Nilamber Dev Sharma passes away

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 6/24/2020 12:32:00 AM

JAMMU, Jun 23: Well acclaimed writer and a doyen of Dogri literature, Nilamber Dev Sharma, passed away in Delhi this afternoon. He was 89 years old.
Survived by his wife, Chanchal Sharma, son, Shail Sharma, two daughters-in-law and grand-children, he breathed his last at around 3.30 PM after a brief illness. His younger son, Jitendra Sharma, passed away young in 2015, which left him shattered.
His cremation will take place at Ghazipur cremation ground in Noida at 9 AM tomorrow.
Nilamber Dev Sharma was the first convenor of the Dogri Advisory Board when Sahitya Academy officially recognized Dogri in 1969. In 1972, Sharma resigned from the Academy and entered politics, a stay which was short lived. He also served as the Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages.
For his immense contribution to Dogri literature, the Government of India honored Sharma in 2011, with the fourth highest civilian award of Padma Shri. He bagged several other honours and awards during his life-time.
Nilamber Dev Sharma was a writer of self-awareness, creative insight and moral courage. His literary works include history of literature, travelogues, short stories and translations.
In 1960s, he authored his first book the ‘An Introduction to Modern Dogri literature’, the first publication in English about Dogri Literature, which is considered as a remarkable four-part thesis, filled with references, transliterations and explanatory notes, on the history and the essence of Dogri literature.
He is credited with several other publications including A Brief Survey of Dogri (Modern) Literature,An Introduction to Dogri Folk, Literature, Drama and Art,Chete Kish Khatte, Kish Mitthe, Rishtey and Kahani di Tapaash. He also edited a number of books for Dogri Sanstha, Jammu and translated Iyaruingam, an Assamese work by the novelist Birendera Kumar Bhattacharyya.
Besides he wrote several research based papers on Dogri literature in Hindi, Dogri and English in regional and national periodicals.
“Chete Kish Khatte, Kish Mitthe” was his first book of prose in Dogri and comprises travelogues of his many journeys with a blend of memoir. His short stories were powerful images and narration of Dogra culture that blended its beauty with the many idiosyncrasies, often drawing on the status of women and their exploitation.
His stories were rooted to the ground realities and his characters are well-fleshed out and appear real.
Born to a Sanskrit scholar and a renowned astrologer, Madan Mohan Shastri, who had translated several Sanskrit classics into Dogri, on October 6, 1931 at Jammu, Sharma’s interest in literature started early. He started writing in Urdu, Dogri and English during his college days and his first short story in Dogri was published in 1950. Along with many Dogri literature stalwarts like Pandit Ram Nath Shastri, Dinoo Bhai Pant, Ved Pal Deep and many others, he contributed immensely to the Dogri cultural renaissance movement that started in 1940s. He was probably the last of the living legends of those times.
He graduated in English literature from the Government Gandhi Memorial College, Jammu (GGMC), continued his studies at the Hindu College, New Delhi from where he obtained a master's degree and started his career as an English lecturer in Kairana, Uttar Pradesh. After a short stay at Kairana, Sharma moved to his alma mater, the Government Gandhi Memorial College, in 1953. He also secured an honours degree from the University of Leeds, UK, where he studied for two years, from 1957-59.
Two years later, he joined Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages in 1961 as its deputy secretary and rose to the position of the secretary.
During his tenure, the Academy opened its regional office at Leh and got Kashmiri Soofiana music recognised by Sangeet NatakAkademi, New Delhi and also gave fillip to literary and cultural activities. It was also during his tenure as Secretary of J&K State Academy of Art, Culture and Languages that seven volumes of Dogri folk tales were published. He also played an instrumental role in starting and later widening the scope of two full-fledged institutes of Music and Fine Arts in Jammu and Srinagar.
Prof. Sharma was the first Convenor of Dogri Advisory Board of the Sahitya Akademi when it recognized Dogri in 1969. Later, he resigned in 1972 and tried his hand in politics and unsuccessfully fought Assembly election. Became first Director Amar Mahal Museum & Library, Jammu and also remained President, Dogri Sanstha for about more than a decade from 1976.
Gentle, soft-spoken and of affable disposition, he was admired by many for both his literary worth and his personality. His demise has been widely condoled by the literary and cultural circles and by his many friends. His death is a huge loss to Jammu.



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