Akriti Jamwal. Updated: 11/1/2019 2:54:24 PM We the Women

Vijaya Thakur

One of the most active members of the Dogri writer’s fraternity, a language she was not brought up learning and wasn’t truly acquainted with for almost three decades of her life; the course that lead her to it seems destined. We The Women brings you the journey of Vijaya Thakur, that will certainly makes for an interesting read. So read on.

A well renowned Dogri writer Vijaya Thakur is also Lecturer of Zoology; making her passion and profession seem like chalk and cheese. But her perspectives and ideas around education and literature amalgamate both into refined concoction. For her, she doesn’t know any other way, the same way when while growing up she didn’t know any other way but to work hard excel at both studies and co-curricular activities.
Vijaya’s excelled career as a writer would surprise you but she is master of many traits. She has represented the state, having remained a National level player of Hockey and Volleyball. She has been closely related to National Cadet Corps, and has served as a programming officer in National Service Schemes, going up to the rank of Captain in Bharat Scouts & Guides. The Kohinoor in the her illustrious career as a lecturer has been the Nation honour of Best Teacher Award, conferred upon Vijaya by ministry of Human Resource Development, given by the President of India, in the year 2009.
Born in the late sixties, in Rajouri, to a comrade father, Thakur Gyan Singh and immensely religious mother, Kesar Devi, in a family of landlords, Vijya believes she is reflection of both her parents. Vijya describes her upbringing unique and forward for her time. She reminisces, “I remember my father waking me and my siblings up and going for a run; it is odd for people to see girls in shorts even today, but for my father it wasn’t an issue even back then.”
Vijaya grew up adorning the best of the natural beauty, where landlord father who, unlike majority of landlords, had a great interest in literature. She expresses, “I believe Nature and early exposure to literature has play vital role in laying down foundation and then shaping my journey.”
Every now and then, usually monthly and sometimes after every two months, came in house the choicest of literature from all across the country, and from Russia as well, in the form of magazines, something Vijaya considers the reason for her inclination towards literature.
Despite being the youngest in the family, Vijaya realized the privileges that come with it early on. Vijaya elaborates, “My eldest brother, who retired as Senior Superintendent of Jammu and Kashmir Police, used to study in Jammu those days. Whenever he used to come home, he’d always bring dozens of books and magazines for me.”
She further adds, “I remember it like yesterday, when after my Metric examinations he bought me collection of Rabindranath Tagore’s poems in ‘Gitanjali’. Today when I look back at it, I feel it was these instances and experiences which laid down the foundation of my interest in literature”
Being lifted above various confinements, prejudices and stereotypes that gripped society at that time, she penned down boldly during her school and college reflects her work which; many even got published in various prestigious publications within and out of the state.
The exposure to good literature at a rather early age helped Vijaya in broadening the horizon of her vision as well as putting wings on her imagination; it not only stimulated her curiosity, but boosted her knowledge and deepened her perspectives, ultimately adding to her confident demeanor.The shifting of base to Jammu for higher studies only proved a boon as Vijaya instilled a new sense of confidence in herself, not that she lacked any, before.
That the relationship with pen and paper was going to be a long term affair, was always known to Vijaya and she continued penning down many famous creations even after she joined Eduaction Department as a Lecturer which saw her moving to a whole new place- Kathua as she got married there too at the age of 26 to Arminder Slathia.
Serving there, Vijaya’s poems were being published regularly in scores of publications and it was then that she started reciting her poems on All India Radio, for which she was widely appreciated by one and all. Little did she know that during her stint at Radio, the life was going to take a significant turn-around.
Vijaya shares, “It was around this time that Lakshmi Shankar Vajpayee came from Delhi to join us as Station Director. He listening to my poems, asked me to start writing and singing Ghazals. A novice at that time in this particular field, I insisted that I already do the same. But Vajpayee Ji suggested me undergo a formal training and referred me to Rajinder Nath ‘Rehbar’, a noted maestro in Pathankot, Punjab famous for his composition- ‘Teri Khushboo se Bhare Khat Main Jalata Kaise’.”
In Vijaya admission the training proved very fruitful as the entire of first ever set of some twenty “odd Ghazals’ that she wrote, was published in ‘Ghazal Dushyant Ke Baad’ and one of them went on to win me the Best Ghazal of the Year Award in Rajasthan
Another instance that influenced Vijaya was meeting a poetess in Jodhpur who had sold all her property only to build a library for other to gain literary knowledge brought a major change in her.
Recalling the instances Vijaya says, “Rehbar Sahab, despite being known world over, lived like a saint. There was no pomp and show. This lady, Savitri Ji, I met at Jodhpur was so humble and so down to earth that it questioned many a thing I used to see around me, before meeting these two people.”
With a new perspective, Vijaya started working even harder towards her writing and attended many conferences and Mushaira’s across the country including the prestigious All India Urdu Mushaira. Vijaya was a name well-known among the Urdu poetry of the state when another change of events brought her closer to Dogri, which she was only exposed to after getting married.
“In what was a gathering of all the major Urdu poets of the region, I came across (Late) Yash Sharma Ji who advised me to start writing in Dogri. At first I was a bit apprehensive about it but then I gave it a try. The 20 odd couplets I wrote in Dogri, surprisingly, were appreciated by many, going on to get published in a couple of reputed publications as well,” she explains.

And this started Vijaya’s tryst with Dogri. She did ‘better than she expected’ and with the constant support and appreciation that followed, Vijaya came out with her first collection of Dogri poems in ‘Ki Je’. The book that came in the year 2009, contained 101 Dogri, each one a masterpiece in itself and went on to become one of the raging hits of the year, winning her accolades from the writers’ fraternity all around the state.
Vijaya tells more about the book and the content thereof. She shares, “My poems usually revolve around Nature and its elements, something I have seen and appreciated from very closely in my childhood spent in Rajouri. The dusk, the dawn and the beauty that hovers over the sky are some of the finest sights, I have encountered in this world.”
The other subjects which reflect very predominantly in Vijaya’s work are spiritualism and middle class women, the latter receiving a great share of focus from the writer. “Middle class women have always intrigued me to the core. You see, things are, much or less, clearly defined for both lower-class women and upper-class women. However, this group of society is very complex in its working. They are hanging between the two extremes, searching for the balance. Things become more difficult in case such women are working too. This intrigue got me and this is the reason they are such an important part in my work,” Vijaya explains.
For a person like Vijaya, her work and dedication for past over two decades speak for herself but that’s doesn’t mean it has not been recognized by authorities. With a number of awards and honours to her credit, major ones being Zeenat award of honour by Adbi Kunj, Gita Smriti Puraskar by Chetna Sahitya Parishad, Gorakhpur and various other honours by Khushdil in Jodhpur, Kalam in Dalhousie and Dogra Sadar Sabha in Jammu, Vijaya is certainly well acknowledged for her work.

An avid reader, Vijaya’s favourite works to read are not limited to one particular genre. From Leo Tolstoy and other Russian literatures to Bengali literature; from Urdu Shayari to Autobiographies of major authors, she has so much variety in her library. While her all time favourite book remains Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Gitanjali’, Vijaya is currently inclined towards spiritualism, Osho being the latest addition to her favourites.

Vijaya doesn’t forget to acknowledge the contribution from so many people in her life- her parents, siblings, in-laws and family. She also makes a special mention of the unconditional supported extended to her by her husband. “He always motivated, telling me to ‘go ahead’ whenever a task brought itself to me,” she says. As far as her hobbies are concerned, Vijaya ‘loves music and home decoration to the core.’ “I feel connected to the nature in a way like none other.
A reputed translator who has been working towards translating Bengali, Sindhi and Rajasthani literature, both prose and poems, into Dogri for past many years, Vijaya is coming out with yet another book on spiritualism and dualism that we human posses within. ‘Tappe’, another lost folk form of Dogra culture, is also on the list of Vijaya to revive.
Extracting from her experiences and life journey, Vijaya stresses on exposing children to literature, she emphasis on its positive and progressive impact on them and their evolution as a human being and as a citizen and we second that.
Vijaya’s message to women out there is- “Needs and problems of women of different background and strata are different so there isn’t a cure-all for all those hurdles and a fit for all advice. That being said, I cannot stress enough on the importance of education; education uplifts and empowers.”

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