The role of ideology in literature is not secondary, it is important: Bhishma Sahni

To remember Bhishma Sahni is to remember a glorious and rich tradition of Hindi. His creativity is not limited, but his scope is quite wide. He used his pen continuously in novels, short stories, plays, autobiographies, articles and all other genres of art. Bhishma Sahni’s novels ‘Tamas’, ‘Kunto’, ‘Basanti’, ‘Kadiyan’, ‘Jharokhe’, ‘Mayyadas Ki Maadi’ and ‘Neelu, Neelima Nilofar’. Collection of short stories “Bhagyarekha”, “Nocturne”, “Pali”, “witch”, “Shobhayatra”, “Wandchu”, “clues”, “wandering ash”, “first lesson”. Performs ‘Kabira Khada Bazar Mein’, ‘Hanush’, ‘Madhavi’, ‘Compensation’. Who can forget the autobiography ‘Today’s Past’?

Once he joined the Progressive Writers Association, he stayed there until the end. Like his elder brother actor Balraj Sahni, Bhishma Sahni was also a dedicated Bharatiya Jana Natya Sangh (IPTA) worker. His loyalty to the ideology and the organization has never been shaken. In 1975 at the ‘Gaya Conference’, he became the National General Secretary of Prelus and remained in this position until 1986.

Bhishma Sahni was ideologically a mature writer. His point of view was very clear in all respects. Explaining the relationship between ideology and literature in his autobiography ‘Aaj Ke Ateet’, Bhishma Sahni writes:

“If ideology connects with human values, the writer who believes in it does not lose his freedom. Ideology is a constant source of inspiration for him, it gives him vision, it fills his senses with vigor. The role of ideology in literature is not secondary, it is important. Where is the question of denying the supremacy of ideology? Ideology has given intensity to Muktibodh’s poetry. Brecht’s plays have received great vigor. Here ideology has played the same role as in Kabir’s speech, which is still on the lips of lakhs and lakhs of Indians.

Bhishma Sahni was a skilled organizer. As general secretary of the Prelus, he worked to spread his ideology throughout the country. He felt that the role of the Progressive Movement and the Progressive Writers’ Association was important in Indian literature. Bhishma Sahni writes about the role of Prales, “The role of Prales remained as social, cultural, even after the formation of the organization, it did not take the form of an institution. Its nature is as a wave, it is not of a linked institution It was a common platform for all the languages ​​of India, inspired by the secular democratic point of view and deeply influenced by the leftist ideology, which was associated with the struggle for the freedom of one country, while in the other he was aware of the evolution. taking place on a world scale. The era of youth was a period of struggle for the freedom of the country. When in 1942 “Quit India Movement” broke out, he started participating in political activities. In this tumultuous period, he met many great personalities both in politics and literature, Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Premchand, Sudarshan , Dayanarayan Nigam, Jainendra, Banarsidas Chaturvedi , Imtiaz Ali ‘Taj’, Rabindranath Tagore, Udayshankar etc. in his life he was also affected.

After partition, Bhishma Sahni’s entire family came to India. He taught at many universities in the country. His first collection of short stories ‘Bhagyrekha’ was published in 1953 and three years later in 1956, his second ‘Pehla Paath’. Bhishma Sahni has always been a fan of intentional adab. Rather than the style and language of the story, he focused on its purpose.

According to the story, his vision was: “The story should have a narrative, reflect the truth of life, it should be believable, there is nothing superimposed, and it should live up to the reality of the life”. Consider that Hindi’s sister languages ​​and dialects should be used wherever necessary. According to him, “The languages ​​of North India are so similar to each other that the use of one language does not spoil the other, but enriches it.” This is the reason why all the stories of Bhishma Sahni seem close to life. to us. Nothing seems to be imposed on them. Readers also become emotionally attached to the language of his story-novel. In which they do not avoid using Punjabi words, phrases. Most of the great Hindi and Urdu writers have followed this tradition in their fiction. Then they can be Renu, be it Rahi, Vijaydan Detha, Yashpal, Krishna Sobti, Mohan Rakesh, Krishna Baldev Vaid.

From 1957 to 1963, Bhishma Sahni worked as a translator in a foreign language publishing house in Moscow. During this time he translated about two dozen books, including Tolstoy’s novels, into Hindi. Bhishma Sahni considered translation as an art, in his autobiography ‘Aaj Ke Ateet’, he has written about this genre: “The work of translation is also an art, the reader gets the story-novel rasa read in the original language, the same rasa was also found in the translation. Only then the translation will be considered a successful and meaningful translation. Literal translation, what is called a fly on a fly, cannot be used for literary works “.

Apart from teaching and translation, Bhishma Sahni also edited the magazine ‘Nai Kahaniyan’ for two years. He was associated with the Association of Afro-Asian Writers. He edited some numbers of the magazine ‘Lotus’ of this organization. By joining the Afro-Asian Writers Association, Bhishma Sahni came in contact with many world famous writers such as Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, Alex La Guma from South Africa, Augustino Neto from Angola and Faiz Ahmed do He traveled to many Afro-Asian countries. In view of Bhishma Sahni’s unforgettable contributions in the field of literature, drama and culture, he was honored with many honours. In 1975, he received the ‘Sahitya Akademi’ award for the novel ‘Tamas’, after which the Sahitya Akademi honored him by making him its best member. Bhishma Sahni’s writings were also respected internationally. In 1980, he was awarded the ‘Lotus Award’ of the ‘Afro-Asian Writers’ Association’, and in 1983, the Soviet Government conferred its prestigious ‘Soviet Land Nehru Award’. Not only that, in 1998, the Government of India honored him with the ‘Padma Bhushan’ award.

Bhishma Sahni has written most of his stories about the middle class. The joys and sorrows, the hopes and disappointments, the defeats and defeats of the middle class have been openly pointed out in their stories. Many of his stories like ‘Chief Ki Daawat’, ‘Wandchu’, ‘Khoon Ka Rishta’, ‘Chacha Mangalsen’, ‘Sagmeet’ have achieved a special status in Hindi fiction. The story ‘Chief Ki Dawat’ was published in the short magazine ‘Kahaani’ in the year 1956. More than six decades have passed since this story was published, but this story still represents the thinking of the middle class. There has not been much difference in the thinking of this class even today.

Most of the best stories written in Hindi on the partition of India are by Bhishma Sahni. He and his family had experienced the pain of Partition, so the Partition scenes in his stories come with authenticity. Apart from the short stories ‘Awaazen’, ‘Pali’, ‘Nimitt’, ‘Main Bhi Diya Jalunga, Maa’ and ‘Amritsar Aa Gaya Hai’, his novel ‘Tamas’ narrates the partition and the social and political situation that he continued. . The novel ‘Tamas’ narrates the background of Partition, the communal hysteria of that time and the pain of the common man crushed in the midst of it all. When director Govind Nihalani made a TV serial on his novel ‘Tamas’ with the same title ‘Tamas’, it got more fame than the novel. The extent of its acceptance was such that people all over the country would wait for the broadcast of this play. Although there were fans of the series, a handful of fans were also against this series. They held dharnas and demonstrations across the country regarding the series. Even Doordarshan’s Delhi center was attacked. But the more he opposed the series, the more popular it became.

‘Jharokhe’ was Bhishma Sahni’s first novel, which he wrote after returning from the Soviet Union. After that came his novel ‘Kadiyan’. These two novels were serialized by publisher Dharamveer Bharti in ‘Dharmyug’. ‘Mayyadas Ki Maadi’ is another important novel by Bhishma Sahni. In this novel, he has explained in great detail how British colonialism was established in the country. If the native rulers and generals did not betray, the country would never have been a slave.

Bhishma Sahni also had a relationship with theater from the beginning. From the inception of IPTA, he was associated with it along with his elder brother Balraj Sahni. He not only wrote, acted for IPTA but also directed some plays like ‘Bhootgaadi’, ‘Kursi’. Like the story and the novel, Bhishma Sahni’s plays were also very popular. But his play got off to a cold start. When he wrote his first play, Hanoosh, he showed it to his elder brother Balraj Sahni and the director of the National Theater School, Ibrahim Alkazi. But both were neither interested in this work nor encouraged. The play was later performed by director Rajinder Nath. I liked the work very much. After the success of ‘Haanoosh’, Bhishma Sahni wrote ‘Kabira Khada Bazaar Mein’. Which was directed by MK Raina. The play repeated the success story of ‘Haanoosh’. MK Raina’s theater group performed this play non-stop for ten years and even today, when it is performed, audiences tear up to watch it.

‘Madhavi’, ‘Alamgir’, ‘Rang De Basanti Chola’ and ‘Mawaze’ are some of the famous works of Bhishma Sahni. The ideological commitment and responsibility towards society is clearly seen in all his works. Be it ‘Tamas’ or ‘Hanush’ or ‘Kabira Khada Bazar Mein’, all these plays have one thing in common, these plays attack the terrible nexus of religion and politics. Many of his works also have female discourse. The plays ‘Madhavi’ and ‘Kabira Khada Bazar Mein’ are written from a feminist perspective. Bhishma Sahni believed about the play: “Whatever is said in the play reaches more people. It sinks deep into the audience. The talk reaches the common people beyond literature.” He always gave a message to the society through playwriting.

Like Premchand, Bhishma Sahni also believed that the writer is the torch ahead of politics and justifies his point in an interview this way: “The sense of the writer is to feel and judge the reality of his time. . . Be aware of the contradictions and contradictions. From this point of view, your control is stronger in the struggle that is being carried out within society. And you also begin to notice the direction of change. About the basis of this, is ahead of politics and not behind.” Bhishma Sahni lived a long life and used his age meaningfully.He remained active till the last moments of his life.Despite illness, physical illness, he did not give up his responsibilities of writing, reading and organization.It was really a karma yogi.

(The author is a freelance journalist.)

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