MP offers Pachmarhi rest house to writers at half rate
It is the invisible force behind Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book, Khushwant Singh’s Train To Pakistan, and Syed Haider Raza’s canvasses strewn with blue moons and pugmarks.bhopal Updated: Jul 08, 2011 19:04 IST
It is the invisible force behind Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book, Khushwant Singh’s Train To Pakistan, and Syed Haider Raza’s canvasses strewn with blue moons and pugmarks.
A slice of Madhya Pradesh’s forests and nature, which have inspired works of literature and art, is officially going to come at half the price for writers. The Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation (MPSTDC) has earmarked a British-era bungalow at its forest-blanketed hill spot Pachmarhi for people with published literary work.
These writers will get the Club View bungalow, until now a Public Works Department rest house, at half the usual rates and on priority. Non-writers will only get to rent the place –– now being renovated and renamed Writers’ Lodge –– but only if any of its five rooms have not been booked by writers. The bungalow presents a perfect view of the hills and forest cover. “We are taking over three PWD resthouses in Pachmarhi.
Two of them –– Devdaru and Karnika –– are adjoining and could be converted into a hotel. But this secluded rest house has just five rooms and while we were thinking what could be done with it, this idea struck me,” said MPSTDC managing director Pankaj Rag. “We shall convert it into a Writers’ Lodge and would be offering huge subsidy to them, so they could unwind in the beautiful natural surroundings and write.” Other than lodging, the charges will include food and recreational facilities, he said. The bungalow was also known as Vidya Mandir at some point. He said it had been a tradition particularly in the hilly regions of Uttarakhand –– places like Ranikhet or Dalhousie –– where writers book a cottage and live for months doing their job. It would be first of its kind of experience for MP.
Writers, artists inspired by MP’s nature
Rudyard Kipling spent significant time in the Mahakoshal region of
MP. He is supposed to have written his Jungle Book in Pench. Kanha, one of
India’s finest forests, is known as Kipling country.
Eminent Hindi writer Vrindawanlal Verma is known for retreating to
the fort of Gadhmundar in MP every time he started working on a literary
project. He has a novel called ‘Gadhmundar’.
The state’s forests seeped into the works of painter Syed Haider
Raza, son of a deputy forest ranger in MP.
Urdu poet Iqbal stayed at Bhopal in patches between 1932 and 1935.
Among the poems he wrote in that period, one titled ‘Nigah’ is a tribute
to the Bhopal’s Upper Lake.
Khushwant Singh had shifted to Bhopal and lived in Sir Sobha
Singh’s bungalow by the lakeside in 1951, when he started working on his
first novel Train to Pakistan. One of his biographers BD Joshi writes, “He
began living all alone in the house and worked every morning on his first
novel based upon the Partition of India. He spent the rest of his time
bird watching, walking through the woods and drinking himself to sleep.”
Eminent Hindi poet Pandit Bhawani Prasad Mishra has a well-known
poem on the mountains of Satpura, which are also home to Pachmarhi.
“Unidey, anmaney jungle (sleepy, distracted woods),” he wrote in the poem.