Rajeshwar Singh ‘Raju’
Gianeshwar was born in 1947 at a sacred place called Purmandal of District Samba of erstwhile state and presently UT of Jammu & Kashmir in the family of Prof. Jaidev Sharma and Shakuntala Devi. When he was only six months old, he lost his father. His father was professor at a college in Mirpur and got killed in communal violence while escaping from the troubled area amid infamous partition of 1947 that has left imprints of sorrow and grief on millions hearts and could never be healed despite such a long time lapse. It was in fact a bolt from blue for the entire family. But his mother brought up the family with all courage and ensured that her children should get quality education.
His elder brother Aushutosh Sharma is a prominent name in sports and sister Padma Sachdeva, (who passed away recently) a prolific Dogri and Hindi writer is a house hold name in Duggar pradesh.
It is pertinent to mention here that Gianeshwar was a very good cricketer and has played for Ranji Trophy for erstwhile J&K State but he had a special feel for poetry. He attributes it to being in his genes thanks to his parents. He recalls that, if he has been writing poetry or stories, all credit goes to his mother.
He recollects that his mother was a strong lady who despite facing all odds in her life never allowed even the reflection of the same to disturb her kids and performed the duties of both mother and father with a strong will power.
Gianeshwar had been interested in poetry since childhood thanks to literary atmosphere at home. He was deeply influenced by his elder sister Padma Sachdeva, whom he called ‘Bobo’ and loved to read her poetry. He started participating in poetry gatherings where he got an opportunity to listen to stalwarts of literature and got inspired to pen down his thoughts in the shape of verses in his mother tongue Dogri.
Till date, he has more than thirteen books to his credit that include collections of poetry in Dogri language entitled CHOOG SOCHEN DI (1986), BADDLI KALAVE (1991), SANJOGI MELE (2000), AAS (2002), MAMTA DA NIG (2010), IKK HI CHIRI TE IKK HA CHIRRA (long poem in 2013), AAYA GEETEN DA BANJARA (Lyrics in 2015), SAJRI RUTT (Long poem in 2017), monograph of renowned poet Dr. S. R. Deep (2010).
He has also worked a lot for children and the much talked about his books for children include PHALONNIAN (Riddles in 1998), PHEE KEH HOA (Novelette in 2012), PARI TITLI TE GULAB (Novelette in 2012), SATT KAHANIYAN (Short stories in 2008), KHEDEN -KHEDEN ICH, GEETEN DI ROHL etc.
In addition to it he has 6 books in manuscript form; two of these books are for children and has also contributed immensely for children columns in leading newspapers and magazines.
Although Gianeshwar regards love and affection derived from his readers as the real award which has always inspired him to put in best of efforts with basic instinct for creativity, his colossal contributions to Dogri Literature have been recognized by different Government and Non-Government organizations from time to time. He has been awarded ‘Best Book Award’ for his book ‘BADDLI KALAVE’ by J&K Academy of Art, Culture & Languages (JKAACL). On the same book he was awarded Sahitya Academy Award in 1996. In 2010, he was awarded ‘Bal Sahitya Award’ by Sahitya Academy New Delhi for his novelette ‘PHI KEH HOA’ He was also awarded J & K State Award for literature by erstwhile State of J&K in 2017.
His works have been translated into different languages and ‘PHEE KEH HOA’ has been translated in to Hindi and Punjabi by National Book Trust, New Delhi. Almost all the literary organizations have honoured him for his outstanding contributions to literature. He has been associated with Dogri Sanstha since long and at present is Vice President of this pioneer organization working for welfare of mother tongue.
For the last few years, his poetry reflects surprise element of spiritualism. It’s always been wonderful to listen to him. The positive attitude of this versatile literary personality towards life and Dogri literature is an eye opener for those who are pessimist in approach and just beg sympathy from others for selfish petty gains.
He is optimistic that if the parents would realize the importance of conversation with their children in their own mother tongue, then there is absolutely no threat to Dogri. It’s commendable that the young generation is working hard on exploring all possibilities to provide platforms to mother tongue whether through music, literature or different forms through social media to give boost to our language. The way the books are getting published in Dogri quite regularly also gives an indication that there is no dearth of writers who wish to work with an ambition of working for a noble cause.
It is, in fact, a harsh reality of all the regional languages that some of the self obsessed writers mushroom only with the sole purpose of projecting them as a potential candidate to clinch the literary award or recognition. Once their mission gets accomplished, their passion for mother tongue changes colour and they desperately try to take to new heights with so called claims of reaching to masses in other languages like Hindi, the national language and English for Global reach without realizing that the original works can also be translated in whatever language they wish to. He pleads that the prime focus should not be awards but a will to satisfy the inner instinct to write.
Gianeshwar is of the opinion that awards are meant to inspire to pen down more and more in the language that has given you recognition in literary arena and one should never ditch it. The conspiracies and opportunism should have no role in literature. Let the best of works reach to masses and let those be honoured who are on an honest mission to serve the mother tongue.
He is very much right in his opinion. It is in fact the mockery of literature when you write merely for recognition. The best part of your literary journey should be like that the awards should run after you rather you starve for them.
The literary personalities of the caliber of Gianeshwar are an asset to any language. Our mother tongue Dogri has the privilege of having many like him who are the real torch bearers of an important movement to carry forward the pious mission of getting mother tongue Dogri, a language of masses to become a language of masses in real terms.
We, the Dogras should realize that we form the masses of Duggar Pradesh and Dogri is our mother tongue. Let us be a bit accountable to our roots that will in fact consolidate and prosper our present as well as future.
Rajeshwar Singh ‘Raju’