Kamleshwar (writer)

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Kamleshwar (1932 - 2007).jpg
BornKamleshwar Prasad Saxenaa
(1932-01-06)6 January 1932
Mainpuri, Uttar Pradesh, India
Died27 January 2007(2007-01-27) (aged 75)
Faridabad, India
Pen nameKamleshwar
OccupationWriter, screenwriter and critic
Alma materAllahabad University
GenreNovel, short story, essay, screenplay
Literary movementNayi Kahani
Notable worksKitne Pakistan (2000)
Notable awardsSahitya Akademi Award (2003)
Padma Bhushan (2005)

Books-aj.svg aj ashton 01.svg Literature portal

Kamleshwar (6 January 1932 – 27 January 2007) was a prominent 20th-century Hindi writer, and scriptwriter for Hindi cinema and television. Among his most well-known work are the films Aandhi, Mausam, Chhoti Si Baat and Rang Birangi. His text "George Pancham ki Naak" was also printed in CBSE Hindi Literature Book. He was awarded the 2003 Sahitya Akademi Award for his Hindi novel Kitne Pakistan (translated in English as Partitions), and also the Padma Bhushan in 2005.[1]

He is considered a part of the league of Hindi writers like Mohan Rakesh, Nirmal Verma, Rajendra Yadav and Bhisham Sahni, who left the old pre-independence literary preoccupations and presented the new sensibilities that reflected new moorings of a post-independence India, thus launching the Hindi literature's Nayi Kahani ("New Story") movement in the 1950s.[2]


Early life and education[edit]

Kamleshwar Prasad Saxena[3] was born in the Mainpuri district[4] of Uttar Pradesh, India, where he spent his early years. Kamleshwar's first story, "Comrade", was published in 1948.[5]

Later he did his graduation and followed by a Master's degree in Hindi literature from Allahabad University. His first novel, Badnam Gali (Cursed Lane), was published while he was still a student;[5] he later started his literary career in Allahabad itself.


In his early days, he worked as a proofreader,[5] growing up to become, the editor of 'Vihan', literary magazine in the late 1950s. This was followed by editorship of many Hindi magazines, like 'Nayi Kahaniyan' (1963–66), 'Sarika' (1967–78), 'Katha Yatra' (1978–79), 'Ganga' (1984–88) and weeklies, 'lngit' (1961–63) and 'Shree Varsha' (1979–80), besides this, he also remained the editor of Hindi dailies, 'Dainik Jagaran' (1990–1992), and 'Dainik Bhaskar' (1996–2002),[4] and helped revive the Hindi magazine, 'Sarika', as its editor by bringing focus on new and emerging voices of modern India, an effort which reflected his encouragement to Marathi Dalit writers and Bohra Muslim litterateurs, thus opening new vistas for Hindi readers.

...once upon a time, trees provided shelter from the sun and the wind to human homes. Now, the trees have become used to growing in the shadows of tall concrete buildings.[citation needed]

— Kamleshwar, Kitne Pakistan

Kamleshwar became famous for his short stories, and some other works, which depicted the contemporary life in a vivid style of presentation. With the publication of his story, 'Raja Nirbansiya' (1957),[6] he was immediately placed in league of leading writers of his times. In his prolific career, spanning four decades, he wrote over three hundred stories, including, "Maans Ka Dariya", "Neeli Jheel" and "Kasbe Ka Aadmi",[7] published over ten collections of short stories, ten novels most prominent among them being, Ek Sadak Sattawan Galiyan, Laute Huye Musafir, Kaali Aandhi, Aagami Ateet, Registan and Kitne Pakistan, apart from 35 other literary works in different genres ranging from literary criticism, travelogue, memoirs, to socio-cultural commentary.


He moved to Bombay in the 1970s and started writing scripts and dialogues for Hindi films, in the next decade or so, he worked for over 75 feature films, which include films like Gulzar's Aandhi, based on his novel Kaali Aandhi, Mausam; Basu Chatterjee's Rajnigandha, Chhoti Si Baat, Rang Birangi and Ravi Chopra's thriller, The Burning Train. In fact, reminiscing his works noted poet-director, Gulzar said that "in 'Kitne Pakistan'... there is a description where a handkerchief falls off the bridge; I always used to tell him that I could write a complete short story on this one line only.".[8] He won the 1979 Filmfare Award for Best Screenplay for Pati Patni Aur Woh, directed by B. R. Chopra.[9]


By the late 1970s, he had made his first short TV film the "Jamuna Bazar", near river Yamuna in Delhi, and soon switched to television scriptwriting, and eventually became the 'Additional Director General' of Doordarshan, India's national television channel, (1980–82), during his tenure, in a matter of 24 months, the entire nation was connected with television network.[10]

Over the years, he wrote stories in ten TV serials including Chandrakanta, Aakash Ganga, Yug and Betal Pachisi, as well as popular serials based on literary works such as Darpan and Ek Kahani.[11] He hosted a popular talk show on Doordarshan, Parikrama, started a weekly literary show, Patrika, and also produced and directed several television programs and investigative documentaries on social and political issues for Doordarshan.[12]

Later years[edit]

He was awarded the 2003 Sahitya Akademi Award for his novel based on the Partition of India in 1947, Kitne Pakistan (literally How Many Pakistans? but translated in English as Partitions), which explored the way nations fracture, through an allegorical court trial, wherein historical and political figures are present as witnesses,[13] and the Padma Bhushan in 2005.

He died on 27 January 2007 at Faridabad[14] following a heart attack, after being in poor health for several years.

A collection of his short stories in English translation, Not Flowers of Henna, was released in 2007.[15]

Literary works[edit]


  • The Street with Fifty-Seven Lanes
  • Not Flowers of Henna
  • Kitne Pakistan, Rajpal & Sons, 2000. (Reprint: 2004, ISBN 81-7028-320-5)
  • Partitions, Penguin Books, 2006. ISBN 0-14-400099-7 (Reprint: 2008, ISBN 978-0-14-306370-4; Presentation)


  • Sara Akash (1969) (dialogue)
  • Badnam Basti (1971) (story)
  • Aandhi (1975) (story)
  • Mausam (1975) (story)
  • Amanush (1975) (dialogue)[4]
  • Chhoti Si Baat (1975) (dialogue & screenplay)
  • Anand Ashram (1977) (dialogue)
  • The Burning Train (1979) (dialogue & screenplay)
  • Ram Balram (1980) (dialogue & screenplay)
  • Saajan Ki Saheli (1981) (dialogue & screenplay)
  • Souten (1983) (dialogue)
  • Rang Birangi (1983) (story)
  • Yeh Desh (1984) (dialogue)
  • Laila (1984) (dialogue & screenplay)
  • Preeti (1986) (dialogue & screenplay)
  • Souten Ki Beti (1989) (dialogue)


  1. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 October 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  2. ^ Kamleshwar.. The Times of India, 29 January 2007.
  3. ^ Authors > Kamleshwar Authors at mapsofindia.
  4. ^ a b c Kamleshwar Writer Profile at abhivyakti-hindi.
  5. ^ a b c Kamleshwar brings out the truth of life The Tribune, 28 December 2003.
  6. ^ Raja Narbansiya, Text in Devnagari script at abhivyakti-hindi.
  7. ^ Kasbe Ka Aadmi Devnagari Text at abhivyakti-hindi.
  8. ^ Kamleshwar, Hindi’s gem.. Archived 26 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine The Indian Express, 29 January 2007.
  9. ^ "Best Screenplay Award". Filmfare Award Official Listings, Indiatimes. Archived from the original on 29 April 2014. Retrieved 28 April 2014.
  10. ^ Kamaleshwar The Tribune, 28 January 2007.
  11. ^ Indiaclub.com Collection Archived 11 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine Kamaleshwar Profile.
  12. ^ Kamleshwar Profile Library of Congress, New Delhi Office.
  13. ^ Sahitya Akademi Awards 1955–2005, Official listings Archived 13 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine 2003, Kitne Pakistan (Novel).
  14. ^ Writer Kamleshwar.. musicmazaa, 29 January 2007.
  15. ^ Katha Book Release The Hindu, 26 March 2007.

External links[edit]