Rajeshwar Singh ‘Raju’
I may recall that whenever as a teen I used to visit All India Radio Jammu station in connection with some assignment as a poet, short story writer or playwright, I watched a man always reading books or indulged in his official works in his office room or studio. I was so much inspired with his personality. His sober looks and down to earth attitude indicated that he was in fact an intellectual who believed gaining and imparting knowledge.
He is Didar Singh, a well known name in Punjabi and Hindi literature having carved a niche for him as a prolific writer and broadcaster.
Didar Singh was born on Feb 10th ‘ 1940 in the family of Sardar Kirpal Singh and Amrit Kour at village Hill Sarung, Tehsil Bagh, District Poonch now in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and is presently residing at Nanak Nagar Jammu. His grandfather Havaldar Sardar Amir Singh served in Ladakh Scouts in Gilgit before 2nd World War, was assigned some magisterial powers by the then Raja of Poonch and was also offered a chair in Poonch Darbar. His father Sardar Kirpal Singh has served in Indian Army in Artillery Unit and fought 2nd World War in Iraq and Singapore, taken as prisoner of war by Japanese forces and was released after the war was over.
But unlike his ancestors, Didar Singh had some other plans to build up his career. He also wished to be a warrior but wanted to fight with the evils prevailing in the society, sail through imaginative ocean of literature and fly on the wings of harsh realities of life through his well equipped armory of words and hence he became a writer.
It is pertinent to mention here that during his study days, he worked as an electrician and then as a teacher for short time in Punjab. Later on he joined All India Radio Jammu as Hindi programme announcer in 1966. In 1968 he was selected as script writer for Punjabi programmes at the same Station. Then he qualified UPSC and was selected as Programme Executive for All India Radio in June 1977. In 1991, he got promoted as Assistant Station Director and was posted at Dordarshan Kendra Jallandhar where he was promoted as Deputy Director Programmes (DDP) in 1997 and retired from same post in 1998. During his professional career in AIR, he devised and produced many programmes in Hindi and Punjabi languages for a long time.
Didar Singh had been interested in writing from an early age. But with the passage of time and while being In-charge of literary programmes at different stations of All India Radio, it became his passion. He had been a regular contributor to almost all Punjabi magazines and Newspapers published in India and same journals in Hindi also. He has also written extensively for Sheeraja Punjabi and Sheeraja Hindi published by J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages. His other literary pursuits include short stories collections in Punjabi being entitled “PAGDANDIYAN DE BHULEKHE (1971), DOOR DI AWAZ (1979), INSANIYAT MARI NAHIN (1978), DARZWAZE (1990) and MANTHAN (2011) a collection of articles in Punjabi language. At the same time his collection of books In Hindi include DHUNDHALKE (1973), ANKAHI (1979), APNE LOG PRAYE LOG (1996), PARTEN (2016) and JAL BIN KUMABH, a translation of Punjabi novel written by Smt. Chandan Negi.
His noteworthy contributions to Punjabi and Hindi languages have been acknowledged by different Government and Non Government Organizations from time to time. He was awarded Best Book Award for “PAGDANDIYAN DE BHULEKHE” in 1973 and “DARZWAZE” in 1992 by J & K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages, honored by All India Radio Jammu on 50th anniversary, All India Radio Jammu and J & K Cultural Academy in 2016 in Jharokha and many Literary and Social Organizations. He is associated with many prominent literary organizations of Jammu like Punjabi Lekhak Sabha, Rashtra Bhasha Prachar Samiti Jammu, Sahit Sangam, Hindi Sahitya Mandal etc.
In a conversation about the present position of literature in society, Didar Singh is of the view that present generation is not fond of reading. He recalls that during his childhood reading books had been a craze. But mobiles and social sites on internet have made a drastic change in youths’ approach towards literature which is not a positive sign. Even at this stage of life when he has been facing acute eyesight issues and is not able to read books, it disturbs him a lot. Pertinently to mention here that he used to use magnified glasses to read literature and write for a long time which shows his passion for reading and writing.
For the new entrants in the field of literature, he has a valid point to make that unless you study the literature of different languages, you can’t groom as a writer. Reading is the best habit to put forth your ideas in a different way. But for that one should have a concept to work upon and vocabulary to pen down same. It is possible only if we read others’ books too.
About the future of Radio, he says that it’s a phase of time. Once Radio was a craze as the means of entertainment were less. Now with the internet revolution, so many options are available at the press of remote and even on your mobile. But, the visuals served kill your imagination. If you wish to create your own visuals then you should preferably listen to Radio.
Yes, I wish to add here that everyone is creative. But if you always stick to the visuals provided by other source then you kill your instinct to create. Not against the visual medium of expression but audio medium should not die with the supremacy of visuals. Every medium has its own pros and cons. The limit has to be fixed at individual level.
The dedicated and devoted literary personalities like Didar Singh are always an asset to a society. We should seek lessons from their passion which is a must to excel in any field.
They are our guiding force.
Let we be guided by them so as to reach a proper destination.
Rajeshwar Singh ‘Raju’