O P Sharma
“Padamshree” title has been bestowed on prominent writer, Prof Shiv Dutt Nirmohi, son of the soil, recently this year for his solid contribution to literature and culture. Prof Nirmohi, who has authored over 35 books, mostly related to language and culture of Jammu region in UT of Jammu and Kashmir. He has rendered a yeoman’ s service to the Dogri language and Dogra’s cultural heritage.
In an exclusive interview with me, Prof Shiv Nirmohi stated: ” I felt that this honour is for the entire Dogra community. Really, it has infused a new spirit and strength in me for re-invigorating our proud literary and cultural heritage. His thrust has been on the folk culture too. His writings in Dogri and Hindi cover a wide-range of subjects mostly related to religious places, cultural aspects like shrines, temples, historical forts and palaces, as also special focus on visitors’ places. He has extensively toured rural and most remote areas in Jammu region to gather data and facts to base his writings.
Questioned about secret of his voluminous publications, his prompt reply was : ” I had burning urge to highlight the literary, spiritual and cultural heritage of this part of our country and also serve my best to my mother-tongue as well the society at large. I used to invest ten per cent of salary/pension to my chosen vocation of writing books to enlighten my people and enrich them with knowledge. I always ploughed back the earnings or the cash prizes towards my publishing ventures, he said adding the society always inspired and encouraged me.
Born on April 19,1937 to Smt Asho Devi and Shri Sawan Mal Padha at village Panthal near the holy Vaishno Devi Katra and had his preliminary education and later did post-graduation in Hindi from the University of Jammu. Got appointed as school teacher and subsequently a Lecturer in Hindi at a Government Degree College . He joined Education Department as a school teacher and later retired as Professor from the Govt Degree College, Kathua in 1995. Subsequently, he also served in private college at Udhampur, where he has now settled and often visits his native village Panthal as well .
Also,he has worked for the Union Public service Commission as subject expert of Dogri language and also served as a member of the Advisory Board of Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages as also the Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi. Shri Nirmohi has been actively engaged in various academic pursuits. He has been a keen observer of the elements of Indian culture in general and particularly the literary and cultural aspects of Jammu and Kashmir .
He has been extensively travelling to various places of historical and cultural relevance in Jammu region as well as across India. He has documented his memiors of the visits in his Dogri book titlted “Jatra Chakkar” (2012). Hisbook of journey publication began from the documentation of folklore of Dogra region. It was published in Hindi with a title “Duggar Ki Lok Gathayan” (1982) From then onwards, he has extensively published his works on historical cultural, architectural, religious, philosophical, geographical, linguistic and anthropological issues of Jammu and Kashmir region. He published his findings with a penname ‘Shiv Nirmohi’.
Shiv Nirmohi was given the Outstanding Teacher Award in 1972 and Bal Sahitya Award in 1980 by the Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages. The Central Hindi Directorate, New Delhi gave him national award for his books titled “Duggar Ki Sanskriti (1990) and “Paddar Lok aur Sanskrit (2003).
Shiv Nirmohi’s discoveries and explorations are first hand documentations and rich sources of research works on the history and culture of Jammu and Kashmir region. In fact more than hundred research projects have already referred to his works and there are many researchers working on his contributions. His contribution is preservation of natural as well as cultural heritage of the Jammu region. He is soft-spoken and amicable person with pleasing personality also a core scholar.
Octogenearian Shiv Nirmohi is still very actively engaged in inspiring many young minds. To him, the prestigious Padamashree title is really well- earned and he deserved it for quite some years. It is a befitting honour to his literary, social and cultural contributions.
He is certainly a source of inspiration for the people especially the young generation as an individual who worked selflessly with full dedication for the preservation and promotion of regional as well as the overall national cultural heritage. Being a Hindi teacher, his majority of works are either in Dogri or in Hindi. He has worked passionately for the promotion of Hindi in the region of Jammu and Kashmir and preservation of Dogri literary traditions and the cultural heritage. Well-deserved honour through his selfless service and solid contribution!
( Starline Syndicate Service)
O P Sharma