Seated on his writing desk, surrounded by tons of study material for novels, a laptop, and a table fan, Bhagwandas Morwal sighs, "I feel disappointed when I see today's youth unable to read a single line in Hindi fluently. Hindi is not a language, it is an emotion!"
Chasing dreams in a limiting environment is an extraordinary feat. When providing for the family is the sole responsibility, dreams often take a backseat. This Hindi Diwas, CitySpidey met Bhagwandas Morwal, an eminent writer from Palam, Dwarka who overcame all odds to achieve his dream- writing fiction while sustaining his family.
Bhagwandas, 62, a famous name in contemporary writing, lives in a three-storey home in Palam, Dwarka with his wife, children and grandchildren. His home is simple and old-style just like his personality. Although he is well settled, he doesn't have a high-end lifestyle.
After retiring from his job in 2020, he dedicates his entire time to reading and writing fiction. On asking about the routine of his daily life, he says, "Apart from the daily routine, I have a habit of walking for 8 to 9 km every day for a morning walk at 4 in the morning. I make it a point to read something and write at least one page every day."
For Bhagwandas, being a writer is an earned dream come true. He was born in 1960 in Mewat, Haryana. Coming from a financially underprivileged background, he was never motivated to pursue education. He completed his schooling at a government school in Mewat.
Against his limiting background at home, his soul was free when he wrote. He was proficient in writing and his poems got published in local newspapers and magazines from a very young age. His first poem was published in the magazine when he was in class 11. This small achievement motivated him to write more and eventually, it became his way of expression.
Bhagwandas married at a very young age and his responsibilities increased. As soon as he completed his BA, he came to Delhi to get a job. Despite his education and abilities, it was difficult to find a job according to his requirements. To sustain life in the metro city, he started working as a daily wage labourer. He says, "I used to carry furniture in a hotel for some years just to sponsor my higher education and sustain my family. My wife was not living with me due to the financial crisis."
After he completed a course in journalism, the times changed, and he got a government job in the central social welfare board as a production assistant in 1987. Writing continued as his heart belonged to it.
His tough experiences as a young man took the shape of serious fiction. Several of his novels talk about experiences from his native place. His first book, a collection of short stories, was published in 1986 and is known as 'Sila Hua Admi'. His first novel, 'Kala Pahad' in 1999 talks about the people of Mewat and their culture. It is also one of his most praised works.
Another section of his books, such as Halala, Ret, Sur Banjaran and Khanzada, deal with conservative social and religious customs. Each work involves extensive research and study to find a clear viewpoint. His material includes legal documents, cases, newspaper cuttings and books on different social issues. Everything is neatly stacked in files.
He says, "While writing Halala, I read the Quran to understand the law and then display how the society has misconstrued religion to meet its ends."
In a career spanning 36 years, Bhagwandas Morwal has produced ten novels and several stories; and won many awards. His work 'Sur Banjaran' (which deals with the gradual weakening of Indian theatre) was awarded Sampand Kriti Samaan. He has also been awarded Ban Maali Katha Samaan in 2019.