Monday, April 03, 2006
A public apology to Babu Devakinandan Khatri
I was 12 years old at that time. We were on a family holiday trip to the south, and it happened to be my first journey in an AC compartment(Tamil Nadu Express to Madras). Being used to reading something before sleeping every night, but not having anything on my hands(this being a 3 week long journey, mom had prohibited me from carrying any books- "waise hi samaan bahut hai" types), I did the next best thing - looked around for a fellow traveller from whom I could borrow a book. As luck would have it, there was an uncle who was in the berth next to ours, and he was reading a Hindi book in an attractive black cover. When he turned in for the night, I sweeetly asked him what he was reading. "Chandrakanta Santati", he told me. I then asked him, very sweetly this time, if I could borrow the book for some time since he was anyways going off to sleep. "Read on", said he,"but only at your risk", or he should have said that if he didn't, because it turned my world upside down for the next few months. I started reading it and discovered that it was the sequel to a book called 'Chandrakanta', which apparently was a rage when it was published. Worse, it was spread over 6 books. Anyways, I started... and kept turning the pages. Must have read some 100 pages only of the book that night before being forced to sleep, and the uncle left the next morning, but I was as hooked as hooked can be.
As soon as I got back to Delhi, I started making efforts to get hold of the book so that I could complete the madness that had started that fateful night in the train. Luckily, I didn't have to fight too much for it. My chachaji(uncle) was a professor of Hindi in Delhi's Hansraj College at that time, and he used his contacts to arrange for the books for me over the next couple of months. But in my description of the seduction process, I seem to have completely omitted telling anything about the books themselves. My apologies to the readers.
Chandrakanta and Chandrakanta Santati were written by Babu Devakinandan Khatri in the late 19th century. What are they all about??? Well, its fantasy fiction in an Indian context. The original Chandrakanta is about a prince Virendra Singh, who is in love with the princess of a rival kingdom. Her name: no prizes for guessing this one, is Chandrakanta. Thrown into this love story is a 'tilism', a magical maze in an old abandoned fort which is there to guard a huge treasure trove. Virendra Singh and Chandrakanta have to ensure that their love wins against evil villains like King Shivdutt of another kingdom, who wants to capture the treasure, and rival 'aiyyars', sort of super-spies with almost magical powers of transforming themselves into another person, and experts in all modes of warfare. Virendra Singh has his own group of 'aiyyars' led by Tej Singh, to support him. Its swashbuckling fare, with sword-fights, magic, treachery, deceit, bravery, and above all love at it's best!
It's sequel, Chandrakanta Santati, is to Chandrakanta, what Lord of the Rings is to The Hobbit. Its a much more monumental and complex work, spread over six thick books(against the single book of Chandrakanta), and by the time you reach the end of the 6th book, you realize that its been some time since you last breathed! It is the story of the 2 sons of Virendra Singh and Chandrakanta, and has the added attraction of a mysterious mercenary 'aiyyar' called Bhootnath, who has a magical dagger, and plays such an important role in the book that there followed a separate book on him, called 'Bhootnath'.
A small aside on the popularity of the books in their era. Apparently, the publishers used to print one chapter at a time, as and when the author kept submitting them, and on the day the chapter was to be released, there used to be a huge crowd outside the press, and the chapter was sold to people like in an auction.
The sad ending of this story: I have been wanting to buy these books for the last so many years, but they're not available anywhere. I tried on the net, I tried some bookshops in Delhi which keep Hindi stuff, but nothing. All I found was a Diamond Pocket Books version of Chandrakanta, with Shikha Swaroop's photograph on top. I threw the book down in disgust. Some people might recall that Neerja Guleri had made a TV serial called Chandrakanta long ago. I wanted to murder her after watching the serial, because she had made a royal mess of it, totally slaughtering the beautiful story in the process. It had Shikha Swaroop as Chandrakanta, and Shahbaz Khan as Virendra Singh. Anyways, too depressing...
This post is also doubling up as a public appeal: If anyone of you ever comes across these books in any bookshop, or know of any senile old man who wants to sell them before he dies, pls get in touch with me immediately. My kingdom for these books...
Also check http://www.dkpd.com/servlet/dispinfo?offset=0&searchtype=Author&text1=Abu
tcp: Prabhu aap mahaan ho, kripaalu ho, dayaalu ho, mayaalu ho, main to kehta hoon aap purush hi nahi ho... mahapurush ho mahapurush!!! Sunshine: I would've translated this, but don't know the meaning of a couple of words, and the whole flavor will be lost. Its a legendary dialogue of Aamir Khan from a cult comedy called 'Andaaz Apna Apna'. Loosely translated, it means -"God, you are great, you are benevolent, merciful, blah blah... in fact you are not even a man... you are a 'great man'" :-)
cloudy: Ordered them on the net yesterday, tcp's 2nd link worked. Will mail a party to all of you, just like i'm mailing my kingdom to tcp-the great!
EU: Nahiiiiii, keh do yeh jhooth hai! Door ho ja meri nazron se, dhikkar hai tum pe... etc. etc. (Translation for Sunshine: Noooo, say it isn't true! Get away from my sight, shame on you...) How could you just 'give away' books??? :-)
i'll post something on my blog regarding this magnum work of literature.
to startwith, this is one of the earliest works written in hindi as we read it now. at that time, urdu was the dominant language.
this book brought hindi into the limelight although many terms are of urdu origin. a revolution, scores of non-hindi speaking people learned hindi to read chandrakanta.
and there's more to be read on my blog in a couple of days from now. keep the faith.
sunshine: tcp started it, and now he's got me into this habit too. You pls don't worry at all, its great fun for the writer as well as for the readers (haven't had any complaints till now) :-)
AFJ: You can borrow them from me, if I manage to extract them from DK Publishers and Distributors that is :-)
Just me: Tussi zinda ho??? I am so happy :-) And bhat ng trash are thou talking about? Chandrakanta-the TV Series??? Be slightly more explicit kudiye, as you know, itna padha likha nahi hoon ki aise cryptic messages samajh sakoon:-)
Aside to the other readers: Pardon the liberal use of Punjabi and Hindi in my previous comment, Just Me and I talk like that only, so any other way seems wierd to me :-)
EU: Sabr ka phal meetha hota hai (Fruit of patience is sweet) :-) I'll soon be back, promise :-)
Address: Pishachmochan, Varanasi
Budget: Complete works of Babu Devakinandan Khatri & Shri Durgaprasad Khatri under 600 bucks. And that means complete.
Chandrakanta, Santati, Bhootnath, Rohtasmath, Guptgodna, Kajar Ki Kothri etc. in a complete package.
How they manage to do this is still a mystery to me.
And not only babu ji, you'll get the works of major literary gems from indian literature in complete-one shot form.
You'll get Sarat, Bankim, Bhartendu, Vrindavan Lal Verma, Rameshwar Tantiya, Balraj Sahni, and many others from the same publisher and at such a low cost that it will make you speechless.
They've researched for and compiled the complete works of Kabir too. Can you imagine Kabir, of all authors?
I hope purchasing from these people will keep your insides a little warm, instead of getting those scanned copies from your net friend.
AFJ, what do you say?
Adi: Bhai no time to go to Varanasi and all. When I will retire and take sanyas, then I'll go there for pilgrimage and buy these books methinks :-) Meanwhile, still waiting for the delivery of my books from DKPD, they mailed me today that they've sent it today by registered post! I'm keeping my fingers crossed!
Can you please give me the complete address, phone number and if possible the website address of Publishers in Varanasi? I am an die hard fan of Devkinandan khatri's books. I have read Chandrakanta, Chandrakanta santiti a number of times but have read only two parts of Bhootnath ( from my University Library) and feel like my life is incomplete if I dnt get to read rest of Bhootnath.
It would be really great of you if you can provide me above information at email@example.com.
Address: Pishachmochan, Varanasi
doesnt had the bhootnath & further titles. These has been copyrighted by Lahari Press.
Can any one give me the phone number of the Lahari Press.
I am having the address of the same:
C 25/1, Ramkatora, PB no. 39,
And the old phone number which is not working: 0542-344210.
Also I am not sure if the number C 25/1 is working or not but rest address is correct.
Good to hear from all of you that you like the books. I also thought maybe I was the only die hard fan of Babu Devkinandan Khatri's books especially The whole Chandrakanta series. I have read the whole package god knows how many times. We have the whole collection. But the problem is that books we have were bought when they were released and know eventhough we took great care the pages have become brittle and they are breaking. We have tried writing to the original publishers without any response. So please if any of you can find a place where they can be available preferably in the book form then please inform me at the following address. firstname.lastname@example.org And I want the original version not the edited ones.
And as for the serial that started based on the novel, I don't know enough bad words to describe it. But later they started a serial called Bhootnath which was going exactly like the book but the people behave in the strange ways sometimes, they did not like it and it stopped. A Pity.
Anyways please anybody.........if you can tell me how I can lay my hands on these books.........Mail me.
Ph. +91(22)23826739. All sent to Germany. They have other books by Khatri as well.
If you want the Origianl copy of the book you can get it from "Rajkamal Prakashan Pvt Ltd New Delhi ",
I had just brought Chandrakanta Santati from there.
And it seems that i am getting addicted of reading this.
Like you, I also used to think that I am the only one who is a big big fan of chandrakanta...and i am so happy to know that I was so wrong...
Again like you, my serious romance with these books started in 1989 while holidaying in nainital..earlier i had read some excerpts in a childrens magazine called Parag...And yes, within no time, I was the proud owner of Chandraknata, six volumes of Chandrakanta Santati, 7 volumes of Bhoothnath, and later 2 volumes of Rohtasmath.
I also had got a chance to meet the grandson of Devkinanadan Khatri in the world book fair held in delhi way back in early 90s.
I bougth all these from delhi pustak mahal (Daryaganj)and worl book fair..you may try there if you haven't got it yet.
I was hoping to get the online version of these books, but guess Hindi literature is still meted out the step motherly treatment...sigh!!
Anyway...nice to find more chandrakanta lovers...
My story of Chandrakanta is little similar to you. When I was a Child studying in 3rd Std in Ujjain (MP) my grandfather got me the membership of Zila granthalaya. After his demise as I grew older I started frequenting the library & at the age of 13yr got hold of Chandrakanta. It was the second vol of Chandrakanta Santati & the story went over my head but only thing I understood was the first book is Chandrakanta. So I searched for it and one day got it issued to me. The love was instantenuous. Got hooked to the book within first three pages. Read the full book within 2 weeks span.
So when Nirja Guleri ( !@*$!&^#^, I hope u understand the words ) started the serial I was overjoyed. My joy was brutally murdered on the very first episode. I was in 10th std at that time otherwise I might have sued her along with Dr.Rahi Masoom Raza for he was the one who actually wrote the script for the serial.
So when I left for hostel & got some extra money in my pocket I started searching for the book. Luckily I found it at the house of person running pvt mess for students. That gentle guy gave me Babu Devki Nandan Khatri Samgra at meager price of Rs.25/-. The best deal of my life untill today. The book is still with me at my residence in India.
I will try to scan & upload it if possible may be in nr future. But the book is really joy for reading. If you try google u will find many publishers offering the book. Best of luck
I have had read all seventeen books and having a collection of those too.if any one want these book's too, he can place an order through "Pustakmahal" or through laharo book depo.
Chandrakanta (1 Book)
Chandrakanta Santati(6 Book's)
Bhootnath (7 Book's)Must Read
Rohtasmath (2 Book's)A royal ending.
out of the 3 chandrakanta , chandrakanta santati, and bhootnath .. i rate bhootnath the most compelling read, even though you can spot the difference between the two writers easily towards the last parts of the book.
Fortunately or unfortunately, i got to read chandrakanta first time during my 10th boards. ..and only i know how it affected my scores altogether. but never mind ... i was never into studies. i again read bhootnath about a month back that is almost after 17 years.
This was when i left the company i was working with to join a new one. i took a break of about two weeks in between. that was when i did nothing but finshed bhoothnath 7 parts in 5 days flat. however, i was little disturbed this time.. somehow i felt little too attached to the character and felt that he was unnecessarily intimidated by indra dev, jamna sarswati, dayaram and the gang.. felt sorry for the guy .. his frnds/enemies could not understand him properly..
anyways... chandrakanta had emphasis on love story along with some aiyyari. santati was more of tilism and kalakari - but bhootnath is on your face . .. all about aiyaari and tricks.. ummm ! i liked it the most .. unfortunately, it's ending seemed like a little hurried up ..
certainly my best ever reads ( all of them ) !!
It is so so good to know that there are quite a few who have read Chandrakanta and santati!!
I have read almost all of Babu Devakinandan Khatri's works as an adolescent. Its been 10-15 years since, and now I would love to own a copy of his work.
And yes, I totally agree, how Nirja Guleri killed the story, how she butchered it to the extent that it could not be recognised as Khatri's work. And I feel really sad, that she created a false impression in everybody's mind that Devakinandan's work was so frivolous.
1. Bhootnath was completed by shri Durga Prasad Khatri, worthy son of Babu Devkinandan Khatri.
2. Alongwith Rohtasmath and Bootnath, Shri Durga Prasad Khatri authored other books too. These are "Raktamandal", "Safed Pishach" and a few others.
3. These are science finctions. The Lead was Pt. Gopal Sahankar. Later on Mrs. Chandrakanta Jain under the penname of "Chander" took the lead and wrote Indian edition of James Bond- Bhola Shankar (BS). She imagined a spy organization of India with a name of SWEEP with Pt. Gopalsahankar as its cheif and his son BS as card no.1.
5. Prior to Mrs. Jain, Mr. Om Prakash Sharma popularly called Janpriya lekhak had authored some 4 or 5 novels featuring Bhootnath as a tribute to the legendary DNK.He also named his imaginary colony, official residence of perosennels of " Kendriya Khufia Vibhag" as "Bhootnath Colony".
When you narrated your story, I found it to be similar. I am a die hard fan of Babu Devkinandan Khatri. I had a chance to read Chndrakanta nad Chandrakanta Santati a long time back when I was at my relative's place. I want to read other books by Babu Devkinandan Khatri and want to have my personal copy of Chandrakanta and Chandrakanta Santati. Do you know a book store in Delhi where I can found all or most of the books by Babu Devkinandan Khatri. Please any of you if knows, mail me address of the book store at email@example.com.
Thanks in advance!!
How are you?
I am Anshul from Beawar, Rajasthan. I was just searching a book of Devki Nandan Khatri's Rohtasmath & I came across your blog. I have read all the books of Chandrakanta Series and all the books of Bhootnath series too but I could not find Rohtasmath. I have searched everywhere, all metros, all malls. all old book shops, internet and all kind of book fairs, but I couldn't find Rohtasmath. Please if you can find it somewere then please tell me. My mail id is firstname.lastname@example.org
I see that a lot of readers on this page are looking for the entire series. I recently ordered the entire Chandrakanta set as well as Bhootnath from www.flipkart.com who shipped them free of cost in excellent condition within 3 days.
I have finished Chandrakanta in 4 days of feverish reading, having neglected the family as well as the IPL matches... and can't wait to get started on the Santati set.
Hope this helps all you eager readers! :-)
And my dear friends all his novels are present on net. Check them out. I am reading them living in GCC.
If you need help : email@example.com
And my dear friends all his novels are present on net. Check them out. I am reading them living in GCC.
If you need help : firstname.lastname@example.org
I am big fan of Mr Khatri, hope we revitalise his great works!
1 worldman publications
nawapura baraganesh varansi 221001
phone o542 2441311,,,, 2441769
2 chaukhamba sanskrit siriz
cauwk bank of baroda building opp,chitra cinema phone o542 2420414
yes its not kidding,,its fact,,,
i love reading devki nandan khatri books mostly chandrakanta and series at age of 13 years. After it i had not time to read it. Now, i have finished my graduation nd free! Again i read chandrakanta series from web. Now, i need bhootnath novel to read. If u can send its copy at my mail id- 'email@example.com' then i will be urs thankful much!
I have trid very much bt cant find anywhere. Plz help me dear!!
Thank you for making me remember the thrill of the first read!!
If anybody is seriously interesting in getting these books, please let me know.
I've contacted with grandson of Babu Devki Nandan Khatri & got the remaining books from my collection (Rohtasmath)
my mail id is firstname.lastname@example.org
I happened to meet the present generation of Babu Devakinandan Khatri in Varanasi. His fourth generation, Vivek Khatri is in Mumbai, where you are based (at least were based when you wrote your post). They have a collection of all the books by the Khatri clan, printed at their now defunct family press called Lahari Press.
If you desire I can post a picture of their rate-list.