February 28, 2013 marks the birth centenary of noted poet and lyricist Pt. Narendra Sharma.On this occasion, Lavanya Shah, Pandit ji’s daughter shares with us some facts and personal memories of her illustrious father. Thanks, Lavanya ji.
A DAUGHTER REMEMBERS: ‘JYOTI ~ KALASH’
by Lavanya Shah
Like a child that climbs out of the womb of Earth and stands in awe witnessing the glorious golden Sun rays, sparkling on the highest peak of majestic Everest and remains transfixed that is the feeling flooding my tiny heart as I sit and write and remember my father, late poet Pandit Narendra Sharma.
His contribution is immense. It is spread over six decades on all the modern mass media communication avenues like Books, Films, Radio, Television and now the World Wide Web via YouTube, Facebook, etc.
For me, I confess, that my Papa was our family’s ‘Jyoti ~ Kalash’! He
remains life -giving, illuminating SUN energizing and inspiring me in spite of life’s pitfalls. I hope, his immortal poems and songs will inspires us all today and forever. So, I dedicate the song ‘ Jyoti – Kalash Chalke’ in his fond memory.
Song Link :1
We all know him for his Hindi songs but he was also an expert astrologer, Ayurvedic healer, as well as human encyclopedia on Indian History, Culture and Philosophy.
Many children were given unique names like Vihaan (Dawn), Yuti (Union), Lavanya (Grace = me :), Kunjam (Cuckoo), Sopan (chapter or ascent = My Son). Some rare names given by him include Vividh – Bharti, Manjusha, Bela Ke Phool, Hawa Mahal , Gajra, etc. for AIR , the name Dilip Kumar to Yusuf Khan & NAVKETAN for Dev Anand’s Film Production company.
A gifted child, ‘Narendra‘ was born on February 28th,1913 in village Jahangirpur, Tehsil Khurja of district Bulandshahar U.P. in a Bharadwaj Brahmin family. He lost his father Purna Lal Sharma when he was merely 4 years old and was raised lovingly by Uncle Ganpat Tau ji & Ma Ganga Devi.
A child prodigy, Narendra named thus by an uncle (a fan of Tagore) entered straight into class 7 th and was a top student in his class and favorite of Teachers. Passing Intermediate from Khurja, he joined Allahabad university and did his Masters in English Literature & Education.
The Sangam city of Allahabad introduced the budding poet to giants of Hindi literature like Niralaji , Mahadevi, Pant, Bachchan, Kedar Nath , Shamsher & many others. Narendra’s book of poems ‘Shool – Phool’ was released at age 20. With tuitions and editorial duties (he was sub-editor of Abhyudaya Hindi Daily Newspaper) he completed his studies. After graduating, he taught English & Hindi poetry at Benaras Hindu University. Then he joined the All India Congress Committee at Allahabad as Hindi Secretary to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and later as Hindi Adhikari in Feb 1955.
Narendra Sharma’s poems written in his youth, depicting love and longing and splendour of Nature steadily turned patriotic as India reached its tryst with Destiny. During AICC work he was imprisoned on direct ordinance of Viceroy and jailed without trial by the British. The patriot had august company of Menon, Kriplani, etc in Devli Detention Camp, and Rajasthan & Pune Jails. He did fast unto Death for 14 days and was force fed in order to keep him alive and released early. Mother Ganga Devi remained hungry for 1 week and awaited her son’s arrival at home.
Novelist Shri Bhagwati Charan Verma ( Chitralekha fame) arrived and asked the patriot to come
away with him to the film city of Bombay to join Bombay Talkies under Devika Rani. Thus began the journey of a young man born near the Ganga to go towards the Arabian Sea where destiny introduced him to Susheela Godiwala, his wife to be from a Gujrati family. They got married on May 12th 1947. Their home at Shivaji park Matunga was a hub of artistic and creative activity with the likes of Panna Lal Ghosh, Pant, Anil Biswas, Dr Safdar Aah Sitapuri, Ramand Sagar, Chetan Anand, Vijay Anand, Dilip Kumar , Amrit Lal Nagar etc as regular guests.
MS Subbulaxmiji sang the Mangal-Geetam when my mother Smt. Susheela Narendra Sharma entered as a newly married bride and Sri Amritlal Nagarji’s wife Pratibhaji made Susheela stand on huge brass platter, filled with Kumkum filled water and she stepped like a Laxmi entering a home. Suraiyaji, the famous songstress, also sang songs to welcome the Bride! Other Guests in Baraat were famous Cine – stars like Sri Ashok Kumar, Dilip Kumar, music director Sri Anil Biswas, Bansuree vadak Sri Panna Lal Ghosh, director brothers Sri Chetan Anand & Vijay Anand , the famous Chhayawadi poet Sri Sumitra Nandan Pantji , Sri Ramananda Sagar ji , Urdu poet Safdar ” Aah ” sahab abd many other from Bombay Talkies and Hindi literary & film circle. Art fraternity, was also represented in large number as my mother Susheela was a Fine Arts graduate from Haldenker ‘s Institute . Their wedding card had an Easel shaped like a Lotus Leaf and a pen was inserted in the middle in form of a brush!
Narendra Sharma’s poetry blossomed along with his many film songs as years rolled on. The Progressive Patriotic tone eventually embraced the core values of humanity and paraphrased words from Indian philosophy with fascinating use of many rarely used meters in his later poems. So much so that his fellow poets said, ‘The Goddess of Poetry Mata Saraswati turned shy as a young maiden stood up from her White Lotus seat and took on the robes of Mother India and the poems of Narendra became heavy with the age old wisdom of the vedas and became extremely difficult ‘
Narendra Sharma confessed in a foreword from his Book ‘ Pyasa – Nirjhar ‘ (Thirsty Brook), “my earlier poems were the krishna paksh (waning Moon cycle) and my later poems are the transition towards Shukla Paksha (Waxing Moon)” ( Shukla paksha refers to the bright lunar fortnight or waxing moon in the Hindu calendar. [Shukla (Sanskrit: शुक्ल) is Sanskrit word for color white]
A Saint Poet in the tradition of our Bhakt Kavi Tulsi, Narsimh Mehta & Tukaram , poet Narendra Sharma remained young at heart till his last breath. He understood the changing social scene and the changing modern mind. Thus, he and Mr. Pai were first to introduce Ramayan and Mahabharat via Indrajaal comic strip for children.
pic courtesy :Lavanya Shah and Poet Narendra Sharma Memorial
Nineteen books of poems like the most famous Prawasee Ke Geetm (Songs of a Traveler), Hans – Mala, (Garland of Swan), Rakt – chandan ( on Gandhiji ), Agni – Shasya (Child of Fire), Kadlee – Van, Draupadi , Uttar Jai, Bahut Raat Gaye etc. and short stories like Arti ki Thali, Kadvi Mithee Baatein, and innumerable radio plays, essays, film songs, dance ballets (for Sachin Shankar : Mermaid & Fishermen), etc. have been compiled in the 16 volume Pandit Narendra Sharma’s Sampoorna Rachnawali.
His guidance for Durga Sapt Shatee ‘ sung by Anuradha Paudwal ; concepts like MAHABHARAT T.V series & title songs like ‘Satyam Shivam Sunderam ‘ and ‘ Atha Shree Mahabharat Katha’; his speeches to graduating students at IIT Powai , Mumbai on Indian alphabets, OM symbol and many others; Essays on topics like History of Hindi Film Music & ‘Hindi Sahitya ka Itihas ‘ etc. remain with us. Do please see this link:
Geet Ka Safar : Sahitya se Film tak :
Today when I remember Papaji, many moments stumble out of my memory. I have written about them at this link: