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Prem Nath Dar
--: Biography of Prem Nath Dar :--


Prem Nath Dar was an Urdu language short story writer from the Kashmir Valley. His short stories are generally recognised as progressive writings of mid twentieth century.  He was a multifaceted personality who joined the “Kashmir Movement”, lead by Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah during the late 1930s and1940’s, for social & political reforms. He shifted to Delhi in 1943 on the advice of Sheikh Abdullah. In the later stages of his life, in his spare time, he used to write short stories  besides being always involved with Kashmiri cultural and social activities Delhi. He was the President of the Kashmiri Sahayak Samiti, New Delhi, for a very long time.  He was also the President of Kashmiri House Building Society, New Delhi, where he was instrumental in ensuring the then Kashmiris settled in a colony in Delhi. which is now known as Pamposh Enclave.
Prem Nath Dar was born on 25 July 1914 in a Kashmiri Pandit family  settled in Badiyar Bala near Ganpatiyar, Habbakadal, Srinagar, Kashmir (Present day J & K, state of India). For his degree in Bachelor of Arts (Graduation) he joined S. P. College, Srinagar and chose- Philosophy, English, History and Urdu. He left for Lahore to receive higher education. He was influenced by the teachings of Marx and Lenin and joined the Marxist party in 1937 and assisted in translation of Marxist literature in Urdu. At the time of his graduation Sher e Kashmir Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah's Muslim Conference was agitating against the state government. To widen the struggle he invited non-Muslims to join this politico-social struggle, and re named the party to the "National Conference". Prem Nath Dar was among the first batch of non Muslims to join him  and he proposed a secular party flag for the new party- National Conference, which was immediately accepted  The party, even in the year 2011 has the same flag. In the year 1975 when the party constitution had to be revised, he, as the Adviser to the then Chief Minister Mr. Sheikh Abdullah, was part of the team led by Dr. Farooq Abdullah, which contributed in revising the party constitution.
Meanwhile, the agitation against the Maharaja intensified during the late 1930s and to link this movement with the Congress party's strong national movement against the British in India, Prem Nath Dar left for Kashmir State for British India. The Indian political leaders of national level in Delhi, could not support National Conference’s struggle in Kashmir as it was against the native Maharaja and not the British. While in Delhi, he married his land lord's daughter Kumari Lalita Bhatt (name changed after marriage- Mrs Prem Pratima Dar)of Chaurasi Ghanta, Bazaar Sitaram, Delhi.
He worked as an English sub-editor in The Hindustan Times. But, it was in Urdu writing that he would always be in his best, as he was groomed in the Urdu language from the childhood. Also, Urdu was commonly read and spoken in Delhi and was the national language of British India. He later joined the Statesman in 1947 and was editor of the Indian Listener. After India's independence he worked in the All India Radio and retired as the Deputy Director General in 1973.
in early 1940s, while in Delhi he got in touch with Urdu literary circle Halqae Arbab Zauq and started writing short stories in Urdu. To make his characters alive and closer to reality he took help from his wife in getting familiar with spoken phrases and terminologies in day to day life of Delhi city. This helped him in creating different characters of society living in Delhi, at various levels of social system. The writers of Halqae Arbab Zauq used to meet at his house in Sita Ram Bazaar which was attended by some known writers of that time, to name a few- Devendra Satyarthi, Josh Malihabadi, Arsh Malciani Jagan Nath, Sagar Nizami, Rewati Sharan Sharma, besides others. The venue later changed to Delhi College, Delhi. After 1960s his responsibilities at the All India Radio kept him occupied leaving less time for literary activities.
His writings were deeply influenced by the Marxist writings of the then progressive writers of India and his readings of the Russian literature, which left deep impressions of the socialistic ideology. The socio-political movements and the social structure of that time in India also played a significant role in molding his writing style. His association with the then progressive writers of Halqae Arbab Zauq galvanised his writings to give strong messages of social reforms.
Prem Nath Dar’s first collection of short story Kaghaz Ka Vasudev aur dighar afsaaney was the first presentation of Halqae Arbab Zauq, Delhi (Halqae Arbab Zauq ki paheli pesh kash.) Halqae Arbab Zauq was a popular literary circle in Delhi providing a platform to budding writers in Urdu  It was an instant success and was appreciated by leading Urdu Writers of that time from India- Salahuddin Ahamad, Syyed Ahtesshan Hussein, Josh Malihabadi and Pakistan- Maulana Salahuddin Ahamad, editor Adabi Duniya, Lahore
His second collection of short stories was Neeli Aankhen, which did not do as well as his first collection.
The Urdu Department of University of Kashmir has prescribed his short story "Kaghaz ka Vasudev" for their M.A. Programme (Urdu). He established his name as an Urdu short story writer in the entire subcontinent. Kaghaz ka Vasudev was followed by many more short stories depicting harsh realities of social life in Kashmir and in Delhi through various characters and situations existing in the middle era of the 20th century, which are relevant even today.
  Literary works
a) Some of the famous short stories written by him were-
1. Kaghaz ka Vasudev
2. Doodh,
3. Uttarai,
4. Aakh Thoo,
6. Zanshirin,
7. Gidh,
8. Chadawa,
9. Kofta,
10. Neeli Aankhen,
11. Geet Ke Chaar Bol,
12. Paani se Gadha Lahu,
13. Bhoot Pret,
14. Faayada be Faayada,
15. Beech Andherey,
16. Zindagi ke Ghoont,
17. Neeli Botal,
18. Dinon ka Pher,
19. Tehalil Nafsee,
20. Ghalat Phehami,
21. Turdi Bus and various other short stories.
22. Khirk  
b) His first collection of short stories was published as a book in 1949 titled as “Kagaz Ka Vasudev”.
Subsequently, his second collection of short stories was published in 1960s titled “Neeli Aankhen”.
c) His only play in Hindi “Ghar Ki Baat’ was shortlisted for an award but not finally selected by Sahitya Academy.
d) He wrote, produced and directed a musical opera in Kashmiri language titled “Zui Gabar “ (two sons), on a secular theme characterising two sons of the same soil of Kashmir, one chose Islam while the other Hinduism.
e) After his death in 1976 his sons Yug Prakash Dar and Jag Prakash Dar published his selected short stories of his life titled “Chinaron Ke Saye Mein”.
When Sheikh Abdullah signed an accord in 1975 with the then Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi, he remembered his old comrade. The Sheikh recalled Prem Nath Dar to Srinagar, to serve him and the National Conference party, as his Press & Publicity Advisor with the status of a State Minister. He died suddenly in September 1976 at his residence in B 20 Pamposh Enclave, New Delhi, due to heart failure. As an obituary Mr. Shamim Ahmed Shamim, ex Member Parliament from Srinagar wrote an article named "Prem Nath Dar- Mera Yaar" (Prem Nath Dar- My Pal), which was printed in the Urdu daily "Aina" published from Srinagar on 10 September.
Source : Wikipedia,  
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