Rampur is known for its grand, historical Reza library, but when we (which included Forward Press Hindi Editor Nawal Kishore Kumar) travelled to this small town on 8 August 2021 we spent most of our time in Kanwal Bharti’s tiny library-cum-study. It is at this library-cum-study that Kanwal Bharti entertains his guests, most of whom are fellow writers. The library is stacked with books and files, with reams of his research, which are potential books. This is the place of origin of his prolific writings and his acerbic comments on society, politics, culture and the world of writing.
He dedicates a substantial part of his day to his writing but that doesn’t mean he cuts himself off from his sickly wife and his eldest son and family, including his two grandchildren. The door that connects the library to the rest of the house is always open. Kanwal Bharti, who is limited in his mobility due to a knee problem, passionately shouts out instructions to his son and his grandchildren and they in turn regularly show up. It is perhaps this connection with society, its joys and sorrows, that lends an authenticity to his writings.