Rajshwar Singh ‘Raju’
When we find some of the Dogri literature lovers and Dogri writers saying that our mother tongue has been suffering from threat of extinction with the new generation hardly caring for the roots as far as language is concerned, then a question haunts me quite often: Is merely showing concern a solution? Shouldn’t we be realistic and take this threat out of discussion and do somewhat concrete to serve the purpose on ground ? Do mere talks yield any result? Are we ourselves so apprehensive in real terms for the language except participating in discussions on different forums? Is the mother tongue getting recognized in our Homes by our own family members also ? If we realize this basic mantra, the problem will never find space for so called concerns emerging in literary meets. What prompted me to pen down this genuine concern is that the people who are really dedicated to work for the language are continuously working. Of course they are concerned with the issue and are working with whatever effort they may put in. One of those activists is Raj Rahi, who proclaims proudly , “Writing in Dogri is a delight.”
Raj Kumar Sharma , popularly known as Raj Rahi in literary arena of Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir is a well known Dogri writer who has been contributing for the mother tongue for a long time now through his collections of short stories, essays as well as plays. He , being born in the family of late. Dhani Ram Sharma and Soma Devi Sharma in 1959 at a small village Karaini in Tehsil and District Reasi had an inclination towards art right from his childhood. Although he started as an actor in cultural events at Reasi and was a part of Natrang’s much acclaimed productions staged in all corners of India but with the passage of time, he started casting an impression as a writer and eventually emerged as a talented writer who knew the art of writing stories on untouched subjects particularly in Dogri literature.
Right from the first story ‘Kaffan Chore’ that got published way back in 1985 in Dogri Sheeraja, a magazine published by J&K Academy of Art, Culture & Languages he had impressed the eminent literary personalities of that time. He had predicted that if Raj continues writing with all dedication and devotion and exploring new subjects, he will certainly carve a niche for himself in Dogri Literature. The predictions turned a reality and Raj Rahi is an established short story writer in mother tongue Dogri now.
While getting published in ‘ Dogri Sheeraja’, Dogri Times, Jammu Prabhat and being broadcast by Aakashwani Jammu as a short story writer, he thought that unless his creative works are compiled in the form of books, he will not get satisfied as through books only he could have access to many. Moreover, as is well said in literary circles, unless you have books to your credit, you are not regarded as a writer in real terms because scattered works remain scattered in memories of readers too. Books give you a sense of belonging to family of writers with confidence. He realized it and came up with a critically acclaimed short stories collection entitled ‘ JEENDA SHAHEED’ in 2002. The book was welcomed for its bold content and Raj was appreciated for touching the truth very skilfully. Thereafter he came up with two more collections of short stories entitled ASLI WARIS (2009) and BAUNSRI DI TAAN ( 2016) that were also quite successful in carrying on his reputation as a writer inclined to work on varied subjects.
Raj Rahi ‘s other praiseworthy literary works include JAANWAR KUN ( Children play),MADARI (Play), BHAGYA VIDHATA (Dogri play_SANJHA PRAYAS) etc. In addition to it, he has written a number of essays and write-ups that have been published in different Dogri newspapers, magazines and have been a vital part of seminars organized by Sahitya Academy New Delhi, JKAACL, Dogri Sanstha Jammu and other literary organizations. Some of his much acclaimed stories have been translated into different languages like Hindi, English, Punjabi and Kashmiri. He has also translated some of trend setting stories from other languages like Bangla and Punjabi into Dogri language. He has been awarded and honoured by different Government and Non-Government organizations for his continuous service to mother tongue Dogri and promotion of regional Art & Culture.
He is of the opinion that while writing in Dogri, he is not doing any favour to mother tongue. Rather he is blessed to have Dogri as his mother tongue. He enjoys writing in Dogri that gives him a sense of contentment as well as ecstasy which can’t be expressed in words.
He is very much right with his words because the writer develops plots from his surroundings. He gets inspired by the familiar characters, situations, sequences and uses the God gifted power of words to knit the plot to serve to the amusement of readers. He has a pivotal role to play for the society that asks for a sense of responsibility which can be fulfilled only when you remain connected to roots. Now in order to remain intact to the basics you can’t be superficial. You have to write about your people, your traditions and your culture which can be expressed only in mother tongue. If you are using other language for your local environment then your creative works look like far away from a reality. Yes, a bitter one but am compelled to mention here that those established writers who boast of doing favours to Dogri should get rid of this false assumption about themselves and be thankful to mother tongue Dogri that is, so kind, giving them platform to earn name and fame.
Raj Rahi loves his language and knows that whatever he wishes to write, he can well deliver in Dogri only. He has strong vocabulary of Dogri that shows its spell in his creative works. The new entrants should seek an important lesson from the established writers like Raj Rahi that we should respect our mother tongue and feel delighted for being blessed by it.