Tuesday, April 25, 2017




“ MURTCHGOR “ OR “ SCLUPTOR “ ( English ) OR “MURTIKAAR” ( Hindi ) ..
A Collection of Short stories of Rajesh Kaul 

Published by Kashmiriyat Publishers , 
163 Narsingh Garh ,
Bal Garden Srinagar Kahmir 
(Year of Publication 2017 )

“ MURTCHAGOR “ OR “ SCLUPTOR “ is a collection of Nine short stories in Kashmiri written by Rajesh Kaul . The book is in Nastalik script. Apparently a small and compact Book , which , to a new reader, may appear as something that can be finished in one sitting ; But that does not happen so . Once you start reading these interesting stories , You are tempted to come again and again to some stories as these appear to have originated from your own family , Household and environment . These stories bring some Nostalgia as well.

Spread over 86 pages , the author has dedicated the Book to two women : First to his mother Arandati for imparting the priceless gift of Mother Tongue to him and then to his wife Sushma ji for being always supportive of his ventures . It has a brief Foreword by the author followed by two engrossing Introductory write ups by Noted Kashmiri short story Writer and Playwright Hriday Kaul Bharti. Shri H K Bharti’s Introductory write up about the author and his work is followed by another griping write up on the Author and his work by noted kashmiri and Hindi writer cum scholar Prof Ratan lal Shant .

Shri Rajesh Kaul ( Born 1949 ) is a man from Media who superannuated from a senior Position in Door Darshan . A post graduate in English , Shri Kaul has received Training in Television Production / Direction from FTII Pune .

The stories covered in the book reveal his unique style , presentation and Language . To me it appears that the writer has abundant study of Some masters of Modern short story in English, Hindi and Urdu .Having said so , Rajesh kaul also appears to have devised his own Individual Technique of story telling . This Technique has all the Technical ingredients like metaphors, similes, personification, imagery and alliteration. The sequences in his stories come up as Something like Cinematic frames . That is why I am of a firm opinion that apart from reading , these stories can be powerfully presented on Stage also . These stories are Modern in tone , Texture and style. Accordingly , These stories have enormous contemporary relevance .I am informed that the story MURTCHGOR” has also been staged .

These stories come up with a comfort of instant Identification with Characters and situations. These Characters and situations have evolved from the fast changing living styles in and around our own families and household . His language and metaphors are simple and picked up again from our households . 

The book drives its title from MURTCHGOR , a story appearing at page 79 of the book .It is a story of sordid activities in the world of art whereby Artists have become victims of a crop of Brokers , touts and middlemen and their art reduced to a market driven commodity .The central Character in the story is a sculptor who wants to enjoy his artistic freedom but is compelled to do what market demands . He is finally made to give up all and carve Gravestones to remain relevant in the world of Art. So much is the demand for Gravestones that he runs short of stone .He is not sure whether a stone shall be left for his own self that he intends to carve finally.
Another story that attracts the reader is “ PASS BOOK”. Pass Book is a document that has presence in every family. Quite often held under secret by our elders even from their own family members . The sum lying in this small booklet is a trust , a hope and a confidence. 

To innocent ,simple and Illiterate ladies in our society , Banking was totally unknown. The money received by a lady was usually handled by her husband . And if that husband happened to be a swindler or disloyal to his own family , a simple woman had no way out to protect her family interests from such a vagrancy coming from a person who was otherwise required to Protect and provide .

The story PASS BOOK revolves around three Characters ; A simple elderly lady ( mother of the protagonist ) ever busy in the welfare of the family , A dutiful married son running the show and carrying everybody with him including his own family and the third Character is the Daughter in law who always tries to pull the husband towards his own family interests . And then the daughter in Law falls seriously ill and her treatment demands a heavy sum. There is no money in the family. But then suddenly the mother speaks reassuringly to her son to worry not .To her son’s surprise , she opens her old Wooden Box and hands over a booklet to him saying :

“ Take this Bank pass Book. I had given these sixty thousands to your late father that day . It has been a story of 15 years now. I have not touched it. we faced many troubles but I did not touch this money. People say that Money gets doubled in 7 years . This must be good amount now. Get ready . All shall be fine now.”

The Protagonist in the story happens to be the son who informs us how his mother had been cheated by her own husband after she gave him the sum of Rupees sixty thousands that her brothers gave to her as share in the parental property . The husband spent the money for his gambling and merry making and passed on some ordinary booklet to his wife that she kept secretly in a Wooden Box for 15 years presuming it to be a bank passbook. Conveyed in simple words , The story has a beautiful end that makes you feel as if you had been reading Anotn Chekhov .

“ Khabar Kyaa Ous Footmu’t “ or” Something had broken ‘ appears to have been inspired by Crisis of living in modern times when seriousness rules us like a dictator . Has man forgotten to smile ? Now Laughing is something that is manipulated as it rarely comes through a natural process or impulse .We are also privy to Morning scenes in colony parks where People come together , clap and smile loudly in pursuit of happiness . The Protagonist of the story also tries to do it but only a scream is let out not a laughter. What has happened to him ? why has he forgotten laughter ? Has something snapped resulting in death of the laughter .The protagonist is subjected to isolation in office and home for he is unable to laugh or even put up a smile. Probably , he can not be what he is not able to be . How close to Albert Camus’s Merursault !

The story “Paaltu Ba “ or “ The Tame Me “ reflects the plight and mental turmoil of a man on last day of his retirement and the subsequent Next days till he gets adjusted to the changed realities of his life.. A Bullock cart loaded with goods and a Dog have also been skillfully used to deliver the nuances of the story.

Through another story SHRAADH , The writer has very skillfully used kaakien (Common name for an Elderly kashmiri Pandit lady ) as character to convey the pain and trauma that hapless elderly kashmiri Pandits had to undergo post migration from Kashmir valley. Within her family ,prior to Migration , Kaakien was a strong and affectionate woman who commanded respect and authority . She had an identity . And Post Migration to an alien environment, her entire kingdom was lost. She was forced to stand in Long queues under blazing sun for Ration card and relief . Torn between denial of attention and drifting relations , she is forced to live with Heat , Hunger and uncertain future . A squalid life of hapless people crowding to Dharmshalaas and Geeta Bhawan Jammu surface up in this story . The writer adds 
“ Subhanyuss Aeiss Bhaangi neerith Laeni behaan ta Shaamus Aaeiss Tchaeingi Vaapus Atchaan “
“ She would leave in the morning at the first Azaan to stand in the queue and return after the day light had faded away. “ 

And then Kaakien dies suddenly with no one to weep as if she was not born at all. The story of kaakien is the story of people who struggled for shelter and sustenance post migration from Kashmir valley.

Another story that can catch up with our Younger generation is” Daggie Ross Do’dh Chhu Be-Maaney “ or “ An Ailment without Pain is Useless “. The protagonist in this story is a husband who observes and then reveals some moving incidents as he keeps visiting a doctor’s clinic .

There are some more stories like “Paninee Vaari Pyaath “ or “On your own Turn” or “Besom Tchhaai “ or” Irregular Shadow “ that are gripping and keep you engrosed .

These stories that appear like a whiff of Fresh air need circulation and reading, And I am sure that our younger generation is going to find sum and substance in such stories that connect them to their roots. I am also of the opinion that the benefit of this good collection may not pass on to the persons who are not familiar with Kashmiri script . For this , I would suggest that the Book’s second edition should also be available in Devnagri script or at least on a compact Disc ( Audio )format so that these can be heard as well. So many young kashmiris who want to know about their cultural heritage feel handicapped as they are unable to read or write kashmiri script . And I for one sincerely believe that every lover of kashmiri language needs do Every possible thing to enhance the reach of such like endeavors .

( Autar Mota )

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