Remembering Bansi Lal
By Prof. A.N. Dhar
the good fortune of getting to know Shri Bansi Lai Khar at Jammu over a decade back . Our relationship flowered into a close
friendship within a couple of years. How sad it is that only after a short
illness his health deteriorated so fast that he gave up his mortal coil within a
few weeks and he is now no longer amidst us in his human form ! The news of
his sad and untimely demise came as a rude shock to his numerous friends and
admirers from all walks of life in Jammu and Kashmir.
Precisely speaking, Bansi Lai Ji and 1 remained
closely associated with each other as active members of the Upanishad Vatika,
which is housed in a room of the residential building owned by the Sadhus
(KP family at Patoli, Janipur). It was founded by the saint-scholar Shri
Jankinath Koul Kamal’, who left for his heavenly abode in the year 1997. Later
on, with the passage of time, the Vatika grew into a vibrant spiritual
centre, though very modest in terms of\’ physical accommodation and also
short of any trappings. The members get together, as devotees, every week in the
evening on Tuesdays, offer congressional prayers and also participate in
religious discourses on some select spiritual texts. It is with a sense of
nostalgia and deep gratitude that I recall the valuable contribution of some
members to the growth of the spiritual centre in question over a period of time.
They unfortunately passed away in quick succession one after the other:
Sarvashri Kashinath Toshkhani, M.L.Qasba, C.L Durrani. Prem Nath Raina, Dina
Nath Yach (well known Sanskrit scholar and researcher) and Anupam ji learned son
of his illustrious father, Late .Jankinath Koul ‘Kamal’.
Then, followed the recent exit of the great
personality we affectionately called Khar Sahib, the “”Bansi Lai” I addressed a
poem to in English. He rendered his valuable services to the Vatika
through his lectures on the Gita for a couple of years followed by his
textual analysis of the slokas of the Sunderlahri. He will be
painfully remembered when we meet next at the Vatika after a long break!
Bansi Lai Ji’s signal contribution, through his
continuous services rendered all the years to the Pushpati Mandir. upper
Laxmi Nagar, deserve special mention. Persuaded by him last year, I chose to
become a life-member of the General Body of the Mandir. During the past one year
or so. 1 occasionally joined the Puja at this Mandir. 1 am, however, not
knowledgeable enough to write in detail about Bansi Lai Ji’s great contribution
to this spiritual centre. All that I know is that he was anchor man of the
religious body here; he never missed his morning and evening prayers at the
Pushpati Mandir. He was in fact the prime mover of all the religious
activity that has been going on here.
What I consider as Bansi Lai Ji’s crowning
achievement is the hard labour he put in during the last two years in enriching
the contents of the English section of the Khashir Bhavani Times- Journal,
published by the K..P Sabha. He gave it fine touches and contributed not only
valuable editorial pieces but other write-ups too that won him the reader’s
applause. He had a flair for writing and was very knowledgeable about the topics
he chose to write on. He had all the makings of an accomplished writer and has
left behind a large number of published essays that can be complied into a
Above all, I have known
Bansi Lai Ji very intimately as one advanced in the spiritual path. Well read in
the scriptures, he was at the same time a Karmayogi of high order, also a Bhakta
who attached due importance to religious rituals. A few months back he called on
me when I was absorbed in singing Bhajans to the accompaniment of my harmonium.
I had a glimpse of his spiritual stature in a momentary ‘vision’. He will
continue to live in my thoughts. He will indeed be remembered by his friends,
admirers and dear ones as an out standing person, a great soul.