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Dr Kamal Kishore Goenka

Dr Kamal Kishore Goenka

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Dr Kamal Kishore Goenka

Today on the occasion of Hindi Diwas the Vice President of India Venkaiah Naidu remarked that English is an illness left behind by the British. So in your opinion was it correct of him to call a language a disease?

I feel it is necessary to acknowledge the emotional context of what he meant. I do not feel that language is a disease. In my opinion what he meant to say was that we have put up English at such a pedestal that it is hindering our growth as a nation. You cannot develop a nation in recognition of a foreign language. Our traditions and customs are all attached to it and we have adopted English to the extent that it has become our lifestyle. I think here we need to stop and introspect this development, presently even in the hindi speaking states the high school studies are not conducted in hindi ,this is an aspect where a lot of thought and work is required.

Sushma Swaraj recently replied to a question in the Lok sabha on why Hindi is not an official language of United nations, to which Shashi Tharoor retorted that Hindi is not even our national language then why should we spend our resources on that. Your opinion please.

I was in Mauritius at that time and what she said to my knowledge was that if other nations contribute towards the cause we will take the lead in making Hindi the official language. The problem is that until now even the broadcasting from UN radio of developments in the UN was done in English. We have taken one step and reprimanded that, hence I believe we are moving ahead.

Coming back to Munshi Premchand on which you have done extensive research. The author Munshi Premchand has always presented his message in an easily understandable way. Was there any specific lesson from his stories that has affected you deeply?

Yes actually his stories related to patriotism aren’t very popular. If you would have read the story Duniya ka Sabse Anmol Ratan, which is a story of a woman who asks his lover to bring her the most valuable gem to show her true love for her. The man after much wandering comes across a soldier in a battlefield fighting for his country. He brings to her the soldier’s last drop of blood and the story ends. Hence, his story presents this beautiful message that this drop of blood which is honoured fighting for one’s nation is the most valuable gem. Today we are fighting over nationalism and this story written in 1908 so elegantly potrays a soldier exclaiming Bharat mata ki jai. His love for the nation was very powerful and I feel these characteristics and thinking is what I try to inculcate in my life.

From your study of Premchand,please tell us that from his perspective is contemporary India a prosperous nation?

That’s quite difficult to answer. See from the perspective of an author his dream of a nation cannot be converted into an actual instrument of governance. Take Gandhi for example he was not able to stop partition of India while he was alive. What Gandhi thought of India , everything is happening in contrast to that. History is proof that the idea of utopia that many eminent thinkers visualise never comes true in terms of reality.

Lastly, I would like to know your favourite story among the works of Premchand and why?

My favourite among his works would be Duniya ka Sabse Anmol Ratan and Yah Meri Matrbhoomi Hai. The portrayal of love for one’s nation and human’s respect for each other are the two main themes from his stories that have inspired me deeply.

About the Interviewee:

Dr. Kamal Kishore Goenka with whom we are in conversation today is best known for his extensive research on Munshi Premachnd.For forty years he was a Professor at Delhi University.
He has also been conferred with the prestigious Vyaas Samman for his work 'Premchand ki kahaniyon ka kaal karam anusaar adhyayan'