Famous writer Shashi Arun has penned the meetings with the litterateur Jainendra Kumar. Shashi Arun’s first book was published by ‘Purvodaya Prakashan’ by Jainendra ji. Shashi Arun is sharing her experiences with Jainendra ji-
Sweet Memories: Jin Khoja Tin Payyan Storyteller Jainendra Kumar
– Shashi Arun
In 1964, when I was studying in Class IX at Mama’s Bazar School, Lashkar, Gwalior, I had read a story in my course ‘Apna Apna Bhagya.’ The author of the story was Shri Jainendra Kumar Jain. The story was written by doing “me”. It was a very emotional and touching story. The writer and his friends want to help a poor hill child, but are unable to do so. That poor destitute child sleeps under a tree in the open sky at night. It snows so much at night that the child dies of cold. Which the author regrets a lot that why he could not help that child.
At that tender age, it was in my tender mind that the writer should have helped that child. After a few days, some people came to our school to spread socialist literature. It was also said that these people would come tomorrow and put up an exhibition of books. You guys should bring money so that you can buy books.
The next day we went with the money and everyone bought some book or the other. I also bought two books of my favorite author Jainendra Kumar Jain, one ‘Tyagapatra’ and the other ‘Sunita’. Seeing my Hindi teacher, she also said that why did you buy this? You will not understand this. I couldn’t understand why when I read the book I wouldn’t understand. She was my favorite author’s book, so how could I leave it?
‘Resignation letter’ was also written by addressing me, so all the characters were found nearby. When she grew up and read the books again, it seemed that what my Hindi teacher had said at that time was true. Understanding Jainendra ji’s philosophy is not so easy or the task of children. What did you not understand in childhood, I do not know. He is such a writer who used to write completely out of the prevailing beliefs in the society and the number of times he reads, this thing was not understood at that time.
start of writing
When my MA studies were over, I started writing stories. In the year 1973, my very first story ‘Tinnu Ki Bahadari’ appeared in ‘Champak’. Since then I have been writing continuously and my stories and articles have been published and aired in various newspapers and magazines and on All India Radio and Doordarshan.
After some time my husband was transferred to D.I.G. Nainital became the post of Kumaun range. We reached Nainital. Once Nainital’s P.C.S. The director of the academy Mr. Tandon sahib came to our place. It turns out that he is also very fond of reading and writing. When I told him my name, he laughed. He told that he has read many of my stories.
He advised me to give my writing the shape of a book. But due to the transfers of my husband, I could not do much work on the publication of the book. When some settling happened, I remembered the book. I took out the file and just wanted to post that my husband said that R. P. F. Lucknow’s assistant security officer Hussaini is going to Delhi in tonight’s car. Stay there for two or three days. I gave that envelope to him and requested him that if you get time then you should deliver this envelope to this address.
After about a week Hussaini came to visit us. He came and said, ‘Madam, where have you trapped me? I had gone to give your envelope, they caught me and did not know which books they kept talking about.
I asked, ‘What is his name’?
He said, ‘He had told something of his name but I forgot. He was saying that his father Huzoor is a writer of some very heavy Hindi. He has also given two of his books, one for you and the other for me.
He extended the book to me, the name of the book was ‘Renunciation Patra’. I was stunned to see him and said to him in surprise, ‘You met him! What are you saying? This is my favorite writer Jainendra ji. This is the first book I bought when I was studying in class 9.
I was very happy that I wanted to fly to Delhi and meet Jainendra ji. I told my husband that I want to go to Delhi. He said, we will leave after a few days. My heart was burning to meet Jainendra ji because as I grew older, my passion for reading also increased. There would be hardly any book left by Jainendra ji which I would not have read.
Once he had written in Dharmayuga, ‘Wife house in beloved mind’, there was a lot of commotion on him. There were all kinds of criticisms but he remained firm on his point of view. I would read his books one more time before I thought it would be easier to talk. There is a very good railway library in Gorakhpur. From there brought many of his books.
Meeting with Jainendra ji in Delhi
After about a month my husband went to Delhi, I also went along. This used to be a great thing about the railways, maybe it will still happen. Officers used to get golden-silver passes etc. They were like coins and were lying in key rings. From him the officer along with his parents and children joined the railways in A.K. c. Could go anywhere in the sleeper. They did not have to pay rent. We went to Delhi. There was a saloon siding at the New Delhi station on one side of the Connaught Place. Where many salons which could not walk on the track due to some technical fault were standing. They were used as guest houses. We stayed there.
I took an auto and left for the office of ‘Purvodaya Prakashan’ Daryaganj. My heart was beating. I could not understand how and what to talk to my revered writer. I have always been very hesitant in speaking. The auto guy took me down in front of ‘Purvodaya Prakashan’. My heart was beating. I moved on. A watchman type man asked me, ‘Who want to meet?’
I told the name of Jainendra ji. I was called inside, saw a thin skinny person sitting about 40-45 years old, he said, ‘I am Pradeep Kumar, his son. Today Babuji has not come yet. Who are you and what do you have to do with them?’.
I told my name and said, ‘I have sent some of my stories to you. I want to know about him whether my book will be published.
Pradeep ji smiled and said, ‘When you write so well, the book will have to be published.’
‘You didn’t even mention the name of your book.’
I said, ‘I don’t know anything, this is my first book. You name yourself.’
He said, ‘Okay, I will think of something. You do one thing, many of your stories are such that have been published in Sarita or other magazines of Delhi Press. They have copy rights. So take permission from them, then I will print it.’
He said, ‘You want to meet Babuji. He is at home, I will send someone with you. There is a house nearby. You meet him at home.
After reaching home, I saw a thin person sitting on the terrace with a white man of about 5 feet 7 inches. I touched his feet with reverence. I sat down on a chair kept nearby. Words were not coming out of my mouth. Then perhaps, seeing my hesitation, Babu ji said, ‘I have read your stories, you write well. Keep writing like this always.
Babuji said, ‘You will need to get the role of your book written by someone.’
I said, ‘Babuji, you yourself write a few words as a blessing.’
He smiled and said, ‘I have my blessings, that is why I am publishing it with my publication. You get someone to write there. There are many big writers living in Lucknow.
What would I say next, so thanked her and came back after touching her feet. I had never even dreamed that I would ever meet my favorite author, but not only did I meet but he also published my first book. What could be more fortunate than this?
After a few years, perhaps in 1985, Babuji got a very big award from Uttar Pradesh Hindi Sansthan, whose name I am forgetting, but I remember that the amount of the award was one lakh rupees. Pradeep ji’s letter came that Babu ji would get an award on this day in Rabindraalaya. We will stay there, he also sent the card.
We reached Rabindralay on the scheduled date. My husband met Jainendra ji for the first time. In the program, Babuji said, ‘I liked getting the award. Who hates awards? I also thank and gladly accept for the money received from this. I am not rich enough to be great to ask that I return it or give it to someone as a gift. I will try to use this money in the service of literature only.
In 1987 my husband’s posting was Meerut D.I.G. took to the post. It came to know from Pradeep ji that Babu ji’s health has started deteriorating. We went to Delhi to meet him. Now he was living in a big bungalow in Motibagh and was allotted by the government.
On December 24, 1988, it was suddenly learned that Babuji had left. With a heavy heart we went to Delhi and participated in the last journey. Even after this, relations with Pradeep ji continued for many years. Whenever we went to Delhi, we used to go to meet him. Later on this cycle broke down. But the memories of Jainendra ji are still fresh in the mind, as if it was only yesterday.