At the very outset, I would like to submit that I have planned to include a wider view of the experience of studying the engineering degree course, by inviting views of some friends who were senior to us at LD – even though they happened to be in the ‘old’ course of three-year studies for earning an engineering degree. As such, these memoirs will be not simply recounting our memories but also will be retrospectively reflective as well – with that proverbial a pinch of salt that would make the nostalgia a bit tasteful, and meaningful, as well!
When I started recollecting the memories of the First Year of our five-year graduate engineering course @ LD College of Engineering, I thought that looking at it from so far-off (time) reference point, I should be able to see it in a clearer perspective than I indeed did see it then, from the very-close reference point of the present that we were actually living in. But as I try to put down more and more memories of that year here, do I see such a difference? When I started putting down my memories of events of the first year, I perceive that some events ought to have dazzled us or confused us or frightened us. Some of those events certainly were pleasantly interesting, whether direction-orienting or direction-determining or not, at least, then.
As such, I plan to organize these reminiscences of our first year in the three-part posts. Grouping them under the titles of these experiences that living those events that we felt or should have felt.
Dazzling. . ..!?
The very first thing that was ‘new’ to us was the semester system. However, our initial understanding that instead of five annual examinations, to be conducted by (Gujarat) University, we will now have ten examinations. I think we all accepted that ‘fact’ ‘as is’, since we did not have any reasons to think beyond that.
We also knew that we have entered a new field of studies. So, the titles of subjects, in our first semester timetable like Engineering drawing -1 or Workshops or Strength of materials – 1 etc. also we accepted ‘as is’, perhaps subconsciously knowing that we will have to cross many such ‘new’ bridges, so be it. However, seeing the familiar nouns like Mathematics, Chemistry, with the prefix ‘Engineering’ also did not cause any crease of curiosity on almost anyone of us. Possibly because, we, all, have been trained well to learn new ‘what’ and ‘how’. without ever thinking why we need to learn that ‘what’ and ‘how’. [In fact, I was to understand and appreciate the importance of ‘why’ almost two decades later, when I had to address the mechanism to assess the effectiveness of the training as part of the portfolio of ISO 9001 related activities.]
In the retrospect, it seems to me that in the natural course of development, a child gets conditioned to learn ‘what’ and ‘how of new things without questioning the ‘why’. However, during the schooling phase, if our education system had instilled the faculty of ‘why’ things are they were and then learn ‘what’ and how’ of it, then perhaps the questions that these issues would have raised in our mind or the answers that we may have got should have been of the dazzling magnitude.
I do not remember whether there were any discussions on such issues among the then first-year batchmates, primarily perhaps because getting to know ‘new’ mates had occupied all the space of our collective minds.
I will correlate this abstract looking thought with my personal example. At my personal level, I had had serial experiences of dealing with (totally) new environments that perhaps had conditioned my auto-adjustment system to get activated to adapt to any new situation. My first major face-off with ‘new’ environment was when I entered Virani Highschool, midway during an academic year in the 5th standard. Landing into Rajkot from Bhuj itself was a major change, both in terms of the first ever exposure to the ‘outside’ world and in terms of a totally new social culture. Then two and half years later, we again shifted to Ahmedabad, again leading to getting acquainted to life in a major city, that too in a new social milieu. Two more years later, we shifted the residence from a government colony located in a predominantly blue-collared working-class area in East Ahmedabad to a government colony in a middle-upper middle class solely residential area in West Ahmedabad. And then, I was required to study my Pre-Science course by staying at a hostel in Vallabh Vidyanagar, Anand. On the whole each of the change certainly had helped my overall development, one of which my auto-conditioning to adapt to a change. Of course, its should be certainly noted here that all these changes were because of factors beyond our control, and hence we had no reason, to ask ‘why’.
However, the entire batch of first year would not have had similar conditioning. By and large, everyone had as normal upbringing that every child gets through the adolescence. Therefore, more logically, lack of feeling any major surprise at the new academic environment can better be attributed to the possibility that we were (unconsciously) ready to tread a new path that would lead us to the engineering degree now that we had finally made it to the course. [The basic role of the first few days of first year was to induct us to the course that we become aware of what was in the store in the future and how does the course design is going to help us meet those challenges, and how the first year was going to provide that base. However, whether we did expect that we should have known such aspects or whether we were given to understand these issues or whether we could appreciate such issues is not relevant to the context of the present memoirs.]
Apart from the academics, one aspect that surprisingly did not apparently did not seem to have made significant impact on my (and so with most of the other students) was the vast, sparsely populated, but very-well laid out, campus of LD with imposing buildings, as it was then.
It seems it would be good idea to look at what feelings the students who had joined old – a three-year duration – course where one joined the engineering degree course after completing F.Y. B. Sc (or inter-science as it was known earlier. And see if they had had any other types of experiences in the first year that still remain fresh in their memories now.
Please permit me to take a pause at this juncture and regroup my recollections……Till such time that we meet again next month, I would request my LDCE71M batch-mates to share their recollection on the subject.
After the passage of a good fifty years, a look back to those five years of, 1966 to 19171, ‘studying’ engineering @ L D College of Engineering, Ahmedabad, presents an interesting mixed picture. The academic environment certainly was the driver of the transformation of a novice to an engineering graduate. However, the ‘other’ non-curricular, activities happening at the sides certainly played the catalytic role in that process.
What follows is the attempt to rekindle the memories of Those Anecdotal Years of1966 to 1971 and share those events the way they happened and how they unconsciously shaped to remould my basic instincts and behaviour that were to come to the fore in my subsequent professional life.
I am going to cast the net wide in catching these events, and the details thereof, by inviting my batch-mates to share their own memories and analyses, which I will weave into the narrative, of course, giving each one the due credit for the respective contribution.
Before I take the first step into the deep waters of non-curricular side of our engineering studies, it would be opportune to present what was my frame of mind when I applied for the admission to the graduate engineering course…………
The State of Frame of My Mind as I Ready To Plunge into the Five-Year Graduate-Level Engineering Course
When I finally did get admission to the graduate course in engineering, it was just a step that had happened in the course of progress of student life of most of the students of my time, and (whatever it was, but it was) my educational caliber. All those who thought were good at mathematics at the school level and would score the qualifying marks in the school board examination would invariably choose either admission to the graduate medicine studies or the engineering studies. Many of us had quite explicit reasons for choosing the one, and that one only, but there were as many others as possible too who did not have any set explicit goal but would gladly accept an admission that their standing in the merit list the board examination had made them eligible.
I had studied my pre-science at VP College of Science, Vallabh Vidyanagar, affiliated to S P University. And as it had happened, my standing in the merit list at the S.P. University had made me eligible for direct admission to the graduate medical course at the MS University, Vadodara, under the aegis of the then prevailing MoU between these two universities. The other so qualified students had readily accepted this option. However, I had summarily declined this privilege. To my misfortune, as I perceived it then, I had scored the highest marks in the subject of Biology in the Pre-Science examination of S P University. As such, the principal of our college was totally at loss to comprehend why would such a ‘meritorious’ (😊) student does not opt for the pursuit of a career in medicine. I had harrowing time convincing him that despite the way the dice had rolled, I knew very well that it was nothing less than a miracle that I had been able to remember the Latin names of animals and plants during the botany examination. But, to do so for next six years of study and then for the life, was simply not done. It was for the first time in my student life, that I clearly knew what I was not capable of.
But before, I explain why I scored so well in biology then, let me go back little more and revisit what constituted my study-related behavior.
Even during my studies till tenth standard, I was never good at remembering the whole poem, or dates of historical events or formulae of mathematics and all such aspects which demanded sharp faculty of memory. The way I had studied all those years, as I can now see in the retrospect, my natural instincts did get me to sail through the studies rather easily. But I never ‘exceled’ in the studies. Moreover, I never had put in any serious practice to strengthen up my weak areas. As a result, my results at the examinations were above average, but certainly, never excellent. Nor was I at any time looking at myself to have been left out of the race for the top positions in the examinations.
That changed during my SSC Board study year, the 11th standard. Ours was the second batch to appear for SSC examination form the school, Gujarat Law Society (GLS) High School, Ahmedabad. As such, all teachers had planned to take extra care in matter of the studies of our batch. Our teacher of mathematics and Science, Shri Gopalbhai Patel, had chalked out plan for the rigorous practice of solving the problems of curriculum of our subject of mathematics. As a part of that plan, we must have solved thousands of sums during the whole year! That hard work of practice had resulted in my scoring my life’s highest ever marks in the subject at the final examination for both the subjects of mathematics. Of course, the hard work that I was forced to put in mathematics and to some extent in the science subject had also led me to do more than my extra effort for studying other subjects as well. Coupled with my natural abilities, this more than past normal efforts yielded the ultimate result. I scored my best ever overall score in my student life so far.
During the Pre-Science studies, the curriculum had introduced a ‘new’ method of teaching the basic physics and chemistry. Even as it was my first year of studying in English medium, the two textbooks of these two subjects were so interestingly written to kindle my basic instincts of ‘studying’ while enjoying the studies. In so far as biology as a subject was concerned, my other batch mates of the hostel had sharply focused goal of taking up medicine as their career. So, they were putting in real hard work in their studies. Theirs was the only company those days. So, I also studied more than I would have otherwise studied for the examinations.
Thus, it was some interest and some hard work that were at the back of my ‘good’ show at the pre-science examinations. But the exceptional score for the biology was a miracle that remains unexplained!
On the strength of my that score, I did get admission to the graduate engineering course, in the electrical engineering branch, at L D College of Engineering, Ahmedabad.
Well, it was natural that I was happy that I had secured the admission to the prestigious graduate engineering course, at an institute that was considered #1 in those days in Gujarat in so far as engineering studies was concerned. But, internally, I was feeling elated that I would not be finally studying the medicine and be spared from remembering by heart those Latin names. I think I would be the only one who would be happy because of the elimination of non-preferred option than getting selected for a course that was considered to be a royal path to a good career!
But was I really cut-up to the requirements of studying the engineering? Was I indeed a good enough raw material to be turned out into a ‘good’ engineer? Was the engineering study ecology and the academic environment of LD College really be able to transform me? …………
The answers to these questions lie in far more distant future. In the retrospect, it should be sufficient to state that all that institution offered and all that I could absorb from that had not gone waste and had been proved quite useful, as and when the relevant need did arise.
However, the intent of opening up those pages from the memories is not to clarify what is now no more relevant at this stage of my life. The intent now is to recall those, whether planned or accidental, anecdotes that happened asides the studies and savour them now.
It was about a year and half, or two years ago that I received an e-mail to join a WhatsApp group of L.D. College of Engineering, Ahmedabad, 1971 batch of Mechanical Engineering (LDCE71M) batch friends. That e-mail was from my LDCE friend, Ashok Thakkar, the only one of the 120 batchmates of LDCE71M batch, with who I had a modicum of e-mail relationship of exchanging New Year Greetings. The batch strength of LDCEM was 120 students. Out of which a half a dozen of us were quite close – to easily visit each other’s homes and enjoy the unscheduled snacks during each such visit – in those five years. And then, a dozen and a half were one ‘group’, of the several close-knit groups of the batchmates, who had easy sharing arrangements – of books, notes journals, tips to survive through the viva tests etc. But it was good fifty years that I had had absolutely no contact with anyone.
Naturally, the idea of getting connected with friends of that ‘golden’ phase of life was quite exciting. Soon, a couple of the more energetic and active friends took up the initiative to gather additional. basic, contact information of the group and put it in a very utilitarian spreadsheet. With that the mere phone numbers of WhatsApp group members now had names on my cell phone=book and my e-mail had an e-mail contact group. That spread sheet also presented us with recent photographs against each name. That helped to me recollect faces from the recesses of my memory and superimpose them with present faces visible in the spreadsheet.
Soon thereafter a couple of video call meetings were organized that further helped to connect the memory of voice to the name and photograph. It was one of those video call meetings that put the idea of collecting information of the 50-year journey of each one’s life and document it in the form of a memoir book to commemorate the reaching of a milestone of half a century of the graduation.
Once the formal idea was circulated in the WhatsApp / e-mails of around (the then) 32 members, a dozen responses came up in no time. That “small” number brought up the force of inertia of half-a-century’s distance and relative inactive life that each one now lived at this age came up with full glaring realization. But the spontaneity and vigour that was spilling out of those dozen responses helped us to resolve us to tighten up our belts and gear up for one-to-one follow-up phone calls to the other ones. A couple of months of joint efforts resulted in getting six more responses.
18 out of 38 presently connected members plus 7 who had left for the eternal journey was perhaps not a very great number to really celebrate the memory of golden jubilee of graduation of a batch of 120 students. However, the intimateness with which each of these eighteen members had put in their journey of 50 years was cause enough to push us to fructify that idea into a reality.
So, finally we, now, have a collection of life stories of (eighteen) batchmates of the class of Mechanical Engineering, 1971, of L.D. College of Engineering, Ahmedabad in the form of a book , which I proudly and happily share here @
Over and above the outcome it was the process of implementation that had its own moments of pleasures – pleasures of getting to talk the friends after a good 50+ years and finding that the informal warmth of friendship is as live now as it was then!
The proverbial Oliver Twist in me ‘wants some more’ – the process of going through the conceiving and implementing this project has germinated one more idea in my mind – to enliven the memories of those five years of 1966 to 1971 and share the joy of those memories of youthful foolhardiness, unspoiled fun and dreams that had started shaping in our totally inexperienced minds.
Some day soon I, or in all possibilities, we, may hit those lanes of fading memories and live them one again………
My uncle – Janardan Pranlal Vaishnav [B: 09-06-1932 | D: 23-09-2020]- was the youngest of the three sons of Pranlal Vaghji Vaishnav. The eldest one was Kamalkant Vaishnav and the younger to him was Mahesh Vaishnav, my father.
I was only 19 when Kamalkantbhai passed away in 1970. My relationship with him was that of a very loving uncle. Whatever little I have known of his personality is either from his soliloquy during that fateful bus journey to Bhuj for the ensuing marriage ceremonies of his eldest son, Divyakumar, or subsequent hearsay from different people at different occasions. My father, Maheshbhai, always treated me as junior friend ever since I passed my SSC examinations. When I joined my professional life, he groomed me in the role of as friend-cum-independent family member. After he passed away in 1983, I graduated to the level of Janardanbhai Vaishnav’s principal assistant in the family matters.
The age difference between each brother was such that they would have got almost similar upbringing during their respective childhoods. However, their developments as youths and then as head of their own micro-families, took different paths. As a result, even if their in-practice approach towards their core values apparently seemed different, they shared a strong family bond of common basic values of life. My position, or competence, expressly disbar me to express any views about them as individuals. Therefore, what follows is what I have perceived as what a next-gen family member would view on the basis of his personal experiences of the associations with the immediately preceding generation family members.
In terms of the Hindu philosophy, 10th to 12th days after the death are considered as the days of beginning of disassociation of the soul from the mortal life relationships. 13th day is the considered to be the day when the journey of the soul commences towards his ultimate destination of attaining the eternal peace. As such, from now on Janardanbhai will live with us in our memories. Standing at that point in my life, I have attempted to recall my reminiscences of him as head of the family. The instances that I present here are solely my own, personal, experiences. Therefore, the interpretations have my personal view point..
The first learning experience with Janardanbhai that I can recall dates to sometime in 1956. We were travelling by train from Bhuj to Sirohi / Abu to spend holidays with grandparents. In those days, the transhipment halt at Palanpur would last two /three hours. During that time, there were many trains, which terminated or started from Palanpur or required a change in engines, came on to the platform. That either, necessitating (as they were in vogue those days) a steam engine to be decoupled or coupled with the rest of the coaches. I was witnessing these activities first time and hence had tremendous childlike curiosity to watch it from the close quarters. However, in the very first instance, the shrill, loud whistle, accompanied by a large boisterous release of steam by the engine was enough to shake me up the bones. I was so afraid that next time I ran away farthest away from the engine being coupled. Janardanbhai, with all the care and tenderness that a force can accommodate, took me right up to the engine and firmly held me there during the whole process. I kept crying all the while, but he simply held me there. He repeated the process each of the four or five instances in those two / three hours. That was his way of imparting me the lesson of driving away fear from my mind, on my own.
In fact, I now can understand that even Kamalkantbhai or Maheshbhai also adopted more or less a similar method to make us understand that even as they would be thee to back us up, we have to learn to fight our battles on our own terms.
Kamalkantbhai would thrust a lighted, giant-sized cracker in our hands such that it would have just enough time before it explodes. We had to learn to handle it safely. My father had got an unexpected chance to instil confidence in me to navigate a unknown terrain. We had just shifted from Rajkot to Ahmadabad on his on the-job regular transfer. I had to reappear for one subject for my VIIth class annual examination, back at Rajkot. Maheshbhai had made all back-end arrangements for my pick-up and stay at Rajkot, but actual bus journey from Ahmadabad to Rajkot, and back had to be performed by me alone. Few years later, I had to be on such projects all alone, but I had had an excellent lesson of being able to stand up on my own feet in my armour by then.
We had spent several summer vacations wherever Janardanbhai would have been posted in his job. To us these were the happy moments of merry abundance. However, when I recall those joyful days now, I realize how finely Janardanbhai was able to maintain the personal-work life balance. Obviously, he was adept, even then, to bear with equanimity the work-personal life pressures and pulls. My first-hand explicit experience of his forbearance of extreme pressure was when my father, Maheshbahi, passed away in 1983. Janrdanbhai had to bear the responsibility of bring along his mother and a family of wife and two young children during that arduous six-hour Rajkot- Ahmadabad journey,, while ensuring that none of them would get a faintest clue that when they will reach Ahmadabad, they will ne pitched-forked into the last rites of Maheshbhai. As the autorickshaw came to a halt in front our home, the situation was abundantly clear. As we were witness to the traumatic effects of deaths of my grandfather and Kamalkantbhai have had on my grandmother, we were quite aware of what the state of physical and mental condition of our grandmother would be during the journey. We had also planned for receiving her when they reached our home. So, obviously had Jandardanbahi. He did not waste a moment to help my grandmother’s sagging body frame to alight from the auto and then almost carrying her all the way up three stories on the staircase. In front of the deeply silently resting body of Maheshbhai, he eased my grandmother into the sitting position while continuing his firm grip over her body, till he felt that that critical moment had passed away. He, then, quietly gestured us to immediately quicken up the rest of the proceedings. With so much of comings and goings of relatives in next few days, he probably could not physically comfort my grandmother, but his vigilant gaze was always on high alert to detect any signs of worry on that count.
As it happened, this was his second such experience. He had to carried out this once before in 1970 too, when they had to travel from Bhuj to Surat, when Kamalakntbhai had passed away, then also without any forewarning. Only the travel at that time was far more arduous on account of severe floods in the rivers of central Gujarat to Tapti at Surat.
After the death of my grandfather, all the brothers took extra care of my grandmother. Sudden death of my grandfather had thoroughly shaken my grandmother. As part of the Hindu tradition, family members and acquaintances would come in person to express their grief to the kay relative of the deceased. Most of these relatives lived in Bhuj and had to travel to Surat for this purpose, As a result, there would always be two or three new grieving people in front of my grandmother. This had aggravated the situation of to such an extent that her own health was now the cause of worry. Kamalkantbhai himself was not in position to take direct initiative since tmy grandmother would always be surrounded by the ladies. So, he used us to create a ‘remote’ protection shield. He would instruct us with new tricks every time a new grieving party would arrive, so that their grieving drama would not last more than few minutes.
My grandmother, by her core nature, was very emotionally sensitive. But she would keep all her pains to herself. That did not work well with her overall health after my grandfather’s death. On top of that, in the spirit of being a devoted wife, she shunned evening meals. It was after great deal of persuasion by her sons that she had agreed to take a glass of milk and just one serving spoonful cooked vegetables as her evening meals. Over the years, that had rendered her physically very weak.
Her weakened body took its toll when, once she accidently sat down too heavily, resulting in a hair-line crack in the last bone of coccyx. That gradually reduced my grandmother to be bedridden. The bedridden stage acted as the proverbial last straw on the already weakened body of grandmother. She required very delicate and meticulous care for an extended duration. Even if we consider that all the care that Janrdanbhai and his family members took of her as natural affection and sense of duty, more striking was the unwavering faith that Janardanbhai held in the remotest possible chance that she would survive. At the very last, when treating doctors declared that her kidney has totally stopped functioning and medically speaking the end may now be a matter of sometime only, and that he may call me to remain present. But he seemed not keen to accept that finality. Probably, nature also needed extra efforts to overcome the positive force of his the then thought process. Grandmother medically breathed last only after about 60 hours. After so much of traumatic last couple of days, visibly from outside and emotionally from within Janrdanbhai was like a true saint, fully at peace with himself. At the end of the traditional mourning period of 12 days, he assembled the whole of larger Vaishnav family, to read out the formal will that my grandfather had written, along with an informally written testament of my grandmother’s last wishes. He ensured that all that was directed therein is complied with in letter and in spirit, with the least possible delay of implementation
The disposal of THE FAMILY HOME at Bhuj, the only immovable ancestral property, took some more time, and had quite a few glitches. But Janardanbhai ensured that whole process ends to its logical conclusion. Since then, till the END, In a family where the next generations were also quite now grown up, more and more differences of the outlook to different issues would come to fore. Janardanbhai was always explicit and clear about his own approach, but he was practical enough not to insist that his view, as the head of the family, only should prevail. His pragmatic approach indeed worked well in keeping the broader family tied up as loose federation.
After, Janardanbhai’s wife (Purnimakaki) passed away, he seemed to be even more balanced and liberal (!) in his approach with the (greater) family issues. He ensured that marriage of Kamalkantbhai granddaughter, which was held in just three /four months after the death of his wife, or that of Maheshbhai’s grandson, in the same year, had the faintest shadow his personal loss. After a few years, in another such family occasion, I believed that respect due to his position may not be accorded, and hence I was ambivalent about his presence in the function. He simply brushed aside my objections and ensured that all of us attended the function. To him, duty associated with his position was far more important than the status of that position.
Whether it was duty to the family, or to their profession, or whether it was maintaining a commitment, or whether it acting according to the spirit of what they considered or understood as ethically right, was always one of the many dimensions of honesty for all the brothers. Another very important dimension of honesty was always do what you say and think, while maintaining total transparency. That is why they perhaps never feared or hid their considered views. Kamalkantbhai never seemed to hesitate to call a spade a spade. Maheshbhai’s expression of his view was always soft. If he thought that his views will not be acceptable, he may even choose to remain silent. Of course, under those circumstances, his unspoken word was louder and more forthright. Janardanbhai would spell out his views once, and then if these were not heeded to, he would never broach that subject again. In the process, it was abundantly clear to the other party that he did not agree to what they say or approve what they do. For him, the matter ended there with a full stop.
Someone who is so honest in such subtle matters, it was not surprising that financial impropriety of smallest degree was a cardinal sin, for all the brothers. Only one illustration should sufficient to impart clarity to what I have to say. When I was shifting to Mundra on a job transfer, I could persuade Janardanbhai to accept a small imprest amount towards any minor maintenance expenses of our house. He religiously documented any expenses incurred and the outstanding balance in a letter to me every six months, even when we talked with each other over phone at least once a week.
Money (material wealth), for all three brothers, was simply a medium for conducting the ways of life and not the means or an end to the happiness.
Outwardly, the death of his wife (Purnimakaki) seemed to have had no effect on the conduct of Janardanbhai’s life. But from within, he seemed to have decided to retire from the active executive responsibilities of the principal player of the household. He started grooming his daughter-in-law (Ami) to take over the economic and financial management sides of the household. While he provided the back-end support for maintaining the meticulous documentation of the financial affairs, he did ensure that Ami did inculcate a similar habit for maintaining the documentation with accuracy and timeliness.
One can also observe that major prostrate problem, before five years or so, was another gamechanger in his life. He now seemed to plot the chess board of his for the end game. Death of his son-in-law (Dushyant Rindani) was destiny’s unexpected change in the rules of the game. But, Janardanbhai mentally had so advanced in this process of renunciation that could take even that in stride and seemed to have felt that his endgame plan can proceed as planned. With that state of his mental approach, his advancing physical age gradually had started affecting his general health. In the retrospect now, it seems that his illness in last fortnight, he had probably seen the inevitable. As a result, he seemed to participate, with only barest minimum passive support, in all the nursing efforts that his immediate family had undertaken with missionary passion.
Janadanbhai used to state that he had lived his life fully, in the same spirit as the heart-touching statement ‘Life is so beautiful’ by Don’ Corleone, of Mario Puzo’s epic novel “The Godfather’. Janrdanbhai had so cleanly closed all the accounts of the books of his life, that his eternal journey will be one of the most peaceful journeys.
We are so fortunate that we are born, and have lived, in the family of such exemplary human beings. I would only wish that I can draw some lessons from these lives to live the rest of my life with similar balance and fortitude….
Shri S T (Shrish Trilokchandra) Parikh’s long, live; vigil came to an end on 31st July 2015. His own fairly chronic illness, his wife (Surkhabhabhi)’s critical ill-health and her parting the long company last year also did not affect his ever so equanimous, take-each-event-of-the-life-as-it-happens approach to his life.
Whenever I met or talked to him in last three / four years, this was one more facet of his personality that I did observe. In fact it is a plus to many qualities of his personality that I would reel off. When I talked to him last week and promised to meet soon enough, his tone and tenor were, as-ever, so balanced – without any rancor – and pleasant enough. In the hindsight now, I so much regret that I took his so strongly positive attitude towards life as as-is-usual-well signal and not took up my inner urge to visit him there and then.
In fact, I now so clearly recollect that even during our period together at Gujarat Steel Tubes (1973 to 1979), he had never complained of things that he would be involved with, things that no one in the organization would (or could handle), things that would keep life not smooth for even a short period. He would approach all such unexpected trouble-monger events with his, as-usual, cool and calm analytical approach, observe the event and the happenings under – or behind – such events minutely and formulate a decision objectively. Most of the decisions would appear to be out-of-box ones to the others. This invariably called for a great amount of convincing to all, but he would approach each discussion with same vigor and meticulousness, without any trace of exasperation, or for that matter, even frustration, which any other human being, in the similar circumstances, would (sometimes) feel.
For me, personally, the loss is quite profound. That he was one single person who made me what I professionally am can be called THE understatement of my life. When I reflect, I can so vividly see how painstaking and loving he was in those formative years of mine at Gujarat Steel Tubes.
He would give me a set of figures of allocation of steel and ask to me to tabulate them. Initially, I would invariably make some error in my totaling up. He would very gently show those mistakes while explaining the pattern of allocation among the different steel tube manufacturers as well its implications for GST in particular and the Steel Tube Industry in general. It was his way of directing me to take care of very small details while giving me the benefit of his expertise in the macro analysis of the Steel Industry.
For every new task that he would choose to entrust me, he would make sure that I certainly knew of the unspoken backing of his position in the company but also subtly made sure to the concerned outside world also would know it too that I carried his confidence, and hence his authority.
He chose to invest his confidence in me, and then went all the way. I feel happy that I have been able to repay his efforts, to some degree, in turn by helping careers of several of my colleagues.
I can fill millions of bytes to recollect such seemingly very insignificant, but so ever vital events that helped build the foundation of my career.
He was a natural network builder. This was one quality of his that just did not permeate through the filters of my own personality. Almost all these years, it was, invariably, he who would call me up at fairly regular interval, even when I inveterately failed to take the next call first.
He was always a low-key player, never played his own drum and hardly cared whether someone would take cognizance of his contribution(s).
Well everything that begins has to end. So does a great life that may never get the due that so much was deserved, in so many words. But, Parikh saheb always took such things in his stride, and still never missed a beat in the rhythm of his life.
Around 19th April, 1965, Gordon E. Moore made a prediction, in his article- Cramming more components onto integrated circuits – that set the pace for modern digital revolution. Moore studied the emerging trend and conclusively extrapolated the ideas into a single organizing principle that foresaw the computing power to increase, and its cost to go down, exponentially in the years to come.
When the law has turned 50, as can be expected, there would be a range of reviews.
We have collected some of these reviews here in this post. –
‘Intel’s C.E.O., Brian Krzanich summarized where Moore’s Law has taken us. If you took Intel’s first generation microchip, the 1971 4004, and the latest chip Intel has on the market today, the fifth-generation Core i5 processor, he said, you can see the power of Moore’s Law at work: Intel’s latest chip offers 3,500 times more performance, is 90,000 times more energy efficient and about 60,000 times lower cost.
‘To put that another way, Krzanich said Intel engineers did a rough calculation of what would happen had a 1971 Volkswagen Beetle improved at the same rate as microchips did under Moore’s Law: “Here are the numbers: [Today] you would be able to go with that car 300,000 miles per hour. You would get two million miles per gallon of gas, and all that for the mere cost of 4 cents! Now, you’d still be stuck on the [Highway] 101 getting here tonight, but, boy, in every opening you’d be going 300,000 miles an hour!”
‘Moore pretty much anticipated the personal computer, the cellphone, self-driving cars, the iPad, Big Data and the Apple Watch. How did he do that? (The only thing he missed, Friedman jokingly told him, was “microwave popcorn.”). But “I guess one thing I’ve learned is once you’ve made a successful prediction, avoid making another one,” Moore said. “I’ve avoided opportunities to predict the next 10 or 50 years.”
‘Given that, is there something that he wishes he had predicted — like Moore’s Law — but did not?…“The importance of the Internet surprised me,” said Moore. “It looked like it was going to be just another minor communications network that solved certain problems. I didn’t realize it was going to open up a whole universe of new opportunities, and it certainly has. I wish I had predicted that.”
‘Moore is still humble. Moore said that for the first two decades, he couldn’t utter the term “Moore’s Law” because it was so embarrassing. After that, he was eventually able to say it with a straight face, he said.
‘Asked if Moore’s Law or Murphy’s Law were more popular on Google, Moore said, “Oh, Moore’s Law beats it by a mile.”’
‘As more transistors fit into smaller spaces, processing power increased and energy efficiency improved, all at a lower cost for the end user. This development not only enhanced existing industries and increased productivity, but it has spawned whole new industries empowered by cheap and powerful computing.
From the Internet itself, to social media and modern data analytics, all these innovations stem directly from Moore and his findings.
The inexpensive, ubiquitous computing rapidly expanding all around us is fundamentally changing the way we work, play and communicate…..In fact, it’s quite difficult to envision what our modern world might be like without Moore’s Law.
SPECIAL REPORT: 50 Years of Moore’s Law : the end won’t be sudden and apocalyptic but rather gradual and complicated. Moore’s Law truly is the gift that keeps on giving—and surprising, as well.
In 1959 and 1960s, Jean Hoerni of Fairchild invented the planar transistor—a form of transistor that was constructed in the plane of the silicon wafer instead of on a raised plateau, or mesa, of silicon. … With this configuration, engineers could build wires above the transistors to connect them and so make an “integrated circuit” in one fell swoop on the same chip. ..Robert Noyce showed that planar transistors could be used to make an integrated circuit as a solid block, by coating the transistors with an insulating layer of oxide and then adding aluminum to connect the devices. Fairchild used this new architecture to build the first silicon integrated circuit, which was announced in 1961 and contained a whopping four transistors. By 1965, the company was getting ready to release a chip with roughly 64 components…. Armed with this knowledge, Moore opened his 1965 paper with a bold statement: “The future of integrated electronics is the future of electronics itself.” ….. Moore’s prediction was about the number of electronic components—not just transistors but also devices such as resistors, capacitors, and diodes. Many early integrated circuits actually had more resistors than transistors. Later, metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) circuitry, which relied less on nontransistor components, emerged, and the digital age began. Transistors dominated, and their number became the more useful measure of integrated circuit complexity.
Ten years later, Moore revisited his prediction and revised it. …. For a while at least, shrinking transistors offered something that rarely happens in the world of engineering: no trade-offs. Thanks to a scaling rule named for IBM engineer Robert Dennard, every successive transistor generation was better than the last. A shrinking transistor not only allowed more components to be crammed onto an integrated circuit but also made those transistors faster and less power hungry…..This single factor has been responsible for much of the staying power of Moore’s Law, and it’s lasted through two very different incarnations. In the early days, Moore’s Law 1.0, progress came by “scaling up”—adding more components to a chip. The microprocessor, which emerged in the early 1970s, exemplifies this phase…. But over the last few decades, progress in the semiconductor industry became dominated by Moore’s Law 2.0. This era is all about “scaling down,” driving down the size and cost of transistors even if the number of transistors per chip does not go up… In the 1980s and early 1990s, the technology generations, or “nodes,” that define progress in the industry were named after dynamic RAM generations: In 1989, for example, we had the 4-megabyte DRAM node; in 1992, the 16-MB node. Each generation meant greater capability within a single chip as more and more transistors were added without raising the cost….. Moore’s Law 1.0 is still alive today in the highest-end graphics processing units, field-programmable gate arrays, and perhaps a handful of the microprocessors aimed at supercomputers. But for everything else, Moore’s Law 2.0 dominates. And now it’s in the process of changing again.
This change is happening because the benefits of miniaturization are progressively falling away… for the last decade or so, Moore’s Law has been more about cost than performance; we make transistors smaller in order to make them cheaper…. The three factors—improved yields, larger wafers, and rising equipment productivity—have allowed chipmakers to make chips denser and denser for decades while keeping the cost per area nearly the same and reducing the cost per transistor. But now, this trend may be ending. And it’s largely because lithography has gotten more expensive.
Going forward, innovations in semiconductors will continue, but they won’t systematically lower transistor costs. Instead, progress will be defined by new forms of integration: gathering together disparate capabilities on a single chip to lower the system cost. ..we’re not looking at combining different pieces of logic into one, bigger chip. Rather, we’re talking about uniting the non-logic functions that have historically stayed separate from our silicon chips….. Chip designers have just begun exploring how to integrate microelectromechanical systems, which can be used to make tiny accelerometers, gyroscopes, and even relay logic. The same goes for microfluidic sensors, which can be used to perform biological assays and environmental tests… But this new phase of Moore’s Law—what I call Moore’s Law 3.0 and what others in the semiconductor industry call “more than Moore”—may not make economic sense. Integrating nonstandard components onto a chip offers many exciting opportunities for new products and capabilities. What it doesn’t offer is the regular, predictable road map for continued success.
There is a dark side to the revolution in electronics: unjustified technological expectations.. We are assured that rapid progress will soon bring self-driving electric cars, hypersonic airplanes, individually tailored cancer cures, and instant three-dimensional printing of hearts and kidneys. We are even told it will pave the world’s transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies….. But the doubling time for transistor density is no guide to technical progress generally. Modern life depends on many processes that improve rather slowly, not least the production of food and energy and the transportation of people and goods. There is no shortage of historical data to illustrate this reality,…. Outside the microchip-dominated world, innovation simply does not obey Moore’s Law, proceeding at rates that are lower by an order of magnitude.
The current economic boom is likely due to increases in computing speed and decreases in price. The article discusses some good reasons to think that the party may be ending.
Life Beyond Moore’s Law– Michael Feldman, Intersect360 Research – may lie in a number of technological developments that are already emerging. These developments – new architectures, processor integration, and 3D chip stacking – are all ways to use transistor real estate more effectively, and are being employed today to improve power and performance profiles beyond what can be delivered by Moore’s Law alone. Given that, it’s reasonable to expect that once transistor sizes become static, these strategies will become even more appealing.
After 50 years, Moore’s Law has become cultural shorthand for innovation itself. When Intel, or Nvidia, or Samsung refer to Moore’s Law in this context, they’re referring to the continuous application of decades of knowledge and ingenuity across hundreds of products. It’s a way of acknowledging the tremendous collaboration that continues to occur from the fab line to the living room, the result of painstaking research aimed to bring a platform’s capabilities a little more in line with what users want. Is that marketing? You bet. But it’s not just marketing.
Moore’s Law is dead. Long live Moore’s Law.
All images are adapted from net. The inherent rights to these images and the articles remain vested with the originators.
Dilip Kumar did not speak about his achievements and social service, as his wont, while narrating this autobiography. Hence this section explores insights into the man and his working style, through the personal and professional experiences of actors, directors, eminent friends, relatives and others who have had occasions to come into contact with him.
We glance through the representative ones of these here:
Raihan Ahmed – Saira Banu’s brother Sultan’s son
‘Travelling with Yousuf Uncle is guaranteed fun and adventure…Road trips were the best as he would make us try all kinds of street food…He has the ability of blending with any age group… Kite flying with Yousuf Unlce is an experience only a few lucky people can mention… Few people know that he is a great magician and has a box full of tricks..
The first image that comes to mind.. is dignity.. He has entertained without ever having to resort to crudity…Dilip Kumar showed us how the subtext can be revealed, how to play against the emotion, how less is more and how simulated spontaneity can be as effective as real thing…
V. Babasaheb – A cinematographer by profession, who filmed Gunga Jumna
I knew it would be a great achievement in my track record if a sequence came alive on the way Dilip Saheb had visualized….He had calculated the speed of the train and the galloping of horses precisely..Saheb then explained to me he wanted the camera to be tied beneath door of the compartment to capture the hooves of the galloping horses raising dust as they advanced parallel to the running train. He strapped me to the floor of the doorway of the compartment in such a manner that I could operate it from that position and get the shots……..The scene I can never forget is Ganga’s death scene
He was going to take several rounds of the studio..running…in order to be out of breath… when he entered the house and gave the climax shot….I missed the initial timing..he was angry.. but he complied with.. a retake. He went through the whole gamut gain and with more intensity the second time and we canned the shot.
…No art in the entire universe can ever exist, flourish or even take birth without an ‘unconscious assimilation’ of influence that eventually propels it to its creation… I believe that what (Mr. Dilip Kumar) is what was and is, correct, right and the best…The history of Indian Cinema shall.. be ‘before Dilip Sahab’ and ‘after Dilip Sahab’.
Dilip Sahab has expertly used the eloquence of silence in some of his iconic performances in a way no actor before him had.
…(Dilip Kumar) would be equally concerned to raise funds for the needy artistes and workers; the first cheque always came from him. The Film Industry Welfare Trust and superannuation schemes for old, retired artistes were his initiatives..
Dilip Sahab is not a method actor as many artistes think. He is a spontaneous actor who draws from inner emotional reserves when he performs .. marvellous dramatic sense…He was extremely serious about his work; emotions just surfaced naturally when he was before the camera. In the final take, therefore, he invariably did what he felt was best..
Dilip Bhai was, and still is, a shy man. The only time I felt he was drawn to a co-star was when worked with Kamini Kushal… The only reason why Dilip Bhai did not attend the premiere of Mughal-e-Azam and even refused to see the movie at trial show was because (K.) Asif had betrayed his trust (when [his younger sister] Akhtar chose to marry a much-married [first marriage with Sitara Devi and second one with Nigar Sultana], man twice her age).
I had a subject…After hearing me out, he said nothing… on the fourth day..he smiled and told me the story had potential and he would consider working in it…people started asking me questions if what they heard was true.. the look on their faces would convey:”This is the end of your career.”.. he will make you sit somewhere outside the set and direct the film himself.. and by the time the movie is completed, you will have aged because he takes years to complete a film…. All through the making of Vidhaata (1982), Dilip Sahab paid great attention to my visualization of shots and cooperated to such an extent that the film was completed a month ahead of schedule…. I feel proud that I made three films (Vidhaata, Karma and Saudagar) with Dilip Sahab in the central role.
Dr. Shrikant Gokhale – personal physician (and a friend as well) for four decades
I have always seen the respect he gives to his admirers…It pains him when he sees street urchins and little girls who come and press their smiling faces against the car window at the traffic signals.. he gives generously… but they don’t know he is concerned and disturbed about their hapless condition.
…I was able to appreciate the Western actors and the refinement of their acting after I watched (Dilip Kumar’s) films. It began to crystallize in my understanding of the eloquence of the medium that a mere look or sheer silence can convey so much and so powerfully…
I am and always will be amazed by the layers of emotion he evoked in the viewer when, he, as Price Salim (in Mughal-e-Azam) simply sat in the royal durbar, saying nothing, and doing nothing as Anarkali performed the provocative Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya number.
…My father (Surinder Kapoor)..told me that Dilip Sahab never wasted his time in frivolous gossips.. he spent his time with writers and intellectually advanced people with whom he can make intelligent conversation and exchange meaningful thoughts… that Dulip Shab had more friends outside the industry than within because he disliked talking shop and never encouraged hangers-on….
Yousuf Uncle and papa (Raj Kapoor) shared an eternal fraternal relationship, which nobody could fathom or believe. They were in competition with each other as stars and yet they loved each other as though they were born to same parents…..We were filming Prem Rog(1982).I had to bring an intense expression of a despondent lover, and hard as I was trying, Raj Kapoor, the director, was not getting..what he wanted…he shouted at me..”Mujhe Yousf Chahiye”…When Yosuf Uncle was facing the brunt of Balasaheb Thackeray’s… objection to his receiving the Nishan-e-Imtiaz from the Pakistan Government. Yousuf Unlce said in an interview, “I miss my friend Raj today more than on any occasion. He could not let this agitation about me or any other artiste go unanswered.”
The greatest quality Dilip Sahab possesses is his ungrudging admiration for the achievements of others in the profession. In an interview [during the shooting of Kranti (1981)], he was giving the example of Raj Kapoor as an inspiration for the generations of film aspirants to look up to.
…When (Dilip Bhai) found out that I am a Maharshtrian is something that I cherish because it made me seek the perfection I then lacked in my Hindi and Urdu diction, he very truthfully said that singers who were not conversant with Urdu language invariably tripped in pronunciation of the words derived from the language and spoiled the listening pleasure of those who enjoyed the lyric as much as the melody….So, in the first meeting, Yousuf Bhai gave a gift unknowingly and unhesitantly…Salil Chuadhary gave an opportunity to sing a duet with Yousuf Bhai for Musafir (1947) – Lagi Nahi Chhute – and it was a memorable experience to observe the pains he took to sing faultlessly.
Dilip Sahab’s love for his fans is something no star of his time or later could match. He says : “When an unfamiliar had claps mine and I feel the warmth of genuine adulation that clasp I feel a deep sense of reward for all the hard work I put in for a performance which no award can give me….”..If you watch Leader today you will find some of the lines spoken by Dilip Sahab so relevant to the present political climate.
Veera Rao – a well-known social service personality
When Dilip Sahab took over as the chairman of NAB, the great challenge was to generate funds…It did not take Dilip Sahab more than a minute to welcome the idea ..of NAB train in which people would travel with Dilip Kumar… for the ten years the train ran.. Dilip Sahab never let (the project) down…..At one large event for school children at the Brabourne Stadium … Dilip Sahab was alone was not without sunglasses… (when asked) why he never shielded his eyes from the sun, to which he said : “I like to talk to people without hiding my eyes.”
It was a mystery to me why Dilip Sahab did not give his name as director in the film credits when all the hard work behind the camera was being done by him…There have been two regrets…he could not work with Satyajit Ray as we as in Pyaasa (1957).
Seven decades after his first film Jwar Bhata, and sixteen years after he acted in his last production, he continues to the final word in screen acting, someone who inspires awe and respect….Actors like Motilal and Ashok Kumar had already begun weeding out the theatrical elements from the film acting by late 1940s, but it was with Dilip Kumar that it became the norm…He demonstrated that it was not necessary to raise one’s voice to be heard….He introduced novel innovations such as acting crucial scenes with his back to the camera, using only his voice…He gave film acting a kind of layered edge, which was marked by self-conscious histrionics till that point of time. Many actors have tried to copy his style over the years and rightfully so, as I feel there is much to learn from his school of acting…
I must describe the first scene I enacted with Dilip Sahab on the sets of Devdas. The scene had a very simple dialogue – Aur Mat Piyo, Devdas – for me. I had to say the line when Devdas would stagger in completely inebriated, the camera was to capture Devdas and then follow him and turn its focus on me when I spoke that line with an expression of anguish and helplessness… As the technicians announce their readiness to shoot and Bimalda looked at me to know if I was ready, I realized that Dilip Sahab was not on the sets…One assistant whispered that he was taking brisk rounds of the studio to get that tired, weary look.. he had instructed cameraman to be ready to start the camera when would stagger in….When the camera started and I saw the incredible perfection to Dilip Sahab’s performance, all I could do was to speak helplessly the line: Aur Mat Piyo, Devdas. The helpless look on my face was what Bimalda wanted, and it came quite naturally…..
Dilip Kumar has devoted five chapters of the book to passionately narrate his marriage and life with her wife, Saira Banu. The chapters The Woman In My Life, The Big Day, Celebrations Galore, Taking Care Of Saira, The Husband And Wife Team respectively present his intimate narration of his proposal to marriage, festive atmosphere, the marriage ceremony, life with Saira Banu and his four-film stint with her.
Naseem Banu, Saira’s mother, would always be invited by Dilip Kumar’s sister Akhtar. On one such evening, Saira, who was on a visit to India during her school days, had accompanied her mother to Khan Residence. Apparently, Saira had seen Aan and brewing a storm of liking Dilip Kumar. Possibly as result, she took upon to learn pristine Urdu and Persian. In this initial phase Dilip Kumar did not give “any importance” to this crush.
When discussions for casting for Dil Diya Dard Liya (eventually released in 1966) was on, Dilip Kumar dodged the idea of her working with him because he was ‘so much older’ to her. After her maiden venture Junglee (1961), in due course of her career, she was paired to all successful leading men of the time – Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Sunil Dutt, Shammi Kapoor, Rajendra Kumar, Joy Mukherjee, Manoj Kumar. Since she was still not paired with Dilip Kumar, there was huge demand for such a film. One such project was Mehboob Khan’s Habba Khatoon. Dilip Kumar ultimately withdrew from Habba Khatoom as he could not foresee himself doing Yousuf Chak’s (Habba Khatoon’s husband) character, which had some slants of negativity. He did have a special subject in his mind where pairing would be ideal and perfect. However, as the wait went to become rather lengthy, Saira did get ‘very annoyed’ with Dilip Kumar. ‘The polite, gracious and well-bred young lady was turning into an angry tigress..’
She was also suggested for a role in Ram Aur Shyam, against the character of timid among the two twin brothers. Dilip Kuamr had voiced his opinion to the producer of ram Aur Shyam that she was too delicate and innocent in appearance for a character that had to have loads of seductive appeal and a bold, buxom appearance. The role ultimately went in favour of Mumtaz.
It was when Ram Aur Shyam was progressing hectically, that Dilip Kumar received an invitation form Naseem Banu, Saira’s mother, to join in the celebrations of Saira’s birthday. When he entered the beautiful garden of the Naseem Banu’s house, his eyes fell on a ‘breathtakingly beautiful’ looking Saira Banu. He was taken aback; because she no longer looked the young girl he had consciously avoided to be his heroine. She had indeed grown to full womanhood and was more beautiful in reality. He simply stepped forward and shook her hand, and time stood still. It did not take an instant for Dilip Kumar to realize that “she was the one Destiny had been knowingly reserving as his real-life partner while he refused to pair with her on screen. He found her to be intrinsically very Indian and rooted to her native culture.
During the filming of Azaad, Dilip Kumar happened to meet an astrologer. He predicted that ‘Dilip Kumar would marry in his forties; his bride would be half his age, as fair and beautiful as moon, would be from same profession. Soon after the marriage, she would take blow of his ‘karmas’ with a prolonged and near-fatal illness to absolve me, and that she would go through it ungrudgingly.’ The first part of the prediction had rang true, would then second part also come home?
To cut the long story short, Dilip Kumar formally proposed to Saira Banu. Obviously, the news spread like wild fire thereafter.
They were married on 11 October, 1966. Having remained a confirmed, eligible bachelor for so long, did Dilip Kumar have any trepidation or any qualms as he walked into the married life? Dilip Kumar states No quite firmly. Instead, what he felt was a serene calm and tranquillity, as though having reached a safe Heaven of Peace, for he now had the person who would share his life and would be his very own.
The marriage was a surprise to all those who knew him. Naushad was the only one who had forthrightly asked if he wasn’t making a mistake. However, Dilip Kumar was firm in his conviction that he had considered the step with serious introspection. The nikah was beautiful – all his loved and dear ones (including Raj Kapoor who had made good his wow to walk in to the house on his knees without a moment’s hesitation) chipping in the mood of boisterous joy.
During their honeymoon at Bhutan Saira Banu had taken suddenly ill – being asphyxiated by the carbon monoxide in a small cabin of a log-house. Were that astrologer’s predictions going to ring true?
In the initial period of their marriage, the domestic life of the family was quite tough on Saira Banu. The stress had begun to tell on her health and she was taken quite ill with ulcerative colitis. She was taken to ‘one of the largest hospitals of UK’ and was put ‘under the the expert supervision of world-famous gastroenterologist…’. Saira recovered almost miraculously, and after a moth’s rest at the clinic resumed her shooting for Purab Aur Paschim (1970). Manoj Kumar had, admirably, waited for full recovery of Saira Banu. Years later, Dilip Kumar had “agreed to work in Kranti (1981)….to pay back (this) debt”.
On their return to India, they shifted to Saira Banu’s own bungalow at Pali Hill because ‘she needed special caretaking and also a specific diet. Soon, thereafter, “Saira adapted to (his) lifestyle and (his) pace.” ‘A marriage that is for keeps, even with all the good intentions of the couple, is not easy to sustain for either partner.’ They had their shares of ups and downs, but apart from (their) outwardly contrasting personalities, they shared the joy of living (together). The glamorous girl who took an hour for putting on her makeup, suddenly, changed totally. What Dilip Kumar has got to love and appreciate about Saira Banu down the years is her innate simplicity and softness of heart.
As The Husband-Wife Team, Dilip Kumar ‘began to discover the capacity (his) wife had for hard work and the pursuit of flawless work. She was receptive to sound advice and was quick to absorb the guidance (he) gave her in the scenes (they) came together. She co-starred with him in four films – Gopi (1970), Sagina (1970 in Bengali as Sagina Mahato and 1974 in Hindi), Bairag (1976) and Duniya (1984) – and (he) saw her tenacity and determination to get the nuances and emotional curves of the performances right.
The narrative of Dilip Kumar’s life and times at the Hindi Cinema World spans another 8 chapters. Some of the reviews written when the book was originally released do lament about somewhat sketchy treatment to the subjects like his co-stars or his highly gossiped love affairs or his own views on some of his landmark films. However, as Udayatara Nayar has noted in the book, (at this stage and age) Dilip Kumar has certainly been selective in choosing to open up on topics in his long career, spanning over six decades and around 60 films on the silver screen. So, be it.
Bombay Talkies was the best thing that happened to the young Yousuf Khan at a juncture when he had no clue to what acting in front of camera was. Ashok Kumar taught him to “do what you would do in the situation if you were really in it. If you act, it will be acting and it will look very silly.” Devika Rani conferred him with a screen name by which he would be better known, appropriate enough for his audience to relate to, one that would be in tune with the romantic image he was destined to acquire through his screen presence. That set him to be launched with his maiden film Jwar Bhata (1944) directed by Amiya Chakraborthy. It was the beginning of the journey into the world of Lights, Camera, Action that even as passed on without much impact, Dilip Kumar had realized that it would a difficult job, where he would have to find his own way to continue. An actor has to ‘strengthen his instincts because the duality of real and unreal cannot be sorted out by mind, which is more concerned with truth and logic in any normal situation’.
The new identity of Dilip Kumar had liberating impact, in that what had no need to see or study, Dilip surely needed to acquire and accumulate New Aspirations, New Experiences, in terms of reproducing the emotions, speech and behaviour of fictitious characters in front of the camera. By the time Dilip Kumar had completed his work in Jugnu, he was still not noticed when he would be walking on the pavement near Churchagte (a station on Western Railway, in Mumbai), despite having acted in three films, Jwar Bhata (1944), Pratima (1945) and Milan (1946). But the release of Jugnu (1947) brought him in the acclaim due to a (film) star, even within his own family. His father also had come to terms with the reality that his son had (finally) chosen a profession he had least expected him to enter.
Then followed a period Between The Personal And The Professional lives when Yousuf Khan had endure the loss of brother so close to him, Ayub Sahab, who succumbed to his chronic lung ailment and his mother, Amma, passed away, on 27 August, 1948, ‘peacefully from the turmoil of life to eternal tranquillity’. It took all his ‘strength and will power to supress the pain and deep sense of loss to stand up manfully before his brothers and sisters, giving them implicit understanding of being both mother and father to them’. On the professional front, Dilip Kumar’s contract with Bombay Talkies was coming to an end. As it was, by that time studio employment system was being replaced by actors and technicians working on a freelance basis. Dilip Kumar opted for S. Mukherjee’s Filmistan for Shaheed (1948). There he had ‘an understanding and facile co-actor in Kamini Kuashal (real name Uma Kashyap), who was very attentive to the demands of the director and had the intelligence to grasp the intrinsic sensitivity of more poignant situations in the script.’ The success of Shaheed had the pair teaming up for two more films at Filmistan – Nadiya Ke Paar (1948) – based on Rabindranath Tagore’s story Nauka Dubi- and Shabnam (1949). Being in twenties at that time, he was no super human being and did ‘prefer company of colleagues who were educated and well informed. Stardom bothered more than’ it pleased him. Possibly, he was drawn more intellectually than emotionally to Kamini Kaushal. “if that was love, may be it was.” Dilip Kumar has always been asked somewhat ‘intrusive question as to whether it makes a difference to the potency of emotions drawn from within one self in an intimate love scene if the actors are emotionally involved in their real lives’. An answer that is Yes and No, draws up Dilip Kumar to scenes as Prince Salim with Anarkali (Madhubal on the screen) for Mughal-e-Azam(1960), described in greater details in the later chapter “Madhubala“. It was also in this period that he met Mehboob Khan and Nuashad Miyan, relationships with whom blossomed into two enduring friendships and professional relationships. The meeting with Naushad led to Mela (1948). Dilip Kumar notes that among the major lessons that he learned while working with Directors like Nitin Bose or senior artist like Devika Rani was that even as it is not easy for an actor to rise above the script, if the collaboration among the writer, actor and the director worked well it was not impossible either. A director may be satisfied with the given shot, it is also for the actor to discern for himself whether he had really given his best. The actor would be within his (or her) rights for another shot if he (she) felt he (she) could do better.
Mela evokes some wonderful memories of the past in Reel Life versus Real Life. Firstly, this was the film that Dilip Kumar’s father watched in a cinema house. Secondly, it established enduring friendship between him and Naushad and between him and Nargis. Raj Kapoor and Nargis shared a chemistry that made a good equation for their scenes together. With Nargis, Dilip Kumar shared a different equation in front of the camera. He could attain similar ease with Madhubala in Tarana (1951), which has remained, for many reasons, one of the films that Dilip Kumar counts as the memorable one, from among the ones of his early part of the career. During early 1950s, Dilip Kumar was advised to switch over to comedy roles by an English psychiatrist. The doctor was certain that Dilip Kumar took his work home in his subconscious and turned the spoken lines and the scenes over and over in his mind to review the work done during the day. It was not as if he did not realize that whatever he was doing in the films was unreal and diametrically opposite to his real life and real self. That led Dilip Kumar to take up Azaad (1955), a remake of Malaikallan (1954), featuring M G Ramchandran (MGR) as hero. This also was a pleasant experience working with Meena Kumari. Dilip Kumar had presented himself with his first car after the success of Shabnam (1949) and his own residence in Mumbai after Azaad. Dilip Kumar does accept here that he was attracted to Madhubala as a fine co-star and as person who had some attributes he hoped to find in a woman at that age and time. Because of the rumours of this emotional involvement, their pairing in Mughal-e-Azam made sensational news in early 1950s. However matters began to sour between them when her father attempted to make the proposed marriage a business venture. The outcome was that halfway through the production, they were not even on talking terms. The classic scene with the feather coming between their lips was shot when they had completely stopped even greeting each other – one of the rarest examples of Reel Life versus Real Life.
The book has a full chapter on Madhubala. Contrary to the popular notions, her father Ataullah Khan, was not opposed her marrying with Dilip Kumar. He had his own film production company and two of the most popular stars under the same roof in his company, singing duets in his productions till the end of their careers was what he would have wanted. However, Dilip Kumar had his own way of functioning wherein he would not permitted any laxity even if it were his own production house. Madhubala persisted that these details can easily be sorted out once they were married. In the circumstances, it seemed best that they did not decide to marry or even give each other a chance to rethink of a union that would not be good for either of them. The parting of ways did not affect him. He categorically states that he chose to remain bachelor because he had young sisters to be married off, and for me the taking care of, and ensuring happiness of his brothers and sisters were paramount. Madhubala’s father got her entangled in a lawsuit with producer-director B R Chopra over the outdoor shooting work for Naya Daur (eventually released in 1957). Madhubala was replaced with Vyjayantimala, when ‘all sincere and genuine’ efforts on Dilip Kumar’s part became futile. The announcement of the renewal of the project of fresh shooting for Naya Daur created a stir in the media. It was made to appear that Dilip Kumar ‘had got Madhu out of the film, while the truth was that her father pulled her out of the project to demonstrate his authority.
The professional relationship with Vyjayantimala finds a special place in the book, in the form a full-fledged chapter: Devdas, Naya Daur and Beyond. Dilip Kumar was in two minds to take up Devdas (1955), the first of the seven-films that Dilip Kumar and Vyjayantimala did together. On one hand, it troubled him ‘initially to experiment with the rendering of a character who carried a heavy measure of pain and despondency under the skin and could mislead the more vulnerable youth to believe that alcoholism offered the best escape from the pain of losing in love. On the other hand, the subject was already successfully filmed with K L Saigal in the title role and Dilip Kumar had that opportunity to match his histrionic prowess with that benchmark and etch his name in the annals of Hindi Film history. Some of the dialogues from the film, penned by one of the very known literary names, Rajinder Singh Bedi, have become legendary and have lasted out the tests of time. (In fact, dialogue delivery was one of the very predominant weapons the armoury of Dilip Kumar’s histrionics. Here are five iconic dialogues from among many.) After Devdas, when they paired for Madhumati (1958), Vyjayantimala certainly draws a very fond word of praise from Dilip Kumar. Even as the film had tale of three incarnations of the heroin (played by Vyjayantimala), the story gets unfolded through the narrative of hero’s character (played by Dilip Kumar). He has fond memories of being able to score one-man-up-ship over her, while filming the fourth of their films, Paigham (1959), when during a visit to the sets by none less than the them Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, he gets a personal mention from Panditji, when it was Vyjayantimala who was expected to score on this front. However, it was during the making of Naya Daur, that Dilip Kumar noticed Vyjayantimala’s ‘ability to feign a rustic character’s mannerisms with conviction. So she was her first choice as the co-lead star for his home production, Gunga Jumna (1961).
At this stage, as he looks back On The Domestic Front, by the time his father passed away (on 5 March, 1950), Dilip Kumar did feel a sense of achievement that he could live up to his expectations.
Gunga Jumna, expectedly, has very important personal space in the career so far as Dilip Kumar is concerned, and the making of the films is quite vividly captured in The Travails of Film Making: “Gunga Jumna And After. Dilip Kumar’s character had a very powerful script, in that his character Gunga takes the refuge in the lawlessness of the dacoits to get back to the society what was rightfully his. The story had a built-in conflict between the elder brother who flees the society, ‘where law favours the rich and the powerful and unjustly discriminates the poor and defenceless’ and the younger brother who has to uphold the law of the nation as a police officer. Dilip Kumar had done two other films where he had played negative ‘anti-hero’ roles, in Amar (1954) and Footpath (1953). This role was , however, closer to a the then social reality. IN any case, “life’s surprises never cease”. Ram Aur Shyam (1967), which was going to turn out to be a very special film to Dilip Kumar, started with a bit of turbulence. Vyjayantimala, slated to play the lead, was upset with the producer on some matter and was peremptorily replaced with Waheeda Rehman. That ended seven-film association on a sour note.
After Bairag (1976), Dilip Kumar found himself at the cross roads, once again after he had found himself in a similar predicament after Ram Aur Shyam, whether to take up retirement from the active humdrum of the film world. At that time it was Saira Banu who persuaded him to prospects of perusing the scripts of the films. However, after Bairag, Dilip Kumar got embroiled in a lawsuit slapped on him by A R Kardar. It was during the fag end of this trying phase that Manoj Kumar came to him the idea of Kranti (1981) that marked The Second Innings of his career. Then came (Subhash Ghai’s) Vidhaata (1982) in which he plays an earthy character of a railway engine driver.
He went on to do Karma (1986) and Saudagar (1991) too for Subhash Ghai. If his pairing with equally established Raaj Kumar in Saudagar had caused many a ripples, his pairing with just branded Angry Young Men Amitabh Bachchan in Shakti (1982) or his portrayal of veteran upright journalist – editor in Mashaal (1984) evoked fair degree of laurels form the public as well as critics. He credits the extremely involved acting in the famous sequence in Mashaal, in which Vinod Kumar (the character played by him) tries to stop his dying wife, to the deeply etched memories of his own father wailing to get the medical help for asthmatically gasping His mother.
In fact, the very genesis of the present autobiography is that whatever has been written earlier about Dilip Kumar is considered to be ‘full of distortions and misinformation’. So less is known about Yousuf Khan, the substance, and it is so natural to get myths floating around a towering figure of the stature of Dilp Kumar, the shadow, that “an authentic, heartfelt and compelling narrative”, in the form of an ‘autobiography’ would invariably whip up the appetite for the various ‘aspects of life and times of THE titan of Indian Cinema.
This is not a review of the book, but a fairly selective, critical appraisal that would provide a reasonable insight into the contents of the book, and thereby in the principal protagonist, Dilip Kumar, born on 11th December, 1922 as Mohammad Yousuf Khan, the fourth among eleven children of nice, gentle and pious Pathan couple – Mohammad Sarwar Han and Ayesha Bibi.
The contents of the book is spread over four phases – The Personal Life of Yousuf Khan; First and Second Innings at the Hindi Film Cinema; Marriage and Life with Saira Banu and Reminiscences by actors, directors, friends and relatives.
We would take up each section every week, starting with –
The Seeds of a Flight of a Fruit Merchant’s Son, Yousuf Khan, The Substance, To The Legendary Thespian Dilip Kumar, The Shadow
The book opens with a Foreword by Dilip Kumar’s wife Saira Banu. She extols ‘widely known admiration’ in an ardently pride narrative and in the process, presents some quite interesting facets of the persona of Dilip Kumar:
§ Dilip Kumar is a fanatically voracious reader. The range of the subjects he reads is as much varied as is his range of histrionics. Dilip Kumar is also very keenly fond of good poetry, classical music and dance.
§ His persona transcends lands, religions and castes. He sternly refuses to see negative side of anyone or any situation.
§ His secular beliefs spring straight from his heart and his respect for all religions, castes, communities and creeds. His closet friends are Parsis.
§ He is very fond of his family.
§ He would never want to miss out on enjoying any of the splendour of nature’s beauty.
§ Flying kites, with the whole family in the toe, is great love. He maintains his treasure of his kites and manja with as much care and as much detail as he maintains his personal wardrobe.
Udaytara Nayar, a veteran journalist and writer on her own, is also a very close friend of Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu. In Introduction (A Dream Come True), while presenting the challenge of drawing out Dilip Kumar from his dislike of talking about himself, has been quite painstaking in documenting the frequent use of chaste Urdu in a fairly flowing English narrative. Of particular interest are the accounts of Dilip Kumar’s grasp of management skills as a complete professional and awareness of social responsibilities as a star and a role model. His uncanny choice of Premnath in a negative role in Aan (1952) as a key driver of the publicity or “He never faked anything, be it his appreciation..or his concern for a colleague” or meticulously studying the script and character and then to draw upon from his keen sense of observation are typical takeaways for a professional in any field of activities.
The first eight chapters vividly describes the built up of base of Yousuf Khan’s metamorphosis into Dilip Kumar takes place.
Yousuf Khan’s date of Birth, in the Kissa Khwani Bazaar of a famous city of Peshawar in the then undivided India’s North West Frontier Province itself would find a mention in the chronicles, because a huge fire had gutted the goldsmiths’ workshops in that area. Yousuf’s Dadi’s opinion of her grandson’s arrival on this earth amidst blizzard and fire was further bolstered by fakir’s prophecy that the child was “made for great fame and unparalleled achievements.” Dadi’s extra efforts to protect her grandson form the evil eyes of the world seemed to transform Yousuf into an ‘loner at school, getting lost in the make-believe world of pictorial books.’
The pain of The Matriarch and Her Brood giving infant Yousuf a very ugly look to protect him from the evil of the world was to surface from the subconscious of Dilip Kumar while playing early tragic roles in career of the soon to be titled tragedy king. The isolation at the school did not seem to affect young Yousuf’s activities at home, but the mental agony of the characters that Dilip Kumar portrayed on the screen did lead him to seek help of psychotherapy.
The Escapades and Adventures of childhood years of Yousuf certainly seem to have ignited Dilip Kumar’s sense of storytelling. Young Yousuf would walk to the city square every day, in the toes of his father, Aghaji, to listen to unfolding of a narrative by one of the maulanas. He would not only enjoy the narrative but also let his fertile imagination conjure up characters and situations in his mind so graphically that back home he would try enacting the characters with the lines spoken by maulana. Several years later these embedded experiences were to unfold in the storytelling exercises for the cinema! Dadi was the first censor Yousuf came across in his life. She would abruptly curtail a story being told at the congregation of the family members around a bon fire of a sigdi on winter night, if she felt it was it was not good enough to be told in the presence of women and children. In his solitudes Child Yousuf also indulged in the pastime of imitating ladies and men who came visiting his parents. Among these visitors was the elder son of Yousuf’s father’s Hindu friend Basheshwarnath Kapoor, who would stun the ladies with his handsome appearance. That was Raj Kapoor’s father, Prithviraj Kapoor.
Off To Bombay: A New Chapter Begins when Yousuf’s father shifted to Bombay to explore the business potential in the wake of the news of impending world war. During the journey to Bombay by Frontier Mail, family friends would come to meet them with refreshments at some of the stations. Some of them were Hindus. When the trains stopped at stations, the vendors would sell ‘Hindu Chai, Hindu Paani, Muslim Chai, Muslim Panni. The travelling Khan family did take little notice of the difference. Adolescent Yousuf grew up in an atmosphere of warmth and affection. He was extremely shy, but not unhappy. There was no more shaving of his pate now (in the year 1937). The growth of thick black hair elicited compliments form all ladies, which would yield into a ritual by his mother for shooing away the evil eye. ‘Today, in (his) ninety-second year, (Saira Banu) performs the same ritual every time a visitor says something about,, looks or good health or when… dozens of people come for (autographs) and praise.. work!’
In The Growing Up Years, the family had shifted to Deolali (a hill station in Maharashtra, located about 180 km form Mumbai). Yousuf learnt English to a quite proficient degree. He also started taking keen interest in soccer. In fact, at that stage he had a desire to become a soccer champion and his father desired an OBE attached to his name. He met Raj Kapoor after many years at Khalsa College. In fact, theirs was not merely a friendship of two individuals in the same profession but a bonding that grew from well-placed trust and respect. Even as Yousuf was always trying to help his father, a destiny was being cared for him by the Almighty.
The Poona Interlude helped teenaged Yousuf find his own bearings, gain some valuable experience. That taste of a little bit of ‘freedom’ also made him unsure whether he would be able to continue to submit to the will of his father, and take over his mantle.
At that point of time, inevitable changes led to The Return of The Prodigal to Bombay, pining for warm, indescribable security of family and familiar surroundings.
Whilst in Bombay, Yousuf was now keenly searching for a meaningful occupation. One morning he happens to meet his father’s acquaintances. Dr. Masani. One thing led to another. Yousuf met Devika Rani and landed up with a job of Rs 1250 per month. This was The Turning Point. He also met Ashok Kumar, marking the beginning of a friendship that was to last and entire lifetime.
In addition to these chapters on his-pre-film life, Dilip Kumar has chosen to end the book with Family Matters to present his reply to persistent question asked to him: Whether there is anything at all that (he regrets) and wish(es) to obliterate from the canvas of (his) life. One such episode is his getting involved, under pressure, with lady named Asma Rehman. That mischievously perpetuated ‘second marriage’ was an error of judgement by a fallible human being. Saira Banu, despite the hurt caused to her pride and because of her intense faith in him, stood solidly by him. The whole episode strengthened their closeness and emotional dependence on each other. During the episode it was wrongly represented that Saira could not bear a child. The truth is she did conceive a child (in 1972), but was lost in the eighth month of the pregnancy because of several medical complications. Dilip Kumar also goes into a deep retrospective when he passionately narrates his attempts to give each of his brother and sister to scale the heights that he dreamt for them. He felt a moment of proud and that lump in the throat when Lata Mangeshakar, whom he fondly calls his ‘younger sister’, sang for him Allah Tero Naam on the eve of her soulful rendering of Ae Mere watan Ke Logo at a function in the presence of the then Prime Minister Jawhar Lal Nehru in Delhi.
We will take up next part of the article – First and Second Innings at the Hindi Film Cinema – on 19 February, 2015