I finally finished reading the 4th part of Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s Autobiography “Dashdwaar Se Sopaan Tak”. I first came across his autobiography in an exhibition when I was looking for something to read in Hindi. I had read his “Madhushala” but I was not aware of the autobiography. When I saw that it was in four volumes, I was not sure whether i am going to read it completely, but still decided to take the first volume “Kya Bhooloon Kya Yaad Karoon”. That was many years ago. After that I had been reading it and once I finished one book, I bought the next one and so on and finally I finished reading the last volume recently.
This last book was of particular interest to me for many reasons. In this book he has written a lot about his son “Amitabh Bachchan”s movie career and I wanted to read about it from the only authentic source possible since Amitabh himself has not written any book on himself. This book also has a lot of information about Bachchan’s closeness with Nehru-Gandhi family and how the two families were together in good and bad times. But most important of all, this book is about the courage of a man who at that age was so candid and truthful about his life and events that it ends up shocking you.
There are just too many things which remain with you after you have read the book but I will try to give a few examples. He is very fond of his family but does not mind passing a curt remark if he feels like it. He has written about the obsession of his female fans or his ruined friendships with his poet friends. When we read the complete book, you just feel very respectful for his courage and honesty. The fact of the matter is that the one who does not have anything to hide is probably the most honest person on earth and that part comes out very well through this book.
Now coming to the language of the book. It is written in very good literary hindi which is sometimes difficult for me as well despite having Hindi as my mother tongue. It also highlights his literary journey. I did not know that he wrote Gita in the poem form of Ramcharitmanas. He was truly the master of Hindi Literature and to think that he used to teach English and did his PHd in English poetry on Yeats. Probably, that is why Amitabh has such a beautiful dual language fluency. Overall, a great book by a great man.