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Famous Punjabi short story writer Mohan Bhandari dies at 84

By on November 26, 2021 0

News of the death of famous Punjabi short story writer Mohan Bhandari circulated in literary circles in Chandigarh in no time on Friday.

Sick for a few years, the writer breathed his last in his house in sector 34.

He was 84 years old.

A recipient of several awards, Bhandari, in addition to being a prolific writer of short films, was also a translator. He had to his credit five collections of short stories and as many story books translated from Hindi and Urdu. Apart from that, he edited a number of books.

He won the Sahitya Akademi Prize for his collection of stories “Moon di Akh” in 1997. However, he returned the prize in 2015 in solidarity with the writers’ national protest against alleged growing intolerance. “It hurts me to see growing intolerance and communitarianism against which we writers have always raised a strong voice in our writings. Returning the award is a way to draw attention to the worrying conditions that prevail in the country today, ”he said.

Early life

Bhandari was born in the village of Banbhaura in the Sangrur district of Punjab to illiterate parents on February 14, 1937. His father had a small store which he played with the little land he owned. Bhandari grew up in difficult times, but the landscape and village life richly influenced him and he wrote his first short story in grade 9 and there has been no looking back since.

The story that made him famous, which I had the privilege to translate into English was “Mainu Tagore Bana de, Ma”. It is the love and longing story of a brilliant village schoolboy with a flair for writing and who has to drop out of school for lack of resources. Poverty forces the adolescent to become a day laborer. The story had a great impact and Bhandari was counted among one of the progressive writers of the Punjabi language.

Chandigarh, the second house

Very committed to the life and soul of Coffee House culture in Sector 17, Chandigarh, he worked in the education department of Punjab. The city had housed it since the 1960s.

Usually he would spend lunch hour with friends such as the late writers Bhushan and Amar Giri, the painter Raj Kumar, among others. The motley group would hold an in-depth discussion of life and literature around coffee and cigarettes (there was no ban on smoking in public at the time).

The writer is survived by his wife Nirmal and his three sons, Sanjeev, Rajiv and Rahul.


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