Truculent Clay is a potpourri of the author's insights on life and its many mysteries. Ajneya dives deep into his soul to pen down these reflections surfacing with startling insights. ‘To whom may one dedicate a fistful of clay? One waits, one dreams, one battles, one moulds the clay into an image. Clay images do not last, but the joy is in the making of them; the earth's truculence is not overcome, but while the artist is savaged, a form has been created. The form endures.’ ‘It is the battle that one dedicates -to those who have shared its scars.'
Preparing the Ground
Preparing the Ground was written originally in Hindi in 1975 and was titled Antara. It is a documentation of his contemplations associated with creativity. The book gives the reader a peep into the mental processes of the author, leading towards an understanding of the kind of questions associated with literature that haunted or challenged the author during the course of his writings. There are different shades of humour in these writings, marked with high degree of precision and economy of words.
Sachchidanand Vatsyayan Ajneya (7.3.1911 - 4.4.1987): an eminent Hindi writer, journalist and pioneer of Indian Modernity in Hindi. Ajneya is a multi-farious literary personality and stands as a harbinger of new trends in almost all genres of literary writings. He has written poetry, short stories, novels, travelogues, essays, criticism and also a poetic drama. In addition to being a writer, Ajneya was a journalist and revolutionary freedom fighter.
Born in Kushinagar (Karaya) district Devariya, Uttar Pradesh in an archaeological excavation camp, while his archaeologist father Pt. Hiranand Shastri was supervising the excavations. During his childhood he stayed at many places - Lucknow, Shrinagar, Jammu with his scholarly father. His early education began with learning Sanskrit from his father; later on he studied Persian and English, did his Intermediate from Science College Madras. After graduating in science he took admission in M.A. English. Before completing the Master's degree he started taking part in revolutionary activities; joined Socialist Republic Party; came in contact with Chandra Shekhar Azad. Writing and freedom struggle go hand-in-hand with Ajneya. His first short story was written in 1924 and first poem in 1927. During 1926-1936 he remained an active revolutionary involved in making bomb at Himalayan Toilet Factory, Delhi. He was arrested in 1930, got imprisoned for anti-British rule activities.
While in prison Ajneya wrote his famous radical novel Shekhar: Ek Jiwani and a collection of poems entitled Chinta. After being released from jail he worked as sub-editor in Hindi Daily 'Sainik' at Agra and 'Vishal Bharat' at Calcutta. After some time he left journalism to join the farmers' movement in Meerut. In 1942 Ajneya organised Anti-fascist movement in Delhi. During 1943-46 he served as captain in Indian Army, while posted at North East Frontier he travelled on public information duty. His contact with the North Eastern life became source of many of his later writings.
The publication of his radical novel Shekhar Ek Jiwani (Part I) in 1941 resulted in a good deal of fury in Literary Circles. In 1943 Ajneya edited Tar Saptak a collection of poems by seven contemporary poets each of whom had his own world view. Ajneya called it an experiment in poetic sensibility as well as expression. Tar Saptak marked the revolutionary trends in Hindi poetry initiating many questions and debates which were answered in Doosara Saptak 1951 and Tisara Saptak 1958. Collection of his poems in English is titled 'Prison days and other poems'.
As a journalist Ajneya is known for literary and socio political journals started or edited by him i.e. 'Pratik, 'Walk', 'Dinman’, 'Everyman's weekly'. He had also been the editor of Hindi Daily Nav Bharat Times.
He travelled to many European countries (1955-56) and Japan (1957-58) under UNESCO plan of cultural exchange; had been a visiting professor of Indian Literature and culture at California University, delivered Lectures at various Forums in India and abroad.
Ajneya was recipient of many literary awards including Sahitya Akademi Award for Angan Ke Par Dwar and Jnanpith Samman for Kitani Navon main Kitani Bar. He established 'Vatsal Nidhi, a fund for literature and cultural activities like lectures, travels of authors, literary workshops and publications and created a new kind of awareness for literature and its reception.
Two Diaries of the eminent Hindi writer Sachchidanand Hiranand Vatsyayan Ajneya are compiled together in this Volume. Written originally in Hindi under the titles 'Bhavanti' (1972) and Antara (1975), they have been translated by the writer himself under the titles 'Truculent Clay' and 'Preparing the Ground'. They are different from the common practice of making day-to-day or date- wise entries in the diary.
Ajneya has called them, 'Antah-prakriyayen' (internal processes) or 'log book' of his creative journey. He has kept the autobiographical aspect aside as he believed that autobiographies are beguiling; they cannot be honest or true. These diaries document the experiences and struggles of creative process.
Ajneya himself has indicated that 'Bhavantt' has not been prepared as a planned book; rather it is an outcome of the contemplations associated with the creative process. The experiences, events, emotions and the author's struggle with his own self in the process of creativity have been recorded in small- small bits and these bits have been put into a string in 'Bhavanti'. The author regards that these events are a history of small wars. They make 'Bhavanti' a 'log book' of creative journey in the sense that these contemplations can be found resounding in his creative works of that period.
'Antara' also records the creative process. The English Title of the diary 'Preparing the Ground' is suggestive of the author's statement that the reader of 'Antara' would get to know as to which or what type of questions associated with literature have been haunting or challenging the author for past ten years not merely as a spectator of events but as a person whose own life and Work is closely linked with these questions and problems.
Both of these diaries have enough space for wit, humour and satire with a high degree of precision and economy of words. Ajneya has always struggled for the freedom of thought and feelings. These diaries are product of that state of mind.
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