Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Another Good Samaritan - Padam :

My elders used to say , “ Do not forget and always remember someone who serves you even a glass of water , in time of need”. I carry this nugget of advice , thankfully. 

 I have written about the good Samaritan Chiranji, the Chowkidar in PWD Rest House, Pooh , who went out of his way to help me and my family during the harsh winter in 1986. I was lucky enough to meet the good guy again in 1995 in Bilaspur, when I was posted there. 
But there are persons who come in your life , do grand deeds for you and simply disappear, leaving you wailing and wondering. 
The incident again relates to 1986, my posting to Pooh , and whatever transpired on the way before reaching my station of posting. 
I along with my wife , my 7 month old daughter , and my father in law who volunteered to accompany us for good reason, boarded the HRTC bus at Shimla to avail the Shimla- Kaza night service at 8PM on 26th of November, 1986 , which would hopefully drop me at my destination at around 10 in the morning , the next day.I had put my household luggage on the bus roof . I had not travelled beyond Rampur- Jeori before , so I knew it was going to be a difficult journey especially with a kid in the lap. Somehow it was a near smooth ride upto Tapri , where we reached early in the morning.As ill luck would have it, we were informed that Bus would not go any further as the road was blocked due to land slide . The biggest problem was the luggage . Even if a bus were available after some hours, it was near impossible to shift the luggage . On the way, my father in law had struck up some conversation with the conductor and had developed some kind of friendship. Seeing us in trouble, the conductor, talked to the concerned person at the depot , and saw us out of the trouble, as our luggage was put in the rooms of the HRTC depot . We had kept some very necessary items with us like the blankets , powder milk , feeding bottle and some medicines.We thanked Padam, the conductor profusely . We had to board another bus, which only took us to Powari , a station about 60 Km short of Pooh. We had to spend two nights in a Cooperative Society guest house . It was only on 29th that we could reach Pooh. The luggage was later got transported in piecemeal.
Naturally we talked of our benefactor and remembered him with gratitude. Within a few days, the ill fated bus met with a major accident at Kingal killing 47 passengers on board , including the driver and the conductor . And who the conductor was, it was our god sent benefactor, Padam , a young man of 26 only.
Needless to say, it took us days to come out of the shock !

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Gopal Krishna Gokhale

Today is the death anniversary of Gopal Krishna Gokhale, a prominent figure in the Indian Freedom Movement.A founder of Servants of India Society,he is known for his moderate stance as against the aggressive and assertive one of the Bal Lal Pal triumvirate.Gandhi ji acknowledged him as his political Guru. He is also remembered as the Gladstone of India.
Our humble tributes to the great patriot and leader !

Pankaj Mullick

Today is the death anniversary of Pankaj Mullick, the noted singer, music director and actor, who was associated with both Bengali and Hindi cinema.He is also known as an exponent of Rabindra Sangeet.He scored music for K.L.Saigal,Kanan Devi, S.D.Burman and also sang and acted alongside. Some of the film songs sung by Saigal are also recorded in Pankaj Mullick's voice.
Awarded Padma Shri in 1970, he was also a recipient of Dadasaheb Phalke Life Achievement Award.
Our humble tributes to the maestro !

Saturday, February 18, 2017


Today is the birth day of popular composer and music director Khayyam.
He turns 90 .
Our best wishes !

कृष्णा सोबती

आज विख्यात हिन्दी उपन्यासकार एवं निबंधकार कृष्णा सोबती का जन्मदिन है।
उन्हें हमारी हार्दिक शुभकामनाएं !

Nalini Jaywant

Today is the birth anniversary of Nalini Jaywant, a popular Bollywood actress of bygone era.Making her acting debut in 1941 with the film Behan as a child artiste, she went on to act in many films. Success smiled on her with the films Samadhi and Sangram in which she appeared opposite Ashok Kumar.

Much in demand , she acted in well known popular movies like Munim ji, Naukri, Railway Platform, Naujawan,Kala Pani,Ek Nazar, Rahi, Jaadu, Shikast, Mehbooba, Lakirein, Naaz,Senapati, Aan Baan and many others.Her last appearance was in movie Nastik in 1983.
She was also known as the baby face of Hindi cinema.
Our humble tributes !


Today is the birthday of Nimmi, the popular Bollywood actress of yore.
She turns 84.
Our best wishes !

Ramakrishan Paramhans

Today is the birth anniversary of Ramakrishan Paramhans, the Indian mystic Yogi. Born Gadadhar Chattopadhyay this day in 1836, he was given to spiritual practice since childhood and was an ardent, unflinching devotee of Goddess Kali.
Swami Vivekananda was his disciple and founded the Ramakrishan Mission in his memory and honour.
Our humble tributes to the great Yogi and the Mystic !

Thursday, February 16, 2017

A Decade Of Quitting Smoking

“Why do you smoke  even ?” My friends , colleagues and well wishers would ask prefixing my first name or Yaar or Sharma ji- my surname- depending on the level of proximity I enjoyed with them . And this happened umpteen of times leaving me fumbling for an answer. There was hardly any. The more suggestive was the word ‘even’ . My horse sense told me that being not given to other bad habits, smoking was completely incongruous, incompatible and out of sync with my personality.

Looking back, the first ever puff of cigarette I had out of fun was at the Ambala Railway Station , in 1976, while I was going to Dehradun to face the Services Selection board to enter the IAF. . I could not make it, as destiny had other things in store. I did not touch any cigarette for 2-3 years.Anyway, I had no answer to ‘Why’.I had not smoked throughout sixteen years of my student life and a bit beyond . Perhaps I was destined to be a smoker and caught this habit from my colleagues in the early years of my service.Days turning into months and months turning into years , it continued. . Much as I wanted to shed this bad habit , I did not succeed, even small bets and New Year resolutions coming to naught. Even the purchasing and going through a book on quitting smoking did not help. 
I am a strong believer in destiny and was destined to leave this decades’ old habit. It so happened that a decade back,i.e. in February 2007, I had a bout of illness, as I tested positive for Hepatitis A- a painless but dreaded disease. Sapped of all energy, with a high level of bilirubin and resultantly with a pale skin ,I was bedridden for two months. In short, had a brush with death or you could say a close shave. This illness proved a blessing in disguise, as I was able to bid adieu to smoking , notwithstanding the fact that I gave sleepless nights to my wife , who had to slog it out for two long months single handed doing all chores ,big and small, for me besides attending to relatives, neighbours and colleagues who came to enquire after my health.
Benefits of quitting smoking are never too manifest though the damage it could cause may be too pronounced.
But yes, I have every reason to feel happy having done without it for a decade now.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Faiz Ahmad Faiz

Today is the birth anniversary of Faiz Ahmad Faiz, the noted Urdu poet, intellectual and revolutionary. Born this day in 1911 in Sialkot Pakistan, Faiz was a well educated person holding Master’s degree in English Literature and Arabic. An avowed Marxist, he was drawn to the ideology early in life .After Independence , on the formation of Pakistan, he had differences with the Government of the time, was awarded imprisonment for a long period , though he was released early on change of guard. His poetry contains an interesting mix of love , revolutionary ideas, and disenchantment with the scenario that emerged after the independence. His poetry is layered and much can be read into the composition and the lines . Many of his poetry collections were published. He was honoured with MBE by the British Government, Nishan-e- Imtiyaz by the Pakistan Government and Lenin Peace Prize by the USSR. Besides he was also a four time contender for the coveted Nobel Prize.
A specimen of his poerty :
Dono jahan teri mohabbat mein haar ke’
Wo jaa raha hai koi shab-e-gham guzaar ke’
Duniya ne teri yaad se begaana kar diya
Tujh se’ bhi dil fareb hain gham rozgar ke
Mujh se pehli si muhabbat mere mehboob na maang
Maine samjha tha ki tu hai to darakhshaan hai hayaat
Aur bhi dukh hain zamaane mein muhabbat ke’ siwa
Rahaten aur bhi hain wasl ki raahat ke’ siwa.
Gulon mein rang bhare baad-e- naubahaar chale’
Chaley bhi aao ki gulshan ka karobaar chale’
Ye daagh daagh ujala ye shab gazeedaa sahar
Wo intzaar tha jiska, ye wo sahar to nahin…..

Our humble tributes to the great poet and intellectual of the sub continent !

World Radio Day

Today is World Radio Day.Time to recall my association of a little less than six decades with the wonderful medium .The table version,the battery version, the transistor version all evoke a sense of nostalgia.Vividh Bharti, Radio Ceylon,Urdu Service of AIR, BBC, Shimla and Jalandhar stations are all fresh in the memory even today.Though not a visual medium, we remembered the names of broadcasters and presenters and recognized their voices.Ameen Sayani who presented Binaca Geetmala, Devki Nandan Pandey, Harish Kashyap, Vinod Kashyap, Roshan Menon, Urmila Mishra- the news presenters were all household names. So far as Akashvani Shimla is concerned, Kalawati Thakur, Amar Nath Thakur, Amar Singh Thakur, Ram Kumar Kaley, Prem Lata Verma, Shanta Walia,Vijay Saraswati, Shankar Lal, Ashwani Kumar Garg,Achhar Singh Parmar were not only familiar voices but also familiar faces.Kundan Sharma and Hem Raj Sharma of AIR Jalandhar also come to mind.
I call the Radio wonderful because, it never distracted. Studies and listening to Radio could go together.Household chores could be done while listening to the Radio.
The memories are enchanting and captivating !!
Happy listening !

Sarojini Naidu

Today is the birth anniversary of Sarojini Naidu,a prominent figure during the Indian Freedom Movement.She was first Indian woman to be elected as the President of the Indian National Congress and also served as the first Governor of U.P.One of the delegates to the Round Table Conference, she also actively participated in the Quit India Movement.She was also a poet par excellence which earned her the sobriquet - The Nightingale of India.
Our humble tributes to the great daughter of India !

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Gundappa Rangnath Vishwanath

Today is the birthday of Gundappa Rangnath Vishwanath , the suave and mild mannered Indian batsman known for his stylish square cuts , who also scored a century in his debut test match against Australia in 1969 at Kanpur.
Our best wishes to the great Vishy !

Abraham Lincoln

Today is the birth anniversary of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States of America.
Wish our high flying politicians and leaders take a cue from him in simplicity, humility and forthrightness !
Our humble tributes to the great leader and statesman !
If winter comes, can spring be far behind !
This new bloom seems to suggest !!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Baba Amte

Today is the death anniversary of Baba Amte the Gandhian social worker and activist who did pioneering work for the rehabilitation of those suffering from leprosy. He was awarded Padma Shri, Padma Vibhushan, Ramon Magasasay Award and Gandhi Peace Award.
Our humble tributes to this great soul !

Shobhana Samarth

Today is the death anniversary of Shobhana Samarth, one of the earliest faces of Indian talkies.She started acting in Marathi films and also worked in Hindi movies. She was the mother of actresses Nutan and Tanuja.
Our humble tributes !

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Jagjit Singh

Today is the birth anniversary of Jagjit Singh, the renowned Ghazal singer and composer.Known as the ghazal-king, he is credited with popularising the Ghazal among masses.Endowed with a resonant appealing voice he enthralled the music lovers home and abroad.Together with his singer wife Chitra Singh, he sang many memorable numbers cutting many albums.They sang together during '60s through '80s till the unfortunate death of their son aged 20 , in 1990. Chitra gave up singing altogether unable to bear the shock.HoweverJagjit Singh returned to singing afer a year.As a composer, Jagjit Singh composed music for the film Prem Geet, Arth and Saath Saath .
In all he cut about eighty albums , all extremely popular.
He was a recipient of Padma Bhushan.

Our humble tributes to the great singer !

निदा फाजली

आज उर्दू के अजीम शाइर एवं गीतकार निदा फाजली की पुण्यतिथि है ! 
गन्गा- यमुनी तहज़ीब के सम्वाहक के रुप में भी उन्हें याद किया जाता है । 
हमारी विनम्र श्रद्धांजलि !

Dr.Zakir Hussain

Today is the birth anniversary of Dr.Zakir Hussain, the 3rd President of India. An educator, intellectual and a scholar of repute, he was the co- founder of Jamia Milia Islamia and also served as its Vice Chancellor.Post independence he served full term as Governor of Bihar and the Vice President of India.He was the first Muslim President and also the one to occupy the highest Office for the shortest term.
He was awarded Bharat Ratna in 1963.
Our humble tributes !

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Sujit Kumar

Today is the birth anniversary of Sujit Kumar, the popular Bollywood actor. He acted in about 150 Hindi films and 25 Bhojpuri films in a career spanning almost two decades. His early films in the '60s were Ek Saal Pehle and Lal Bangla , both suspense movies.Later, he went on to act in films like Aradhana, Ittefaq, Aan Milo Sajna, Haathi Mere Saathi, Amar Prem, Mere Jeevan Saathi, Roti, Mehbooba, Avtaar, Aakhir Kyon, Amrit, with Rajesh Khanna as the lead actor. His other notable films were Aankhein , Naya Raasta, Jugnu , Hamrahi , Charas , Dharamveer , Des Pardes, Burning Train, Kaamchor, Krantiveer, Tiranga, The Great Gambler,Khandaan and many others. Turning to production, he produced the movies-Asmaan Se Ooncha , Daraar , Anubhav and Champion.
He died on February 5, 2010 just two days short of completing 76 years.

Our humble tributes !

Manmath Nath Gupta

Today is the birth anniversary of Manmath Nath Gupta , a noted revolutionary and an author. Born this day in 1908, he plunged into the Independence movement at the age of 13 and became an active member of the Hindustan Republican Association.He participated in the train robbery in August 1925, known as the famous Kakori case, stood trial and was awarded 14 year imprisonment.While in jail, he undertook a 45 days' hunger strike.
Once out of the prison, he kept participating in revolutionary activities.
He wrote a number of books documenting the lives of revolutionaries and the freedom movement. He also wrote a book on the poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar.
Blessed with a long life, he died in the year 2000 aged 92.

Our humble tributes !

Monday, February 6, 2017

Indrani Rehman

Yesterday was   the death anniversary of Indrani Rehman, an Indian Classical dancer who performed Bharat Natyam, Odisi, Kuchipudi and Kathakali and popularised all these dance forms in the West.
Born Indrani Bajpai, to an Indian father and an American mother in 1930, she won the Miss India title in 1952. Her mother shunned her American identity,adopted Hinduism, and came to be known as Ragini Devi.She showed keen interest in Indian classical dance, learnt dancing, became a celebrity dancer and opened a dancing Company.Indrani, when she grew up joined her mother's dancing company and soon became well versed in all forms of dancing.
She popularised dancing by holding concerts abroad.She was married to Habib Rehman, the Chief Architect in Government of India . A recipient of Padma Shri in 1969, she also received Sangeet Natak Academy Award.
She migrated to New York in 1979 and settled there.
She died on February 6,  1999 , aged 69 in U.S.
Our humble tributes !

Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan

Today is the birth anniversary of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, a Pashtun freedom activist who fought for independence .A pacifist, who subscribed to and believed in nonviolent ways of struggle, he founded and spear headed the Khudai Khidmatgar Movement in 1929.He was also associated with the Indian National Congress.Being a follower of nonviolence, he is also known as the Frontier Gandhi and is revered as such.He was against the partition of India and was shocked when the partition proposal was accepted by the Congress without consulting the Khudai Khidmatgar leadership.Post independence he continued his struggle for various issues and even at the time of his death, he was under house arrest at Peshawar.
He was named Amnesty Prisoner of Conscience in 1962, was awarded Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding in 1967.
He was also awarded Bharat Ratna in 1987.
He died in 1988, aged 98.
Our humble tributes !

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Dr.M.S.Randhawa ICS

Today is the birth anniversary of Dr.M.S.Randhawa ICS , the versatile genius and a multi faceted personality who made his mark in whatever assignment he was given or took up. As a bureaucrat he oversaw the resettlement of people uprooted from Pakistan in the wake of Partition, and establishment of Chandigarh. He played stellar role in bringing about Green Revolution .He was also a connoisseur of Art and wrote books about Indian Painting as also Kangra & Chamba Painting besides others.He also wrote books on plant life.The well known Rock Garden came up due to his patronage.
Our humble tributes !

Khushwant Singh

Today is the birth anniversary of Khushwant Singh, an eminent author and a writer in English. Born in a well to do family in undivided Punjab, he was educated in Delhi, Lahore and London. After practicing law in the Lahore High Court for eight years since 1938, in the wake of Independence, he shifted to Delhi. He held different assignments in Indian High Commission at London and Ottawa and also worked for UNESCO at Paris.He is credited with founding and editing Yojana, a publication of Planning Commission.He had successful stints as the Editor of The Illustrated Weekly of India and the Hindustan Times.
As a writer his fame rests mainly on the novel 'A Train to Pakistan ', a poignant saga of Partition, and 'A History of the Sikhs'.
A self professed agnostic, he did not believe that in a formal religion or concept of God.He returned the Padma Bhushan Award in the wake of 1984 events.Subsequently,he was awarded Padma Vibhushan in 2007.
Blessed with a long life, he died a few months before completing the century.
Our humble tributes !

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

ए के हन्गल

 ये सन्नाटा क्यों है भाई ? ' चरित्र अभिनेता के रूप में अपने सशक्त अभिनय से अपनी विशिष्ट पहचान बनाने वाले स्व. ए के हन्गल की अ।ज जयन्ति है ।
विनम्र श्रद्धांजलि !

Kalpana Chawla

Today is the death anniversary of Kalpana Chawla ,the Indian-American astronaut .Fourteen years ago all the seven astronauts aboard Space Shuttle Columbia lost their lives when the Space Shuttle met with a disaster during return journey to the earth.
Our humble tributes !

सूर्यकांत त्रिपाठी 'निराला'

आज वसंत पंचमी है और हिन्दी साहित्य के पुरोधा एवं छायावाद के प्रमुख स्तंभ सूर्यकांत त्रिपाठी 'निराला' का स्वघोषित जन्मदिन भी।
'परिमल', 'अनामिका', 'सरोज-स्मृति' जैसी अन्य कई महान काव्य रचनाओं से हिन्दी साहित्य जगत को समृद्ध करने वाले 'महाप्राण' निराला की जयंती पर उन्हें हमारी विनम्र श्रद्धांजलि !