दासी -जयशंकर प्रसाद  हिन्दी देवनागरी में पढ़ें।

Icon-edit.gif is lekh ka punarikshan evn sampadan hona avashyak hai. ap isamen sahayata kar sakate hain. "sujhav"

yah khel kisako dikha rahe ho balaraj?-kahate hue phiroza ne yuvak ki kalaee pakad li. yuvak ki muththi men ek bhayanak chhura chamak raha tha. usane jhunjhala kar phiroza ki taraph dekha. vah khilakhilakar hns padi. phiroza yuvati se adhik balika thi. alhadapan, chanchalata aur hnsi se bani huee vah turk bala sab hridayon ke sneh ke samip thi. nili nason se jakadi huee balaraj ki pusht kalaee un komal ungaliyon ke bich men shithil ho gee. usane kaha-phiroza, tum mere sukh men badha de rahi ho!

sukh jine men hai balaraj! aisi hari-bhari duniya, phool-belon se saje hue nadiyon ke sundar kinare, sunahala savera, chandi ki raten in sabon se munh modakar ankhe band kar lena! kabhi nahin! sabase badhaqar to isamen ham logon ki uchhal-kood ka tamasha hai. main tumhen marane n doongi.

kyon?

yon hi bekar mar jana! vah, aisa kabhi nahin ho sakata. jihoon ke kinare turkon se ladate hue mar jana doosari bat thi. tab main tumhari qabr banavati, us par phool chadhati; par is gajani nadi ke kinare apana chhura apane kaleje men bhonk kar mar jana bachapana bhi to nahin hai.

balaraj ne dekha, sultan masood ke shilpakala-prem ki gambhir pratima, gajani nadi par ek kamani vala pul apani udas chhaya jaladhara par dal raha hai. usane kaha-vahi to, n jane kyon main usi din nahin mara, jis din mere itane vir sathi katar se lipat kar isi gajani ki god men sone chale gaye. phiroza! un vir atmaon ka vah shochaniy ant! tum us apaman ko nahin samajh sakati ho.

sultan ne siljooko se hare hue turk aur hindoo donon ko hi naukari se alag kar diya. par turkon ne to marane ki bat nahin sochi?

kuchh bhi ho, turk sultan ke apane logon men hain aur hindoo begane hi hain. phiroza! yah apaman marane se badh kar hai.

aur aj kisaliye marane ja rahe the?

vah sunakar kya karogi?-kahakar balaraj chhura phenkakar ek lambi sans lekar chup ho raha. phiroza ne usaka kandha pakadakar hilate hue kaha-

sunoongi kyon nahin. apani....han, usi ke lie! kaun hai vah! kaisi hai? balaraj! gori si hai, meri tarah vah bhi patali-dubali hai n? kanon men kuchh pahanati hai? aur gale men?

kuchh nahin phiroza, meri hi tarah vah bhi kngal hai. mainne usase kaha tha ki ladaee par jaoonga aur sultan ki loot men mujhe bhi chandi-sone ki dheri milegi, jab amir ho jaoonga, tab akar tumase byah karoonga.

tab bhi marane ja rahe the! khali hi laut kar bhent karane ki, use ek bar dekh lene ki, tumhari ichchha n huee! tum bade paji ho. jao, maro ya jiyo, main tumase n boloongi.

sachamuch phiroza ne munh pher liya. vah jaise rooth gee thi. balaraj ko usake is bholepan par hnsi n a saki. vah sochane laga, phiroza ke hriday men kitana sneh hai! kitana ullas hai? usane poochha-phiroza, tum bhi to ladaee men pakadi gee gulami bhugat rahi ho. kya tumane kabhi apane jivan par vichar kiya hai? kis bat ka ullas hai tumhen?

main ab gulami men nahin rah sakoongi. ahamad jab hindustan jane laga tha, tabhi usane raja sahab se kaha tha ki main ek hazar sone ke sikke bhejnooga. bhaee tilak! tum use lekar phiroza ko chhod dena aur vah hindustan ana chahe to use bhej dena. ab vah thaili ati hi hogi. main chhutakara pa jaoongi aur gulam hi rahane par rone ki kaun-si bat hai? mar jane ki itani jaldi kyon? tum dekh nahin rahe ho ki turkon men ek nayi lahar aee hai. duniya ne usake lie jaise chhati khol di hai. jo aj gulam hai; vahi kal sultan ho sakata hai. phir rona kis bat ka, jitani der hns sakati hoon, us samay ko rone men kyon bitaoon?

tumhara sukhamay jivan aur bhi lamba ho, phiroza; kintu aj tumane jo mujhe marane se rok diya, yah achchha nahin kiya.

kahati to hoon, bekar n maro. kya tumhare marane ke lie koee....?

kuchh bhi nahin, phiroza! hamari dharmik bhavanaen bati huee hain, samajik jivan dambh se aur rajanitik kshetr kalah aur svarth se jakada hua hai. shaktiyan hain, par unaka koee kendr nahin. kis par abhiman ho, kisake lie pran doon?

dutt, chale jao hindustan men marane ke lie kuchh khojo. mil hi jayaga, jao n....kahin vah tumhari....mil jay to kisi jhopadi hi men kat lena. n sahi amiri, kisi tarah to kategi. jitane din jine ke hon, un par bharosa rakhana.

‘....’

balaraj! n jane kyon main tumhen marane dena nahin chahati. vah tumhari rah dekhati huee kahin ji rahi ho, tab! ah! kabhi use dekh pati to usaka munh choom leti. kitana pyar hoga usake chhote se hriday men? lo, ye panch diram, mujhe kal raja sahab ne inam ke diye hain. inhe lete jao! dekho, usase jakar bhent karana.

phiroza ki ankhon men ansoo bhare the, tab bhi vah jaise hns rahi thi. sahasa vah panch dhatu ke tukadon ko balaraj ke hath par rakhakar jhadiyon men ghus gee. balaraj chupachap apane hath par ke un chamakile tukadon ko dekh raha tha. hath kuchh jhuk raha tha. dhire-dhire tukade usake hath se khisak pade. vah baith gaya-samane ek purush khada hua muskara raha tha.

balaraj!

raja sahab! -jaise ankh kholate hue balaraj ne kaha, aur uthakar khada ho gaya.

main sab sun raha tha. tum hindustan chale jao. main bhi tumako yahi salah doonga. kintu, ek bat hai.

vah kya raja sahab?

main tumhare du:kh ka anubhav kar raha hoon. jo baten tumane abhi phiroza se kahin hain, unhen sunakar mera hriday vichalit ho utha hai. kintu kya karoon? mainne akanksha ka nasha pi liya hai. vahi mujhe bebas kiye hai. jis du:kh se munashy chhati phadakar chillane lagata ho, sir pitane lagata ho, vaisi pratikool paristhitiyon men bhi main keval sir-nicha kar chup rahana achchha samajhata hoon. kya hi achchha hota ki jis sukh men anandatirek se manushy unmatt ho jata hai, use bhi muskara kar tal diya karoon. so nahin hota. ek sadharan sthiti se main sultan ke salahakaron ke pad tak to pahunch gaya hoon. main bhi hindustan ka hi ek kngal tha. pratidin ki maryada-vriddhi, rajakiy vishvas aur usamen sukh ki anubhooti ne mere jivan ko paheli banakar... jane do. mainne sultan ke darabar se jitana sikha hai, vahi mere lie bahut hai. ek banavati gambhirata! chhal-poorn vinay! oh, kitana bhishan hai, yah vichar! main dhire-dhire itana ban gaya hoon ki meri sahridayata ghoonghat ulatane nahin pati. logon ko meri chhati men hriday hone ka sandeh ho chala hai. phir main tumase apani sahridayata kyon prakat karoon? tab bhi aj tumane mere svabhav ki dhara ka bandh tod diya hai. aj main.....

bas raja sahab, aur kuchh n kahie. main jata hoon. main samajh gaya ki......

thaharo, mujhe adhik avakash nahin hai. kal yahan se kuchh vidrohi gulam, ahamad niyaltagin ke pas lahaur janevale hain, unhin ke sath tum chale jao. yah lo-kahate hue sultan ke vishvasi raja tilak ne balaraj ke hathon men thaili rakh di. balaraj vahan se chupachap chal pada.

tilak sultan mahamood ka atyant vishvasapatr hindoo karmachari tha. apane buddhi-bal se kattar yavanon ke bich men apani pratishtha dridh rakhane ke karan sultan masood ke shasan-kal men bhi vah upeksha ka patr nahin tha. phir bhi vah apane ko hindoo hi samajhata tha, chahe any log use kuchh samajhate rahe hon. balaraj ki baten vah sun chuka tha. aj usaki manovrittiyon men bhayanak halachal thi. sahasa usane pukara-phiroza!

jhadiyon se nikalakar phiroza ne usake samane sir jhuka diya. tilak ne usake sir par hath rakhate hue komal svar men poochha-phiroza, tum ahamad ke pas hindustan jana chahati ho?

phiroza ke hriday men kampan hone laga. vah kuchh n boli. tilak ne kaha-daro mat, saph-saph kaho.

kya ahamad ne apake pas dinaren bhej din-kahakar phiroza ne apani utkantha-bhari ankhe uthaeen. tilak ne hnsakar kaha-so to usane nahin bhejin, tab bhi tum jana chahati ho, to mujhase kaho.

main kya kah sakati hoon? jaisi meri....-kahate-kahate usaki ankhon men ansoo chhalachhala uthe. tilak ne kaha-phiroza, tum ja sakati ho. kuchh sone ke tukadon ke lie main tumhara hriday nahin kuchalana chahata.

sach! -ashchary-bhari kritgyta usaki vani men thi.

sach phiroza! ahamad mera mitr hai, aur bhi ek kam ke lie tumako bhej raha hoon. use jakar samajhao ki vah apani sena lekar pnjab ke bahar idhar-udhar hindustan men loot-pat n kiya kare. main kuchh dinon men sultan se kahakar khazane aur malagujari ka adhikar bhi usi ko dila doonga. thoda samajhakar dhire-dhire kam karane se sab ho jayaga. samajhi n, darabar men is par garmagarmi hai ki ahamad ki niyat kharab hai. kahin aisa n ho ki mujhi ko sultan is kam ke lie bhejen.

phiroza, main hindustan nahin jana chahata. meri ek chhoti bahan thi, vah vahan hai? kya du:kh usane paya? mari ya jiti hai, in kee barason se mainne ise janane ki cheshta bhi nahin ki. aur bhi.... main hindoo hoon, phiroza! aj tak apani akanksha men bhoola hua, apane aram men mast, apani unnati men vismrit, gajani men baitha hindustan ko, apani janmabhoomi ko aur usake du:kh-dard ko bhool gaya hoon. sultan mahamood ke looton ki ginati karana, us rakt-rnjit dhan ki talika banana, hindustan ke hi shoshan ke lie sultan ko nayi-nayi tarakiben batana, yahi to mera kam tha, jisase aj meri itani pratishtha hai. door rah kar main sab kuchh kar sakata tha; par hindustan kahin mujhe jana pada-usaki god men phir rahana pada-to main kya karoonga! phiroza, main vahan jakar pagal ho jaoonga. main chir-nirvasit, vismrit aparadhi! iravati meri bahan! ah, main use kya munh dikhalaoonga. vah kitane kashton men jiti hogi! aur mar gee ho to... phiroza! ahamad se kahana, meri mitrata ke nate mujhe is du:kh se bacha le.

main jaoongi aur iravati ko khoj nikaloongi-raja sahab! apake hriday men itani tis hai, aj tak main n janati thi. mujhe yahi maloom tha ki anek any turk saradaron ke saman ap bhi rng-raliyon men samay bita rahe hain, kintu baraph se dhaki huee chotiyon ke niche bhi jvalamukhi hota hai.

to jao phiroza! mujhe bachane ke lie, us bhayanak ag se, jisase mera hriday jal uthata hai, meri raksha karo!-kahate hue raja tilak usi jagah baith gaye. phiroza khadi thi. dhire-dhire raja ke mukh par ek snigdhata a chali. ab andhakar ho chala. gajani ke laharon par se shital pavan un jhadiyon men bharane laga tha. samane hi raja sahab ka mahal tha. usaka shubhr gumbad us andhakar men abhi apani ujjvalata se sir ooncha kiye tha. tilak ne kaha-phiroza, jane ke pahale apana vah gana sunati jao.

phiroza gane lagi. usake git ki dhvani thi-main jalati huee dipashikha hoon aur tum hriday-ranjan prabhat ho! jab tak dekhati nahin, jala karati hoon aur jab tumhe dekh leti hoon, tabhi mere astitv ka ant ho jata hai-mere priyatam! sandhya ki andheri jhadiyon men git ki gunjar ghoomane lagi.

yadi ek bar use phir dekh pata; par yah hone ka nahin. nishthur niyati! usaki pavitrata pnkil ho gee hogi. usaki ujjvalata par snsar ke kale hathon ne apani chhap laga di hogi. tab usase bhent karake kya karoonga? kya karoonga? apane kalpana ke svarn-mandir ka khandahar dekh kar! -kahate-kahate balaraj ne apane balishth pnjon ko pattharon se jakade hue mandir ke prachir par de mara. vah shabd ek kshan men vilin ho gaya. yuvak ne arakt ankhon se us vishal mandir ko dekha aur vah pagal-sa uth khada hua. parikrama ke oonche-oonche khambhon se dhakke khata hua ghoomane laga.

garbh-grih ke dvarapalon par usaki drishti padi. ve tel se chupade hue kale-kale doot apane bhishan trishool se jaise yuvak ki or snket kar rahe the. vah thithak gaya. samane devagrih ke samip ghrit ka akhand-dip jal raha tha. keshar, kastoori aur agaru se mishrit phoolon ki divy sugandh ki jhakor rah-rahakar bhitar se a rahi thi. vidrohi hriday pranat hona nahin chahata tha, parantu sir samman se jhuk hi gaya.

dev! mainne apane jivan men jan-boojh kar koee pap nahin kiya hai. main kisake lie kshama mangoon? gajani ke sultan ki naukari, vah mere vash ki nahin; kintu main mangata hoon.....ek bar us, apani prem-pratima ka darshan! kripa karo. mujhe bacha lo.

prarthana karake yuvak ne sir uthaya hi tha ki use kisi ko apane pas se khisakane ka sandeh hua. vah ghoom kar dekhane laga. ek stri kaushey vasan pahane hath men phoolon se saji dali lie chali ja rahi thi. yuvak pichhe-pichhe chala. parikrama men ek sthan par pahunch kar usane sandigdh svar se pukara-iravati! vah stri ghoom kar khadi ho gee. balaraj apane donon hath pasarakar use alingan karane ke lie dauda. iravati ne kaha-thaharo. balaraj thithak kar usaki gambhir mukhakriti ko dekhane laga. usane poochha-kyon ira! kya tum meri vagdatta patni nahin ho? kya ham logon ka vahnivedi ke samane parinay nahin hone hone vala tha? kya...?

han, hone vala tha kintu hua nahin, aur balaraj! tum meri raksha nahin kar sake. main atatayi ke hath se kalnkit ki gayi. phir tum mujhe patni-roop men kaise grahan karoge? tum vir ho! purush ho! tumhare purusharth ke lie bahut-si mahatvakankshaen hain. unhen khoj lo, mujhe bhagavanh ki sharan men chhod do. mera jivan, anutap ki jvala se jhulasa hua mera man, ab sneh ke yogy nahin.

prem ki, pavitrata ki, paribhasha alag hai ira! main tumako pyar karata hoon. tumhari pavitrata se mere man ka adhik sambandh nahin bhi ho sakata hai. chalo, ham.... aur kuchh bhi ho, mere prem ki vahni tumhari pavitrata ko adhik ujjval kar degi.

bhag chaloon, kyon? so nahin ho sakata. main krit dasi hoon. mlechchhon ne mujhe mulatan ki loot men pakad liya. main unaki kathorata men jivit rahakar barabar unaka virodh hi karati rahi. nity kode lagate. bandh kar main latakaee jati. phir bhi main apane hath se n digi. ek din kannauj ke chatushpath par ghodon ke sath hi bechane ke lie un atatayiyon ne mujhe bhi khada kiya. main biki panch sau diram par, kashi ke hi ek mahajan ne mujhe dasi bana liya. balaraj! tumane n suna hoga, ki main kin niyamon ke sath biki hoon. mainne likhakar svikar kiya hai, is ghar kutsit se bhi kutsit karm karoongi aur kabhi vidroh n karoongi,-n kabhi bhagane ki cheshta karoongi; n kisi ke kahane se apane svami ka ahit sochoongi. yadi main atmahatya bhi kar daloon, to mere svami ya unake kutumb par koee dosh n laga sakega! ve gnga-snan kiye-se pavitr hain. mere sambandh men ve sada hi shuddh aur nishpap hain. mere sharir par unaka ajivan adhikar rahega. ve mere niyam-viruddh acharan par jab chahen rajapath par mere balon ko pakad kar mujhe ghasit sakate hain. mujhe dand de sakate hain. main to mar chuki hoon. mera sharir panch sau diram par ji kar jab tak sahega, khatega. ve chahen to mujhe kaudi ke mol bhi kisi doosare ke hath bech sakate hain. samajhe! sir par trin rakhakar mainne svayn apane ko bechane men svikriti di hai. us saty ko kaise tod doon?

balaraj ne lal hokar kaha-iravati, yah asaty hai, saty nahin. pashuon ke saman manushy bhi bik sakate hain? main yah soch bhi nahin sakata. yah pakhand turki ghodon ke vyapariyon ne phailaya hai. tumane anajan men jo pratigya kar li hai, vah aisa saty nahin ki palan kiya jaye. tum nahin janati ho ki tumako khojane ke lie hi mainne yavanon ki seva ki.

kshama karo balaraj, main tumhara tark nahin samajh saki. meri svamini ka rath door chala gaya hoga, to mujhe baten sunani padengin kyonki aj-kal mere svami nagar se door svasthy ke lie upavan men rahate hain. svamini dev-darshan ke lie aee thin.

tab mera itana parishram vyarth hua! phiroza ne vyarth hi asha di thi. main itane dinon bhatakata phira. iravati! mujh par daya karo.

phiroza kaun?-phir sahasa rukakar iravati ne kaha-kya karoon! yadi main vaisa karati, to mujhe is jivan ki sabase badi prasannata milati; kintu vah mere bhagy men hai ki nahin, ise bhagavanh hi janate honge? mujhe ab jane do.-balaraj is uttar se khinn aur chakaraya hua kath ke kivad ki tarah iravati ke samane se alag hokar mandir ke prachir se lag gaya. iravati chali gee. balaraj kuchh samay tak stabdh aur shoony-sa vahin khada raha. phir sahasa jis or iravati gee thi, usi or chal pada.

yuvak balaraj kee din tak pagalon-sa dhanadatt ke upavan se nagar tak chakkar lagata raha. bhookh-pyas bhoolakar vah iravati ko ek bar phir dekhane ke lie vikal tha; kintu vah saphal n ho saka. aj usane nishchay kiya tha ki vah kashi chhodakar chala jayaga. vah jivan se hatash hokar kashi se pratishthan janevale path par chalane laga. usaki pahad ke dhoke-si kaya, jisamen asur-sa bal hone ka log anuman karate, nirjiv-si ho rahi thi. anahar se usaka mukh vivarn tha. yah soch raha tha-us din, vishvanath ke mandir men n jakar mainne atmahatya kyon n kar li! vah apani udhed-bun men chal raha tha. n jane kab tak chalata raha. vah chaunk utha-jab kisi ke dantane ka shabd sunaee pada-dekh kar nahin chalata! balaraj ne chaunkakar dekha, ashvarohiyon ki lambi pnkti, jisamen adhikatar apane ghodon ko pakade hue paidal hi chal rahe the. ve sab turk the. ghodon ke vyapari-se jan padate the. gajani ke prasiddh mahamood ke akramanon ka ant ho chuka tha. masood sinhasan par tha. pnjab to gajani ke senapati niyaltagin ke shasan men tha. madhy-pradesh men bhi turk vyapari adhikatar vyaparik prabhutv sthapit karane ke lie prayatn kar rahe the. vah rah chhod kar hat gaya. ashvarohi ne poochha-banaras kitani door hoga? balaraj ne kaha-mujhe nahin maloom.

tum abhi udhar se chale a rahe ho aur kahate ho, nahin maloom! thik-thik batao, nahin to .....

nahin to kya? main tumhara naukar hoon.-kahakar vah age badhऩe laga. akasmath pahale ashvarohi ne kaha-pakad lo isako!

kaun! niyaltagin! -sahasa balaraj chilla utha.

achchha, yah tumhin ho balaraj! yah tumhara kya hal hai, kya sultan ki sarakar men ab tum kam nahin karate ho?

nahin, sultan masood ka mujh par vishvas nahin hai. main aisa kam nahin karata, jisamen sandeh meri pariksha leta rahe; kintu idhar tum log kyon?

suna hai, banaras ek sundar aur dhani nagar hai. aur.....

aur kya?

kuchh nahin, dekhane chala aya hoon. qazinahin chahata ki kannauj ke poorab bhi kuchh hath-panv badhaya jay. tum chalo n mere sath. main tumhari talavar ki kimat janata hoon. bahadur log is tarah nahin rah sakate. tum abhi tak hindoo bane ho. purani lakir pitane vale, jagah-jagah jhukane vale, sabase dabate hue, banate hue, katarakar chalane vale hindoo! kyon? tumhare pas bahut-sa kooda-kachada ikattha ho gaya hai, unaka puranepan ka lobh tumako phenkane nahin deta? man men nayapan tatha duniya ka ullas nahin ane pata! itane din ham longo ke sath rahe, phir bhi.....

balaraj soch raha tha, iravati ka vah sookha vyavahar. sidha-sidha uttar! krodh se vah apana oth chabane laga. niyaltagin balaraj ko parakh raha tha! usane kaha-tum kahan ho? bat kya hai? aisa bujha hua man kyon?

balaraj ne prakritisth hokar kaha-kahin to nahin. ab mujhe chhutti do, main jaoon. tumhara banaras dekhane ka man hai-is par to mujhe vishvas nahin hota, to bhi mujhe isase kya? jo chaho karo. snsar bhar men kisi par daya karane ki avashyakata nahin-looto, kato, maro. jao, niyaltagin.

niyaltagin ne hnsakar kar kaha-pagal to nahin ho. in thode-se adamiyon se bhala kya ho sakata hai. main to ek bahane se idhar aya hoon. phiroza ka banarasi jari ke kapadon ka....

kya phiroza bhi tumhare sath hai?

chalo, padav par sab ap hi maloom ho jayaga!-kahakar niyaltagin ne snket kiya. balaraj ke man men n-jane kaisi prasannata umadi. vah ek turki ghode par savar ho gaya.

donon or javaharat, jari kapadon, bartan tatha sugandhit dravyon ki saji huee dookanon se; desh-videsh ke vyapariyon ki bhid aur bich-bich men ghode ke rathon se, banaras ki patthar se bani huee chaudi galiyan apane dhng ki nirali dikhati thin. prachiron se ghira hua nagar ka pradhan bhag trilochan se lekar rajaghat tak vistrit tha. toranon par gangey dev ke sainikon ka jamav tha. kannauj ke pratihar samrath se kashi chhin li gee thi. tripuri us par shasan karati thi. dhyan se dekhane par yah to prakat ho jata tha ki nagarikon men avyavastha thi. phir bhi oopari kam-kaj, kray-vikray, yatriyon ka avagaman chal raha tha.

phiroza kamakhvab dekh rahi thi aur niyaltagin mani-muktaon ki dheri se apane lie achchhe-achchhe nag chun raha tha. pas hi donon dookanen thin! balaraj bich men khada tha. anyamanask phiroza ne kee than chhant liye the. usane kaha-balaraj! dekho to, inhen tum kaisa samajhate ho, hain n achchhe? udhar se niyaltagin ne poochha-kapade dekh chuki ho, to idhar ao. inhe bhi dekh n lo! phiroza udhar jane lagi thi ki dukanadar ne kaha-lena n dena, jhooth-mooth tng karana. kabhi dekha to nahin. kngalon ki tarah jaise ankhon se dekh kar hi kha jayagi. phiroza ghoom kar khadi ho gee. usane poochha-kya bakate ho?-ja-ja turkistan ke jngalon men bhed chara. in kapadon ka lena tera kam nahin-sati huee dookanon se jauhari abhi kuchh bolana hi chahata tha ki balaraj ne kaha-

chup rah, nahin to jibh khinch loonga.

oho! turki gulam ka das, too bhi ..... abhi itana hi kapade vale ke munh se nikala tha ki niyaltagin ki talavar usake gale tak pahunch gee. bazar men halachal machi. niyaltagin ke sathi idhar-udhar bikhare hi the. kuchh to vahin a gaye. auron ko samachar mil gaya. jhagada badhऩe laga, niyaltagin ko kuchh logon ne gher liya tha; kintu turkon ne use chhin lena chaha. rajakiy sainik pahunch gaye. niyaltagin ko yah maloom ho gaya ki padav par samachar pahunch gaya hai. usane nirbhikata se apani talavar ghumate hue kaha-achchha hota ki jhagada yahin tak rahata, nahin to ham log turk hain.

turkon ka atnk uttari bharat men phail chuka tha. kshan bhar ke lie sannata to hua, parantu vanik ke pratirodh ke lie nagarikon ka rosh ubal raha tha. rajakiy sainikon ka sahayog milate hi yuddh arambh ho gaya, ab aur bhi turk a pahunche the. niyaltagin hnsane laga. usane turki men snket kiya. banaras ka rajapath turkon ki talavar se pahali bar alokit ho utha.

niyaltagin ke sathi snghatit ho gaye the. ve keval yuddh aur atmaraksha hi nahin kar rahe the, bahumooly padarthon ki loot bhi karane lage. balaraj stabdh tha. vah jaise ek svapn dekh raha tha. akasmath usake kanon men ek parichit svar sunaee pada. usane ghoom kar dekha-jauhari ke gale par talavar pada hi chahati hai aur iravati ‘inhen chhod do, n maro’ kahati huee talavar ke samane a gee thi. balaraj ne kaha-thaharo, niyaltagin. doosare hi kshan niyaltagin ki kalaee balaraj ki mutthi men thi. niyaltagin ne kaha-dhokhabaj kaphir, yah kya?-kee turk pas a gaye the! phiroza ka bhi mukh tamatama gaya tha. balaraj ne sabal hone par bhi badi dinata se kaha-phiroza, yahi iravati hai. phiroza hnsane lagi. iravati ko pakad kar usane kaha-niyaltagin! balaraj ko isake sath lekar main chalati hoon, tum ana. aur is jauhari se tumhara nukasan n ho, to n maro! dekho, bahut se ghudasavar a rahe hain. ham sabon ka chalana hi achchha hai.

niyaltagin ne paristhiti ek kshan men hi samajh li. usane jauhari se poochha-tumhare ghar men doosari or se bahar jaya ja sakata hai?

han!-knpe kanth se uttar mila.

achchha chalo, tumhari jan bach rahi hai. main iravati ko le jata hoon.-

kah kar niyaltagin ne ek turk ke kan men kuchh kaha! aur balaraj ko age chalane ka snket karake iravati aur phiroza ke pichhe dhanadatt ke ghar men ghusa. idhar turk ekatr hokar pratyavartan kar rahe the. nagar ki rajakiy sena pas a rahi thi.

chandrabhaga ke tat par shiviron ki ek shreni thi. usake samip hi ghane vrikshon ke jhuramut men iravati aur phiroza baithi huee saynkalin gambhirata ki chhaya men ek-doosare ka munh dekh rahi hain. phiroza ne kaha-

balaraj ko tum pyar karati ho?

main nahin janati. -ek akasmik uttar mila!

aur vah to tumhare lie gajani se hindustan chala aya.

to kyon ane diya, vahin rok rakhati.

tumako kya ho gaya hai?

main-main nahin rahi; main hoon dasi; kuchh dhatu ke tukadon par biki huee had-mans ka samooh, jisake bhitar ek sookha hriday-pind hai.

ira! vah mar jayaga-pagal ho jayaga.

aur main kya ho jaoon, phiroza?

achchha hota, tum bhi mar jati! -tikhepan se phiroza ne kaha.

iravati chaunk uthi. usane kaha-balaraj ne vah bhi n hone diya. us din niyaltagin ki talavar ne yahi kar diya hota; kintu manushy bada svarthi hai. apane sukh ki asha men vah kitanon ko dukhi banaya karata hai. apani sadh poori karane men doosaron ki avashyakata thukara di jati hai. tum thik kah rahi ho phiroza, mujhe...

thaharo, ira! tumane man ko kadava banakar meri bat suni hai. utani hi teji se use bahar kar dena chahati ho.

mere dukhi hone par jo mere sath rone ata hai, use main apana mitr nahin jan sakati, phiroza. main to dekhoongi ki vah mere du:kh ko kitana kam kar saka hai. mujhe du:kh sahane ke lie jo chhod jata hai, keval apane abhiman aur akanksha ki tushti ke lie. mere du:kh men hath batane ka jisaka sahas nahin, jo meri paristhiti men sathi nahin ban sakata, jo pahale amir banana chahata hai, phir apane prem ka dan karana chahata hai, vah mujhase hriday mange, isase badh kar dhrishtata aur kya hogi?

main tumhari bahut-si baten samajh nahin saki, lekin main itana to kahoongi ki du:khon ne tumhare jivan ki komalata chhin li hai.

phiroza....main tumase bahas nahin karana chahati. tumane mera pran bachaya hai sahi, kintu hriday nahin bacha sakati. use apani khoj-khabar ap hi leni padegi. tum chahe jo mujhe kah lo. main to samajhati hoon ki manushy doosaron ki drishti men kabhi poorn nahin ho sakata! par use apani ankhon se to nahin hi girana chahie.

phiroza ne sandeh se pichhe ki or dekha. balaraj vriksh ki ad se nikal aya. usane kaha-phiroza, mai jab gajani ke kinare marana chahata tha, to kya bhool kar raha tha? achchha, jata hoon.

iravati soch rahi thi, ab bhi kuchh boloon-

phiroza soch rahi thi, donon ko marane se bacha kar kya sachamuch mainne koee bura kam kiya?

balaraj ki or kisi ne n dekha. vah chala gaya.

ravi ke kinare ek sundar mahal men ahamad niyaltagin pnjab ke senani ka avas hai. us mahal ke charon or vrikshon ki door tak phaili huee hariyali hai, jisamen shiviron ki shreni men turk sainikon ka nivas hai.

vasant ki chandani rat apani matavali ujjvalata men mahal ke minaron aur gumbadon tatha vrikshon ki chhaya men ladakhada rahi hai, ab jaise sona chahati ho. chandrama pashchim men dhire-dhire jhuk raha tha. ravi ki or ek sngamaramar ki dalan men khali sej bichhi thi. jari ke parade oopar ki or bndhe the. dalan ki sidhi par baithi huee iravati ravi ka pravah dekhate-dekhate sone lagi thi-us mahal ki jaise sajavat gulabi patthar ki achal pratima ho.

shayan-kaksh ki seva ka bhar aj usi par tha. vah ahamad ke agaman ki pratiksha karate-karate so gee thi. ahamad in dinon gajani se mile hue samachar ke karan adhik vyast tha. sultan ke rosh ka samachar use mil chuka tha. vah phiroza se chhipakar, apane antarng sathiyon se, jin par use vishvas tha, nistabdh ratri men mantrana kiya karata. pnjab ka svatantr shasak banane ki abhilasha usake man men jag gee thi, phiroza ne use mana kiya tha, kintu ek sadharan turk dasi ke vichar rajakiy kamon men kitane mooly ke hain, ise vah apani mahatvakanksha ki drishti se parakhata tha. phiroza kuchh to roothi thi aur kuchh usaki tabiyat bhi achchhi n thi. vah band kamare men jakar so rahi. anek dasiyon ke rahate bhi aj iravati ko hi vahan thaharane ke lie usane kah diya tha. ahamad sidhiy़on se chadhaqar dalan ke pas aya. usane dekha ek vedana-vimandit supt saundary! vah aur bhi samip aya. gumbad ke bagal chandrama ki kiranen thik iravati ke mukh par pad rahi thin. ahamad ne varunivilasit netron se dekha, us roopamadhuri ko, jisamen svabhavikata thi, banavat nahin. taravat thi, pramad ki garmi nahin. ek bar sashnk drishti se usane charon or dekha, phir iravati ka hath pakadakar hilaya. vah chaunk uthi. usane dekha-samane ahamad! iravati khadi hokar apane vastr snbhalane lagi. ahamad ne snkoch bhari dhithaee se kaha-

tum yahan kyon so rahi ho, ira?

thak gayi thi. kahie, kya laoon?

thodi shiraji-kahate hue vah palng par jakar baith gaya aur iravati ka sphatik-patr men shiraji undelana dekhane laga. ira ne jab patr bharakar ahamad ko diya, to ahamad ne satrishn netron se usaki or dekh kar poochha-phiroza kahan hai?

sir men dard hai, bhitar so rahi hai.

ahamad ki ankhon men pashuta nach uthi. sharir men ek sanasani ka anubhav karate hue usane iravati ka hath pakad kaha- baitho n, ira! tum thak gee ho.

ap sharbat lijiye. main jakar phiroza ko jaga doon.

phiroza! phiroza ke hath main bik gaya hoon kya, iravati! tum-ah!

iravati hath chhudakar hatanevali hi thi ki samane phiroza khadi thi! usaki ankhon men tivr jvala thi. usane kaha-main biki hoon, ahamad! tum bhala mere hath kyon bikane lage? lekin tumako maloom hai ki tumane abhi rajatilak ko mera dam nahin chukaya; isalie main jati hoon.

ahamad hat-buddhi! nishprabh! aur phiroza chali. iravati ne gidagida kar kaha-bahan, mujhe bhi n leti chalogi....?

phiroza ne ghoomakar ek bar sthir drishti se iravati ki or dekha aur kaha-to phir chalo.

donon hath pakade sidhi se utar geen.

bahut dinon tak videsh men idhar-udhar bhatakane par balaraj jab se laut aya hai, tab se chandrabhaga-tat ke jaton men ek nayi lahar a gee hai. balaraj ne apane sajatiy logon ko paradhinata se mukt hone ka sandesh sunakar unhen sultan-sarakar ka abadhy bana diya hai. uddnd jaton ko apane vash men rakhana, un par sada fauji shasan karana, sultan ke karmachariyon ke lie bhi bada kathin ho raha tha.

idhar phiroza ke jate hi ahamad apani komal vrittiyon ko bhi kho baitha. ek or usake pas masood ke rosh ke samachar ate the, doosari or vah jaton ki halachal se khazana bhi nahin bhej sakata tha. vah jhunjhala gaya. dikhave men to ahamad ne jaton ko ek bar hi nasht karane ka nishchay kar liya, aur apani dridh sena ke sath vah jaton ko ghere men dalate hue badhऩe laga; kintu usake hriday men ek doosari hi bat thi. use maloom ho gaya tha ki gajani ki sena tilak ke sath a rahi hai; usaki kalpana ka samrajy chhinn-bhinn kar dene ke lie! usane antim prayatn karane ka nishchay kiya. antarng sathiyon ki sammati huee ki yadi vidrohi jaton ko is samay mila liya jay, to gajani se pnjab aj hi alag ho sakata hai. is chadhaee men donon matalab the.

ghane jngal ka arambh tha. vrikshon ke hare atrchal ki chhaya men thaki huee do yuvatiyan unaki jadon par sir dhare hue leti thin. patharile tilon par padati huee ghodon ki tapon ke shabd ne unhen chaunka diya. ve abhi uthakar baith bhi nahin paee thin ki unake samane ashvarohiyon ka ek jhund a gaya. bhayanak bhalon ki nok sidhe kiye hue svasthy ke tarun tej se uddipt jat-yuvakon ka vah vir dal tha. striyon ko dekhate hi unake saradar ne kaha-man, tum log kahan jaogi?

ab phiroza aur iravati samane khadi ho gayin. saradar ne ghode par se utarate hue poochha-phiroza, yah tum ho bahan!

han bhaee, balaraj! main hoon -aur yah hai iravati! poori bat jaise n sunate hue balaraj ne kaha-phiroza, ahamad se yuddh hoga. is jngal ko par kar lene par turk sena jaton ka nash kar degi, isalie yahin unhen rokana hoga. tum log is samay kahan jaogi?

jahan kaho, balaraj. ahamad ki chhaya se to mujhe bhi bachana hai. phiroza ne adhir hokar kaha.

daro mat phiroza, yah hindustan hai, aur yah ham hinduon ka dharm-yuddh hai. gulam banane ka bhay nahin.-balaraj abhi yah kah hi raha tha ki vah chaunkakar pichhe dekhata hua bol utha-achchha, ve log a hi gaye. samay nahin hai. balaraj doosare hi kshan men apane ghode ki pith par tha. ahamad ki sena samane a gee. balaraj ko dekhate hi usane chillakar kaha-balaraj! yah tumhin ho.

han, ahamad.

to hamalog dost bhi ban sakate hain. abhi samay hai-kahate-kahate sahasa usaki drishti phiroza aur iravati par padi. usane samast vyavastha bhoolakar, turant lalakara-pakad lo in auraton ko?-usi samay balaraj ka bhala hil utha. yuddh arambh tha.

jaton ki vijay ke sath yuddh ka ant hone hi vala tha ki ek naya parivartan hua. doosari or se turk-sena jaton ki pith par thi. ghayal balaraj ka bhishan bhala ahamad ki chhati men par ho raha tha. nirash jaton ki ran-pratigya apani poorti kara rahi thi. marate hue ahamad ne dekha ki gajani ki sena ke sath tilak samane khade the. sabake astr to ruk gaye, parantu ahamad ke pran n ruke. phiroza usake shav par jhuki huee ro rahi thi. aur iravati moorchchhit ho rahe balaraj ka sir apani god men liye thi. tilak ne vismit hokar yah drishy dekha.

balaraj ne jal ka snket kiya. iravati ke hathon men tilak ne jal ka patr diya. jal pite hi balaraj ne ankhe kholakar kaha-iravati, ab main n maroonga?

tilak ne ashchary se poochha-iravati?

phiroza ne rote hue kaha-han raja sahab, iravati.

meri dukhiya iravati? mujhe kshama kar, main tujhe bhool gaya tha. tilak ne vinit shabdon men kaha.

bhaee! -iravati age kuchh n kah saki, usaka gala bhar aya tha. usane tilak ke pair pakad liye.

balaraj jaton ka saradar hai, iravati rani. chanab ka vah prant iravati ki karuna se hara-bhara ho raha hai; kintu phiroza ki prasannata ki vahin samadhi ban gee-aur vahin vah jhadoo deti, phool chadhati aur dip jalati rahi. us samadhi ki vah ajivan dasi bani rahi.

tika tippani aur sndarbh


bahari kadiyan

snbndhit lekh

varnamala kramanusar lekh khoj

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