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‘Rajkishore’s journey from Lohia to Ambedkar’

At a memorial meeting held in the Press Club of India, journalists and authors recalled Rajkishore’s personality and his writing. The meeting began with the release of Rajkishore’s translation of Ambedkar’s ‘Annihilation of Caste’, published by Forward Press  

At a memorial meeting for Rajkishore held in the Press Club of India, Delhi, on 16 June, the refrain was that the journalist and author was no more but his legacy would always be with us. Indicative of that rich legacy was an audience in which the media and the literary world were well represented. Most of the speakers also noted Rajkishore’s journey from being Lohiate to being an Ambedkarite.

Rajkishore’s portrait and ‘Jati ka Vinash’, the book that he translated

Rajkishore’s last major writerly accomplishment before he passed away on 4 June was a Hindi translation of Dr Ambedkar’s Annihilation of Caste. Unfortunately, he passed away before the book could see the light of day. Rajkishore’s wife Vimla and consulting editor of the Rajasthan Patrika group, Om Thanvi, released Jati Ka Vinash, as the book is titled, during the meeting. Forward Press has published the book.

“I want to remember him for his clean prose,” said poet and critic Ashok Vajpeyi. “He valued freedom and justice. He had a strong ideology. His focus on feminism and Dalit liberation was unrivalled in the Hindi and even in the English media. Perhaps, he is the last journalist to bridge the gap between journalism and literature.”

Rajkishore’s wife Vimla and veteran journalist Om Thanvi release ‘Jati Ka Vinash’

Journalist and author Urmilesh recalled: “I first met him while we were working with Navbharat Times. He was in Delhi and I was with a different edition. I was junior to him but he treated me as an equal. That showed his humility. I inspired by Rajkishore’s ‘imandari’ [honesty], ‘samajhdari’ [understanding], and ‘tarafdari’ [loyalty] towards oppressed section of society in his writings. But he didn’t get the recognition he deserved in his lifetime. Hindi journalism has not only been Hindu journalism but also savarna journalism, but he never compromised.”

Journalist Priyadarshan recalled how Rajkishore wrote in a very simple yet strong language. “Although he followed a strong ideology he was never vindictive in his writing. His email ID was ‘truthonly’ and he practised it.”

Journalists and litterateurs attended the meeting

Dr Siddharth talked about his long association with Rajkishore. “He was my friend and teacher. He never talked about his personal life. The discussions revolved around his concerns for society. He always worried about the development of Indian society. He was most concerned about freeing society from casteism and patriarchy.”

Yogendra Yadav, sociologist and leader of the Swaraj Party, said he would remember Rajkishore as a profoundly democratic person. “I learnt from Rajkishore ji how to preserve a friendship despite obvious differences,” he said.

Dr Gopeswar Singh, Savita Pathak, Arun Tripathy and Anamika also shared their memories of their association with the veteran journalist. Sanjiv Sidhik read some of Rajkishore’s poetry. Om Thanvi moderated the programme.

At the end, Rajkishore’s wife Vimla thanked everyone and said the support they had given her would help her live on.

Copy-edited by Anil Varghese

Forward Press also publishes books on Bahujan issues. Forward Press Books sheds light on the widespread problems as well as the finer aspects of Bahujan (Dalit, OBC, Adivasi, Nomadic, Pasmanda) society, culture, literature and politics. Contact us for a list of FP Books’ titles and to order. Mobile: +919968527911, Email: info@forwardmagazine.in)

The titles from Forward Press Books are also available on Kindle and these e-books cost less than their print versions. Browse and buy:

The Case for Bahujan Literature

Mahishasur: A people’s hero

Dalit Panthers: An Authoritative History

Mahishasur: Mithak wa Paramparayen

The Common Man Speaks Out

Jati ke Prashn Par Kabir

About The Author

Quiline Kakoty

Quiline Kakoty is an independent journalist

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