Tuesday, January 24, 2023






BECHAIN LAMHE …( Afsanavi Majmua,  Urdu ) by Rajendra Patwari ‘Nashad ‘

Publisher …GNK Publications , Budgam , Kashmir

Price Rs250/=( Two Hundred  Fifty Rupees )

 Year of Publication… 2022( March )


Rajendra Patwari ( born 1943 ) is known as artist of J&K UT .Born in Sopore , the apple town of Kashmir , he was brought up in Srinagar city where he completed his college education. Having  graduated from J J School  of Art ,Mumbai .  He served in various senior positions  at  the Institute of Music And Fine Arts Jammu and Srinagar .He also served as officer on Special Duty  at the  Lalit Kala Akademi , New Delhi.  He considers  artist Mohan Raina as his first Guru in painting.  Apart from being an artist, he is also a well known Urdu writer who uses ‘Nashad ‘as his pseudonym.Since 1965, his Urdu short stories have been published in various magazines and journals of the country .He has also written plays and serials for Radio and Doordarshan  respectively . he has also written many radio features and some plays in Kashmiri for Doordarshan’s  Kasheer channel.His book, ‘Yaas o Hiraas’ ,a collection of Urdu Nazms and gazals was well received .

The book under review comprises of 174 pages  covering 27 short stories .Some prominent  short stories in this compilation could be listed as Master Ji ,Thapad Ki Goonj, Woh Mere Apne ,Bechain Lamhe, Ghar Vaapsi, Ghode ke Daai Qadam, Vazeefa , Chashm-deed Gawaah,Noora, Saaneha Oss Ek Raat Ka ,Dard Apna Apna,Sadak Ke Doosri Aur, ,Pathron Ki Aad Mein, Khadsha,Fitrat,Vazeefa and Ek Masoom Sawaal etc. Most of these stories revolve around  Kashmirii Pandits , a community that faced the wrath of  Pakistan sponsored armed insurgency in Kashmir and had to leave their homes and hearths in 1990 to save their lives and honour. Some stories have been written with Mumbai as the background. This could be because the author spent many years in that city as well. Some stories give reflection of the author’s own life . Some stories also revolve around human nature and psychology apart from projecting contemporary social issues.


Coming to the stories in specific , the author has skillfully used his story Akas   to convey ill effects  of certain government  policies.  In the  story Akas ,  reservation  in employment hits a poor talented applicant from poor Brahmin family who is unable to  get a job in the game of quotas and reservation  percentages . Master Ji is  a story based  on migration of Kashmiri Pandits from the valley .A Hindu teacher  in Kashmir devotes his  post retirement life to free  teaching of  poor students. His students are  mostly from the Muslim community .This coaching helps the local  Sarpanch’s son to pass his final examination after many years of repeated failures. The Sarpanch and his son travel to  Jammu with a pure intention  to thank Master Ji . They succeed in tracing  Master Ji’s family  in a refugee camp and come to know that Master Ji is no more. Ghar Vaapsi is another story based on migration of Kashmiri Pandits from their motherland and the desire of a person to return to his homeland. As he returns to his home which is occupied by his friend and neighbour , he is confronted by a young boy who refuses his entry  or  presence. The young boy  appears to have been exposed to  religious radicalism  .

In the story Apna Apna Dard, the author traces the plight of  the  Kashmiri Pandits  when the armed militancy first arrived in the valley . The initial signals of  impending death and destruction  were turned down by  many elderly Pandits who brushed them aside as figments of imagination . These Pandits thought that their neighbours would always come to their protection in the event of any adverse situation. Never ever in their wild dreams could they  think about leaving their motherland to save their lives and honour.  In the story , this belief and trust is suddenly torn to pieces when a  young   Kashmiri Pandit boy is shot dead by armed terrorists and no neighbour comes to the rescue of his family. The story appears to be based on some true incident. Such incidents have been witnessed by many families .The story brings a painful reminder of what befell a peace loving community .

In another story titled, “Pyaase Honth”, the author raises the issue of painful deaths in the wake of Covid 19 epidemic wherein even  funeral rites could also not be performed in proper manner . In the story Vazeefa , the author raises question of  the  reservation policy and its implementation by the government whereby  benefits  don’t reach the real deserving  people . In the story Shanakht ( Identity ), the author  touches the issue of rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits and the cumbersome procedure for grant of  Domicile Certificates . The story “Message”deals with a complex issue of  grandchild and his grandfather during the Covid 19 pandemic . The child uses mobile phone to communicate with his grandfather who is under isolation in another room of the same building . The grandfather has forgotten to change the calendar page that the child changes after silently  slipping into his room when he is in his toilet  and the new jean of the grandfather  hanging on the door, turns useless due to countrywide lock out .

The Modern story does not strictly adhere to the traditional thumb rule of all the five ingredients like plot, character, setting, conflict, and theme. Even the greatest story tellers the world over have since dispensed with these strict norms .  Rajendra Patwari also uses modern technique and style to   convey  moving tales of human existence with  empathy, deep  observation and  truthfulness. In this compilation under review ,there are stories that raise contemporary issues , issues of loneliness,  unemployment , government policies, poverty , Covid19,apart from major issue of exile and migration of Kashmiri Pandits from their homes and hearths. These stories are meant for wider reading .The stories present the author as an accomplished writer,  who with his keen observation, gripping narration  and sensitive portrayal keeps the reader glued to the book . I wish the book had been translated into English or published in Devnagari for wider reading. I recommend this collection to all especially the younger generation who may also get a fair idea and glimpse of facts and events of our recent past along with a broader view of the issues facing the common man in general and the exiled community in particular .


( Avtar Mota )


 Creative Commons LicenseCHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.

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