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HRD minister ‘Nishank’ has written 44 books — high on patriotism, ‘low on literary value’

Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ has written novels, self-help books, and even poetry. Several of them were published between 2009 & 2011, when he was Uttarakhand CM.

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New Delhi: Biographies of Swami Vivekananda, an account of the Kedarnath catastrophe, self-help books and even a book on the army which has been adapted into a movie. Short stories, non-fiction, travelogues, novels and even poetry. India’s new Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ has authored all these and more.

The sheer volume of Nishank’s work — 44 books — would put him in the company of a giant of Hindi literature like Munshi Premchand. The fact that he uses a pen-name or nom de plume, ‘Nishank’, would put him in the same bracket as the legendary poets Ramdhari Singh ‘Dinkar’ and Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirala’.

But they’re hardly works of art — according to scholars and literature connoisseurs, his books are heavy on patriotism, light on literary quality.

Among Nishank’s books on Swami Vivekananda are Himalaya Mein VivekanandaKarmyogi Vivekananda, Chicago Mein Vivekananda and Mahayogi Vivekananda. His novel Major Nirala was adapted into a film in his home state, produced by his daughter Arushi. Some of his work has been translated into English and other Indian languages as well.

Most of his books have been published by two private publishers — Vani Prakashan and Diamond Books — while government publisher National Book Trust has also brought out some. A large number of books were published between 2009 and 2011, when he was chief minister of Uttarakhand.

‘No literary value’

“The kind of books that Nishank ji has written are nowhere close to being called literature. I have read some of his books, and they seem to have completely different writing styles in different chapters — almost seeming like a compilation,” said a teacher of Hindi literature at Delhi University, who did not wish to be named, of Nishank’s body of work.

“Most of his books got published during the period when he was the CM of Uttarakhand, and the reason they got published is probably because he had connections. No one talks about his ‘literature’ before or after holding an important position.”

A professor of Hindi, who too did not want to be identified, added: “I just know that he is a BJP MP who has now become the HRD minister and wants to be known as an author. But beyond that, I have no idea about his work as a writer. If someone has written 44 books, he should be known in the literary world, but sadly, he is not known.”

A former president of the Sahitya Kala Akademi added: “I have been a part of a literary body, but I have never come across any work by Ramesh Pokhriyal. Maybe it doesn’t have any literary value.”

‘Connects with the people’

However, Dr Chandan Kumar, who also teaches Hindi at Delhi University, is familiar with Nishank’s work, and disagrees with his peers.

“His work might not be literary, but he is definitely someone who connects with people through his writing. The idea of India and patriotism reflects very well through his books,” Kumar told ThePrint.

He added that books like Bheed Sakshi Hai and Pahaad Se Uncha, both novels, “have a connect with the common man, especially Pahaad Se Uncha, which is all about self-confidence”.

Bechain Kandiyal, who handles Nishank’s publishing interests, says his books are commercially successful, and he earns a decent royalty amount from Uttarakhand and the rest of the country.

“His books are sold all over the country and not just in Uttarakhand. He has written many books even before he was the CM of the state,” Kandiyal said.

“Big publishers like Vani Prakashan and Diamond Books have published a number of his books, and they have also displayed and marketed them at book fairs. We keep getting royalty from his books, and recently, one of his books fetched a royalty of Rs 25,000.”

Also read: Haridwar MP Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank is HRD minister, new education policy his top priority


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  1. Troll the popular and the famous is the new age trend. Dr. Nishank is a sensitive writer and a trend setter in literature. His poetic craftsmanship sets him apart from other mainstream writers. Simple in tone and high in fervour are some of the unique features.
    For all those who unscrupulously question him for his poetic talent, I suggest to please first read his all 44 books before reaching to the conclusion.

  2. The first rule of debate is always to attack the argument and not the speaker. Instead of attacking the writer of this article (as the above comments show), why not point out the flaws in her arguments? Which by the way are not even hers, she is quoting professors and teachers of Hindi at well known universities, and a former president of the Sahitya Kala Academy.
    And then she has quoted someone who looks after his publishing interests. None of these are her personal opinions.
    So please go back, read all 44 books and come back with an INFORMED opinion of your own before making nasty personal comments here.

  3. If you can’t find fault with his education, get some personal comments from some ‘helpful’ useless morons and be faithful to your boss’s paymasters

  4. What is the “journalistic” value of this article??

    Hey Kritika – how many books have you written?? What is “your” contribution literary or otherwise to be called a “journalist”? How many big editors across India’s journalism schools know if you even exist?

    This article is nothing more than mean spirited , condescending trolling by some upstart eager to meet her quota for the week! If there was anything called an editorial board on this money making scheme called “The Print” this crap would be in the recycle bin. But this fetid nonsense is now published by some reprobate looking for lulz.

  5. well well well.. at least now u r doing a critique role for his literature work and finding it not so high as u wishit to…that too without reading. no harm.. i may also not like the work of some so called eminent writers…however u may also cherish the very fact that he is heading the ministry where he was active since long and had contributed in the field too..recognised or not .__is secondary..we rather suggest you to judge him on his decision making in the office in coming days and not waste your resources on trivial and petty notes like peeking into someones indivisual life…

  6. Nishank has produced a body of literature,can anyone deny it? What is the canon or school of critical thought to decide the ,”value”of his works?can few individuals without reading or with partial reading be so authoritative on a writer who has not claimed a hallowed tag of any literary following i.e rea,ultra red or blue or yellow?He has never claimed for being placed in the firmament of the Great Hindi literature but he is being judged or belittled today for reasons other than literary.This is detrimental to the very act of writing itself and advocates literary feudalism obliquely.Rather he should have been welcomed as an oasis in the dry world of politics.

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