The proud Pishachas – an excerpt from my upcoming book –

an excerpt from my upcoming book Kurukshetra Yuddha part 2

गौरवान्वित निशाचर

रात्रि का अन्धकार बढ़ने लगा था। चहुँ ओर रणभूमि में फिर से निशाचर और हिंसक जीव जन्तु आ गए।

सियार, गिद्ध, कौव्वे, कुत्ते रणभूमि में फैलते चले गए। सभी पशु पहले मृत पड़े पशुओं पर टूट पड़े। जितने भी गजराजों, अश्वों के शव वहाँ पड़े थे वे सभी जन्तु उन शवों को घसीट घसीट कर खाने लगे। उन्होने उन शवों का रक्त और फिर वसा का भोग किया। फिर उन्होने मृत पशुओं की आँखें और फिर अन्तड़ियों को काटना आरम्भ किया। पशुओं का भक्षण करने वाले उन जानवरों ने अभी तक मृत पड़े योद्धाओं की ओर देखना आरम्भ नहीं किया उन्हे भय था कि अभी कोई योद्धा उठकर अपने शस्त्र उठा लेगा। उस रणभूमि में गिरा एक एक योद्धा महान्‌ था। वे उनके शवों की ओर आक्रमण करने का साहस नहीं जुटा पा रहे थे। ये साहस तो कोई और ही जुटाएगा।

 

थोड़ी ही देर में निशाचर पिशाचों की टोली भी वहाँ आ गई। वे दिखने में बड़े भयानक थे। प्रतिदिन युद्ध समाप्त होने पर वे रणभूमि में आ जाते थे और मनुष्य के मांस का भक्षण करते थे। प्रातःकाल में सूर्योदय से पहले बहुत से ब्राह्मण ब्रह्मचारियों की टोलियां योद्धाओं के शव निकाल कर दूर ले जाया करती थी। इस कारण उनके पास समय केवल ब्रह्म मूहुर्त से पहले तक का ही होता था। प्रतिदिन इतने सारे योद्धा मारे जाते थे कि भोजन की कभी कमी ही नहीं हुई और ना ही समय की।

पिशाचों के आते ही वे हिंसक पशु घबराकर उनके लिए मार्ग बनाने लगे। एक बार वे पिशाच किसी योद्धा का मांस खाना आरम्भ करेंगे तो उन्हे यह विश्वास हो जाएगा कि वह योद्धा वास्तव में मारा गया है। उसके पश्चात्‌ ही वे वहाँ अपना मुँह मारेंगे।

 

किन्तु आज बात कुछ और थी। आज कोई भी पिशाच किसी भी मृत मनुष्य को पकड़कर नहीं खा रहा था। आज उन सभी पिशाचों में कोई और ही होड़ लगी हुई थी। सभी उन शवों के ढ़ेर में शवों को इधर उधर कर रहे थे मानो कुछ ढ़ूँढ़ रहें हों।

मुझे मिल गयाऽऽऽअचानक एक पिशाच ने कहा और अन्य सभी पिशाच तुरन्त वहाँ पहुँच गए।

जब उस पिशाच ने शवों के ढ़ेर में से अभिमन्यु का शव खींच कर बाहर निकाला। उसके लम्बे बाल उसके मुख पर आ गए थे। उसका मुख अब मांस का एक लोथड़ा ही रह गया था। उसके हाथ पैर रक्त से भरे हुए थे। उसकी गदा उसके पास ही पड़ी थी। जो पिशाच उसका शव खींच कर बाहर निकाल रहा था उसके मुख पर एक अनोखा तेज सा आ गया मानो उसे कोई गड़ा धनकोष मिल गया हो।

हे वीर अभिमन्यु उन निशाचरों ने एक साथ कहा हमारा भी प्रणाम स्वीकार करो। कहते हुए सभी ने उसके शव के सामने हाथ जोड़ लिए।

abhi-z-dead-body

 

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Legends of India 06: The Shunga Period

The advent of Buddhism and Jainism played a great role in shaping the history of India in 2nd century BC. Pushyamitra Shunga, the commander of the last Mauryan king Brihadratha killed the king, in the first of its kind act of regicide. The times were changing, society was changing, old ways were dying to make path for new corrupted ways. Read out the full analysis of the Shunga Period, of-course with my sketches here:

http://netra-creative-vision.blogspot.in/2015/09/decline-of-vedic-lifestyle-shunga.html

shunga empire

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The longing of Laxman – An excerpt from Kurukshetra Yuddha-2, Ardhasatya

…………………………………….

दुर्योधन के जाने के पश्चात्‌ लक्ष्मण बहुत देर वहीं उसके तम्बू के बाहर खड़ा रहा। चहुँ ओर से उसे सन्तुष्ठ क्षत्रियों के स्वर सुनाई देने लगे। सम्शप्तकों की प्रतिज्ञा से आश्वस्त वे योद्धा फिर से मदिरा और स्त्रियों में मग्न हो गए जैसे पौ फटते ही सम्शप्तकों के हाथों अर्जुन मारा जाएगा। लक्ष्मण का मन अब भी उद्विग्न था। उसे ऐसे किसी सानिध्य की आशा थी जो उसे वैसे ही ज्ञान की बातें बताएं जैसे भीष्म बताते थे। किन्तु बहुत सोच कर भी उसे किसी भी क्षत्रिय का दामन इतना पवित्र नहीं जान पड़ रहा था जितना भीष्म का था। भीष्म के सानिध्य में मिलने वाला ज्ञान और शान्ति कदाचित्‌ उनके अनुभव और आयु का ही प्रभाव होगा, लक्ष्मण ने सोचा।

पितामह अकेले ही तो वयोवृद्ध और अनुभवी योद्धा नहीं थे। कौरवों के इस शिविर में पितामह से भी वृद्ध योद्धा हैं।

यही सोचकर वह तेजी से डग भरता हुआ यहाँ वहाँ देखने लगा। सभी योद्धा यहाँ वहाँ जा रहे थे। सभी ने केवल अन्तरीय पहना था और युद्ध के घावों पर रात्रि की हवा लगने दे रहे थे। कुछ योद्धा अग्नि के समक्ष बैठे मदिरा पान कर रहे थे कुछ अपने तम्बुओं में आनन्द ले रहे थे।

लक्ष्मण ऊँचा ऊँचा सिर करता हुआ आगे बढ़ता गया। उसे जिनकी तलाश थी उन्हे ढूँढने के लिए उसे ऊँचा ही देखना होगा। अचानक उसे दूर कहीं तम्बुओं के पीछे बालों से भरा हुआ एक सिर दिखा जो हिल रहा था। और उसी स्थान से कर्णभेदी चिंघाड़ने की आवाजें आ रहीं थी। लक्ष्मण उसी ओर बढ़ा। वहाँ पहुँच कर उसने देखा। बहुत सारे हाथियों को वहाँ रखा गया था और उनके घावों पर लेप किया जा रहा था। उन सभी हाथियों में एक हाथी सबसे अधिक विशाल था। उसी का सिर उसे तम्बुओं के पीछे से दिख रहा था। वह बैठा हुआ भी किसी रथ की ऊँचाई से ऊँचा दिख रहा था। उस हाथी का नाम सौप्तिक था। उस हाथी को उसके स्वामी महाराज भगदत्त अपने हाथों से उसे भोजन करा रहे थे।

लक्ष्मण ने देखा सौप्तिक के निकट ही अनेकों हाथियों को रखा गया था और बहुत से योद्धा उन हाथियों पर चढ़कर उन पर बैठने का अभ्यास कर रहे थे।

उसने देखा कि उसके काका दुर्मषण और दुर्मुख भी एक एक हाथी पर बैठे थे। सभी जानते थे दोनों ही कौरव भाई हाथियों की पीठ पर बैठ कर युद्ध करने में कुशल थे। उनके ठीक नीचे गान्धार के वीर योद्धा अचल और वृषक खड़े थे। उन्होने जैसे ही लक्ष्मण की ओर देखा वे मुस्कुराने लगे।

लक्ष्मण!” अचल ने कहा देखो अपने काका को, हाथी पर यूं चढ़े बैठे हैं जैसे कोई बालक हों।

लक्ष्मण उनके निकट आया। उसने अचल और वृषक से पूछा ये सब क्या है? क्या कल के व्यूह में गज सेना सबसे आगे होगी?”

वृषक ने कहा आचार्य ने अर्जुन को दूर रखने के लिए सम्शप्तकों को तैयार कर लिया है। अर्जुन के पश्चात्‌ यदि कोई धर्मराज युधिष्ठिर की आचार्य से रक्षा में सक्षम हैं तो वो हैं भीम। भीम और उसके राक्षस पुत्र घटोत्त्कच को उलझाने के लिए आचार्य ने गज सेना को आगे रखने को कहा है। तुम्हारे काका दुर्मषण और दुर्मुख दोनों ही गज सेना का संचालन कर सकते हैं। वे उस सेना का नेतृत्त्व करेंगे। मैं और अचल इसी सेना के साथ का भाग बनकर सहस्त्रों रथों द्वारा इसकी रक्षा करेंगे।

भीमसेन ने कलिंग की गज सेना का अकेले ही सफाया कर दिया थालक्ष्मण ने याद दिलाया।

किन्तु इस बार नहीं लक्ष्मण !” दुर्मषण ने हाथी पर बैठे हुए चिल्लाते हुए कहा इस सेना के यूथपति को भीमसेन हरा नहीं पाएगा।

लक्ष्मण ने पलट कर भगदत्त की ओर देखा। सभी जानते थे कि भगदत्त गजसेना के सबसे कुशल सेनानायक हैं। वे अनुभवी हैं और उनका हाथी सौप्तिक अन्य सभी हाथियों का राजा सा दिखता है।

महाराज भगदत्त के हाथी के पैरों के नीचे आकर कल भीमसेन पिस जाएगा लक्ष्मण !” दुर्मुख ने चिल्लाते हुए कहा।

लक्ष्मण फिर वहाँ से भगदत्त की ओर बढ़ा। निकट पहुँच कर उसने देखा कि भोजन करके सौप्तिक अब सुस्ता रहा था। वह अपना सिर भूमि से टिका कर बैठा था। उसकी लम्बी सूंड किसी बहुत बड़े अजगर की भांति भूमि पर लहरा रही थी। भगदत्त थक कर सौप्तिक के निकट ही एक बड़े से पत्थर पर बैठ गए। सौप्तिक अपने बड़े बड़े कानों को हिलाकर भगदत्त को मानो हवा दे रहा था।

महाराज भगदत्त को दुर्योधन पुत्र लक्ष्मण का प्रणामलक्ष्मण ने भगदत्त को प्रणाम करते हुए कहा अब आप अपने तम्बू में जाकर विश्राम कर लीजिए महाराज!”

भगदत्त कुछ पल बिना कुछ बोले सामने की ओर देखते रहे।

लक्ष्मण ने एक पल के लिए सोचा कि भगदत्त ने कदाचित्‌ उसे सुना ही नहीं। किन्तु इससे पहले कि वह कुछ कहता भगदत्त का स्वर गूंज उठा मैं पहाड़ी व्यक्ति हूँ राजकुमार, पत्थरों पर बैठने पर ही मखमली आसन का अनुभव होता है।लक्ष्मण ने देखा। भगदत्त की वह छवि अत्यन्त भव्य दिख रही थी। मानो वे प्राग्ज्योतिष में अपने सिंहासन पर बैठे हों और उनके सेवक उन्हे पंखा दे रहे हैं। उनके सिर की पट्‍टी किसी पगड़ी के समान दिख रही थी। उस पट्‍टी से उनके माथे के बल कसे रहते थे। अन्यथा वह बल उनकी आँखों पर गिर जाएं और उन्हे दिखना बन्द हो जाए। लक्ष्मण ने सोचा कि भारतवर्ष के सबसे शक्तिशाली राजाओं में से एक महाराज भगदत्त को अपनी शक्ति का तनिक भी अभिमान नहीं है। उनके ये उच्च विचार उनकी इतनी आयु और अनुभव ने ही तो उन्होने दिए हैं। कदाचित्‌ पितामह के सानिध्य की कमी उनसे बातें करके पूरी हो जाए।……………………

(A sneak peek into my upcoming book “Kurukshetra Yuddha, Part-2, ‘Ardhasatya'”)

bhagadatta

 

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Lotiya Pathan – One of the greatest villain characters ever created

Lotiya Pathan drawn by me

Lotiya Pathan drawn by me

1980s to 1990s saw a unique era in Bollywood, when some of the greatest films were made and also some of the worst movies were made during that time. There were some films that stand out among others and for variety of reasons. One such reason was characterization. Tezaab, released in 1988, was a major hit on Box-office at that time and actually established Madhuri Dixit as the queen of Bollywood.

I like this film. This was an Indian style remake of “Streets of fire”. But there was a lot of Indianization (say Bollywood spices) added to Tezaab which made it a super hit. The songs, the acting and action and direction was all that was needed to make a film hit at that time. When I talk of acting, I am reminded of the important aspect of casting called ‘characterization’. All the characters of the film stand out in their own way.

The main villain of the film, Lotiya Pathan, played by Kiran Kumar is one of the best villainous roles I have seen in hindi films. Though no special screen space or special treatment is given to his character, but with his different scenes in the film and what other characters talk about his character in the film, his character sketch can be drawn pretty easily and it indeed stands out when we compare it with any typical hindi film villain of that era.

Lotiya Pathan was from Pathan community. He was proud of his race. He had some rules and ideals. That doesn’t mean that he was a saint drawn into bad world, no. All villains of that era were out rightly bad. They were completely evil, with no sense of any moral, and Lotiya was no exception. However, there were certain characteristics of this villain which I wish to highlight. He was wealthy but not extravagant. He didn’t drink, didn’t smoke. He was also not a womanizer. (Though that doesn’t mean he cannot kidnap the young dancer daughter of some mean drunkard whom he had lend some money and he failed to return. That mean guy played by the evergreen Anupam Kher). He was pissed off that his younger brother started taking drugs, something which no one in his entire family had done. His rules on money lending were straight: “Lotiya paise dete waqt hisaab nahi karta, aur lete wqt lihaaj nahi karta” (Lotiya never counts while lending the money and never make exceptions while collecting).

Lotiya Pathan was a deadly enemy. He would never forgive and would never forget. He had an enmity with the main protagonist Munna (Anil Kapoor) and his friend Babban (Chunky Pandey). He had to pay them back. Listen to his wonderful dialogues of retribution:

“Babban ne jo kiya wo Babban ka mujh par karz hai, aur pathan duniya chhod sakta hai lekin karz nahi chhod sakta” (What Babban did to me is what is due from my side to him and a pathan cannot die without paying his dues)

“Munna mujhe chhod kar kahan jayega, uska aur mera to khoon ka rishta hai, khoon uska, chaaku mera” (How can Munna go without me, both of us are bonded by blood, his blood and my dagger)

His ruthless retribution rules are absolute. Eye for an eye, hand for a hand, life for a life, and sister for a brother (yes, you heard the last one right!).

Even though being a ruthless and heartless villain, Lotiya Pathan still had admiration for bravery even when shown by his sworn enemies. he never shies away praising Munna’s heroic deeds when he defeats him and also challenges an armed police inspector for a man to man fight, who arrives at his place with a dozen of constables.

Lotia Pathan is never given due credit. He somehow gets lost in the magnanimity of more popular villains of Bollwood like Gabbar Singh, Mogambo, Dr. Dang, Kancha, etc. so I thought let me write something on him.

 

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Legends of India 05: King Ashoka

My next installment on Legends of India talks about the greatest king who ruled these lands. King Ashoka and his story, his legends, and of-course with my drawings. Please read the full article here:

http://netra-creative-vision.blogspot.in/2015/01/ashoka-greatest-king-of-indian-history.html

ashoka chair

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The Virtuals – The psychological Science Fiction Thriller by Anupam Sinha

Read “The Virtuals” by Anupam Sinha. This is the first text novel from the man who gave us Super Commando Dhruv. He is known as the master of fiction.

The Virtuals is a thriller which tells the story of a world of entities called VIrtuals who influence and in a way controls the lives of human beings. A young boy has a number of hallucinations of attack from strange entities on his psyche which he initially dismisses as mere nightmares. But things get serious one day when in a dream he is attacked by a dangerous man. At the same time his physical self is also showing signs of pain and torture. His close friend and a doctor try to help him. But he is actually saved by a powerful entity who has an overpowering influence on psyche of a large number of human beings on this earth. The boy is then taken to a Neurological center by the doctor for treatment. But soon the boy realizes that things are not what they seem. He is soon introduced to the world of powerful Virtuals whom human being refer to as ‘Gods’. The boy comes to know that he has to play an important role in the battle of consciences waging between two sets of Virtuals. He has to choose sides. Which side will he choose and why?

The story is wonderful and the concept is fantastic. As in his comics, Anupam Sinha manages to surprise the readers at many points. There are good twists and turns. The story gets really interesting in the middle when the boy Peat is being trained in the art of Virtuals and at the same time parallely we go through the past of the Neurologist doctor Sonya. Few characters are really interesting and the way the Virtuals try to alter scenarios in real world is really gripping. I would give a special mention of the incidence when the Virtuals try to manipulate minds of powerful men to led to a grave tense situation between two countries.

However, there are few things that could have been better. The book gets very technical right from the beginning. The detailed usages of terms associated with the Virtuals organization in the beginning leaves the reader confused as to what is happening. Its not until almost 60% read is complete that reader comes to realize the real reasons of the happenings in the story. The climax could have been better. It appears a bit lull as compared to the atmosphere building up to that point.

“The Virtuals” are for those who complain that Indians cannot come up with good concepts in Science fiction. The fans of Anupam Sinha’s comics would absolutely love it.

Here is a quick sketch as a dedication:

virtuals-blog

You can buy a copy of “The Virtuals” from here:

http://www.rajcomics.com/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.product_details&product_id=300001&Itemid=2&vmcchk=1&Itemid=2

Posted in Art, comics, fiction, India, Novel, science fiction, thriller | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bangalore Comic con 2014

I participated in the Bangalore comic con 2014, last month. It was a wonderful experience. Got to meet again lots of like minded people, Sold my art work, my books, some merchandise, etc.

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I participated as an artist in the Artist Alley. Comic con also gave me a chance to launch my new comic series “Zikr”.

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I also had print outs of my original art-works and some T-shirt printed for the same.10689725_649193278512020_7123832615823802874_n

Another unique product that we had at our stall was a card set called “Warriors on Tips”. This card set is based on my book “Kurukshetra Yuddha”. It was like a set of trump cards for the warriors who participated in the war of Mahabharata. Each card had the art work of the warrior on one side and his description, warrior classification on the back side. I observed that the card set was a major hit among the visitors who came to our stall.

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Comic con, being as lively and active as always, again proved to be a wonderful medium to get your stuff known to people. I have been participating in the various comic con events for past four years now and have observed the level of show and number of visitors increasing year on year.

Now, some observations. This year the Bangalore comic con was a paid event. Surprisingly, the crowd was even bigger. However, before the event I was checking some blogs and websites of comic book fans who had planned to skip the comic con this time. The reasons most of them gave was that there are more merchandise than comics in these cons.

I came across an interesting reason on one of the blogs. The author mentioned that comic book readers are traditionally considered as nerds. He was proud to be classified as a nerd. But the guy had a complaint that being a nerd is strongly becoming a fashion. His point was people are attending events like comic con to show that they are so “nerdy”. However, nerdy-ness is not something to show off. He points that young guys and girls want to look ‘nerdy’ even though they really are not. And what is the definition of being nerdy? Doing cosplays of a favorite character from comic books (even if they have not been following that comic book characters like crazy right from the inception of the character), and shouting on a high-piched voice when someone dressed up as their favorite comic book or popular culture movie character would come on stage of the event. This “nerd” did not want to come to an event which he supposed should only be confined to “nerds” and the reason was that there were so many “non-nerds” attending these events and pretending that they are “nerds”.

I also used to read comic books a lot in my childhood and have been recently re-developing that habit. I do not think that comic book readers are nerds. However, at the same time, I also believe that comic book reading teenagers are way different from those who are not reading them. But I will not call it “nerdy-ness”. There should be better word for people who want to live in an imaginative world, whose thoughts and creativity are nourished by the work of some hard-working story tellers and artists.

(I don’t know but somehow I can identify those who call themselves ‘nerds’ and are a big fan of all “Star-Wars”, “X-Men”, “DCs” and “Marvels” of the world. They would typically be thin, spectacled, disheveled hair, absolutely fluent in English and awesome in the grammar. They would know all the history geography of the comic book character(s) they follow. They could look intently at an art work for many hours. If its of their favorite hero/character, they will buy it no matter how much it costs.)

Those who call themselves as nerds, I call them proper fans. I believe that its one of the many pre-conceived notions a society develops towards these types of people. Typically things that are in a kind of secluded area of popular culture are deemed geeky. Comic books fall in such category. However, I believe that the scope of comic books are changing. It is less seen as a medium to tell story of super humans and more seen as actually a medium of telling thought provoking and unique stories with visuals. Its still a long way to go to change people’s mindset of nerdy ness, but I believe lots of artists and story tellers are trying to create innovative ways to tell their stories, original storyline, associated with Indian lifestyle and art work attached solely to the story theme.

Nerdy

A typical comic book “Nerd” at comic con

I think it is important for comic book creators of India to stick to the Indian-ness while creating a comic book. You may be inspired by a Hollywood movie or a foreign comics, their art, etc. But unless our stories don’t resonate with Indian audience they will never going to like it. What customers we will end up with, will still be called “nerds”. Even If you copy some foreign stuff and try to Indianize it and still people are appreciating your work and stories, I congratulate you. But you are not creating Indian fan base, you are only promoting the “nerdy” notion in in their minds.

I met many creators at the event who focus on creating content more associated with daily life in India and I was glad to see that people appreciated their effort. If you make stories which have Indian-ness and Indian values at its core you do not need to worry about many things like; my story does not have anatomically right figures or voluptuous female bodies, etc. My advise to my fellow artists and those who like me want to be tell good stories through art must focus on stories and believe in that. The art must follow the soul of the story. Include action, sex, violence, bodybuilder guys only when needed. I confess that I, myself, am not adopting this practice properly. May be I too have some pre-conceived notions about art in comic books. But this is a field of art and art can never be confined within boundaries of any notion. I, therefore, will focus on creating good story and believe in it as I do not want ‘nerds’ to read my books but people who understand the values and concepts presented in those stories.

One Good event concluded wonderfully and more to come 🙂

Posted in Art, comic con, comics, India, Paintings, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment