उस्मानाबाद जिल्हयातील उमरगा तालुक्यात नाईचाकूर म्हणून गांव आहे. आज आमचे सहकारी प्राध्यापक मुजम्मिल शेख यांच्या लग्नाच्या निमित्ताने प्रा.विक्रम पवार यांच्या नाईचाकूर गावला माझ्या सहकारी प्राध्यापकांसह भेट देण्याचा योग आला. नवनव्या गोष्टींचे मला नेहमीच कुतुहल असल्याने या गावचे नांव देखील नाईचाकूर का पडले ? असा प्रश्न मला पडला तेव्हा गावकऱ्यांकडुन याची मोठी अख्याईका समजली. इथे एका कुत्र्याचे मंदिर बांधले आहे. यावरूनच गावाला देखील नाई हे विशेषण लागलंय. ‘नाई’ हा कन्नड शब्द आहे ज्याचा मराठीत अर्थ कुत्रा असा होतो. कुत्रा हा शब्द आपल्या मराठी संस्कृतीत हिनतेने उच्चारला जातो परंतु घराच्या संरक्षणाच्या बाबतीत कुत्रा हा अतिशय प्रामाणिक आणि विश्वासू प्राणी आहे. अनेकांच्या घरातला तो एक अविभाज्य घटक आहे. पाहुणे रावळ्यांच्या कुणाच्याही घरी जा, त्या घरातल्या माणसांपेक्षा आपल्याला त्या कुत्र्याच्या ईमानदारीचे आणि बहादुरीचेच अनेक किस्से ऐकायला मिळत असतात. असाच किस्सा या गावातल्या कुत्रोबाच्या मंदीराचा आहे.

कुण्या एके काळी हाडोळी गांवच्या सावकाराकडुन नाईचाकूरच्या एका गरीब शेतकऱ्याने कर्ज घेतले होते आणि तारण म्हणुन त्याच्याजवळचे कुत्रे ठेवले होते. एका रात्री सावकाराच्या घरी दरोडा पडतो परंतु कुत्रा चोरांना चोरी करू देत नाही. सावकार आल्यावर सगळा प्रकार पाहतो कुत्र्यामुळे त्याचा सर्व ऐवज शाबूत राहतो म्हणुन तो खुष होऊन त्या कुत्र्याच्या गळ्यात एक चिठ्ठी लिहून शेतकऱ्याकडे पाठवतो. शेतकऱ्याला ही दरोड्याची बातमी समजल्याने तो तातडीने सावकाराची मुद्दल घेऊन कुत्रा परत आणण्यासाठी हाडोळीला निघालेला असतो कुत्राही तिकडुन शेतकऱ्याकडे निघालेला असतो. दोघांची भेट वाटेत होते परंतु शेतकरी रागाच्या भरात त्या कुत्र्याच्या डोक्यात काठी मारतो ‘माझ्या विश्वासाला तू बट्टा लावलास’ असे म्हणत दगडाने त्या कुत्र्याला मारतो. कुत्रा जागीच दगावतो. त्याच्या गळ्यातली चिठ्ठी शेतकरी काढुन घेतो पण वाचता येत नसल्याने ती चिठ्ठी घेऊन शेतकरी त्या सावकाराकडे जातो. सावकार म्हणतो की तुझा कुत्रा फार ईमानदार होता त्याच्यामुळेच काल माझ्या घरची चोरी टळली. आता तु मला पैसे देण्याची गरज नाही कारण ते तुझ्या कुत्र्याने फेडलेत. हेच मी त्या चिठ्ठीत लिहून कुत्रा तुझ्याकडे पाठवून दिला होता. सदर प्रकार ऐकुन शेतकऱ्याला फार दुखः होते. तो कुत्र्याच्या निपचित देहाला कवटाळून रडू लागतो. नंतर त्याला गावात आणून त्याचे मंदिर बांधतो. कालांतराने या गावात कुत्र्याचे मंदिर असल्याने नाईचाकूर हे नांव रूढ झाले. आजही आपण एखाद्याला ‘ए कुत्र्या’ हा शब्द किती हिनतेने वापरतो परंतु खरं पहायला गेले तर कुत्र्यामध्ये प्रामानिकता, निष्ठा आणि ईमान माणसांपेक्षा जरा जास्तच असते. तेव्हा कधी कधी माणसाला हा शब्द वापरून कुत्र्याचाच अपमान होतो असं वाटते.

लेखक : प्रा.विशाल गरड
दिनांक : २३ एप्रिल २०१८

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