India News

When Devendra Satyarthi met the writer of ‘Seva Sadan’ and ‘Rangbhumi’, know what happened

Born on May 28, 1908 in Patiala, Devendra Satyarthi’s original name was Devendra Batta. He was a scholar and writer of Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi languages. The Government of India honored him with the Padma Shri for his dedication to literature and outstanding contribution in this field. Devendra ji had a passion for folk songs and folk culture. He sacrificed his whole life for them.

A book ‘Devendra Satyarthi: Rachna-Sanchayan’ has been published on Devendra Satyarthi from Sahitya Akademi. This book has been selected and edited by senior child litterateur Prakash Manu. Devendra Satyarthi’s folk essays, stories, poems, memoirs, sketches, travelogues and autobiographies are included in this book. Devendra Satyarthi has mentioned about his meetings with Katha Samrat Munshi Premchand in his memoirs. Presenting a meeting of Devendra Satyarthi with the author of Godan- Premchand: A portrait,

Thick moustache, big Gandhi cap on both sides of the head and haphazard hair coming out on the neck, sparkle of experience in the eyes – these three things made a special impression on me when I met Premchand in October 1931 in Lucknow. I am completely unknown and unfamiliar, he is a well-known writer.

It will be ten in the morning. It was a holiday, he was writing sitting on the floor. With the help of a neighbor’s boy, I reached right at the door of the room in which he used to sit and write. Got introduced.

“I am coming directly from Banaras, I had also seen the moments in my hands.” I told. Leaving the pen, he looked at me and said, “We have to live in Lucknow. There is a lot of helplessness, but my heart resides in moments.

I said, “I am in no hurry, you can finish what I was writing. Then things will be fun.

He picked up the pen and started writing again. Stopped for a while and said, “Sorry for the impudence! I myself was about to say that there comes a point where it becomes difficult to stop the pen.

He kept writing. I sat watching. “You can read something if you want.” After a few moments he said looking at me.

“I’m having fun!” I said, “You write.”

He was writing as if some unknown power himself was pushing his pen forward. Really, I had come with this desire to see the writer of ‘Seva Sadan’ and ‘Rangbhumi’ writing with these eyes.

There was no limit to my happiness. I had read some of his stories thrice. Every time I thought that the pen of the writer should be kissed. Now was the chance. But now the writer was doing his work. While sitting, I thought that the writer’s pen is running like Surdas of ‘Rangbhoomi’ used to run. Perhaps it would not be right to say this in front of the author, thinking that this metaphor was given medicine from where it originated. Then I thought that the writer’s pen will not stop now, today maybe it can die only after reaching its destination. Once or twice it occurred to me that I should pick up a book and keep turning the pages, just for the sake of lies. To sit empty like this is the limit of arrogance and that too in the presence of such a great writer. After all, what would he understand that he had a deal with a strange egoist who has no interest in reading and raised his face and went to meet a writer. But I wanted to be completely truthful. I had come here with the same feeling that somehow I would get this opportunity to see the author at work with his pen.

When the needle of the clock reached twelve, he kept the pen and said saying, “Writing also wants great penance!”
“Yes!” I filled in
“I keep the room closed while writing, it was accidentally left open today.”
“I liked this mistake.”
“None of your business. You are the guest.
He immediately sent word inside, “The guests have come. Today there should be a good feast.
“I don’t want a party,” I said, “one wish is fulfilled that I saw you writing, one more wish remains just…”
“That what?”
“The conversation hasn’t happened yet.”
“Now I am here for him. Yes brother, it was said about the feast because it is a holiday too, it will be fun.
“So you write even on holidays.”
“I write more on holidays. And there is fighting in the office during the day. The day of rest comes especially to do one’s work – to complete the stalled work.
“So it’s as if you don’t celebrate holidays.”
“Aji, anyway it’s a holiday, which spade do I use?”
“You know the art of using a spade with a pen, don’t you?”
“Now there is no choice but to do this.”
“May I ask why the author writes?”
“Aji, the author writes because he cannot live without writing. To say my point, first of all it has to be clarified that it is most important to have experience for the story. I mean, I want to convey some truth in each of my stories; And this work cannot be done just by showing any incident. There must be some point in it which will lead to the “climax”.
“How much work do you do in a month?”
“I like to average at least two stories a month. It has also happened that not a single story shows shape for many months.
“So the story is also a very mischievous thing, it enjoys playing pranks with the author.”
“To some extent.”
“How did you come this way?”
“Consider it a natural affinity.”
“Yes, then you must be convinced of the newness while writing.”
“If newness means freshness of experience and the desire to succeed in the search for some untouchable truth of life, then I am a believer in newness in every aspect.”
“When you wrote your best-loved stories, did you expect them to be considered such successful stories?”
“It is difficult to ascertain. It is up to the readers to appreciate the success of the author and judge his good and bad.
“So shouldn’t the author himself care?”
What is bad if you can? But I don’t trust my criticism that much.
“How long does it take to write a story?”
“The story does not ask for more than one or two ‘sittings’.”
“Now tell me a little about the novel as well.”
“Every day I start writing for a novel at the right time and put the pen down at the right time.”
“There is no difficulty in adding up the writings of the first day with those of the second day.”
“No way.” He said, “The plot of the novel does not come from the heart, I pick up the pen and start writing.”
“So this work is just like the spinners of our place!” I said seriously.
“How is that?”
“In our place women and girls together spin the charkha. This is called ‘Trinjan’. The work of this Charkha Sammelan starts at the right time and ends at the right time. Every spinner leaves her own cotton where it has reached. On the second day, Puni is pulled from there, the wire starts coming out. Can there be even a slight connection in the wire of Majal.

“This example has been great. It seems that the emphasis here is on reading the story and not on the novel. That’s why you are getting surprised. If the plot fits in the mind, then the characters of the novel appear in front of the eyes like living human beings, moving, breathing and there is not much difficulty in writing. Also, the writer has to keep in mind what he is going to say.

Got to know that the food is ready. We sat down after washing our hands. Special trouble was not taken in the food. He said curtly, “Just understand the feast Shiraji.”
“I’m worried how this is going to end!” I burst out laughing.

After the meal, when I asked for permission to go, he said, “I didn’t even get your full introduction and so many things happened.”
“I had landed in Banaras after traveling to Assam-Bengal.”
“In what connection did you go to Assam-Bengal?”
“In Search of Country Songs”.
“This is good and important work.” He said, “That is why he has grown his beard at a young age so that the onlookers are impressed. We have Ramnaresh Tripathi here. He did this work without growing his beard.
“Had landed at Allahabad to meet Ramnaresh ji.”
“Where did you stay in Banaras?”
“Rai Krishnadas ji’s place.”
“Many have praised his hospitality. Funny man. Must have met Vinodshankar Vyas as well?
“Yes, and Vyas ji had also made me see Jaishankar Prasad ji.”
“So your visit to Kashi was successful. I’m happy. Whom did you meet in Lamhi?

“When I mentioned your name in front of a farmer, his eyes started shining. Like I have a message for him from you.”
“I have seen the Ganges of love flowing in the hearts of the farmers. While writing, the waves of this Ganga call me.
“Then order it. I want to catch the car. I am in a hurry to reach my village! I am going home after two years.
“Let’s go and catch the car, have fun!” He said, “But one thing is left. You must have seen ‘Hans’. Send something for him. If possible, even for ‘Madhuri’.”
“I have given the article for ‘Hans’ in the office of Banaras.”
“What’s on the Assamese songs?”
“No, it is on Punjabi songs. Wrote out of fear. This is my first article. You take care of your tip and eyelids. (That article of mine was published in ‘Hans’ of November 1931.)
“I’ll see,” he said laughing, “write more.”

I came after taking orders from him. I was convinced that his blessings for me lie in his sayings. In the meanwhile I could not send anything to ‘Hans’ again. He had separated from ‘Madhuri’ in November 1931 itself.

When ‘Hans’ started coming out under the editorship of Premchand and Kanhaiyalal Maniklal Munshi on behalf of Bharatiya Sahitya Parishad, I sent two articles on Premchand ji’s request – ‘Our Gramgeet’ and ‘Santiniketan Mein Gramgeet-Charcha’ which he happily published.

When Premchand came to Lahore in April 1936, I had the good fortune of meeting him for the second time. Said, “Where do you intend to travel now?” “See wherever the leg spin takes you.”
“Fortunate are those who can move. Traveling makes you think of new things.
What are you writing after ‘Godan’?
“I am going to start one thing. See, on which side the camel sits.
When I heard his speech in ‘Punjab Literary League’, I felt that after toiling in the furnace of life, the litterateur has found the great truth of life. I can still hear the echo of that speech in my mind. Discussing the aesthetic sense of the litterateur, he had said: “Beauty is that from which truth is created. The greater the feeling of beauty in a writer, the greater the writer will be. Aesthetics flourishes from the subtle study of human nature….”

I had to go to Amritsar. That’s why I could not get the opportunity to come closer to Premchand ji in Lahore. Today I think that I met him only twice. Saw the same picture both times. Yes, in April 1936 the colors of October 1931 turned even darker.

Tags: Hindi Literature, hindi writer, Literature

Related Articles

Back to top button