Mind your Languagehttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/mind-your-language-4/

Mind your Language

From the makers of Mohalla Live comes Bahastalab,a new platform for debates and discussions in Hindi

From the makers of Mohalla Live comes Bahastalab,a new platform for debates and discussions in Hindi

The conversation drifts through the corridors of literature,society,cinema,politics and media. Its flow is gentle,but impactful. For Avinash Das believes in free expression,one that involves people from varied walks of life,in a language which is far-reaching — Hindi. Blogging in Hindi since 2005,Das,a former television journalist,writer and blogger felt that there was no common way to communicate in the language and decided to use social networking as a democratic weapon of expression. So he and a handful of writers,poets and filmmakers launched Mohalla Live in 2006,and started connecting on its blog. The website,shares Das,who was in the city for a seminar,provided an opportunity for debate and discussion in the Hindi zone. “This began as a community and soon became a movement that inspired thousands of bloggers in Hindi language to express themselves,” says Das.

Encouraging new writers to pitch in with their thoughts and ideas,the success of the website has inspired Das to put forth Bahastalab. “We felt the online medium is limited and therefore initiated live conversations called Bahastalab,which we plan to take all over India,especially the smaller cities,” he adds.

These conversations,notes Das,have raised and debated issues on social cause,cinema and media,and the “discourses” have seen participation of eminent personalities from the literary,intellectual and cinema world of India.


Thirty-six-year-old Das and his team are also set to bring to fore stories that have been long forgotten in the form of books,documentaries and films. These days,it’s Budhni Mejhan’s tragic tale that Das is chronicling,in words and on camera. Das goes back 42 years,and recalls how a young adivasi girl’s life turned towards darkness. The story goes that in 1959,former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru was invited to inaugurate the Panchet Dam and two project workers,fifteen-year-old Santhal girls Budhni Mejhan and Robon Majhi,were selected to welcome the Prime Minister. “Budhni formally garlanded Nehru. When she returned home to her village,Karbona,she wasn’t accepted back in the village since she had garlanded Nehru,and had “married” him. He was outside the community,” narrates Das.

Through a documentary and the book,which he hopes to release at the same time,he will trace the struggles of Budhni. The girl ostracised by her village and family found refuge in the house of a Panchet resident and had a daughter by him; who was also rejected by the Santhal community. “Her decades of struggle to meet Rajiv Gandhi,and how she and her daughter remain outcasts from their village is heart-wrenching. Budhni then disappeared and we hope to find her,’’ says Das.