श्यामची आई हे पुस्तक सुंदर आणि सुरस असून, त्यात साने गुरूजींनी हृदयातील सारा जिव्हाळा ओतलेला आहे. मातेबद्दल असणाऱ्या प्रेम, भक्ति व कृतज्ञता अशा अपार भावना 'श्यामची आई' या पुस्तकात साने गुरुजींनी मांडलेल्या आहेत. हे पुस्तक वाचून वाचकांचे डोळे व हृदय भरून येईल. हे पुस्तक ही एक सत्यकथा आहे. नाशिक तुरूंगात साने गुरूजींनी या कथा लिहिण्यास ९ फेब्रुवारी १९३३ (गुरुवार) रोजी सुरुवात केली आणि १३ फेब्रुवारी १९३३ (सोमवार) पहाटे त्या लिहून संपविल्या. मातेचा महिमा हे या पुस्तकातील मध्यवर्ती सूत्र आहे. त्याबरोबरच सुसंस्कृत व बाळबोध घराण्यातील साध्या, सरळ व रम्य संस्कृतीचे चित्रही यात आले आहे.
|हे साहित्य भारतात तयार झालेले असून ते आता प्रताधिकार मुक्त झाले आहे. भारतीय प्रताधिकार कायदा १९५७ नुसार भारतीय साहित्यिकाच्या मृत्युनंतर ६० वर्षांनी त्याचे साहित्य प्रताधिकारमुक्त होते. त्यानुसार १ जानेवारी १९५६ पूर्वीचे अशा लेखकांचे सर्व साहित्य प्रताधिकारमुक्त होते.|
By Satyen K. Bordoloi
Every culture the world over is equivocal in its respect for a mother. India too abounds in its share of poetry, literature and art in praise of the mother. One of the most popular and profound one being ‘Shyamchi Aai’ a Marathi book written by activist, freedom fighter and writer Sane Guruji over eight decades back. While most narration of the mother praise her for her ability to give life ‘Shyamchi Aai’ is unique in its portrayal of a mother as the one who imparts her children with their first lessons and life affirming values that guide and inspire not just the remainder of their own lives, but also countless others they come in contact with.
Shyam: Just like any other kid, Shyam is naughty and loves to sometime laze around, and other times play with his friends. He resorts to lying at times to escape punishment from his parents. His mother Yashodabai is a rare woman who unlike some mothers who believe in beating children when they are naughty believes instead in taking Shyam into confidence. At times gentle and when needed strict, she does her best to instil the values of truth, integrity, right living and fairness on the tender mind of Shyam.
Backstory: Shyam’s father is a Khot – revenue collector of the village and at the beginning of the book, the family is well off. However, his brothers conspire and take over the property leaving the family of Shyam poor and struggling for survival. However, Shyam’s mother holds the family together through these rough times, and uses the trials and tribulations to instil a sense of dignity and compassion for all creatures in her children. The book is made up of 42 chapter, each being one incident from the life of Shyam and his interaction with his mother.
The Little Bird: Once Shyam and his brother find a young bird that had fallen from a tree. They try hard to keep it alive. But the bird dies. Shyam’s mother consoles them saying that the love they gave the bird in its dying moments will be radiated back to them in some way just like one seed gets one a big ear of corn. She then tells them, “Love everyone, your brothers, sister, neighbours… everyone. Some feed sugar to ants but cut the throat of their fellowmen. Some love animals but hate their neighbours. Don’t do this. Love everyone equally.”
Coward: Once Shyam hides in the attic, refusing to go to the well to learn swimming with his friends. Shyam’s mother drags him out but when he still refuses, she beats him and says, “Unless you jump into the water and it enters your mouth and nostrils, you won’t get rid of your fear.” Later, a crying Shyam, does manage to learn swimming. Back home he sits sulking as he feels humiliated and also feels the hurt because of his mother’s beating. Shyam’s mother sits by him and applies ointment on his wounds. With tears in her eyes, she explains, “Shyam, do you want the world to call you a coward? Do you like anybody telling me, ‘Your children are cowards’? I don’t want my children to swallow any insults. I want you to be bold, not cowardly.”
A Mother’s Influence: The boy Yashodabai worked so hard on imparting values to, grew up to become Pandurang Sadashiv Sane (1899 – 1950), lovingly address by people as Sane Guruji, one of the greatest social reformer, freedom fighter, writer and orator in the country. A brilliant student he studied till MA and became a teacher. However he left his job to join the freedom struggle at the call of Mahatma Gandhi. He was jailed multiple times for his involvement in the freedom movement and in one of his jail terms he came in contact with Vinoba Bhave who left a lasting influence on him. He was also a powerful orator who spoke against social evils and a prolific writer who wrote 73 books and was the editor of 3 journals. Though Yashodabai died when Sane Guruji was only a child, her influence would inspire and guide Sane Guruji for the rest of his life.
Writing Of The Book: In 1933, serving a prison term, Sane Guruji would narrate one incident from his childhood every night to prison inmates who’d gather around him. These stories about his mother and how she instilled values in him, left prison inmates teary eyed and determined to live the lessons imparted by Shyam’s mother (and their own). Encouraged by this positive response, Sane Guruji wrote 36 chapters (each is one story) of the book in five days in the jail in 1933 and the remaining 6 chapters he wrote after he was released. In the preface of the book, Sane Gurji talks about the emotion he felt for his mother during its writing thus: “My eyes used to be full of emotion, it used to burst out. If the love, devotion, gratitude and other such sentiments I have for my mother are felt by readers as well, then it is successful.”
Relevance Of The Book Today: Though the book was written 8 decades ago, the story continues to grow in relevance. The main themes of the book, respect for nature, leading a moral and truthful life, its simple lessons for children and adults alike endear it to today’s generation and makes it a classic of World Literature. While kids like the simplicity of the moral lessons, adults can connect with the child within them through this work. In our modern times, when parents reveal in fulfilling every whim and fancy of children just because they have the financial power to do so, ‘Shyamchi Aai’ serves to illustrate and educate parents on the need to be both strict and gentle to their kids in equal measure.
Film Version: In 1953, the revered Marathi writer and director Acharya Atre (P K Atre) transformed the book into a masterpiece of World Cinema that is popular to this day. The film won the first ever Golden Lotus National Award for best feature film (called the President’s Gold Medal back then). The film stars the beautiful Vanamala as Shyam’s Mother. Hridaynath Mangeshkar (father of the Mangeshkar sisters) first let his voice to the silver screen in this film which also has a song sung by Asha Bhosle. The film continues to be a best seller today and sells thousands of copies every year.
Shyamchi Aai In Schools Today: The book and the film have become a cultural institution of sorts inspiring students and instilling values in them. The film ‘Shyamchi Aai’ has been screened over 50,000 times in over 12,000 school across Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, MP and AP (with English subtitles in non-Marathi states) by the Rudraa Educational Foundation in the last five years. Besides this many schools have a weekly period called ‘Shyamchi Aai’ where, in every period, one incident from the book is narrated and the children discuss it with their teachers. Songs from the film extolling the importance of mother is a prayer in many schools. ‘Shyamchi Aai’ processions have also been organised by many schools to spread the message of the book among children and adults.