मृतक-भोज -प्रेमचंद  हिन्दी देवनागरी में पढ़ें।

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

seth ramanath ne rog-shayya par pade-pade nirashapoorn drishti se apani stri sushila ki or dekhakar kaha, 'main bada abhaga hoon, shila. mere sath tumhen sadaiv hi du:kh bhogana pada. jab ghar men kuchh n tha, to rat-din grihasthi ke dhandhon aur bachchon ke lie marati thin. jab jara kuchh snbhala aur tumhare aram karane ke din aye, to yon chhode chala ja raha hoon. aj tak mujhe asha thi, par aj vah asha toot gayi. dekho shila, roo mat. snsar men sabhi marate hain, koee do sal age, koee do sal pichhe. ab grihasthi ka bhar tumhare oopar hai. mainne rupaye nahin chhode; lekin jo kuchh hai, usase tumhara jivan kisi tarah kat jayaga ... yah raja kyon ro raha hai ? sushila ne ansoo ponchhakar kaha, ziddi ho gaya hai aur kya. aj sabere se rat lagaye hue hai ki main motar loonga. 50 ru. se kam men ayegi motar ? sethaji ko idhar kuchh dinon se donon balakon par bahut sneh ho gaya tha. bole to mnga do n ek. bechara kab se ro raha hai, kya-kya araman dil men the. sab dhool men mil gaye. rani ke lie vilayati gudiya bhi mnga do. doosaron ke khilaune dekhakar tarasati rahati hai. jis dhan ko pranon se bhi priy samajha, vah ant ko daktaron ne khaya. bachche mujhe kya yad karenge ki bap tha. abhage bap ne to dhan ko ladake-ladaki se priy samajha. kabhi paise ki chiz bhi lakar nahin di. '

antim samay jab snsar ki asarata kathor saty banakar ankhon ke samane khadi ho jati hai, to jo kuchh n kiya, usaka khed aur jo kuchh kiya, us par pashchattap, man ko udar aur nishkapat bana deta hai. sushila ne raja ko bulaya aur use chhati se lagakar rone lagi. vah matrisneh, jo pati ki kripanata se bhitar-hi-bhitar tadapakar rah jata tha, is samay jaise khaul utha. lekin motar ke lie rupaye kahan the ? sethaji ne poochha, 'motar loge beta; apani amman se rupaye lekar bhaiya ke sath chale jao. khoob achchhi motar lana. '

raja ne mata ke ansoo aur pita ka yah sneh dekha, to usaka balahath jaise pighal gaya. bola, 'abhi nahin loonga. '

sethaji ne poochha, 'kyon ? '

'jab ap achchhe ho jaynge tab loonga.' sethaji phoot-phootakar rone lage.

tisare din seth ramanath ka dehant ho gaya. dhani ke jine se du:kh bahuton ko hota hai, sukh thodon ko. unake marane se du:kh thodon ko hota hai, sukh bahuton ko. mahabrahmanon ki mandali alag sukhi hai, panditaji alag khush hain, aur shayad biradari ke log bhi prasann hain; isalie ki ek barabar ka adami kam hua. dil se ek kanta door hua. aur pattidaron ka to poochhana hi kya. ab vah purani kasar nikalenge. hriday ko shital karane ka aisa avasar bahut dinon ke bad mila hai. aj panchavan din hai. vah vishal bhavan soona pada hai. ladake n rote hain, n hnsate hain. man mare man ke pas baithe hain aur vidhava bhavishy ki apar chintaon ke bhar se dabi huee nirjiv-si padi hai. ghar men jo rupaye bach rahe the, ve dah-kriya ki bhent ho gaye aur abhi sare snskar baki pade hain. bhagavanh, kaise beda par lagega.

kisi ne dvar par avaz di. mahara ne akar seth dhaniram ke ane ki soochana di. donon balak bahar daude. sushila ka man bhi ek kshan ke lie hara ho gaya. seth dhaniram biradari ke sarapnch the. abala ka kshubdh

hriday sethaji ki is kripa se pulakit ho utha. akhir biradari ke mukhiya hain. ye log anathon ki khoj-khabar n len to kaun le. dhany hain ye punyatma log jo musibat men dinon ki raksha karate hain. yah sochati huee sushila ghoonghat nikale barothe men akar khadi ho gayi. dekha to dhaniramaji ke atirikt aur bhi kee sajjan khade hain.

dhaniram bole 'bahooji, bhaee ramanath ki akal-mrityu se ham logon ko jitana du:kh hua hai, vah hamara dil hi janata hai. abhi unaki umr hi kya thi; lekin bhagavanh ki ichchha. ab to hamara yahi dharm hai ki eeshvar

par bharosa rakhen aur age ke lie koee rah nikalen. kam aisa karana chahie ki ghar ki abaroo bhi bani rahe aur bhaeeji ki atma sntusht bhi ho. ' kuberadas ne sushila ko kanakhiyon se dekhate hue kaha, 'maryada badi

chiz hai. usaki raksha karana hamara dharm hai. lekin kamali ke bahar panv nikalana bhi to uchit nahin. kitane rupaye hain tere pas, bahoo ? kya kaha, kuchh nahin ? '

sushila –‘ghar men rupaye kahan hain, sethaji. jo thode-bahut the, vah bimari men uth gaye. '

dhaniram –‘to yah nayi samasya khadi huee. aisi dasha men hamen kya karana chahie, kuberadasaji ? '

kuberadas –‘zaise ho, bhoj to karana hi padega. han, apani samarthy dekhakar kam karana chahie. main karz lene ko n kahoonga. han, ghar men jitane rupayon ka prabandh ho sake, usamen hamen koee kasar n chhodani chahie. mrit-jiv ke

sath bhi to hamara kuchh kartavy hai. ab to vah phir kabhi n ayega, usase sadaiv ke lie nata toot raha hai. isalie sabakuchh haisiyat ke mutabik hona chahie. brahmanon ko to bhoj dena hi padega jisase ki maryada ka nirvah ho ! '

dhaniram –‘to kya tumhare pas kuchh bhi nahin hai, bahooji ? do-char hazar bhi nahin ! '

sushila --'main apase saty kahati hoon, mere pas kuchh nahin hai. aise samay jhooth boloongi. '

dhaniram ne kuberadas ki or ardh-avishvas se dekhakar kaha, 'tab to yah makan bechana padega. '

kuberadas –‘isake siva aur kya ho sakata hai. nak katana to achchha nahin. ramanath ka kitana nam tha, biradari ke stnbh the. yahi is samay ek upay hai. 10 hazar ru. mere ate hain. sood-batta lagakar koee 15 hazar ru. mere ho jaynge. baki bhoj men kharch ho jayega. agar kuchh bach raha, to bal-bachchon ke kam a jayaga. '

dhaniram –‘apake yahan kitane par bndhak rakha tha ? '

kuberadas—‘ 10 hazar rupaye par. rupaye saikade sood. '

dhaniram –‘mainne to kuchh kam suna hai. '

kuberadas –‘usaka to rehananama rakha hai. jabani batachit thode hi hai. main do-char hazar ke lie jhooth nahin boloonga. '

dhaniram—‘ nahin-nahin, yah main kab kahata hoon. to toone sun liya, baee ! pnchon ki salah hai ki makan bech diya jay. '

sushila ka chhota bhaee sntalal bhi isi samay a pahuncha. yah antim vaky usake kan men pad gaya. bol utha, 'qisalie makan bech diya jay ? biradari ke bhoj ke lie ? biradari to kha-pikar rah legi, in anathon ki raksha kaise hogi ? inake bhavishy ke lie bhi to kuchh sochana chahie. '

dhaniram ne kop-bhari ankhon se dekhakar kaha, 'apako in mamalon men tang adane ka koee adhikar nahin. keval bhavishy ki chinta karane se kam nahin chalata. mritak ka pichha bhi kisi tarah sudharana hi padata hai. apaka

kya bigadega. hnsi to hamari hogi. snsar men maryada se priy koee vastu nahin ! maryada ke lie pran tak de dete hain. jab maryada hi n rahi, to kya raha. agar hamari salah poochhoge, to ham yahi kahenge. age baee ka akhatiyar hai, jaisa chahe kare; par hamase koee sarokar n rahega. chalie kuberadasaji, chalen. '

sushila ne bhayabhit hokar kaha, 'bhaiya ki baton ka vichar n kijie,inaki to yah adat hai. mainne to apaki bat nahin tali; ap mere bade hain. ghar ka hal apako maloom hai. main apane svami ki atma ko dukhi karana

nahin chahati, lekin jab unake bachche thokaren khayenge, to kya unaki atma dukhi n hogi ? beti ka byah karana hi hai. ladake ko padhana-likhana hai hi. brahmanon ko khila dijie; lekin biradari karane ki mujhamen samarth nahin hai. '

donon mahanubhavon ko jaise thappad lagi itana bada adharm. bhala aisi bat bhi jaban se nikali jati hai. pnch log apane munh men kalikh n lagane denge. duniya vidhava ko n hnsegi, hnsi hogi pnchon ki. yah jag-hnsaee ve

kaise sah sakate hain. aise ghar ke dvar par jhankana bhi pap hai. sushila rokar boli, 'main anath hoon, nadan hoon, mujh par krodh n kijie. ap log hi mujhe chhod denge, to mera kaise nirvah hoga. '

itane men do mahashay aur a biraje. ek bahut mote aur doosare bahut dubale. nam bhi gunon ke anusar hi bhimachand aur durbaladas. dhaniram ne snkshep men yah paristhiti unhen samajha di. durbaladas ne sahridayata se kaha, 'to aisa kyon nahin karate ki ham log milakar kuchh rupaye de den. jab isaka ladaka sayana ho jayaga, to rupaye mil hi jayenge. agar n bhi mile to ek mitr ke lie kuchh bal kha jana koee badi bat nahin. '

sntalal ne prasann hokar kaha, 'itani daya ap karenge, to kya poochhana. '

kuberadas tyori chadhakar bole, 'tum to besir-pair ki baten karane lage durbaladasaji ! is bakhat ke bazar men kisake pas falatoo rupaye rakhe hue hain. '

bhimachand—‘ so to thik hai, bazar ki aisi mndi to kabhi dekhi nahin;par nibah to karana chahie. '

kuberadas akad gaye. vah sushila ke makan par dant lagaye hue the. aisi baton se unake svarth men badha padati thi. vah apane rupaye ab vasool karake chhodenge. bhimachand ne unhen kisi tarah sachet kiya; 'lekin bhoj to dena hi padega. us kartavy ka palan n karana samaj ki nak katana hai. '

sushila ne durbaladas men sahridayata ka abhas dekha. unaki or din netron se dekhakar boli, 'main ap logon se bahar thode hi hoon. ap log malik hain, jaisa uchit samajhen vaisa karen. '

durbaladas –‘tere pas kuchh thode-bahut gahane to honge, baee ? '

'han gahane hain. adhe to bimari men bik gaye, adhe bache hain.' sushila ne sare gahane lakar pnchon ke samane rakh diye; 'par yah to mushkil se tin hazar men uthenge.‘ durbaladas ne potali ko hath men taulakar kaha, 'tin hazar ko kaise jaynge. main sadhe tin hazar dila doonga. '

bhimachand ne phir potali ko taulakar kaha, 'meri boli, char hazar ki hai. '

kuberadas ko makan ki bikri ka prashn chhedane ka avasar phir mila, 'char hazar hi men kya hua jata hai. biradari ka bhoj hai ya dosh mitana hai. biradari men kam-se-kam das hazar ka kharacha hai. makan to

nikalana hi padega. '

santalal ne onth chabakar kaha, 'main kahata hoon, ap log kya itane nirdayi hain ! ap logon ko anath balakon par bhi daya nahin ati ! kya unhen raste ka bhikhari banakar chhodenge ? ' lekin santalal ki phariyad par kisi ne dhyan n diya. makan ki batachit ab nahin tali ja sakati thi. bazar mnda hai. 30 hazar se besi

nahin mil sakate, 15 hazar to kuberadas ke hain. panch hazar bachenge. char hazar gahanon se a jaynge. is tarah 9 hazar men badi kiphayat se brahmabhoj aur biradari-bhoj donon nipata diye jaynge. sushila ne donon balakon ko samane karake karabaddh hokar kaha, 'pncho, mere bachchon ka munh dekhie. mere ghar men jo kuchh hai; vah ap sab le lijie; lekin makan chhod dijie mujhe kahin thikana n milega. main apake pairon padati hoon makan is samay n bechen. '

is moorkhata ka kya javab diya jay. pnch log to khud chahate the ki makan n bechana pade. unhen anathon se koee dushmani nahin thi; kintu biradari ka bhoj aur kis tarah kiya jay. agar vidhava kam-se-kam panch hazar ru. ka jogad aur kar de, to makan bach sakata hai, par vah aisa nahin kar sakati, to makan bechane ke siva aur koee upay nahin.

kuber ne ant men kaha, 'dekh baee, bazar ki dasha is samay kharab hai. rupaye kisi se udhar nahin mil sakate. bal-bachchon ke bhag men likha hoga, to bhagavanh aur kisi hile se dega. hile roji, bahane maut. bal-bachchon

ki chinta mat kar. bhagavanh jisako janm dete hain, usaki jivika ki jugat pahale hi se kar dete hain. ham tujhe samajhakar har gaye. agar too ab bhi apana hath n chhodegi, to ham bat bhi n poochhenge. phir yahan tera rahana mushkil ho jayaga. shaharavale tere pichhe pad jaynge. '

vidhava sushila ab aur kya karati. pnchon se ladakar vah kaise rah sakati thi. pani men rahakar magar se kaun bair kar sakata hai. ghar men jane ke lie uthi par vahin moorchhit hokar gir padi. abhi tak asha snbhale huee

thi. bachchon ke palan-poshan men vah apana vaidhavy bhool sakati thi; par ab to andhakar tha, charon or. seth ramanath ke mitron ka unake ghar par poora adhikar tha. mitron ka adhikar n ho to kisaka ho. stri kaun hoti hai. jab vah itani moti-si bat nahin samajhati ki biradari karana aur dhoom-dham se dil kholakar karana lajimi bat hai, to usase aur kuchh kahana vyarth hai. gahane kaun kharide ? bhimachand char hazar dam laga chuke the, lekin ab unhen maloom hua ki unase bhool huee thi. durbaladas ne tin hazar lagaye the. isalie sauda inhin ke hath hua. is bat par durbaladas aur bhimachand men takarar bhi ho gayi; lekin bhimachand ko munh ki khani padi. nyay durbal ke paksh men tha. dhaniram ne kataksh kiya 'dekho durbaladas, mal to le jate ho; par

tin hazar se besi ka hai. main niti ki hatya n hone doonga.'

kuberadas bole, 'aji, to ghar men hi to hai, kahin bahar to nahin gaya. ek din mitron ki davat ho jayagi ! '

is par charon mahanubhav hnse. is kam se phurasat pakar ab makan ka prashn utha. kuberadas 30 hazar dene par taiyar the; par qanooni karravaee kiye bina sndeh ki gunjaish thi. yah gunjaish kyonkar rakhi jay. ek dalal

bulaya gaya. nata-sa adami tha, popala munh, koee 50 ki avastha. nam tha chokhelal.

kuberadas ne kaha, 'chokhelalaji se hamari tis sal ki dosti hai. adami kya ratn hain.'

bhimachand—‘dekho chokhelal, hamen yah makan bechana hai. isake lie koee achchha grahak lao. tumhari dalali pakki.'

kuberadas—‘ bazar ka hal achchha nahin hai; lekin phir bhi hamen yah to dekhana padega ki ramanath ke bal-bachchon ko tota n ho. (kan men) tis se age n jana.'

bhimachand –‘dekhie kuberadas, yah achchhi bat nahin hai.‘

kuberadas –‘to main kya kar raha hoon. main to yahi kah raha tha ki achchhe dam lagavana.‘

chokhelal –‘ap logon ko mujhase yah kahane ki zaroorat nahin. main apana dharm samajhata hoon. ramanathaji mere bhi mitr the. mujhe yah bhi maloom hai ki is makan ke banavane men ek lakh se kam ek paee bhi nahin lage, lekin bazar ka hal kya ap logon se chhipa hai. is samay isake 25 hazar se besi nahin mil sakate. subhite se to koee grahak se das-panch hazar aur mil jaynge; lekin is samay to koee grahak bhi mushkil se milenge. lo dahi aur lav dahi ki bat hai.'

dhaniram –‘25 hazar ru. to bahut kam hai bhaee, aur n sahi 30 hazar ru. to kara do.‘

chokhelal –‘30 kya main to 40 kara doon, par koee grahak to mile. ap log kahate hain to main 30 hazar ru. ki batachit karoonga.'

dhaniram –‘zab tis hazar men hi dena hai to kuberadasaji hi kyon n le len. itana sasta mal doosaron ko kyon diya jay.'

kuberadas –‘ap sab logon ki ray ho, to aisa hi kar liya jay. dhaniram ne 'han, han' kahakar hami bhari. bhimachand man men ainthakar rah gaye. yah sauda bhi pakka ho gaya. aj hi vakil ne bainama likha. turant

rajistri bhi ho gayi. sushila ke samane bainama laya gaya, to usane ek thandi sans li aur sajal netron se us par hastakshar kar diye. ab use usake siva aur kahin sharan nahin hai. bevapha mitr ki bhanti yah ghar bhi sukh ke dinon men sath dekar du:kh ke dinon men usaka sath chhod raha hai.

pnch log sushila ke angan men baithe biradari ke rukke likh rahe hain aur anath vidhava oopar jharokhe par baithi bhagy ko ro rahi hai. idhar rukka taiyar hua, udhar vidhava ki ankhon se ansoo ki boonden nikalakar rukke par gir padin. dhaniram ne oopar dekhakar kaha, 'pani ka chhinta kahan se aya ? '

santalal –‘baee baithi ro rahi hai. usane rukke par apane rakt ke ansuon ki muhar laga di hai.'

dhaniram (oonche svar men) 'are, to too ro kyon rahi hai, baee ? yah rone ka samay nahin hai, tujhe to prasann hona chahie ki pnch log tere ghar men aj yah shubh-kary karane ke lie jama hain. jis pati ke sath toone itane dinon

bhog-vilas kiya, usi ka pichha sudharane men too du:kh manati hai ? '

biradari men rukka phira. idhar tin-char din pnchon ne bhoj ki taiyariyon men bitaye. ghi dhaniramaji ki adhat se aya. maida, chini ki adhat bhi unhin ki thi. panchaven din prat:kal brahm-bhoj hua. sndhya-samay biradari

ka jyonar. sushila ke dvar par bagghiyon aur motaron ki kataren khadi thin. bhitar mehamanon ki pngaten thin. angan, baithak, dalan, barotha, oopar ki chhat niche-oopar mehamanon se bhara hua tha. log bhojan karate the aur pnchon ko

sarahate the. kharch to sabhi karate hain; par intazam ka salika chahie. aise svadisht padarth bahut kam khane men ate hain.

'seth champaram ke bhoj ke bad aisa bhoj ramanathaji ka hi hua hai.'

'amritiyan kaisi kurakuri hain !'

'rasagulle mevon se bhare hain.'

'sara shrey pnchon ko hai.'

dhaniram ne namrata se kaha, 'ap bhaiyon ki daya hai jo aisa kahate ho. ramanath se bhaee-chare ka vyavahar tha. ham n karate to kaun karata. char din se sona nasib nahin hua.'

'ap dhany hain ! mitr hon to aise hon.'

'kya bat hai ! apane ramanathaji ka nam rakh liya. biradari yahi khana-khilana dekhati hai. rokad dekhane nahin jati.'

mehaman log bakhan-bakhan kar mal uda rahe the aur udhar kothari men baithi huee sushila soch rahi thi snsar men aise svarthi log hain ! sara snsar svarthamay ho gaya hai ! sab peton par hath pher-pher kar bhojan kar rahe hain.

koee itana bhi nahin poochhata ki anathon ke lie kuchh bacha ya nahin. ek mahina gujar gaya. sushila ko ek-ek paise ki tngi ho rahi thi. nakad tha hi nahin, gahane nikal hi gaye the. ab thode se baratan bach rahe the. udhar chhote-chhote bahut-se bil chukane the. kuchh rupaye daktar ke, kuchh daraji ke, kuchh baniyon ke. sushila ko yah rakamen ghar ka bacha-khucha saman bechakar chukani padin. aur mahina poora hote-hote usake pas kuchh n bacha. bechara santalal ek dookan par munim tha. kabhi-kabhi vah akar ek-adha rupaye de deta. idhar kharch ka hath phaila hua tha. ladake avastha ko samajhate the. man ko chhedate n the, par makan ke samane se koee khonchevala nikal jata aur ve doosare ladakon ko phal ya mithaee khate dekhate, to unake munh men pani bharakar ankhon men bhar jata tha. aisi lalachayi huee ankhon se takate the ki daya ati. vahi bachche, jo thode din pahale meve-mithaee ki or takate n the ab ek-ek paise ki chiz ko tarasate the. vahi sajjan, jinhonne biradari ka bhoj karavaya tha, ab ghar ke samane se nikal jate; par koee jhankata n tha.

sham ho gayi thi. sushila choolha jalaye rotiyan senk rahi thi aur donon balak choolhe ke pas rotiyon ko kshudhit netron se dekh rahe the. choolhe ke doosare aile par dal thi. dal ke pakane ka intajar tha. ladaki gyarah sal

ki thi, ladaka ath sal ka. mohan adhir hokar bola, amman, 'mujhe rookhi rotiyan hi de do. badi

bhookh lagi hai.' sushila –‘abhi dal kachchi hai bhaiya.‘

revati –‘mere pas ek paisa hai. main usaka dahi liye ati hoon.'

sushila --'toone paisa kahan paya ? '

1103

revati –‘mujhe kal apani gudiyon ki petari men mil gaya tha.'

sushila –‘lekin jald aiyo.'

revati daudakar bahar gayi aur thodi der men ek patte par jara-sa dahi le ayi. man ne roti-senkakar de di. dahi se khane laga. am ladakon ki bhanti vah bhi svarthi tha. bahan se poochha bhi nahin. sushila ne kadi ankhon se dekhakar kaha, 'bahan ko bhi de de. akela hi kha jayaga.'

mohan lajjit ho gaya. usaki ankhen dabadaba ayin. revati boli, 'nahin amman, kitana mila hi hai. tum khao mohan, tumhen jaldi nind a jati hai. main to dal pak jayagi to khaoongi.'

usi vakt do adamiyon ne avaz di. revati ne bahar jakar poochha, yah seth kuberadas ke adami the. makan khali karane aye the. krodh se sushila ki ankhen lal ho gayin. barothe men akar kaha, 'abhi mere pati ko pichhe hue mahina bhi nahin hua, makan khali karane ki dhun savar ho gayi. mera 50 hazar ka ghar 30 hazar men le liya, panch hazar sood ke udaye, phir bhi taskin nahin hoti. kah do, main abhi khali nahin karoongi.'

munim ne namrata se kaha, 'baee ji, mera kya akhtiyar hai. main to keval sndesiya hoon. jab chiz doosare ki ho gayi, to apako chhodani hi padegi. jhnjhat karane se kya matalab.'

sushila bhi samajh gayi, 'thik hi kahata hai. gay hatya ke bal kai din khet charegi. narm hokar boli, 'sethaji se kaho, mujhe das-panch din ki muhalat den. lekin nahin, kuchh mat kaho. kyon das-panch din ke lie kisi ka ehasan loon. mere bhagy men is ghar men rahana likha hota, to nikalata hi kyon.'

munim ne poochha, 'to kal sabere tak khali ho jayaga ? '

sushila—‘'han, han, kahati to hoon; lekin sabere tak kyon, main abhi khali kiye deti hoon. mere pas kaun-sa bada saman hi hai. tumhare sethaji ka rat-bhar ka kiraya mara jayaga. jakar tala-vala lao ya laye ho ? '

munim –‘aisi kya jaldi hai, baee. kal savadhani se khali kar dijiega.'

sushila –‘qal ka jhagada kya rakhoon. munimaji, ap jaie, tala lakar dal dijie. yah kahati huee sushila andar gayi, bachchon ko bhojan karaya, ek roti ap kisi tarah nigali, baratan dhoye, phir ek ekka mngavakar us par apana mukhtasar saman lada aur bhari hriday se us ghar se hamesha ke lie vida ho gayi.

jis vakt yah ghar banavaya tha, man men kitani umngen thin. isake pravesh men kee hazar brahmanon ka bhoj hua tha. sushila ko itani daud-dhoop karani padi thi ki vah mahine bhar bimar rahi thi. isi ghar men usake do ladake mare

the. yahin usaka pati mara tha. maranevalon ki smritiyon ne usaki ek-ek eent ko pavitr kar diya tha. ek-ek patthar mano usake harsh se khushi aur usake shok se dukhi hota tha. vah ghar aj usase chhoota ja raha hai.

usane rat ek padosi ke ghar men kati aur doosare din 10 ru. mahine par ek gali men doosara makan le liya.

is naye kamare men in anathon ne tin mahine jis kasht se kate, vah samajhanevale hi samajh sakate hain. bhala ho bechare santalal ka. vah das-panch rupaye se madad kar diya karata tha. agar sushila daridr ghar ki hoti, to pisaee karati, kapade siti, kisi ke ghar men tahal karati; par jin kamon ko biradari nicha samajhati hai, unaka sahara kaise leti. nahin to log kahate, yah seth ramanath ki stri hai ! us nam ki bhi to laj rakhani thi. samaj ke chakravyooh se kisi tarah to chhutakara nahin hota. ladaki ke do-ek gahane bach rahe the. vah bhi bik gaye. jab rotiyon hi ke lale the, to ghar ka kiraya kahan se ata. tin mahine bad ghar ka malik, jo usi biradari ka ek pratishthit vyakti tha aur jisane mritak-bhoj men khoob badh-badhakar hath mare the, adhir

ho utha. bechara kitana dhairy rakhata. 30 ru. ka mamala hai, rupaye-ath-ane ki bat nahin hai. itani badi rakam nahin chhodi jati. akhir ek din sethaji ne akar lal-lal ankhen karake kaha, 'agar too kiraya nahin de sakati, to ghar khali kar de. mainne biradari ke nate itani murauvat ki. ab kisi tarah kam nahin chal sakata.

sushila boli, 'sethaji, mere pas rupaye hote, to pahale apaka kiraya dekar tab pani piti. apane itani murauvat ki, isake lie mera sir apake charanon par hai, lekin abhi main bilakul khali-hath hoon. yah samajh lijie ki ek bhaee ke bal-bachchon ki paravarish kar rahe hain. aur kya kahoon.'

seth –‘chal-chal, is tarah ki baten bahut sun chuka. biradari ka adami hai, to use choos lo. koee musalaman hota, to use chupake se mahine-mahine de deti, nahin to usane nikal bahar kiya hota, main biradari ka hoon, isalie mujhe kiraya dene ki darakar nahin. mujhe mangana hi nahin chahie. yahi to biradari ke sath karana chahie.'

isi samay revati bhi akar khadi ho gayi. sethaji ne use sir se panv tak dekha aur tab kisi karan se bole 'achchha, yah ladaki to sayani ho gayi. kahin isaki sagaee ki batachit nahin ki ? '

revati turnt bhag gayi. sushila ne in shabdon men atmiyata ki jhalak pakar pulakit knth se kaha, 'abhi to kahin batachit nahin huee, sethaji. ghar ka kiraya tak to ada nahin kar sakati, sagaee kya karoongi; phir abhi

chhoti bhi to hai.'

sethaji ne turnt shastron ka adhar diya. kanyaon ke vivah ki yahi avastha hai. dharm ko kabhi nahin chhodana chahie. kiraye ki koee bat nahin hai. hamen kya maloom tha ki seth ramanath ke parivar ki yah dasha hai.'

sushila –‘to apaki nigah men koee achchha ghar hai ! yah to ap janate hi hain, mere pas lene-dene ko kuchh nahin hai.'

jhabaramal –‘(in sethaji ka yahi nam tha) lene-dene ka koee jhagada nahin hoga; baeeji. aisa ghar hai ki ladaki ajivan sukhi rahegi. ladaka bhi usake sath rah sakata hai. kul ka sachcha; har tarah se snpann parivar

hai. han, vah dohajoo (doojavar) hai. '

sushila –‘umr achchhi honi chahie, dohajoo hone se kya hota hai.‘

jhabaramal –‘umr bhi kuchh zyada nahin, abhi chalisavan hi sal hai usaka, par dekhane men achchha hrasht-pusht hai. mard ki umr usaka bhojan hai. bas yah samajh lo ki parivar ka uddhar ho jayaga.'

sushila ne anichchha ke bhav se kaha, 'achchha, main sochakar javab doongi.ek bar mujhe dikha dena.

jhabaramal—‘ dikhane ko kahin nahin jana hai, baee. vah to tere samane hi khada hai.'

sushila ne ghrinapoorn netron se usaki or dekha. is pachas sal ke bundhe ki yah habas ! chhati ka mans latakakar nabhi tak a pahuncha hai, phir bhi vivah ki dhun savar hai. yah dusht samajhata hai ki pralobhanon men padakar

main apani ladaki usake gale bandh doongi. vah apani beti ko ajivan kvaauri rakhegi; par aise mritak se vivah karake usaka jivan nasht n karegi, par usane apane krodh ko shant kiya. samay ka pher hai, nahin to aison ko usase aisa prastav karane ka sahas hi kyon hota. boli, 'apaki is kripa ke lie apako dhanyavad deti hoon, sethaji, par main kanya ka vivah apase nahin kar sakati.'

jhabaramal –‘to aur kya too samajhati hai ki teri kanya ke lie biradari men koee kumar mil jayaga ? '

sushila –‘meri ladaki kvaauri rahegi.‘

jhabaramal –‘aur ramanathaji ke nam ko kalnkit karegi ? '

sushila –‘tumhen mujhase aisi baten karate laj nahin ati ? nam ke lie ghar khoya, snpatti khoyi, par kanya kuen men nahin duba sakati.'

jhabaramal—‘ to mera keraya de de.‘

sushila –‘abhi mere pas rupaye nahin hain.'

jhabaramal ne bhitar ghusakar grihasth ki ek-ek vastu nikalakar gali men phenk di. ghada phoot gaya, matake toot gaye. sndook ke kapade bikhar gaye. sushila tatasth khadi apane adin ki yah kroor krida dekhati rahi. ghar ka yon vidhvns karake jhabaramal ne ghar men tala dal diya aur adalat se rupaye vasool karane ki dhamaki dekar chale gaye. badon ke pas dhan hota hai, chhoton ke pas hriday hota hai. dhan se bade-bade vyapar hote hain; bade-bade mahal banate hain, naukar-chakar hote hain, savari-shikari hoti hai; hriday se samavedana hoti hai, ansoo nikalate hain.

usi makan se mili huee ek sag-bhaji bechanevali khatakin ki dookan thi. vriddha, vidhava nipooti stri thi, bahar se ag, bhitar se pani. jhabaramal ko saikadon sunayin aur sushila ki ek-ek chiz uthakar apane ghar men le

gayi. 'mere ghar men raho bahoo. murauvat men a gayi, nahin to usaki moonchhen ukhad leti. maut sir par nach rahi hai, age nath, n pichhe pagaha ! aur dhan ke pichhe mara jata hai. jane chhati par ladakar le jayaga. tum chalo mere ghar men raho. mere yahan kisi bat ka khataka nahin bas main akeli hoon. ek tukada mujhe bhi de dena.'

sushila ne darate-darate kaha, 'mata, mere pas ser-bhar ate ke siva aur kuchh nahin hai. main tumhen keraya kahan se doongi.'

budhiya ne kaha, 'main jhabaramal nahin hoon bahoo, n kuberadas hoon. main to samajhati hoon, zindagi men sukh bhi hai, du:kh bhi hai. sukh men itarao mat, du:kh men ghabadao mat. tumhin se char paise kamakar apana pet palati hoon. tumhen us din bhi dekha tha; jab tum mahal men rahati thin aur aj bhi dekh rahi hoon, jab tum anath ho. jo mizaj tab tha, vahi ab hai. mere dhany bhag ki tum mere ghar men ao. meri ankhen phooti hain, jo tumase keraya mangane jaoongi.' in santvana se bhare hue saral shabdon ne sushila ke hriday ka bojh halka kar diya. usane dekha, sachchi sajjanata bhi daridron aur nichon hi ke pas rahati hai. badon ki daya bhi hoti hai, ahnkar ka doosara roop !

is khatakin ke sath rahate hue sushila ko chh: mahine ho gaye the. sushila ka usase din-din sneh badhata jata tha. vah jo kuchh pati, lakar sushila ke hath men rakh deti. donon balak usaki do ankhen thin. majal n

thi ki pados ka koee adami unhen kadi ankhon se dekh le. budhiya duniya sir par utha leti. santalal har mahine kuchh-n-kuchh de diya karata tha. isase roti-dal chali jati thi.

katik ka mahina tha jvar ka prakop ho raha tha. mohan ek din khelata-koodata bimar pad gaya aur tin din tak achet pada raha. jvar itane zor ka tha ki pas khade rahane se lapat-si nikalati thi. budhiya ojhe-sayanon ke pas daudati phirati thi; par jvar utarane ka nam n leta tha. sushila ko bhay ho raha tha, yah taiphaid hai. isase usake pran sookh rahe the. chauthe din usane revati se kaha, 'beti, toone bade pnchaji ka ghar to dekha hai. jakar unase kah bhaiya bimar hai, koee daktar bhej den.'

revati ko kahane bhar ki deri thi. daudati huee seth kuberadas ke pas gayi. kuberadas bole daktar ki phis 16roo. hai. teri man de degi ? '

revati ne nirash hokar kaha, 'amman ke pas rupaye kahan hain ? '

kuberadas –‘to phir kis munh se mere daktar ko bulati hai. tera mama kahan hai ? unase jakar kah, seva samiti se koee daktar bula le jayn, nahin to khairati aspatal men kyon nahin ladake ko le jati ? ya abhi vahi purani boo samaee huee hai. kaisi moorkh stri hai, ghar men taka nahin aur daktar ka hukum laga diya. samajhati hogi, phis pnchaji de denge. pnchaji kyon phis den ? biradari ka dhan dharm-kary ke lie hai, yon udane ke lie nahin hai.'

revati man ke pas lauti; par jo kuchh suna tha, vah usase n kah saki. ghav par namak kyon chhidake. bahana kar diya, bade pnchaji kahin gaye hain. sushila to munim se kyon nahin kaha, ? yahan kya koee mithaee khaye

jata tha, jo daudi chali ayi ? isi vakt santalal ek vaidyaji ko lekar a pahuncha. vaidy bhi ek din akar doosare din n laute. seva-samiti ke daktar bhi do din badi minnaton se aye. phir unhen bhi avakash n raha aur mohan ki dasha dinondin bigadati jati thi. mahina bit gaya; par jvar aisa chadha ki ek kshan ke lie bhi n utara. usaka chehara itana sookh gaya tha ki dekh kar daya ati thi. n kuchh bolata, n kahata, yahan tak ki karavat bhi n badal sakata tha. pade-pade deh ki khal phat gayi, sir ke bal gir gaye. hath-panv lakadi ho gaye. santalal kam se chhutti pata to a jata, par isase kya hota; timaradari dava to nahin hai.

ek din sandhya samay usake hath thande ho gaye. mata ke pran pahale hi se sookhe hue the. yah hal dekhakar rone-pitane lagi. minnaten to bahuteri ho chuki thin. roti huee mohan ki khat ke sat phere karake hath bandhakar

boli, 'bhagavanh ! yahi mere janm ki kamaee hai. apana sarvasv khokar bhi main balak ko chhati se lagae hue santusht thi; lekin yah chot n sahi jayagi. tum ise achchha kar do. isake badale mujhe utha lo. bas, main yahi daya chahati hoon, dayamay ? '

snsar ke rahasy ko kaun samajh sakata hai ! kya hamamen se bahuton ko yah anubhav nahin ki jis din hamane beeemani karake kuchh rakam udayi, usi din us rakam ka duguna nukasan ho gaya. sushila ko usi din rat ko jvar a gaya aur usi din mohan ka jvar utar gaya. bachche ki seva-shushroosha men adhi to yon hi rah gayi thi, is bimari ne aisa pakada ki phir n chhoda. maloom nahin, devata baithe sun rahe the ya kya, usaki yachana aksharash: poori huee. pandrahaven din mohan charapaee se uthakar man ke pas aya aur usaki chhati par sir rakhakar rone laga. mata ne usake gale men banhen dalakar use chhati se laga liya aur boli, 'kyon rote ho beta ! main achchhi ho jaoongi. ab mujhe kya chinta. bhagavanh palanevale hain. vahi tumhare rakshak hain. vahi tumhare

pita hain. ab main sab taraph se nishchint hoon. jald achchhi ho jaoongi.'

mohan bola, 'ziya to kahati hai, amman ab n achchhi hongi.'

sushila ne balak ka chumban lekar kaha, 'ziya pagali hai, use kahane do. main tumhen chhodakar kahin n jaoongi. main sada tumhare sath rahoongi. han, jis din tum koee aparadh karoge, kisi ki koee chiz utha loge, usi din

main mar jaoongi ? '

mohan ne prasann hokar kaha, 'to tum mere pas se kabhi nahin jaogi man ? '

sushila ne kaha, 'qabhi nahin beta, kabhi nahin.'

usi rat ko du:kh aur vipatti ki mari huee yah anath vidhava donon anath balakon ko bhagavanh par chhodakar paralok sidhar gayi.

is ghatana ko tin sal ho gaye hain, mohan aur revati donon usi vriddha ke pas rahate hain. budhiya man to nahin hai; lekin man se badhakar hai. roj mohan ko rat ki rakhi rotiyan khilakar guruji ki pathashala men pahuncha ati hai.

chhutti ke samay jakar liva ati hai. revati ka ab chaudahavan sal hai. vah ghar ka sara kam pisana-kootana, chauka-baratan, jhadoo-buharoo karati hai. budhiya sauda bechane chali jati hai, to vah dookan par bhi a baithati hai.

ek din bade pnch seth kuberadas ne use bula bheja aur bole, ' tujhe dookan par baithate sharm nahin ati, sari biradari ki nak kata rahi hai. khabaradar, jo kal se dookan par baithi. mainne tere panigrahan ke lie jhabaramal ji ko pakka kar liya hai.'

sethani ne samarthan kiya, 'too ab sayani huee beti, ab tera is tarah baithana achchha nahin. log tarah-tarah ki baten karane lagate hain. seth jhabaramal to raji hi n hote the, hamane bahut kah-sunakar raji kiya hai. bas, samajh

le ki rani ho jayagi. lakhon ki sampatti hai, lakhon ki. tere dhany bhag ki aisa var mila. tera chhota bhaee hai, usako bhi koee dookan kara di jayagi. seth biradari ki kitani badanami hai ! sethani hai hi.'

revati ne lajjit hokar kaha, 'main kya janoon, ap mama se kahen.'

seth –‘ vah kaun hota hai ! take par munimi karata hai. usase main kya poochhoon. main biradari ka pnch hoon. mujhe adhikar hai, jis kam se biradari ka kalyan dekhoon, vah karoon. mainne aur pnchon se ray le li hai. sab mujhase

sahamat hain. agar too yon nahin manegi, to ham adalati karravaee karenge. tujhe kharach-barach ka kam hoga, yah leti ja.'

yah kahate hue unhonne 20roo. ke not revati ki taraph phenk diye. revati ne uthakar vahin puraje-puraje kar dale aur tamatamaye mukh se boli, 'biradari ne tab ham logon ki bat n poochhi; jab ham rotiyon ko muhataj the. meri mata mar gayi; koee jhankane tak n aya. mera bhaee bimar hua, kisi ne khabar tak n li. aisi biradari ki mujhe paravah nahin hai.' revati chali gayi, to jhabaramal kothari se nikal aye. chehara udas tha.

sethani ne kaha, 'ladaki badi ghamndin hai. ankh ka pani mar gaya hai.'

jhabaramal –‘bis rupaye kharab ho gaye. aisa phada hai ki jud bhi nahin sakate.'

kuberadas--‘tum ghabadao nahin; main ise adalat se thik karoonga. jati kahan hai.'

jhabaramal –‘ab to apaka hi bharosa hai.'

biradari ke bade pnch ki bat kahin mithya ho sakati hai ? revati nabalig thi. mata-pita nahin the. aisi dasha men pnchon ka us par poora adhikar tha. vah biradari ke dabav men nahin rahana chahati hai, n chahe. qanoon biradari ke adhikar ki upeksha nahin kar sakata. santalal ne yah majara suna; to dant pisakar bole n jane is

biradari ka bhagavanh kab ant karenge.

revati –‘kya biradari mujhe jabaradasti apane adhikar men le sakati hai ? '

santalal—‘ han beti, dhanikon ke hath men to qanoon bhi hai.'

revati –‘main kah doongi ki main unake pas nahin rahana chahati.'

santalal –‘tere kahane se kya hoga. tere bhagy men yahi likha tha, to kisaka bas hai. main jata hoon bade pnch ke pas. '

revati –‘nahin mamaji, tum kahin n jav. jab bhagy hi ka bharosa hai; to jo kuchh bhagy men likha hoga vah hoga.'

rat to revati ne ghar men kati. bar-bar nidra-magn bhaee ko gale lagati. yah anath akela kaise rahega, yah sochakar usaka man katar ho jata; par jhabaramal ki soorat yad karake usaka snkalp dridh ho jata. prat:kal revati gnga-snan karane gayi. yah idhar kee mahinon se usaka nity ka niyam tha. aj jara andhera tha; par yah koee sandeh ki bat n thi. sandeh tab hua, jab ath baj gaye aur vah lautakar n ayi.

tisare pahar sari biradari men khabar phail gee seth ramanath ki kanya gnga men doob gee. usaki lash paee gee.

kuberadas ne kaha, 'chalo, achchha hua; biradari ki badanami to n hogi.'

jhabaramal ne dukhi man se kaha, 'mere lie ab koee aur upay kijie.'

udhar mohan sir pit-pitakar ro raha tha aur budhiya use god men liye samajha rahi thi beta, us devi ke lie kyon rote ho. zindagi men usake dukh-hi-dukh tha. ab vah apani man ki god men aram kar rahi hai.

tika tippani aur sndarbh

bahari kadiyan

snbndhit lekh

varnamala kramanusar lekh khoj

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