Prem Janmejai


Dr. Prem Parkash Kundra alias Prem Janmejai was born on 18th March 1949. He is doctorate in Hindi literature from University of Delhi, India. He is in teaching profession since 1974. At present he is Visiting Professor Of Hindi in the University Of The West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago. He is regularly writing in leading newspapers and magazines for the last thirty years. He has published over 300 articles. Dr. Janmejai has received many awards for his writings, namely, Sahitya Samman (1997-1998) Hindi Akadmi, Delhi Government; Indo Russian Literary Award (1998); Harishankar Parsai Award (1997); Parkashveer Shastri Award (1997 ); Uva Sahitya Mandal Award (1996 & 1997); Kala Shri Award (1995); Attahas Uva Samman (1992).Recently his new book “Jahazi Chaalisa” was launched by the Prime Minister of Trinidad.

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Kindly tell us about your formative years as a writer. How did you develop an inclination towards writing?

Allahabad, my birth place was considered the capital of Hindi Literature. However, to be honest, I am not a born writer. My childhood passed as that of any other child around busy playing traditional street games. I remember that in our childhood , our father used to take us for a morning walk across the place where Nirala lived. That, by the way, rekindles my memories of Mahadevi Verma Ji. I can, hence, say that I started writing with the blessings of these great writers of Modern Hindi Literature. Moreover, as my father, himself, was a book worm he inspired me, too, to begin to read, yet, getting into writing wasn’t even in my thoughts.

Kindly tell us about your literary endeavours.

In the early sixties, there was no load of competitive exams in schools: so we had enough time to enjoy our summer vacation, amidst which, one of my good friends, Akhilesh, owing to his inclination towards writing stories, inspired me to write, too. We both, thereafter, together wrote a story named, ‘CHUTTIAN’. I started writing stories at the age of sixteen. I wrote a story titled ‘Khilte Phool’ in the summers of 1966 and sent it for getting published in a magazine. After passing my Higher Secondary exam in 1966, while I began to pursue B.A. (Hons) Maths at Degree College Moti Bagh, now known as the Motilal Nehru College. In the meantime, the story got published in the magazine. It was, indeed, a happy day and the new born writer in me wished to share this happiness with the language experts. I decided to present it to our college professor of Hindi. He looked at the published content and expressed his desire to see me join Hindi Honours. I, thereafter, switched over to Hindi Honours and have no regrets ever since. Hindi has changed my life only for the better . I have received blessings from Gurus like Narendra Kohli and Kailsah Vajpai.

I must mention that as a science student, I had not studied Hindi for three years, and my competition was with those who were consummate at it. I, therefore, worked very hard and was able to secure the third position in the University. By the time I embarked on my Masters, my articles and stories were getting published in some of the most prestigious Hindi magazines namely, Dharmyug, Madhuri etc.

You have been prolific in writing satire. How did you get inspired to do that?

Our society is full of anomalies and I believe, that satire is the only weapon to fight against them all. I, certainly, am inclined towards writing satire and I drew this inspiration from my mother who taught me to tell the truth fearlessly, yet, politely. Moreover, no doubt that satire is a weapon, a satirist, however, must know the correct use of it. Besides , the writings by Harishankar Parsai and Narendra Kohli also inspired me to write satire.

Do you think is the younger generation glossing over reading?

I refuse to accept the fact that the young generation does not love reading books. You may find a bunch of them purchasing some if you ever happen to visit some book fair. Both my grandchildren, for that matter, have a library of their own. I also believe, that if the younger generation does not love books, it is because of the fault of us, the elders, somewhere. For our convenience, we have provided them with electronic gaming options which are rather more enticing in the short run.

How are you looking forward to the upcoming Art and Literature festival, 'Valley of Words'?

Festivals like these are much needed for the society. I am eagerly looking forward to the upcoming festival with an intend to educate myself, meet learned people from across different disciplines, share views and open more windows for my writing. I look at these festivals as equally important for the younger generation as they are like a playschool for them where they are fortunate enough to learn so much in fun filled environment .

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