Adieu Haryanvi intellectual of recent times !

Adieu


(D.R.Chaudhary 11, June 1935 –1, June 2021) By Rajbir Deswal “A gun, jeep and a bottle of liquor” said the headline of a national daily kept on my office table then. The headline attracted my attention and reading further it revealed the grandiose but condemnable style of the youth of Haryana, in the semi-arid zones of the state bordering Punjab and Rajasthan, to be found involved in a culture of possessing guns, jeeps and given to consuming liquor. I wondered who had left the newspaper on my table. A few minutes later, I saw a man walking from the drive way after locking his car to my office. He was of medium height, having very fair complex and dressed in a green blazer, who parked his Fiat car at 4, Lodhi Estate, New Delhi, office of Real India, Asli Bharat Weeklies, for which I then worked as Sub-Editor. He introduced himself as Daulat Ram Chaudhary and handed over five typed sheets to me which was an article meant for my weekly ‘Real India’ a venture of The Kisan Trust of which the President was the then Prime Minister, Ch. Charan Singh. “ I want to help this paper” he said and suggested some hometruths about the state of Haryana, which “ needed to be projected in the right spirit”. When he left us, I asked a colleague of mind who was then the Circulation Manager of the Weeklies and who later became an I.A.S. officer, Yudhbir Khayalia about the person. He knew him well and informed me that the man was popularly known as ‘Dee Aar’. He was picked up as a member of the prestigious Haryana Public Service Commission by Devi Lal, who recognised his intellect and honesty since he too came from the village Chautala. Chaudhary had a humble beginning and had seen hardships being the son of a tenant. Devi Lal wanted the Commission to function fairly, hence he roped in D.R. Chaudhary. Another intellectual to be picked up by Devi Lal besides Chaudhary was Dr. Raja Ram. Chaudhary taught at the Dayal Singh College, New Delhi. In Haryana, among the Jats, after Dr. Sarup Singh and Hardwari Lal, there were counted three names in the list of educated Haryanvis in D.R. Chaudhary, Dr. O.P. Grewal and Dr. Bhim Singh Dahiya. All the three had almost the same ideology to follow but while Dr. Grewal and Dr. Dahiya stayed on the academic side, D.R. Chaudhary took to being a commentator and an activist. His well-researched articles were immensely readable and even the editors looked forward to receiving his pieces for publication. On a couple of occasions, even the Punjab & Haryana High Court referred to D. R.’s articles on some thorny issues of culture and practices in the state. Author of books on Haryana, Education and Khap Panchayats, Chaudhary brought to light certain unknown and uncommented upon facts regarding Haryana. He often lamented that no cultural renaissance had ever visited the tradition bound state. Chaudhary gave credit to the spread of Arya Samaj in Haryana which to an extent stemmed the rot in education and societal cohabitation. Still, films, artists, theatre, literature, folk documentation still eluded Haryana in comparison to Punjab which had excelled in all these spheres all these years. Initially, D.R. Chaudhary did not meddle in routine political affairs of the state but he did watch from a distance and was more focussed on taking up the issue based plunges here and there, be it the cause of Dalits’ torture and tormenting or honour killing of boys and girls. His thought process was modern and he remained associated with the Progressive Movement. Some even called him Comrade Chaudhary. He was a great friend of Comrade Raghbir Singh Hooda of Rohtak. However, when he started a weekly called “ Peeng” from Rohtak, the Rohtakwalas did not lap him up for he was a Bagri Jat, and not a Deswali Jat—something of a fuxture the Rohtaki Jats stay metamorphosed in. On a personal note, I call myself a protégé of D.R. Chaudhary, who was not only in the Haryana Public Service Commission when I was selected alongwith two of my other bathcmates, but who remained a beau model for me to follow in many ways. The Tribune of 25 July, 1983, carried a news item titled, “H.P.S.C. resists V.I.P. pressure” when the same day, having been offered membership of the U.P.S.C., in case he accommodated the recommended candidates. D.R.Chaudhary tore off the envelope containing results of my selection at number one in the merit, and made them public through the press. He could guide me, chide me and snub me even for my professional things. I remember him actively siding with the labourers and opposing the police move of lathi-charging them. Mr. Chaudhary often visited me. His habits were very simple. Though he joined politics too but it wasn’t his cup of tea to be a sycophant at all. On issues, he resigned from the Commission. He was also made member of an Administrative Reforms Commission, but finding that his suggestions were thrown to winds, he again resigned. He was a stickler to merit and did not hesitate in selecting even his P.A. as an H.C.S. officer. D.R. Chaudhry had taken up cudgels to unravel the real truth about the Khaps too. He exposed a system prevalent since the medieval times, which though did serve the purpose then of being a force to take on the might of the questionable diktats of the rulers in Delhi, but with the passage of time, had been reduced to an entity with questionable demeanor and dictatorial, undemocratic style . He took to travelling in the Himalayas later in life and stayed in Mcleodganj Monastery studying Buddhism. He was the one who introduced me to reading ‘existential literature’ and suggested me authors like Kafka. One may not believe it, but he as a father, stood by his son in marrying a girl of his choice despite retaliation and risk. Mr. Chaudhary was a family man. His wife was an epitome of sacrifice who stood by him always. His daughter Kamla and son Bhoop are lecturers and another son Ashwani Chaudhary is a well-known film director. They don’t make men like ‘Dee Aar’ anymore




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