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November 23, 1914|
Wazirabad, Punjab, British India
|Died||March 8, 1977
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
|Alma mater||Forman Christian College|
He also wrote screen-plays for Bollywood movies to supplement his meagre income as an author of satirical stories. Krishan Chander's novels (including the classic : Ek Gadhe Ki Sarguzasht, trans. Autobiography of a Donkey) have been translated into over 16 Indian languages and some foreign languages, including English.
His short story "Annadata" (trans: The Giver of Grain – an obsequious appellation used by Indian peasants for their feudal land-owners), was made into the film Dharti Ke Lal, by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas in 1946 – which led to his being offered work regularly as a screen-writer by Bollywood, including such populist hits as Sharafat 1970.
Early life and education
Chander was born in Bharatpur, Rajasthan where his father worked as a doctor. The family originally belonged to Wazirabad District Gujranwala, of undivided Punjab, British India. Chander spent his childhood in Poonch, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, where his father worked as the physician of Maharaja Poonch. His novel Shakast (Defeat) is related to Kashmir's partition. Mitti Ke Sanam one of his most popular novel is about the childhood memories of a young boy who lived with his parents in Kashmir. His another memorable novel is "Gaddar", which is about the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. In this novel, he brilliantly picturised the sufferings of the people during that time through a selfish young man's feelings, who himself was a gaddar (betrayer). His short stories are the stories of Kashmiri villages, as well as those of displaced expatriates and rootless urban man. He used Pahari (dialect of people living in Poonch) words while writing in Urdu.
In the 1930s he studied at Forman Christian College and edited the English section of the college house magazine, and was at that time interested in English writings. As the then editor of the Urdu section of the magazine, Mehr Lal Soni Zia Fatehabadi was instrumental to his career in having got published, in the year 1932, Chander's first Urdu short story, "Sadhu".
His literary masterpieces on the Bengal famine and the savagery and barbarism that took place at the time of the partition of India in 1947 are some of the finest specimens of modern Urdu literature, but at other times too he continued relentlessly to critique the abuse of power, poverty and the suffering of the wretched of the earth; but above all he never stopped protesting casteism, fanaticism, communal violence and terror. He was a humanist and a cosmopolitan.
Death and legacy
Chander married Salma Siddiqui. He died working at his desk in Mumbai on 8 March 1977. He had just started to write a satirical essay entitled Adab baray-e-Batakh (Literature for a duck), and wrote just one line Noorani ko bachpan hi sey paltoo janwaron ka shaukh tha. Kabootar, bandar, rang barangi chiriyaan… (since childhood Noorani was fond of pet animals such as pigeons, monkeys, multi-coloured birds…) but before he could complete the sentence he succumbed to a massive heart attack.
A Fountain Park in [Poonch] City of J&K(India) has been renamed to Krishan Chander Park Poonch in his memory. His statue has also been erected in the middle of the garden.