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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Maithili Sharan Gupt: A poet of Vaishyas!


It was a brief news, a single sentence that appeared in the inside page of a mass circulated Hindi paper about famous poet late Maithili Sharan Gupt recently.

The 'Vaishya Gupta Gahoi Samaj' had recalled the contribution of the great poet on the occasion of his birth anniversary. The news was published slightly late, as his anniversay passed early this month. However, what beats me is the trend of particular sections of every caste, appropriating the legendary figures.

Of course, the Samaj did well to remember the renowned poet of Khari Boli. But would they do the same on the anniversaries of Jaishankar Prasad, Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, Sumitranandan Pant or for Harivansh Rai Bachchan, who were not Vaishyas.

Unfortunately exactly this is happening now. Literature has taken a backseat and apart from a few literary organisations, the poets and their contribution are only being recalled on caste-lines. Of late, I have noted a sudden rise in such events in which particular castes and sub-castes remember their own 'poets.

In a society where caste is only getting strengthened, every group is trying to find their 'heroes' to instill a sense of pride among their children. Isn't that ironic? Quite sometime back I had written a post: Chandrashekhar Azad or Chandrashekhar Tiwari!.

Figures like Chandrashekhar Azad or Rashtra Kavi Maithilisharan Gupt are national icons. It's saddening to see this happening to such great heroes. They must be paid homage by the entire society, irrespective of the caste and communal lines.