In 1989 there were general elections to the Lok Sabha. VP Singh was riding the storm against corruption. Mahatma Gandhi’s great-grandson Rajmohan Gandhi was the candidate of Janata Dal against Rajiv Gandhi from Amethi. Amethi’s Raja Sanjay Singh was also with Rajmohan Gandhi, leaving the Congress. But he found it difficult to counter the booth robbers.
The driver is the charioteer and also the guide. The destination is yours but the path belongs to him. He is the one who delivers. The one who takes you to the destination, that guru. This is what our scriptural tradition says. The importance of Guru is more than God in us, do you know why? Because only he shows the way to reach God. That is, he is a guide, a guide. The driver does not know which path shows you in the journey of your life. You have to put him in trust. He can take you on the right path and also on the wrong path. The pages of my memories start fluttering as soon as I hear the word driver. The name of Ramuday Pathak is etched in my mind. Pathak ji was our driver here. Mussal till now from the year 78. Just like a parent. Apart from the driver, Pathak ji was also my guru because he taught me to drive an ambassador car in class XI itself, that too in Banaras. I believe that if you drive an ambassador car in Banaras, then you can drive any vehicle anywhere in the whole world. Same happened with me. The car that Pathak ji taught me to drive, then I never looked back. Driven the bus, tried his hand on the truck and then the ship too. Also got a license to drive a private aircraft.
Pathak ji gave me the initiation of driving a car on the same road in front of Moolgandhakuti Monastery in Sarnath where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon to his first five disciples, Kaundinya, Ashvajit, Vapa, Mahanam and Adrik, two and a half thousand years ago. The world called it the turning of the wheel of Dhamma. This is where the Buddhist Dhamma/tradition started. That is, the importance of Pathak ji in my life is no less than that of Buddha.
Indian music has a rich tradition of charioteer and driver.
Pathak ji of four feet lived in a world of his own carelessness. Very polite, speaking only in the mouth. Always engrossed in a state of self-realization, extremely honest. It is a different matter that in the affair of the short road, he spent his whole life stuck in the congested road itself. Pathak ji was the only driver in my life who used to drive wearing a dhoti kurta, carrying a gamchha on his shoulder. Due to short stature, when the ambassador applied the brakes, Pathak would almost stand up. After walking for one and a half to two hours, Pathak ji would have tested the vehicle by opening the bonnet on the side of the road. This was not because of the fault of the car, but it was part of his habit.
I had the most communication with Pathak ji in the house. Often this dialogue was done by gestures and gestures like Kalidas and Vidyotama. Pathak ji had an impact on me too. Often he would give me some information. I listen to their information carefully. Because Krishna was also Arjuna’s temporary driver. May the reader also give us some knowledge like Gita in this phase of life. In this hope, the personality of the delayed rhythm continued to suffer. There is a very rich tradition of charioteer and drivers in Indian music. The charioteers who were in ancient times are the drivers today. Times have changed but the definition of charioteer is the same… he used to drive chariots earlier….now he is running cars…. To make the context clear, I am bringing Mahabharata in the middle. The war of Mahabharata was going on. On one side there was Arjuna, whose charioteer was ‘Shri Krishna’ and on the other hand was Karna, his charioteer was ‘Shalya’. Shalya was the maternal uncle of the Pandavas, he was the brother of Madri. They were fighting on the side of Kauravas but were with the Pandavas at heart. Krishna himself chose the role of the charioteer. He was not just a charioteer, Arjuna used to conduct the war under his guidance.
The war of Mahabharata was over. Krishna said to Arjuna, “Parth! Today you get off the chariot. You will get down then I will get down.” Hearing this, Arjun felt a bit strange. After Arjuna got down from the chariot, he remained silent for some time, then he got down from the chariot and took him away from the chariot by placing his hand on Arjuna’s shoulder. What happened during that time was imminent for Krishna, but astonishing, unimaginable and surprising for Arjuna. Flames started emanating from the chariot and then in a terrible explosion, the chariot was burnt to ashes. A surprised Arjuna asked, “O Kanha! How did this chariot get premature death? Krishna said, “It is true that the life of this divine chariot was already over, but this chariot was moving with my resolve. It was needed even after the end of its age, so it went on. It had a great contribution in the establishment of religion, that’s why I pulled it for so long with willpower. My father was a disciple of Krishna. It was he who told this story. That’s why I also respected the resolution of the reader driver.
Story of Chhanna, the charioteer of Siddhartha
His driver (charioteer) also had a big impact on Prince Siddhartha. His driver / charioteer who made Siddhartha Gautama Buddha was only Chhanna. Chhan Prince used to take Gautam for a walk every day. Siddhartha changed his mind on seeing an old man on one day, a patient on the second day, a dead body on the third day and a sannyasin on the fourth day. They would ask questions about them and the driver would filter and explain to them the mysteries of life and the world. In this way, being enlightened by his driver, Prince Siddhartha became Gautam Buddha. I have not become a Buddha, you can think of me as a fool.
There is a very interesting incident related to Pathak ji. The talk will be of November 1989. Then it was this reader who saved my life and Dr. Sanjay Singh (Amethi). There were general elections to the Lok Sabha. VP Singh was riding the storm against corruption. We too were confused. The Express group was working hard for them. Then we used to be the state correspondents of Jansatta. Mahatma Gandhi’s great-grandson Rajmohan Gandhi was the candidate of Janata Dal against Rajiv Gandhi from Amethi. The matter became of real Gandhi and fake Gandhi, so Rajmohan ji was fielded. He had the support of BJP. Rajmohan Gandhi had left the post of editor of Indian Express Chennai. That’s why Express was fully involved in his election. From Lucknow I was responsible for transporting Rajmohan Gandhi from coffee beans to essential letters, flowers, fruits. Considering that era, this responsibility was huge, Because the care of Ram Singh on the seat of Sultanpur was also the responsibility of the express group. This ‘big’ responsibility required the driver to be trustworthy.
Booth robbers opened fire on Sanjay Singh
So instead of the office taxi, I decided to call Pathak ji from Banaras. His car with UTQ-478. Nothing was right to stay and Pathak ji was a trustworthy man, so he called him from Banaras. We reached Amethi a day before the polling. I was accompanied by journalist colleague Sheetal Singh. Nowadays he has become Sheetal P Singh. Although he used to drink at that time also. But I don’t know why I have just started writing ‘P’. Then he was the state correspondent of the Fourth World. The other colleague was Raj Khanna, our colleague from Sultanpur. We left early in the morning on the day of polling. It must have been ten o’clock. When we went out to see the booth, Congressmen had captured the booth wherever they go. Rajmohan ji is disappointed and disappointed. He was an outsider and an Englishman. He also did not understand Hindi properly. Awadhi was strong there. They didn’t understand anything. The people of BJP who fought him and Sanjay Singh were sitting in their respective homes. I reached Sanjay Singh’s palace in anger. They were having breakfast in their palace. Gandhians were being beaten outside. Sanjay Singh and I did our PhD under the guidance of the same guru. So our relationship was friendly. We said, “Brother, booths are being looted in Amethi and you are sitting in the house. Kaahne baat ke king. He asked, “Where are they being looted?” I said, “In front of your house.” He had sciatica pain in his back. Maybe that’s why they didn’t leave since morning. Although he himself was also a candidate of the assembly. He told me, “Let’s see” and we sat down with his ambassador. My car started following him, which was being driven by the same Ram Uday Pathak. He asked, “Where are they being looted?” I said, “In front of your house.” He had sciatica pain in his back. Maybe that’s why they didn’t leave since morning. Although he himself was also a candidate of the assembly. He told me, “Let’s see” and we sat down with his ambassador. My car started following him, which was being driven by the same Ram Uday Pathak. He asked, “Where are they being looted?” I said, “In front of your house.” He had sciatica pain in his back. Maybe that’s why they didn’t leave since morning. Although he himself was also a candidate of the assembly. He told me, “Let’s see” and we sat down with his ambassador. My car started following him, which was being driven by the same Ram Uday Pathak.
We had just reached a booth in Amethi that there was an explosion and some people ran away in several vehicles. It was learned that they were forcibly stamping the ballot paper there and ran away from the information of our arrival. These teams would go to the polling stations in turn, cast their votes forcibly and move ahead. That was the time to stamp the ballot paper, not press the button. We were told that the occupier is being led by someone named Ashish Shukla. He was the Bahubali of that area then. Later contested Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections from BJP and BSP. The people were walking with an army of seven to eight vehicles. When Sanjay Singh talked to the people, it came to know that he is Harishankar Tiwari’s man and all this is happening under the supervision of Captain Satish Sharma. We had just moved forward that this convoy was seen coming again from the right side at a crossroads in front of Munshiganj. Sanjay Singh stopped his car, and got down there. There were fields all around and there was a crossroads on the road that pierced the chest of the field, no barricade, no shop. Direct face to face. There were potholes on both sides of the road.
Sanjay Singh was challenging with a stick in one hand and a revolver in the other. By then, the rifles started firing in front. Revolver here, rifle there. One here, many there. I sat in the guise of Sanjay Singh’s car speechless and started calling him back. His gunner also fired a few shots. Then I saw Sanjay Singh being hit by a bullet in the stomach and his other companions fell on the ground. The driver was also shot and the glass and bonnet of the vehicle were also shot. I pulled Sanjay Singh back and forcibly entered my car. But what this reader is missing. Now I started looking for the reader. Bullets were being fired from the other side. Made a loud noise, the life was drying up. I was afraid that if the attackers went ahead, we would all go up. Then I saw Pathak ji sitting in the pit under the road. I called Pathak and asked him to turn around and leave. Pathak was trembling. His brain was not working.
As soon as the car turned, I said, Pathak ji, Champiye. Now Pathak ji was talking to air. I said that anyone should go to the primary health center. Then it was not the era of mobile, blood was flowing. But Sanjay Singh was conscious. He said, go to the health center of Musafir Khana, it was 7-8 km away on the Lucknow highway. Sanjay Singh’s head was in my lap. There were only morning newspapers in the car. I was trying to stop their bleeding from those newspapers. Sheetal Singh was also in the car and the fear was that they might not be following them. Looking back and looking back. Later it was found that he too went back after being frightened by the fall of Sanjay Singh. They had no idea how much preparation was going on this side. What would have happened to us if they chased us, I don’t know.
Pathak ji’s car stopped at the Musafir Khana Health Center. On the way, Sanjay Singh wanted to stop and urinate somewhere, but I did not stop the car. As soon as the passengers reached the food, a crowd gathered outside the hospital. By then Lucknow had got the news. Doctors referred him to Lucknow after giving him first aid. He had got two bullets in the stomach. The police detained us for the statement. After some formalities, we left to send the news. All the way, I was guilty of the fact that good Babusaheb was having breakfast, why did I challenge him. Then we reached Rajmohan Gandhi’s office. Gave them full details of the incident. Many Gandhians like LC Jain (later Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission) and Dharampalji were present here. Perhaps Rajiv Vora was also sitting there. One of the great achievements of this election was that I got the company of these big people. If I ever get a chance on all these, I will write separately.
Late in the night we returned to Lucknow but Pathak ji was mad for months. If you say right, then you used to go left. Say left then right. They didn’t understand anything. Even today, if you remind them of that incident, they shudder. Sanjay Singh was also brought to King George Medical College in Lucknow in the night itself. He was operated upon, then when the matter deteriorated, he was sent to Vilayat for treatment.
Collided again after 30 years
See how small the world is and what happens by coincidence. An example, some thirty years after this incident. Mirzapur MLA Ratnakar Mishra, who is also the pilgrim priest of Vindhyavasini temple, came to my house to invite his daughter’s wedding. There was another gentleman with him. The conversation started, I said, I will definitely come. Where are you getting married, he pointed to the gentleman who came with him that he is my friend. His son is getting married. MLA from Sultanpur and has contested the Lok Sabha elections. They have also come to invite you. You are invited from both sides. I said we are very fortunate, I am invited from both the sides. When asked, it came to know that Netaji is Ashish Shukla. Lightning flashed in my mind, I said, “Thirty years ago at the intersection of Gauriganj here Sanjay Singh, there was a ruckus from there. Somewhere you are not the same.” See the coincidence that in a country of one hundred and thirty crores, the same Shukla ji had met me again. He bowed down and said, “Brother, how old do you remember. Now both of us are in the same party.” I said, “Gurudev that is fine, you both are in the same court now. But if you had come back and forth that day, we would not have been sitting here today to receive your invitation.” He was getting very uncomfortable.
Well it was a digression, but interesting. To tell how small a country of one hundred and thirty crores is. Now let’s come to the reader. By meeting Pathak ji, I also got an idea of the rich history of drivers. Drivers’ luck changes quickly. They should never be taken lightly. Liu Yiqian, a former billionaire-turned-taxi driver in China, bought the world’s second most expensive painting at an auction in 2015, which was worth 1100 crores. Yiqian is the number 163 billionaire of China today, but the story of his life is interesting. He started his career as a taxi driver at a port in China.
Importance of driver in Puranas
To understand the gravity and importance of the driver i.e. charioteer, we have to understand the dialogue between Yama and Nachiketa in Kathopanishad. Kathopanishad is an Upanishad of Krishna Yajurveda. There is a theologian dialogue between Nachiketa and Yamraj. It contains the sutras which were given to him by Yamraj, pleased with the knowledge of Nachiketa. Yamraj says to Nachiketa-
Atmanam rathitam viddhi shariram rathmev tu.
Buddhi tu sarathin viddhi manah pragrahameva cha.
(You consider the soul to be the charioteer, the body as the chariot, the intellect as the charioteer and the mind as the bridle.) That is, the driver of the body is the intellect.
In Vedic and Puranic literature, the presiding deity of the Dev Mandal is Surya. Seven names have been counted in the Atharvaveda of Surya and twelve in the Mahabharata. Rigveda has considered Surya to be the soul and father of the world. Sun is directly related to health. It drives away diseases. Horses pull the chariot of the sun. According to the Puranas, the charioteer of the Sun is Arun. It is said about him that Arun has so much influence on the Sun that while taking command of the chariot, he sits facing the Sun God. Despite this, the chariot continues to move in its direction on the right path.
There was a sage Prajapati Kashyap. His wife was Vinata. He had two sons. The names were ‘Garuda’ and ‘Arun’. While Garuna was the vehicle of Lord Vishnu, Arun was the charioteer of Surya’s chariot. It is believed that the purple light that comes at the time of sunrise belongs to Arun.
Daruk said to Arjuna- “I cannot drive a chariot against the Yadavas.
Indra was the king of the gods, armed with Sura Sundari. He was a deity who indulged in luxury. Matali was his charioteer. Matali is mentioned in mythological texts. During the Ram-Ravana war, when Ravana was a charioteer and Raghuveer was a widow, Indra had sent his own chariot to help Rama. At that time also Matali had operated the chariot. In the midst of all this, our reader used to tell an anecdote. Pathak ji was educated in Dharma-Karam. To prove his driving, he used to tell an anecdote which is very interesting, this story is of Daruk, the charioteer of the charioteer. Daruk was the charioteer of Lord Krishna. He was a great devotee of Swami. When Arjuna was taking Subhadra away, at that time Daruka said to Arjuna- “I cannot drive the chariot against the Yadavas, so you tie me up and then take the chariot wherever you want.” According to the belief, four prominent persons did not participate in that Yadav war, from which they were saved, they were- Krishna, Balarama, Daruk the charioteer and Vabhru. Balarama went to the sea in sorrow, Krishna was very sad. He went to Dwarka and sent Daruk to Arjuna to come and take the women and children to Hastinapur.
Abdul Kalam’s driver who became a professor
V Kathiresan, who was once the driver of APJ Abdul Kalam in the army, is now an assistant professor of history in the college. Kathiresan and Kalam had a long association and they believe that this together changed their lives. Kathiresan joined the army as a soldier in 1979 after failing in class X. When he completed his driver training, his first posting was at Defense Research and Development Institute (DRDO) Hyderabad. There he was appointed as the driver of Kalam, the director of the institute. Kathiresan explains that they both come from the same district, undivided Ramnad. Kalam started liking Kathiresan. He encouraged Kathiresan to continue his studies and made all the arrangements for his studies. Kathiresan recalls that once Dr. Kalam told him ‘If I had these degrees, I would have been a teacher and also that now I should do a doctorate… so that I can be a lecturer in college. He took voluntary retirement from the army in 1998 after working with Kalam for 10 years till then. In the same year he did his PhD. Later in 2008, he was appointed as Assistant Professor of History at Government Arts and Science College Athur. Kishan Baburao Hazare, a former army driver who dragged the Manmohan Singh government to the Ramlila Maidan, was also known as Anna Hazare. Anna has been honored by the Government of India with the award of Padma Vibhushan.
So the driver i.e. charioteer, i.e. guide, ie guru, crosses your boat in so many areas of life. Takes you out of the hustle and bustle of the way and takes you to the destination. History is indebted to him. Time is grateful to him. The progress of the society bows before him. How many successes of life are his followers. That is why it is necessary that the driver should be seen with respect. Its importance should be acknowledged. The great tradition associated with it should be hailed. I have not only learned to drive a car from Pathak ji, but have also found valuable sources of driving the car of life. Even today in the sixth half of the year, Pathak ji is one of those people who call me without any work just to ask for welfare. Who else doesn’t care?