Tag Archives: Anant Maral Shastri

Anant Maral Shastri – The Doyen of Information and Publicity at the dawn of Independence

Newsroom24x7 Network

Anant Maral Shastri was a student of Kashi Vidyapth. Alumni of Kashi Vidyapith include Chandra Shekhar Azad, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Kamlapati Tripathi, Raja Ram Shastri, B V Keskar, A.R. Shastri, Manamath Nath Gupt, Pranavesh Chatterjee, Tribhuvan Narain Singh, Harinath Shastri, Bhola Paswan Shastri, Anant Maral Shastri, Ramakrishna Hegde and Dr. Naheed Abidi.

At the time of Independence, Anant Maral Shastri was the first Editor of Aajkal, the popular Hindi magazine published by the Publications Division, Government of India. The circulation figure of the Independence Day edition of Aajkal was more than 1.50 lakh. Famous litterateur Manmath Nath Gupta was the Deputy Editor of Aaajkal in August 1947 and renowned poet Harivansh Rai Bacchan was a regular contributor to this magazine.

Front-ranking freedom fighter Acharya Narenda Dev with Anant Maral Shastri in Indore

In 1949, Anant Maral Shastri was selected by the State Public Service Commission and appointed as Director Information, Publicity and Braodcasting in the erstwhile Madhya Bharat State. Two major cities Indore and Gwalior jointly shared the status of the capital of Madhya Bharat and the erstwhile Maharajas – Jiwajirao Scindia of Gwalior and Yashwantrao Holkar of Indore were the Rajpramukhs of this State. Shastri was appointed in the pay-scale of Rs. 950-1000-1100 per month through the direct recruitment process. The maximum pay-scale of Secretaries in Madhya Bharat at that stage was Rs. 750 per month. When Shastri was Director Information and Publicity in Madhya Bharat, famous litterateur Ramdhari Singh Dinkar was Deputy Director Information and Publicity in Bihar, Govind Narain, who later became Union Defence Secretary and Governor of Karnataka was the Director of Information in Uttar Pradesh and Ali Yavar Jung, who subsequently became the Governor of Maharashtra was also Shastri’s contemporary as Director of Information in the Hyderabad State.

Anant Maral Shastri with his friend Durga Das, the legendary Editor of Hindustan Times, and his wife at Mandu, near Indore. This was in the early 50s of the last Century. Shastri is in background in a felt hat

In November 1956, at the time of the reorganisation of States, Central Province and Berar merged with Madhya Bharat, and a new State of Madhya Pradesh was created. This led to merger of different service cadres including Department of Information and Publicity cadre. Consequently Shastri was absorbed in the new cadre as Officer on Special Duty initially and later took over first as Director of Languages Department and subsequently again as Director of the Information and Publicity Department. In 1969, when the nation was preparing for the Gandhi Centenary celebrations , he played a yeoman’s role and oversaw the planning and execution of the publicity related to this historic event. He also worked over-time to ensure the first major reorganisation of the State Information and Publicity Department. It was due to this initiative that a large number of new posts were created at all levels, there was large-scale recruitment and serving officers also received quick promotions. Within a short span of time, officers working for a long period as Assistant and Deputy directors with no avenue for promotion, became Additional Directors and head of Department. Hanuman Prasad Tiwari and Amba Prasad Shrivastava, both experts , were among those Cadre officers who benefited from the reorganisation process and became Directors of Information and Publicity in Madhya Pradesh. Shastri was a towering figure and a major credit for all the initial nurturing and shaping  of the “Publicity Department ” in its growing years which has made the Department a great institution today, goes to him.

Photo shows Anant Maral Shastri with Marshal Tito. The former Maharaja of Gwalior Jiwajirao Scindia is on extreme left.
Anant Maral Shastri with Marshal Tito. The former Maharaja of Gwalior Jiwajirao Scindia is on extreme left.
The cover of Raghu Vansh, epic by Mahakavi Kalidasa. It was translated from Sanskrit to Hindi by Anant Maral Shastri and published by the State Government. It was presented on behalf of Madhya Pradesh government to the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru when he came to inaugurate the national Kalidasa Samaroh at Ujjain.
Anant Maral Shastri (2nd from right) is seen receiving Dr. Karan Singh at Bhopal airport from where they drove together to Ujjain. Renowned Sanskrit Scholar and former Union Minister Dr. Singh was then the Rajpramukh (Governor) of Jammu and Kashmir. He was the Chief Guest at the national Kalidas Samaroh (festival) that year (mid ’60s). On extreme right is the then State Chief Secretary MS Choudhary.

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Quit India Movement: Remembering a Freedom Fighter

Newsroom24x7 Desk

On the 77th anniversary of Quit India Movement, Newsroom24x7 pays homage to leading freedom fighter late Anant Maral Shastri, who had taken a break from Milap newspaper and also quit his teaching assignment in Lahore to jump into the Quit India Movement in 1942. He was arrested and kept in the Patna camp jail. One of the inmates in his cell was Sitaram Kesri, who was at that time a bugler of Congress Seva Dal. Kesri later rose to become the Indian National Congress President and was succeeded by Sonia Gandhi.

Anant Maral Shastri (1912–1999) will always be remembered as a freedom fighter, journalist, literary figure, poet, Sanskrit scholar, linguist and a highly respected administrator. At a very young age, he had left Ambikapur, now in Chhattisgarh, to join Kashi Vidyapeeth, a nationalist institution of learning in Varanasi, where he found a Guru in Acharya Narendra Dev, a renowned freedom fighter, scholar and teacher.

Acharya Narandra Dev with Anant Maral Shastri at his residence in Indore (early 50s of the 20th Century).

Acharya Narendra Dev, and another renowned freedom fighter Acharya JB Kriplani, were Anant Maral’s teachers at Kashi Vidyapeeth. Lal Bahadur Shastri, who rose to become Prime Minister of India after the death of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, and Kamlapati Tripathi, who later became the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, were Shastri’s contemporaries at Kashi Vidyapeeth.

There was a two-year period between 1930 and 1932 during the Civil Disobedience Movement, when the British had gagged the press, Anant Maral went underground to evade arrest and published the Congress Bulletin and Congress Samachar from Allahabad. He used to write in his own hand and cut stencils to print copies of the Congress Bulletin. He used to travel on foot from one village to another to distribute it and carry forward the Congress message. Around the same time, he also served as the Youth League secretary in Varanasi.

At the time of Independence, Anant Maral Shastri became the Editor of “Ajkal”- the highest circulated and the most popular Hindi magazine during those days. This magazine had become a platform for many budding and rising poets. Some of the contributors, including Harivansh Rai Bachchan, emerged as India’s greatest poets during the second half of last century.

At Publications Division, Anant Maral also played the key role in compiling and editing Mahatma Gandhi’s Prayer Speeches, jointly with former Union Minister Sushila Nayar. These speeches were recorded earlier by All India Radio. A collection of these speeches was published under the title “Bhaiyon aur Behnon” (Brothers and sisters).

Anant Maral Shastri with Marshal Tito. The former Maharaja of Gwalior Jiwajirao Scindia is on extreme left.

In 1949, Anant Maral Shastri came to Madhya Bharat as Director of Information and Publicity, a post he also held even in Madhya Pradesh after the reorganisation of States in 1956. Under Shastri’s able guidance, art and culture flourished in Madhya Pradesh, the heart of India in the post-Independence era. During his time, area-wise, Madhya Pradesh was the largest State in the country. The State was bifurcated in the year 2000 to create the separate State of Chhattisgarh.

Shastri remained at the helm and managed the culture scene for a long period in Madhya Pradesh (1956–71). During his tenure, two important annual events organised by the State – the famous Tansen Samaroh at Gwalior (music festival to commemorate the memory of Miyan Tansen – one of the nine gems in the court of the Moghul Emperor Akbar) and the Kalidas Samaroh (festival) at Ujjain to salute Kalidas, the great Classical Sanskrit poet and dramatist, had touched the pinnacle of glory. India’s first President Dr. Rajendra Prasad had inaugurated the first Akhil Bharatiya Kalidas Samaroh (National Kalidas Festival) in 1958. Next year, Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had inaugurated this festival. On this occasion, Nehru was presented with Kalidasa’s famous work, Raghuvansh. The epic was especially translated from Sanskrit to Hindi by Anant Maral Shastri to mark the occasion.

Shastri with Shehnai maestro Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan

It was at the initiative of BV Keskar, the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting (1952–62) that Tansen Samaroh was turned into a national Music festival and has remained a popular platform for maestros to perform. For close to two decades, Anant Maral Shastri also spearheaded Madhya Pradesh Shasan Sahitya Parishad and Kala Parishad (State Councils for Literature and Arts). The Tagore Centenary and Alauddin Khan Centenary celebrations as well as the magnificent event organised in the early 1960s at Khandwa to honour Makhanlal Chaturvedi, the legendary Hindi Poet, were a high water mark of Shastri’s career and shall always add to the pride and glory of Madhya Pradesh.

Postscript:

After Independence, Anant Maral Shastri had refused to accept a house that was being given to him by the government under the refugee quota at Nizamuddin, now a high-end residential colony in New Delhi. This was when he had shifted to Delhi from Lahore on partition and creation of Pakistan.

Shastri had also refused to avail the freedom fighters’ pension and all the benefits that went with it. As head of the department for more than two decades, first in the erstwhile Madhya Bharat State and then in Madhya Pradesh, he remained a fine example of probity in public life. What to talk of making sure that none of his children or relatives ever sat in his official staff car, he also made it a point to always fill his fountain pen only with ink that he had purchased with his own money. His argument was that besides the official noting, he was also using the pen for personal jottings or for writing letters that were not official.

Quit India Movement and the life and times of Anant Maral Shastri

Newsroom24x7 Desk

Anant Maral Shastri will always be remembered as a freedom fighter, journalist, literary figure, poet, Sanskrit scholar, linguist and a respected administrator. At a very young age, he had left Ambikapur, now in Chhattisgarh, and joined Kashi Vidyapeeth, a nationalist institution of learning in Varanasi, where he found a Guru in Acharya Narendra Dev, a renowned freedom fighter, scholar and teacher.

Acharya Narandra Dev with Anant Maral Shastri at his residence in Indore

On the 75th anniversary of Quit India movement, Newsroom24x7 pays homage to leading freedom fighter late Anant Maral Shastri, who had taken a break from Milap newspaper and also quit his teaching assignment in Lahore to jump into the Quit India Movement in 1942. He was arrested and kept in the Patna camp jail. One of the inmates in his cell was Sitaram Kesri, who was at that time a bugler of Congress Seva Dal. Kesri later rose to become the Indian National Congress President and was succeeded by Sonia Gandhi.

Anant Maral Shastri (1912–1999), will always be remembered as a freedom fighter, journalist, literary figure, poet, Sanskrit scholar, linguist and a respected administrator under whose able guidance art and culture flourished in the heart of India in the post-Independence era.

At a very young age, Anant Maral had become a nationalist. He left his home at Ambikapur, now in Chhattisgarh, to join Kashi Vidyapeeth, a nationalist institution of learning in Varanasi, where he found a Guru in Acharya Narendra Dev, who was a renowned freedom fighter, scholar and teacher.

Acharya Narendra Deva, and another renowned freedom fighter Acharya JB Kriplani, were Anant Maral’s teachers at Kashi Vidyapeeth . Lal Bahadur Shastri, who rose to become Prime Minister of India after the death of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, and Kamlapati Tripathi, who later became the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, were Anant Maral Shastri’s contemporaries at Kashi Vidyapeeth.

There was a two-year period between 1930 and 1932 during the Civil Disobedience Movement, when the British had gagged the press, Anant Maral went underground to evade arrest and published the Congress Bulletin and Congress Samachar from Allahabad. He used to write in his own hand and cut stencils to print copies of the Congress bulletin. He used to go on foot from one village to another to distribute it and carry forward the Congress message. Around the same time, he also served as the Youth League secretary in Varanasi.

At the time of Independence, Anant Maral Shastri was Editor of “Ajkal”- the highest circulated and the most popular Hindi magazine during those days. This magazine had become a platform for many budding and rising poets. Some of them, including Harivansh Rai Bachchan, emerged as India’s greatest poets during the second half of last century.

At Publications Division, Anant Maral also played the key role in compiling and editing Mahatma Gandhi’s Prayer Speeches, jointly with former Union Minister Sushila Nayar. These speeches were recorded earlier by All India Radio. A collection of these speeches was published under the title “Bhaiyon aur Behnon” (Brothers and sisters).

Anant Maral Shastri with Marshal Tito. The former Maharaja of Gwalior Jiwajirao Scindia is on extreme left.

In 1949, Anant Maral Shastri came to Madhya Bharat as Director of Information and Publicity, a post he also held even in Madhya Pradesh after the reorganisation of States in 1956. He remained at the helm and managed the culture scene for a long period in Madhya Pradesh(1956–71). During his tenure, two important annual events organised by the State – the famous Tansen Samaroh at Gwalior (music festival to commemorate the memory of Miyan Tansen – one of the nine gems in the court of the Moghul Emperor Akbar) and the Kalidas Samaroh (festival) at Ujjain to salute Kalidas, the great Classical Sanskrit poet and dramatist, had touched the pinnacle of glory. India’s first President Dr. Rajendra Prasad had inaugurated the first Akhil Bharatiya Kalidas Samaroh (National Kalidas Festival) in 1958. Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was the chief guest at the second. On this occasion, Nehru was presented with Kalidasa’s famous work, Raghuvansh. The epic was especially translated from Sanskrit to Hindi by Anant Maral Shastri to mark this occasion.

Shastri with Shehnai maestro Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan

It was at the initiative of BV Keskar, the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting (1952–62) that Tansen Samaroh was turned into a national Music festival and has remained a popular platform for maestros to perform. For close to two decades, Anant Maral Shastri also spearheaded Madhya Pradesh Shasan Sahitya Parishad and Kala Parishad (State Councils for Literature and Arts). The Tagore Centenary and Alauddin Khan Centenary celebrations as well as the magnificent event organised during the 1960s at Khandwa to honour Makhanlal Chaturvedi, the legendary Hindi Poet, were a high water mark of Shastri’s career and shall always add to the pride and glory of Madhya Pradesh.

Postscript:

Immediately after Independence, Anant Maral Shastri had refused to accept a house that was being given to him by the government under the refugee quota at Nizamuddin, now a high-end residential colony in New Delhi. This was when he had shifted to Delhi after partition and creation of Pakistan.

Shastri , all his life refused to avail the freedom fighters’ pension and the benefits that go with it.

As head of the department for more than two decades, first in the erstwhile Madhya Bharat State and then in Madhya Pradesh, he remained the ultimate example of probity in public life. What to talk of making sure that none of his children ever sat in his staff car, he also made it a point to always fill his fountain pen only with ink that he had purchased with his own money. His argument was that besides the official noting, he was also using the pen for personal jottings or for writing letters that were not official.