राजा हरदौल- प्रेमचंद  हिन्दी देवनागरी में पढ़ें।

bundelakhnd men orachha purana rajy hai. isake raja bundele hain. in bundelon ne pahadon ki ghatiyon men apana jivan bitaya hai. ek samay orachhe ke raja jujhar sinh the. ye bade sahasi aur buddhiman the. shahajahan us samay dilli ke badashah the. jab shahajahan lodi ne balava kiya aur vah shahi mulk ko lootata-patata orachhe ki or a nikala, tab raja jujhar sinh ne usase moracha liya. raja ke is kam se gunagrahi shahajahan bahut prasann hue. unhonne turnt hi raja ko dakkhin ka shasan-bhar saunpa. us din orachhe men bada annd manaya gaya. shahi doot khilat aur sanad le kar raja ke pas aya. jujhar sinh ko bade-bade kam karane ka avasar mila.

safar ki taiyariyan hone lagin, tab raja ne apane chhote bhaee haradaul sinh ko bula kar kaha-

'bhaiya, main to jata hoon. ab yah raj-pat tumhare supurd hai. tum bhi ise ji se pyar karana! nyay hi raja ka sabase bada sahayak hai. nyay ki gadhi men koee shatru nahin ghus sakata, chahe vah ravan ki sena ya indr ka bal lekar ae, par nyay vahi sachcha hai, jise praja bhi nyay samajhe. tumhara kam keval nyay hi karana n hoga, balki praja ko apane nyay ka vishvas bhi dilana hoga aur main tumhen kya samajhaoon, tum svayn samajhadar ho.'

yah kah kar unhonne apani pagadi utari aur haradaul sinh ke sir par rakh din. haradaul rota hua unake pairon se lipat gaya. isake bad raja apani rani se vida hone ke lie ranivas ae. rani daravaze par khadi ro rahi thi. unhen dekhate hi pairon par padi. jujhar sinh ne utha kar use chhati se lagaya aur kaha, 'pyari, yah rone ka samay nahin hai. bundelon ki striyan aise avasar par roya nahin karatin. eeshvar ne chaha, to ham-tum jald milenge. mujh par aisi hi priti rakhana. mainne raj-pat haradaul ko saunpa hai, vah abhi ladaka hai. usane abhi duniya nahin dekhi hai. apani salahon se usaki madad karati rahana.'

rani ki zaban bnd ho gee. vah apane man men kahane lagi, 'hay yah kahate hain, bundelon ki striyan aise avasaron par roya nahin karatin. shayad unake hriday nahin hota, ya agar hota hai to usamen prem nahin hota!' rani kaleje par patthar rakh kar ansoo pi gee aur hath jod kar raja ki or muskarati huee dekhane lagi; par kya vah muskarahat thi. jis tarah andhere maidan men mashal ki roshani andhere ko aur bhi athah kar deti hai, usi tarah rani ki muskarahat usake man ke athah du:kh ko aur bhi prakat kar rahi thi.

jujhar sinh ke chale jane ke bad haradaul sinh raj karane laga. thode hi dinon men usake nyay aur praja-vatsaly ne praja ka man har liya. log jujhar sinh ko bhool ge. jujhar sinh ke shatru bhi the aur mitr bhi; par haradaul sinh ka koee shatru n tha, sab mitr hi the. vah aisa hnsamukh aur madhur bhashi tha ki usase jo baten kar leta, vahi jivan bhar usaka bhakt bana rahata. raj bhar men aisa koee n tha jo usake pas tak n pahunch sakata ho. rat-din usake darabar ka phatak sabake lie khula rahata tha. orachhe ko kabhi aisa sarvapriy raja nasib n hua tha. vah udar tha, nyasi tha, vidya aur gun ka grahak tha, par sabase bada gun jo usamen tha, vah usaki virata thi. usaka vah gun had darje ko pahunch gaya tha. jis jati ke jivan ka avalnb talavar par hai, vah apane raja ke kisi gun par itana nahin rijhati jitana usaki virata par. haradaul apane gunon se apani praja ke man ka bhi raja ho gaya, jo mulk aur mal par raj karane se bhi kathin hai. is prakar ek varsh bit gaya. udhar dakkhin men jujhar sinh ne apane prabndh se charon or shahi dabadaba jama diya, idhar orachhe men haradaul ne praja par mohan-mntr phoonk diya.

phalgun ka mahina tha, abir aur gulal se zamin lal ho rahi thi. kamadev ka prabhav logon ko bhadaka raha tha. rabi ne kheton men sunahala farsh bichha rakha tha aur khalihanon men sunahale mahal utha die the. sntosh is sunahale farsh par ithalata phirata tha aur nishchintata us sunahale mahal men tane alap rahi thi. inhin dinon dilli ka namavar phekaiti kadir khan orachhe aya. bade-bade pahalavan usaka loha man ge the. dilli se orachhe tak sainkadon mardanagi ke mad se matavale usake samane ae, par koee usase jit n saka. usase ladana bhagy se nahin, balki maut se ladana tha. vah kisi inam ka bhookha n tha. jaisa hi dil ka diler tha, vaisa hi man ka raja tha. thik holi ke din usane dhoom-dham se orachhe men soochana di ki 'khuda ka sher, dilli ka kadir khan orachhe a pahuncha hai. jise apani jan bhari ho, a kar apane bhagy ka nipatara kar le.' orachhe ke bade-bade bundele soorama vah ghamnd-bhari vani sun kar garam ho uthe. phag aur daph ki tan ke badale dhol ki vir-dhvani sunaee dene lagi. haradaul ka akhada orachhe ke pahalavanon aur phekaiton ka sabase bada adda tha. sndhya ko yahan sare shahar ke soorama jama hue. kaladev aur bhaladev bundelon ki nak the, sainkadon maidan mare hue. ye hi donon pahalavan kadir khan ka ghamnd choor karane ke lie ge.

doosare din qile ke samane talab ke kinare bade maidan men orachhe ke chhote-bade sabhi jama hue. kaise-kaise sajile, alabele javan the, sir par khusharng banki pagadi, mathe par chndan ka tilak, ankhon men mardanagi ka saroor, kamar men talavar. aur kaise-kaise boodhe the, tani hueen moonchhen, sadi par tirachhi pagadi, kanon men bndhi huee dadhiyan, dekhane men to boodhe, par kam men javan, kisi ko kuchh n samajhane vale. unaki mardana chal-dhal naujavanon ko lajati thi. har ek ke munh se virata ki baten nikal rahi thin. naujavan kahate the, 'dekhen aj orachhe ki laj rahati hai ya nahin.' par boodhe kahate- orachhe ki har kabhi nahin huee, n hogi. viron ka yah josh dekh kar raja haradaul ne bade zor se kah diya, 'khabaradar, bundelon ki laj rahe ya n rahe; par unaki pratishtha men bal n padane pae- yadi kisi ne auron ko yah kahane ka avasar diya ki orachhe vale talavar se n jit sake to dhandhali kar baithe, vah apane ko jati ka shatru samajhe.'

soory nikal aya tha. ekaek nagade par chot padi aur asha tatha bhay ne logon ke man ko uchhal kar munh tak pahuncha diya. kaladev aur kadir khan donon lngot kase sheron ki tarah akhade men utare aur gale mil ge. tab donon taraf se talavaren nikalin aur donon ke bagalon men chali geen. phir badal ke do tukadon se bijaliyan nikalane lagin. poore tin ghnte tak yahi maloom hota raha ki do angare hain. hazaron adami khade tamasha dekh rahe the aur maidan men adhi rat ka-sa sannata chhaya tha. han, jab kabhi kaladev girahadar hath chalata ya koee penchadar var bacha jata, to logon ki gardan ap hi ap uth jati; par kisi ke munh se ek shabd bhi nahin nikalata tha. akhade ke andar talavaron ki khinchatan thi; par dekhanevalon ke lie akhade se bahar maidan men isase bhi badh kar tamasha tha. bar-bar jatiy pratishtha ke vichar se man ke bhavon ko rokana aur prasannata ya du:kh ka shabd munh se bahar n nikalane dena talavaron ke var bachane se adhik kathin kam tha. ekaek kadir khan 'allaho-akabar' chillaya, mano badal garaj utha aur usake garajate hi kaladev ke sir par bijali gir padi.

kaladev ke girate hi bundelon ko sabr n raha. har ek ke chehare par nirbal krodh aur kuchale hue ghamnd ki tasvir khinch gee. hazaron adami josh men a kar akhade par daude, par haradaul ne kaha, 'khabaradar! ab koee age n badhe.' is avaz ne pairon ke sath jnjir ka kam kiya. darshakon ko rok kar jab ve akhade men ge aur kaladev ko dekha, to ankhon men ansoo bhar ae. jakhmi sher zamin par pada tadap raha tha. usake jivan ki tarah usaki talavar ke do tukade ho ge the.

aj ka din bita, rat aee; par bundelon ki ankhon men nind kahan. logon ne karavaten badal kar rat kati jaise dukhit manushy vikalata se subah ki bat johata hai, usi tarah bundele rah-rah kar akash ki taraf dekhate aur usaki dhimi chal par jhunjhalate the. unake jatiy ghamnd par gahara ghav laga tha. doosare din jyon hi soory nikala, tin lakh bundele talab ke kinare pahunche. jis samay bhaladev sher ki tarah akhade ki taraf chala, dilon men dhadakan-si hone lagi. kal jab kaladev akhade men utara tha, bundelon ke hausale badhe hue the, par aj vah bat n thi. hriday men asha ki jagah dar ghusa hua tha. kadir khan koee chutila var karata to logon ke dil uchhal kar honthon tak a jate. soory sir par chadha jata tha aur logon ke dil baith jate the. isamen koee sndeh nahin ki bhaladev apane bhaee se phurtila aur tez tha. usane kee bar kadir khan ko nicha dikhalaya, par dilli ka nipun pahalavan har bar snbhal jata tha. poore tin ghnte tak donon bahaduron men talavaren chalati rahin. ekaek khatake ki avaz huee aur bhaladev ki talavar ke do tukade ho ge. raja haradaul akhade ke samane khade the. unhonne bhaladev ki taraf tezi se apani talavar phenki. bhaladev talavar lene ke lie jhuka hi tha ki kadir khan ki talavar usaki gardan par a padi. ghav gahara n tha, keval ek 'charaka' tha; par usane ladaee ka phaisala kar diya.

hatash bundele apane-apane gharon ko laute. yadyapi bhaladev ab bhi ladane ko taiyar tha; par haradaul ne samajha kar kaha ki 'bhaiyon, hamari har usi samay ho gee jab hamari talavar ne javab de diya. yadi ham kadir khan ki jagah hote to nihatthe adami par var n karate aur jab tak hamare shatru ke hath men talavar n a jati, ham us par hath n uthate; par kadir khan men yah udarata kahan? balavan shatru ka samana karane men udarata ko tak par rakh dena padata hai. to bhi hamane dikha diya hai ki talavar ki ladaee men ham usake barabar hain ab hamako yah dikhana raha hai ki hamari talavar men bhi vaisa hi jauhar hai!' isi tarah logon ko tasalli de kar raja haradaul ranivas ko ge.

kulina ne poochha - 'lala, aj dngal ka kya rng raha?'
haradaul ne sir jhuka kar javab diya - 'aj bhi vahi kal ka-sa hal raha.'
kulina - 'kya bhaladev mara gaya?'
haradaul - 'nahin, jan se to nahin par har ho gee.'
kulina - 'to ab kya karana hoga?'
haradaul - 'main svayn isi soch men hoon. aj tak orachhe ko kabhi nicha n dekhana pada tha. hamare pas dhan n tha, par apani virata ke samane ham raj aur dhan koee chiz n samajhate the. ab ham kis munh se apani virata ka ghamnd karenge? orachhe ki aur bundelon ki laj ab jati hai.'
kulina - 'kya ab koee as nahin hai?'
haradaul - 'hamare pahalavanon men vaisa koee nahin hai jo usase bazi le jae. bhaladev ki har ne bundelon ki himmat tod di hai. aj sare shahar men shok chhaya hua hai. sainkadon gharon men ag nahin jali. chirag roshan nahin hua. hamare desh aur jati ki vah chiz jisase hamara man tha, ab antim sans le rahi hai. bhaladev hamara ustad tha. usake har chukane ke bad mera maidan men ana dhrishtata hai; par bundelon ki sakh jati hai, to mera sir bhi usake sath jaega. kadir khan beshak apane hunar men ek hi hai, par hamara bhaladev kabhi usase kam nahin. usaki talavar yadi bhaladev ke hath men hoti to maidan zaroor usake hath rahata. orachhe men keval ek talavar hai jo kadir khan ki talavar ka munh mod sakati hai. vah bhaiya ki talavar hai. agar tum orachhe ki nak rakhana chahati ho to use mujhe de do. yah hamari antim cheshta hogi. yadi is bar bhi har huee to orachhe ka nam sadaiv ke lie doob jaega.'

kulina sochane lagi, talavar inako doon ya n doon. raja ruk ge hain. unaki agya thi ki kisi doosare ki parachhahin bhi us par n padane pae. kya aisi dasha men main unaki agya ka ullnghan karoon to ve naraz honge? kabhi nahin. jab ve sunenge ki mainne kaise kathin samay men talavar nikali hai, to unhen sachchi prasannata hogi. bundelon ki an kisako itani pyari nahin hai? usase zyada orachhe ki bhalaee chahane vala kaun hoga? is samay unaki agya ka ullnghan karana hi agya manana hai. yah soch kar kulina ne talavar haradaul ko de di.

savera hote hi yah khabar phail gee ki raja haradaul kadir khan se ladane ke lie ja rahe hain. itana sunate hi logon men sanasani-si phail gee aur chaunk uthe. pagalon ki tarah log akhade ki or daude. har ek adami kahata tha ki jab tak ham jite hain, maharaj ko ladane nahin denge, par jab log akhade ke pas pahunche to dekha ki akhade men bijaliyan-si chamak rahi hain. bundelon ke dilon par us samay jaisi bit rahi thi, usaka anuman karana kathin hai. us samay us lnbe-chaude maidan men jahan tak nigah jati thi, adami hi adami nazar ate the, par charon taraf sannata tha. har ek ankh akhade ki taraf lagi huee thi aur har ek ka dil haradaul ki mngal-kamana ke lie eeshvar ka prarthi tha. kadir khan ka ek-ek var hazaron dilon ke tukade kar deta tha aur haradaul ki ek-ek kat se manon men annd ki laharen uthati thin. akhadon men do pahalavanon ka samana tha aur akhade ke bahar asha aur nirasha ka. akhir ghadiyal ne pahala pahar bajaya aur haradaul ki talavar bijali banakar kadir ke sir par giri. yah dekhate hi bundele mare annd ke unmatt ho ge. kisi ko kisi ki sudhi n rahi. koee kisi se gale milata, koee uchhalata aur koee chhalangen marata tha. hazaron adamiyon par virata ka nasha chha gaya. talavaren svayn myan se nikal padin, bhale chamakane lage. jit ki khushi men sainkadon janen bhent ho geen. par jab haradaul akhade se bahar ae aur unhonne bundelon ki or tez nigahon se dekha to an-ki-an men log snbhal ge. talavaren myan men ja chhipin. khy़al a gaya. yah khushi kyon, yah umng kyon aur yah pagalapan kisalie? bundelon ke lie yah koee nee bat nahin huee. is vichar ne logon ka dil thnda kar diya. haradaul ki is virata ne use har ek bundele ke dil men man pratishtha ki oonchi jagah par bithaya, jahan nyay aur udarata bhi use n pahuncha sakati thi. vah pahale hi se sarvapriy tha aur ab vah apani jati ka viravar aur bundela dilavari ka siramaur ban gaya.

raja jujhar sinh ne bhi dakshin men apani, yogyata ka parichay diya. ve keval ladaee men hi vir n the, balki rajy-shasan men bhi advitiy the. unhonne apane suprabndh se dakshin pranton ka balavan rajy bana diya aur varsh bhar ke bad badashah se agya lekar ve orachhe ki taraf chale. orachhe ki yad unhen sadaiv bechain karati rahi. ah orachha! vah din kab aega ki phir tere darshan honge! raja mnzilen marate chale ate the, n bhookh thi, n pyas, orachhevalon ki muhabbat khinche lie ati thi. yahan tak ki orachhe ke jngalon men a pahunche. sath ke adami pichhe chhoot ge.

dopahar ka samay tha. dhoop tez thi. ve ghode se utare aur ek ped ki chhanh men ja baithe. bhagyavash aj haradaul bhi jit ki khushi men shikar khelane nikale the. sainkadon bundela saradar unake sath the. sab abhiman ke nashe men choor the. unhonne raja jujharasinh ko akele baithe the dekha, par ve apane ghamnd men itane doobe hue the ki inake pas tak n ae. samajha koee yatri hoga. haradaul ki ankhon ne bhi dhokha khaya. ve ghode par savar akadate hue jujharasinh ke samane ae aur poochhana chahate the ki tum kaun ho ki bhaee se ankh mil gee. pahachanate hi ghode se kood pade aur unako pranam kiya. raja ne bhi uth kar haradaul ko chhati se laga liya, par us chhati men ab bhaee ki muhabbat n thi. muhabbat ki jagah eershya ne gher li thi aur vah keval isilie ki haradaul door se nnge pair unaki taraf n dauda, usake savaron ne door hi se unaki abhyarthana n ki. sndhya hote-hote donon bhaee orachhe pahunche. raja ke lautane ka samachar pate hi nagar men prasannata ki dundubhi bajane lagi. har jagah anndotsav hone laga aur turata-phurati shahar jagamaga utha.

aj rani kulina ne apane hathon bhojan banaya. nau baje honge. laundi ne akar kaha, 'maharaj, bhojan taiyar hai.' donon bhaee bhojan karane ge. sone ke thal men raja ke lie bhojan parosa gaya aur chandi ke thal men haradaul ke lie. kulina ne svayn bhojan banaya tha, svayn thal parose the aur svayn hi samane laee thi, par dinon ka chakr kaho, ya bhagy ke durdin, usane bhool se sone ka thal haradaul ke age rakh diya aur chandi ka raja ke samane. haradaul ne kuchh dhyan n diya, vah varsh bhar se sone ke thal men khate-khate usaka adi ho gaya tha, par jujhar sinh tilamila ge. jaban se kuchh n bole, par tevar badal ge aur munh lal ho gaya. rani ki taraf ghoor kar dekha aur bhojan karane lage. par gras vish maloom hota tha. do-char gras kha kar uth ae. rani unake tevar dekh kar dar gee. aj kaise prem se usane bhojan banaya tha, kitani pratiksha ke bad yah shubh din aya tha, usake ullas ka koee paravar n tha; par raja ke tevar dekh kar usake pran sookh ge. jab raja uth ge aur usane thal ko dekha, to kaleja dhak se ho gaya aur pairon tale se mitti nikal gee. usane sir pit liya, 'eeshvar! aj rat kushalatapoorvak kate, mujhe shakun achchhe dikhaee nahin dete.'

raja jujhar sinh shishamahal men lete. chatur nain ne rani ka shrringar kiya aur vah muskara kar boli, 'kal maharaj se isaka inam loongi.' yah kah kar vah chali gee, parntu kulina vahan se n uthi. vah gahare soch men padi huee thi. unake samane kaun-sa munh lekar jaoon? nain ne nahak mera shrringar kar diya. mera shrringar dekh kar ve khush bhi honge? mujhase is samay aparadh hua hai, main aparadhini hoon, mera unake pas is samay banav-shrringar karake jana uchit nahin. nahin, nahin, aj mujhe unake pas bhikharin ke bhesh men jana chahie. main unase kshama mangoongi. is samay mere lie yahi uchit hai. yah soch kar rani bade shishe ke samane khadi ho gee. vah apsara-si maloom hoti thi. sundarata ki kitani hi tasviren usane dekhi thin; par use is samay shishe ki tasvir sabase zyada khoobasoorat maloom hoti thi.

sundarata aur atmaruchi ka sath hai. haldi bina rng ke nahin rah sakati. thodi der ke lie kulina sundarata ke mad se phool uthi. vah tan kar khadi ho gee. log kahate hain ki sundarata men jadoo hai aur vah jadoo, jisaka koee utar nahin. dharm aur karm, tan aur man sab sundarata par nyauchhavar hai. main sundar n sahi, aisi kuroopa bhi nahin hoon. kya meri sundarata men itani bhi shakti nahin hai ki maharaj se mera aparadh kshama kara sake? ye bahu-lataen jis samay unake gale ka har hongi, ye ankhen jis samay prem ke mad se lal hokar dekhengi, tab kya mere saundary ki shitalata unaki krodhagni ko thnda n kar dengi? par thodi der men rani ko gyat hua. ah! yah main kya svapn dekh rahi hoon! mere man men aisi baten kyon ati hain! main achchhi hoon ya buri hoon unaki cheri hoon. mujhase aparadh hua hai, mujhe unase kshama mangani chahie. yah shrringar aur banav is samay upayukt nahin hai. yah soch kar rani ne sab gahane utar die. itar men basi huee resham ki sadi alag kar di. motiyon se bhari mang khol di aur vah khoob phoot-phoot kar roee. yah milap ki rat viyog ki rat se bhi vishesh dukhadayini hai. bhikharini ka bhesh bana kar rani shishamahal ki or chali. pair age badhate the, par man pichhe hata jata tha. daravaze tak aee, par bhitar pair n rakh saki. dil dhadakane laga. aisa jan pada mano usake pair tharra rahe hain.

raja jujharasinh bole - 'kaun hai? kulina! bhitar kyon nahin a jati?'
kulina ne ji kada karake kaha - 'maharaj, kaise aoon? main apani jagah krodh ko baitha pati hoon.'
raja - 'yah kyon nahin kahati ki man doshi hai, isalie ankhen nahin milane deta.'
kulina - 'nissndeh mujhase aparadh hua hai, par ek abala apase kshama ka dan mangati hai.'
raja - 'isaka prayashchit karana hoga'
kulina - 'kyon kar?'
raja - 'haradaul ke khoon se.'
kulina sir se pair tak kanp gee. boli - 'kya isalie ki aj meri bhool se jyonar ke thalon men ulat-pher ho gaya?'
raja - nahin, isalie ki tumhare prem men haradaul ne ulat-pher kar diya!

jaise ag ki anch se loha lal ho jata hai, vaise hi rani ka munh lal ho gaya. krodh ki agni sadbhavon ko bhasm kar deti hai, prem aur pratishtha, daya aur nyay, sab jal ke rakh ho jate hain. ek minat tak rani ko aisa maloom hua, mano dil aur dimag donon khaul rahe hain, par usane atmadaman ki antim cheshta se apane ko snbhala, keval itana boli - 'haradaul ko apana ladaka aur bhaee samajhati hoon.'

raja uth baithe aur kuchh narm svar men bole - 'nahin, haradaul ladaka nahin hai, ladaka main hoon, jisane tumhare oopar vishvas kiya. kulina, mujhe tumase aisi asha n thi. mujhe tumhare oopar ghamnd tha. main samajhata tha, chand-soory tal sakate hain, par tumhara dil nahin tal sakata, par aj mujhe maloom hua ki vah mera ladakapan tha. badon ne sach kaha hai ki stri ka prem pani ki dhar hai, jis or dhal pata hai, udhar hi bah jata hai. sona zyada garam hokar pighal jata hai.'

kulina rone lagi. krodh ki ag pani ban kar ankhon se nikal padi. jab avaz vash men huee, to boli, 'apake is sndeh ko kaise door karoon?'
raja - 'haradaul ke khoon se.'
rani - 'mere khoon se dag n mitega?'
raja - 'tumhare khoon se aur pakka ho jaega.'
rani - 'aur koee upay nahin hai?'
raja - 'nahin.'
rani - 'yah apaka antim vichar hai?'
raja - 'han, yah mera antim vichar hai. dekho, is panadan men pan ka bida rakha hai. tumhare satitv ki pariksha yahi hai ki tum haradaul ko ise apane hathon khila do. mere man ka bhram usi samay nikalega jab is ghar se haradaul ki lash nikalegi.'

rani ne ghrina ki drishti se pan ke bide ko dekha aur vah ulate pair laut aee.

rani sochane lagi, 'kya haradaul ke pran loon? nirdosh, sachcharitr vir haradaul ki jan se apane satitv ki pariksha doon? us haradaul ke khoon se apana hath kala karoon jo mujhe bahan samajhata hai? yah pap kisake sir padega? kya ek nirdosh ka khoon rng n laega? ah! abhagi kulina! tujhe aj apane satitv ki pariksha dene ki avashyakata padi hai aur vah aisi kathin? nahin yah pap mujhase nahin hoga. yadi raja mujhe kulata samajhate hain, to samajhen, unhen mujh par sndeh hai, to ho. mujhase yah pap n hoga. raja ko aisa sndeh kyon hua? kya keval thalon ke badal jane se? nahin, avashy koee aur bat hai. aj haradaul unhen jngal men mil gaya. raja ne usaki kamar men talavar dekhi hogi. kya ashchary hai, haradaul se koee apaman bhi ho gaya ho. mera aparadh kya hai? mujh par itana bada dosh kyon lagaya jata hai? keval thalon ke badal jane se? he eeshvar! main kisase apana du:kh kahoon? too hi mera sakshi hai. jo chahe so ho, par mujhase yah pap n hoga.'

rani ne phir socha, 'raja, tumhara hriday aisa ochha aur nich hai? tum mujhase haradaul ki jan lene ko kahate ho? yadi tumase usaka adhikar aur man nahin dekha jata, to kyon saf-saf aisa nahin kahate? kyon mardon ki ladaee nahin ladate? kyon svayn apane hath se usaka sir nahin katate aur mujhase vah kam karane ko kahate ho? tum khoob janate ho, main yah nahin kar sakati. yadi mujhase tumhara ji ukata gaya hai, yadi main tumhari jan ki jnjal ho gee hoon, to mujhe kashi ya mathura bhej do. main bekhatake chali jaoongi, par eeshvar ke lie mere sir itana bada kalnk n lagane do. par main jivit hi kyon rahoon, mere lie ab jivan men koee sukh nahin hai. ab mera marana hi achchha hai. main svayn pran de doongi, par yah mahapap mujhase n hoga. vicharon ne phir palata khaya. tumako pap karana hi hoga. isase bada pap shayad aj tak snsar men n hua ho, par yah pap tumako karana hoga. tumhare pativrat par sndeh kiya ja raha hai aur tumhen is sndeh ko mitana hoga. yadi tumhari jan jokhim men hoti, to kuchh harz n tha. apani jan dekar haradaul ko bacha leti, par is samay tumhare pativrat par anch a rahi hai. isalie tumhen yah pap karana hi hoga, aur pap karane ke bad hnsana aur prasann rahana hoga. yadi tumhara chitt tanik bhi vichalit hua, yadi tumhara mukhada zara bhi maddhim hua, to itana bada pap karane par bhi tum sndeh mitane men saphal n hogi. tumhare ji par chahe jo bite, par tumhen yah pap karana hi padega. parntu kaise hoga? kya main haradaul ka sir utaroongi? yah soch kar rani ke sharir men knpaknpi a gee. nahin, mera hath us par kabhi nahin uth sakata. pyare haradaul, main tumhen khila sakati. main janati hoon, tum mere lie annd se vish ka bida kha loge. han, main janati hoon tum 'nahin' n karoge, par mujhase yah mahapap nahin ho sakata. ek bar nahin, hazar bar nahin ho sakata.'

haradaul ko in baton ki kuchh bhi khabar n thi. adhi rat ko ek dasi roti huee usake pas gee aur usane sab samachar akshar-akshar kah sunaya. vah dasi pan-dan lekar rani ke pichhe-pichhe rajamahal se daravaze par gee thi aur sab baten sun kar aee thi. haradaul raja ka dhng dekh kar pahale hi tad gaya tha ki raja ke man men koee-n-koee kanta avashy khatak raha hai. dasi ki baton ne usake sndeh ko aur bhi pakka kar diya. usane dasi se kadi manahi kar di ki savadhan! kisi doosare ke kanon men in baton ki bhanak n pade aur vah svayn marane ko taiyar ho gaya.

haradaul bundelon ki virata ka sooraj tha. usaki bhaunhon ke tanik ishare se tin lakh bundele marane aur marane ke lie ikatthe ho sakate the, orachha us par nyochhavar tha. yadi jujhar sinh khule maidan usaka samana karate to avashy munh ki khate, kyonki haradaul bhi bundela tha aur bundela apane shatru ke sath kisi prakar ki munh dekhi nahin karate, marana-marana unake jivan ka ek achchha dilabahalav hai. unhen sada isaki lalasa rahi hai ki koee hamen chunauti de, koee hamen chheden. unhen sada khoon ki pyas rahati hai aur vah pyas kabhi nahin bujhati. parntu us samay ek stri ko usake khoon ki zaroorat thi aur usaka sahas usake kanon men kahata tha ki ek nirdosh aur sati abala ke lie apane sharir ka khoon dene men munh n modo. yadi bhaiya ko yah sndeh hota ki main unake khoon ka pyasa hoon aur unhen mar kar raj adhikar karana chahata hoon, to kuchh harj n tha. rajy ke lie katl aur khoon, daga aur fareb sab uchit samajha gaya hai, parntu unake is sndeh ka nipatara mere marane ke siva aur kisi tarah nahin ho sakata. is samay mera dharm hai ki apane pran dekar unake is sndeh ko door kar doon. unake man men yah dukhanevala sndeh utpann karake bhi yadi main jita hi rahoon aur apane man ki pavitrata jataoon, to meri dhithaee hai. nahin, is bhale kam se adhik aga-pichha karana achchha nahin. main khushi se vish ka bida khaoonga. isase badh kar shoor-vir ki mrityu aur kya ho sakati hai?

krodh men akar maroo ke bhay badhanevale shabd sun kar ranakshetr men apani jan ko tuchchh samajhana itana kathin nahin hai. aj sachcha vir haradaul apane hriday ke badappan par apani sari virata aur nyochhavar karane ko udyat hai.

doosare din haradaul ne khoob tadake snan kiya. badan par astr-shastr saja muskarata hua raja ke pas gaya. raja bhi sokar turnt hi uthe the, unaki alasaee huee ankhen haradaul ki moorti ki or lagi huee thin. samane sngamaramar ki chauki par vish mila pan sone ki tashtari men rakha hua tha. raja kabhi pan ki or takate aur kabhi moorti ki or, shayad unake vichar ne is vish ki ganth aur us moorti men ek snbndh paida kar diya tha. us samay jo haradaul ekaek ghar men pahunche to raja chaunk pade. unhonne snbhal kar poochha, 'is samay kahan chale?'

haradaul ka mukhada praphullit tha. vah hns kar bola, 'kal ap yahan padhare hain, isi khushi men main aj shikar khelane jata hoon. apako eeshvar ne ajit banaya hai, mujhe apane hath se vijay ka bida dijie.' yah kah kar haradaul ne chauki par se pan-dan utha liya aur use raja ke samane rakh kar bida lene ke lie hath badhaya. haradaul ka khila hua mukhada dekh kar raja ki eershya ki ag aur bhi bhadak uthi. dusht, mere ghav par namak chhidakane aya hai! mere man aur vishvas ko mitti men milane par bhi tera ji n bhara! mujhase vijay ka bida mangata hai! han, yah vijay ka bida hai; par teri vijay ka nahin, meri vijay ka.

itana man men kahakar jujhar sinh ne bide ko hath men uthaya. ve ek kshan tak kuchh sochate rahe, phir muskara kar haradaul ko bida de diya. haradaul ne sir jhuka kar bida liya, use mathe par chadhaya, ek bar badi hi karuna ke sath charon or dekha aur phir bide ko munh men rakh liya. ek sachche rajapoot ne apana purushatv dikha diya. vish halahal tha, knth ke niche utarate hi haradaul ke mukhade par muradani chha gee aur ankhen bujh geen. usane ek thndi sans lin, donon hath jod kar jujhar sinh ko pranam kiya aur zamin par baith gaya. usake lalat par pasine ki thndi-thndi boonden dikhaee de rahi thin aur sans teji se chalane lagi thi; par chehare par prasannata aur sntosh ki jhalak dikhaee deti thi.

jujhar sinh apani jagah se zara bhi n hile. unake chehare par eershya se bhari huee muskarahat chhaee huee thi, par ankhon men ansoo bhar ae the. ujale aur andhere ka milap ho gaya tha.


tika tippani aur sndarbh

bahari kadiyan

snbndhit lekh

varnamala kramanusar lekh khoj

a   a    i    ee    u    oo    e    ai    o   au    an    k   kh    g    gh    n    ch    chh    j    jh    n    t    th    d   dh    n    t    th    d    dh    n    p    ph    b    bh    m    y    r    l    v    sh    sh    s    h    ksh    tr    gy    ri    ri    aau    shr   aah