Meet Harendra Sinha: One of the Senior Writers of YourQuote
This man is associated with many art forms. He loves music and has worked in theatre, All India Radio and Doordarshan as well. The first thing you notice in him is his smile. His life is worth knowing. Our veterans Prasoon Vyas and Ayena Makkar caught up with him and found out about his life and his YourQuote journey till now.
Q1. Share with us, your life story, summed up in about 250 words.
A: Born on 29th July, 1950 in Patna, Bihar, I started taking interest in music and other cultural activities at the age of 6 or so. My childhood was quite comfortable. Being the youngest among the 5 sisters(2) and brothers(3),
I was closely attached to my mother. Both of my parents were interested in music and other cultural activities. I also, naturally, developed a liking for the same. Radio and the then super star radio announcer Sri Amin Sayani were my best friends in those days. In fact, whatever music I have learnt, it is from Vividh Bharati and Radio Ceylon of bygone days. And, just for information, that even now, my radio is on as long as I am there in the house. Studies were never my favourite. My world revolved around music, films, theatre and of course, Hindi literature.
During University Days, I was seriously involved with theatre, AIR and at a later stage with Doordarshan. It was during this time that I started taking interest and writing Urdu couplets and ghazals, influenced by some of my Muslim friends. Some of them were published occasionally in local newspapers and journals. And it was theatre which offered me the opportunity to meet my future wife Nutan Sinha (no more, unfortunately).
After completion of my post graduation in Ancient Indian History & Archaeology, I joined Patna University in April 1974 but soon I was selected in Archeological Survey of India, so I left Patna University and joined ASI at Nagpur. I was never homesick.
Through ASI, I actively participated in different archaeological expeditions conducted in the States like Andhra, Delhi, Punjab, UP, Bihar etc.I obtained the highest diploma in archaeology in Asia and claimed fist position. Ultimately in 1984, I was selected by Bihar public Service Commission for the Department dealing in the subject of Archaeology under Govt of Bihar. When Bihar was bifurcated, I opted for Govt of Jharkhand and settled at Ranchi from where I retired in 2011. Presently, I am settled in Ranchi, working as a guest faculty in Archaeology under Ranchi University.
I have three children, Shaneel Sinha, pursuing his career in film acting at Mumbai, Shivangi Sinha (mass communication), a housewife at Pune, who left her job in a national daily to rear her little girl and Shvetank Sinha, the youngest son, is an officer in the Indian Air Force at Hyderabad.
Wow! That’s one inspirational life to live, I must say! So, talking about your professional life,
Q2. Archeology being another form of art, how has your career inspired your writings?
A: In archaeology, we are supposed to carry out researches continuously, thereby a lot of report writing. And, the seeds of poetry were already sown in me around the 7th decade of the last century . As a result, during leisure time in archaeological expedition camps, I began writing poetry, especially ghazals.
We can only imagine how those sceneries must have inspired you, and the result still shows in your poetry!
Q3. Sir, please tell us more about your books that have been published. What are those based on?
A: Apart from more than hundred of research articles, there are around 16 published books to my credit on the subjects like archaeology, culture and literature.
My first book was ‘Bihar ki Lok Kala Evam Shilp’. Then there is ‘Archaeology of North Bihar’. ‘Mitti’ is another of my books which focuses on the life of Potters in Jharkhand. ‘Jangal Gaon Thiraktay Paon’ deals with the tribal dance forms of Santal Paragana area.’Thaati-the heritage’ is practically an encyclopedia of art,culture and traditions of Jharkhand. ‘Godna”’ is about the tattoo craft of the State. ‘Pratimaayein’ is a book dealing with iconography. ‘Katha Sangam’ is a collection of stories in regional and tribal languages, edited by me, amongst many other.
Q4. Now, let’s talk about the reason we’re doing this. How did your come to know about YourQuote?
What keeps you hooked to the platform?
A: One of my friends, living in States these days, informed me of YQ and then onwards I joined.
I like the stunning quotes of our youngsters on different topics in YQ with beautiful illustrations.
Q5. Apart from writing, please share with us your other fields of interest, or the recreational activities you like.
A: Other than writing, Music is my passion. Also, Stamp, coins/currency note collections are my other hobbies. And to cap it all, archaeological exploration for locating new historical sites in very difficult areas is also my favourite pass time.
Q6. Sir, we noticed that all 3 of your children are stalwarts in their respective professions. How have you helped your them grow up to be such bright citizens? Throw some light on your parenting secrets for us to follow.
A: I have allowed my children to pursue their own likings as far as their respective careers are concerned. I have given ample time to them in childhood and let them feel them that I seriously care about them. And of course, discipline factor was always there. Inputs were also given to maintain the family ties.
Q7. As we’ve already mentioned, you’ve lived a life extraordinaire, If there is a biography written on your life, or if you ever write your own, what would it be called?
A: My biography or autobiography would definitely be called ‘The Things I Missed!’
Q8. So as we now know, you pursue so many different art forms, do you think writing, is more expressive? How do you connect it with your other recreational interests?
A: Yes, I find writing more expressive than all of the other art forms. No doubt, everyone loves their own field of interest. But, being an archaeologist, I was supposed to prepare and publish a detailed report of my activities and finds during the explorations. And here I am benefited by my habit of writing. I still follow the art with same passion and zeal, be it for poetry, or literature.
Q9. Being an absolutely amazing one yourself, we’d like to know who are your favorite writers/poets. Also, the books you like.
A: As a poet I like Gulzar, Sahir Ludhianvi, Mirza Ghalib, Bashir Badra and Niraj etc. Some of my favourite books are Diwaan-e-Ghalib, Yaar Julahe (Gulzar), Niraj ki Paati etc.
In writers I like Krishan Chander (Dhan gaon ki Rani), Sharat Chandra (Devdas), Amrita Pritam, Bankim Chandra (Anand math), Premchand (Godan), Phanishvarnath Renu etc.
Q10. Do you read other writers on YourQuote? Any favorites out of those?
A: Yes, I do read other writers on YQ. But, it is difficult to mention just a few favourites here. Surprisingly, I find that the new generation is more realistic and to the the point. They express themselves unhesitatingly. I like their writings. Prasoon Vyas , A.M.G pens (seriously) , Oh Itzz Rajat, Vaibhav Singhal, Ramanand Singh Sehgal, M.D.Bhuradia, Ziddi Satya and Shreya Saxena etc are some of the names coming to my mind at the moment. I enjoy reading them.
Q11. Let’s get some stories out of you. Please share with us an interesting incident of your life that probably changed your perspective towards it, or proved to be a milestone.
A: In my childhood, I had been to my village where my relatives were living permanently. One incident left a permanent mark on my thinking towards the poor people. The lady of the family had lost one of her gold rings. Naturally, her first doubt was on the domestic help, a girl of about 12 years of age. When she was charged with the theft, she denied it and tried to defend herself, vehemently. But she was not heard and was asked to fetch her father and come back with him. Weeping uncontrollably, she left. When she did not turn up, her father was called through a messenger. He was also taken to task. But the girl was missing from the scene. Later in the evening, she was found floating in a nearby well. I felt bad for her. But I felt worse, when the ring in discussion, was found in the house itself.
Since then, I never doubt a person just because he or she is poor and is serving us. Also, I never weep over what is lost.
Q12. Sir, your involvement with Radio sounds pretty intriguing. Please share some more about the same.
A: I joined AIR as an approved voice for drama. This Drama Section helped me a lot in improving my Hindi and Urdu pronunciation. Besides, I started writing 5 minutes drama script for a program “Aaj ka Natak” which was based on Government’s famous “20 Point Program”. This was sometime around 1973–74. The interesting part of these activities was that I was earning my pocket money perfect and in an honourable way. It was around this time that I tried to join Film and Television Institute, Pune for acting course but in vain. I remember Shakti Kapoor and Mukesh Khanna etc were studying in 2nd year there. Shakti Kapoor even conducted ragging on the interviewees. Some of the successful names in that batch were Om Puri, Suresh Oberoi, Sujata (later a successful female actor in South), Javed Khan, a not so famous actor later etc.
Naturally, when the Patna Doordarshan started it’s own productions , I was very much in demand there. Apart from interviewing the experts, I worked in many serials like Gaon Ghar, Madhubani-ek Aatma vishwas, Vikat Paahun-A hilarious comedy etc and a 2.30 hrs. Tele film “Bhagwan Birsa Munda”. In most of these ventures, I was either in the main cast or had an important role in it.
We’re totally in awe even reading all this, only imagining how glamorous a life, it must’ve been.
Q13. Now, you’ve written and done so much in life that others might envy. Yet, is there a piece of writing that made you feel, “I wish I could’ve written this.” Or “I could’ve done better.
A: “मुख़ालफ़त से मेरी शख़्सियत संवरती है,
मैं दुश्मनों का बड़ा एहतेराम करता हूँ।”
This couplet, I really wish, I could’ve written it. Kabir also has written something similar which is,
“निंदक नियरे राखिए, ऑंगन कुटी छवाय,
बिन पानी, साबुन बिना, निर्मल करे सुभाय।”
Those are really beautiful couplets, there.
Q14. To sum it up, what piece of advice would you like to give to the youth out there, who look up to you as an inspiration?
A: You people are writing nicely. You are frank enough and that’s good. The only suggestion is that, well you write in your own unique way, but try to keep the technical aspects and components of a poetry in place. So that the essence of art isn’t hampered.
We’re definitely going to keep that in mind from now on.
Thank you so much, sir, for taking out time for this interview, and enlightening us, whilst sharing your life with us.
Q15. And before we let you sign off, please share with us a priceless possession you never want to lose, which is close to your being.
A: I posses a postcard, originally written by Mahatma Gandhi on 17 June, 1917 (see the post mark) to my late uncle Mathura Prasad ji. This is my priceless piece of writing I have secured, apart from so many others.
Here are some of his best quotes on YQ:
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