Thursday, June 15, 2017





Krishan Chander (1914-1977) wrote over 20 novels, 30 collections of short stories and scores of radio plays in Urdu and scripts and screenplays for films . After Partition of the country, he started writing in simple Hindi. His language, by and large remained Hindustani.
His first novel in the Donkey Trilogy was published in urdu as " Ek Gadhe Ki Surguzasht" and later as "Ek Gadhe Ki Atma Katha" in Hindi . This was followed by Ek Gadha NEFA mein and Ek Gadhe ki Vaapasi.

His Donkey is human and suffers like us. Using Donkey as Protagonist , Krishen Chander caricatures different aspects of society that we live in. He maes his Donkey speak about its experience with bureaucrats, Police , Corrupt Babus ,Businessmen, Ministers , Artists, Musicians and High society women.
His Donkey, even meets Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru.
A brilliant satire, presented aptly by Krishen Chander showing somewhat dark and massive corruption prevailing in our system.

I recommend "EK GADHE KI AATAM KATHA ' Or "EK GADHE KI SARGUZASHT to all my friends . This book continues to remain a Perfect satire on our system . True it is written in Nehruvian times, yet some sensitive issues brought up by Krishen Chander are still relevant in our society. A biting yet Entertaining satire from Krishen Chander's pen. 

I quote a paragraph from the book . It has been rendered to simple english by me ....



Ram singh threw a victorious Glance at me and said :

“ This animal has a tongue . It can speak as well.”

At this , head Constable Jyoti Singh was surprised. He could not believe what Ram singh had spoken . He then said :

“ Ram Singh ! Are you in your senses ?”

“ No Head Constable sahib. Ram Singh is right .” shaking my Head , I spoke in a low tone .

At this , The Head constable jumped from his seat as if he had seen some Ghost . As a matter of fact , he was not to be blamed for this surprise cum shock . He must have surely seen many people in Delhi who spoke like a Donkey but not a single donkey that could speak like a human being or a donkey with the Tongue. Feeling confused , he finally opened his ROZ-NAMCHA register and started writing the report.

“ What is your name ?’
“ Donkey ”
Your Father’s name ?”
“ Donkey ”
“ Grandfather’s name ?”
“Donkey “
“Nonsense ! Liar! Cheat ! How can every one in the family have same name ?”said the head constable in anger .

And then looking suspiciously towards me , Jyoti singh Continued:

“ Look My name is Jyoti singh , My Father’s name is Pyare lal and My Grandfather ‘s name is Jeevan Dass . Names keep changing in our society . You are a liar . A cheat .”

“ Sir I don’t tell lies .Donkeys don’t change names .Our fathers , Grand Children and Grandfathers have common name .” I spoke in a humble tone .

“ How is this useful ? ” said the Head Constable .

“ It is very much useful to trace lineage . Sir , Can you name your Great Grand father or your great great Grand father’s name ?” I replied to Jyoti Singh 

“ No ! I can’t .“ Jyoti singh said regretfully.

“ But sir , I can tell you . You people think that those who can go back hundred years or two hundred years or four hundred years and name their ancestors are from a royal lineage . Sir forget four hundred years , I can go back four million years and tell you the names of my ancestors . Just Mr. Donkey , All of them. Now tell me , who is from a royal lineage ,You or me?” I added in clarification 

At this Jyoti singh got suspicious of my credentials . He spoke softly to Ram singh :

“ I am sure that this person is very dangerous and a threat to society . He could even be some foreign spy who is on a mission and masquerading like a Donkey in Delhi .”
Ram Singh added :

“ Sir , Let us peel his skin and see once for all . If he turns out a spy , we will arrest him.”

“ You are right : But to peel his skin , we need official Permission from Inspector Chanan Ram .Let us put this issue to him”

And then I was brought to Chanan Ram. After listening to Jyoti singh and his assistant , Chanan Ram looked surprising towards me and said :

“ Are You a Pakistani spy ? ”

He then Banged his fist against the table and cried :

“ I understand , You are a Russian Agent.”

“ Tell me who you Are ? You Rascal ! You scoundrel ! You Communist ! I will break your bones just Now. “ Chanan Ram said in extreme fury .

To Know Further Please read this book....


                              ( WITH DALIP KUMAR AND RAMANAND SAGAR )



Krishen chander died on 8th march 1977. On the day of his death , he was all set to write a satirical essay “ Adab Bari Batakh “ or “Literature for a Duck “in one go. He had a cup of tea and as he sat to write , he advised his wife that he be not disturbed for at least three hours .

He had just written one line 'Noorani ko bachpan hi se Paaltu jaanwaron ka shauq tha. Kabootar, Bandar, Rang birangi chirriyaan…….' (since childhood Noorani was fond of pet animals such as pigeons, monkeys, multi-coloured birds…') when he felt excruciating pain in his chest . He cried for help and before his wife could understand as to what had actually happened , he succumbed to a massive Heart Attack.

( Autar Mota )





Krishen chander had married twice. His first wife was Vidyawati Chopra ( married 1940 ). They had three children from the wedlock. Two daughters and one son. Kapila , His eldest Daughter from first marriage lives at Vashi Mumbai . She is happily married and is a Grandmother now. She has two children and five Grand children. Krishen Chander’s second daughter from first marriage died in a mental Hospital. His son from first marriage is a divorcee and has no issue.

 He married salma siddique in 1961.

Sarla Chopra  sister  of  krishen chander is married to noted Hindi /urdu  writer  Reoti saran Sharma  .




                      ( WITH POET MAJROOH SULTANPURI )

                                        ( WITH POET JAAN NISSAR AKHTAR )

krishen chander was possibly the first Urdu writer who lived in style solely from his earnings as a full time writer. Surely for sometime , he supplemented his income by writing Dialogues or screenplays for some films .

He had his own baggage of problems . He had to support his first wife and three children. His younger Brother Mohinder Nath was also dependent on him . He would spend a good amount on his mother's care.He dressed well. He ate well. He visited Hotels and drank scotch almost regularly . He lived in a good house and had to pay handsome amount as monthly rent. He would always travel by a Taxi. 

And once his mother told him:

"Puttar Tu inne Paise Taxiyaan te kharchdaa hega , ikk car le le"
" Son You spend so much on Taxis , Buy a car now "
To this krishen Chander replied :
"Maa ji , Me te Kiniyaan caaraan Pii Litiyaan "
"Respected Mother , By Now , i have drunk so many cars"
( Autar Mota )




Krishan Chander’s writings can be categorized into three phases . Beginning with Romanticism , he moves to existential realities and finally from 1945 -1946 , he remains devoted to socialist realism. His Novels carnival , Jab Khet Jaagay , Dadar Puul Ke Bache and many more are product of this period . His concern for Humanity is visible in “ Hum Vahishi Hain” , Kalu Bhangi , ‘Maha Laxmi ka Pull’, ‘Do Farlaang Lambi Sarak’, Nai Ghulami and so many other stories .

For sure , Film writing had its unpleasant effect on his creativity.

Kishen Chander was post Graduate in English and accordingly a lot of English Literature and European writers had been studied by him. Effect of writers like D H Lawrence and James Joyce is starkly visible in his work. By and Large , he remained uninfluenced by Camus, Sartre or kafka .Critics ( Satya Pal Anand ) say that he only talked about Kafka but had never read him.

Krishen Chander’s pen was prolific . If you have to read a truthful account of the Violence and Terrorism that partition of the country created in the subcontinent , My suggestion would be to read his Nakhuda (The Boatman) and Peshawar Express. A moving tale of Bengal famine has been documented by krishen chander in his masterpiece "Annadata " (The Giver of Grain) .

Again “ Jamun Ka Darakhat” ( Jamun Tree ) is a sarcastic tale of misuse of Power by our Bureaucracy . His story “Kachra Baba” is again a moving tale of transformation of a poor man living on Dustbin waste after he finds a New Born baby thrown in the Dustbin by some person.

( Autar Mota )




Krishen Chander Chopra (1914-1977) was born at Poonch though the family belonged to Wazirabad in Punjab . His father was personal Physician to the Raja of Poonch ( J & K ) .He started writing Urdu short stories using his name as Krishen Chander only. 

As per Reoti saran Sharma , his brother in law and well known writer ,

“ Krishen actually lived in kashmir for a very brief period . Mendhar and Poonch always remained close to his heart. Krishen had never read Hindi as a student . He was a lover of beauty and nature. He loved Hills , rivers , birds , Trees , Jungles , Lakes and flowers . In fact his Stories and novels were simultaneously published by his publishers in Hindi and urdu. He had a profound reach and reader base . His first story SADHU was published in the magazine of forman college Lahore . ”
                                    ( WITH SAMA SIDDIQUE IN GULMARG )

Salma siddique , krishen chander’s wife informs us ,

“ Once When I was down with flu and fever, My father bought a book for me titled ‘Peshawar Express” . He gave this book to me and said that it had been written by one Krishen Chander, a brilliant urdu writer from Lahore Punjab. He also added that the book was worth reading and I should read it. In a way my father introduced this man Krishen Chander to me and later he was the person who opposed our marriage tooth and nail“

( Autar Mota )



During the winter season of 1973, I had come to jammu where my Mama ( Mother's Brother ) Janki Tikoo lived and served as Engineer in PWD ( J&K ) . I was a young boy but literature had amused me even at that young age . I vividly remember in Feb 1973, Krishen chander, Ali sardar jafri , Kaifi Azmi, Prem Dhawan , K A Abbas, Jaan Nissar Akhtar , Zoe Ansari , Ghulam Rabbani Tabaan and many more personalities from Mumbai and other places had come to Jammu at the invitation of State Government . A Mushaiara cum public gathering was organized at Exhibition Grounds and Syed Mir Qasim was the chief Guest . Ali sardar jafri read his celebrated poem “Qatl e aftaab” and Krishen chander read a beautiful story “Jara aur jari “ . He also read some Paragraphs from his story cum play “Saraai Ke Baahar “ . At the venue , I saw Naadim sahib also sitting in the first row with the audience . Distinguished persons on the dais observed two minutes silence in honour of Syed sajjad zaheer ( Banney Bhai ) who had suddenly left for his Heavenly abode sometime in 1973. Sahir had assured to come but could not make it. In fact we were told by a senior official from state Government that Sahir will be there .
And jaan Nissar Akhtar read a lovely Gazal that day “ Hum se Bhaaga na karo Door Gazaalon Ki tarah … Hum ne Chaaha hai Tumhe Chaahne Waalon ki tarah “.
Tabaan read " kis ko sabze ki tarah faulaad ne rondha Nahin, kaun hai yaaron mein jo toota ahin bikhra Nahin"

And Kaifi Azmi regaled the gathering with his poem "Daayara." Opening with "Roz badtaa huun jahaan see Aage phir vaheen laut ke Aa jaata huun"
That day i saw Krishen chander for the first time.

 And during the same period, A full night qawali program by Shakeela Bano Bhopali was something special for Jammuites. I along with my Mama stayed there till 3AM listening to Shakeela ji while she sang "Bedam huve beemar dawa kyon Nahin detay " and "saqi ki har nigaah pe bal khaa ke pee gayaa" and many more Gazals in qawali style.

( Autar Mota )


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CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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