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AN UNGRATEFUL NATION HAS VIRTUALLY UNTIED WITH NATIONAL POETS’S RELATION !




by G. S. JOHAR


December 12, 1964---the National Poet of India, Maithili Sharan Gupta, passed away ; December 12, 2007---none remembered him, as usual, and that day crossed away. If any body in whole of the country could have remember him, that might have been just by the way. It is sad to note that this great poet of India on his remembrance day—December 12--- could not create any news either in TV, radio, or even in a Hindi newspaper. It’s a matter of ‘National Shame’, but who is to blame ? Even in the country’s Rajya Sabha where Maithili Sharan Gupta, as its member spent many years, and where he used his sparkling poetry to put his opinions before the other members, failed to remember him (as per my information). He had remained a member of the Rajya Sabha till his death in 1964.



That “India respects poets”, this claim every years goes into flame. Between the fateful day of December 12, 1964, and December 12, 2007, forty two other twelve-Decembers had come and gone, but ungratefully we never duly respected our National Poet as a true icon. Thankfully, however, the Govt. of India did issue a postage stamp of 25 paise denomination, on July 3, 1974---exactly one month before his 108th birth anniversary.




Thirty years ago, in the second week of October, 1977, while passing through the Kanpur-Jhansi Ntional Highway-25, the author of this article ( GSJ ) specially took a halt at the very small town—Cirgaon—about 30 kilometers from Jhansi, and enquired from the local people about the location of the grave of Maithili Sharan Gupta. Althoug author was immediately taken to the poet’s grave by some one, but as soon as the author saw it he was aghast and shocked, and could not believe that any country’s national poet’s grave could be in that shattered and dilapidated state. The shocked author could not resist himself from writing a letter to the leading newspaper of Uttar Pradesh, National Herald , published from Lucknow. Here under, the author is reproducing his letter that was published in the People’s Forum, on October 25, 1977 :




PEOPLE’S FORUM

National Herald ( Lucknow )

Tuesday, October 25, 1977




National Poet’s Grave

Sir,---William Shakespeare described a grave---the eternal rest place of a dead individual---as the house that lasts till dooms day ; Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was of the opinion that graves were the footprints of angels ; William Blake described grave as a heaven’s golden gate. These sayings might be true in Europe, America and elsewhere, but unfortunately never in our country. It is a matter of utmost regret and shame that the grave of our most revered verse writer and National Poet---Maithili Sharan Gupta---is today lying in the most dilapidated and shattered condition at “Chirgaon” on the Kanpur-Jhansi National Highway. The grave of the man who served as the most dedicated volunteer in the field of Hindi poetry, created more than 60 priceless “granths”, won the prestigious Mangla Prasad Paritoshik, was nominated as member of Rajya Parishad by the country’s President, now appears to be a million years old excavated piece. There is no body to look after it. The small terrace like grave is now only a heap of bricks. Dust is everywhere. There is not even a name plate on the grave that could possibly guide any stray visitor to that place. This is the way---the Indian style of remembering our great men.


At the time of poet’s death in 1964 the whole nation was in tears. Big talks were held in order to raise a monument in the memory of the departed poet. But alas, only a small grave was erected at his birth place, Chirgaon, in Jhansi District. Probably a trust was also constituted to look after the grave. Up to 1966 the grave had a regular shape, but thereafter from 1967 to-date---there has been none to care for it. The grave has not been dusted even during the past decade ! A substantial amount of royalty is being paid by the publishers on Mr. Gupta’s publications. Some of this amount could be easily availed for the maintenance of Mr. Gupta’s grave, but unfortunately a litigation is going on between the son and nephew of the late poet on the question of who is to receive the royalty ?



G. S. JOHAR




After the publication of the author’s above letter there was some impact, and some remedial measures were taken, and the grave of the national poet was given some shape and figure. But still the grave has not been given that beauty, respect, and importance that it deserves. The spot where the grave lies still goes unnoticed by tens of thousands of people that pass by that Highway daily.




I request the poets of today, as well as non-poet readers of this article, to put forward their views so that the govt. of India could be requested for the uplifting of that place so as to make it a place of national tourism. After all Mithili Sharan Gupta was (probably as per my personal knowledge) the only personality to have been decorated with the crown of “National Poet”, and even after his death the crown has not been transferred on to any other eligible person.




The American philosopher, Benjamin Franklin [ 1706-1790 ], in his poetry, “Paper”, had virtually described the same treatment to poets, as has been given to Miathili Sharan Gupta. Franklin’s poetry says :




WHAT ARE OUR POETS, TAKE THEM AS THEY FALL,

GOOD, BAD, RICH, POOR, MUCH-READ, NOT-READ AT ALL ?

THEM AND THEIR WORKS IN THE SAME CLASS YOU’LL FIND---

THEY ARE THE MERE WASTEPAPER OF MANKIND.



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