Litterateurs remember ?Joshiji?
ON NOVEMBER 25, 2003, Manohar Shyam Joshi visited his alma mater — Lucknow University — for the last time.
The noted Hindi litterateur and journalist died in New Delhi today following a heart attack. He was 73.
It was during that visit that Joshi had talked about how he bunked classes and took active part in student politics. On the occasion of the varsity’s first foundation day celebrations where some illustrious LU alumni, including Joshi himself, were felicitated, the writer had bared his heart and left an indelible impression on those who were seeing him for the first time.
Joshi was given a standing ovation when he was called to address the gathering. Joshi, who did his B Sc from the varsity in 1952, had humbly said that he had got admission in on the recommendation of a “prominent person.” While confessing his interest in student politics, Joshi said that he led several agitations to oppose the then government’s decisions.
Today, Prof MP Singh, head of the department of Geology, recalled that during his visit Joshi also visited the Tagore Library and spent some time reading literature and other thought-provoking books. Prof Singh said: “I remember Joshiji saying that he wanted to become a scientist but ended up as writer. He also spoke about the ‘dhabas’ of Daliganj, where he used to go frequently.
He was an inmate of Habibullah Hostel and had admitted that because of his interest in student politics he managed to attend only a few classes.”
SP Dixit, former head of Hindi department, LU says: “Despite the fact that I was in no position to pay any honoraria to him, he never stopped writing for my publication Utkarsh. Joshi continued writing new stories, articles and essays.
This speaks volumes about his greatness. Whenever I called him for taking media writing classes at LU and he never said no. Last time I saw him was about one-and-a-half-year back at a function in Pune.”
Yet another acclaimed writer Srilal Shukla has some fond memories of his association with Joshi. “Last December, I, Joshi and Namwar Singh had participated in a discussion on a TV channel.” “Joshi's work on Lucknow deserves special mention,” Shukla said.
There is quite a bit of similarity between acclaimed satirist KP Saxena and Joshi.
Both Saxena and Joshi were LU students who graduated in the science stream.
Both ended up as a writers. Says KP Saxena: “He was a lucid writer and I’ve read most of his works.” They last met at a function in Delhi where Joshi was the chief guest.
“After the function we sat over a cup of tea and had a long discussion on many issues.” During that meeting Joshi had told Saxena about his plans to write a novel. The novel would never be complete now for the novelist is no more.
Meanwhile, UP Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav expressed profound grief over the demise Joshi. “Alumnae Society that organised the function which Joshi attended for the last time at Lucknow University, also held a meeting to mourn his death,” said Prof AK Srivastava of Statistics department, LU.