Monday, October 31, 2011

Shrilal Shukla, author of Raag Darbari, passes away

Shrilal Shukla was born in 1925, graduated from Allahabad University, and was a UP PCS officer before being elevated to the IAS. His first novel, Sooni Ghati Ka Sooraj, published in 1957, made him the youngest Hindi writer at that time to win the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1970. Sociologist Shyama Charan Dube had once said that study of the Indian society is incomplete without referring to Raag Darbaari, which was turned into a TV series for Doordarshan.” Widely considered to be among the best Hindi novels of the last century with a grand national narrative, Raag Darbaari portrayed a feudal, crumbling Shivpalganj — the archetypal village of the Hindi heartland with its politico-cultural tensions and administrative neglect. Shukla delved upon almost everything that was decadent in the system, but stopped short of making a moral statement.  “The remarkable thing about Raag Darbaari is that he decried the system in spite of being an instrumental part of it,” said another close friend of Shukla’s, former DGP Mahesh Chandra Dwivedi, an author in his own right.. It was ironical that the man famous for his sharp commentary on governance and administration should receive his final recognition, the Jnanpith Award, on his deathbed.

NB: We can only imagine what he might have said about this belated bureaucratic recognition by the servants of the public..