Santram Bajaj honoured with Sahitya Sewa Sammaan Award on Hindi Divas

Children of Darcy Rd Public School singing ‘Vande Matram’
Rekha Rajvanshi, ILASA founder (Front row, second from left) who organised Hindi Divas at the Indian Consulate on September 14, in conjunction with Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan

By Neena Badhwar

Santram ek aisa shakhs hai jo aapke saath baat tau kar raha hota hai par andar uske dimaagh mein kuchh aur hi khurafaat chal rahi hoti hai.

His outlook on life is unusual, most husbands would say ”˜Biwi se ladayi hui aaj’ but Santram has his own take on day-to-day skirmishes with wife on little issues like what women wear and what men, on cooking, on dealing with kids. His wife always taking a micky out of him and when you read his piece on ”˜Wife se Panga’ ”“ you realise that Bajaj household is full of funny moments. Unfortunately these precious moments were cut short by Raj Bajaj’s sudden departure. Bajaj’s writing took a slump but he has continued on despite many misgivings about life, its transientness, even health issues, concerns about family and at times writer’s block. Santram has evolved since when once he said he had run out of funny takes, yet he has gone and surprised his avid followers when lately he has found some funny side to politics in India and the world.

Santram Bajaj honoured with ‘Sahitya Sewa Sammaan Award’ by Dr. Nihal Agar of Hindu Council of Australia

A visit to a spice shop, a tussle with wife, walking his dog in the park, his trip with his AHIA members, he has not left himself and his beard even which he grew to fundraise for cancer. Cricket, forgetfulness, Santram’s pen has not left anything sacred, says he, “Writer Fikr Taunsavi’s column ”˜Pyaaz ke chhilke’ in an Urdu newspaper in my college days inspired me to write like him.” Though Santram has developed his own writing style and a flair having found many ideas living here in Sydney from migrants who face issues once settled in a new country and adapting to a new culture.

Also couple of his short stories remind one of the great Premchand. His humorous writings have entertained readers in Australia, in India and world wide. His stories in The Indian Down Under analytics always come up in the top ten stories on a regular basis as his stories have a classic appeal.

Santram was honoured with Sahitya Sewa Sammaan Award at the Indian Consulate on Hindi Divas celebration by the Indian Literary and Art Society of Australia (ILASA) and Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan. The certificate given to him by the Hindu Council’s Dr. Nihal Agar and a shawl by the Indian Consulate, it was indeed an honour to this writer who has diligently been the editor of AHIA newsletter ”˜Sandesh’ for the last 20 years, encouraged Hindi writers here, has written a humorous article in The Indian Down Under since 2006 and also published two books ”˜Gustakhi Maaf’ and ”˜Yaadein, Kuchh Meethi Yaadein’ ”“ serialising his collections of writings collected over a life time. The pen has not stopped as Santram has continuously produced humour in the otherwise drudgery of daily life of NRIs settled here. People look forward to reading his takes on life, politics, religion and the rest.

Panel with Hindi teachers
Consul General of India, Manish Gupta giving certificates to DRPS Hindi students
Promoting Dhotisutra by Indraneel Halder who explained about it with Bhavna Kunwar reading a poem on dhoti which has become a fashion apparel with Indraneel modelling it at Sydney’s iconic hotspots.

The Hindi Divas celebration by ILASA and Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan at the Consulate this year had a good gathering of over 200 Hindi lovers who came to witness and listen to poetry by the local poets, talk about how Hindi is progressing in NSW as well as Australia by a panel of experts that comprised teachers, founders of Hindi schools and the Hindu Council of Australia. ILASA under Rekha Rajvanshi’s stewardship has prospered as one could see by the participation it had this year from various organisations.

‘Vaishnav Janato’ sung by the Richa Raj’s Choir group of Hindu Council

The children of Darcy Road Public School who study Hindi there as a subject sang ”˜Vande Matram’ with great fervour and were given certificate by the Consul General of India, Manish Gupta. Wish that he had stayed at the time when a senior writer of Sydney was being honoured for his life times’ work and writings with which he has entertained many a reader down under. One must say if so much time was given to ever lengthy readings by some poets beyond the set timing of three minutes I would suggest some time spent on the person being honoured for his literary pursuits. It would be good to mention people like Jagdish Chawla and Tarachand Sharma of the Australian Hindi Committee who had laboriously worked hard to make a submission to ACARA, the body which finally acceded to formulating Hindi curriculum. And role of Jagdish Chawla cannot be overlooked who actually trained IABBV teachers for year 12 Hindi exams, him being the first in NSW as year 12 teacher, examiner and judge with the Board of Studies.

Amandeep read a poem on numbers, the theme being love, of course
Farhat Iqbal read a poem on mother which was well received
Virat and Sanghmitra with Rekha Rajvanshi

The youthful MC’s in Sanghmitra Kumar and Virat Nehru made Hindi Divas an interesting program. To both Virat and Mitu, keep up the good work and keep Sydney entertained. And to Rekha Rajvanshi, for a program well conducted.

Pics courtesy Evergreen Memories and Sid Photography

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