Colossal of Dogri Ramnath Shastri remembered

Prof Lalit Magotra speaking on life and works of Ramnath Shastri during the program ‘Through My Window’ organized by Sahitya Akademi on Friday.
Prof Lalit Magotra speaking on life and works of Ramnath Shastri during the program ‘Through My Window’ organized by Sahitya Akademi on Friday.

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, June 1: Padamshree Ramnath Shastri not only dreamt of development of Dogri language and literature 1940’s as a tool of resurgence of Dogra cultural and political identity but also made it a reality through life long dedication and commitment to the cause of mother tongue.
Life and works of the colossal of modern Dogri language and literature, Prof Ramnath Shashtri, were brought in focus in a literary program organized by Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi under a series ‘Through My Window’, at the K L Saigal Hall, here today.
The program in which an intimate account of an eminent writer is recounted by another other eminent writer, Prof Lalit Magotra, the well known Dogri writer and President of Dogri Sanstha, shared his views about the ‘Nayak’ of modern Dogri with a galaxy of Dogri writers, poets, scholars and litterateurs.
In his paper the Sahitya Akademi awardee, Prof Magotra, while eulogizing the personal qualities of Ramnath Shastri like discipline, punctuality, commitment, organizational skills and leadership qualities, highlighted how the crusader had envisioned the development of Dogri as a modern language to become a tool for resurrecting the identity of Dogras as well as pride in their own culture and heritage.
Shastri ji put in motion a long action plan which started from staging of Dogri drama Baba Jitto and holding of the exhibition of Pahari art at 1949 Farmer’s Conference at Tikri. It was followed by a continuum of writing and staging of plays like Dinu Bhai Pant’s Sarpanch, Nava Graan, holding of art exhibition at Jammu, Srinagar, Delhi, publication of Dogri periodical ‘Namni Chetna’, starting of Dogri classes of Praveen, Tilak, undertaking of projects in form of writing of novels, prose, travelogues, translations in order to provide study material for students, free coaching classes for students, holding of seminars to arrive at standardization of writing style of Dogri for the benefit of growing tribe of Dogri writers and poets.
Other seminal work done by Shastri ji to draw attention of the Dogra masses towards to the grand legacy of racial values and character immortalized in ballads of folk heroes like Mian Diddo, Data Ranpat and Baba Jitto, through a series of publications, dramas and poetry.
Shastri ji dream came true when Dogra identity got its due official recognition with Dogri being declared as one of the Schedule languages of the country.
Earlier, Prof Veena Gupta, Convener, Dogri Advisory Board, Sahitya Akademi, welcomed the guests and introduced Prof Lalit Magotra, the learned speaker.
Shantanu Gangopadhayay, assistant editor, Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, presented the vote of thanks.