In this third part of the interview, Ramdhari Singh Diwakar shares with Arun Narayan his impressions of Renu, Nagarjun, Madhukar Singh and Chandrakishore Jaiswal. In the concluding part, we will find out about how he writes and how he relates to his readers:
Could you share your memories of Phanishwarnath Renu?
When I was pursuing my matriculation (1954-55), Renu’s Maila Aanchal was already well known. Vasudev Mandal, one of my teachers and a Hindi scholar, gave the book to me to read. It was published by Samta Prakashan. It had a green cover and rather loose binding. Sumitranandan Pant’s poem Bharat Mata Gramvasini was printed on the back cover of the book. I was in Standard 9 then – there was no way I could have read that thick a novel. I just flipped through it. I saw Renu for the first time at Forbesganj when I was in college. At the time, he had short hair. He started keeping long hair after meeting Pant. I remember a lot of things about Renu. I spent time in his company. My reminiscences about Renu have been published in many magazines. Banas Jan has a long memoir dedicated to him. There is no need to repeat them. But I would say that I would not have been a writer but for Renu.