Friday, 8 February 2013

Kochar and Quadri publish authentic book on Havelis of Bikaner


Kochar and Quadri publish authentic book on Havelis of Bikaner

Updated on Tuesday
BIKANER –A TOWN OF THOUSAND TRADITIONAL MANSIONS -Book by U C Kochar and Ziya ul Quadri I was filled with a sense of nostalgia when I returned to Bikaner after a gap of 12 year to witness the gala events, which are held at two venues during the now world acclaimed Camel Festival. The contact numbers of friends have changed as mobiles have become more a personal phenomenon that a tool of communication. Therefore, with only two names on my mind that I could never forget –Shri Updhyanchandra Kochar and Jenab Zia-ul-Hadan Quadri, I had forgotten the rest. I could recall the location of the residence of Shri Kochar and met him the same morning on which I stepped out of the train. Mr. Kochar readily provided me the contact phone numbers Mr. Quadri, Asad ji and Mathur ji. The same evening Quadri ji arrived at my place of stay and after exchanging goodies we discussed about the status of havelis and the progress of listing and publication of document about them. I was delighted to learn that the efforts of both the above friends had yielded concrete result and a noteworthy book on the subject with lots of photographs in both color and black & white was published in the year 2012 by Rajasthan Granth Academi with funding from Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. Two days later, Shri Quadri again visited me in the evening and presented the 128 page book to me. I gratefully acknowledged the presentation and started scanning the pages to have first look at this document testifying the great spirit of the monumental work about the traditional architectural heritage of Bikaner city. I presume that the project was completed by Shri Quadri by using his personal resources and the fpunds from Ministry of HRD were received only for the publication as per the rules known to me. However, had there been no personal interest of both Shri Kochar and Shri Quadri, the book could not have seen the light of the day. It was appropriately entitled ‘Havelion ka Shahr –Bikaner’ (हवेलियों का शहर- बीकानेर) with 4 color pages containing 21 images comprising fascia of the better known ornamental havelis. The content is not only well written but thoroughly researched that might have taken at least a decade in accomplishing it successfully. Shri Quadri told me that as soon as the publication was released it was hotly sought after and now only a few copies are left. Most were quickly sold on no profit, no loss basis; price of the book is only Rs.110/- which covers only the cost of publication. I don’t know if various wings such the Department of Tourism, Department of Public Relations and Department of Education of the Govt. of Rajasthan have acknowledged the contribution of Shri Kochar and Quadri and suitably awarded them for the creation of document. The language of the document is Hindi and the size is 9X7 inches with cover in color. Although the material used by the printer of book appears to be of low quality as the grant from the MoHRD could not have been large, the content is so rich and authentic that scholars and researchers can use it as reference and also cite in future publications. The material of the book is appropriately distributed across 13 chapters viz. The Geographical position of Bikaner including its physiography; Bikaner State (of course, indicating its erstwhile status)- From Rao Bikaji up to Sardul Singh ji; A General description of a specimen Haveli; Eminent Havelis of Bikaner (21 listed); Usta art in havelis (naming four renowned Ustas); Contribution of Chungar artisans [(Chungar is mason-cum-painter)- six names listed]; Contribution of Matheran artists; Carving on Stone (the process and two names listed); The masons of Bikaner –the descendants of Lord Vishwakarma; Noteworthy features of the Havelis; The famine, havelis and the employment generation; A few noteworthy names of owners of Havelis and their pedigree; Listing of Havelis of Bikaner and agglomerations. While sharing experiences during research investigations for the book, Shri Quadri told me that people were skeptic in the beginning and were inquisitive about our work. But when local collaborators played their role well and we persisted on documenting the architectural heritage, the owners allowed us to inspect and document various interiors spaces too and became docile. The fact is truthfully also recorded in the book acknowledging the assistance of all the residents/owners of these thousand havelis. Shri Quadri is adept at three languages- Hindi, Urdu and English, and can write with ease and command. As told to me, he is translating the book in English nowadays and hope to publish the version in two years’ time. As personal comment about the book I would say that I liked the sincerity with which the author duo accomplished the task, it language and approach but lack of adequate funding the design of the book and the quality of printing could remain ordinary. Had it been artistically designed, photos drum scanned before printing and art paper used the book would have been acquired an artistic look. In any way, the efforts of the duo are laudable and appreciation for the MoHRD, Govt. of India otherwise the efforts to document the heritage of Bikaner would not have become possible.

No comments:

Post a Comment