In other countries, men of letters are cherished and their memories kept alive even when they are no more. But it seems that is not the case in Bihar. Residents of Unnuwaas in Buxar district are unhappy with the alleged neglect towards preserving the memories of Shivpujan Sahay by the administration.
An associate and editor of Munshi Premchand, Sahay is remembered by the villagers only through a statue they constructed a few years ago. But even the statue of the man of letters is in a bad shape. Villagers claim that no official bothers to visit his native village even on his birth anniversary, August 9.
Villagers rue that no officials ever come there to remember Sahay. But the villagers do not forget to garland his statue.
The well-known journalist was born in the village, around 145 km west of Patna, in 1893. He worked in Ara as a Hindi teacher from 1903 to 1921 before going to Calcutta to serve as the editor of Hindi magazine Matwala in 1923. The next year, he moved to Lucknow to work for another magazine, Madhuri . There, Sahay worked with Premchand on his famous novel Rangbhumi and his short stories.
Sahay worked in a number of Hindi magazines like Aadarsh, Matwala, Samanway, Jagran, Ganga and Himalay which were very famous at that time. He was also the editor of famous Hindi writers like Munshi Premchand and President Rajendra Prasad.
He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1960 for his contribution to literature and also received a DLitt from Bhagalpur University.
Sahay’s son Mangalmurti told mediapersons over phone from Lucknow: “I have written several times to the district administration about the neglect towards preserving the memories of my father. His statue set up by the villagers needs repairs but we have got no help from the authorities.”
His son, the retired English professor from the College of Commerce, Patna, added: “There is, however, a revival of interest in my father’s life and works. A local trust was established in his name recently in Buxar. they have decide to revive his heritage.”
A member of the trust, Shivpujan Sahay Smriti Sansthan, Pankaj Bharadwaj, said: “We shall never forget Sahayji. His contribution to Hindi literature was extraordinary. From last year, we have started to organise a programme in his memory in Buxar.”