Tuesday, March 3, 2020




He is the most brilliant among modern short story writers from Kashmir. He has also written some plays for Radio and Television..He compiled the book 'Contemporary Kashmiri Short Stories' translated into English by Prof. Neerja Mattoo and published by Sahitya Akademi. His book ' Tsakravyuh 'is a collection of his Kashmiri stories.
Bharati Ji belongs to a highly creative family from Sopore, Kashmir. The family moved to Srinagar during the first half of the twentieth century. Well, known Kashmiri poet Vasudev Reh is also connected with this family.
Bharati Ji served in AIR and later resigned to devote time to his creative activities like writing stories, and radio/television plays. He also wrote a regular column in Urdu for a National Newspaper. 

His brother, Bushen Kaul is a well-known artist. His another brother Umesh Kaul was a painter, short story writer and a broadcaster. I was told by some reliable persons that Umesh Kaul could repair any electronic gadget including cameras. Capt. S K Tiku informed me that Bharati Ji's father had exceptional knowledge of medicinal herbs.

        ( Brothers..Bushen Kaul, Umesh Kaul and H.
K. Bharati)

Capt. Tiku said:

" Bharati Ji's father completely cured my niece. She was suffering from a painful skin disease that had crippled her. The doctors had declared her condition as incurable under the allopathic system . And her treatment was done absolutely free ."

Recently,I read Bharati Ji's two short stories; HAMZAAD, a small and crisp story translated into English by Dr. Omkar Kaul and ' THE EBONY RULER,A SPLINTER IN THE HEART AND THE MILL SMOKE ' , another short story translated into English by Prof. Neerja Mattoo.
Long back, I read a short story written by Bharati Ji that appeared in Shiraza published by JKAACL. I have always found him outstanding in conveying human responses to life that is driven by technology and material development. At times he raises issues and doubts through his crisp narration. His issues have enormous contemporary relevance.

A reader who is used to traditional short stories with a plot and characters may feel some incompleteness in Bharati Ji's stories. However,I tend to believe that this unresolved incompleteness is the core appeal of the modern short story.
Through his craft, Bharati Ji succeeds in creatively engaging the imagination of his reader, a quality that puts him at a higher pedestal than his contemporaries. 

Somehow I tend to believe that his craft was ideal for a broader readership. He would have been acknowledged, accepted and recognised suitably had he chosen to write in English. He probably has not been adequately recognised in the language he has chosen to write. This is my personal belief.
Is he influenced by Anton Chekhov or Yasunari Kawabata or Alice Munro? Can't say conclusively unless I read more stories of Bharati Ji. But for sure, he has grasped the essence of literature created by existentialist writers. 

I am informed that quite a good number of short stories of Hriday Kaul Bharati have been translated into English and have been published by various magazines or journals. Some stories in this category can be listed as under :

(1) ' Might is Right' published in Sheeraza of JKAACL  Volume 11, March-June 2014.

(2) ' Between Two Mirrors ' published in 'English studies in India ' Volume 15, January 2009.

(3) 'Shraz '  published in  English Studies in India (Vol. 11). March 2003.

(4) 'The Last Lesson published in  English Studies in India (Vol. 8), March 2000.

Some  short stories of Bharati have been beautifully translated into English by Prof Neerja Mattoo  and these are included in her book 'The Stranger Beside  me' . In fact the book derives its title from Bharati's  Kashmiri short story 'Nakha Talluk Voppar ".

Bharati Ji lives in Jaipur presently. He is still active on the creative front. Reading, writing and observing. I spoke to him twice or thrice over the phone. He has extensively travelled to the US where his daughter is settled.

  Rajesh  Kaul  who retired from a very senior position in Door-Darshan informs me as under;

 “ You should read  Bharati Ji’s his latest collection ‘ Tilsm-e Khanebadosh’ also which will enable you to define him help further. Bharati Ji’s sister,  Deep Prabha was the first girl from the valley who did Masters in Dramatics from M S University Baroda. She too was very talented. She acted in one of my teleplays for  DDK Srinagar. Alas, she died young. Bharati Ji wrote some Urdu plays also that were telecast from DDK Srinagar. ”

Munnebur Rehman from Boston Institute of Languages informs me :

“Bharati Ji’s  fiction is unique and very absorbing. He always comes up with new and interesting symbolism in his stories. His stories come under the reader's grip gradually but then slip away, and the reader in the pursuit longs for it all the more. There are flashes of deeper understanding of human affairs in his stories which places him among the best fiction writers of Kashmiri. He deserved the Sahitya Academy award long back. I was surprised that his latest book was also ignored. Please read his story "doan athan hinz dastaan". You will love it. It's a masterpiece.”



                      (Bharati Ji with his wife)

A Booklet on Kashmiri literature published by Central Institute of Indian Languages - CIIL, Mysore has this to say about the art of  Hriday Kaul Bharati  :

' Hriday Kaul Bharati’s short stories present an abundance of experimentation. His short stories are subjective and are much more abstract. He uses symbols freely and does not follow the traditional plot, character or social setting. His Humzaad, Tsakarvyuh, Mili hund Deh are his representative short stories. '

Next time more on Hriday Kaul Bharati..

(Avtar Mota)

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