O P Sharma & Sanjogta
Cheta, a collection of 14 short stories in Dogri by a renowned author who stands on the firmament of modern Dogri prose. Chhatrapal is rightly hailed as Dogri’s high grade writer. He is Joginder Pal Saraf better known as Chhatrapal in literary world.
The book under review is dedicated to the memory of doyen of Dogri late Prof. Ram Nath Shastri , who has praised Chhatrapal’s stories as the masterpieces of the modern Dogri literature like, Sapkanj, Cheta Madaari, Hindsaa ,Agg, Jidd, Oh Din .
The book ‘Cheta’ is a landmark in Dogri literature for its new style of expression, psychological treatment, literary aesthetics, beauty and power of language and style of modern short story. The stories of Chhatrapal are held at high esteem by the critics and the readers.
While the themes of stories of book Cheta are relevant to present day, they include some most heart-rendering thematic breakthrough like hidden emotions of the ‘third gender’ Sapkanj challenges of senile dementia confronted Cheta by a retired headmaster , struggle for existence by a road side Madaari ( juggler) . Such themes express the psyche of the changing social life.
The short stories of Cheta markedly signify change in the art of story telling with an element of interest and intense feeling blended with satire. Three stories entitled Agg, Jidd and Hindsaa deal with child psychology and unfolds the inner layers of subconscious of children.
Chhatrapal is also a well known satirist who has enriched Dogri literature with his penetrating and poignant style . He has experimented with the traditional Tota-Maina style of story telling with new vision and themes. Some of his such stories are: Shumari Lal da Dukhant, Doctor Meharban and Nikka Pappu Badda Pappu.
High Moral Values
The one of the choicest stories titled Cheta narrates the interesting but agonizing tale of an aged character who always forgot his things due to senile dementia. Once he goes to his friend’s daughter’s marriage but while purchasing the ticket at the bus stand counter forgets the name of his destination. He undergoes traumatic experience. English Translation of this story has been included in the English text book , alongwith two stories of O’Henary and Prem Chand prescribed by some universities of the country for the students of first year of BA, BSc and B.Com course. Another story Loona Da Putla deals with a person who is always in search of his dream-house. Written in surrealistic style, the main character of the story desperately yearns for love and affection and finally melts in torrential rains , that symbolizes the vagaries of life.
Besides being a writer Chhatrapal is well connected with media having scripted about 2000 television programmes for Doordarshan. He served Radio Station, Jammu as News Reader for 35 years . He bagged Mohan Rakesh Samman in All India Playwriting Competition organized by Sahitya Kala Parishad, New Delhi. He has also translated Kamleshwar’s Kitne Pakistan and Tagore’s Nouka Doobi into Dogri.
Chhatrapal has got published his stories in Dharmyug,Sarika,Nayee Kahaniyaan, Maya, Saptahik Hindustan and other prestigious magazines. His first collection of Hindi short stories Roshni Se Door was awarded by Directorate of Hindi , New Delhi during 1982.Translation of his short stories published in different Indian languages includingUrdu and Kashmiri.
Urge for Life
Overcoming his Polio problem with strong will-power, struggle and strength, he made a successful career in creative writing and social service. His family, instead of being demoralized, has set up Viklang Chhatra Trust to provide artificial limbs and financial support for the physically disabled. His father, Satya Pal Saraf with the support of Chhatrapal is carrying on this noble mission.
Mr. Chhatrapal is also president, Red Cross Home for Handicapped ,Udaywala , Jammu and assist helping the helpless handicapped boys and girls. In addition, he has been quite active in the literary field and is presently president , Dogri Sanstha , a pioneer organization devoted to Dogri language and cultural heritage of Duggar.
Useful Literary Work
One of the very significant feature is that these stories, written in chaste to Dogri language, deeply reflect the Dogra customs, cultural modes and moral values. Though depicted in this background, the overall themes are universal in nature. This is the unique insight of Chhatrapal that his pen portrays the present but has the vision of the future imbedded in it.
Cheta has extended the frontiers of Dogri Short Story with its high excellence, powerful expression and variety of themes dealt with utmost creative expertise and keen observation .These stories intensively express the internal conflict of such characters who are exposed to hostile situation and are struggling for their existence. Some of the stories of the collection are trend-setter and directly relate to the psyche of society. The book has ineffaceable impact on Dogri fiction.
(Starline Syndicate service)
O P Sharma & Sanjogta