By C.L. Chrangoo
Dr. Brij Premi was an Urdu scholar par excellence. Cruel hands of
death snatched him soon after his displacement from
Srinagar in 1990. This came as a shock to his
family, comrades, friends and above all the literary world of Urdu.
Marxist views, yet at the same time he was liberal in his outlook and demeanour.
The cultural movement of fifties stimulated him to experiment with poetry
writing. Soon he left it to take up prose. His grasp of the language turned him
into a brilliant writer. His writings began to be published in reputed Urdu
journals of northern India. This brought him closer to leading lumanaries of
Urdu language in the country.
Aima used to write under the penname of ‘Premi’. The style of his writing
was bewitching. His elegant prose, marked by short sentences and rich themes,
impressed his friends.
He rose up
the ladder in his career the hard way. He had lost his father at an early age
and had to shoulder the responsiblity of the family. Dr. Premi worked very hard
and displayed determination in facing up to the situation.
submitted an excellent work on Saadat Hasan Manto to earn his Ph.D degree. This
brought fame to Premi Ji and opened new vistas in his career. He left behind
career in school teaching to join Kashmir University as a Postgraduate teacher.
It was here that he made his great contribution to Urdu language and emerged as
a scholar of repute.
I was lucky
enough to have enjoyed his companionship at many levels - as a collegue, as a
friend and also as a comrade. My memories go back to the times when we were
comrades in the Teachers Trade Union Movement. I would just recall one instance.
to sit on a dharna at Badiyar during teachers’ strike in 1969. The call had been
given by Teachers Association of J&K, then affiliated to Democratic
Conference, a leftist outfit. As active comrades we had to listen to the long
speech of Ram Pyara Saraf the preceding night. Messers Krishan Dev Sethi and
Ghulam Mohd Malik were also there. We were issued directions by them. Myself and
Dr. Premi had to sit on hunger strike at Badiyar under a shamiana, pitched just
on the roadside. As the hunger strike was in progress, one of the Srinagar-based
leaders of Democratic Conference came and called me in a manner which invited
suspicion. He told me that Srinagar wing of Democratic Conference did not
contribute to the decision to sit on hunger strike. He argued, “We are not with
it. It is like asking alms from a government which we do not recognise at all.
Our objective is to achieve the brotherhood of people all over the world from Soviet Union
to China.” He went on to give me a long lecture on the dangerous goal that he
and his likeminded collegues had embarked upon. This came to be called, “Peking
returned to the tent and conveyed in hushed tones to Dr. Premi what the
Democratic Conference leader had said. Though shocked on learning this, Dr.
Premi just laughed it away saying he expected this response. He, however,
stressed that one should remain firm in conviction. I was highly impressed by
Dr. Premi’s response and the strength of his conviction.
through the day for hunger strike. For rejecting the ‘Peking
via Pindi thesis’, we were dubbed as ‘Pandit communists’. Dr. Premi had
clear mind and displayed boldness in day to day life.
*The author is an eminent educationist and was actively