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Murder Mystery Suspense Thrillers: 21st Century Evolutionary Concept

Thrillers (Low)

With less than a quarter into the 21stCentury, time has come appraise the ‘Murder Mystery Thriller’genre in a new light.

In his book Poetics, the Greek philosopher Aristotle asserted suspense is the fulcrum of all thrillers with a fusion of trepidation, thrill, expectancy, anxiety, collocated with a feel of pandering tensity, captivation, fright, fervour. The readers seize with teeth the plot as it converges to an aleatory, cryptic and stirring climax, leaving them to ruminate. Typically, a baddie-driven one, balked by red herrings, twists to a bewitching cliff-hanger. Pigeon-holed, the author destroys hope, elicits curiosity and springs surprise out of the blue. This is the form of the customary mystery, psychologic, political or romantic sub-genres. Gone are the days of ancient epics, Epic of Gilgamesh, Homer’s Odyssey,The Mahabharata. With evolving era, the art of story-telling has undergone radical metamorphosis as we are now into 21stcentury. The old, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle type of fictitious sleuths like Sherlock Holmes are a thing of the past. The prevalent construct of private detective is trompe-l’oeil.

Private detectives have been in our fictions for ages. They have been the pivotal characters of riveting thrillers, hypnotised billions over decades, been the rachis behind the name, fame, survival of many national and international authors. The whodunits have made their way to celluloids, giving the viewers a grip of fictional suspense. In addition to bewitching the readers and viewers to a world of fantasy, it had generated a livelihood to a horde and continue to do so, who would have been defunct, else. As we have moved into 21st century, time has come to re-evaluate their fictitious incredible role in criminal investigation.

In 1833, Eugène François Vidocq, a French soldier, criminal and crewman, founded the first known private detective agency ‘Le Bureau des Renseignements Universels pour le commerce et l’Industrie’(The Office of Universal Information for Commerce and Industry) and hired ex-convicts. Official law enforcement tried many times to shut this agency. In 1842, the police arrested him on suspicion of unlawful imprisonment and extracting megabucks on false pretences, after he had solved a peculation issue. He was sentenced for 5 years with a Fr 3000 fine. In spite of falsified credentials, Vidocq is considered as having led to the concept of record-keeping, criminology, ballistics and anthropometrics.

The whole business of private investigation came into practice where police were reluctant to act, or the client desisted police involvement. They also assisted the companies in labour disputes, often provided armed guards, the role that is carried out by security agency today. Charles Frederick Field, of United Kingdom, set up an enquiry office in 1852, upon his retirement from the Metropolitan Police. Field became a friend of Charles Dickens. One of his employees, Hungarian Ignatius Paul Pollaky set up a rival agency. Through them both, private detectives secured a place in the fictional sagas.

In 1840, Edgar Alan Poe created a fictitious character C. Auguste Dupin. This character was the detective in three of Poe’s stories. Following Edgar Alan Poe’s gumshoe, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle set forth to create mystery stories based on the fictitious sleuth Sherlock Holmes, its time span ranging from the late Victorian era to the Edwardian era. The Victorian age spanned from 1837 to 1901. It manifested in the expansion of British power and wary loyalty to social custom. The Edwardian period, from 1901 to 1919, steered many social, economic and political changes. Holmes was featured in Doyle’s 4 novels and 56 short stories. He gained wide acceptance for his sly and wit, featuring in stories during this evolutionary period. Its period ranging from the late 1870s to late 1880s in ‘The Gloria Scott’to the ‘The Last Bow’in 1914. It followed the footing laid by Eugène François Vidocq on the concept of record-keeping, criminology, ballistics and anthropometrics. In today’s definition, he is an integration of various fact-finding equip working at the same time. All condensed to the fictitious genius Sherlock Holmes.

Through him, Doyle explored various social, ideological and technological changes taking place during Victorian and Edwardian periods.The changes during these historical times reflected in his fictions. The Victorian era heralded a population explosion leading to an upsurge of law-breaking, poverty and vagrancy. By setting the milieu in London during these periods, Doyle gave his prime character plenty of stuff to work, many crimes to solve. Holmes also served as a conduit between the two classes, often working for the wealthy, while probing the sordid underbelly of London.Along with the social changes, these eras were blatant for rejection of religious and social taboos. It embraced scientific models for greater class mobility. The astute detective Holmes used mental faculty to logically elucidate hitherto previously inexplicable events. Many took refuge to religious beliefs lacking logical rationale. Holmes restored the wayward social norm through his deductions and gestures to a logical pivot. The poor or lower middle class, like servants, were often portrayed as villains. He upheld the upper crust etiquette by unveiling the crimes of lower class with his refined demeanour. It beefed-up the readers with social values at the time of this socio-cultural change.These periods were marked with great high-tech strides, relevant to the era. Keeping at par with the techno progress of that time, Holmes was devising new analytical tools to solve crime. They reflected his embrace of natural events, in tune with the scientific progress than blind submission to religion or superstition. Doyle poured the juice of scientific discovery.

Once this artistic blend of selling fictitious detectives hit the market, several authors towed the line, to create amaranthine fictitious characters like Hercules Poirot, Miss Marple etc. Agatha Christie’s novels had that extra oomph of psychoanalysis, which I think is the sea-puss of all popular murder mystery thrillers. In spite of her deep insight, Miss Marple couldn’t shred the mantle of that fictional sleuth created by Edgar Alan Poe. India under grasp of colonial rule, the creative thoughts of its authors were confined to the cloak of their colonial masters. Keeping with their colonial servitude mind-set, they spun an array fictitious fables, centralising around the concept of the established fictional gumshoes, singing to their master’s voice. Bymokesh Bakshi, Kiriti Roy, Dipak Chatterjee, Feluda etc. were thus born to cater to the Bengali tastes, spelling the wonders that could be done by a private detective. These taradiddles became popular best-sellers, especially to the sections, not well-conversant with English literature or who wanted a fresh taste in their local milieu.

Moving into this century, certain questions would force one to look ex post facto, in today’s light.

  1. Whenever a death occurs, who probes the case – the police or the private investigator (no matter how intelligent and modern he may be) in fictitious sagas?
  2. After a murder, who would walk to a private detective, when police are there to carry out the prelim probe?
  3. Do private investigators (mind you, they are normal citizens with same rights and restrictions as others) have same access to police records, forensic report etc.?
  4. Can they tap telephone conversations and access internet exchanges, i.e. social media and internet calls?
  5. Have they access to bank accounts, insurance details or any other confidential details?

The answer is an obvious ‘NO’. If so, how could a private detective become the central theme of a novel, when his identity is obscure and apocryphal?

If that be the logic, in this era, no author could get away with some an absurd fiction. It has to be realistic, believable, pertaining to the present. Time has come to flout the fictive idea to a realistic one. Among the legion deaths, deputed buffs could carry the probe. Many quotidian folks could astutely scrutinise the conundrum, until one hits the final bonanza.

With this concept, I thought of bringing a change in the crime fiction form.  The enquiry is done by recognised bodies at different corners of the country. There might be a blend of persons trying to solve the murder-mystery. Each would have a positive input and finally one could imbibe, logically deduce, crack the final jackpot. The Sherlock Holmes of this century! Even if not a part of the investigative machinery. Out of lot, as much as the reader is on the lookout for the murderer with the motive, he could be on the lookout for the final emergent. I also felt the customary murder weapons like a pistol, knife etc. could be sacrificed to modern scientific ways of murder based on my medical knowledge.

With this scalage, I capsized the age-old detective myths, initiated by Edgar Ala Poe to a realistic podium. Though probe was by apposite folks, solution came from the victor. In my first mystery novel, CHAKRA (Bengali 2010) later as FULCRUM (English 2013), amongst heretical ways of several murders, the booklover is in pursuit of the killer-boffo duo. In crime fiction, the motive is prime – be it archetypal greed for money and/or power, the eternal lust for sex, the ever-present revenge for some real or imaginary crime. Here I took a plunge into psychology to scale to lofty ideals, taking Agatha Christie’s psychoanalysis to exalted heights. I tried to intermingle it with Plato’s tripartite theory of soul. Its highlighted in his treatise the Republic, also with the chariot allegory in Phaedrus. In Republic, he asserted the psyche is composed of three parts – logical, spirited and appetitive, corresponding to the three classes of a society. Justice is declared to be the state of the whole, in which each part fulfils function without attempting to interfere in the functions of others. The appetitive produces and seeks pleasure, the logical gently rules through the love of learning, the spirited obeys the directions of the logical, protecting the whole from outside attack and inside disarray. Injustice is the opposite state, often guising in specific form, where instead, the spirited listens to the appetitive, while they together either ignore the logic entirely or employ it in their pursuits of pleasure.This was the prelim foundation of my new concept of murder suspense fiction. Together with Erik Erikson’s eight-stage psychoanalysis, ignoring the age specification, to evaluate the rival, analyse from psychosexual point of view. The character is taken through stages of trust and mistrust, autonomy and shame/doubt, initiative and guilt, industry and inferiority, identity and role confusion, intimacy and isolation, generativity and stagnation, integrity and despair, to arrive at the final conviction.

Having reached that state of integrity, through my character, I spell the dilemma over the term ‘integrity’. Vital belief in conviction, if for good of humanity, why have the people been sacrificed for it, through ages? Why Socrates was put to death, the Parsi religion’s Zarathustra murdered, Jesus Christ crucified for treason (as per The Bible), Galileo hung in the gallows for calling the world round, Joan of Arc burnt on a stake, Guru Ranjit Singh of the Sikh religion killed, the Church of England ostracised Charles Darwin for propounding the Theory of Evolution? They were great people who thought beyond their years for the good of humanity and in that process, paid dearly. Could anyone deny Adolf Hitler resurrected a crushed Germany after World War I? As much as one cross-section would evaluate them on their perception relevant to era, with passage of time, many could think otherwise. Where even streamlined murder could be termed saintly, given the reason, in the long run. I left the readers to draw their own non sequitur.

Giving the speed to a murder novel, it morphs to a thriller. Thrillers have more focus on action, sudden events and how the protagonist is going to make it through to the next chapter or scene. It’s all about pace, tension and scope.  Whilst the mystery is about the brain power, a thriller is a mystery that destresses cerebration accenting more on action and suspense. To be specific mystery is generic, whilst thriller is specific. Suspense bears no relationship to fear. Instead, it’s the state of waiting for something to happen. As Alfred Hitchcock would define ‘If you have a scene where two characters are conversing in a cafe, and a bomb suddenly goes off under the table, the audience experiences surprise. On the other hand, if the audience sees the saboteur place the bomb, is told that it will go off at one o’clock, and can see a clock in the scene, the mundane conversation between two cafe patrons now becomes one of intense suspense, as the audience holds its collective breath waiting for the explosion. Fifteen minutes of suspense, as opposed to fifteen seconds of surprise. The audience must be pre-informed’.

Taking Hitchcock’s account, a suspense thriller often loosely defined as a story where the audience is waiting for something significant to happen. The protagonist’s job is to prevent the speeding bus from exploding or the aliens from eating the crew. The reader experiences an indirect thrill by associating with the hero and the danger he faces, becoming a partaker in the chase. Contrary, a mystery is a novel of revelation, with sequence more mental than physical. If an important event, like a murder happens, the protagonist’s job is to discover who committed the crime and why. The dilemma in traditional mysteries is the fact that the villain and the details of the crime must remain unidentified, breaking Hitchcock’s rule of keeping the audience informed.

A mystery author knows it’s harder to generate suspense when the chronicle revolves around something already happened, as opposed to a life-threatening event that is going to happen in the future. For this reason, most mysteries contain elements of suspense, where the protagonist or another character’s life is in danger as long as the villain remains at large. The crucial conflict between protagonist and rival is reserved till the end. Threat from an anon source is never as fierce as the danger of a known puissant villain. The old-style mystery may lack shock value and vicarious thrill, it had other merits.

Successful mystery is persuasive drama exploring the alien mind. Few whodunits today rely solely on a puzzle. The modern ‘whodunit’ has become a ‘whydunit’. Readers want to find out why a sane person would be pushed to commit the ultimate crime, or how an insane murderer could skilfully cover his tracks. That’s the right moment to delve into the psychological aspect.

In Chakra/Fulcrumor Conundrum, I play this medical psychology. Readers get involved because the mystery is a perfect chronicle for revealing the character. I usually reserve the climax till the end, playing with readers wits diverting them on all possible false trails with logical clarity. As if to say, ‘Keep on guessing until I spill the surprise’. The tension created in a traditional mystery is by the unsolved conflicts between the characters. Conflict is created by taking identifiable characters to an odd strange sequence. The sudden death and following homicide investigation of a close relative or colleague is an emotional cauldron, plausible and clear to the reader. He is hooked not by mediated thrill seeking, but by an intense need to know what would happen to these characters that have become like friends. It mingles with their known folks in an unknown manner. It satiates our understanding human psychology.

Adding the speed action in future suspense novels, I was able to spring the surprise of a thriller, keeping the mystery as a sea-poose, altering the out-dated difference between a mystery and thriller, merging them both into 21stcentury form. It was through PURSUIT (2013), an international murder-mystery-suspense-thriller on international geo-economics. Amid bizarre murders by innovative means, the reader awaits with trepidation for something to happen. Besides advanced homicidal methods, I ciphered a subtly furtive profound insight into extropy of global dynamics. The traditional ‘protagonist’ waffled between effector and the seer. My outlook of future geo-economics manifested through its characters. I fused the elided outlook of tralatitious thrillers with a philosophy for humanity. This added the extra oomph to the reader with a ‘take home’ message.

After Pursuit, I delved into science, instead of economics, to come-up with a new genre of murder-mystery-thriller, which would keep the readers gript till climax based on cornerstone of scientific insight into genetic cloning, admixing with genetic evidences on historical theories, to carve a new scientific sub-genre ‘scientific thriller’ relevant to this era, ETERNAL MAYHEM (2017), being the first. Here the science is mixed with the older ingredients to produce a heady concoction. Scientific thrillers involve a 6thsense into the core of science, history, evolution with a far-flung eagle view of progress. Amid the scientific essence of genetic cloning research, this is a scarper from the familiar concepts, to the roots of civilisation, scientifically analysed with its resultant diversities. It revealed shocking truths, so far clandestine. The apogee sealed in a startling eye-opening truth of humanity, offering a thought-provoking riveting thriller. The murder weapons underwent radical mutation from traditional ones like age-old knives, pistols and ropes to virulent viruses, novel chemicals and biological weapons thrown in between.

The latest addition to that new sub-genre list is my fiction CONUNDRUM (2018). As bright play brainy games with similar folks, I play mind-games with the reader, based on mathematical principles, in this scientific thriller.

Most authors have penned murder-mystery-thriller relevant to the time period of their authoring. I have discussed in detail, the contribution by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie. With due respects to them, time has come to shred the 19th and 20th century mantle to one of 21stCentury, with a realistic outlook. Reality demands, down-to-earth fiction, not esoteric fictitious tale-tales. We can’t be swayed by unreal approach to a scientific and logical investigative apparatus.

So, time has come to evolve effectively in a true-to-life way, relevant to this era, adding the meat to known whodunit with economics, science, history or any notable subject in backdrop, packaged as a thriller combined with suspense and a touch of philosophy. This would exalt the knowledge of the readers, who seem to be averse to reading non-fictions. Icing with philosophical truths would leave the readers, something to ponder. Also ensure sustenance beyond the current epoch.

Murder Mystery Suspense Thrillers: 21st Century Evolutionary Concept

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Maheshganj Estate- Palchowdhuri Present

We just returned from our trip to Maheshganj Estate, Balakhana staying at the place (6thJuly 2018 to 8thJuly 2018) with my elder brother and his wife and of course my wife on the occasion my wife’s birthday on 7thJuly 2018. As I was familiar with the route to Krishnangar, Beharampore and Murshidabad, it wasn’t difficult finding the estate. Local people know it as ‘Ila Palchowdhuri’s Estate’. I came across this estate in the process of penning my latest thriller “Conundrum” while digging into heritage of Bengal.
The present descendent of Nafarchandra Palchoudhuri, Ranojit Palchowdhuri (ex-St Paul’s Darjeeling) and his good Gujrati wife (ex-Loreto) welcomed us cordially. On hot summer we were accompanied to our room. The cordiality of both then and during our stay was excellent. With my humble homework in relation to my novel on the background heritage of the Palchowdhuris, I had a rough idea of their background. Ranojit topped me with further details both verbally and with some Xeroxed literature he provided of their rich heritage. He is an excellent talker and it’s a pleasure to sit with him and talk on any issues. In Bengali we term it as “Nirvejal Adda”.
Of the acres now under his care, he claimed Palchowdhuris were left with14 acres now, of which the building frontage and small portion of the well-kept gardens is a feast to the eyes, sitting in the wide balcony with cane easy chairs and marble tables. I would say the best part of the stay there. Both husband and wife were sophisticated in their demeanour, polite, courteous and hospitable. This is the positive aspect of the estate.
Now, coming to its negativities. Despite the room rent of Rs 5000/- a night for AC, considering the rooms of that era with high ceilings, there was one 1.5-ton AC which could hardly quench the extreme heat and humidity outside. Such a room would need at least two of that sorts for basic cooling. He explained, since the property was centuries old, it needed more electric power, which would cost another 5 lakhs, which he wasn’t prepared to shell out. If there is a power-cut you are in shit having paid Rs 1000/- for A/C. No backup. The room had three beds, an old lounger with pre-historic curtains. No television anywhere. There was a WiFi, but not for all, password restricted, not disclosed to us, when even inferior standard hotels provide a free WiFi these days. The bathroom had a geyser (though we didn’t need it, run by gas), one I had first seen with a short telephonic shower hard to water the body unless you lean on shower curtains. The overhead shower was badly maintained with water trickling. In the end I had to fill the bucket for the bath.
Now coming to another vital issue – food. Included with room booking is morning tea (no room service) with biscuits in the veranda. You need to amble to veranda for morning tea. Breakfast (included with room rent) was in dining room with ‘one’ spread of milk & cornflakes, bread with butter/jam, eggs made to your choice, ‘poha’ or ‘upma’, fruits and coffee. And ample stories of heritage repeated for mesmerisation. Buffet lunch or dinner (non-vegetarian) costing Rs 500/- per person contained dal, lal sak, kumro katua data, jhingey-posto one piece of homely fish/meat (chicken or mutton) and dahi with one variety sweet.
My wife was lucky, as a celebration on her birthday, Mrs Palchowdhuri made a cake in her honour with it being cut and distributed as a desert.
If you are thinking of a trip to Maheshganj Estate, think of the following:
  • · An undercooled room with basic amenities (TV, Wi-Fi, fridge, room service missing, non-smoking), substandard AC, shelling out Rs 5000/-
  • · Whether the meals are worth Rs 500/- per person without a variety. I think this meal cannot be more than Rs 250/- at todays escalated rate.
  • · Whether you are prepared to shell out Rs 5000/- per day + Rs 2000/- (for meals of a couple), i.e. Rs 7000/- per day for this ‘heritage’
  • · If you compare with Mayfair Group of Hotels, you could get at 60 variety spread of breakfast with all meals included with the quality of their rooms, free all-round chips, tea/coffee, fridge, room service at Rs 7500/-

Only Mayfair doesn’t have a ‘heritage’ to sell except service.

If you are looking at ‘heritage’ and ‘price’ look at Itachuna Rajbari, Bawali Rajbari, Jhargram Rajbari – all have their humble history. When you want to spend the weekend outing does it matter which history is more glorious?

Choice is yours. If you decide to be there, you pay for the heritage, not comfort and quality. I consider the value for money prime in modern society than being swayed into past, losing track with reality.
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Ostentation, Social Media and Humanity

“Rest in Peace” or RIP – three touchy words which implied a silent prayer for the departed has morphed with the same text, but lacking the human touch. Treading many deaths of near and dear ones in the last couple of years, with upsurge of exhibitionism in different avenues of social media, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Goggle, LinkedIn etc., it highlighted the abstruse three words.

We all are aware, death is the inevitable prognosis of being born. We aren’t aware of its timing only. For some, it might occur unpredictably at an incredible age under off-the-wall situations. For others, it is the aftermath of an aging process, the life span varying in different individuals. In realistic terms, it is the termination of a mortal process, the finale of the physical being. In our mortal life, this marks the ultimate interaction with the individual, be it in present or past reality, or virtual reality of social media.

No doubt, in the www age, social media has become a part and parcel of our existence today. With messaging, human interaction weaned to the press of a button. Even that click on the button would’ve had the same effect, where silence is only mode of condolence verbalism. In few deaths over a couple of weeks of close friends, amid a thread of condolence messages, it was a blow out of the water to see other ‘common friends’ suddenly posting their or family’s pictures with the ongoing thread. Was it the right moment? Opinions may vary, arguments may be put forward for justification “Just because someone has died, doesn’t debar anyone from posting selfies and other pictures”. Is it appropriate for a disco dance in a Sraddha milieu? Accepting both are part of life. Taken aback, balled over even in techno-savvy progressive milieu, I was at a loss. Where are we heading? Is human relation all about fanfare of presence?

It raised a critical question, where are we advancing?

Having spent most of my life without the social media, either to boost the identity or inter-personal communication, a gift from Alexander Graham Bell after its repeated alteration, had been the communique mode, wired or wireless. When a caller called, I could feel a human voice with fragment of emotions in its tone. With smartphones gradually percolating the communique scenario, it shortened to texts than voice, where the message was obvious, emotions weren’t. With wildfire of social outlets, the costing texts found its way to the internet domain, which didn’t charge for individual messages. Yep… financially more viable. Until then or recouping old confrères was good enough function of the nascent social platform sprouting without structure, direction or legislation.

More than interactive communiqué, it soon became a platform of political slogans and publicity machinery, family album and worse still an hourly calendar reaching perilous expressions of psychological insufficiency or precisely identity crisis. The celebrities flooded it with their media clips, desperate to establish a niche amid muddled identity. If one is known, does he/she need to harp the media presence on a periodic basis? If one delves deeper into the psyche, element of insecurity is at its crux. For those, not fortunate to be a celebrity, basked in their reflected glory with other celebs, posting pictures with them, thereby appending to celeb penury.  This soon led others treading the trail posting pictures initially with their family and friends, later of themselves alone or in group as ‘selfie’. Even eminent persona joined in the trend. Often these picture posts are on a daily to an hourly basis, endorsing their mental deprivation only to be classified by American Psychiatric Association as ‘SELFITIS’, a psychological disorder. A fresh mode evolved in its presentation. For any social or national occasion, the greetings included a picture of their profile.

What Swami Vivekananda actually meant by ‘leave a mark in life’, the social bundle re-defined him in their own interpreted light of selfitis.  With human interaction waning to the press of a button, even in adequate human milieu, people became mobile freaks. It became more important to post a cosy dinner in social media than enjoy it in the company of others. Technology took over the reins of human interaction shoving them into solitary tech isolation. As human interaction diminished, in despair people clung more to the social platforms. Rather than cultivate furtive qualities, exhibitionism without content became the avenue of ‘leaving a mark in life’. People stopped reading, understanding. Supplementing with ‘likes’ to gain popularity or other vested interests trying to build a footmark in virtual world hoping for its reflection in reality, which expectedly was amiss.

Often, it makes me wonder, whether these ‘likes’ on profiles mean anything at all, other than slaking a desire of existence amongst some. Any adverse opinion is distraught which could result in being ‘unfriended’ or ‘blocked’. A virtual world thus survives on same principles as reality “Talk my language or you aren’t in my world”. This further proves the insecurity in a desperate attempt to gain a herd of cliques. Everyone may not be a celebrity, but the insecurity is same for all. They forget it is themselves they can only control. It’s their inner strength which establishes the identity, not a herd flocking around or endorsing their silliness.

The ostentation is reaching dangerous heights on these new established platforms. The more the exhibitionism, more the human pauperisation. Technology has advanced to catalyse human interactions. When it takes over humanity, what technological robots is the future creating? Another Frankenstein? Time to ponder than leap.

Cover Artist : Aditi Chakraborty

 

Media in Peril

With media in doldrums, its balance sheet nose-diving the deep canyon, it’s time to review the situation in a new verve. I would omit the grounds of its calamity, as it had been highlighted in two of my other articles “Communique for A Constructive Tomorrow” and “The Bankrupt Media”. It’s futile wailing on the past. It’s time to look ahead as how to meliorate the scenario.

From the format of Keith Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation (1952), with its global expansion, nearly 60 years have passed. In the span of these years, the society, culture and civilisation have undergone an ultra-mutation. With the boom of the ‘www phenomenon’ at tornado velocity over the past few years, a vista of possibilities has opened. The other form of 21st century Damien. Only the script has altered from the traditional 666 to http://www.  With its several plusses, it is a tool, yet to be handled adequately in productive fashion.  Whether Damien was an anti-Christ, when the whole fable of The Bible was conjectured 180 years after death of Christ (vide The Christ Conspiracy by S Acharya alias D M Murdoch) in a Pagan format to control Saturnalia, for political rein in the name of religion, is a matter for review considering the new evidences. Without delving into the preached myth, which has hypnotized millions over centuries, not without bloodshed, the true form of Damien is yet to be observed in a new light, as of today.

The era might have evolved, the globe might have transformed, the paucity of creative thinking, which forms the main essence of delivery of content, seems to be sold by the ‘marketing gurus’, who seem to have fancy ideas of the marketing strategy, without a clue of the market. It is derisory to underrate the intellect of the mass. They may endure without a choice, but do have the aptitude of appraisal, given the choice between a stale junk and a garnished matter delivered on their platter. Once in control, media gurus tend to forget this basic adage.  No matter how far technology advances, it cannot supersede a dream like Pushpak Rath, later factually established as an aeroplane.  An instant spur, out of the blue, is a gift of God – one which perceives two entangled snakes as double helix of DNA, is the dream, later established scientifically and technologically. Facts can only establish the legitimacy of a conceived dream.

As of today, let us divide the forms of communiqué into two distinct categories – the literate and the illiterate. The illiterate hasn’t much of a choice, other than to accept, what is thrust via the electronic media in the form of audio-visuals. But it would be sheer folly to disrespect their acumen of judgment. They may helplessly turn to a television discussion, but can judge the depth of the panellists. Most of the channels now have a bank of set panellists (paid or unpaid). These people seem to present as a fairylike parrot, who can talk on any subject, as per didactics of their media masters. This results in vomiting rubbish, which alienates the masses. The slogans are easily caught between their skimpy delivery, in the attire of donning a definite colour of a political party, lacking the uniqueness in their expression. The serials tend to harp cliché nonsense dialogues as a pastime. They form the only stay for the elders, who have lost their fitness of reading, at their ripe age. Still others, who lack the focus, watch the episodes as an audio-visual effectuate, relying less on its content. The reality shows neatly billets the failures in showbiz, giving a vent to some income, acting as their pension. The musical and dancing reality shows are in truest sense, not a platform for the new, but an assured income of the producers.

Let us divide the viewers into distinct groups – the housewives who need a spot of relaxation after their mundane chores, the aged (some highly educated and intelligent) who may not be capable to read, yet are in quest of pastime, to while their leisure and the rural folks who has no substitute, but to watch whatever is served in a platter. Let us get away from the concept of building celebrities and thrusting them on any platter, at every occasion. It would be wise to pull in experts in the field.

Housewives could be

  • Given the opportunity of witnessing educational programs of ideal ways child upbringing.
  • Trained in dress designing and fashion
  • General knowledge
  • A summary of happenings around the world
  • Singing and dancing lessons
  • Audio literature
  • Computer and internet training including use of the software
  • Electronic banking
  • Serials from modern stories
  • Music and dance (not-sponsored) by quality upcoming artistes

 

Aged could be

  • Audio literature
  • Serials from modern stories
  • Discussions on religion even with controversies
  • Religious texts in audio form
  • Music and dance (not-sponsored) by quality upcoming artistes

 

Rural Folks could be

  • Given knowledge on local economics (by economic experts, not celebrities)
  • Methods of increasing savings
  • Independent political viewpoints
  • General knowledge
  • Electronic banking
  • A summary of happenings around the world
  • Singing and dancing lessons
  • Audio literature
  • Serials from modern stories
  • Independent (Unsponsored) film reviews
  • Music and dance (not-sponsored) by quality upcoming artistes

 

For the literate, the avenues are plenty. The content would decide whether they are keen to watch the electronic media. In addition to the above mentioned, some serious discourse on progress of science, literature, electronic gadgets, training to handle the gadgets, banking methods etc. The electronic media is not as much in peril as the print media, as it replaces the village honk, with instant delivery.

More in distress is the print media, which must compete with the luscious mistress, the www or the Damien of today. With net and mobile easily accessible, they are their direct competitors in the content, delivered next morning. Most of these media heavily rely on synthetic celebs to boost their sales. The glossy tabloids, which were an oomph, when it came force in 1999, are no longer an object of sale, with varied internet boulevards, giving them ample choice of semi-clad lassies to quench their carnal thirst. The cliché group of celebs no longer hold any awe, as they present and re-present themselves ubiquitously, making them a cheap sooq artefact.

To retain the aura, seclusion is prime.

Why not feature new talents in any genre, presenting their story and laying forth what they could deliver? The main news, in most media, centres around political issues. Whilst it might me orgasmic to some, others might be in quest of global news, which ranges from breakthroughs to literature to newer thoughts. Has any media given anyone the chance to express their personal visions?

The answer would be an emphatic “No”. The ‘media gurus’ decide what opinion should be vented, which may not pander its readers. Little have they time to look at them, as they are in ball and chain of their own weaved strategies. Well-versed articles, which has always been the mainstay of the little magazine groups, could surely find a place in mainstream media. In a country enriched by Rabindranath Tagore, Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar, Rammohan Ray, Jagadish Bose, Satyen Bose, Meghnad Saha, Ritwick Ghatak, Salil Chowdhury etc., who had a global perspective in their delivery, the media ought to bring forth young minds with global vision. They may not be popular persona. There’s always a possibility of them turning into one, given the break.

If the content embellishes the faculties of the masses, then only can a nation progress. Rather than shift them downhill, the platform should serve as vista for the future generation. Involvement of all sections of the society is a must for wider acceptance of the print media.

As much as the technological and internet boom has brought information to our finger-tips, the truth is ‘you can imbibe from the internet what is already fed in’. Any creative ideas are not always available in internet. The ‘media gurus’ relish in vomiting information cautiously, what is already in the net. It is a new form corporate marketing. Corporate can market a commodity, but not ingenuity. Critics often vouch ample research is undertaken in a corporate milieu. But that milieu has its limitations in paucity of ingenuity. Genius’ cannot be mass-produced. Media needs to relieve the confused mass in the direction of Pole Star of future. The tussle between Geocentric and Heliocentric would always be in dynamic equilibrium drawing a balance in arguments. It is equally important for a defiant, like Prometheus or Promotho, to kindle an ailing humanity out of eddies, to rise like a phoenix. It is this rock foundation, which form the bonding of a relationship, between deliverer and consumer, outside technological cacophonies of the so called ‘media gurus’.

Salvation, Religion and Insight

The primeval African community, which migrated northwards to Susiana later to form the Elamite Dynasty, the precursor of Sumerian civilization, split into Indo-Asian and Indo-European culture. Religion originated from the Indo-Asian ancestress, surmisably the Sanatan religion or maybe earlier from the Ajivika religion.

Ajivika or heterodox school of primal ism, though supposedly founded in the 5th century BCE by Makkhali Gosala, is known to be organised Śramaṇa movement by atheists, who formed distinct societies. They believed fate to script life’s events in tune with cosmic rationale, with absence of freewill. It is stated to be a la mode around the same period as Buddhism and Jainism. My personal view is, it originated earlier, as is evident by their metaphysical atomic theory, its trait pre-set by cosmic forces. This conforms Einstein’s concept of universal energy changing forms, now established by the black hole concept of energy transformation. What is common with the ensuing religions is the concept of the soul, in various forms. It is an energy form of the concept of Soham, a putative mantra which means ‘I am He’ or fusion of individual with mass energy. It is inverted from so ‘ham (the fusion of sa + aham) to ham + sa. The combination of so ‘ha hasa gives the imaginative individual, pride like a swan. It symbolizes atma or fusion of individual with mass energy. Death is mere change of form of energy mutation, as per Einstein’s black hole concept.

Jainism which tows the line of Śramaṇa movement, probably followed from the Ajivika. It is known to originate with Mahavira, known as Vardhamāna in 599 BC. At the age of thirty, Mahavira left home in pursuit of spiritual arousal, abandoning material things to become a monk. For the next twelve-and-a-half years, he practiced deep meditation and austere penance, after which, he became kevalī (omniscient).

Buddhism followed, in 563 BCE, with the same story of a rich prince Siddhartha leaving his empire, initially with five disciples (who later abandoned him), eventually finding enlightenment in Sarnath. There, when he fainted, two traders from Orissa (conversant with Pali language) gave him nutrients, to whom he preached his newfound insight. They took his teachings to Sri Lanka. The earliest book on Buddhism was written in Pali from there, forming the Hinayana cult.

Of the three primitive religions, there wasn’t an iota of idol worship. Later when Gautama Buddha moved to Sahet and Mahet on the banks of River Achiravati (known as Srabasti) to preach, he was sponsored by King Prosenjit. To survive in his kingdom, he had to adopt his teachings in line with the modish Hindu practice of idol worship, later emerging as Mahayana cult. In his twenty-four years of sermon there, by submission, he temporarily accepted the order of idol worship, which was the biggest blunder for years to come. It was the start of a ruinous saga of the Indian sub-continent.

Half-a century later, a young boy from Jerusalem came to India via the silk route. Initially he was ousted from Puri by the Hindu pundits, later went to Sarnath, Sikkim, Nepal, Leh and Ladakh to imbibe the teachings of both religions for thirteen years, which he took back as his treasure, to spell the message of humanity, much against the existing rulers. He was evicted and returned by the silk route to Shrinagar with his friends and followers, to preach the same in Rozabal, in the name of Yuz Asaf, until his death at the age of eighty years. He was later portrayed as the saviour Jesus Christ, with a fable named The Bible.

At that time, Rome was in chaos. Romans worshipped the Sun God, celebrating Saturnalia (17th to 23rd December) which involved private gift-giving, week-long partying, and a carnival air. Its concept coincided with the Pagan festival. The hexagonal concept of admission to the alter of God or change of form of energy, is nothing but a Saturnian concept of mutation of energy, be it feat, death or re-birth.

To gain control of the chaotic Rome, a fable was yarned in the name of The Bible, a character named Jesus portrayed as the saviour, whose birth was made to coincide with the festivities of Saturnalia for wider acceptance. It was written 180 years after his so-called birth.

At least they didn’t have an idol. It talked of the preaching of Ajivika, Jainism and Buddhism, which then had a wider acceptance.

On the other hand, Indo-Asian group displaced the atheist section southwards. The southeast migrants split southwards as Australian aborigines, northwards to India, mingling with the displaced Dravidians. Some spread to the northeast to China, Japan and then via Arctic Bering Strait to America as native Americans. This is confirmed by Y-linked haplogroup and mtDNA studies.

The prime reason for their superiority was non-submission to an idol, towing the line of humanism. The obeisance to an illusory idol, takes away the confidence or Soham, which is the basic of concept of Einstein’s energy conversion. It makes one weak, leading to petty quarrels with increase of inferiority complex, detrimental in path of ascension. The worship is endorsed by various imposed rituals, leading to rivalry, with no bearing to the Divine.

It is wiser to look at existence from humanist angle and endeavour to merge with other forms of energy. The black hole concept of Einstein is the path to blending the Soham with the Universal energy, atma in its switchable extents than be stuck with human jargons of God in the form of an idol. Only then can a society evolve beyond its narrow paradigms to the Saturnine path of salvation or energy fusion accepting the transmutation of its form.

আগমনী

“মা আমাদের পূর্ণ উচ্চারণ, প্রথম পুণ্য অনুভব

মাগো যেদিকে চাই, সেদিকে রয়েছ তুমি

তুমি শুভ প্রতীক, জীবনবোধের অবারিত বাসভূমি

তুমি ভোরের আলোয় ভরা পবিত্রতার চেনা মুখ

স্নিগ্ধ, শান্ত, প্রসন্নতার চিরসুখ

ভবনে থেকেও তুমি ভুবনগামী

মাগো যেদিকে চাই, সেদিকে রয়েছ তুমি

একটু চোখের আড়াল হলে অভিমানে বহুদূর

ক্ষমায় আপন তুমি মোহন বাঁশির মিঠে সুর

অন্তরে থেকে তুমি অন্তর্যামী

মাগো, যেদিকে চাই, সেদিকে রয়েছ তুমি”

এক অজানা সর্বশক্তিমানকে যুগ যুগ ধরে মানুষ কল্পনার চোখে দেখেছে। কারণ পৃথিবী সৃষ্টির আদি অনন্তকাল থেকে পূর্ব পুরুষেরা শিখিয়েছেন ক্ষমতা বাইরেও এমন কোনও শক্তি আছে যে আমাদের জীবনের গতিপথকে নিয়ন্ত্রণ করে। সেই সর্বশক্তিমানকে তাদের সর্বস্ব দিয়ে ভক্তির অর্ঘ দিয়েছে। কখনো বা এই অজানা অচেনা তীব্র শক্তিকে একাকী নিভৃত আঁধারে, কখনো বা কোনও বিগ্রহ রূপে, কখনো বা কোনও মহাপুরুষের বাণীকে পাথেয় করে ধর্মের কাছে সঁপে।

যদিও ধর্ম ইতিহাস সাক্ষী বহু ধর্ম যুদ্ধের, তাকে উপেক্ষা করেই ধর্মের প্রবক্তাদের আনুষ্ঠানিক ভক্তি-শ্রদ্ধা জানিয়েছে। রামচন্দ্রের অকালবোধন ঠাই পেয়েছে শরতের সুপ্রভাতে, ঘরের মেয়ের আরাধনায় – স্বর্গলোক থেকে মর্তলোকে, কল্পনার দেবীকে বড় কাছে পাওয়ার চারটে দিনে। শুধু কাছ থেকে পুজর অর্ঘ নিবেদনে নয়, দেবী ও তার চার পুত্র-কন্যাকে নিজের করে পাওয়া, আনন্দঘেরা উৎসবে। পুজ আসছে। ‘বাজলো তোমার আলোর বেণু’ – ভুবন মেতেছে পুজর উৎসবে। মা কল্পনার মহাবিশ্ব থেকে বাস্তবের মাতৃগৃহে ছুটি কাটাতে আসছেন।

তাই আমাদেরও ছুটি। আনন্দোৎসব। দুর্গোৎসব।

নতুন নতুন থিমে সাজাচ্ছে কাল্পনিক মাতৃত্বকে। কল্পনার দেবীর রূপ ও আঁকার পাল্টেছে, যুগের তালে তাল রেখে। নিজেরাও সাজছে নতুন বেশে, মাকে ইহলোকে বন্দনা করতে। রাগ, ক্লেশ, বিবাদ, দুঃখ ভুলে একসঙ্গে মিলতে, মায়ের আগমনী আসরে। একই ছন্দে, একই তালে, মায়ের বন্দনাগানে।

সর্বশক্তিমান তো অন্তরের শ্রদ্ধার প্রতীক মাত্র। বিগ্রহের পুজর বাইরে তো হাজারও মা লুকিয়ে আছে আমাদের মধ্যে। গৃহবধূ থেকে না-চেনা বধূ। এই মাতৃত্বের রূপ যুগ যুগ ধরে পাল্টেছে। কখনো আটপৌর শাড়ীতে জননী রূপে, কখনো বিবাহের বন্ধনের বাইরে লিভিং টুগেদার সম্পর্কে, কখনো বা গণিতের ‘ভেন ডায়াগ্রাম থিওরি’ আকারে জৈবিক সম্পর্কের ঊর্ধ্বে অন্তরের না-বলা ছন্দের নিঃশব্দ মৌনতায়। এই মৌনতায় মধ্যে অচেনা জীবনের স্পন্দন। যেখানে বাজে না-চেনা রাগ, ঝঙ্কার তোলে না-বলা মাতৃত্বের বোল। সে সুর তো আমাদের মধ্যেই। শুধু তাকে পরখ করাটাই অজানা। নিঃশব্দ মৌনতায়, আপেক্ষিকতার মোহ কাটিয়ে, অন্তরের নিভৃতে। যেখানে অজান্তে, অলক্ষ্যে বেজে চলে লেসারের কম্পন, জা মিসেল জার অজানা নতুন সিম্ফনি।

rozabal_shrineগামী দিনে এই সংজ্ঞার বিবর্তন হবে। বন্ধনের বাইরে মাদার মেরির যিশু খ্রিস্টেকে জন্মের রূপকথা আপ্লুত করবে না আমাদের মূর্খ চেতনাকে। সেদিন আরেক যিশু ইউজ আসফ নাম নিয়ে, কোনও এক রোজাবালে বসে শোনাবে আজিবক, সনাতন ধর্মের মূলকে পাথেয় করে, আকারহীন সত্যের অমৃত কথা, আগামীর দর্শন। নাই বা থাকল নাম, নাই বা দেওয়া হল রূপ। বাহাউল্লার মতো শোনাবে চিরায়িত অমৃত সত্য “কসরৎ মেঁ ওহেদৎ”। সেই তো প্রকৃত আরাধনার প্রতিমূর্তি। যে বিশ্বমানবকে বাঁধতে পারে আকারহীন, ধর্মহীন মানবতার বন্ধনে। যা দেশ, কাল, সভ্যতা ভুলে, মানুষেকে বাঁধবে বিশ্বমানবের কল্যাণে। তাকে বরণ করে বেজে উঠবে নতুন আগমনী শঙ্খ, অন্তরের মিলনযজ্ঞে। আগমনীর বন্দনাগানে।

সন্ধ্যারতির পূজার নৈবেদ্য সেদিন মিলবে না-শোনা অন্তরের ঝংকারে। মায়া-কায়া মিলেমিশে একাকার, মাতৃত্বের না-চেনা সুরের ছন্দে। নতুন আনন্দে। গভীর অন্ধকার থেকে আলোর স্পর্শে। মা তো আরাধ্য বিগ্রহের বাইরে একটা উপলব্ধি, একটা অনুভূতি। মুক্তির পথ। শান্তির পথ। চেতনার উত্তরণ। শূন্যতার মধ্যে পূর্ণতার আবেশ। সেই সময় ফিরে দেখতে হবে নিজেকে।

যতদিন না ক্ষুদ্র ব্যক্তিত্ব মিলেমিশে একাকার হয় মহাবিশ্বের অধিষ্ঠিতে, আগমনী অসম্পূর্ণ। যেখানে অস্তিত্বটা অনাপেক্ষিক। জীবাত্মার সংগে পরমাত্মার অবিচ্ছেদ্য মিলনে পূর্ণতা – একমেবাদ্বিতিয়ম ‘সো অহং’ । সেখানে আলো নেই তবু আলোর বন্যা, যেখানে গন্ধ নেই তবু সুগন্ধের ঝর্না, যেখানে কেউ নেই, তবু যেন কার অমৃতস্পর্শে দেহ মন আনন্দে শিহরিত হয়ে ওঠে প্রতি পলে। যেখানে স্তম্ভিত জাগ্রত মহাবিশ্ব বরণ করে নেয় সত্ত্বা আর আত্মাকে পরম স্নেহে। কানে কানে নিঃশব্দে শোনায় এক গম্ভীর প্রণবধ্বনি শান্তির আলোকে, মহাবিশ্বের পরম সত্যের অমৃত কথাঃ

‘ওঁ প্রত্যাগ্যানন্দং ব্রহ্মপুরুষং প্রণবস্বরূপং

অ-কার উ-কার ম-কার ইতি

ওঁ স্বর্বভূতস্থং একং বই নারায়ণং পরমপুরুষং

অকারণং পরমব্রহ্মং ওঁ

ওমিতি ব্রহ্ম ওমিতি ব্রহ্ম…’

CF BLOCK RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION, SALT LAKE CITY, KOLKATA
agomoni1

agomoni2

agomoni3

Agomoni

ধর্ম : কিছু অনুভূতি

Religion is the highest order of politics.

কথাটা অপ্রিয় হলেও সত্যি।

অসীমকে, সীমার মধ্যে আনার প্রচেষ্টায় মানুষের মানসিক evolution। Darwin-এর Theory of natural selection এর মধ্যেই তার জন্ম। মানুষের সঙ্গবন্ধ থাকার বাসনার মধ্যেই তার প্রাথমিক ব্যাপ্তি। আমাদের মধ্যে যে ভয় লুকিয়ে আছে, সেটাই অসীম। তাকে সীমার মধ্যে এনে, এক গোষ্ঠীকে বেঁধে ফেলার সংকল্পেই ধর্মের বুৎপত্তি। অসীমকে যেমন আমরা ঠিক বুঝে উঠতে পারি না, অজানাকেও যে আমাদের তেমন-ই ভীষণ ভয়। যুগযুগান্তর ধরে মানুষের এই ভয়কে খুঁটি করে গড়ে উঠেছে ধার্মিক নিয়মাবলী। কখনো সত্যি কোনও মানুষের আকারে, কখনো মিথ্যে কোনও কাল্পনিক ভগবানকে সামনে খাড়া করে। এই অসীম বা অজানাটাই বিভিন্ন সময় ধর্মের উত্তরীয় পরে দেখা গেছে, নানান বেশে, নানা রূপে, নানা রঙে।

আসলে ধর্ম আর কিছুই নয়, নিজস্ব আত্মচেতনা।

এই চেতনা কেউ একা ঘরে বসে পায়, কেউ কারও পায়ের তলায় বসে, কেউ ছোটে দূর থেকে দূরান্তে, তীর্থ থেকে পুণ্য সাগরের কথিত স্বর্গরাজ্যে।  মানুষ যে নিজেই নিজেকে চেনে না। তাই পাগলের মতো কখনো ছুটে বেড়ায় কোনও ধর্মের দরজায়, কখনো বা কোনও মনিষীর সংস্পর্শে। কারণ, সে অপূর্ণ। কবিগুরু যখন গেয়ে ওঠেন আপনাকেই জানা আমার ফুরাবে না…’ তখন অন্যান্যদের মতো তিনিও কিন্তু সেই অজানার সন্ধান করে গেছেন, অসীমকে চেনার অভিলাষে। এই অসীমকে খোঁজার কেন্দ্রবিন্দুতে, যেটা তাঁর সীমাবদ্ধতা, অহরহ তাঁকে আষ্টেপৃষ্ঠে বেঁধে রেখেছিল, সেটা সংসারের মায়াজাল। শেষ পর্যন্ত, পেয়েছিলেন কী? বোধহয় নয়। তাই মৃত্যুর আগের শেষ কবিতাতে তাই আক্ষেপ, অনুসুচনা, নিজের অক্ষমতা, সাংসার নামক মায়াজালের কাছে নতিস্বীকার তোমার সৃষ্টির পথ রেখেছ আকীর্ণ করি বিচিত্র ছলনাজালে। মিথ্যা বিশ্বাসের ফাঁদ পেতেছ নিপুণ হাতে সরল জীবন’

কীসের বিশ্বাস? কাকে বিশ্বাস? যার নিজের প্রতি বিশ্বাস আছে, তার কাছে সব ছলনাই জৈবিক অঙ্গ, জাগতিক নিয়ম। যে এই জৈবিকতার মায়া কাটাতে পেরেছে, সেই তো অসীমের সন্ধান পাবে। অসীম যে আমাদের দৈনন্দিন জীবনের বাইরে, একাকীত্বের নির্জনতায় দীপ্ত। সেখানে কেউ নেই, খালি একা নিজের অচেনা দিকগুলো দেখা। এই নিজেকে দেখাটাই তো আত্মচেতনা। যদি নিজের অন্ধকারে কুঠারির মধ্যে, ভয় কাটিয়ে নিজেকে আবার নতুন করে, নিজের নগ্ন স্বরূপ দেখা যায়, সেখানে আরেক পৃথিবী। যেখানে আলো নেই, তবু আলোর বন্যা, যেখানে গন্ধ নেই তবু সুগন্ধের ঝর্না, যেখানে কেউ নেই তবু যেন কার অমৃতস্পর্শে দেহ, মন, আনন্দে শিহরিত হয়ে ওঠে প্রতি মুহূর্তে। যেখানে স্তম্ভিত জাগ্রত বরণ করে নেয় সত্ত্বা আর আত্মাকে পরম স্নেহে। কানে কানে নিঃশব্দে শোনায় গভীর মহামন্ত্র  শান্তির আলোকে। তাঁকে পাওয়া কঠিন হলেও অজেয় নয়। যে সে পথে বা বাড়িয়েছে, সেই তো আসল ধর্মের একনিষ্ঠ পূজারি। যেখানে জীবাত্মা আর পরমাত্মা এক সঙ্গে মিলে যায় to the concept of mass universal energy। সেখানেই অধিস্থিতি। সেখানেই পূর্ণতা, চিরশান্তি, সমাধি।  তাই মৃত্যুর প্রাক্বালে তাঁর নতুন চেতনা ‘সে যে অন্তরের পথ, সে যে চিরস্বচ্ছ’

সেটাই তো ধর্ম। আর এই পথ-ই তো সেই সোপানে পৌঁছনোর পাথেয়।  যখন শুধু ‘জীবে প্রেম করে যেই জন, সেইজন সেবিছে ঈশ্বর’ এই চেতনা থেকে বিশ্বপ্রকৃতি, বিশ্বব্রহ্মাণ্ড এক, একমেদ্বিতিয়ম। এই মহাবিশ্বের সঙ্গে এক সুরে নিজেকে বেঁধে ফেলা, এই interaction টা জীবাত্মা আর পরমাত্মার মিলনের যুগলবন্দীর ছন্দ – মানুষের ধর্ম।

Private Detective: Living in Myth

Private detectives have been the in our fictions for ages. They have been the pivotal characters of riveting thrillers, hypnotised billions over decades, been the rachis behind the name, fame, survival of many national and international authors. The whodunits have made their way to celluloids, giving the viewers a grip of fictional suspense. In addition to bewitching the readers and viewers to a world of fantasy, it has generated a livelihood, to a crowd and continue to do so, who would have been defunct otherwise. As we have moved into 21st century, time has come to re-assess their fictitious incredible role in criminal investigation.

In 1833, Eugène François Vidocq, a French soldier, criminal, and crewman, founded the first known private detective agency ‘Le Bureau des Renseignements Universels pour le commerce et l’Industrie’ (The Office of Universal Information for Commerce and Industry) and hired ex-convicts. Official law enforcement tried many times to shut this agency. In 1842, the police arrested him, on suspicion of unlawful imprisonment and extracting megabucks on false pretences, after he had solved a peculation issue. He was sentenced for 5 years with a Fr 3000 fine.

In spite of falsified credentials, Vidocq is considered as having led to the concept of record-keeping, criminology, ballistics and anthropometrics. The whole business of private investigation came into practice where police were unwilling to act, or the client desisted police involvement. They also assisted companies in labour disputes, often provided armed guards, the role that is carried out by security agency today. Charles Frederick Field of United Kingdom set up an enquiry office upon his retirement from the Metropolitan Police, in 1852. Field became a friend of Charles Dickens. One of his employees, Hungarian Ignatius Paul Pollaky set up a rival agency. Through them both, private detectives secured a place in the fictional sagas. In 1840, Edgar Alan Poe created a fictitious character C. Auguste Dupin. This character was the detective in three of Poe’s stories.

Once the artistic blend of selling fictitious detectives hit the market, several authors towed the line, to create immortal fictitious characters like Sherlock Holmes, Hercules Poirot, Miss Marple. Under a colonial rule, the creative thoughts of our authors were confined to the ways of colonial masters. In keeping with their colonial slavery mind-set, they spun an array fictitious fables, centralising around the concept of singing their master’s voice. Bymokesh Bakshi, Kiriti Roy, Dipak Chatterjee, Feluda etc. were thus born to cater to the Bengali tastes, spelling the wonders that could be done by a private detective. These taradiddles became popular best-sellers, especially to the sections not well-conversant with English literature or who wanted a fresh taste in their local milieu.

When I was requested by my publisher to write my first murder-thriller CHAKRA, later translated in English as FULCRUM, a few queries buzzed in my mind.

  1. Whenever a death occurs, who investigates the case – the police or the private investigator (no matter how intelligent and modern he may be in fictitious sagas?
  2. After a murder, who would walk to a private detective, when police are there to carry out the primary investigation?
  3. Do private investigators (mind you they are normal citizens with same rights and restrictions as others) have same access to police records, forensic report etc.?
  4. Can they tap telephone conversations and access internet exchanges, i.e. social media and internet calls?
  5. Have they access bank accounts, insurance details or any other confidential details?

The answer was an obvious ‘NO’. If so, how could a private detective become the central theme of a novel, when his identity is ambiguous and apocryphal? If that is logical, in 21st century, no author could get away with some an absurd fiction. Fiction has to be realistic, believable, pertaining to the present. In conversation with a renowned figure, in an hour-long lecture to a ‘class-room student’ without any logic or know how, he further harped his credibility as a ‘Criminologist’. To my humble medical knowledge, one who is qualified in Forensic Psychiatry can call himself a Criminologist.

I thought, even if the investigation is done by known bodies at different corners of the country, there might be a mingle of persons trying to solve the murder-mystery. Each would have a positive input and finally one could imbibe those ideas and crack the final jackpot. They may not be a part of the investigative machinery. As much as the reader or the viewer is on the lookout for the murderer with the motive, he could be in lookout for the final emergent, out of lot. I also felt the customary murder weapons like a pistol, knife etc. could be sacrificed to modern scientific ways of murder based on my medical knowledge.

The end result was a maverick murder-mystery-thriller, which would keep the readers gripped until climax. Soon after CHAKRA or FULCRUM, I wrote another adrenaline charged international thriller PURSUIT and ETERNAL MAYHEM, an international thriller of scientific genome research, in light of my new concept.

For those orthodox, it might be difficult to shred their pre-formed concepts and come to terms with the harsh reality of the 21st century. But reality demands, realistic fiction, not abstruse fictitious tale-tales. We cannot be swayed by non-realistic approach to a scientific and logical investigative apparatus. With all due respects to past global best-sellers, wouldn’t it be wiser to evolve with the realistic upcoming era?
Chakra (Second Edition Front Page)

Fulcrum CoverPursuit (Low Resolution)

Eternal Mayhem

Conundrum (Front Page)

জননী মহাবিশ্ব

অ্যামেরিকার নারী পত্রিকায় প্রকাশিত মে-জুন ২০১৬  

“মা আমাদের পূর্ণ উচ্চারণ, প্রথম পুণ্য অনুভব। 

মাগো যেদিকে চাই, সেদিকে রয়েছ তুমি। 

তুমি শুভ প্রতীক, জীবনবোধের অবারিত বাসভূমি। 

তুমি ভোরের আলোয় ভরা পবিত্রতার চেনা মুখ। 

স্নিগ্ধ, শান্ত, প্রসন্নতার চিরসুখ। 

ভবনে থেকেও তুমি ভুবনগামী।

মাগো যেদিকে চাই, সেদিকে রয়েছ তুমি। 

একটু চোখের আড়াল হলে অভিমানে বহুদূর।

ক্ষমায় আপন তুমি মোহন বাঁশির মিঠে সুর। 

অন্তরে থেকে তুমি অন্তর্যামী। 

মাগো যেদিকে চাই, সেদিকে রয়েছ তুমি”

পুণ্য অনুভূতির জীবনবোধের উৎস ধাত্রীর ঔরস। বিশ্বব্যাপ্তির চেতনা থেকে অবারিত শান্তির কোলে পাথেয়। সেই মা শব্দটির পরিধি অসীম।

ঔরসের নিশ্চিন্ত বাতাবরণ থেকে ধরিত্রীর প্রথম আলোয় সহায়, তার ছোঁয়া তো কেবল জন্মলগ্ন থেকে নয়। জন্ম দিয়েছিলে আমাকে। স্তন-দুগ্ধ দিয়ে অন্নপ্রাশনের প্রথম অন্ন তুলে, জরা ব্যাধি থেকে আড়াল করেছিলে দুগ্ধের প্রতিরোধক শক্তির অপার মহিমায়। কথা শিখেছিলাম তোমার মিষ্টিমধুর বোলে। হাঁটতে শিখেছিলাম তোমার হাতে, হাত ধরে। প্রস্তুত করেছিলে জীবনযুদ্ধে একা চলতে। ‘মা গো মা এলাম তোমার কোলে, তোমার ছায়ায় তোমার মায়ায় মানুষ হব বলে’ 

মাতৃত্ব তো জীবন গতির নির্ধারিত চিরায়িত প্রবাহ নয়। নানা রূপে, নানা রঙে, নানা চেতনার তার প্রকাশ। জীবনের প্রতি মুহূর্তে। নানা সুর-রং-ছন্দ-অনুভবে তার বিকাশ। অবকাশের মধ্যেও, সান্ত্বনার স্নিগ্ধ শান্ত বাতাস। ‘বাবা বাছার’ বাইরেও বৃহত্তর জীবনে, তার পূর্ণতার প্রতিভাস। নাই বা রইল ‘ঘুম পাড়ানি মাসিপিসি মোদের বাড়ি এস’ কিংবা ‘আয় আয় চাঁদ মামা খোকার কপালে টিপ দিয়ে যা’ শিশুকালের ঘুম পাড়ানি গান। ভোর হলে জাগাতে নতুন চেতনায় – বিশ্বের মুখোমুখি একা। তবুও পেছন থেকে অদৃশ্য ভরসা “বাছা তোকে তো তৈরি করেছি বিশ্বের মুখোমুখি দাঁড়াবার। পারবি না, আমাকে ছাড়া?”

সেই কবেকার কথা। বহুদিন আগে বেলুড় মঠে সন্ধেটা কাটাতে গেছিলাম। গঙ্গার পাড়ে একা বসে তাকিয়ে ছিলাম দিনান্তে ক্ষীণ হওয়া সূর্যের দিকে। আস্তে আস্তে আকাশের আলো কমে আসছিল। একটা দুটো করে তারা ফুটে উঠছিল আকাশের ক্যানভাসে। গঙ্গার জল ধীরে ধীরে কালচে আকার নিচ্ছে। দূরে দক্ষিণেশ্বরের দিক থেকে একটা নৌকো পাল তুলে ভেসে আসছে। রাতের আঁচলটা আস্তে  আস্তে  হাওয়ায় উড়ে উড়ে ছড়িয়ে পড়েছে। সন্ধ্যা নামছে, ধীর পায়ে। ক্লান্ত অবসন্নতার শিথিল আচ্ছাদন বিছিয়ে। আকাশের এঘর ওঘর সেঘরের দরজা খুলে, সব ঘরেই একটা একটা করে, মৃদু তারার মোমবাতি জ্বালিয়ে দিচ্ছে।

মুগ্ধ হয়ে তাকিয়েছিলাম। হঠাৎ মনে হল, এই সন্ধ্যার সঙ্গে মায়ের যেন কোথায় যেন একটা অদ্ভুত মিল। সারাদিন হুটপাটি করে বাচ্চারা ঘরে ফিরেছে। শ্রান্ত ক্লান্ত অসহায়। মা তাদের আসার পথ চেয়ে ঘরে ঘরে দিয়া জ্বালিয়ে বসে। কখন ওরা এসে মায়ের কোলে লুটোপুটি খাবে। সন্ধ্যার আঁধার যেন মায়ের ঘন কালো চুল। মা আর সন্ধ্যা একাকার। দুচোখে হঠাৎই ভীষণ জ্বালা। চোখে জল। গোধূলির শেষ রশ্মি তখন গঙ্গার ওপর বিদায়বেলার শেষ আলোর আভা ছড়িয়ে ঢলে পড়েছে পশ্চিম দিগন্তে। রাগ ভূপালির শেষ রেশটা টেনে দিচ্ছে অস্তগামী সূর্যের নিঃশেষ হয়ে যাওয়া আলোর দিগন্তে। বর্ণহীন অন্ধকার আবার সেজে উঠছে নতুন বর্ণের আভরণে। কালো শাড়িতে ঢাকা ঘোমটা তোলা মা, সন্ধ্যাপ্রদীপ জ্বালাতে গিয়ে থমকে গেছে। ওপাশের দাওয়ায় শিশুটির কান্না তুলসীতলার প্রাঙ্গণ থেকে তাকে ফিরিয়ে এনেছে উঠোনের আঙিনায়। সেই কান্না বেলুড় মঠের সন্ধ্যারতির কাসরঘন্টার থেকেও মনকে বেশি করে নাড়া দিয়ে যায়। এ তো ছোট্ট একটা অবলা শিশুর করুণ মিনতিতে তার মা’কে কাছে পাওয়ার ডাক। এখানেই রয়েছে জীবনের আসল সন্ধ্যারতি। পূজার নৈবেদ্যর মধ্যে নয়। সন্ধ্যারতির পূজার নৈবেদ্য যেন, কোথায় মিলেমিশে গেছে, এক না শোনা অন্তরের ঝংকারে। মায়া-কায়া মিলেমিশে একাকার, মাতৃত্বের  না-চেনা সুরের ছন্দে। নব-রূপে নতুন আনন্দে। মনের গভীর অপূর্ণ অন্ধকারে আলোর স্পর্শে।

মোহন বাঁশিটা নিজের এক চিলতে আস্তানা থেকে বেরিয়ে এসেছে, বিশ্ববাসীর প্রশস্ত আলোকে, সারদা মায়ের অপার স্নেহের করুণায়। মাতৃবন্দনার প্রতীক, দেবী দুর্গা থেকে কালী নতুন আভরণে সাজছে। নতুন বেশে। প্রতীক তো আমাদেরই তৈরি বিগ্রহ, না চেনা অন্তর্যামীকে নতুন ভাবে চেনার। রূপের ঊর্ধ্বে অরূপকে, নতুন ভূষণে সাজিয়ে, নতুন সুর পূজার থালা থেকে অবচেতনের বদ্ধ কুঠরিতে। কখনো কালী মন্দিরে দেবীর বন্দনাগানে ‘মা কী আমার কালো রে…’ কখনো দুচোখ ভাসিয়ে হৃদমাঝারে কালীমূর্তির ধ্যানে ‘এ কালো সে কালো নয় গো শ্যামা, ভুলাবি কী মা মায়ার জালে?’  কৃষ্ণভক্তরা তাদের সুরে তাল মিলিয়ে গায় ‘কালাচাঁদের রূপ দেখলে কী আর কেউ ওকথা বলতে পারে?

কিন্তু মা তো আরাধ্য বিগ্রহের বাইরে একটা চেতনা, একটা অনুভূতি।

মুক্তির পথ।

শান্তির পথ।

চেতনার উত্তরণ।

শূন্যতার মধ্যে পূর্ণতার আবেশ।

সেই চেতনা নিজস্ব পরিমণ্ডল থেকে সেজে ওঠে মাতৃভূমির আরাধানায়। তাই বিবেকানন্দ কন্যাকুমারীতে বসে দেখতে পারেন অন্য এক মা’কে। জন্মভূমি মা। ভারত মাতাকে। যা, যে কোনও দেশের, যে কোনও জাতির ক্ষেত্রে সমান ভাবে প্রযোজ্য। ‘জননী জন্মভূমি স্বর্গদপি গরীয়সী’। কত যুদ্ধ লড়া হয়েছে এই জন্মভূমি ধাত্রীর জন্য। কত লোক কুর্বান দিয়েছে মাতৃভূমির মাটিতে স্বাধীনতার জন্য। ‘কলজে তোমার খাক হয়েছে মায়ের দেখে বেইজ্জত, ভাইরা লাথ কুত্তা বনে জালিম খানায় দেয় মদত, কেউ বা বলে হিন্দু বুলি, কেউ বা বলে মুসলমান , আল্লা হরি খুন হয়েছে চুপ রয়েছে দাস জবান’সেই মায়ের ডাকে একদিন বেজে উঠেছিল স্বাধীনতার দামামা এক সুস্থ জীবনের স্বপ্নে ‘স্বাধীনতা তুমি উঠনে ছড়ান মায়ের শুভ্র শাড়ির কাঁপন’– সেই মুক্তির পথ তো দেশমাতৃকার প্রতি ভালবাসা আর প্রণাম।

দেশাত্মবোধক চেতনা একদিন ছড়িয়ে বিশ্বের আঙিনায়, নব চেতনায়‘বিশ্বজন আমারে মাগিলে কে মোর আত্মপর, আমার বিধাতা আমারে জাগিলে কোথায় আমার ঘর?’  সেই চেতনার আলোকে কবে ধাত্রী ধরিত্রী হয়ে যায় অজ্ঞাতে, তখনই স্থান, কাল, সময়ের সাঁকো পেরিয়ে বিশ্ব চেতনার নতুন জাগরণ। মানবিকতার স্ফুরণ। মানুষের প্রতি শ্রদ্ধা। ‘জীবে প্রেম করে যেই জন, সেই জন সেবিছে ঈশ্বর’ সে তো বিরাট বিশ্বব্রহ্মাণ্ডের প্রতি প্রগাড় ভালবাসা। সেখানেই ব্যাপ্তি। অবচেতনের আঁধার পেরিয়ে, চেতনার আলোকে ধৌত হয়ে, প্রেমের পথে উত্তরণ।

তবুও তো চেনা হল না তাকে। কিছুটা উপলব্ধি করে দ্বন্দ্বের মধ্যে ঘুরপাক খাওয়া। অস্তিত্বে ধোঁয়াশা। তাই নিরুপায় হয়ে আবার নিজেকে সঁপে দেওয়া ‘সন্ধ্যা হল গো ও মা, সন্ধ্যা হল বুকে ধর, অতল কালো স্নেহের মাঝে, ডুবিয়ে আমায় স্নিগ্ধ কর’ – এখানেই পরাজয়। অন্ধকারে আরোহণের ব্যর্থতা। দ্বন্দ্বের সামনে দাঁড়াবার ভয়। যেখানে আপেক্ষিক স্বত্বা ঘুরপাক খাচ্ছে চেতনার চোরাবালিতে। এই দ্বন্দ্ব অতিক্রম না করে, নিজ হুতাগ্নিতে না জ্বলে, তো নির্বাণে পৌঁছন যায় না।

হাত ধরে গুটি গুটি পায় যে হাটতে শিখিয়েছিল, সে তো সীমারেখা বেঁধে দেয়নি কোথায় থামতে হবে। পথ কণ্টকাকীর্ণ। চোরাবালিতে পদে পদে স্খলনের আশংকা। জিহাদ। অস্তির সংগে নাস্তির টানাপোড়ন। শ্লেষ, অবজ্ঞা, ব্যর্থতা, পরিত্যাগ। আমিত্বমুখি চেতনার আত্মসমর্পণ। সত্তার কোলে। শুধু একটাই নিশানা। এগিয়ে যাওয়া ছেলেবেলার চাঁদমামার ছায়াঘেরা বনাঞ্চলের আঁকা বাঁকা মেঠো পথে এ পথ যে চলার পথ, থামার পথ নয়…

বারবার ফিরে ফিরে দেখতে নিজেকে। যতদিন না ক্ষুদ্র ব্যক্তিত্ব মিলেমিশে একাকার হয়ে যায় মহাবিশ্বের অধিষ্ঠিতে, যেখানে অস্তিত্বটা অনাপেক্ষিক। জীবাত্মার সংগে পরমাত্মার অবিচ্ছেদ্য মিলনে পূর্ণতা- একমেবাদ্বিতিয়ম ‘সো অহং’ । সেখানে আলো নেই তবু আলোর বন্যা, যেখানে গন্ধ নেই তবু সুগন্ধের ঝর্না, যেখানে কেউ নেই, তবু যেন কার অমৃতস্পর্শে দেহ মন আনন্দে শিহরিত হয়ে ওঠে প্রতি পলে। যেখানে স্তম্ভিত জাগ্রত মহাবিশ্ব বরণ করে নেয় সত্ত্বা আর আত্মাকে পরম স্নেহে। কানে কানে নিঃশব্দে শোনায় এক গম্ভীর প্রণবধ্বনি শান্তির আলোকে, মহাবিশ্বের পরম সত্যের অমৃত কথাঃ

‘ওঁ প্রত্যাগ্যানন্দং ব্রহ্মপুরুষং প্রণবস্বরূপং

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বিন্দুবিসর্গ bindubisarga

An unputdownable Political Thriller in Bengali by Debotosh Das

rajaguhablog

Welcome to your new home on WordPress.com

জীবনানন্দ দাশের কবিতা

অন্ধকারে জলের কোলাহল

Debraj Moulick

Dangling between Books & Films

A Bong পেটুক's quest .....

“I hate people who are not serious about meals. It is so shallow of them.” ― Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

প্যাপিরাস

সোনারতরী থেকে প্রকাশিত ওয়েব পত্রিকা

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