links Balochistan and India on 13th December, 2017 as an editorial piece in the Indian Express :

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/a-shared-cultural-map-india-balochistan-hinglaj-temple-soft-power-diplomacy-4980003/

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While at this point in time the geopolitics surrounding the Indian Ocean has placed the ports of Gwadar and Chabahar in the center stage of an engaging chess game of power, the cultural ecology of these ports on land provides an alluring potential of the creation of crafting inventive soft diplomatic links in the cultural territory of the ports which are defined by the idea of the Baluch.

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The Balochi a semi-nomadic, pastoral community carry with them the cultural heritage as the collective memory of the West, Central and South Asia along with Greek connections. And while they are Muslims, the strains of other beliefs such as Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, and Sufism colour various aspects of their traditional cultural heritage. Their language, bardic traditions, and other traditional knowledge skills covering linguistics, crafts, performing arts, rituals, and warring, pastoral and agricultural traditions recall an underlined cultural map of different parts of Asia and an ethos of human ideas exchanged on land and sea through centuries.

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One such aspect is the mytho-historical thread addressing a variety of cults of the Mother Goddess which are represented to name a few as Ishtar, Nana and Hinglaj.  In this, the cult of the Hinglaj has a special place in Baloch. The Hinglaj Temple is located within the Hingol National Park in the Lasbela District of Baluchistan on the Makran coast in Pakistan.

Hinglaj

It is one of the 51 Shakti peeth, which are major shrines associated with the cult of the Mother Goddess. The locations of these shrines correspond to places where dismembered body parts of the goddess fell and in Hinglaj it was the head of the Goddess.  The temple like that of Vaishnav Devi is in a cave which is situated among rugged mountains. The pilgrims include not only Hindus but also the Zikri Baloch who call the pilgrimage Nani ki Haj. Even, despite the political challenges in the area, it is the Balouch Muslims who continue to protect the shrine and ensure the success of the annual fair associated with shrine as a metaphor of a vibrant living heritage of the Balouch territory.

Zikr Balochi

In India, Hinglaj Devi forms an important part of the cultural geography of large numbers of traders, pastoral and agricultural communities like Khatris, Charans and Rabaris.  And, while the shrine is important for the Shaktas, it acquires special significance for the Kan Phata Gorak Nath Yogi (torn ear ascetics) cult as well. For them, the sacred stone that lies in the temple shrine has importance in the initiation ceremony.  Yet another part of the spiritual landscape is the water bodies of kunds like the Til Kund or black sesame pond where it is believed that the black seeds when washed with the pond water become white.

And while the evident geopolitical importance of Baluchistan plays a role in areas of economics, security and other areas of hard diplomacy, the shared traditional cultural heritage skills and knowledge can create the potential for an inventive trajectory of soft power. There can be the idea of not only road and ocean routes but also creation of Skill corridor a term for which the Centre for New Perspectives, a think tank that works on Traditional knowledge skills has a copyright of. The creation of a skill corridor characterized by a fascinating cultural ecology can actually develop sustainable skill programs, augment the realistic people to people contact on the grassroots level which are energized by recalling the past and building the future of unique Asian Identity.

The author is an academic on Heritage, traditional knowledge skill sector and classical dancer

www.navinajafa.com