Rajeshwar Singh ‘Raju’
Dogri has rich literature.
Dogri writers have contributed a lot in enriching it with their colossal contributions. When they could have excelled in Hindi, Urdu or any other language, they preferred to pen down their feelings in their own mother tongue. It has resulted in addition of a number of classic books which we are recalling through a flash back series.
Taramani Sharma Smailpuri popularly known as Tara Smailpuri in literary arena belongs to that era when Dogri was not given due respect or recognition even by Dogras. But persons like him made it a pious mission and the success story tells the inspiring results. Dogri not only got reorganized but was later on included in 8th schedule of Indian Constitution as well. He was born on July 1st ‘1926 at a village Smailpur in District Samba of Jammu in a large family of Gullan Devi and Master BadrinathBaskotra. He was actively involved in research on Dogri folklore and has remarkably contributed in collection and publication of folk songs, proverbs and riddles. Within a short span of 7-8 years he had collected more than eleven thousand proverbs and riddles. He was fluent in Dogri, Urdu, Hindi, English, Punjabi and Pahari languages. Tara Smailpuri’s first collection of poetry came in 1956 as a part of DogriSanstha’s publication “NamiChetna” series ‘ 8th edition being entitled “FOUJI PENSIONER”.
The book carrying 11 poems in 40 pages is comparatively a small one but if we cast a look at the past then small books were used to be published. Moreover publishing a book at initial stage was an honour itself. Interestingly, preface of the book is written in Hindi language by celebrated Dogri poet and playwright Pt. Dinu Bhai Pant wherein he writes that Tara Smailpuri was quite young when he started attending KaviGoshthis organized by DogriSanstha Jammu. He was quite hesitant in conversing with others and it was tough to imagine that he will become so popular within short span of time. But regular participation, observation, reading good literature and company of prominent poets had inspired him and he was able to cast an impression on fellow poets and poetry lovers with his remarkable poetry. He proved with his creative works that he loved to write in mother tongue and had a passion for his cultural traditions. His poetry also explores same.
If we analyze the poems from FOUJI PENSIONER then ‘KANDI DA BASSNA’, the first poem of the book which is comparatively a long one speaks about the hard life of Dogras living in kandi area. The inhabitants of Duggar Pradesh were poor but hard working living in adverse climates. The life which was not so easy is depicted quite emotionally through captivating verses. A few lines of the poem are as under;
‘CHALO DASSAN KANDI DE LOK KIYAN JEENDE AN
SOYE AALI BAHARE VICH KEDHA PAANI PEENDE AN
BAJRE TE MAKKEN DIYAN PEELIYAN TE KALIAN
CHAPI-CHAPI HUTTI GEIYAN MUAN DIYAN CHALIAN”
The 2nd poem of the book ‘FOUJI PENSIONER’ which is the title of the book also tells about the sufferings of a retired army personnel in amazing words like a few lines hereunder:
“DIKHEA KOLA TAAN BHUKHA DA MAARA
PENSION LENE GI JA DA BECHARA
PUSHEYA BABA JI PENSION AE KINNI
HATHEN NE DASSEYA ONGLEN JINNI
JITTI LENDA MANU MARKE-JUNG
MANU GI DHANDI AE BHUKH TE NANG”
‘JE JUG BADLONDA JA KARDA” is another very popular poem of Smailpuri which exposes exploitation in thought provoking verses as under;
” KOI AJJEN BHI KHALL DARODE DA, DUE DI RATT NACHODE DA
AJJEN PEHLI AALI MUKKI NEHIN, KOI NAME GE SHOSHE SHODE DA
KOI SIDDE RASTE CHALEYA NEIN, DUEN DE HAKK MARODE DA
KUTE PEDE JALO KHALE AN, KOI SAMBE DA KOI SHODE DA
JHUTHEN DE POUNDE POBARAHAN, SACH AJJ BHI ROHNDE JA KARDA
KE JUG BADLONDA JA KARDA…”
‘GLARA’, ‘DUNIYA DE NAJARE’ on ups and down of life , ‘AE KEDE SAHIAB NE LANGEDE’ based upon corruption are also amazing work of Smailpuri. ‘MAJDOOR’ poem tells about the hardships of labour class and ‘HUN SADHI BAARI AAYEE AE’ is a revolutionary poem. It raises voice against suppression of system. The following lines convey the aggression of poet against establishment;
“KIYAN BANE DE AE MAHAL-CHABARE, DOULAT KIYAN THOI
KEYIEN DA TUSSEN LAHU AE PEETA, KINNE MARE DHOI
PEHLE LEKHE SAARE LENE, GINGE PAI -PAI
SADHRUP AE TUNDA LABHDA, KAISI GE GHABRAYEE
AJJ SAME NE BADLA LENA, KI TARELI AAYEE AE
UTAR HAAN CHANNA, THALE AA SADHI BARI AYEE AE”
‘CHAL MANA KUTE NEI THAAN’ AND ‘BEKAR NOUJWAN TE KAVI’ are also thought provoking poems that prove the worth of an established poet whereas the book has also a poem in praise of our folk hero, an eminent warrior from the soil ‘MIAN DIDO’, who chose to sacrifice his life but never compromised with his ethics.
In all these poems Tara Smailpuri has used very typical Dogri words quite skillfully that makes his creative works even more appealing. It is said that like GUTLUN written by Pt. Dinu Bhai Pant, FOUJI PENSIONER was also well appreciate by dogri lovers at that time and in every mushiara, Tara Smailpuri was heart throb of literature lovers.
The book was priced at four annas and about one thousand copies were published in first edition that shows immense popularity of Tara Smailpur at that time. The book having attractive cover page was printed at Vijay Printing Press, Moti Bazar, Jammu.
Here, I would like to add that Dogras, the inhabitant of this pious Duggar land should realize that they have very good literature in inheritance which is much better than being written in many of other languages despite the fact that there was no patronage from any quarter and whatever has been contributed is because of individual efforts made by the litterateurs. We should be proud of them for having enriched Dogri literature with different genres of which poetry is most popular one.
Recalling such creative works from the flash back is an effort to connect young generation with their roots. Such creative works also tell us about the long journey of Dogri literature. ‘FOUJI PENSIONER’ like other well acclaimed books from the past is a treasure of Dogri literature that we should be proud of. The young generation should read it and get inspired with a feel that we don’t lag behind as far as class literature is concerned.
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