कल कैलाश बुधवार जी की अंत्येष्टि के अवसर पर हमारे संपादक तेजेंद्र शर्मा ने उनके प्रति अपनी आदरांजलि व्यक्त की। चूंकि वहाँ अंग्रेजी में ही बोलना था, इसलिए पूरा वक्तव्य अंग्रेजी में ही रहा, जिसे हम शब्दशः अपने पाठकों के लिए यहाँ प्रस्तुत कर रहे हैं।
Vinodini jee, Archana, Mamta, Dhun and Abhinay, the grand-children all those who love the memory and persona of Kailash Budhwar jee, I stand here to celebrate the time and achievements of the great departed soul!
Kailash Budhwar’s name is synonymous with Hindi media and journalism in the United Kingdom. He seemed to have a special love for the date eleven. He arrived on this planet on April 11 and departed on July 11.
Vijay bhai has talked about Kailash ji’s stint and achievements at the BBC. I joined the BBC 7 years after Kailash jee had retired. So, I had a chance to hear the staff talk with fondness about the golden era of Kailash ji at the helm of affairs.
Kailash ji never believed in display of his knowledge or achievements. He would very apologetically accept if we reminded him of his accomplishments. If I ever talked to him about his era in the BBC, he would look down and say, “The Hindi section is doing very well.” I never heard him criticise his successor or boast of what he had done in his era.
I was introduced to Kailash ji in 1985 by Dr. Dharamvir Bharati. At that time, I used to work as a flight purser with Air India and frequent visits to London were a regular part of my job function. That was my first visit to the Bush House where I had a chance to observe the functioning of the Hindi Section of the BBC.
When I came to settle in London in 1998, Kailash Budhwar was the only name I knew. When I phoned him, his earnest and immediate reaction was, “Where are you staying?… Come over any day. दोस्त बस चले आओ। बैठ कर चाय पियेंगे और बातें होंगी। This dialogue was oft repeated during our telephonic conversation. Fortunately, I lived quite close to his residence in Harrow, I was lucky enough to make use of his offer on a regular basis.
Even after retirement he was active with the Indian Journalists Association, U.K. and the Commonwealth Journalists Association in London. He enjoyed a great reputation in both the organizations and was kept in high esteem. The Association in its obituary statement said, “He would be remembered as a smiling and pleasant person, and often regarded as a beacon of knowledge, Budhwar was one of the most prominent and senior members of the Indian Journalists’ Association UK.”
Commonwealth Journalists Association President Emeritus Rita Payne said, “His calm, objective and informed analysis was highly valued, especially at times of crisis when it was difficult to get reliable news about what was happening on the ground. Kailash was also a long-standing and supportive member of the CJA and regularly attended our meetings and other activities. He will be deeply missed.”
Kailash Budhwar took over as the Chair for Katha UK in the year 2011. Whenever a literary guest of Katha UK was in London, a get-together at the residence of Kailash jee was a permanent feature. During this period, it was a pleasure to realize that he was equally popular amongst Lords, MPs, Diplomats and Literary Organizations across the spectrum. We received condolence messages from Mr. Vikas Swarup, Secretary West, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Virendra Sharma MP, Lord Meghnad Desai, Lord Rami Ranger, Baroness Shreela Flather, Baroness Usha Prasher, Mr. Manmeet Singh, Minister Coordination, High Commission of India, Mr. Anil Sharma Vice Chair of Kendriya Hindi Sansthan – Agra, Mr. Tarun Kumar (Hindi & Culture Officer at the High Commission) and Mark Tully the grand old man of BBC.
Kailash jee’s twin books Letters from London (लंदन से पत्र) were published in the year 2012. On one of his letters the great doyen of Indian Cinema and Theatre Papaji Prithviraj Kapoor wrote to him, “My dear son Kailash, Uff… O… Today you actually made me cry. This was not just a letter… It was a painful cry!… A cry full of compassion… from a separated child for his mother!… Bless you!”
The launch of these books was attended by almost the entire fraternity of Hindi language and literature in the UK. That is why today I don’t stand here only on behalf of Katha UK but all the Hindi organizations of the United Kingdom – like UK Hindi Samiti, Vatayan, Asian Community Arts, Geetanjali Bahubhashi Samaj Birmingham, Kavya Rang – Nottingham, Kavyadhara and Gurukul to pay tribute to this great human being who everyone thought belonged to him. Kailash jee would be present in every event of each Hindi organization.
Cllr. Zakia Zubairi was supposed to join us today for this celebration, but due to Covid-19 conditions she was advised not to join us here. She has sent a short message, “Kailash jee knew the art of keeping the warmth of relationships live. A pleasant smile was a part of his persona. He always had something positive to say about everyone. In his departure we have lost a friend, a brother, a guide, and a kind human being. He will always live in our hearts!”
Kailash jee used to visit all my posts on the Facebook but would never leave a comment. But whenever we met, he would refer to each and every post and give his expert comments on them.
He often used to say, “Tejendra, every post has a retirement age. Bhai, now I also need retirement. Please ask someone to take over my responsibilities at Katha UK!”
My reply to him used to be, “Sir, every person can be given retirement from his or her post. But how can we allow our father to take retirement from his post?… We look to you just like any child looks to his father for inspiration and guidance… How can you ever retire!”… He will always be with us.