बुधवार, 23 मार्च 2016

हिंदुस्तान विकृत हो गया है, देश को रामराज नहीं, सीताराम राज चाहिये


हिंदुस्तान आज विकृत हो गया है, यौन पवित्रता की लंबी चौड़ी बातों के बावजूद, आम तौर पर विवाह और यौन के संबंध में लोगों के विचार सड़े हुए हैं। सारे संसार में कभी कभी मर्द ने नारी के संबंध में शुचिता, शुद्धता पवित्रता के बड़े लंबे चौड़े आदर्श बनाये हैं। घूम फिर कर इन आदर्शों का संबंध शरीर तक ही सिमट जाता है, और शरीर के भी छोटे से हिस्से पर। नारी का परपुरुष से स्पर्श न हो। शादी के पहले हरगिज़ न हो। बाद में अपने पति से हो। एक बार जो पति बने तो दूसरा किसी हालत में न आये। भले ही ऐसे विचार मर्द के लिए सारे संसार में कभी न कभी स्वाभाविक रहे हैं, किन्तु भारत भूमि पर इन विचारों को जो जड़ें और जो प्रस्फुटन मिले वे अनिर्वचनीय हैं। और देशों में भी औरत को जकड़ने की कोशिश की गई है लेकिन यहाँ ग़ज़ब तरीक़ों से। उसे शुद्ध रखने के लिए उसे कितना लांछित और अपमानित किया गया है, यह आज तक भारतीय मर्द की बोली से अनायास टपकता है। ऐसे लगता है मानों उसकी कभी माँ न रही हो। दुनिया में सबसे अधिक उदास हैं हिंदुस्तानी लोग। आत्मा के पतन के लिए जाति और औरत के दोनों कटघरे मुख्यत: ज़िम्मेदार हैं। इन कटघरों में इतनी शक्ति है कि साहसिकता और आनंद की समूची क्षमता को ये ख़त्म कर देते हैं। जो लोग ये सोचते हैं कि आधुनिक अर्थतंत्र के द्वारा ग़रीबी मिटाने के साथ ये कटघरे अपने आप ख़त्म हो जाएँगे, बड़ी भारी भूल करते हैं। ग़रीबी और ये दो कटघरे एक दूसरे के कीटाणुओं पर पनपते हैं। ये दो कटघरे परस्पर संबंधित हैं और एक दूसरे को पालते-पोसते रहते हैं। बातचीत और जीवन में से सारी ताज़गी ख़त्म हो जाती है और प्राणवान रस संचार खुल कर नहीं होता। अक्सर लोग पूछते हैं कि देश के पतन का मुख्य कारण क्या है। उनका मतलब अल्पकाल के नहीं बल्कि लंबान के कारणों से होता है। जैसे पेड़ की शाखा परिशाखाएं फूटती हैं, वैसे कारण अनेक हैं। लेकिन पेड़ की जड़ कहीं तो है ही, और दृष्टि से वह जड़ है, जाति और औरत। जाति और औरत का जो ढाँचा इस समय देश में बना हुआ है, उससे पतन के अलावा और कोई परिणाम नहीं निकल सकता। देश की सारी राजनीति में, चाहे जानबूझ कर अथवा परम्परा के द्वारा राष्ट्रीय सहमति का एक बहुत बड़ा क्षेत्र है और वह यह कि शूद्र और औरत का, जो कि पूरी आबादी की तीन चौथाई हैं- दबाकर और राजनीति से अलग रखो। नर चाहता है कि नारी अच्छी भी हो, बुद्धिमान भी हो, चतुर, तेज़ हो और उसकी हो, उसके क़ब्ज़े में हो। ये दोनों भावनाएँ परस्पर विरोधी हैं। भारत की औरत सचमुच बंधी है। नाम के लिए दुर्गा और भगवती हैं, जिनका एक स्वरूप काली हैं, लेकिन दरअसल एक शक्तिहीन पदार्थ है। इसलिए तो पार्वती की शादी के मौक़े पर पार्वती की माँ ने कहा,"कत विधि सृजों नारि जग माहीं। पराधीन सपनेहु सुख नाहीं। " राम ने जिस तरह से सीता के साथ व्यवहार किया है, हिंदुस्तान की कोई भी औरत राम के प्रति कैसे कोई बड़ा स्नेह कर सकती है, इसमें मुझे कई बार बड़ा ताज्जुब होता है। यह कहना कि राम जनतंत्र का कितना उपासक था कि एक धोबी के कह देने से उसने अपनी औरत को निकाल दिया। मान लो कि धोबी के कहने से उसको निकाल दिया। लेकिन अग्नि परीक्षा वाला कौन सा मौक़ा था। उस वक़्त क्या माँग थी! सवाल यह उठता है कि अगर वे जनतंत्र के इतने बड़े उपासक थे तो क्या राम के पास कोई और रास्ता नहीं था ! वे सीता को लेकर, गद्दी छोड़कर वनवास फिर से नहीं जा सकते थे? यदि गांधी जी आज ज़िंदा होते तो मैं उनसे कहता कि आप रामराज की बात न कहें। यह अच्छा नहीं है। इसलिए मैं सीतारामराज की बात कहता हूँ। यदि सीताराम राज कायम करने की बात देश के घर घर में पहुंच जाए, तो औरत मर्द के आपसी झगड़े हमेशा के लिए ख़त्म हो जाएँगे और तब उनके आपसी रिश्ते भी अच्छे होंगे। औरतों की समस्या निस्सन्देह कठिन है। उसकी रसोई की ग़ुलामी तो है किन्तु उसकी समस्या इससे भी आगे है। पुण्य क्या है, पाप क्या है अब इस सवाल से बचा नहीं जा सकता। मैं मानता हूँ कि आध्यात्मिकता निरपेक्ष है लेकिन नैतिकता सापेक्ष है, और हर युग और आदमी तक को अपनी नैतिकता खोजनी चाहिये। हिंदुस्तान की प्रतीक नारी कौन? द्रौपदी या सावित्री? अगर दिमाग़ का पुनर्गठन करो तो सावित्री और द्रौपदी वाला क़िस्सा लेकर आप बहस छेड़ो। बहुत संभव है दोनों औरतें काल्पनिक हैं। यह भी हो सकता है कि हुई हों। ऐसा भी हो सकता है कि किसी एक रूप में हुई, लेकिन समय जैसे जैसे बढ़ता गया वैसे वैसे क़िस्से उनके साथ जुड़ते गये। आज के हिंदुस्तान में द्रौपदी की उसी विशिष्टता को मर्द और औरत ज़्यादा याद रखे हुए हैँँ कि उसके पाँच पति थे। द्रौपदी की जो ख़ास बातें हैं उनकी तरफ़ ध्यान नहीं जाता। यह आज के सड़े गले हिंदुस्तान के दिमाग़ की पहचान है कि इस तरह के सवाल पर दिमाग़ बड़ी जल्दी चला जाता है कि किस औरत के कितने पति या प्रेमी हैं या इस अंग में वह किस तरह से चरित्रवादी रही है , और दूसरी बातों की तरफ़ ध्यान नहीं जाता। सावित्री के लिए हिंदू नर और हिंदू नारी दोनों का दिल एकदम से आलोड़ित हो उठता है कि वह क्या ग़ज़ब की औरत थी। अगर हिंदू किंवदन्ती में ऐसी पतिव्रता का क़िस्सा मौजूद है कि जो यम के हाथों से अपने पति को छुड़ा लाई, तो कोई क़िस्सा हमको ऐसा भी तो बताओ, किसी पत्नीव्रत का, कि जो अपनी औरत को, मर जाने पर यम के हाथों से छुड़ा कर लाया हो और फिर से उसको जिलाया हो। आख़िर मज़ा तो तभी आता है जब ऐसा क़िस्सा दोतरफ़ा होता है। लेकिन समाज क्रूर है। और औरतें तो बेहद क्रूर बन सकती हैं। उन औरतों के बारे में विशेषत: अगर वे अविवाहित हों और अलग अलग आदमियों के साथ घूमती फिरती हैं , तो विवाहित स्त्रियाँ उनके बारे में जैसा व्यवहार करती हैं और कानाफूसी करती हैं , उसे देखकर चिढ़ होती है। इस तरह के क्रूर मन के रहते मर्द का औरत से अलगाव कभी ख़त्म नहीं होगा। भारत का दिमाग़ बड़ा क्रूर हो गया है। जानवरों पर जैसी क्रूरता इस देश में होती है, अन्य कहीं वैसी नहीं। मनुष्य एक दूसरे के प्रति क्रूर है। गाँव क्रूर है, मुहल्ला क्रूर है। लेकिन ऐसे कितने कुटुम्ब और लड़किया हैं जो गाँव अथवा मुहल्ले की क्रूरता से बच सकें। इसलिए उन्हें परम्परा की रस्सियों और बेड़ियों ये जकड़ कर रखना पड़ता है। समय आ गया है कि जवान औरतें और मर्द ऐसे बचकानेपन के विरुद्ध विद्रोह करें। उन्हें यह हमेशा याद रखना चाहिये कि यौन आचरण में केवल दो ही अक्षम्य अपराध हैं, बलात्कार और झूठ बोलना या वादों को तोड़ना। दूसरे को तकलीफ़ पहुँचाना या मारना एक और तीसरा जुर्म है जिससे जहाँ तक हो सके बचाना चाहिये। भारतीय मर्द इतना पाजी है कि अपने घर की औरतों को वह पीटता है। सारी दुनिया में शायद औरतें पिटती हैं लेकिन जितनी हिंदुस्तान में पिटती हैं, इतनी और कहीं नहीं। हिंदुस्तान में कई जातियाँ ऐसी हैं कि उनके माता-पिता को लड़की जन्मते दुख होता है और पैदा हुई कन्या की वे हत्या करते हैं। इस तरह की कन्या हत्याएँ होती रहेंगी तो इस देश में न्याय प्रवृत्ति बढ़ना असंभव है। ज़ुल्म का चक्कर चलता है। इस चक्कर को तोड़ना है। ( समाजवादी चिंतक डाक्टर राम मनोहर लोहिया की किताब "भारतमाता-धरतीमाता" में शामिल बहुचर्चित आलेख "पवित्रता और नर - नारी संबंध" का संपादित अंश )

सोमवार, 14 मार्च 2016

Was there an intelligence failure?


Last updated on: May 21, 2012 16:22 IST In August 2006, Maloy Krishna Dhar, a former Joint Director, Intelligence Bureau, revealed the reasons for India's intelligence failures, a still-very-relevant assessment, which we republish today in his memory. Mr Dhar passed away in New Delhi on Sunday. Earlier column: Pakistan: Geopolitical epicentre of Islamist jihad Each time there is a terrorist and jihadi strike in India, we blame the intelligence agencies of failing to anticipate and prevent the attack. Why do we fail? We fail because the central Intelligence Bureau, the government's cutting edge internal security tool, is ill-prepared to combat aggressive operations of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence agency, Bangladesh's Directorate General of Forces Intelligence and Islamist tanzeems. The Bureau has well-trained, motivated and dedicated operators to gather intelligence and operate along areas of national fault lines. The IB operates through its Central Operations Units and Subsidiary Units in states. From the Northeast to Gujarat, Kashmir to Kanyakumari, it has a vast geographical area and extremely complex problems to grapple with. And with Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan factors thrown in, the Bureau finds it nose drowned under the flood of events that threaten the nation. The IB is simply not equipped to handle the enormous canvas, which is getting murkier by the day. Among other things, it suffers from: Lack of trained manpower at the operative level; Inadequacy of modern training to combat acts of terrorism and insurgency; Lack of electronic and technical intelligence equipments for combating the vast and expanding fields of information and communication technology; Near inability to generate Human Assets in target areas where the indigenous and foreign jihadists establish nests, modules, cells and chains of secondary support system. The IB has not yet opted for certain 'unorthodox' tradecraft that can enable it to penetrate the target areas. It relies more on limited electronic and technical intelligence to cover trans-border movements, induction of arms, explosives and trained jihadists from Pakistan and Bangladesh; The IB has very little support from sister agencies like the R&AW about location, preparation and planning of the jihadist tanzeems in Pakistan, Bangladesh and other countries-the UK, USA, Indonesia, Thailand, Nepal and certain European destinations. Support system from other friendly countries are not threat and issue specific. India can urge the friendly nations to reorient their tools to cover the jihadist thrust in the subcontinent, as it has emerged as the neuronal epicentre of East-Far East-West journey of jihadist impulses. The information and operations sharing mechanism between the Centre and the states is in rudimentary stage. It should be augmented under the auspices of the National Security Council. The Electronic, Technical and Image Intelligence data collation and monitoring system at the central and state levels require integration under the auspices of the NSC. The same facility should be able to integrate with the existing agencies that are engaged in handling suspected line, air and electronic cipher traffic and the www menace. The Intelligence Bureau require immediate geographic, operational and resources expansion. The Union government, as indicated by the prime minister, should pay immediate attention to these burning needs. This exercise should be completed within next five years after speedy determination of National Intelligence Estimate (revised periodically). Otherwise, the IB will continue to lag behind the cancer of jihadist thrust. The authorities should not forget that besides carrying out serial bombings the jihadists under the protective umbrella of the ISI, Bangladesh's DGFI and the Al Qaeda Inc are capable of importing and indigenously manufacturing of weapons of mass destruction. The CIA does not rule out the possibility of Al Qaeda Inc developing crude and dirty nuclear bombs. People have the right to know the threat quantum they face from inimical forces and should also be assured that the government, besides scanning the sensex graph and the GNP/GDP arithmetic is duty bound to protect lives and properties of the citizen. People are threatened by a new kind of war, which is known to the people of the Northeast, Punjab and Kashmir. But for the heartland and peninsular India, it is a new experience. They have to live with it and compel their politicians to look beyond the ballot boxes and 'secular fences.' The state and central governments must prove that they are capable of governing. They should be able to protect or prepare to perish. The Intelligence Bureau is not equipped to monitor the web sites of the Islamist jihadist groups. They do not have superfast computers, nationwide networking and surveillance capability on the servers of the ISP providers. Only prolonged studies and research can decipher the coding pattern and transmission trademark of each terror group. These require regular logging and liasing with western agencies who have made forward strides, especially after the 9/11 Al Qaeda attack. Other nodal points in the government should embark upon the task of monitoring the virtual www world and share their inputs online with the central and state intelligence agencies. The IB is also required to develop a focussed, dedicated and self-contained research and operations group to work at ground and desk levels to assess, anticipate, follow and pre-empt conspiracies and execution plans of the ISI, DGFI, Islamist tanzeems across the subcontinent. The IB should be empowered to act and neutralise such enemies of the country, wherever possible, in concerted operations with the State agencies. The question of empowering the IB with limited 'retaliatory forward operations' capability should be seriously examined with a view to paying back the responsible tanzeems in their own coin. We fail because the IB is not allowed by the government to expose its wares to the larger audience of any parliamentary watchdog body. The country is not entitled to know why they fail and why they cannot be made failproof. The agency is out of bounds for the RTI Act of 2005. It should at least be made accountable to Parliament, so that people can know how their money is being spent and how the political masters manipulate the agencies. The people have a right to know. Failures cannot be covered up behind the veil of departmental security rules. We fail because our coastal policing and intelligence gathering mechanism is appallingly poor. Besides the Coast Guard, which normally patrol the deeper shallow waters and the Border Security Force, which covers certain eastern riverine borders with Bangladesh, the state governments do not take coastal policing seriously. The existing police forces are not adequate, trained and equipped to police the vast western coastal area from Kot Lakhpat to Wapi in Gujarat and Daman near Maharashtra to Bhatkal in Karnataka and beyond in Kerala. Besides over a dozen major ports, the western coast has nearly 150 minor ports, over 200 landing sites and over 500 shallow landing creeks. The police and Customs presence in the major ports aside, there is skeletal or no Customs or police presence in minor ports and nothing at all in the landing sites and shallow creeks. The police departments have a few slow moving dhows and negligible fast boats without GPS technology. Pakistan and other jihadist forces can land any amount of arms and explosives through the vast unmanned western coastal area. India has no blueprint to tackle this menace. A nation under attack still thinks 'people's resilience' is the only weapon to fight the jihadist forces. When shall we wake up to the needs for a special coastal policing and intelligence system? We fail because our disaster management mechanism is appallingly neglected. There exists a high sounding body in Delhi, fat at the top minus vital limbs. The state governments are not concerned about managing disasters beyond paying ex-gratia grants to the dead and injured. The Central Disaster Management outfit should be integrated with the state outfits and a unified command structure is required to be in position with adequate resources. Response time should be minimised to 10 minutes at proximate locations and not more than 20 minutes at difficult locations. We fail because Pakistan, Bangladesh and other Islamist forces are rapidly salvaging the 'communal debris' left by the scars of Partition. Politicians are aiding these forces by mimicking the British 'divide and rule' policy. They are fuelling the ruffled sentiments that arise out of poverty, lack of education and opportunities. Our system has failed to address these crying needs. The political class has failed to bridge the gaps left by Partition. They have widened the gaps through vote catching slogans and are doing precious little for them. The poor among the Muslims are as poor as the poor in any other community. They live, because they happen to be born. Nothing beyond! We fail because we suspect each other. We fail because even the Hindus are fragmented. We fail because we do not behave as a united people. Our unity, our ability to rebuff dubious politicians and our resolve to rise above the ghost of history can act as sure deterrence against the war imposed on us. This is not a war by Muslims against Hindus. It is a war against India by the foreign-based jihadist forces headed by Pakistan, Bangladesh and International Islamist Inc. Every Indian is required to unitedly fight these enemies. The foreign forces should not succeed in subverting our own people by taking advantage of lapses committed by the political caricatures. We must remember that Indian Muslims did not fight in Afghan jihad and Pakistan's Kashmir jihad. They are one of us and we shall triumph together. Maloy Krishna Dhar

शुक्रवार, 26 फ़रवरी 2016

Written Off The unappreciated work of Bollywood’s script supervisors

Zoya Akhtar’s directorial debut, Luck by Chance, begins, like most Bollywood movies, with a list of acknowledgements, and a mention of the production’s media partners. A number of well-known names are displayed on the screen, from directors such as Ashutosh Gowariker and Karan Johar, and producers such as Ekta Kapoor and Ramesh Taurani, to companies such as Godrej and Reliance. Then, alone in the frame, moments before the first scene kicks off, appear the words: “for our friend Hassan Kutty.” Like most of the individuals mentioned in the opening, Kutty, too, worked in the movie industry. But even the most dedicated cinemagoer in the country is unlikely to have heard of him. Those who did know him, however, admired him immensely. Among them was the filmmaker Mira Nair, one of Kutty’s earliest and longest-standing collaborators, who worked with him on her 1988 debut, Salaam Bombay. Kutty was the first assistant director on that film, and helped Nair with “casting, costuming, anything,” she told me when I spoke to her over Skype in August last year. His expertise marked him out as “unlike any first assistant director” she’s worked with since. Nair described Kutty as “absolutely unforgettable,” and someone who would be “considered an artist in any cinema system of the world.” Though Nair knew him as an assistant director, Kutty would go on to use his formidable knowledge of filmmaking for another, more specialised, role—he became Bollywood’s best-known specialist script supervisor. This is a position well established in the American and European film industries. In India, however, though almost 1,000 movies are produced annually, most filmmakers choose not to use one. But a script supervisor’s role is critical to any well-crafted film. It is their responsibility to ensure that the film’s continuity is maintained—that visual details remain consistent across shots and over the length of the film. This is a complex task, because movies are seldom shot in the sequence in which they unfold on screen. Consider, for example, a sequence where a character who wears a blood-soaked shirt walks into a bar and orders a martini. It is conceivable, likely even, that the outdoor portion would be shot on location, while the indoor portion would be shot on another day in a studio. It would then be the script supervisor’s job to ensure that the visual details of the sequence did not change—such as the size and shade of the bloodstain, any scratches or scars the character might have, the crumples on her shirt, even the specific way the actor’s hair fell. If a viewer were to notice a continuity flaw, they would immediately be yanked out of the film’s world. But this apparently hasn’t been a major concern to many Indian directors. “Continuity wasn’t regarded with any seriousness in our films, especially before the eighties,” Nair said, adding that most directors “didn’t even know what it was.” The typical big-budget Bollywood potboiler has never been known for its careful attention to detail or commitment to realism. Most directors did not hire a specialist script supervisor. Instead, they delegated the work to a second assistant director—whose primary responsibilities are usually far more clerical, including distributing the daily call sheet and collecting daily reports from different departments. Sometimes, the work was pushed even further down the hierarchy, to the second assistant’s assistant. Bollywood history abounds with examples of sloppy continuity. An oft-cited example is the 1994 comedy Andaaz Apna Apna, which was shot over three years, and in which Salman Khan’s character sports different haircuts at different points in the film, recognisable from the other projects—Saajan and Hum Aapke Hain Koun—the actor was shooting at the time. Nair, whose films have had a large international audience, has consistently used script supervisors. “It’s an important position that helps ensure that the director’s covered all the angles in a way that will assist in the making of a scene,” she said. “A script supervisor doesn’t just measure the length of the cigarette,” she added, referring to the common trope that filming a sequence with a burning cigarette can present one of the most vexing challenges to continuity. Nair shares a close relationship with her script supervisor, Robyn Aronstam, with whom she has worked since 1993. “I wouldn’t make a film without her,” Nair said. According to her, a script supervisor fills a crucial void on set, as “someone who doesn’t disturb the director’s instinctual thinking but assists it.” Reema Kagti, the director of Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. and Talaash, agreed with Nair about the importance of script supervisors. Apart from overseeing continuity, she said, they also often ensure that “every bit of the film is shot.” If a director hasn’t shot “enough options for the edit, she will point it out,” Kagti said. “Traditionally, Hindi film directors haven’t used a script supervisor. But I don’t know how they work; I can’t function without one.” given that the importance of script supervisors has been generally overlooked in Bollywood, there are, unsurprisingly, not many in the industry. Those who have specialised in the work have had to struggle to learn the craft. Most, like Kutty, trained themselves on the job. Shubha Ramachandra, one of three script supervisors I spoke to at length—one of only two people I found who had specialised in the field—recounted how she had floundered when she took on her first film. That film was 2002’s Agnivarsha, directed by Arjun Sajnani and shot on the heritage site of Hampi in Karnataka.Ramachandra had signed on as a production assistant at first, a role she didn’t expect to be particularly taxing. “I thought, ‘What fun. I will get to see Hampi for three months and make some photocopies and chai,’” she recounted when I met her in August last year. A few weeks before the first day of shooting, however, Kutty, who was the film’s script supervisor, fell sick. Since Ramachandra had edited corporate films earlier, and knowledge of editing is crucial to script supervision, the film’s executive producer asked her to replace Kutty. Ramachandra had never been on a film set before, let alone overseen continuity, but still accepted the assignment. She soon realised that no one would guide her in the work. Ahead of the shoot, she recounted, she approached the film’s cinematographer and co-screenwriter, Anil Mehta, for advice, only to be told, “There is nobody here to teach you now. We are all busy.” Mehta did, however, recommend a book that he thought might prove useful: Script Supervising and Film Continuity,by the American script supervisor Pat P Miller. Ramachandra managed to have a copy sent to her from the United States by the publishers. “I had the book four days before the shoot,” she said. “And I was mugging it as if it was the exam time.” But though the book gave her some basic understanding of the work, her initial experience on the set was bewildering. She could make little sense of Mehta’s instructions, such as “Just watch Milind Soman’s feet and tell me how many steps he took,” or “Keep track of his hand movements.” Even more confusingly, the first assistant director threw pointedly technical questions at her, such as, “How many minutes of shoot have we finished today?” and “What is the ratio we are shooting at?” Ramachandra was flummoxed. “You need to give me at least 15 minutes to figure out what that means,” she remembered saying. “And then another 15 to start calculating.” Her task was made more difficult by the fact that she didn’t speak Hindi, and had to work with a translated copy of the script to try and follow the film’s progress. Gradually, Ramachandra gained a sense of how to go about the work, tracking each element of the set over the course of shooting. “You have to really train yourself to do this, and it’s not easy,” she said. “It’s not like you have photographic memory that you can remember every tiny detail.” Her apprehensions were only compounded when Mehta told her that she had replaced the industry’s gold standard. “Oh, you have to be very good,” he told her. “You have to be as good as Hassan Kutty.” Ramachandra thought to herself, “Oh my god, I have to be like Hassan Kutty, and I have not even met him.” In her anxiety, Ramachandra occasionally overcompensated. For instance, for the film’s climactic scene, which was shot over three weeks, she fretted that some of the approximately 1,000 extras present might wear different clothes on different days of the shoot—though the scene showed only a single day. To ensure that this didn’t happen, she made it a point to inform each of the extras that they were to wear the same clothes throughout the shoot. When she watched the footage later, however, she realised this had been entirely unnecessary. “Because 1,000 people look like 1,000 people, it’s a crowd,” she said. “It doesn’t really matter if one of them wore something else.” But failing to pay attention to detail can have serious consequences, as I learnt from Soma Roy, another specialist script supervisor, whose first major film as one was 2006’s Rang De Basanti—an assignment she obtained on Kutty’s recommendation. The big-budget Bollywood drama, directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and starring Aamir Khan, included several scenes set in the early part of the twentieth century. In one of these, two characters, played by Atul Kulkarni and Kunal Kapoor, flee from a group of nearly 50 policemen, wielding large sticks. The shoot was chaotic. Apart from the two main actors and the horde of extras, the action director and his crew were also present on set. So, too, were crowds of villagers who gathered around the shoot’s location—a big field in Ghadka village near Amritsar. Multiple cameras separately followed the actors and the extras. The scene was filmed over two days. At the end of the second day, as the crew packed up the set and Roy completed some paperwork, the first assistant director, Mick Ward, asked her a simple question: “Where were the sticks?” Roy froze with horror as she realised that, on the second day of the shoot, the policemen had not carried their sticks. Mehra didn’t say a word to her about the mistake. Roy herself was tormented, however. While returning to her hotel later that day, she found herself surrounded by technicians who were part of the crew, all discussing the day’s talking point—the missing sticks. Roy burst into tears in front of them. “I was new,” she said. “And it was a huge fuck-up.” The scene was later salvaged on the edit table, with quick cuts that concealed the inconsistency. If this hadn’t been possible, the unit would have had to re-shoot the sequence, which could have cost the production tens of lakhs of rupees in additional expenditure, and, crucially, valuable time from the schedule. Roy also learnt a crucial lesson on the film: the best place from which to watch the shoot was beside the camera. By directly watching the action, she realised, she could grasp intricate details of a scene that were lost on a monitor—which typically only captures a part of the scene, particularly in close-up shots. Before she set herself this rule, however, Roy worried that she might get in the way of the cinematographer—the veteran Binod Pradhan—and so relied solely on the monitor. When Kutty learnt about this from a friend of his, who was also working on the film, he was unsparing in his criticism, telling Roy that she was shirking her responsibilities. “How could you be so careless?” he told her. “Is this how you do your job? It’s your first film, and you have already become so confident?” Roy knew that Kutty demanded exacting standards because he himself adhered to them. She had worked in the wardrobe department on the 2006 Saif Ali Khan-starrer Being Cyrus, for which Kutty was the script supervisor, and remembered that he had an uncanny memory for detail. “He was so precise that he went into technical details,” she said. “Like, Saif said this dialogue while turning at this angle and bending this much. I don’t know how that’s possible.” On Rang De Basanti, too, when Kutty visited the set, he displayed the same rigour for the craft. The unit was shooting one of the climactic closing scenes, in which the lead characters take over a radio studio. The scene went through nine takes, and Kutty remembered the intricate details of all of them. “He knew what a particular character did on the third take,” Roy said. With years of experience, Kutty had honed his craft till it became second nature to him. Others in the field, however, have had to improvise techniques as they worked, to try and fulfil their responsibilities. In December 2011, Hardik Mehta, another script supervisor, faced the challenge of timing the scenes of Lootera—a feature to be directed by Vikramaditya Motwane—using its script. One evening, Mehta positioned himself in front of a mirror in his study, holding in one hand a cell phone that had a stopwatch, and in the other a copy of the script. Starting the stopwatch, Mehta began reading the script aloud, enacting every scene with the appropriate dramatic flair and pauses. In many places, instead of dialogue, the script contained atmospheric description (“A snowstorm in progress. Snow swirls around. The wind blows ominously”), action (“Zamindar’s car races back towards the haveli”) or gestures (“Pakhi looks down, on the verge of tears. Zamindar pulls her close and hugs her”). Here, Mehta used his instinct to gauge the duration of different segments. Mehta had previously worked on Dev Benegal’s 2010 film, Road, Movie. But he had joined that production late, after Benegal fired his original hire. Thus, Mehta only had partial experience of the process, and hadn’t been through the pre-production work, which included script timing. He had worked on another film before Lootera—a veteran actor’s directorial debut. But the film gave him very little experience of value, since it was made in a slipshod manner, with dialogues often written on set half an hour before scenes were shot, and the director obsessing over minute details of continuity rather than the larger process. It left Mehta disheartened. “That phase was very difficult,” he said. “I wanted to leave script supervision, and instead become a second assistant director or something.” But Lootera presented an opportunity for Mehta to work with a director he admired; Motwane’s debut, Udaan, had left a strong impression on him. And so, he set to work by breaking the script down into the days and nights in which the story was set—“D1” for the first day in the story, “D2” for the second in the story, and so on, even if the days were chronologically not consecutive; he made similar notes for the night scenes. Mehta then drew two columns on a chart: one noted the sequence of scene numbers, and the other the corresponding chronological marker of that scene. In filmmaking, this exercise is useful for other departments as well—it can remind an assistant director that two scenes set apart in the script can actually be shot on the same day, with the same costumes and property. Shooting schedules are generally planned based on logistical convenience rather than narrative order. In Rang De Basanti, Roy said, “We shot some portion of our climax in the first schedule, where the characters are heavily wounded, and then worked backwards to complete the scene” in subsequent shooting schedules. Lootera began shooting towards the end of December 2011. Mehta quickly realised that here he was working with a director “who was at the top of his game.” Each day on set followed a fixed routine. Crew members and the film’s leads, Ranveer Singh and Sonakshi Sinha, would arrive on set by 7.15 am. From 7.30, for 15 minutes, scenes were blocked—that is, the actors’ and cameras’ positions were planned. A breakfast break of half an hour followed, after which the actors, in costume, and the crew, prepared for shooting. Motwane usually yelled his first “action” within the next half hour. Mehta would take position beside the principal camera to observe the shoot and match it with his “dialogue sheet,” a closely detailed script of the scenes to be shot that day. He ensured that props were correctly positioned, that spoken dialogues matched the written ones, and that the actors’ make-up and wardrobe were accurately carried over. After Motwane okayed a take, the actors would retain their positions for some time; the props, and other miscellaneous elements of the scene, would also remain in place. Now, Mehta and members of different departments, such as make-up, wardrobe and hair, would photograph the performers and the set, to create a database of images that would later help them ensure precise accuracy in continuity. Mehta would then jot down the final details of the shot on a “continuity log sheet,” including its duration, the kind of lens used, and the actions performed in it. He circled takes that Motwane had approved of, and made additional notes about specific aspects of other shots that the director liked—such as, say, an actor’s forlorn gaze. These detailed log sheets would later help the editor, who is usually not present on set, assemble the film from the multiple takes of each moment of the story. Like with most movies, shifts in location also had to be carefully planned in Lootera. Much of the film was set in Dalhousie, in Himachal Pradesh. While the snowy exterior scenes were shot in the town itself, the interior scenes were filmed in Mumbai. “We had to make sure that when Varun”—Ranveer Singh’s character—“enters the guesthouse, his boots were a little wet, and covered with the right amount of snow,” Mehta said. “We also sprinkled thermocol on Ranveer’s head in those portions so that it looked as if it’s one continuous scene.” a film set, like most places of work, is structured into a fixed hierarchy: the director occupies the top spot, followed by actors, then heads of departments such as camera and sound, and then other crew members such as make-up artists, sound recorders and gaffers. Generally, the rest of the crew is expected not to contradict the director or actor, or point out mistakes. A good script supervisor, however, doesn’t fit neatly into this structure. She must be willing to challenge the director’s authority, since it is her responsibility to ensure that the film is seamless. In 2005, Ramachandra realised how challenging this could be while working on Reema Kagti’s Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. In one scene early in the film, Dia Mirza’s character emerges from a hotel bathroom and speaks to her husband, played by Ranvir Shorey. Watching the shoot in progress, Ramachandra realised that Mirza’s eyeline wasn’t correctly “matched”—that is, in her individual shots, she would not appear to be looking at Shorey. The crew had “cheated” the position of the couch on which Shorey sat in order to get a better shot, but this realignment had also left them confused about the orientation of the furniture and the actors. In the course of the shoot, Ramachandra told Kagti that Mirza was looking in the wrong direction. Kagti disagreed. Ramachandra explained that the way the scene had been planned, it would appear as if Mirza was speaking not to Shorey, but to someone else outside the frame. “I don’t buy it. It doesn’t make any sense logically,” Ramachandra remembered Kagti telling her. The two got into an argument, Ramachandra said. But though she “fought and fought and fought,” Kagti wouldn’t see her point, and she eventually gave up. The take was filmed the way Kagti wanted. The experience, “a lesson in how to communicate,” left Ramachandra with a sobering realisation. She could not afford to remain reserved about her point of view. She was serving the film; nothing else mattered. Four years later, on the set of Abhinay Deo’s 2011 action thriller Game, Kangana Ranaut encountered a far more adamant Ramachandra. A key sequence in the film centred on an officer of an international security agency—played by Ranaut—interrogating multiple characters, including those played by Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani, Shahana Goswami and Jimmy Shergill, about a murder. Ranaut was to be shot both sitting and standing up, and her questions were to be intercut with replies given by different characters. It is a simple, neat scene in the final film, but the tussles behind it indicate just how tricky continuity can be. Since the four actors were shot individually, and Ranaut’s portion shot later, it was vital to ensure that her position at each line matched the direction of her absent co-actor’s gaze. Deo also decided to shoot multiple options for each line so that the editor would have more choices while splicing footage together later. At one point, Ramachandra pointed out a particular action that Ranaut needed to perform which would be continuous with an action in an earlier shot that Deo had liked. Ranaut, however, disagreed, referring to another earlier shot that would have naturally led to a different action. Ramachandra, knowing how the scene would be cut, contradicted Ranaut. A heated exchange ensued, and the actor instructed Ramachandra to “go check the monitor.” The two argued for some more time, before, finally, Ramachandra lost her cool and snapped back at Ranaut, “Why don’t you go check the monitor?” She had defied the unspoken on-set principle that a crew member cannot argue with a star, but Deo sided with her. Ramachandra remembered that she and Ranaut remained cold to each other for two weeks before they resolved their differences. Apart from arguments, a script supervisor also has other problems to worry about. Sometimes, the work can be complicated by a director’s approach to the process, such as if they encourage actors to improvise. For Vikas Bahl’s 2013 release Queen, for instance, Ranaut, who played the lead, contributed significantly to the film’s script. As part of Bahl’s process, she often rewrote dialogues in collaboration with him. Hardik Mehta, who was the film’s script supervisor, thus had the difficult task of managing continuity for a constantly evolving script. On days when Ranaut’s improvisations were in full flow, Mehta had to race to keep up. In one scene shot in Paris, Ranaut was filmed inside a cab talking to her friend, played by Lisa Haydon, about her life back in Delhi. Standing with his dialogue sheet on a low truck that drove parallel to Ranaut’s cab, Mehta watched, perplexed, as the scene played out. He realised that Ranaut wasn’t just changing a few lines, she was effectively jettisoning the script. At one point, Mehta’s sheet had the lines: “Maine socha hum log hi churaate hain. Tum bhi Hindi gaane copy karte ho?” (I thought only we plagiarised. Even you copy Hindi songs?) Instead, Ranaut said, “Tum log dakaar ko taste karte ho?” (Do you people taste your burps?) The next line read: “Haan main Rajouri mein bahut famous hoon, meri mummy bhi yehi kehti thhi” (Iam very famous in Rajouri; my mother says so, too). But Ranaut further developed the theme of flatulence: “Hum log ke wahan toh ladkiyon ko dakaar karna allowed hi nahin hai” (At our place, girls aren’t even allowed to burp). One line further, “I miss my mother” became “Chalo ab hum log dakaar karte hain. Tu bhi kar na dakaar.” (Come, let’s burp. You join in as well.) Bahl liked Ranaut’s changes, and, afterwards, the crew members revelled in the satisfaction of a good take. Mehta, however, had more work to do. If he didn’t record the changes, and create a reference for the new scene, it would be difficult to maintain the scene’s continuity in case Bahl needed to reshoot any portions. Mehta went to the monitor, wore a pair of headphones and began to transcribe the new lines. With each line, he also noted the actions the actors performed, such as emerging from the cab’s sunroof, and their order. He would carry out this practice throughout the film’s shooting. But despite Mehta’s best efforts, some major continuity errors did creep into Queen. At the film’s premiere, the director Navdeep Singh asked Mehta, “Weren’t you the one doing continuity? What happened to Ranaut’s mehendi?” Singh was referring to the fact that after Ranaut’s character’s fiancé calls off their wedding, the mehendi on her hands should have grown lighter as the film progressed, as she travelled to Paris, and then Amsterdam. Instead, the mehendi is dark in some scenes and light in others. But in response, Mehta pointed out an even more significant error that was in the film: a mismatch of seasons on the timeline. “Never mind the mehendi,” he said. “She got married in winter and went to Paris in summer, what about that?” mehta and shubha ramachandra did not move to Mumbai to become script supervisors; both wanted to tell stories of their own. Mehta, who hasn’t done script supervision since Queen, saw the work as a way to gain a foothold in the industry. “Otherwise I would have never been able to stand near a director on set, and see filmmaking from close,” he said. After Queen, he finished a short film, which released in theatres in May 2015 as part of a collection of four shorts titled Chaar Cutting. He also made a short documentary, Amdavad Ma Famous, about a nine-year-old boy’s fascination with kite-flying. Ramachandra’s last film as a script supervisor was Dil Dhadakne Do, which released in June 2015. Since then, she has been working on her own writing. She had already finished her second script in early 2015, but decided to set it aside for some time and take a fresh look at it later, before pitching it to a production house. She has, in fact, been working on scripts for the past eight years, but never felt they were up to her standards. She said she would send them around to be read “once they are ready to be shown to the world.” She is primarily interested in stories that are missing from the country’s cinema—such as those told from women’s perspectives. “The person whose stories get heard is the victor, the dominant,” she said. “So, then, you want to hear other kinds of stories, too. That’s all.” Hassan Kutty also wanted to make his own movies and tell his own stories. “But I don’t know what happened to his script that he was trying to turn into a film,” Nair said. He worked with her, and then with Zoya Akhtar, Nair said, “but nothing seemed to progress with his own film.” Mulchand Dedhia, a gaffer—the head electrician who supervises the placement of lights on film sets—who worked with Kutty on nearly 25 films over the last two decades, also remembered the script supervisor’s interest in his own projects. After Salaam Bombay!, Dedhia said, Kutty began working on a documentary. “Whenever he had money, he began working,” Dedhia said. “When he ran out of money, he would stop making it and then, just like that, start again.” Kutty “spent more than 18 years” making that documentary, Dedhia said, but never discussed it with anyone. “He used to say, ‘We’ll talk about it when I have reached a certain stage,’” Dedhia added. “He gave himself completely to us, completely to cinema,” Nair said. “It almost made him suffer, because it didn’t appear that he had any buffer, or a place where he could rejuvenate himself.” Kutty she added, “never ate well, never looked after himself. He was fuelled by the cinema he was making. So he never saw any borders where his assistance would stop. He was total. And I think it’s that totality that consumed him.” Kutty died of tuberculosis, in 2007, without finishing his first film. Script supervisors in Hollywood have found some recognition for their work. In January 2015, the Hollywood Reporter,a leading American entertainment magazine, published a 450-word obituary for Marshall Schlom, a script supervisor whose “incredible body of work” included Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, Franklin J Schaffner’s Papillon and Barry Levinson’s Rain Man. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which also oversees the annual Academy Awards, also pays homage to Schlom on its website’s “memoriam” section. But Kutty’s contributions to around 50 Indian films, including Lagaan, Lakshya and Taare Zameen Par, remain largely unknown. The dedication to him at the beginning of Luck By Chance, though fleeting, is a small reminder of the imprint he left on the industry. Most Bollywood production houses have, for decades, recognised only a few specialists as indispensable—such as cinematographers, choreographers, costume designers, and art and action directors. Those who followed in Kutty’s footsteps have struggled with this state of affairs. Ramachandra recounted how, in early 2007, a Bollywood director about to make his debut film called her to his office to discuss the possibility of their working together. At one point during the hour-long conversation, he asked her how much she expected to be paid. She quoted a figure. The filmmaker pointed to the five assistant directors sitting outside his office, and said, “You know, the amount you are charging for a week is how much I pay all of them for a month.” “I am really amazed you are saying that they are earning so little,” Ramachandra replied. “But I’m sorry, I value myself much more.” “You have just worked on some art film called Honeymoon. How can you value yourself so much?” the director told her. “No one’s going to watch. What difference does it make?” Soma Roy reiterated that most production houses don’t see the need for script supervisors. “There are so many people—some of them department heads—who have told me, ‘For us, they don’t even exist. Why are they needed? In our time, assistant directors would do the work. Someone looked after the art, someone looked after the costumes.’” Once, a renowned cinematographer told her, “Why do you need to do script supervision?” He said he would never hire a script supervisor. “I don’t think they are needed,” he told Roy. Unlike Mehta and Ramachandra, Roy continues to work as a script supervisor, and doesn’t plan to lead her own projects. Since Rang De Basanti, she has worked on more than a dozen Bollywood films—including Kaminey, Delhi-6, Kahaani, Kai Po Che!, Dedh Ishqiya and Haider. Between these Hindi films, Roy also had one experience of working on a Hollywood project when she was hired for the 2010 Julia Roberts-starrer Eat Pray Love. She was the script supervisor for the second unit—the crew responsible for filming portions not involving Roberts. She noticed that, with the first unit, the main monitor on set was always reserved for the director and the main script supervisor. Other crew members used a different monitor to watch takes. Roy also noticed that when the first unit shot sequences in moving vehicles, the script supervisor always sat with the director at the monitor on the main tracking vehicle. “Here, except a few directors’ films, I am the last person to get on it,” she said. “I usually get to go only if there is extra space. Otherwise, I hear, ‘Tu rehne de yaar. It’s just a travelling shot. Hum manage kar lenge.’” (You let it be. We’ll manage.) The lack of respect accorded to script supervisors is closely linked to Bollywood’s inability to nurture specialist technicians, who prefer to excel in a particular field rather than helm their own projects. “If you have worked for five years in the industry as an assistant director,” Ramachandra said, “someone will come and say, ‘Arre aap abhi tak AD hi hain? Aap direct kab karenge?’” (Oh, you are still an assistant director? When will you direct your film?) But, she added, an industry “cannot only support directors, producers, or music directors. And it should be fine for me to be a script supervisor for the rest of my life, if I am not capable of directing a film. It should be an achievement in itself.” Mira Nair said she knew of only “a handful of first ADs in Mumbai who are very happy and want to be the best first assistant directors possible.” Most of them, she said, view “everything as a stepping stone” to being a director. “That is why we don’t pause and say, ‘Okay, let’s learn about this, and just be this, and be the best in this.’ And that’s why we don’t know the Hassans of the world today.” n 2008, the International Film Festival of Kerala awarded a new annual prize that came with a purse of R50,000 and a citation: the Hassan Kutty Award for Best Debut Indian Film. The award was instituted by Nair. She wanted it to be given to debutante filmmakers since, two decades earlier, when she won the Caméra d’Or at the Cannes International Film Festival, the top prize for the best debut film, the recognition helped not only launch her filmmaking career but also alleviate her financial worries. The cash prize—$50,000—paid off all her debts, she told me. “And it was such an important milestone for me,” she said. “So I want this award to be a milestone for other filmmakers who, unlike Hassan, have been able to make their first film. In yoga, we believe that if you say a person’s name you honour him. And I wanted his name to be said again, and again, every year in the temple of cinema.” - See more at: http://www.caravanmagazine.in/reportage/written-off-bollywood-script-supervisors#sthash.Kve9tmTi.dpuf

शनिवार, 11 जुलाई 2015

What ISIS Really Wants

Graeme Wood WHAT IS THE ISLAMIC STATE? Where did it come from, and what are its intentions? The simplicity of these questions can be deceiving, and few Western leaders seem to know the answers. In December, The New York Times published confidential comments by Major General Michael K. Nagata, the Special Operations commander for the United States in the Middle East, admitting that he had hardly begun figuring out the Islamic State’s appeal. “We have not defeated the idea,” he said. “We do not even understand the idea.” In the past year, President Obama has referred to the Islamic State, variously, as “not Islamic” and as al-Qaeda’s “jayvee team,” statements that reflected confusion about the group, and may have contributed to significant strategic errors. The group seized Mosul, Iraq, last June, and already rules an area larger than the United Kingdom. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been its leader since May 2010, but until last summer, his most recent known appearance on film was a grainy mug shot from a stay in U.S. captivity at Camp Bucca during the occupation of Iraq. Then, on July 5 of last year, he stepped into the pulpit of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, to deliver a Ramadan sermon as the first caliph in generations—upgrading his resolution from grainy to high-definition, and his position from hunted guerrilla to commander of all Muslims. The inflow of jihadists that followed, from around the world, was unprecedented in its pace and volume, and is continuing. Our ignorance of the Islamic State is in some ways understandable: It is a hermit kingdom; few have gone there and returned. Baghdadi has spoken on camera only once. But his address, and the Islamic State’s countless other propaganda videos and encyclicals, are online, and the caliphate’s supporters have toiled mightily to make their project knowable. We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world. The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), follows a distinctive variety of Islam whose beliefs about the path to the Day of Judgment matter to its strategy, and can help the West know its enemy and predict its behavior. Its rise to power is less like the triumph of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (a group whose leaders the Islamic State considers apostates) than like the realization of a dystopian alternate reality in which David Koresh or Jim Jones survived to wield absolute power over not just a few hundred people, but some 8 million. We have misunderstood the nature of the Islamic State in at least two ways. First, we tend to see jihadism as monolithic, and to apply the logic of al Qaeda to an organization that has decisively eclipsed it. The Islamic State supporters I spoke with still refer to Osama bin Laden as “Sheikh Osama,” a title of honor. But jihadism has evolved since al-Qaeda’s heyday, from about 1998 to 2003, and many jihadists disdain the group’s priorities and current leadership. Bin Laden viewed his terrorism as a prologue to a caliphate he did not expect to see in his lifetime. His organization was flexible, operating as a geographically diffuse network of autonomous cells. The Islamic State, by contrast, requires territory to remain legitimate, and a top-down structure to rule it. (Its bureaucracy is divided into civil and military arms, and its territory into provinces.) We are misled in a second way, by a well-intentioned but dishonest campaign to deny the Islamic State’s medieval religious nature. Peter Bergen, who produced the first interview with bin Laden in 1997, titled his first book Holy War, Inc. in part to acknowledge bin Laden as a creature of the modern secular world. Bin Laden corporatized terror and franchised it out. He requested specific political concessions, such as the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Saudi Arabia. His foot soldiers navigated the modern world confidently. On Mohamed Atta’s last full day of life, he shopped at Walmart and ate dinner at Pizza Hut. There is a temptation to rehearse this observation—that jihadists are modern secular people, with modern political concerns, wearing medieval religious disguise—and make it fit the Islamic State. In fact, much of what the group does looks nonsensical except in light of a sincere, carefully considered commitment to returning civilization to a seventh-century legal environment, and ultimately to bringing about the apocalypse. The most-articulate spokesmen for that position are the Islamic State’s officials and supporters themselves. They refer derisively to “moderns.” In conversation, they insist that they will not—cannot—waver from governing precepts that were embedded in Islam by the Prophet Muhammad and his earliest followers. They often speak in codes and allusions that sound odd or old-fashioned to non-Muslims, but refer to specific traditions and texts of early Islam. To take one example: In September, Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the Islamic State’s chief spokesman, called on Muslims in Western countries such as France and Canada to find an infidel and “smash his head with a rock,” poison him, run him over with a car, or “destroy his crops.” To Western ears, the biblical-sounding punishments—the stoning and crop destruction—juxtaposed strangely with his more modern-sounding call to vehicular homicide. (As if to show that he could terrorize by imagery alone, Adnani also referred to Secretary of State John Kerry as an “uncircumcised geezer.”) But Adnani was not merely talking trash. His speech was laced with theological and legal discussion, and his exhortation to attack crops directly echoed orders from Muhammad to leave well water and crops alone—unless the armies of Islam were in a defensive position, in which case Muslims in the lands of kuffar, or infidels, should be unmerciful, and poison away. The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam. Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements, and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology,” which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad, in punctilious detail. Muslims can reject the Islamic State; nearly all do. But pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it. We’ll need to get acquainted with the Islamic State’s intellectual genealogy if we are to react in a way that will not strengthen it, but instead help it self-immolate in its own excessive zeal. I. Devotion In November, the Islamic State released an infomercial-like video tracing its origins to bin Laden. It acknowledged Abu Musa’b al Zarqawi, the brutal head of al Qaeda in Iraq from roughly 2003 until his killing in 2006, as a more immediate progenitor, followed sequentially by two other guerrilla leaders before Baghdadi, the caliph. Notably unmentioned: bin Laden’s successor, Ayman al Zawahiri, the owlish Egyptian eye surgeon who currently heads al Qaeda. Zawahiri has not pledged allegiance to Baghdadi, and he is increasingly hated by his fellow jihadists. His isolation is not helped by his lack of charisma; in videos he comes across as squinty and annoyed. But the split between al-Qaeda and the Islamic State has been long in the making, and begins to explain, at least in part, the outsize bloodlust of the latter. Zawahiri’s companion in isolation is a Jordanian cleric named Abu Muhammad al Maqdisi, 55, who has a fair claim to being al-Qaeda’s intellectual architect and the most important jihadist unknown to the average American newspaper reader. On most matters of doctrine, Maqdisi and the Islamic State agree. Both are closely identified with the jihadist wing of a branch of Sunnism called Salafism, after the Arabic al salaf al salih, the “pious forefathers.” These forefathers are the Prophet himself and his earliest adherents, whom Salafis honor and emulate as the models for all behavior, including warfare, couture, family life, even dentistry. Maqdisi taught Zarqawi, who went to war in Iraq with the older man’s advice in mind. In time, though, Zarqawi surpassed his mentor in fanaticism, and eventually earned his rebuke. At issue was Zarqawi’s penchant for bloody spectacle—and, as a matter of doctrine, his hatred of other Muslims, to the point of excommunicating and killing them. In Islam, the practice of takfir, or excommunication, is theologically perilous. “If a man says to his brother, ‘You are an infidel,’ ” the Prophet said, “then one of them is right.” If the accuser is wrong, he himself has committed apostasy by making a false accusation. The punishment for apostasy is death. And yet Zarqawi heedlessly expanded the range of behavior that could make Muslims infidels. Maqdisi wrote to his former pupil that he needed to exercise caution and “not issue sweeping proclamations of takfir” or “proclaim people to be apostates because of their sins.” The distinction between apostate and sinner may appear subtle, but it is a key point of contention between al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. Denying the holiness of the Koran or the prophecies of Muhammad is straightforward apostasy. But Zarqawi and the state he spawned take the position that many other acts can remove a Muslim from Islam. These include, in certain cases, selling alcohol or drugs, wearing Western clothes or shaving one’s beard, voting in an election—even for a Muslim candidate—and being lax about calling other people apostates. Being a Shiite, as most Iraqi Arabs are, meets the standard as well, because the Islamic State regards Shiism as innovation, and to innovate on the Koran is to deny its initial perfection. (The Islamic State claims that common Shiite practices, such as worship at the graves of imams and public self-flagellation, have no basis in the Koran or in the example of the Prophet.) That means roughly 200 million Shia are marked for death. So too are the heads of state of every Muslim country, who have elevated man-made law above Sharia by running for office or enforcing laws not made by God. Following takfiri doctrine, the Islamic State is committed to purifying the world by killing vast numbers of people. The lack of objective reporting from its territory makes the true extent of the slaughter unknowable, but social-media posts from the region suggest that individual executions happen more or less continually, and mass executions every few weeks. Muslim “apostates” are the most common victims. Exempted from automatic execution, it appears, are Christians who do not resist their new government. Baghdadi permits them to live, as long as they pay a special tax, known as the jizya, and acknowledge their subjugation. The Koranic authority for this practice is not in dispute.

सोमवार, 22 जून 2015

अफगानिस्तान पहले था हिन्दू राष्ट्र

अनिरुद्ध जोशी 'शतायु अफगानिस्तान और पाकिस्तान को छोड़कर भारत के इतिहास की कल्पना नहीं की जा सकती। कहना चाहिए की वह 7वीं सदी तक अखंड भारत का एक हिस्सा था। अफगान पहले एक हिन्दू राष्ट्र था। बाद में यह बौद्ध राष्ट्र बना और अब वह एक इस्लामिक राष्ट्र है। 26 मई 1739 को दिल्ली के बादशाह मुहम्मद शाह अकबर ने ईरान के नादिर शाह से संधि कर उपगण स्थान अफगानिस्तान उसे सौंप दिया था। 17वीं सदी तक अफगानिस्तान नाम का कोई राष्ट्र नहीं था। अफगानिस्तान नाम का विशेष-प्रचलन अहमद शाह दुर्रानी के शासन-काल (1747-1773) में ही हुआ। इसके पूर्व अफगानिस्तान को आर्याना, आर्यानुम्र वीजू, पख्तिया, खुरासान, पश्तूनख्वाह और रोह आदि नामों से पुकारा जाता था जिसमें गांधार, कम्बोज, कुंभा, वर्णु, सुवास्तु आदि क्षेत्र थे। यहां हिन्दूकुश नाम का एक पहाड़ी क्षेत्र है जिसके उस पार कजाकिस्तान, रूस और चीन जाया जा सकता है। ईसा के 700 साल पूर्व तक यह स्थान आर्यों का था। ईसा पूर्व 700 साल पहले तक इसके उत्तरी क्षेत्र में गांधार महाजनपद था जिसके बारे में भारतीय स्रोत महाभारत तथा अन्य ग्रंथों में वर्णन मिलता है। अफगानिस्तान की सबसे बड़ी होटलों की श्रृंखला का नाम ‘आर्याना' था और हवाई कंपनी भी ‘आर्याना' के नाम से जानी जाती थी। इस्लाम के पहले अफगानिस्तान को आर्याना, आर्यानुम्र वीजू, पख्तिया, खुरासान, पश्तूनख्वाह और रोह आदि नामों से पुकारा जाता था। पारसी मत के प्रवर्तक जरथ्रुष्ट द्वारा रचित ग्रंथ ‘जिंदावेस्ता' में इस भूखंड को ऐरीन-वीजो या आर्यानुम्र वीजो कहा गया है। आज भी अफगानिस्तान के गांवों में बच्चों के नाम आपको कनिष्क, आर्यन, वेद आदि मिलेंगे। उत्तरी अफगानिस्तान का बल्ख प्रांत दुनिया की कुछ बेहद महत्वपूर्ण ऐतिहासिक विरासतों को सहेजे हुए है। इसके कुछ प्राचीन शहरों को दुनिया के सभी शहरों का जनक कहा जाता है। ये बल्ख के तराई इलाकों की समतल भूमि है जिसके प्राचीन व्यापारिक मार्ग ने खानाबदोशों, योद्धाओं, साहसी लोगों और धर्म प्रचारकों का ध्यान अपनी ओर खींचा। इन लोगों ने अपने पीछे यहां ऐसे रहस्यों को छोड़ा जिन्हें पुरातत्वविदों ने खोजना शुरू ही किया है। पिछले वर्ष ही अफगानिस्तान में 5,000 साल पुराना एक विमान मिला है। इस विमान के महाभारतकालीन होने का अनुमान है। यह खुलासा 'वायर्ड डॉट कॉम' की एक रिपोर्ट में किया गया है। रिपोर्ट के मुताबिक अफगानिस्तान की एक प्राचीन गुफा में रखा प्राचीन भारत का एक विमान पाया गया है। अब सवाल है कि ये इतने वर्षों तक सुरक्षित कैसे रहा। दरअसल, यह विमान 'टाइम वेल' में फंसा हुआ है। इसी कारण सुरक्षित बना हुआ है। 'टाइम वेल' इलेक्ट्रोमैग्नेटिक शॉकवेव्स से सुरक्षित क्षेत्र होता है और इस कारण से इस विमान के पास जाने की चेष्टा करने वाला कोई भी व्यक्ति इसके प्रभाव के कारण गायब या अदृश्य हो जाता है। कहा जा रहा है कि यह विमान महाभारतकाल का है और इसके आकार-प्रकार का विवरण महाभारत और अन्य प्राचीन ग्रंथों में‍ किया गया है। इस कारण से इसे गुफा से निकालने की कोशिश करने वाले कई अमेरिकी सील कमांडो गायब हो गए हैं या फिर मारे गए हैं। करीब 3,500 साल पहले एकेश्वरवादी धर्म की स्थापना करने वाले दार्शनिक जोरास्टर यहीं रहते थे। 13वीं शताब्दी के महान कवि रूमी का जन्म भी अफगानिस्तान में ही हुआ था। धृतराष्ट्र की पत्नी गांधारी, महान संस्कृत व्याकरणाचार्य पाणिनी और गुरु गोरखनाथ अफगानिस्तान के ही पठान जाति के बाशिंदे थे। पठान पख्तून होते हैं। पठान को पहले पक्ता कहा जाता था। ऋग्वेद के चौथे खंड के 44वें श्लोक में भी पख्तूनों का वर्णन 'पक्त्याकय' नाम से मिलता है। इसी तरह तीसरे खंड का 91वें श्लोक आफरीदी कबीले का जिक्र 'आपर्यतय' के नाम से करता है। दरअसल, अंग्रेजी शासन में पिंडारियों के रूप में जो अंग्रेजों से लड़े, वे विशेषकर पठान और जाट ही थे। पठान जाट समुदाय का ही एक वर्ग है। कुछ लोग इन्हें बनी इसराइलियों का वंशज मानते हैं। अफगानिस्तान में पहले आर्यों के कबीले आबाद थे और वे सभी वैदिक धर्म का पालन करते थे, फिर बौद्ध धर्म के प्रचार के बाद यह स्थान बौद्धों का गढ़ बन गया। यहां के सभी लोग ध्यान और रहस्य की खोज में लग गए। इस्लाम के आगमन के बाद यहां एक नई क्रांति की शुरुआत हुई। बुद्ध के शांति के मार्ग को छोड़कर ये लोग क्रांति के मार्ग पर चल पड़े। शीतयुद्ध के दौरान अफगानिस्तान को तहस-नहस कर दिया गया। यहां की संस्कृति और प्राचीन धर्म के चिह्न मिटा दिए गए। 17वीं सदी तक दुनिया में अफगानिस्तान नाम का कोई देश नहीं था अर्थात आज से मात्र 300 वर्ष पूर्व तक अफगानिस्तान एक नाम से कोई राष्ट्र नहीं था। 6टी सदी तक यह एक हिन्दू और बौद्ध बहुल क्षेत्र था। यहां के अलग-अलग क्षेत्रों में हिन्दू राजा राज करते थे। उनकी जाति कुछ भी रही हो, लेकिन वे सभी आर्य थे। वे तुर्क और पठान आर्यवंशीय राजा थे। अंतिम हिन्दूशाही राजवंश : सन् 843 ईस्वी में कल्लार नामक राजा ने हिन्दूशाही की स्थापना की। तत्कालीन सिक्कों से पता चलता है कि कल्लार के पहले भी रुतविल या रणथल, स्पालपति और लगतुरमान नामक हिन्दू या बौद्घ राजाओं का गांधार प्रदेश में राज था। ये स्वयं को कनिष्क का वंशज भी मानते थे। हिन्दू राजाओं को ‘काबुलशाह' या ‘महाराज धर्मपति' कहा जाता था। इन राजाओं में कल्लार, सामंतदेव, भीम, अष्टपाल, जयपाल, आनंदपाल, त्रिलोचनपाल, भीमपाल आदि उल्लेखनीय हैं। इन राजाओं ने लगभग 350 साल तक अरब आततायियों और लुटेरों को जबर्दस्त टक्कर दी और उन्हें सिंधु नदी पार करके भारत में नहीं घुसने दिया, लेकिन 1019 में महमूद गजनी से त्रिलोचनपाल की हार के साथ अफगानिस्तान का इतिहास पलटी खा गया। चीनी यात्री युवानच्वांग ने इस्लाम व अफगानिस्तान के बौद्धकाल का इतिहास लिखा है। गौतम बुद्ध अफगानिस्तान में लगभग 6 माह ठहरे थे। बौद्धकाल में अफगानिस्तान की राजधानी बामियान हुआ करती थी। सिकंदर का आक्रमण 328 ईसा पूर्व के समय हुआ, जब यहां प्रायः फारस के हखामनी शाहों का शासन था। आर्यकाल में यह क्षे‍त्र अखंड भारत का हिस्सा था। ईरान के पार्थियन तथा भारतीय शकों के बीच बंटने के बाद अफगानिस्तान के आज के भू-भाग पर सासानी शासन आया। विश्व के सबसे प्राचीन ग्रंथ ऋग्वेद में पख्तून लोगों और अफगान नदियों का उल्लेख है। सुदास-संवरण के बीच हुए दाशराज्ञ युद्घ में ‘पख्तूनों' का उल्लेख पुरू (ययाति के कुल के) कबीले के सहयोगियों के रूप में हुआ है। जिन नदियों को आजकल हम आमू, काबुल, कुर्रम, रंगा, गोमल, हरिरुद आदि नामों से जानते हैं, उन्हें प्राचीन भारतीय लोग क्रमश: वक्षु, कुभा, कुरम, रसा, गोमती, हर्यू या सर्यू के नाम से जानते थे। जिन स्थानों के नाम आजकल काबुल, कंधार, बल्ख, वाखान, बगराम, पामीर, बदख्शां, पेशावर, स्वात, चारसद्दा आदि हैं, उन्हें संस्कृत और प्राकृत-पालि साहित्य में क्रमश: कुभा या कुहका, गंधार, बाल्हीक, वोक्काण, कपिशा, मेरू, कम्बोज, पुरुषपुर (पेशावर), सुवास्तु, पुष्कलावती आदि के नाम से जाना जाता था। महाभारत में गांधारी के देश के अनेक संदर्भ मिलते हैं। हस्तिनापुर के राजा संवरण पर जब सुदास ने आक्रमण किया तो संवरण की सहायता के लिए जो ‘पस्थ' लोग पश्चिम से आए, वे पठान ही थे। छांदोग्य उपनिषद, मार्कंडेय पुराण, ब्राह्मण ग्रंथों तथा बौद्घ साहित्य में इसका विस्तार से वर्णन पढ़कर लगता है कि हिन्दुओं का मूल स्थान तो सिन्धु के आसपास का क्षे‍त्र ही है। यदि अफगानिस्तान को अपने स्मृति-पटल से हटा दिया जाए तो भारत का सांस्कृतिक-इतिहास लिखना असंभव है। चीनी इतिहासकारों ने लिखा है कि सन् 383 से लेकर 810 तक अनेक बौद्घ ग्रंथों का चीनी अनुवाद अफगान बौद्घ भिक्षुओं ने ही किया था। बौद्घ धर्म की ‘महायान' शाखा का प्रारंभ अफगानिस्तान में ही हुआ। आजकल हम जिस बगराम हवाई अड्डे का नाम बहुत सुनते हैं, वह कभी कुषाणों की राजधानी था। उसका नाम था कपीसी। पुले-खुमरी से 16 किमी उत्तर में सुर्ख कोतल नामक जगह में कनिष्क-काल के भव्य खंडहर अब भी देखे जा सकते हैं। इन्हें आजकल ‘कुहना मस्जिद' के नाम से जाना जाता है। पेशावर और लाहौर के संग्रहालयों में इस काल की विलक्षण कलाकृतियां अब भी सुरक्षित हैं। अफगानिस्तान के बामियान, जलालाबाद, बगराम, काबुल, बल्ख आदि स्थानों में अनेक मूर्तियों, स्तूपों, संघारामों, विश्वविद्यालयों और मंदिरों के अवशेष मिलते हैं। काबुल के आसामाई मंदिर को 2,000 साल पुराना बताया जाता है। आसामाई पहाड़ पर खड़ी पत्थर की दीवार को ‘हिन्दूशाहों' द्वारा निर्मित परकोटे के रूप में देखा जाता है। काबुल का संग्रहालय बौद्घ अवशेषों का खजाना रहा है। अफगान अतीत की इस धरोहर को पहले इस्लामिक मुजाहिदीन और अब तालिबान ने लगभग नष्ट कर दिया है। बामियान की सबसे ऊंची और विश्वप्रसिद्घ बुद्घ प्रतिमाओं को भी उन्होंने लगभग नष्ट कर दिया। यह आश्चर्य की बात है कि इन हारते हुए ‘हिन्दूशाही' राजाओं के बारे में अरबी और फारसी इतिहासकारों ने तारीफ के पुल बांधे हुए हैं। अल-बेरूनी और अल-उतबी ने लिखा है कि हिन्दूशाहियों के राज में मुसलमान, यहूदी और बौद्घ लोग मिल-जुलकर रहते थे। उनमें भेदभाव नहीं किया जाता था। इन राजाओं ने सोने के सिक्के तक चलाए। हिन्दूशाहों के सिक्के इतने अच्छे होते थे कि सन् 908 में बगदाद के अब्बासी खलीफा अल-मुक्तदीर ने वैसे ही देवनागरी सिक्कों पर अपना नाम अरबी में खुदवाकर नए सिक्के जारी करवा दिए। मुस्लिम इतिहासकार फरिश्ता के अनुसार हिन्दूशाही की लूट का माल जब गजनी में प्रदर्शित किया गया तो पड़ोसी मुल्कों के राजदूतों की आंखें फटी की फटी रह गईं। भीमनगर (नगरकोट) से लूट गए माल को गजनी तक लाने के लिए ऊंटों की कमी पड़ गई। महमूद गजनी को सत्ता और लूटपाट के अलावा इस्लाम का नशा भी सवार था इसीलिए वह जीते हुए क्षेत्रों के मंदिरों, शिक्षा केंद्रों, मंडियों और भवनों को नष्ट करता जाता था और स्थानीय लोगों को जबरन मुसलमान बनाता जाता था। आज वे सभी अफगानी हिन्दू अब मुसलमान हैं। यह बात अल-बेरूनी, अल-उतबी, अल-मसूदी और अल-मकदीसी जैसे मुस्लिम इतिहासकारों ने भी लिखी है।