Saturday, June 13, 2009

I am Patna

I stretch quietly along the banks of the Ganges; my eyes have seen it all. The rise and fall of empires, the echoes of victors, the throes of the vanquished, I have heard it all. I have felt the violence and bloodshed and have cherished the peace sermons. My old eyes still remember the glory of the Gupta Kings and the unparalleled bravery of Mauryas, the grandeur of the nawabs of Bengal and the tyranny of the British Raj. My womb gave birth to Guru Govind Singh; the world knows that battle he fought and his temple Takht HarMandir Sahib still stands proudly on my chest. I am Patna, the modern Patliputra, my history as old as history itself.I still stretch along the Ganges, thinning shoreline it has now. I don’t see the elephants and cavalries marching, nor do I hear the sounds of the trumpet now. I see a busy city waking up everyday with the rising sun. I see the swirls of dust as people leave their ways for their work. I hear something something of everyone which eventually turns into nothing. I see the unity in diversity, blank faces, cheerful faces, moaning faces, laughing faces, welcoming faces, frowning faces but yes every face has got something to offer. I am Patna, the hometown of countless inquisitive brains.

Come to me when vermillion smeared foreheads bow to the sun, to pay their respect and gratitude to it. The Chhath Pooja where all one can see is the banks of the Ganga packed to the brim, all one can hear, the sweet sounds of the folk songs and all one can feel is the warmth of human love. The crackers of the Diwali burst whole night as if fighting to kick out the age old silences of ignorance. The crowd of Dussehra, where it seems as if every individual in the crowd is trying to take out the RAM hidden inside him. The delicacies of Eid, you can still find them in the old dark lanes of mine.

Fa-Hein has described my beauty in his travel accounts and Megasthanese was out of words when he was confining my beauty to his book Indaka. When the whole India was sleeping in deep dreams of unawareness, I took the pains of enlightening the dark minds. Gautam Buddha prophesized that I would be the greatest city in the world someday but he told that I would fall prey to fire and water still he missed the biggest factor that I felt prey to, Human greed!

Yes, I fell prey to the human greed. My old glory was raped by everyone who came to rule me. Everyone was thinking about him, his family, his own near and dears but every one forgot their Patna. When whole India was undergoing an economic transmutation, my greedy sons were busy plucking every conceivable thing from my soil. They looted their own home and fled like a dacoit. And, they left me crawling in the lowly dusts. When every Indian was erecting infrastructures for the coming generations, my sons were demolishing the towers of my ancient glory.

And, when this turbulence was over, I was just a piece of land. Fertile, I still was but no one wished to plant on me. My sons were still intelligent but they felt insulted to be my sons. The very feel of being attached to Patna in any shape or form was a matter of indignity for my residents. The opportunities vanished, the hopes shattered and I was christened the undeveloped part of a developing nation. Poverty that never even thought about me in her wildest dreams clutched me in her claws and hence due to a handful of betrayers, all sons of mine started suffering.

But, highs and lows are the essential constituents of god’s plan. I saw the highest of crests in my golden times and then saw the deepest trench of failures. My sons have realized the importance of their old mother, and slowly but steadily they are changing the face of mine. I am now crawling out of the mud. I am breaking the shackles of dogma and myths and I am opening my eyes to the new changes. I see a bright future which my sons have promised me. I hope they would gift me my old glories back. I have led the world in the past and I am sure I will do it in Future again.