A Ranchi newspaper, Prabhat Khabar (Morning News), recently - January 25 and February 8, 1998 - published in two parts, an article of reminiscences about my late father by Dr. Ramkhelawan Pandey, a retired Professor of Hindi at the Ranchi University. These two articles are a part (sixth and seventh) of a series of reminisces by the author of people he had known. They are in Hindi and are presented here on the next seven screens. Should you have the interest, but not enough time, to read the entire article, I urge you to read at least the portions highlighted within a box.
Among the many great qualities of the article, it is nothing short of amazing that the author can so vividly recall events of more than sixty years ago! The fact that he can describe them with such eloquence, poignance, and clarity, is no surprise at all. He is a scholar, writer, and was a University Professor of Hindi, after all!
These articles provide not just a poignant insight into my father's very short yet very fruitful life; but they also provide an insight into contemporary social life of the intelligentsia of Bihar. People mentioned in the articles are highly respected figures in the Hindi literature of the country. Indeed, they are its most venerable icons. For these reasons also the articles should be interesting reading.
To a son, the articles are, of course, very touching. The reasons are numerous. Every time I came across the word.."Divakar"..a tear must have welled in my eyes, if not rolled down my face. There are very few people alive today who would address my father by his first name and the friendly "uska" (in contrast to the reverential unka.) The perseverance, patience, poise and serenity that my late father exhibited, in spite of the numerous unfair blows that life dealt him, are exquisitely described here. The fact that "a volcano must have been raging within" , as Respected Pandeyji describes it, could have been perceived only by a close friend, not by a son; thanks to the fine attributes of the Bihari culture.
A person mentioned in the article deserves special notice. Dr. Radha Krishna Sinha, Professor of English at the Patna University, was my late father's fierce competitor, a colleague, and a member of a much higher economic class with powerful political connections. Yet, he was also a very close friend and a frequent visitor to our house. The fact that my father and he never showed any lack of cordiality towards each other, in fact remained close friends throughout their lives in spite of the rivalry, was well-known and is legendary.
For those of you who may have an interest but cannot read Hindi, upon hearing from you I may attempt an Englsih translation. But the task will be daunting. No translation can do justice to the depth of sensitivity exhibited in the article. It is written in a prose that is lyrical in its style, and uses numerous Hindi idioms and phrases of which no substitute exists in the English language; at least none that I know.
I am grateful to Mr. S. P. Narayan of Ranchi for having sent me copies of the newspaper at some cost and inconvenience to him. How can I dare thank him, after all he is one of my own!