Kuldeep Rana-A Memoir
Dr. Brij Premi
It was a cold Wintery
evening, Srinagar was under a thick carpet of snow. The news about the demise of Kuldeep Rana carried by the evening bulletin of Radio
Kashmir benumbed me. For a moment I could not reconcile that Kuldeep Rana, a
handsome man with fine intellect was no more in this world.
My nostalgic memories went
back to the day when I had first met Rana twenty five years back. It was a
chance meeting. Prof. AQ Sarwari had introduced Kuldeep Rana to me by his real
name-Janki Nath. The Professor always called him by this name, Kuldeep would
After this meeting, we began
meeting quite frequently. Kuldeep Rana had rented a room in the Habbakdal
quarter of Srinagar.
This room became a meeting point for his like-minded friends to socialize and
indulge in animated discussions. It was this small room, where Kuldeep Rana
penned down many of his short stories. I had the privilege to listen to these
stories from him. At times he invited criticism from me and his other
adversaries, but this never impinged upon our friendship.
Both he and myself virtually
chased eminent poets and writers, whenever they visited Kashmir
and benefited from our interactions with them. In 1968 Krishan Chander and Salma
Kashmir and stayed in the Srinagar Circuit House. We met Krishan Chander and had
discussions with him which spread over three days. There was a photographic
session also with him. I get emotional on seeing these photographs.
Kuldeep Rana had finished his
Masters Degree and was working for Doctorate on ‘Urdu Literature after Prem
Chand’. It was at the time that he received the appointment orders as
Newsreader in Radio Kashmir. He could no longer pursue his Doctorate. Meanwhile,
he was transferred to
Delhi and stayed there for sixteen long years. Our meetings became less
frequent, but whenever Kuldeep visited Srinagar he would never miss a chance to
meet his friends with the same enthusiasm and warmth as before. His smile never
vanished from his face. In his Coffee House interactions, he would not mind
speaking a little louder to drive home his argument. People could make out his
presence from a distance.
Kuldeep Rana was no stranger
to me, even before Prof. Sarwari introduced me to him. I used to read his
columns in ‘The Daily Khidmat’ and Sunday edition of ‘The Daily Aftab’. His
writings reflected intellectual depth and brought forth new trends in literary
journalism. He became a familiar name in the writers’ fraternity. It was around
this time that he published his Urdu novel, which was received well. He was at
the Zenith of his literaty career, his new name as Kuldeep Rana was conferred
It remains enigmatic to me how
he developed taste to write short stories. His first collection titled “Tanhaiyan”,
was published in 1967-68. The collection carried introductory comments by
eminent literateurs-Professor Sarwari, Prof. Shakeel-ur-Rehman, Kamal Siddiqui
and Dr. Shamir Nikhat.
He was ecstatic when a
literary journal ‘Shabi-Khoon’, brought out from Allahabad,
published his short story. Kuldeep Rana was a perfectionist in the choice of
subject matter for his stories and selected titles with great care. He displayed
keen insight into emotional and psychological dimensions of society. Human
agonies and tragedies found place as a prominent theme in his stories. His other
interests included depiction of nature and spiritualism. Kuldeep Rana always
looked impatient, a man in hurry. He had mastered well the language he chose as
the medium to write his creative stories. Like Prem Nath Pardesi and Prem Nath
Dhar his literary talents suffered due to full-time work in the Radio. Had he
continued to live Rana would have attained greater heights in the field of
literature. I salute this great craftsman of words.
*(Translated from original
Urdu by Sh. SK Handoo).