कोई भूमिका नहीं लिखूंगा. दुनिया के बड़े भूगोल पर काफी सारी घुमाई करते हुए उनचास वर्ष की कमउम्री में जिस तरह का लेखन ब्रूस चैटविन ने संभव बनाया, उसकी स्केची भूमिका लिखना मेरी समझ व बूते की बात नहीं. दिलचस्पी बनेगी तो इतनी जानकारी मेरे दिये लिंक से खोज-निकालकर आप पढ़ ही डालिएगा. फ़िलहाल चर्चा का संदर्भ ये है कि 1987 में छपी उनकी “द सॉंगलाइन्स” को दुबारा पढ़ते हुए एक्साइट हो रहा था. तो उसका एक छोटा-सा हिस्सा मूल, सरल अंग्रेजी में आपके लिए जस का तस रख रहा हूं. छोटे-छोटे चैप्टर्स व रोचक संवादों-वृतांतों से भरी इस अनोखी किताब के तीसरे अध्याय का एकदम शुरू का प्रकरण है:
Arkady ordered a couple of cappuccinos in the coffee- shop. We took them to a table by the window and he began to talk.
I was dazzled by the speed of his mind, although at times I felt he sounded like a man on a public platform, and that much of what he said had been said before.
The Aboriginals had an earthbound philosophy. The earth gave life to a man; gave him his food, language and intelligence; and the earth took him back when he died. A man’s ‘own country’, even an empty stretch of spinifex, was itself a sacred ikon that must remain unscarred.
‘Unscarred, you mean, by roads or mines or railways?’
‘To wound the earth’, he answered earnestly, ‘is to wound yourself, and if others wound the earth, they are wounding you. The land should be left untouched: as it was in the Dreamtime when the Ancestors sang the world into existence.’
‘Rilke’, I said, ‘had a similar intuition. He also said song was existence.’
‘I know’, said Arkady, resting his chin on his hands, ‘“Third Sonnet to Orpheus.”’
The Aboriginals, he went on, were a people who trod lightly over the earth; and the less they took from the earth, the less they had to give in return. They had never understood why the missionaries forbade their innocent sacrifices. They slaughtered no victims, animal or human. Instead, when they wished to thank the earth for its gifts, they would simply slit a vein in their forearms and let their own blood spatter the ground.
‘Not a heavy price to pay,’ he said. ‘The wars of the twentieth century are the price for having taken too much.’
द सॉंगलाइन्स, ब्रूस चैटविन, विन्टेज क्लासिक्स, 2003