Remembering Rajinder Singh Bedi

O P Sharma
Rajinder Singh Bedi, a noted writer was born on September 1,1915 and has remained the first Station Director of newly set up Radio Kashmir, Jammu in December, 1947. He built up this “infant” institution operating from merely four rooms and playing a crucial role in countering false Pak propaganda and also nurturing the languages and culture as also involving the people in the process of socio-economic transformation from a scratch. In addition to his rich contribution in the literary field, the Radio Station, Jammu is one of the “memorial”.
The people still remember Rajinder Singh Bedi as a  Urdu writer, a product of the progressive writers’ movement, a noted playwright, who later became a Hindi film director, screenwriter and dialogue writer.
As a screenwriter and dialogue writer, he is best known for Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s films Abhimaan, Anupama and Satyakam; and Bimal Roy’s Madhumati. As a director he is known for Dastak (1970), starring Sanjeev Kumar and Rehana Sultan and Phagun (1973), starring Dharmendra, Waheeda Rehman, Jaya Bhaduri and Vijay Arora.
Bedi is considered one of the leading most prominent Urdu fiction writers who penned many  short stories about the Partition  and shot into fame.
Early life
Bedi was born in village Dalleki in Sialkot district, Punjab, now in Pakistan, to Hira Singh Bedi and Seva Dai and  spent his early years in Lahore where he received his education .
His first collection of short stories, Daan-O-Daam (The Catch), featuring his prominent story “Garam Coat” (Warm Coat) was published in 1940. In 1942, he published his second book, Grehan (The Eclipse).
During 1943, he joined a small studio Maheshwari Films but after one and half years he returned to All India Radio and was posted to Jammu, where he worked until 1947, and became the Director of Jammu and Kashmir Broadcasting Service.
Akademi Awardee
By the time of Partition, Mr Bedi had published numerous  short stories, and had made a name for himself as a prolific writer. His Urdu novel, Ek Chadar Maili Si, translated into English as I Take This Woman, received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1965. The book was later translated into Hindi, Kashmiri and Bengali.]
His later collections of short stories were Kokh Jali and Apne Dukh Mujhe Dedo and a collection of plays, Saat Khel.
Filmdom field
After the partition of India in 1947, he moved to Bombay, and started working with D. D. Kashyap and got his first screen credit for dialogue, in the 1949 film Badi Bahen, and later received greater recognition for his second film Daag in the year 1952. Afterwards,  he joined with Amar Kumar, Balraj Sahni, Geeta Bali and others to create a new company called Cine Cooperative. In 1955, it produced its first film, Garam Coat. Based on Bedi’s short story Garam Coat, starring Balraj Sahni and Nirupa Roy, and directed by Aman Kumar, while the film had Bedi’s entire screenplay.The second film, Rangoli (1962), starring Kishore Kumar, Vyjayantimala, and Durga Khote, was also directed by Amar Kumar under the banner of Cine Co-operative.
He contributed in dialogue writing in some classic Hindi films like ” Mirza Ghalib (1954)”, Bimal Roy’s Devdas (1955), and Madhumati (1958);  Anuradha (1960), Anupama (1966), Satyakam (1969) and Abhimaan (1973).
He made his directorial debut with Hindi classic Dastak (1970), starring Sanjeev Kumar and Rehana Sultan, with music by Madan Mohan, and in the following decade he directed three more films: Phagun (1973), Nawab Sahib (1978) and Aankhin Dekhi (1978).]
His memorable novella Ek Chadar Maili Si was made into a film in Pakistan, Mutthi Bhar Chawal (1978) and later in India, as Ek Chadar Maili Si (1986).
His son Narender Bedi was also a film director and the maker of films including Jawani Diwani (1972), Benaam (1974), Rafoo Chakkar (1975), and Sanam Teri Kasam (1982). After Bedi’s wife passed away, Mr Bedi’s health consistently deteriorated and  suffered paralysis in 1982 and died in Bombay two years later
In his memory, the Punjab Government  has started a “Rajinder Singh Bedi Award” in the field of Urdu Literature. It will be worth its while if the J&K Government has some award instituted or some memorial raised in Rajinder Singh Bedi’s name as has already been done in the case of top singer by having a KL Saigal hall of J&K State Cultural Academy. The people do cherish fondly remember Mr Bedi and appreciate his literary contribution and services in broadcasting field.
Will the Mehbooba Mufti State Government move in this matter, urgently and with speed.?
(Starline Syndicate Service)