by Asif Uzzaman
4:52pm, 26th October, 2016
We all have read his stories in our Middle-School textbooks. Ruskin Bond is not a name that needs introduction. When we read more about him and his life, we find that he is a pure gem that we have in our country. He is one of those writers who devoted his whole life for writing. His works are classics and need to be read through ages. His stories are for children, as he carries the heart of a child.
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Born in a military hospital in Kasauli, Punjab States Agency, British India, his childhood was spent in Jamnagar and Shimla. Studying in Bishop Cotton School in Shimla, Bond won many writing competitions, including Irwin Divinity prize and Hailey Literature Prize.
One of his first stories was named, “Untouchable” which he wrote at the age of sixteen. It was the year 1951! Such an old man he is, isn’t he? Well, he is 82 years old and still writes and speaks at conferences. He, in my opinion, is the greatest Indian writer alive.
Then in 1951 he went to London for the next two years and there he started penning down his first novel, “The Room on the Roof”. After searching for publisher while working in a photo studio and getting this novel published, he utilised its advance money to pay for his journey to Bombay; and returning India he settled in Dehradun.
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Ruskin Bond’s life has been full of struggle, but he did what he wanted to. He spent his whole life writing. Because that is what matters in gaining satisfaction. Once, in an interview, Bond revealed that he could not marry and have a family because of no permanent job at hand. The legend now lives in Mussourie and is often lovingly called as ‘writer on the hill’ and he has written a book by the same title. The legend has penned over 500 short stories, essays and novels along with more than 50 books for children. He has been awarded with Sahitya Academy Award (1992) for “Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra”. He has also received Padma Shri in 1999, and Padma Bhushan in 2014.
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Ruskin Bond has devoted his whole life for literature and when a man of such stature speaks about the one who has been awarded with Nobel Prize for literature, we need to listen to him.
During a conversation organised as part of ‘River Talks – the North East Festival’ Bond said, “Dylan is a successful musician and a great entertainer, but I am not sure whether he was given the award in the right category.
“Dylan is not really a writer and awarding the prize to him in the literature category is a great insult to all the writers who have already received the award and also to those who rightly deserve it.
“The decision of the Nobel Committee, however, has on several occasions not been right and there is not much one can do about it.”
Mr. Bond has clearly stated his displeasure about Bob Dylan getting Nobel Prize for Literature, and this has made everyone to rethink about it. The world of literature has been made rich by contribution of people who devoted their lives to it, and Ruskin Bond is, definitely, one of those honourable people.
However, there are other arguments too, which say, for instance, that Rabindranath Tagore’s Geetanjali was also a book of songs but since he was not a singer, no controversy arose when he was awarded the Nobel for it.
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