Anupam Sen Gupta
LETTER TO MY AUNT
Please Note : Pishimoni (Bangla) - बआु (Father’s Sister) / Dadu (Bangla) - Grandfather
The last time I met you was 22 years ago. And my first memory of you is when I was around 4 years old.
We all had gone to Darjeeling for Dadu’s 85th birthday. The entire family was there. You lived in Darjeeling with Dadu those days, helping underprivileged kids receive education at the Tibetan Refugee Centre.
In between what is common is that we both were born, not by choice though, in a Bengali Bourgeois family with our hearts in the values of Proleteriasm.
I remember how you were segregated from the family when you were arrested for protesting for farmer rights. By the time you were outcast, I had picked up the guitar, influenced by Hippie aesthetic music.
I was already singing Marley’s, “Get Up Stand Up, Stand Up for Your Rights” and Dylan’s, ‘“Blowing in the Wind”. I was writing poetry too.
Those days, playing guitar, growing hair, wearing denims was almost sacrilege in the otherwise orthodox core Bengali society. Mothers told their kids not to be friends with me as I was a bad influence. While this was happening to me, you would give fiery speeches at various neighbourhood morchas.
I remember the day the ruling political party in power hurled bombs at you. You were giving a speech at a morcha very close to our house. I could hear your voice through the megaphone but by the time I reached the spot, the bombs were hurled and you were hurried to a hospital with 2nd degree burns.
And what a coincidence, I was playing at a concert in Ranchi a week after and somebody hurled a local bomb causing minor fire in the auditorium. Needless to say, the cops had to call off the concert.
You never had a problem with Tagore’s works or with Tagore but you always had a problem with people who institutionalised Tagore. I remember you saying that we, as a community, have arrested our own growth and taken refuge in his works to envelope our own failures, by pretence of being connoisseurs of his works.
I remember how you spent time with me and helped me to come out of depression when my efforts to create a bridge of cultural exchange between two Bengals failed and people, both in Calcutta and Dhaka, started calling me a foreign agent with an ulterior motive. I did have an ulterior motive. Even after 70 years, I still haven’t accepted the partition of India.
Your take on religious rituals and celebrations still echoes with my own sentiments. I don’t believe in any shape of God. Nor do I believe in idol worshiping. Like you, I believe that the energy within and without is all about Particle and Quantum physics. The structure of the conscious core of the Universe and our body is exactly the same.
Let me ask you this. I fail to understand why only 3 odd percent of our consciousness works. What about the rest ? Who has fire-walled it ? And why ? Are we galactic prisoners of an advanced civilisation sent on exile to Earth after deleting most of our memories ? Science has started calling this ‘Junk DNA’ that holds a huge amount of memories from before the birth of our Universe. But we do not know how to access it ? No. There are methods that deal with sonic vibrations and geometric patterns. Would love to know your thoughts.
Remember how my friends and our family criticised me for dropping out from school ? I was not interested in education. I was and am still hungry for awareness but not a fan of regimental methods of education. How has Trigonometry helped me in my life ?? My interest was in learning the grammar of music, writing and cinema. My interest was in feeling the Universe with my senses.
Well, now they laugh when I tell them that Goddess Kali is the symbolic representation of the black hole, inside which our known Universe exists. She isn’t standing on Shiv. But that’s the representation of space time. The fifth dimension. And our black hole lives in another black hole and the saga continues
The science that we have discovered or invented so far is God and the God that we still haven’t discovered or invented so far is science. Even Swami Ananda Bharati said that in a gathering. That God and Science are not two different things but God is science that we are very slowly figuring out.
Talking about Swami Ananda Bharati, do you remember how much you scolded me when I had run away from home for the first time and was living in a village crematorium with Swamij, far far away from Calcutta.
Yes, that’s the only area where we disagreed. Swami Ananda Bharti was the head of Azad Hind Volunteers and was spreading the spirit of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. As a part of the organization, we always knew that Netaji had never died in any plane crash. Actually, there was no plane crash. To me, he’s the spirit of change and hope.
But your movement disagreed with our movement and didn't let Indians soak in the glory of Netaji. Instead, he was called General Tojo’s dog. We betrayed him though there are recent claims of him dying as Swami Hanuman Giri or Gumnami Baba in 1985 is Faridabad. I have my strong thoughts here but that’s for another time.
When I finally walked out of the pressures of living my family’s failed dreams of me graduating to the scion of the family, you gave me shelter before I left for the mountains. After that I completely lost touch with you. I really don’t know why I had isolated myself for 22 years. Maybe, I was angry with my roots. I agree that I didn’t have to be aggressive to be a rebel. But you too took to the streets against the wishes of your family to say what you had to say when nobody was paying any attention when you kept the decibels low.
Anyways, when I came back to urban life, I wrote a book about a few powerful experiences that I have traveled through. I knew that you too were writing a book about how all your sacrifices and vision for a better India had failed. How your own philosophy had failed. Why you resigned from Parliamentary politics and were leading a secluded life. Sad but true.
No one will ever remember the changes that you brought in the political system or my labor of love with Azad Hind Volunteers to drive self respect and awareness in the depths of our country.
Anyways, I requested my publisher to mail you the first copy of my book but I got a mail in the morning saying that the receiver is dead. Died a couple of days back.
Till we meet again. Pranam,
(disclaimer - images have been sourced from the internet. we dont have any claim on them. used as reference)