‘Future of creative writing is bright in J&K’ – Latest Jammu and Kashmir News | Tourism

Ashok Sharma
Prakash Chander Sharma popularly known as Prakash Premi is a household name not only in Udhampur but also throughout the Duggar region. He is an eminent Dogri and Hindi poet, critic, short story writer, satirist, scholar and quintessential person. With a sweet smile always playing on his lips, he commands a pleasant personality and is always ready to guide and help others. Born in a remote Kasuri village of Tehsil Ramnagar, he received his early education at the local Primary School located at a distance of about 3 Kms from his home, then Middle School (now Hr.Sec.School) Ghordi. He had a sharp intellect from childhood, and he was encouraged by his father and uncles to memorize Sanskrit stotras and other religious documents from the scriptures. After passing registration, he served Lipton India Ltd. for a while and then got the job. of a teacher. It was his assignment at a remote but scenic school in the Basantgarh region, where he developed a keen interest in reading and writing. During his life he came into contact with other writers who founded organizations to promote literary pursuits. . He continued to move from place to place during a transfer and made new friends and founded new literary organizations. Memorable moment for him came in 1985 when his first masterpiece epic in Dogri ‘Bedan Dharti Di’ was published which was claimed as one of the finest works of Dogri literature and it earned him the Sahitya Akademi award in 1987. There was no looking back and he continued to pursue his passion for reading and writing and composed other literary masterpieces and translated a few more in Hindi and Dogri. He commands enviable respect in social and literary circles. Only a month ago, he published two books of criticism and culture titled ‘MERI NAZR CH’ and ‘GULDASTA’. Although in his seventies, he is quite active and agile and has accepted an interview.
Here are excerpts from his interview:
AS: What prompted you to write and when did you start writing?
PP: The death of my mother in 1964 left a void in our lives and the whole family felt upset. in Basantgarh and it was the pristine natural beauty of Basantgarh and the poverty of the people living there that had a big impact on me and I started composing poems about nature and the life of the poor people living there. During this time, I had enough time before and after school hours and studied Hindi literature in detail. Goswami Tulsi Das, Sur Das, Prasad, Nirala and Dinkar influenced me a lot. I have also studied Bankim Chandra Chatterji, Sharat Chandra, Prem Chand, Tagore, George Bernard Shaw and many other writers. I also came into contact with Desh Bandhu Dogra ‘Nutan’ who provided me with Marxist literature which I studied in depth and which was influenced by Marx, Lenin and Mao-Tse-Tung. So I started writing progressive literature and my poems were praised by the masses.
AS: That’s great, have you gone through the Dogri literature so far?
PP: During my service as a teacher, I visited almost all of Duggar and studied Dogri folklore and literature in depth. I was very influenced by Sanskrit literature and Dogri writers like Dinu Bhai Pant and KS Madhukar. So I developed a keen interest in Dogri literature.
AS: What initiatives have you taken to promote Dogri literature?
PP: When I was promoted to Senior Master in 1981 and assigned to Hr. Second. School, Bhaddu (Kathua), I founded ‘Kavi Dattu Sahitya Sanstha’ with the help of local writers like Romal Singh Bhadwal, Uttam Singh Pathania, Darshan Darshi, K. K Kerni, Krishan Singh Krishan, Shiv Dev Singh Sushil and others. I am also co-founder of Dogra -Pahari Kala Kendera, Basantgarh, Sabras Adabi Sanstha, Batote and Rachnakar Kala Sahitya Academy, Udhampur.
AS: What are the main literary works published by you?
PP: In 1979, I published my first collection of satirical and humorous articles “Trumban”. In 1984 my short story collection “Ik Kotha, Das Duar” was published and in 1985 my first epic Dogri “Bedan Dharti Di” was published which brought me Sahitya Akademi Award in 1987. I am also co -author of the biography of Swami Nityananda Ji and author of a collection of poems entitled “Lalkar” and monographs on Prof. Shiv Nirmohi and Prof. Madan Mohan Sharma. Then I turned to translating great literary works and translated monographs of Nirala and Dinkar from Hindi into Dogri. I have also translated Mohan Singh Slathia’s award winning plays “Apani Dafali Apana Rag” from Dogri into Hindi. Dhart Begani’ (Dogri in Hindi) Desh Bandhu Dogra Nutan’s Novel ‘Unni Saw Santaleen’ (Dogri in Hindi), Professor N Gopi’s Telugu Collection of Sahitya Akademi Awarded Poetry ‘Kalini Nidra Ponivannu’ (Telugu in Dogri) . I have also translated many Sanskrit works including Panchstavi Bhaj Govindam and Shiv Tandava, Bhawani Ashok and Nirvana Shataka into Dogri.
AS: What are the main prizes and distinctions that you have received for your literary works?
PP: I received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1987 for my epic in Dogri “Bedan Dharti Di”. In 1997, I received the JK Membership Committee Award from Dr. Karan Singh. In 2005, I was also awarded a Master Research Fellowship in Dogri by Ministry of Culture and Tourism and completed ‘Dogri Sahitya Ka Alochanatamak Itihas’ in 2007. I also received Sahitya Akademi Translation Award to Dogri in 2010 for the translation of the Punjabi novel ‘Marhi Da Deeva’. Also, I have been honored by many social and literary organizations in Duggar such as Dogri Sanstha, Akashwani, etc.
AS: How has life changed over the past few decades?
PP: I think every period of life, whether new or old, is good. What matters is that we must learn the art of living and the art of adapting to new situations. Change is the law of nature and one must accept life as it unfolds. Life is always pleasant and a beautiful gift from God. We must learn to face difficulties with a smile.
AS: Your views on literary production in J&K UT, sir?
PP: Literary production in our state is not satisfactory, especially in the Jammu region. Basically, we are not careful about our situations. We cling to the past and do not live in the present. This trend is very bad and we should take note of the events of the present and should kill the habit of saying “PIDARAM SULTAN BOOD”.
AS: How do you envision the future of creative writing in J&K?
PP: The future for creative writing in J&K is good, but bickering between literary organizations and hatred between writers should be avoided. They should encourage creative writing and learn to appreciate each other’s points of view.
AS: What is your advice to budding writers, sir?
PP: Aspiring writers must first develop the habit of reading. They should peruse the immortal works of great writers of different languages. They shouldn’t be in a rush to publish more and more books. Quality should be prioritized over quantity. They must be sincere about the high quality of their own creations. The tendency to post immature creations can lead them down the wrong path. They should also be careful to write poetry and prose in a simple and understandable way so that an ordinary man can read and appreciate their works.