By Anjali Agrahari
“अरे गौ गाड को पत्त दिण तै भाई
हमारी पुरानी परिपाटी,
जिल्ल अल्मोड़ा, गौ ज्योली, पट्ठी
तल्ला में स्युनरा में हवालबाग की घाटी,
भुस्स पहाड़ में जन्म मेरो,
च्युन च्युन बसी भै हिमाल,
शीशि मेरो असमान पूजी, काखि में लोटि रूनी म्यर डाँड़ी- काँठी। “
This is how he introduced himself. And I can say that it is the best possible description that anyone can apprise. His name was Girish Chandra Tiwari, but Girda is his real identity. A literature marvel of his era & devotee of mountains, Girda taught us not to give up for our land. When people were busy in feeding their greed in the name of development, he tried to make everyone understand in every possible aspect that development in not a single hand approach. For development we not only have to fulfill our needs but also have to understand that the environment that is feeding our needs are way more important than us. And for this, he used ‘Literature’ as his ultimate weapon.
He was born on 10 September 1945, in the village of Jyoli near Hawalbag in Almora District of Uttrakhand. He would have never thought that his school life will turn into an unimaginative story of life. Till then he was not a public face. Even in school no one could ever predict that the man will be the voice of recognition. While studying, he met Charu Charan Pandey, who turned to be his pioneering guide in the journey of literature. He was not the only push in his life. At the age of 21, Tiwari got the golden opportunity of meeting Social Activist Lakheempur khiri which was again a blessing hand over him. Also he came under the shadow of renowned lyricist & writer Late Brijendra Lal Sah, where he got his potential highlighted.
In his whole life, he tried to grab every field where he could use his weapon for something constructive. From scriptwriter, poet, lyricist, director, organic culturist to a social activist there was no such field where he hasn’t drawn his significance. He knew very well the kind of passion he had for literature will only be worth if there will be a motive behind their action of literacy. The kind of fire he had, was not from one time spark. Once, he ran away from his house to pilibhit without any reason and then moved to Lucknow and Aligarh where he pulled a rickshaw for his livelihood. Then only he realized how life is teaching us lessons that we should learn for durability. He met with dalits, labors & people who were deprived, saw their situation & battle of survival. He was dissolving himself into the flow of realism for the sake of his true authorities. For him, our true authorities were the land we live in, the water we drink, the food we eat, the air we breathe in. Even in the time when he was in limelight, his old friend Dharam Vir Parmar said “being a brahmin, he had taken up to playing Hudka which mostly played by people from lower castes. He had even loved with Nepali laborers for a long time in Nainital. He was a man of the masses”. For him, our true authorities were the land we live in, the water we drink, the food we eat, the air we breathe in.
He had also contributed to many movements which were driving the nation towards a better place. Chipko movement was one from where he was remarked within public in 1977. People knew a man who was playing ‘hudka’ and singing songs like “Aaj Himalya tumin ke dhatyu cha, jago ho jao meri lal”; “Nahi kar di halo hamri neelam nahi kar di halo hamro halal” to lead the forest movement in Kumaon. Finally, people saw their mission getting successful. It was the end to the auction of forest as well as the burning down of the state guest house in Nainital. Then he took lead in ‘Nasha nahi rozgaar do’ in 1984 where his slogan was “Jan ekta koach karo, Mukt chahte ho to ao sangarsh me kood pado”. In a river movement, he wrote a poem which was reflecting the reality of the actions taken by humans for the sake of their avarice. In that poem, there was a part that says- what else we can talk about humans, as they are the jobber of water. They are playing the game they had made on their own checkerboard. They are sucking all the water by looting rivers and seas. On the chest of Ganga & Yamuna, they are hammering all pebbles and stones. Through his words, he tried to assail the ego of human so that they knock down the black wall of greediness in front of their eyes.
Further Girda also wrote for Uttrakhand Andolan. To join this movement, he took his retirement from instructorship post of song and drama division of Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and started writing. His poems were recited at Talli Tal or Mallika Tal in front of masses. He got huge fame because his poems & writings were reaping the nerves of people of the mountain. His poems like “hum lade rayan bhula, hum ladte rulyo”; “dharti mata tumharo dhyan jage” etc were touching the skyline of creativity. He wanted people to raise their voice for the lay of their land. People started reciting this literature to break down into a curfew. One of his glorious composition is “O jainta ek din to aalo o din yo duniya mai”. Each line of this composition has the power to blow the mind with a sparking light in any hopeless heart who think it’s someone else duty to make living positively on the mother earth. This poem brings out something powerful within the Andolan that has changed the way people saw it. In 1994, Shree Narendra Singh Negi decorated the song with his melodious voice in an album named as “Uttarakhand Raila Ma”. The sanguine nature of the song inspired people in large number, from young to old, so that they can fight for a separate state.
“The words of a writer is the puppet of the flame inside his heart”. He was not only understanding the problems from its surface but from its root that is why he was not limited to andolans only. Meanwhile he also tried to stretch his words out in the hearts of barren. He wrote many poems and writings depicting his thought and feeling for the problems that were the demons spectering over the nation as well as Uttrakhand. His inspirations turned him into an inspirational. His dynamic personality can be seen in plays he had written like “Andha Yug”, “Bharat Durdasha”, “Thank you Mr. Glad”, “Dhanush Yagya”, “Nagar Khamosh hai”, etc. His writings were screaming the critical problems of India including increasing population & government aspects over such problems. “Hamari kavita ke ankhar” & “Rang Dari Dio Albeli Main” were his creation from pen which turned out to be soul collections in Uttrakhand Kavya. Kavya which was published in 2002.
One of his phenomenal poem on Holi in something unique one must know about. In the pages of history, there was no such man who depicted Holi as if the fire came out from a fountain. This extraordinary creation of Girda was playing with the colors of sarcasm related to issues at the local level like corruption, regional, national & international levels like the bombing in different countries, etc. Through this, he wanted to wish people with the strong social message in kumaoni style on the occasion of holi.
While watching a video of him reciting his poem “Aaj Himalya tumin ke dhatyu cha, jago ho jao meri lal” I saw the ignition in his shivering voice. The old skin was trying it’s best to showcase that same expression of 1980’s when his literature was having major responsibilities to run the people of Uttrakhand in their true identity. His hands on each word were providing proper support to the was the consistency of his acceptance of realistic situation inspire of being bitter enough. He was saying that- Today Himalaya is waking us that child o child get up and, let me not be auctioned, do not deprive me. You sold stone, soil, green trees of Banj oak and sliced out my skin with the piece of a leash. You sold out my song, my melodious voice and sold out the cold water & wind. His compassion towards nature & culture is indefinitely appreciable. Even at an official platform, he was contributing for culture & heritage by being one of the founder members of the editorial board of a Nainital based organization involved with the promotion of Himalayan Culture ‘PAHAR’.
His one branch of literature was highlighting the importance of culture & a gap between upcoming generation and their culture. In an interview conducted by Mera Pahad Forum, when he was asked about people forgetting their folk art culture, does it need any advertisement? He said “This is not the folk music of Uttrakhand but of the whole country’s folk art is in crisis. It is a crisis of complete emotions. Its upheaval is happening at the whole global level of revival and when the people who try to grab the whole world into his hand, they will first wound up your culture. It is not that this mountain culture is being hurt, but as a whole, you will see it at the level of the world. Also, there is a danger over the culture of less developed countries. He was disappointed with the migration of youths & disappearance of heritage.
Along with Durgesh Pant, Girda originated a song “Sikharo ke swar” in 1969. He also edited “hamari kavita ke Ankhar”. Poems of Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz like “Hum dekhenge, lazim hai hum bhi dekhenge” were also translated by him into the kumaoni language. Not only this, he was featured on All India Radio as well. He was honored in America by UANA (Uttrakhand..) on its 10th Annual function along with Narendra Singh Negi and Shekhar Pathak. Also, there is a collection of short poems and excerpts related to the struggle of fighting for the identity of Uttrakhand & it’s a revolution at the peak in a form of a book named as “Uttrakhand Kavya”.
It was Girda & his aspiring pen who enlightened the path of the limping legs and agitated for Uttrakhand’s identity, thus he was literate in true meaning.