New Delhi: Indian President Pranab Mukherjee has condoled the death of renowned Hindi scholar Rajendra Yadav calling it a big loss for India and the Hindi language.

In a condolence message to his wife, Mannu Bhandari, the President has said, “Shri Rajendra Yadav was a noted Hindi writer, a prominent novelist and an intellectual, who had enriched Hindi literature through his unique style. The vaccum created by his death cannot be filled. In his passing away, the literary world has lost a creative genius who contributed immensely to Hindi literature”.rajendra_yadav

Rajendra Yadav was one of the pillars of nai kahani (new story) movement in Hindi literature. And he penned the much-acclaimed novel Sara Akash, which later became a celebrated film. But Rajendra Yadav, who passed away on the way to hospital after developing breathing complications on Monday night, will also be remembered as the feisty editor of literary magazine Hans, who helped democratize literature by providing voice to the under-represented and the marginalized. He was 84.

“Yadav was an intellectual activist who was vocal and assertive in highlighting dalit and gender issues that have now become central in Hindi literature. He enjoyed raising issues, engaging with them and creating debates,” says Hindi writer Uday Prakash.

The Left-leaning Yadav had a gift for conversation, a memory for anecdotes and a remarkable ability to engage with the young without letting age ever become a barrier. His spartan room at his Daryaganj office always carried the faint smell of tobacco he often smoked from his signature pipe. “He was the most alive individual of contemporary Hindi literature. And he worked to promote causes at the cost of his own writing,” says poet Kedarnath Singh.

Along with Mohan Rakesh and Kamleshwar, he was one of the pillars of the nai kahani movement which ushered change in both the content and style of Hindi short stories. Yadav’s style was simple and direct; his stories often sought to capture the shifting sands of social and moral values in post-independent India. ‘Jahan Lakshmi qaid hai’ is one his most remembered short stories.

The title of Sara Akash (1959) — first published as Pret Bolte Hain in 1951 — was taken from a poem by Ramdhari Singh Dinkar. The novel, about a young married couple who are victims of patriarchy and ego, and who did not speak with each other for a year after marriage, was turned into a film by debutant director Basu Chatterji. The award-winning effort became a lodestar for the fledgling New Cinema movement in 1970s.

Yadav once told this writer that the novel was based on the life of a friend who didn’t speak with to his wife for nine years. “Sometimes truth is too bitter for readers. So I reduced the time of silence between the couple to one year,” he said. Few know the film was shot in Yadav’s ancestral haveli in Agra’s Raja Ki Mandi.

In 1986, Yadav revived Hans, a magazine edited by the peerless Premchand in pre-independence India. Gradually, he turned the magazine into a platform for lively polemics that often shaped discourse in the Hindi world.

“In 2004, he brought out a special issue on dalit writers and made me the guest editor. It was a radical step those days. He gave opportunities to many other dalit writers too. Yadav was a hero among dalits who feted him on several occasions. He was always committed to social justice. That aspect of his personality is irreplaceable in Hindi literature,” says dalit writer Sheoraj Singh Bechain, whose memoirs Mera bachpan mere kandhon par was serialized in Hans.

He devoted several issues of Hans exclusively to women’s writing. Novelist Maitreyi Pushpa says Yadav wanted women’s writing in Hindi to be taken out of city drawing rooms into the fields, villages and jungles. “He wanted rural and tribal women to speak up. He wanted women writers to express themselves in their own voice and encouraged us to write boldly without hesitation or fear,” says Pushpa, whose novel Alma Kabutari was praised by Yadav.

Yadav also translated into Hindi the works of Russian writers such as Ivan Turgenev, Anton Chekhov, American John Steinback and French novelist and essayist Albert Camus. He is survived by his wife, renowned litterateur Mannu Bhandari, with whom he co-wrote the novel, Ek inch muskan, and daughter Rachna.

(Source: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-10-29/india/43494631_1_hindi-literature-dalit-hans

http://nvonews.com/2013/10/31/pranab-mukherjee-condoles-death-of-renowned-hindi-scholar-rajendra-yadav/)

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