The Power Of Common Man: How A Group Of Individuals Electrified An Entire Village

Mission RISE: Rural India Solar Electrification is one such initiative that proves this fact. It’s one of its kinds of initiative in the nation that is entirely funded and managed by the people, for the people and of the people.

It all started in 2014 when I went on a no-money walking pilgrimage with two of my friends. It was a mad walking tour of 20 days in northern-west part of India. The idea was to connect with rural communities and explore the GUEST IS GOD attitude in our tradition.

On route, a tribal village in north Gujarat hosted us. Moved by love, we decided to do something radical in return.

Khatisitra is a little tribal village that had been in dark since time immemorial. They had never seen electricity and were using kerosene to light lamps. The monthly income of the household isn’t even INR 1,000 and using kerosene was expensive and very hazardous to the forest too. On top of this, villages have many other problems. For e.g. child marriage, deforestation, stealing wood, land issues and the scariest of them—the danger of their existence being wiped off.

Our small team took up the cause to light up the village; decided not to wait for the leaders and to do it alone. With the support of the village mentor, we decided to do a solar electrification of the entire village with the support of common public. The cost was determined to be around INR 350,000 and we crowd funded the whole campaign.

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The villagers raised half the cost, the rest was raised with support of micro-donations from ordinary people—friends, drivers, security guards, rag pickers, police officers, eunuch, and once even a beggar donated a small amount. A local vendor assembled the solar lighting kits for 100 families on no-profit-no-loss basis. Thus, the entire tribal village was lit up early this year and for the first time they saw electricity in their homes.

The village mentor has started a home school. The school runs on Gandhian philosophy; based on value education. The children are bright but often face problems of getting short of stationery and books but they’re quite enthusiastic about learning new things and learning about the world outside their tribal village.

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Rural tourism is a fast growing industry—in India—and can bring change. After the solar electrification, the team decided to create an opportunity for Eco-Tourism in this pristine tribal area and make this as new spot for tourism in the state. This generates a little income for the villagers and helps uplift them; economically and socially.

If determined, one can achieve anything and we proved this. Around 8,000 villages in India need electricity and such a community group can make a difference. Believe me, everyone can make a difference and everyone must try.

मर रहा है

india

क्या हाल बताऊँ देश का ?
देश में लगता है भगवान मर रहा है |
वहाँ मेरा किसान मर रहा है,
वहाँ मेरा जवान मर रहा है |

कौनसे मज़हब की बात बताऊँ ?
मज़हब तो भूखे गिद् खा गए |
वहाँ मेरा हिंदू मर रहा है,
वहाँ मेरा मुसल्मान मर रहा है

हर एक दौड़ में है,
बाँट रहे है अपनी सरहदें चुपचाप |
वहाँ मेरा रेगिस्तान मर रहा है,
वहाँ मेरा गुलिस्तां मर रहा है |

एक कोख से जन्म लिया पर,
दोनों बच्चे निकले कितने अजब |
वहाँ मेरा हिंदूस्तान मर रहा है,
वहाँ मेरा पाकिस्तान मर रहा है |

 

मैंने काला रंग चढ़ा रखा है

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दुनिया ने खूब पंगा पड़ा रखा है,
इसलिए मैंने काला रंग चढ़ा रखा है |

बेकार ही ज़िंदगी को मुअम्मा बना रखा है,
इसलिए मैंने काला रंग चढ़ा रखा है |

दिल में इतनी नफरत का लोहा जड़ा रखा है,
इसलिए मैंने काला रंग चढ़ा रखा है |

सब ने सफ़ेद रंग में अपना रंग लगा रखा है,
इसलिए मैंने काला रंग चढ़ा रखा है |

मैंने अपने आप को अजब बना रखा है,
इसलिए मैंने काला रंग चढ़ा रखा है |

मैं तुम्हे नहीं बोलता

lost

मैं तुम्हे नहीं बोलता, तुम मुझे क्यों बोलते हो ?
छोडो मुझे, मेरी ज़िंदगी में क्यों ज़हर घोलते हो ?
मैं तो तुम्हे नहीं कहता बदलने को ?

तुम मुझे क्यों बदलने को बोलते हो ?
मैं तुम्हे नहीं बोलता, तुम मुझे क्यों बोलते हो ?

मेरे दिल की जानिब क्या ताकते रहते हो ?
अपने सड़े हुए दिल को क्यों नहीं टटोलते हो ?
मैं तुम्हे नहीं बोलता, तुम मुझे क्यों बोलते हो ?

मैं अजब हूँ, तुम अलग हो, सब अलग-अलग,
मुझे क्यों पुराने तराज़ू में तोलते हो ?
मैं तुम्हे नहीं बोलता, तुम मुझे क्यों बोलते हो ?

While My Parents Were Dying, I Was Living On Her TV Serial

It was during 1995 when Ravi Rai—the man who revolutionized Indian television—launched Sailaab on Zee TV. This television serial took away hearts of millions of youth; including me. I was just 15 then, fresh in college and the zephyr—sorry, but I just got to know about this word and can’t resist using it—touched me too.

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The almost first love and this television serial was the rage of my life back then. That television serial had been my all-time favorite till I saw this television serial named Jackson Heights; in 2015. By this time, I was 35 and had made a false conclusion that there can’t be any other better story-teller than Ravi; especially on television and there can’t be any other serial better than Sailaab.

But I was proved wrong, and I am glad I was.

The person or the television serial that proved me wrong needs no introduction. In fact, I maybe the last one talking about it.

I am such a fool.

The director of the television serial Jackson Heights needs no introduction from a drugged mushroom like me. One can find 10^63 articles on her; on the internet. Her glory and appreciation is all over the internet. She or her work doesn’t need any introduction. Then, why am I writing this blog post?

Good question.

The answer is simple. I am writing this blog post because you’ll not find my perspective in those articles. This is my blog and you’ll find my reflection about her because Mehreen Jabbar has left a deep impact in my life.

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And believe me this blog post isn’t about glorifying her work or something like that. That the whole world is talking but this blog post is something personal and goes beyond glorification.

I have seen some of her films and other television serials—and strongly suggest you to do so. She has a magic in her that others don’t; in my opinion. She chooses the right characters for the right story and puts in the tight moments that take your breath away.

You might also miss a heartbeat or two while watching some of her television serials. I promise.

It was 2015. Both my parents were in hospital and both were taking their last breaths; while waiting for death to arrive. Like a good soon, I was around 24 X 7 but like a regular human—helpless. There was nothing much that could have been done so my task was just to hang around. This is the time that I had to pass a lot of time and my friend Sonal suggested me to watch Jackson Heights on internet.

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Immediately, I watched the first episode she sent me and I was hooked up after watching it. The story and the characters were so real and so relevant. Each character was designed so beautifully with his or her private traps. I have become a lifetime fan of the taxi-driver played by Noman Ijaz.

I used to watch few episodes everyday along with my wife. It was the only thing that gave us solace I this hour of examination and turmoil.

This television serial—along with my dying parents—had become my life. It became an integral part of my life. So much that, the end time of both the parallels were almost same. Both, the television serial and my parents came to an end together.

Such is life.

This is the power of a beautiful creation; it becomes your life. You can’t tell that it is in you or you are in it.

But whatever happened, had to happen. It’s all for the best.

Not that all the credit can be given to the director alone, because it’s huge team effort but the director, as a thread, hold all the pearls together. Also, not that Sailaab is not my favorite anymore but Jackson Heights has also taken that top place.

There’s no point comparing because both of them are different and same in many ways. But, Mehreen has certainly made a special place in my heart.

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Some people are born once in an aoen; only once. Mehreen is one of them. I feel same for other people from different fields. Although, we all are unique but blessed are the ones who you feel to meet once before you die.

These are the people who are legends!

My mother had this feeling for Bollywood star of the millennium and I made her dream come true before she could leave her body.

I wish I can meet her once and take her autograph in my autograph book. Sorry, I am one of those ancient types but I have autographs of many whom I have admired; a lot of them.

Another aspect of Mehreen is that her work has bought two countries together. We had been watching Pakistani dramas before but her television serials bought a revolution in common households. Suddenly, everyone is talking about Pakistani television now-a-days. Maybe there’s not much love for cross-border relations but there are names of television serials on everyone’s tongue; and some of them are directed by her.

Isn’t this magic?

I think it’s pure magic that something beautiful is being created that wasn’t possible  by the governments—of both countries—in more than seven decades.

The canvas of love and indifference is changing.

I believe that the renaissance of peace is around the corner; especially with creators, thinkers and artist like Mehreen—I see a lot of hope, compassion and loving-kindness.

Godspeed.

 

मैं रक़्क़ासा

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मैं रक़्क़ासा मेरे यार की |
मैं शौक़ीन मेरे प्यार की |

मेरी आँखें गोया हज़ार माहताब,
जन्नत अधूरी मिसाल मेरे निगार की |

शराब ने सीखा मुझसे पीना,
नशा बात करता मेरे ख़ुमार की |

मुझसे है ये कायनात ज़ायेदा,
दीवाने रह तकते मेरे इक़रार की |

तेरा-मेरा मिलना तो तय था,
देख दास्ताँ मेरे क़रार की |

मैं इश्क़, कहीं फ़ना न हो जाऊं,
इम्तिहान मत लेना मेरे प्यार की |

दिलबर तुझ पर लूटा दूंगी,
पत्तियां सब मेरे चिनार की |

हर हयात में करेगी अजब,
दुनिया मेरे मज़ार की |

मैं पशेमान हूँ, मैं इंसान हूँ

madness

मैं पशेमान हूँ, मैं इंसान हूँ |
मैं पशेमान हूँ, मैं इंसान हूँ |

मैं घायल, मैं बेलगाम हूँ |
ऐसा भी नहीं के बेज़ुबान हूँ |
मैं पशेमान हूँ, मैं इंसान हूँ |

ना मैं काबा, ना कब्रिस्तान हूँ |
ना दरिया, ना रेगिस्तान हूँ |
मैं पशेमान हूँ, मैं इंसान हूँ |

मैं ना हिंदू, ना मुसल्मान हूँ |
ना पाक-ए-स्तान, ना हिंद-उस-तान हूँ |
मैं पशेमान हूँ, मैं इंसान हूँ |

मैं तो अजब हूँ, आदमी आम हूँ
मैं तो सिर्फ दो पल का मेहमान हूँ |
मैं पशेमान हूँ, मैं इंसान हूँ |