This poet from Mahagun Mansion will regale your neighbourhood adda. Invite him!
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This poet from Mahagun Mansion will regale your neighbourhood adda. Invite him!

His poetry was used by a judge while passing a verdict. His books can be found in prison libraries across the world. And one of his books was released by Rajeev Gandhi. Meet Tarachand Pal Bekal, a resident of Mahagun Mansion Ph I, Indirapuram.

This poet from Mahagun Mansion will regale your neighbourhood adda. Invite him!

"Aadmi kya hai wo jisme aadmiyat hi nahi, tehzeeb aur ikhlaaq ki agar paas daulat hi nahi,/ 
Zindagi kah lo magar, woh zindagi bekaar hai jisme auro ke liye zazbe mohabbbat hi nahi!

It is not every day that you hear someone say a judge recited lines from his poetry while passing verdict. But today is not an ordinary day and Tarachand Pal "Bekal" is no ordinary man.

This 88-year-old resident of Mahagun Mansion Ph 1 in Indirapuram hails back to a time when literature was about freedom of speech, passion for the language and the spirit of independence. Even though he retired from the audit department of the government of India 30 years back in 1986, the writer in him spurs him on to keep his work alive and his pen active. 

He has more than a dozen books and a thousand verses to his name. But his face lights up when he talks about the time when he set up the Kuber Times, a daily Meerut-based newspaper in the 1990s. “As the founder chief editor, I used to work 22 hours a day in its early days. And before I knew it, circulation reached more than 45,000 copies in Meerut alone. It was a resounding success," Bekal says. However, he grows pensive when he talks about how he had to quit in 1997 owing to differences with the owner.

That said, Bekal’s has been a long and inspiring life. He received a Sahitya Bhushan award by Akhil Bharatiya Bhasha Sahitya Sammelan in 1991 and the Sahitya Bhushan Samman by Uttar Pradesh Hindi Sansthan Lucknow in 2003.


Tarachand Pal Bekal's awards and literary memorabilia


When asked, he calls himself a man of accounts who had a flair for Urdu recitals. One of his first milestones came during his deputation to the Yamuna Hydro-Electric Project in Dehradun in 1958, when one of his poems, a Hindi four-liner, got published in Chetavni, a Hindi weekly. This was the very poem recited by a judge during a trial. “That was one of my most encouraging moments,” Bekal says.

His next big milestone came when he was transferred to Mirzapur, where literary circles were dominated by Urdu. It was on the request of a superintendent engineer that he started Sangam, a Hindi literary circle, which took on a character of its own in the city.

However, he was inspired to publish his first collection of poetry when he was deputed to Jhansi in 1964. There he met Padma Bhushan awardee and national poet Maithili Sharan Gupt, who inspired Bekal to publish his first work, Rashtra Kavi Ka Mahapratha.

His career took another step further when he was transferred to Lucknow in 1967, where he was introduced to Dr Bhagwan Das Mahaur, an accomplice of Sardar Bhagat Singh and Chandra Sekhar Azad, and the then head of the Hindi department at Bundelkhand University. He inspired Bekal to write Jhansi Ka Sher Bhagwan Das Mahaur and Chandrasekhar Azad, two of his most well-known books.


A painting made by the poet-author. Yes, he also paints


However, the high point of his career was yet to be reached. During his posting in Meerut in 1984, the year the former prime minister of India Indira Gandhi was assassinated, he wrote Kavyatma Priyadarshini, dedicated to Gandhi herself. The book was launched by none other than her son and then prime minister of India Rajeev Gandhi.

His later works took on a spiritual note, such as Tulsi Manas Pratha, Shashi Darshan and Janmadayini Naari. However, he continued to contribute to children's literature in the form of rhymes and short poems. The last book he published was Satya Adarsh Ram (2016) and he is currently working on Geeta Gyan Adarsh Prashna, a biography of Krishna with the Mahabharata as the backdrop.

He shifted to Noida in 2003 and to Mahagun Mansion Ph I in 2008, where he currently lives with his wife, son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren — and he couldn’t be happier.

“I have lived a fulfilling life and continue to pursue my passion for writing,” he says. “Many of my books have been procured by the Indian government for embassy and prison libraries across the world. For a writer, to have his work leave a mark in the world is all he can ask for, and I am humbled by the love and respect I have received from my readers.”