Rajeshwar Singh Raju
When it comes to the struggle made for inclusion of mother tongue ‘Dogri’ in 8th schedule of Indian Constitution, then a name flashes from the memory lane. He, as convener of ‘Dogri Sangharsh Morcha’ carried the torch for twelve long years. He is a revolutionary writer who believes in ethics and is never prepared to make compromises hardly matters what may come. He is Mohan Singh.
Mohan Singh born on 8th February 1955 in the family of Thakur Sakatter Singh Slathia and Shiv Dei at Gurha Slathian, Mandi Udh, Dargali, District Samba has been a prolific writer having about 32 books to his credit. His original works include Uss Lok, Kala Suraj, Ghari, Panj Kalyani, Apani Dafli Apna Raag, Sat Jaman Sat, Titlian Ek Ladai Hor, Neeten Diyan Naikhran, Neyan, Dogri Rangmanch, He Din, Samen O Samen Laren De Tabaren Ch, Hirkh Sagatan, Panch Parpanch, Panj Bal Rang, Vartman Da Chittar, Allar Ballar Bave Da, Masla Jammu Kashmir, Dharam, Rajmata, Tagore, Makadi jal, Pakhpat etc. He has translated ‘Machhere-a Malayalam novel by Thakazhi Sivasankra Pallai and ‘Muktibodh’-a Hindi novel by Jainendra Kumar in Dogri. He has also compiled and edited Vedpal Deep’ and Kehri Singh Madhukar Rachna sansar, ‘Sammkaleen Jammu Kashmir Ka Sahitya, Sabak-Dogri Rubai and ‘Sanneten di mala-1’ by Kunwar Vijogi etc. Mohan Singh’s several creative works have been translated into other languages across the nation.
If we talk of Street Theatre in Jammu then Mohan Singh is a pioneer in it. Under the banner of ‘Duggar Manch’ he took street theatre to the remotest of areas and has been instrumental in popularizing this form of theater in the region. His street plays are still talked about for their thought provoking contents and captivating performances. He has always dared to advocate legitimacy through his writings and performances having produced and directed more than fifty plays for proscenium theatre and more than thirty plays for street theatre. Some of his highly acclaimed plays include Kala Suraj, Apani Dafli Apana Raag, Pinjra, Same O Same, Dana Socho Te Sahi, Panch Parpanch, Bave, Gareebu Da Chhilla, Ek Ladai Hor, Panj Kalyani etc.
He has been connected with Radio Jammu since 1974 as a poet and playwright. He has written more than forty plays for All India Radio Jammu and written and Directed about twenty serials and twenty five documentaries for DDK Jammu, DDK Srinagar and Koshur Channel. He is approved drama voice for All India Radio and Doordarshan Kendra with “A” grade for Dogri and has acted in numerous Radio plays and tele- productions. He has also acted for satellite channels like ‘CID’ for Sony channel, ‘Doli Armanon Ki’ for ZEE channel, ‘Ye Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai’ and ‘Tere Shar Main’ for Star plus etc. and in feature films like ‘Maa Ni Mildi’, ‘Nainsukh’ ‘Kuggi maar Duari’,’Geetian’ in Dogri language and ‘awesome Mousam’ in Hindi.
With so much to his credit as a writer, theatre and media activist, Mohan Singh has certain apprehensions about the future of our mother tongue. It pains him to realize that Dogri is still a discarded language not only by respective Governments but Dogras also. It’s an embarrassment that the so called activists are very much vocal about the use of mother tongue by one and all but the mother tongue gets step motherly treatment at their own homes. They have never encouraged their children to use mother tongue as a language of communication and have rather inspired them to go for English or other language thus having an illusion of securing their wards’ future at professional front.
Mohan Singh has highlighted the need of according reverence to the mother tongue at every front and believes that the struggle for same is even more conscientious than the struggle for the including Dogri is 8th schedule. The ill-treatment with Dogras and Dogri disturbs him from within. He expresses his feelings not only vocally at every platform but also uses his pen to express with all creative input in the form of poetry, street plays and other mediums of literature.
For his noteworthy services to literature and media Mohan Singh has been awarded and honored by prominent organizations which include Sahitya Akademi Award-1991, Sahitya Akademi Award for translation-2001,, State Akademi Award -1984 and 2008, Jammu Kashmir accession Golden Jubilee Award-1997, Bharatiya Dalit Sahitya Akademi Award (J&K)-1997, Duggar Sahitya Rattan Award by Dogra Sadar Sabha J&K in 2004, Sahitya Shree Samman by Nami Dogri Sanstha Jammu, Khand Mithe Lok Dogre by 92.7 FM Radio Jammu, Rang Bhumi Kathua, Jammu, Bhurang Jammu Kashmir, J&K Sadiq-Memorial Society, P. G. Department of Dogri, University of Jammu, Rashtarbhasha Parchar Simiti, Vardha-2013 etc.
He is convener ‘Bhasha Simiti’ for Sarswati Samman, Member ‘Bhasha Simiti’ for Jananpith Samman, Film writers’ Association Mumbai, Advisory Board for theatre for JKAACL, was member of General Council for Sahitya Akademi New Delhi. He is president of ‘Duggar Manch’, a foremost literary and cultural organization of J&K and Jammu & Kashmir Progressive Writers Association.
At present, when mother tongues of all regions have been suffering from the invasion of English or Hindi, the writers and artists should have been actively involved in saving the mother tongues from extinction rather than claim and blame game. The need of hour is the talents, ready to work with a mission without involving self into it. It seems that another struggle has to be carried on for saving mother tongue.
Mohan Singh is of the opinion that every Dogri speaking, Dogri lover and Dogra should realize that it’s the high time they should take an oath not merely for public consumption but within from the core of heart that they will put in their best efforts to work for survival of Dogri.
As far as individual efforts are concerned, Mohan Singh has been contributing as a writer as well as an activist since long. The other activists should realize that Charity begins at home. The sincere writers of the like of Mohan Singh are an asset to any language. Dogri language is lucky to have revolutionary writers like him who are always at forefront to ensure survival of mother tongue.