दाना या भूसा ?

<strong>रश्मिकांत नागर  </strong>
रश्मिकांत नागर

अपने छात्र जीवन की “एक” कारस्तानी का बयान कर रहे हैं।
यह कहानी नहीं, सत्य घटना है। 

मैं कृषि स्नातक की पढ़ाई कर रहा था। बीएससी ( कृषि) का दूसरा वर्ष था और समेस्टेर सिस्टम लागू होने से पहले, वार्षिक परीक्षा वाले सिस्टम का आख़िरी वर्ष। हमारे सभी शिक्षक दिल से चाहते थे की हम सब मन लगा कर पढ़ाईं करें और अच्छे अंकों से परीक्षा पास करें। 

मेरी कक्षा में हम ४० छात्र थे। २-३ को छोड़ बाक़ी सभी, वर्ष के आख़िरी महीने में पढ़ते कम पर चिन्ता ज़्यादा करते की पास कैसे होंगे। सारा साल तो मटरगस्ती और शैतानी में निकाल जाता। हम में से कुछ ज़्यादा ही मुँहफट और नालायक क़िस्म के थे। न आज का डर, ना कल की फ़िकर। मेरी गिनती भी इस श्रेणी में होती थी। 

हमारे अधिकतर शिक्षक गम्भीर क़िस्म के थे । और हमसे ज़्यादा हमारे भविष्य की फ़िक्र उन्हें होती थी। वह सभी अपनी पूरी कोशिश करते की विषय को किसी तरह रसप्रद बनाया जाय, पर कृषि ज़ैसे रूखे विषय में कौन कितना मसाला डाल सकता है। कक्षा में हमारे चेहरे देख ऐसा लगता था, जैसे किसी ने हमें संजय लीला भंसाली की ‘राम-लीला’ दिखाने का न्योता देकर हिमांशु राय की ‘देवदास’ गले मढ़ दी हो और वो भी थियेटर के दरवाज़े पर बाहर से ताला लगा कर। 

उन्हीं गम्भीर शिक्षकों में से एक थे खत्री साहब। शान्त स्वभाव के गुजराती और अपने ज़िम्मेदारी के प्रति अत्यंत सजग़। गुजराती थे लिहाज़ा हिन्दी शब्दों के उच्चारण में थोड़ा गुजराती तड़का स्वतः ही लग जाता। 

मसलन, गेहूँ ‘घउँ’; दाना ‘दाणा’ और भूसा ‘भूँसा’। उनके इस उच्चारण को सुन हम हिन्दी भाषी मन ही मन मुस्कुराते और मज़े लेते। खत्री साहब हमारी इस हरकत से वाक़िफ़ थे पर हमें कभी डाँटते-फटकारते नहीं थे, खुद भी बस मुस्कुरा देते। 

वार्षिक परीक्षा निकट आ रही थी, और हम सब, जैसे के तैसे। मन में कोई हलचल, उथल-पुथल नहीं। सारे के सारे क्लास में मुँह लटका कर ऐसे बैठते जैसे किसी शोकसभा में आये हों। 

एक दिन खत्री साहब से हमारे लटके हुए मुँह नहीं देखे गये। वे दुःखी हो गए और हमारा मनोबल बढ़ाने के लिये उन्होंने बात कुछ इस तरह शुरू की, “देखो, तुम सब ऐग्रिकल्चर के स्टूडेंट हो और अपन एग्रोनामी की क्लास में पढ़ रहे हैं। तुम सब जानते हो की जब घउँ का पाक काटते हे, तो फिर दाणा और भूँसा अलग अलग करते हे। बाज़ार में दोनो वस्तु अलग-अलग बेचें तो ज़्यादा भाव किसका? दाणा का होता हे ने। बरोबर हे ने?”

”एकदम सही सर”, सारी क्लास ने एक स्वर में उत्तर दिया। हमारे सामूहिक उत्तर से प्रसन्न और उत्साहित होकर उन्होंने अगला प्रश्न किया, “अब बताओ, तुम्हें भूँसा बनने का हे की दाणा?

”सारी क्लास चुप, कोई एक मिनट के लिये सन्नाटा छा गया। उन्होंने जैसे हमारे ज़मीर को झंझोड दिया हो। उनके प्रश्न का उत्तर देने एक भी हाथ नहीं उठा।

 मैं उस दिन अपनी सामान्य- सबसे पीछे वाली पंक्ति छोड़ सबसे आगे वाली पंक्ति में दरवाज़े के पास बैठा था। मुझे शरारत सूझी और चुप्पी तोड़ने के लिये मैंने हाथ उठाया। 

“हाँ, बोलो नागर, दाणा बनना हे ना”, उन्होंने खुश होकर पूछा।

 “नहीं सर, भूसा बनना है”। खत्री साहब अवाक रह गये। 

उन्हें ख़ास कर मुझ से ऐसे उत्तर की उम्मीद नहीं थी क्योंकि वे मेरे पिताजी के अच्छे परिचितों में से थे, नागर साहब के लड़के से ऐसा उत्तर! 

फिर पूछा, “अच्छा बताओ भूँसा क्यों बनना हे?”

मेरा प्रत्युत्तर था, “सर, जब परीक्षा की हवा आयेगी, तो भूसा हल्का होने से उड़ के अगली क्लास में जायेगा, दाना भारी होने से इसी क्लास में रह जाएगा”। सारी क्लास ठहाकों से गूंज उठी। खत्री साहब थोड़ा मेरे नज़दीक आए, मुस्कुराए और मेरे कानों में एक शब्द गूंजा

नालायक

कुछ इधर की कुछ उधर की कुछ फिरकी

यह लेख अपने आप मे एक लेख नही वरन एक पत्र से निकली सूझ का नतीजा है । पत्र तो लिखा गया। जिसको भेजना था उन्हे भेज भी दिया गया । पर मन मे यह विचार उठा क्यो न उस पत्र को एक लेख मे परिवर्तित किया जाय। जिन आदरणीय महाशय को वह पत्र लिखा गया था, उनका छद्म नाम “बिहार के लाला” रखा गया है।


प्रिय भाइयों और बहनों, या बतर्ज अटल जी, देवियों और सज्जनों,

जंबूद्वीप के भारत खंड के गुर्जर प्रदेश वासी “बिहार के लाला” को “गोरखपुर के बाबू” का पाताल लोक के केनेडा नामचीन देश के टोरोंटो शहर से सादर नमस्कार और परिवार के अन्य लोगों को यथोचित प्रणाम आशीर्वाद पहुँचे ।

बिहार के लाला का विशेष उल्लेख इस सार्वजनिक पत्र में इसलिये ज़रूरी लगा क्योंकि उन्होंने बहुत दिनों बाद हमें एक पत्र लिखा और उस पत्र के साथ भेजी एक बैठक का वृत्तांत।

बैठक का वृतांत पढ़ भविष्य के प्रति आशा की मात्रा में भरपूर इज़ाफ़ा हुआ। एक तरह से कहें तो मन गद गद हुआ।

बचपन और जवानी में भी हमारे पिता जी (बाबूजी) “मनमोदक” खिलाया करते थे ।फ़ीलिंग कुछ वैसी ही हुई।

बाबूजी के मन मोदक हम सब बच्चे बड़े मन से सुनते थे। भाग भी लेते थे, बढ़ चढ़ कर। मन के मोदक उदर पूर्ति हेतु थोड़े ही होते थे। मन मोदक तो होते थे केवल मन को बहलाने का साधन। कल्पना, भविष्य, कुतूहल, क्या यह भी हो सकता है के बारे में ? मन बहल जाता था। बिहार के लाला ने घोषणा कर दी है कि आगामी २१/२२ जनवरी २०२३ को नेशनल डेयरी डेवलपमेंट बोर्ड के अभूतपूर्व पर अब केवल भूतपूर्व कर्मचारियों का तीसरा आनंददायी स्नेहमिलन आणंद में होने की संभावना है। 

अन्य मित्रों को जिन्हें यह पत्र जा रहा है स्नेहवंदन और शुभकामनाएँ ।

अपरंच समाचार यह है कि काली माता की कृपा और आप सब की शुभेच्छा से हम सब यहाँ राज़ी ख़ुशी है। आप और आप सब के प्रियजनों के सुख, स्वास्थ्य और समृद्धि के लिये हम परम पिता परमेश्वर से प्रार्थना करते हैं । 

इधर कुछ दिनों से हमारे स्वास्थ्य में भी काफ़ी सुधार हुआ है।दवा दारू चलती रहेगी। 

ज़िंदगी में, किसने, कब तक, दिया है साथ । जब तक चली चले तब तक चले चलो। 

 “थोड़ा कहना बहुत समझना” आप सब तो बहुत समझदार हो । और जैसी कहावत है समझदार को इशारा काफ़ी है । 

तो आप सब बात समझ ही गये होंगे। 

मैं पहले से काफ़ी ठीक हूँ पर दवाई और अस्पताल का चक्कर बहुत दिन चलेगा । दिसंबर में भारत लौट सकूँगा यही इच्छा है । शेष प्रभु कृपा रही तो २१ /२२ जनवरी २०२३ वाले आयोजन में भाग भी ले सकूँगा। 

बिहार के लाला ने जाने या अनजाने में हाल ही में संपन्न हुई  बैठक के कार्यवृत्त साझा करते समय जो  अंग्रेज़ी की रंगरेज़ी की है और उसके बाद जो अशुद्धि/ त्रुटि सुधार के लिये बैठक में भागीदारों के पत्रों के आदान-प्रदान से एक बात तो स्पष्ट है कि आप सब में आपसी समझ और मिल जुल कर काम करने की वही ललक है जो जवानी में थी। 

विदेशी भाषा अंग्रेजी की हत्या का जो  प्रयास बिहार के लाला ने किया उसके लिये वह प्रशंसा के पात्र हैं। 

बैठक के कार्यवृत्त को मैंने पढ़ा, गुना- धुना, समय लगा पर समझ में आ ही गया। 

मै जुलाई 2020 में भारत से केनेडा आया। और अब तक (अप्रैल 2022 ) तक यहीं पर हूँ। भारत से भागे भारतीय के रूप में मेरा यह जंबूद्वीप भारत खंड से सबसे लंबा प्रवास है।

जनवरी 2021 में व्हाटसएप पर मिले इस विडियो क्लिप को देख बहुत अच्छा लगा था। पर तब पता नहीं था कि कोविड जी और अन्य बहुत सी कठिनाइयों की बदौलत हम यहीं पर अटके रहेंगे। खैर बड़े बूढ़े ( वैसे मैं अब कौन सा जवान हूँ ) कह गये हैं;

“हारिये न हिम्मत, बिसारिये न हरिनाम, जाही विधि राखे राम, वाही विधि राहिये” !


खैर जो है सो है । कर ही क्या कर सकते हैं? बता सकते हैं तो बताइये ? आपने पूछा समय कैसे बिताते हो? धीरज रखिये, पढ़ते रहिये । पता चल जायेगा।

पर जैसे अक्सर पहले “समय बिताने के लिये करना है कुछ काम शुरू करें अंत्याक्षरी ले कर हरि का नाम” के बाद “सामूहिक” खेला होता था, आज कल लैपटॉप, टैबलेट और मोबाइल फ़ोन वाले जमाने में “एकल” खेला का काफ़ी चलन हो गया है। बस अंतर्जाल और कनेक्टिविटी और डेटा चाहिये। आप अपने में मस्त परिवार का हर सदस्य अपने आप में मस्त।

नीचे कुछ चुनिंदा विडियो , उडियो के लिंक दे मारे हैं। आप भी आनंद ले। सिर्फ़ उंगली दबाने का ही कष्ट करना पड़ेगा । पर वस्ताद आप सब लोग इस डिपार्टमेंट में तो पुराने उस्ताद रहे हो। तो एंज्याय करो। समय काटो। वैसे समय तो कटता रहता है बिन काटे भी। कह दी न ऊँची बात ।

पत्रोत्तर की आकांक्षा में,

आप सब का,

भवदीय,

शैलेंद्र 

बिहार के लाला के लिये विशेष

पर जैसे अक्सर पहले “समय बिताने के लिये करना है कुछ काम शुरू करें अंत्याक्षरी ले कर हरि का नाम” के बाद “सामूहिक” खेला होता था, आज कल लैपटॉप, टैबलेट और मोबाइल फ़ोन वाले जमाने में “एकल” खेला का काफ़ी चलन हो गया है। बस अंतर्जाल और कनेक्टिविटी और डेटा चाहिये। आप अपने में मस्त परिवार का हर सदस्य अपने आप में मस्त।

मनके मंगे हिते …

श्री गोपालदास नीरज की गणना हिंदी सबसे प्रसिद्ध और प्रशंसित कवियों होती है। आप जैसे बहुत से लोगों की तरह नीरज मेरे भी बहुत प्रिय कवि हैं।

मेरे गाँव के एक किसान की व्यथा कथा। बिजई बाबा अब न रहे। ओम शांति 🙏🏼

मुझको कैसे मिले फ़ुरसत !

सन् दो हज़ार बीस में मैं क्यूबा गया था। जी हाँ अकेले । छुट्टी मनाने। बच्चों ने भेज दिया था। उसी समय का यह विडियो क्लिप है। हवाना की बस यात्रा के दौरान रास्ते में गाइड एलेक्स नाचते हुये । हम देख रहे थे।

सिर्फ हेडलाइन के मोदी योगी कहीं नहीं हैं इन कवि की रचना में 😁🙏🏼

“हारिये न हिम्मत, बिसारिये न हरिनाम, जाही विधि राखे राम, वाही विधि राहिये” !

सन २०२१ के अक्तूबर माह मे लिया गया यह विडियो ओटावा से आधे घंटे की ड्राइव पर बने पार्क ओमेगा का है । लगभग ९०० हेक्टर के मे स्थित इस वन्य क्षेत्र मे जैसे भेडिया, बाइसन, हिरण, कैरिबू, एल्क आदि समीप से देखे जा सकते हैं।

यह विडियो बिहार के नालंदा जिले के गांव कलियाचक के स्कूल लिया गया था सन २०१७ मे। डाक्टर प्रसाद तिगालापल्ली का है । डाक्टर साहब, मुंबई स्थित सुप्रसिद्ध शिक्षण संस्थान NITIE मे बिजनेस मैनेजमेंट पढाते हैं । पर दिलो दिमाग से कायल हैं है गांधी जी के मंत्र नई तालीम के । गांव के स्कूल मे डाक्टर साहब बच्चो को साधारण खिलौने से गणित सिखा कर एक बच्ची को पुरस्कृत कर रहे हैं । इनके साथ मेरी बातचीत का एक ब्लाग वृक्षमंदिर पर उपलब्ध है।



कहानी पुरानी लकड़हारे की, संदर्भ नया रश्मिकांत नागर द्वारा !


लकड़हारा

लकड़हारे की यह पुरानी कहानी तो आपने अवश्य सुनी या पढ़ी होगी। जंगल में गहरी नदी किनारे लकड़ी काटते समय हाथ से फिसल कर उसकी कुल्हाड़ी नदी में जा गिरी। जीवन यापन का एकमात्र साधन खोने से दुःखी लकड़हारा गहन चिंता में डूब कर जब रोने लगा तब उसके सामने जलदेवी प्रकट हुई, उसे पहले सोने, फिर चाँदी की कुल्हाड़ियों का प्रलोभन दिया और अंत में, लकड़हारे की ईमानदारी से प्रसन्न होकर, उसकी लोहे की कुल्हाड़ी के साथ सोने चाँदी की कुल्हाड़ियों का पुरस्कार देकर उसे हमेशा के लिए दरिद्रता से बाहर निकाल दिया। लकड़हारे ने अपना शेष सम्पन्न जीवन, सपरिवार संतोष से जिया। 

पर हमारी इस कथा का नायक उस युग का नहीं है भले ही पेशे से वह भी लकड़हारा हो। दरअसल उसने ऊपर की कहानी पढ़ कर ही अपने नए पेशे का चुनाव किया। एक कुल्हाड़ी ख़रीदी और निकल पड़ा जंगल की राह। रास्ते में कुछ परिचित मिले पर उनसे नज़र बचाता हमारा नायक, फटे-पुराने कपड़े -ज़ूते धारण कर, अपने अभियान के सफल होने की कामना लिये , तीर की तरह नदी की ओर बढ़ा जा रहा था। बार बार मन में एक ही प्रबल इच्छा, “काश मेरी कुल्हाड़ी भी नदी में गिर जाये”। 

नदी किनारे पहुँचते ही वह उतावला हो गया और कुल्हाड़ी पहुँचा दी सीधी नदी के तल में। तुरन्त बैठ गया नदी के किनारे और रो रो कर, आँखे बंद कर अपना दुखड़ा गाने लगा, “हाय, मैं मर गया, बर्बाद हो गया। मेरी जीविका का एकमात्र साधन, मेरी कुल्हाड़ी नदी में गिर गई। अब मेरा परिवार क्या खाएगा, भूखा मर जायेगा, मेरे मासूम बच्चों को……….” और रोने का नाटक करते, बीच बीच में कनखियों से देख लेता कि ‘जलदेवी’ प्रकट हुई या नहीं। 

शाम होने आई, परन्तु जलदेवी ने दर्शन नहीं दिये। आख़िर थक-हार कर घड़ियाली आँसुओं का स्थान असली आँसुओं ने ले लिया। कुछ अँधेरा सा होने लगा। जैसे ही व्यथित मन से वो घर लौटने को हुआ, कानों में एक आवाज़ सुनाई दी, “क्या हुआ? तुम्हें तुम्हारी कुल्हाड़ी नहीं चाहिये?” 

हमारे नायक लकड़हारे की साँस जैसे रूक सी गई। उसे अपने कानों पर विश्वास ना हुआ। वह स्तब्ध, ठिठक कर जैसे मूर्ति बन गया हो, उसी स्थान पर ठहर गया। पीछे मुड़ कर देखने का साहस भी नहीं हो रहा था तभी वही आवाज़ पुनः कानों में गूँजी, “नहीं चाहिये कुल्हाड़ी?”

इस बार साहस किया, मुड़ के पीछे देखा और जलदेवी को अपने समक्ष पाया। 

जलदेवी ने पूछा, “कैसी थी कुल्हाड़ी तुम्हारी?” लकड़हारे ने सोचा अगर सच कहा तो सोने चाँदी की कुल्हाड़ियाँ नहीं मिलेगी, अतः इशारों से बताया की उसे कुछ भी याद नहीं आ रहा, वो तो ये भी भूल गया कि खुद कौन है। 

जलदेवी बोली, “कोई बात नहीं। घबराहट में अक्सर याददाश्त खो जाती है। में तुम्हारी कुल्हाड़ी लाती हूँ।” 

हमारे नायक को तुरन्त पुरानी कहानी याद आ गयी। जलदेवी पहले सोने की कुल्हाड़ी लाई। मन तो बहुत ललचाया, पर लकड़हारे ने कह दिया की ये कुल्हाड़ी मेरी नहीं है। जब जलदेवी चाँदी की कुल्हाड़ी लाई, तब भी मन मार कर लकड़हारे ने कहा, “ये कुल्हाड़ी भी मेरी नहीं है।”

जलदेवी अब उसकी असली कुल्हाड़ी ले आई और उसे दे दी। “अब ठीक है ना, अब घर जाओ। दोबारा इसे मत खोना।” ये कह कर जैसे ही वो जल में प्रवेश करने लगी, लकड़हारा दहाड़ मार कर रो पड़ा। जलदेवी को दया आ गयी, बोली, “तनिक रुको”; फिर पानी में डुबकी लगा एक पल में सोने चाँदी की कुल्हाड़ियाँ ले आई और लकड़हारे को देते हुए बोली, “आगे से कभी झूठ मत बोलना और ना ही लालच करना। अगर करोगे तो इन सोने चाँदी की कुल्हाड़ियों से हाथ धो बैठोगे”। साथ ही एक पोटली रुपयों से भरी भी दी। जलदेवी को उनके निर्देशों का पालन करने का वचन दे कर लकड़हारा लगभग दौड़ता हुआ अपने घर पहूँच गया। सोने-चाँदी की कुल्हाड़ियाँ ऊपर ताक पर छुपा दीं, परन्तु रोज़ रात एक बार सोने से पहले देख लेता था कि कुल्हाड़ियाँ सलामत हैं। पोटली से ज़रूरत पड़ने पर कुछ रुपये निकाल घर खर्च चला लेता था। सामान्य रूप से काम पर जाता पर मुश्किल से दो-चार टहनियाँ एकत्र कर लौट आता। काम कम, नाटक अधिक।

“अब तो मैं मालामाल हो गया हूँ, मुझे काम पर जाने की क्या आवश्यकता है”, ऐसा सोच कर उसने काम-धाम से निवृत्ति ले ली। अलबत्ता रोज़ सोने से पहले सोने-चाँदी की कुल्हाड़ियों को अवश्य निहार लेता और प्रसन्न मन से निश्चिंत होकर सो जाता। 

जब कुछ माह ऐसे ही गुजर गए। पोटली में रखे रुपए भी क़रीब क़रीब समाप्त होने को आए, तो सोचा क्यों ना चाँदी की कुल्हाड़ी बेच कर गुज़र करूँ। पत्नी की नज़र बचा कर धीरे से कुल्हाड़ी निकाली और एक चादर में लपेट कर बेचने निकल पड़ा। 

अभी घर से निकला ही था की पड़ोसी ने पूछ लिया, “क्या लकड़ी काटने जंगल जा रहे हो?”। लकड़हारा बोला, “हाँ”, और जैसे ही वो दो कदम आगे बढ़ा, पड़ोसी ने पूछा, “आज कुल्हाड़ी चादर में क्यों ले जा रहे हो? कोई खास बात है क्या?” “कुल्हाड़ी नहीं, छाता है”। ग़भराहट में लकड़हारा बोल पड़ा। “छाता? चादर में लपेट कर?” पड़ोसी अचरज की मुद्रा बना आगे बढ़ गया।

तभी लकड़हारे को लगा की उसके हाथ में चादर में लिपटी कुल्हाड़ी का वज़न कम हो गया है। वो घबरा कर घर के अंदर भागा, आनन-फ़ानन में चादर खोली और जो देखा, आह जैसे उसकी जान ही निकल गयी- कुल्हाड़ी का आकार घट कर आधा रह गया था। उसने जलदेवी से लाख मिन्नत की कि वो पड़ोसी को तुरन्त जाकर सच बताएगा, पर कुल्हाड़ी आधी की आधी ही रही। 

उसने छोटी हो गई कुल्हाड़ी को एक थैले में रखा और फ़ौरन उस बूढ़े सुनार की दूक़ान पर पहुँचा, जिसने एक बार ज़रूरत पड़ने पर उसकी निस्संकोच सहायता की थी। बूढ़ा सुनार, जिसे सारा गाँव आदर से बाबा बुलाता था, अपनी ईमानदारी और सबकी सहायता करने, विशेषकर ग़रीबों की सहायता के लिए जाना जाता था। उसने जब चाँदी की कुल्हाड़ी देखी तो पूछ बैठा, “कहीं कोई गड़ा धन मिल गया है क्या?”। घबराये हुए लकड़हारे ने सारा सच तुरन्त उगल दिया। उसे डर लगा कि चाँदी की कुल्हाड़ी अब आधे से आधी ना हो जाए।

बूढ़ा सुनार बोला, “तो जलदेवी ने तुम्हें पहले ही आगाह किया था की झूठ मत बोलना और लालच भी मत करना। पर तुम तो दोनों पाप कर बैठे। पड़ोसी से झूठ बोला और सारा धन अपने लिये रख लिया। गाँव के दूसरे ग़रीबों के बारे में कुछ नहीं सोचा?”

अब लकड़हारे की आँखे खुल गयीं, उसे अपने ओछेपन का अहसास हुआ, शर्मिंदगी हुई और उसने तुरंत प्रायश्चित करने का मन बनाया। बूढ़े सुनार की सहायता से एक सभा बुला कर सारे गाँव को एकत्रित किया। सारी घटना विस्तार से सच सच सुनाई। सारे गाँव से माफ़ी माँगी, बचे हुए धन की पोटली और सोने की कुल्हाड़ी सभा में लाकर बूढ़े सुनार को सौंप दी। 

अचानक चाँदी की कुल्हाड़ी भी अपने मूलरूप में आ गई। चंद महीनों में सारा धन बाबा की अगुआई में सारे गाँव की भलाई की योजनाओं में लगा दिया। गाँव वालों ने लकड़हारे को मुखिया बना कर सारी योजनाओं को कार्यान्वित करने की ज़िम्मेदारी दे दी जिसे उसने बड़ी ईमानदारी से निभाया। 

अब लकड़हारा वापस नियमित रूप से काम पर भी जाता था और मुखिया की ज़िम्मेदारी भी निभाता था। उसे ज्ञात हो गया था की आवश्यकता से अधिक संचित धन एक अच्छे भले आदमी को अकर्मण्य बना कर हमेशा के लिये बर्बाद कर सकता है।

पुरानी कहानी सुनने के लिये इस लिंक पर उंगली दबायें लकड़हारा !


Birds in our backyard-II

<strong>रश्मिकांत नागर  </strong>
रश्मिकांत नागर

अपने छात्र जीवन की “एक” कारस्तानी का बयान कर रहे हैं।
यह कहानी नहीं, सत्य घटना है। 

Nagar had posted a blog titled Birds in our backyard on August 17, 2021. That was spring of 2021. Winter is about to get over and the spring of 2022 will usher in a week or so as we are experiencing the cusp of weather season change in Ontario.

With the arrival of winter, some birds bid adieu for the season. They were the House Finch, Finch, Grackles, Blue Jays and American Robin. Those who decided to stay with us through the winter were the Cardinals, House sparrows, Doves and Chickadees.

Downy Woodpeckers, on the other hand, remained ‘occasional visitors’, suddenly showing up for a couple of days and then again disappearing for weeks.

We wanted as many of them to stay close to us. So, we moved the feeder in the patio along with a heated birdbath so that the birds and Squirrels both have access to drinking water through harsh Canadian winter when the temperatures drop to minus and stay below freezing for days together.

And this helped those birds that stayed with us through the winter. They came every day and stayed in the yard virtually throughout the day. Whereas Cardinals, Sparrows and Chickadees preferred to eat from the feeder, the Sparrows decided to care for the ground feeder friends too- Doves, and some cardinals. They always shook the feeder tray violently and dropped plenty of feed on the ground not only to help ground feeder birds but also the Squirrels.

The new arrangement invited a new bird that we had never seen in our yard before- Black Eyed Junco. Here is a picture:

Juncos came in groups, hopped around the ground and fed on the seeds dropped on the snow-covered ground by the sparrows and cardinals. It was a treat to watch them sportily jump around and pick seeds from the snow-covered yard. They too, like sparrows came in hoards, pecked on the fallen seeds and flew away and returned after 10-15 minutes. This pattern continued right from sunrise till sunset.

And then we had another beauty- Nuthatch. This little bird was seen late in the last season, but this winter, she has been around almost through the entire winter. Here she is:

Nuthatch behave more like Chickadees- they come one at a time, land on the feeder tray, pick the seed and fly away. They do it throughout the day and never seem to get tired.

And who enjoyed warm water bath the most? Of course the Doves and the Squirrels. See them here having the fun:

And now that the Spring has knocked at the door, we are looking forward to seeing our visitors of the last season all over again. Arrivals have already begun. We had the first pair of American Robins visit us last Saturday-19th March. They announced their arrival with their melodious call from a treetop before descending in the yard.


“Eagerly awaiting return of this little beauty- The House Finch”.

A happy spring to all our feathered friends.



बुरा न मानो होली आई और चली गई

<strong>ट्विटर पर अपने परिचय मे “बनारस के बाबा” लिखे हैं</strong><br>
ट्विटर पर अपने परिचय मे “बनारस के बाबा” लिखे हैं

पेशे से रिसर्च मे एक मजदूर हूं।एक केंद्रीय विश्वविद्यालय और दू गो IIT का तमगा लिये आवारा घूमता रहता हूं।यहां पर कहानियां सुनाता हूं कल्पनाओं मे घोल कर” ! पर आज यहां कहानी नही वरन वास्तविक अनुभव लिख मारे हैं।

अरे भाई माफ़ करो हम से पोस्ट करने में देर हो गई ! बनारस के बाबा , घोर कलजुग के जवान आदमी, अरे वही जो ट्विटर पर ट्विटियाते हैं उनसे ही मैने यह लेख बहुत पहले मंगवाया था । पर अस्वस्थ होने के नाते मुझसे वृक्षमंदिर पर इस लेख को चेंप देने में देर हो गई।

वैसे आजकल फ़र्ज़ी पेट पालने के चक्कर में बहुत पढ लिख कर बनारस के बाबा रिसर्च में मज़दूरी करते हैं। धुर सहराती हो गये हैं पर गाँव,गाड़ा, गवईं की बीते दिनों की गम्मज नहीं भूले हैं। अपने गाँव की होली याद कर रहे हैं। आप में से बहुत से लोगों को इसमें से कुछ स्वानुभूत सा लगेगा । भारत से भागे भारतीय होते हुये भी मुझे अपने गाँव की होली की याद आ गई। वह यादें जो सत्तर साल से भी ज़्यादा पुरानी है । पर आज भी लगती है जैसे कल की हों। जिनके साथ वह पल बीते उनमें से बहुत से तो साथ छोड़ कर चले गये जो हैं वह भी बिन बताये चले जा रहे हैं। क्या करें जब आये हैं तो जाना ही पड़ेगा। यही नियति है।

जब तक जीवन है तब तक, दीपावली है, दशहरा है, एकादशी है, होली है, ….उत्सव हैं । जीवन जीना ही उत्सव है ।


ईया (दादी मां) सबको उबटन लगाती थी। और इस उबटन की तैयारी गुझिया की तरह ही होती थी। माई, गोयठे (उपले) के चूल्हे पर दो दिन पहले कड़ाही में खड़ा सरसों भूनती थी और अगले दिन सिलबट्टे पर पीसती थीं, और अगजा के दिन सबको वो उबटन लगाती थी, एकदम रगड़ रगड़ कर और उसके बाद होती थी , मालिश एक दम शुद्ध कड़ुआ तेल की कच्ची घांटी का तेल गाँव के कोल्हू से पेरा कर आया हुआ॥

और यकीन मानिए हम जैसे कलुए भी उस दिन गोरे दिखते थे 🤣🤣।जिसे आप आज के समय में removal of dead skin cells कहते हैं, तब उसको शरीर का मैल कहा जाता था 🤣🤣 और जो शरीर का मैल छूटता था उसको झिल्ली।इसका एक valid point हमारे बाऊजी ने, बताया था तब, जब हम धोती पहने उबटन लगवाते थे।। बोले थे की “बेटा लोग सर्दियों में लोग पहले ऐसे वैसे नहा लेते थे, गर्म पानी नहीं मिलता था ना इतना” खैर बात जो भी हो, ये तो है की साधारण लोग अभी भी सर्दियों में बस नहा लेते हैं‌।और जब सर्दियों से गर्मियां आती थी तो उस मैल को उबटन से मल मल कर छुड़ाया जाता था।और उस मैल को “झिल्ली” बोलकर अगजा में जला देते थें ॥

खैर हमको बचपन में बाउजी के इस बात से कोई लेना देना नहीं था, हमको तो बस अगजा के लिए किसी की खेत पलानी (झोंपड़ी) और किसी के घर से दस बोरा गोयठा चुराने से होता था 🤣🤣।और तो और एक गांव का अगजा एक ही जगह जलता था और भले आप लाख बवाल करें अगजा जलाने के लिए गांव के पुरोहित और मूर्धन्य मान्यवर लोगों की उपस्थिति जरूरी मानी जाती थी, और बड़े बुजुर्ग अगजा की लपट देख अगले साल की मौसम की भविष्यवाणी करते थे।।सनद रहे अगजा तब तक नहीं मान्य माना जाता था जबतक गांव के सारे टोलों से कुछ चुरा कर लड़के ना ले आएं भले वो एक ही उपला क्यों ना हो लेकिन यही सत्य था तब ।। और हमारे समय में पलानी सबसे बड़े जमींदार के खेत से उठाई जाती थी और इसमें उनकी शान होती थी, और उठाने वालों को पुरस्कार भी मिलता था आशिर्वाद के रूप में॥

खैर ये मान्यताएं अब दम तोड़ रही हैं, और शायद विलुप्त हो जाएं और हो भी क्यों नहीं, आखिर हम जैसे पलानी चोर जो कभी अपने खेत की पलानी चुराने के लिए आशीर्वाद पाते थे,आज फर्जी के पेट पालने के चक्कर में, होलिका दहन के नाम पर रंग बरसे जैसे गानों पर भंडैंती देखते हैं।आज के जमाने में हमारे गांव में भी चार पांच कालोनी बन गयी हैं जहां कभी पूरे गांवका एक अगजा जलता था वहां आज चार पांच अगजा जलता है।और हमारे जमाने के होली गाने वाले एक भी नहीं रह गये हैं॥

बस मेरी बिताई और गाई होली अब शायद मेरे गांव में भी नहीं बसती।बस बसती तो एक आवाज जो मेरे दादाजी ने सिखाई थी,कहा था,” बेटा, जिस घर में भउजाई (भाभी) समझ कर दिन में रंग खेलना उसी घर में, सांझ को भउजाई के पैरों पर अबीर रख कर जरूर आशीर्वाद लेना,तरक्की करोगे”॥

खैर हमारी कहानी अनवरत चलती रहेगी शायद, लेकिन आप होली की हुल्लड़ जरूर करिएगा लेकिन शालीनता के साथ, और हां आप आशिर्वाद लेना ना भूलना॥

होली की हुल्लड़ शुभकामनाएं आप सभी को ।आप हमेशा मस्त रहें, व्यस्त रहें, मोटाइल रहें, निरोग रहें यही कामना रहेगी बाबा विश्वनाथ से 🙏🏻🙏🏻॥



MM Patel remembers

Shri MM Patel had worked as a member of NDDB spearhead team Bhatinda (Panjab) for dairy development project for short period of about four months from November 1976 to February 1977. In this blog Shri MM Patel describes his experiences while he was posted at Bhatinda as a spearhead team member. His stint at Bhatinda was short, four months only, but the memory and remembrances live even after some 45 years!

Vrikshamandir had earlier posted a series of audio posts by Dr SC Malhotra wherein he also talked about his posting in Bhatinda as Spearhead Team Leader in late nineteen seventies. Episode fourteen of Dr Malhotra Uwach has this audio story. You can hear his story in his own words by clicking on this link and choosing episode 14 ( मलहोत्रा की कहानी उनकी ही जुबानी).

Our team leader was Dr SC Malhotra, a thorough gentleman, jolly and full of enthusiasm. Whenever we had breakfast, tea, lunch, dinner with him and went to see a movie with him, he always paid for all of us.


Since the living and working conditions in Bhatinda were different from Gujarat, Dr Malhotra helped us in settling down and guided us in our work. 

His attitude towards us helped inculcate enthusiasm among us as we were working at a new place far away from our native home and family. 

I used to attend the meeting of farmers in a village with him for organising the milk society on the Amul pattern. I enjoyed working under his leadership.

Even before I was transferred from Anand to Bhatinda, one of my senior colleagues asked me, “Would you like to come to Bhatinda? Dr Malhotra is going to Bhatinda as team leader. He is a gentleman and wants to take you for Bhatinda dairy project”. I had replied yes.

I was posted to Bhatinda with four colleagues. We travelled by Paschim express train in the evening from Baroda to Delhi and reached New Delhi the following day. We had to board another train at New Delhi for Bhatinda. The train for Bhatinda in the evening. So we had to wait at the New Delhi Railway station for about six hours. We had to pass the time till we board the train to Bhatinda. Connaught place is a famous area of Delhi located near to New Delhi railway station. We decided to visit Connaught Place in a group of two persons by turn so that the other two members could watch over our luggage at the railway platform. We enjoyed our short trip to  Connaught Place.

The next day morning, we reached Bhatinda. The dairy plant was about four km away from the city. We met with Dr Malhotra, who was sent earlier as the team leader. 

He had arranged one-room accommodation for us. We lived there for about five days. He warned us about cold weather in the coming days and advised us to purchase woollen clothes like sweaters, mufflers, caps and boots. We bought the same from Bhatinda market with his help.

After about five days, I moved to Rampura Phul town, which was 30 km away from Bhatinda, with one of my colleagues Shri Kuriakose (from Kerala), to organise the cooperative milk society in that area.

I stayed in villages and trained the newly recruited milk producers cooperative society staff, in the collection of milk, fat testing, calculation of amount etc.

Two procurement assistants from the Bhatinda milk union, Shri Sharma and Shri Yadav, were with us at Rampura phul. Once we completed training of newly recruited society staff, we used to visit at milk collection time other nearby milk producers cooperative societies for supervision of work.

At Rampura Phul, we used to frequent a hotel for food. However, we were not satisfied with the food they served. It was costly also. We had no choice and for some days, we continued to eat at the hotel. 

After some days, one of our colleagues, Shri Sharma, said, “I can cook roti and bhaji.”

We were happy to learn that he knew how to cook. We purchased the required items and he cooked a Punjabi meal of roti and sabzi for us, which was very tasty. 

We used to take food cooked by Sharma at noon. In the evenings, we grabbed dinner outside.

We had hired one-room independent accommodation, which had a compound wall. The room was small, and the owner had provided two beds. We were four. So we used to sleep in pairs. Shri Kuriakose and I shared a bed. We felt good as it protected us from cold.

After about three months in February, I was transferred from Bhatinda to Anand. I travelled from Bhatinda by train at night time. The train reached New Delhi the following day. The train from Delhi to Baroda was in the evening time. So I had about 10 hours to spare before boarding the next train. I visited Qutub Minar and the red fort area of Delhi. I enjoyed the visit.

Moving Fingers still write; Christmas 2019 (Revised March, 2022)

Reproducing a slightly edited version of a blog I wrote in December 2019. Vrikshamandir first appeared online in November 2019. That was a time when I was going through a rough patch. I was healthy, yet there was something amiss. Vrikshamandir was an idea and with the help of friends and former colleagues, I was able to launch this website and have been able to sustain it. I am currently getting out of another spell of illness (this time real) and I find that Vrikshamandir is perhaps the tonic that will sustain me and help me get over the current phase.


I wrote this on the morning of Christmas Day of 2019 from Toronto. My 6 year old granddaughter gave me a beautiful card with a message that she wrote for me.

When I was her age, I wanted to write to my great grand father but since he didn’t know how to read or write I wrote to my grand father in Hindi. It had a lot of spelling mistakes. I still have that letter somewhere because my grandfather corrected my spelling errors and my letter was sent back to me by post. It was exciting to get a letter by post that too from my grand father.

My grand father Shri Vishwanath Singh and grand mother Smt. Mulka Devi in early 1950’s.


How times have changed ! My first visit to Canada was in 1980. That was an official trip. I visited Canada several times thereafter but never had an idea of living here. I now spend 5-6 months each year in Canada.There is an exception though. Since July 2020 I have not been able to venture out of Canada. . Thanks to Corona and now the current health issues that I face. In 1987, NDDB sponsored my dear colleague ( Late) Dr SP Mittal and me for a three month long Training Programme to Canada and USA. We attended workshops and seminars on Human Resource Development staying in various cities and traveling from east to west coast a couple of times. However, we spent a larger part of our time in Victoria, BC with Rob and Carol Nelson. Rob is no more. Carol is not well. They became close friends. . This was a long trip and we greatly missed Indian Food. Dr. Mittal and I both liked to cook. Rob and Carol Nelson who were our hosts in Victoria, graciously allowed us to use their kitchen. But getting groceries was a difficult task. Toronto was different though. We went to restaurants serving Indian Food but it was costly. We liked Chinese food as it was always served in more than adequate quantities and also at prices much less than the food served in Indian restaurants.That was then.


One day I went to an Indian store, “Panchvati” some 15 kilometres from our place. What a store! Everything I could think of was available. The famous Parle G biscuit was on the shelf. Yes Pale G, how can we forget ..The Company was to lay off 10000 workers in August last. To dip Parle G in hot tea and eat and then sip tea… was a luxury to be indulged in when I was growing up.I am glad that Parle continues to survive and export too. 

Shri Anirudh Singh after reading this post has the following to say in the comments column “Sir, it is really very pleasant, when someone brought us back towards our childhood and particularly by our dear one. The style and manner in which you expressed this was really great. One thing I also want to bring in your kind notice and humbly to correct you that the news propagating that ParleAgro layed off her 10,000 worker was baseless and there was no tinge of truth in this falsely painted story.
Presently I am working with Parle Group.Regards”.
So much for truthfulness of main stream media !


I also found Dhara the NDDB owned brand of edible oil on one shelf at Panchvati. I was Director Oilseeds and Vegetable Oil Wing in 1987 before NDDB became a body corporate under an act of Parliament. NDDB launched Dhara after I moved from Oilseeds and Vegetable Oil wing to the newly created Human Resource Development Group.


I continued to oversee Chairman’s office besides assuming charge as one man department of Human Resource Development. Dr. (Miss) Amrita Patel the then Managing Director thought that I would be the most suitable person to head the newly created HRD function in NDDB. It was initially kept separate from Personnel Administration and Legal function. But I had no back ground in HR. Although there was one thing that Dr SP Mittal and I had successfully done. Miss Patel had entrusted the two of us to negotiate with the NDDB Employees Union and settle labour cases. There were a large number of cases pending in labour court, Labour Tribunal and and High Court. Dr. Mittal’s patience, listening ability and gentle demeanour together with my ability to connect with the leadership of the Union and support we had from Miss Patel helped us settle most of the cases barring some critical ones. ? Dr V Kurien was consulted and Dr SP Mittal and I were sponsored for a training programme cum study tour of US of A and Canada for getting exposed to latest in HR theory and practices. Mr Rob Nelson and Carol Nelson who were Canadian International Development Agency appointed HR consultants to NDDB were he ones who organised our programme in North America. I went to Dr Kurien and said ”Sir I am would be going on tour to US and Canada for a training programe.”

Dr. Kurien said, “I know, Miss Patel told me. I don’t know whats this HR VehR. But Madam wants you to go so go and enjoy “ Later on return when Dr Mittal and I would reflect on our learning’s we found that most of the theories that we learnt in North America were already being practiced in the organisation that we were working with. We learnt to use new labels; Vision, Strategy, Structure, Key processes, Key roles, Rewards and Recognition, Culture etc.


On the proposed amendments to the NDDB act; A view point

<strong>रश्मिकांत नागर  </strong>
रश्मिकांत नागर

अपने छात्र जीवन की “एक” कारस्तानी का बयान कर रहे हैं।
यह कहानी नहीं, सत्य घटना है। 


The Government’s recent move to amend the NDDB act 37 of 1987 has drawn a lot of attention. In this article, I have attempted to analyse how the proposed amendments can be more effective by restructuring NDDB in the larger interest of the entire agricultural sector, including the dairy sector.

In the last few days, there have been numerous posts regarding the proposed amendments to the NDDB act 37 of 1987 on social media. The reactions have been mostly angry or emotional. Some see in it a covert attempt by the private sector to gain entry into the management of NDDB and thus a veiled attempt to tone down the body corporate’s principal mandate to promote dairying on cooperative lines based on the famous ‘Anand pattern’, wherein the entire value chain is owned by millions of small milk producers across the country and is successfully managed by professionals as the employees of the cooperatives.

I Before I go further, I want to remind the readers that, over the last fifty years, the dairy cooperatives spearheaded by ‘Amul’ have emerged as a force to recon with.

They have not only emerged as the ‘price-quality’ leaders, but have played a key role in disciplining the entire sub sector. Dairy cooperative are a trend setter in empowering the small farmers and an example to follow to empower farmers in other sub sectors of Indian agriculture. Dairy cooperatives have given the farmers- especially the resource poor small farmers, a sense of dignity that must not only be upheld on all counts but must also be extended to producers of other agricultural commodities.

Having said that, I would like to share my thoughts on why the amendments inthe act have been thought of? Are these amendments really necessary? Will they rob NDDB of its operational freedom? Will they position private sector against the cooperative sector? Is the government seeing in the proposed amendments an opportunity to strengthen NDDB and reposition it as an institution that can extend the application of the principles of ‘Anand pattern’ of value chains to other sub sectors of agriculture?

At this juncture it is necessary to recall some facts about NDDB’s operations during the “Kurien era”- the period during which the three phases of “Operation Flood” that made India the largest milk producer in the world, implemented.

1. Funding: The project was implemented without any direct budgetary provision from the consolidated funds of India. Whereas the first phase was implemented entirely out of monetisation of dairy commodities gifted by the European Union, second phase was implemented by a combination of gift commodities and funding by International Development Association (IDA), the soft landing affiliate of the World Bank. Funding for the third phase was with considerably reduced commodity aid and mainly from the World Bank’s main affiliate- IBRD which carried a burden of interest applicable on such loans to country governments.

This funding, especially during the first two phases gave NDDB immense flexibility to fund the action items related to the Institution building as grant to the cooperatives, and it could fund infrastructure building at interest rates substantially lower than normal landing rates of the commercial banks. NDDB could also offer its funding linked techno- professional support services to the cooperatives at nominal turn key fee rates thus considerably lowering the later’s loan repayment liabilities. By placing surplus funds in high interest paying deposits with banks and other institutions, NDDB generated adequate income to meet most of its staff costs and other overheads.

2. Subsidiaries: During this period, NDDB did create subsidiary companies like the Indian Immunologicals (IIL) and the Indian Dairy Machinery Company (IDMC) besides encouraging private investment in manufacture of equipment and machinery to meet the demand placed by a large and time bound project. The idea behind creating these subsidiaries was to make inputs available to the cooperatives at the most competitive price and thus save them from exploitative pricing by handful of established companies in the business. It must be noted here that none of the subsidiaries created by the NDDB were dealing with milk business to be in competition with the cooperatives. Even the Mother Dairies of Delhi and Kolkata managed by NDDB were sourcing their entire requirement of milk from the dairy cooperatives of other states.

3. Pilot Projects: NDDB also experimented by starting pilot projects in other sub sectors of agriculture namely, fruit and vegetables, inland fisheries, Tree growers cooperatives etc. out of its own resources. The idea was to test if the principles of the cooperative model that it is implementing for fairy sector can be applied to other sectors of agriculture and forestry.

4. Oilseeds and Edible Oil Project: On a larger scale, NDDB implemented the edible oils project by replication of the Anand pattern of cooperatives. This project too was funded entirely out of commodity aid and generated enough funds to provide liberal grants to the Oilseeds cooperatives for institutional build up.

NDDB thus was never in direct competition with the cooperatives. All its actions were fully geared to support creation of strong, commercially viable and fully farmers’ owned businesses.

But it all changed at the turn of the century. In 1998, the government of India allowed private sector entry in the dairy sector on the pretext that there are large areas not serviced by the cooperatives even in the milksheds demarcated for the cooperatives and the entry of private sector will boost milk production in these areas. Now the cooperatives had to face a private operator who could easily poach in the milkshed painstakingly developed by it over three decades.

What changed for the NDDB: 

In early years of the century, following changes took place in the national economic scene. These developments may have led NDDB to rethink on its strategy to shore up its resources.

1. Following conclusion of Operation Flood III, it did not have a plan to move forward for the fourth phase. In any case, commodity aid and loans from soft landing affiliate of the World Bank were completely ruled out. Commodity aid for the edible oil project too dried out.

2. To continue with the fourth phase, NDDB needed to generate its own resources. It did not have enough funds to continue with loan-grant pattern of project funding.

3. As the interest rates of the commercial banks and companies fell, its income from fixed deposits declined.

4. By Virtually shelving the vegetable oil project and limiting ‘Dhara’- a brand that had emerged as the price- quality leader in packaged oil segment, NDDB not only limited itself to dairy sub sector but also irretrievably lost the highly potential net revenue generating opportunity.

5. Landing rates of commercial banks became more competitive than that of NDDB and required much less paper work. Thus even the cooperativesbegan to look towards banks for funding expansion plans.

6. NDDB’s subsidiaries did not generate profits as expected to meet NDDB’s growing overheads due to implementation of the recommendations of the pay commission.

7. NDDB lost a large pool of qualified and experienced techno-professionals with many opting for VRS and joining the competing private sector.

8. NDDB lost income tax exemption granted to it vide clause 44 of the NDDB act 37 of 1987, when the provision was omitted w.e.f 1st April 2003 notified vide the Finance act 20 of 2002.

To sum it up, the external environment completely changed for NDDB to continue with the well established pattern of funding and supporting the projectsin the dairy sector on grant-loan pattern.

It is my personal judgement that, faced with this challenge, NDDB was left with no option but to think of other ways to shore up its resources. It therefore opted to create two new subsidies: 1. The Mother Dairy Fruit and Vegetables Limited in direct competition with the very cooperatives it was primarily mandated to promote and establish pan India presence of the brand ‘Mother Dairy’, 2.NDDB Dairy Services to provide a complete array of support services to the dairy sector- primarily to ‘cooperative companies’ that it had begun to promote after conclusion of Operation Flood. It banked heavily upon its already depleted and relatively inexperienced pool of techno- professionals to compete in the market to earn a surplus after meeting the overheads.

It was a gamble that failed. As the media reports (Money control and Cobraposts) suggest, nearly 400 crores have been lost since creation of these two companies.

It is in light of these facts that we need to understand the move to amend the NDDB Act.

1. Until recently- till National Dairy Project NDP-I (A six year program staring 2012-13 as a centrally sponsored scheme) was approved with World Bank-IDA/GOI funding, the government, despite its representation on the board never questioned the management of NDDB, presumably because the act provided NDDB absolute operational freedom that included creating subsidiaries, deployment of funds, recruitment and deciding the terms of employment. Now that it is public knowledge that NDDB’s losses are massive, is there a realisation that NDDB funds are after all public funds and must be in safe hands? And, that the representatives of the government on the board of directors have failed in their duty by not bringing the losses to the notice of the government?

2. Did the losses reach this magnitude because, the operational freedom got interpreted as ‘freedom to be non-transparent’? Did the freedom from CAG audit mean freedom from being non accountable?

3. Having given the private enterprises entry in the dairy sector, should the NDDB continue to serve only the cooperatives and the producer companies? It is after all “National Dairy Development Board” and NOT “National Cooperative Dairy Development Board”.

A quick look at the proposed amendments may throw some light on the intend of the government.

Following sections of the principal act (37 of 1987) are proposed to be amended: 8,9,16,43 and 48.

Let us start in the reverse order. In section 48, the clause is amended to include ‘the manner of recruitment’. Given the fact that NDDB’s techno- professional competency must always be at a higher level so that the ‘NDDB Dairy Services’ can be a net revenue earning subsidiary, this amendment is fully justified. It will effectively shut personal preferences based recruitment, placement and promotions- an area where transparency was sadly lacking.

At this juncture I would like a serious consideration of the suggestion made by BM Vyas regarding creation of an all ‘India Dairy Service’ (on the lines of IAS, IPS, IRS ETC) so that the subsidiary- National Dairy Services is primarily manned by experienced professionals drawn from the ‘Indian Dairy Service’cadre.

Amendments to section 43 provide that the provisions of the ‘Right toinformation act 2005’ and the ‘Central vigilance commission act of 2003’. Thus amendment must, in fact be welcomed in the larger public interest of transparency.

Amendment to section 16 that seeks to make the working of subsidiaries created by NDDB and hold the management of these companies accountable must also be welcomed. I feel that this amendment shall send a warning signal if and when the subsidiaries make losses or indulge in questionable transactions. Having a common board for NDDB and it’s subsidiaries will ensure smooth coordination as was the case when NDDB and the Indian Dairy Corporation (IDC) coordinated prior to their merger as new body corporate in 1987. The CEOs of the subsidiaries must be held accountable for prudence in managing the finances of the company they head.

Coming to section 9, that seeks to limit the term of the directors of NDB and its subsidiaries, age beyond which they can not serve on the board etc. is also a well thought of amendment. The existing provision gives a sitting director / CEO virtually unlimited tenure and derive financial benefit beyond legitimate retirement age so long as he/she can ‘manage’ the political dispensation in the government.

Now, section 8, the proposed amendment to which has generated most heat and angry reactions. Prima facie, this amendment seeks to provide covert entry to private sector by providing for an additional director who would be a professional from the private sector.

I am of the view that this particular amendment should result in having a management team at the helm that can take the organisation forward, have a vision and the ability to deliver on the vision to serve the larger interest of farmers. The proposed amendment falls short on this expectation.

My reading is that this amendment is not well conceived. If the government’s real intend is to re-establish the credibility of NDDB as a dynamic professional body that it was during the ‘Kurien era’, then this amendment is grossly inadequate. I am of the view that the board should consist entirely of professionals. I therefore suggest that the two proposed directors representing government should be one each from the Ministry of AH&D and the other from the Ministry of Finance, preferably from the cadre of all India Accounts and Audit service. Other two directors representing the cooperatives must also be professional CEOs of dairy cooperatives and not the chairman of cooperatives who invariably are active politicians.

The government must also keep in mind that whereas the private sector can raise funds in more than one ways, for the cooperatives the options are limited, especially for those that are not strong enough to get funding from commercial banks. Diverting NDDB funds to finance private sector in the guise of ‘startups’ will be counter productive. If the government insists on having a professional from the private sector and divert NDDB’s resources to private sector, it must provide adequate justification for it. The person representing the private sector then must be someone who has a proven record in agricultural-business management. As of now, providing a professional representing private sector doesn’t seem to make any sense.

The focus of the government must,therefore, be on re-structuring NDDB as a truly service oriented professional body. A dynamic and transparent NDDB can then be entrusted with the task of applying the principles of ‘Anand pattern’ to other sub sectors of Indian agriculture to create value chains that are fully owned and operated by the farmers organisations. It is time to rebuild NDDB around a leadership that believes in expansion- the way Dr. Kurien did rather than confine itself to one sub sector-dairying, just because it is named “National Dairy Development Board”.

LESSONS IN LEADERSHIP

This is a photograph clicked by Meera Singh my granddaughter. She took this photo was taken on 9 January 2021. The credit for ensuring that the book “Utterly Butterly Milkman” is published on time for release at the 100th birth anniversary of Dr Verghese Kurien goes to Nirmala Kurien. Some of us “ancient former NDDB employees” did our best to help and support her.

Incidentally many memoirs written by my former colleagues and friends about the founder Chairman of NDDB Dr. V Kurien and published on Vrikshamandir.com have been included in the book Utterly Butterly Milkman”.

I thought of sharing on Vrikshamandir a memoir that I wrote for “Utterly Butterly Milkman”.


This is from back in those days when attacks by vested interests, private operators and politicians on the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) projects and programmes and against Dr Kurien as a person were common. 

We had a couple of officers in the Chairman’s office dedicated to handling questions raised by the hundreds in every parliament session.  We were going through difficult times, but there was plenty of action and the excitement of dealing with the situations that arose was rewarding. A case, in particular, was a notice for a meeting to be held on July 26, 1983, to review the NDDB Oilseeds and Vegetable Oil project. 

The meeting was to be chaired by Union Minister of Agriculture, Rao Birendra Singh. The Secretaries of Agriculture and Civil Supplies and a host of senior bureaucrats and technical officers were to participate. 

The agenda notes we received a month before the meeting were full of errors. The officers in the Oilseeds and Vegetable Oil Wing of the NDDB, which I headed at that time, were aghast at the false accusations and factual errors that had found a place in these notes. The notes had been circulated to all the invitees. 

A brief for Dr Kurien was prepared to provide the actual facts on each agenda point, seeking his approval to send an interim reply to the Ministry of Agriculture so that the errors could be corrected. 

But Dr Kurien forbade us to send any reply. He said, “We will look at these papers on our return from North America.” We were very surprised.

Dr Kurien advised me to forget about the meeting called by the ministry and instead focus on getting briefs from the concerned departments of the NDDB for the meetings scheduled during our visit to the US and Canada later that month. Back in India from our visit, July 26, 1983, the day of the meeting at New Delhi’s Krishi Bhavan, was finally upon us. As advised by Dr Amrita Patel, 

I reached the room of Mr Rajagopal, Joint Secretary, Dairy Development at Krishi Bhavan, to meet her and Dr Kurien. When it was time for the meeting, I followed Dr Kurien, Dr Patel and Mr Rajagopal. As we entered the room, we noticed that there were already some fifteen to twenty people waiting for the minister. 

They got up and the first one among them to greet Dr Kurien was Mr Sood, then Additional Secretary (Agriculture). Dr Kurien shook his hand. “Good morning, Mr Sood, what are you doing these days?” “Sir, I am Additional Secretary (A).” “You people have very interesting designations… Additional Secretary ‘A’, Additional Secretary ‘B’, ‘C’.” There was silence and some muted laughter.
Dr Kurien moved around in the room and greeted others. Among them were the agriculture secretary and the civil supplies secretary. 

Suddenly, addressing no one in particular, Dr Kurien asked, “Tell me who has prepared the agenda notes for this meeting.” “Why, Dr Kurien?” someone in the room asked in return. “It has been prepared to create differences between me and the minister,” he replied. 

There was silence. The minister had not yet arrived. There was small talk in some corners of the room but no one responded to Dr Kurien. This was when the minister Rao Birendra Singh arrived for the meeting. All of us stood up. 

Mr Singh responded to the greetings, removed his cap, took a seat and looked at the Chairman. 

“So, Dr Kurien, what is your problem?” he asked. 

“Sir, I have no problems.” 

“Then why are we having this meeting? Let us go through the agenda. It has the details.” 

“Sir, the agenda notes seem to have been prepared by someone to create differences between you and me. I would like to share with you the brief that my office has prepared for me for this meeting.” 

Dr Kurien then handed over to Mr Singh a copy of the brief that had been prepared by us. The minister took the brief and flipped through a few pages. The first item on the agenda was that the NDDB had not provided information on the progress of the Oilseeds and Vegetable Oil project to the agriculture ministry. Dr Kurien said, 

“Sir, we provide fortnightly, monthly, quarterly, six-monthly progress reports to the ministry. My brief for this meeting, a copy of which is with you, has in the appendix details with dates and reference numbers of the letters from NDDB under which such reports have been sent to the ministry. “And, if I may say so, sir, of the seven organisations that are attached to your ministry, NDDB and IDC, both of which I serve as chairman, are the only two organisations who submit annual reports and audited statements of accounts each year, on time, to be tabled in Parliament.” 

The minister was quiet for a moment and then said, “Let us move to the next item on the agenda.” This agenda item was about the sale of donated vegetable oil by the NDDB to raise funds for the project. The agenda notes circulated by the ministry stated that the NDDB sold donated vegetable oil to private parties at rates lower than at which it sold them to cooperatives

Dr Kurien responded, “Sir, do you believe this Kurien will sell edible oil to the private sector at rates lower than what he sells to cooperatives?”

One of the officers sitting behind the minister said, “This is as per the teleprinter message dated so and so received from Shailendra Kumar of NDDB.”

I was stunned. I did not have a copy of the message that the gentleman from the ministry had referred to. I looked at Dr Patel and there was stoic silence. I thought maybe we had made some mistake and that I was in for even greater trouble. But that was not to be. Dr Kurien looked at me and then at Mr Singh, and pointed me out to him saying, “This is Shailendra.” 

Then he took complete control of the situation. He said something that I should have said but, at the time, my confused mind was preoccupied with the consequences than with coming up with a suitable reply. “Sir, a typed and signed confirmatory message of each teleprinter message from NDDB is also sent to the recipient. 

Was the teleprinter message sent by Shailendra cross-checked with the confirmatory copy of the message? If the matter was so urgent, why didn’t the concerned officer in your ministry lift the phone and check with Dr Patel who is posted right here in Delhi?” 

There was silence. Mr Rao Birender Singh did not know what to say. Finally, he replied, “Why are we meeting then? Why don’t you all review this project before bringing it up to me?” 

Dr Kurien had an answer to that as well. Pointing to a page in the brief which was already in the hands of the minister, Dr Kurien said, “Sir, when the Cabinet of India approved this project, it also provided for a review committee comprising the agriculture secretary, the civil supplies secretary and the NDDB’s chairman. However, this committee has never met in the last three and a half years since the project started.” 

Mr Singh said, “Then why don’t you all meet and sort things out.” With this, he closed the meeting and left the room. 

As I reflect on life at Dr Kurien’s NDDB, I am filled with memories of the many struggles and achievements of the institution under his leadership. I recall, in particular, something he said at a seminar in 1967, which was a precursor to the formation of the Protein Foods Association of India. “We must have a calculated sense of recklessness.” 

This particular incident was showed this very mantra of his in action. An episode filled with lessons in leadership. “WE MUST HAVE A CALCULATED SENSE OF RECKLESSNESS.” (Shailendra Kumar is former Senior General Manager, Human Resources, NDDB.)

This anecdote was first published in “Utterly Butterly Milkman” 


Vrikshamandir is your tonic !

I have not been active on Vrikshamandir for some time. I have not been keeping well. It all started in mid November. One thing led to another. I sent a letter to some friends about my current health condition and also shared a link to a story which I read yesterday and liked most. I am sharing some responses I received on the same.


Greetings !

………

I am sharing a weblink  link to a story. I follow this website.  Reminds me of the kind of literature I would get to read in my childhood. Straight simple and written from the heart. Life was simple then there were few choices and satisfaction from what one got in return from one’s effort was “satisfying “ in itself. Failing and not achieving a desired result was not a stigma. Joint families took care of both the successful and failed ones. Focus was “family” not the individual. Family was the social unit that propelled individuals to greater heights and took care of those who didn’t do well. 

I am reminded of a story my mother told me. 

My great grand father was the single child of his parents. He was uneducated. Hardworking, a farmer and a man of character though he did give at times licence to his tongue and  come out with standard bhojpuri abuses for those workers who would come late or were found wanting. But he took great care of all those who worked on our fields.  He put his foot down and supported my father to study beyond tenth standard. My grand father was opposed to further studies beyond matric by father. 

Any way the incident was that a worker stole raw  “Dal” from our house and when the matter came to light my great grand father said “ Give some lemons 🍋 from our tree as when he cooks the Dal he might enjoy it better with some lemon juice”. For then there was this family that extended beyond immediate family. Yes there was rampant untouchability and exploitation too. Am I then talking of exceptions ?  

Excerpts 

पिताजी जब कभी बाहर जाते, तब माँ बहुत उदास हो जाती थी। इस वजह से ही या न जाने और किसी वजह से, पिताजी जब तक अनिवार्य कारण न हो, तब तक दूर की यात्रा क्वचित्‌ ही करते थे। एक दिन सूरत के गुरूद्वारे से तार आया। पिताजी को तुरंत सूरत आने की गुरू महाराज ने तार से सूचना दी थी। उन दिनों किसी के यहाँ तार आना बड़ा महत्वपूर्ण प्रसंग माना जाता था। अकसर कोई बुरी खबर हो, तो ही किसी के यहाँ तार आता था। पूरे मुहल्ले में बात फैल गयी कि हमारे यहाँ तार आया है। धीरे-धीरे लोग पूछताछ को आने लगे। तार में कोई बुरा समाचार तो था नहीं। अतः चिंता का स्थान कुतूहल और उत्साह ने ले लिया।

बीसवीं शताब्दी के आरंभ का जमाना। साधारण लोगों के लिए सूरत-अहमदाबाद जाने का प्रसंग भी दो-चार साल में एकाध बार ही आता था। और, बम्बई – कलकत्ता जाना तो सुदूर विदेशयात्रा के समान कठिन और विरल माना जाता था।

पिताजी के सफर की तैयारी होने लगी। माँ की सहायता के लिए बड़ी मौसी और मामी आ पहुंची। पार्वती बुआ एक पीतल के चमकदार डब्बे में चार मगस के लड्डू ले आयी। पिताजी के पाथेय का प्रश्न इससे आधा हल हो गया। बिस्तर के लिए मामा अपनी नयी दरी लेते आये थे। लल्लू काका धोबी चार दिन बाद मिलने वाले पिताजी के कपड़े उसी रोज इस्त्री करके दे गये। शाम को भजन हुआ। रात को भोजन के बाद पुरूषोत्तम काका ने लालटेन की रोशनी में पिताजी की हजामत बना दी। पिताजी मध्यरात्रि की लोकल से जाने वाले थे। इतनी रात गये सवारी मिलना मुश्किल होता था। अतः दस बजे ही घर से निकल जाने की बात तय हुई। साढ़े नौ बजे तांगा लाने के लिए मामा लहरीपुरा गये। हमारे परिचित मुस्लिम स्वजन मलंग काका का तांगा चौराहे पर ही खड़ा था। मामा के कहते ही वे आ गये। उन्होंने रात को ग्यारह बजे तक गपशप कर के पिताजी के बिछोह का विशाद कुछ हद तक हलका कर दिया। लेकिन तांगा जाते ही कठिनाई से रोके हुए माँ के आँसू बरस पड़े। मौसी, मामी और बुआ माँ को ढाढ़स बाँधती रही और आधी रात बीते घर गयी। हम भी लेट गये।……..

आगे पढने के लिये यह लिंक दबायें 

https://saarthaksamvaad.in/अंधेरी-रात-के-तारे-माँ/

The promoter of SaarthakSamvad is an ex IRMAN. 



Now some responses;

“Good to know that you are doing better than before and the recovery plan is sort of working. May you recover quicker than what everyone expects and give them a surprise. I pray for a miracle. 🙂 I read your account. I guess you are a lucky person to have such great souls around you. That was the time when such generous उदार दिल लोग हुआ करते थे l डांटना और गाली देना भी प्यार करने का एक तरीका था यही समज आती है । I am sure so much of genuineness, values and goodwill for all which is visible in you comes directly from there.

We can be ग्रेटफुल about these gifts showered upon us. I read the story from the link. The first thought after reading it is that women have such unmatched wisdom, clarity and foresight. If only men had been led by her innate capacity bring out the best in any situation, unearth the subtle emotions, and deep understanding of the social Tana bana, world would have been different today. It’s a beautiful story. Kishansinh Chavda is well known and celebrated author. Thanks for sharing it.”


“This made my day already. Thank you for sharing it. Loving regards”


“The way you wrote the following msg speaks of your excellent n healthy mind. Mind resides in the body. 1/5th of what we eat ( including medicine ) becomes your mind. The toxicity of your body is under control. This is what I deduced. Great going Sir.But recite Achyuta Anantha n Govinda 108 times.”


“Glad to know that you are getting better and better. Good sign. You will soon get over weakness too. Keep up the positive attitude and all will be well. Sarthaksamvad took me to my childhood. The life was so simple, relationships so pure that in today’s time it appears more like a utopian concept. Our generation will certainly appreciate such stories, but for the modern generation- it may well be ‘Tales from a backward Indian Society of the bygone era’. Anything which is out of present context will be laughable for the present and coming tech era generations.

Take care and if you feel energetic enough, work on Vrikshamandir- that is your tonic. “


Vinod Huria Writes on amendment to NDDB Act; Another view point

Vinod Huria worked with NDDB from 1983-1997.
Vinod Huria worked with NDDB from 1983-1997.

Post NDDB he worked at CFTRI and retired in 2013 as Professor, Deputy Director & Senior Principal Scientist


All along we have subscribed to the notion, and Dr Kurien was very firm on this, that the job of the Government is governance and not business. We at the NDDB, promoted the cooperative sector as a form of managing business, where the ownership of the enterprise, vested with the major stakeholders (farmer producers). Although, we came under the purview of the Government of India, we never thought that we were Government.

The NDDB Act 37 of 1987, was designed for and by the NDDB to work in such a way that NDDB had the freedom to implement programs and projects, without major Government involvement or influence. The proposed modifications in the 1987 Act are in favour of the private sector, such that it can exercise strong influence on the operation of the NDDB, by having a Director from the private sector. When we look at the form of management and ownership of the cooperative, private and public sectors, we can visualise and distinguish the philosophy of doing business. While business profitability is the bottom-line, who benefits from the profits earned is the crux of the matter. Surely, we understand that clearly.

This has major implications on prices of the products and services offered, with the market equations of demand and supply playing a major role. 69 years after Air India was taken over by the Government of India, it has been handed back to its rightful owners, the Tatas at a price of Rs 18,000 crores. In this period the GOI sustained losses many times this value, but it used it to provide subsidized services to the citizens and mostly the employees of the Government of India. But it learnt that the business of the Government is not business but governance, the view that Dr Aneja subscribed to and spoke about it in 1989, and Dr Kurien and all of us at the NDDB firmly believed and practiced, but with a difference.

We showed to the world, that even though we were monitored by the Government, we had the freedom to perform without its interference. If Dr Aneja and Dr Kurien could standup and speak for the NDDB, it was on the strength that we provided to the organisation in terms of our commitment to the cause, our ability to deliver and the thoroughness of our knowledge. I am aware that many of us had to leave the NDDB under somewhat tragic circumstances, created by difference of thinking, but when we look back we realize that whatever happened was the best.

We are happy that we worked for an institution where Dr Kurien and Dr Aneja provided leadership, and the institution performed to establish an industry were milk and oil flow, fruits and vegetables travel thousands of miles to reach us, and where trees and bushes grow to green India sustainably. All of this with the current line of thinking that development should be based on a sustainable environment.NDDB was our pride when we worked and will always remain our pride.

Let’s pray that our institution lives forever, and always remain the cynosure of our eyes and the beat of our hearts, for we have given it breath and breadth.


रजाई धारी सिंह “दिनभर”

<strong>ट्विटर पर अपने परिचय मे “बनारस के बाबा” लिखे हैं</strong>
ट्विटर पर अपने परिचय मे “बनारस के बाबा” लिखे हैं


पेशे से रिसर्च मे एक मजदूर हूं।एक केंद्रीय विश्वविद्यालय और दू गो IIT का तमगा लिये आवारा घूमता रहता हूं।यहा पर कहानियां सुनाता हूं कल्पनाओं मे घोल कर” ! यहां कविता लिखने का घनघोर प्रयत्न किये है।

Close-up, abstract view of architecture.
Photo of a painting by Dr (Mrs Rama Aneja)

वीर तुम अड़े रहो

वीर तुम अड़े रहो,
रजाई में पड़े रहो
चाय का मजा रहे,
प्लेट पकौड़ी से सजा रहे
मुंह कभी रुके नहीं,
रजाई कभी उठे नहीं
वीर तुम अड़े रहो,
रजाई में पड़े रहो

मां की लताड़ हो
या बाप की दहाड़ हो
तुम निडर डटो वहीं,
रजाई से उठो नहीं
वीर तुम अड़े रहो,
रजाई में पड़े रहो

लोग भले गरजते रहे,
डंडे भी बरसते रहे
दीदी भी भड़क उठे,
चप्पल भी खड़क उठे
वीर तुम अड़े रहो,
रजाई में पड़े रहो

प्रात हो कि रात हो,
संग कोई न साथ हो
रजाई में घुसे रहो,
तुम वही डटे रहो
वीर तुम अड़े रहो,
रजाई में पड़े रहो

कमरा ठंड से भरा,
कान गालीयों से भरे
यत्न कर निकाल लो,
ये समय तुम निकाल लो
ठंड है यह ठंड है,
ठंड बड़ी प्रचंड है
हवा भी चला रही,
धूप को डरा रही
वीर तुम अड़े रहो,
रजाई में पड़े रहो।।