Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - Live - - FRONT PAGE - He­men­dra Chaturvedi ■ he­men­dra.chaturvedi@hin­dus­tan­times.com

An ex­porter by pro­fes­sion, Ra­jiv Khan­del­wal’s lit­er­ary jour­ney be­gan with writ­ing po­etic let­ters of con­so­la­tion to his home­sick daugh­ter. An au­thor of four books on English po­etry, Ra­jiv, to­day, is deep into lit­er­a­ture and In­dian clas­si­cal mu­sic.

“I owe it to my mother, Lalita Khan­del­wal, who made me read Enid Bly­ton and play gui­tar in child­hood,” says the elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer, who ex­ports auto parts for a liv­ing.


Ra­jiv, 61, was born in Kan­pur, his ma­ter­nal home­town. His fa­ther BD Khan­del­wal be­longs to a noted busi­ness fam­ily of Agra which owned an oil mill.

His mother, who was a teacher, had much of her in­flu­ence on Ra­jiv who got ini­tial ed­u­ca­tion in ‘Sheil­ing House School’ in Civil Lines of Kan­pur.

“I came to Agra and stud­ied at St Ge­orge’s School and cleared ISCE ex­ams in 1973. With fam­ily wishes dom­i­nat­ing the chil­dren in those days, I joined Birla In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy at Mesra in Ranchi and grad­u­ated as an elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer in 1979.

But since I had no plan to ac­cept the job, I started look­ing for busi­ness op­tions,” he says.


“In early sev­en­ties, VCR was a new thing in elec­tron­ics and cas­settes were much sought after thing. New to the world of busi­ness my un­cle pro­vided me Rs 5000 to be­gin with and I set up a video cas­sette li­brary in Kan­pur and its branch in Agra. I named it ‘Movie Hut’ and the ven­ture brought me back to Agra,” rec­ol­lects Ra­jiv.

“I vis­ited Sin­ga­pore dur­ing those days and dis­cov­ered the im­por­tance of videog­ra­phy. It gave me an idea of shoot­ing mon­u­ments and her­itage of Agra and out­come was ‘Visit In­dia – Dis­cover Agra’ se­ries. We shot Taj Ma­hal and other tourist mon­u­ments to­gether with the mar­ble trade of Agra, its food habits and had even hired voice of Bi­nacca Geet Mala fame Amin Sayani,” says Ra­jiv.


When the busi­ness faced a low time, Ra­jiv had to open a tele­vi­sion show­room but con­tin­ued to look for op­por­tu­ni­ties.

It was then he started ex­port­ing auto parts to Trinidad. The busi­ness flour­ished and now Ra­jiv is a known ex­porter in Agra lead­ing a con­tent life with his par­ents and wife after get­ting his two daugh­ters, Ver­ti­cal and Vernca mar­ried.


Ra­jiv car­ries a pas­sion for singing and had won awards for his ta­lent on stage. Presently he is un­der­go­ing train­ing for In­dian clas­si­cal mu­sic from Ga­jen­draji who holds classes thrice a week. Recol­lect­ing his col­lege days at En­gi­neer­ing Col­lege, Ra­jiv has fond mem­o­ries of be­ing de­clared best ac­tor with Spe­cial Men­tion while rep­re­sent­ing BIT Mesra at ‘Mood Indigo-76’ and ‘Spring Fest -77’ or­gan­ised by IIT Bom­bay & IIT Kharag­pur – the open All In­dia cul­tural fi­esta or­gan­ised by IIT’s for par­tic­i­pat­ing En­gi­neer­ing Col­leges.

“Read­ing is my pas­sion and I used to read a book in a day but now have to de­vote time for my own writ­ing. My fifth book is likely to come up in 2019,” says the man who owes it all to his fam­ily. “They are not de­mand­ing and hap­pily give space to me to fol­low my pas­sion,” he says.


A crit­i­cal read­ing of Ra­jiv’s se­lected po­ems ti­tled- ‘A New Voice in In­dian English Po­etry’ was writ­ten by Late Dr Som P Ran­chan pub­lished in 2014. An­other crit­i­cal read­ing of his po­ems ti­tled – “A Crit­i­cal Dis­course” is writ­ten by Dr Bhupin­der Par­i­har, pub­lished in 2017 and an­other ti­tled – ‘Amor­phous Cre­ativ­ity – Po­etic Achieve­ment of Ra­jiv Khan­del­wal is writ­ten by Prof VVB Rama Rao.

Ra­jiv is part of an an­thol­ogy writ­ten by Prof VVB Rama Rao ti­tled-‘Sen­si­tiv­ity and Cul­tural Mul­ti­plex­ity in Re­cent In­dian English Po­etry’ pub­lished in 2017. He had been awarded ‘Lit­er­ary Cre­ative Award’ by Naji Naa­man’s Foun­da­tion for Gratis Cul­ture of Le­banon.

His po­ems have been trans­lated in Hindi and the ver­sion is slated to be pub­lished in 2019. Na­tional and in­ter­na­tional crit­ics have writ­ten 17 re­view/crit­i­cal paper on his po­etic works till date and the com­pi­la­tion is sched­uled to be pub­lished in 2019.


Ra­jiv Khan­del­wal with his mother and wife.

Khan­del­wal with wife and daugh­ters and (above) a file pix of his po­etic ses­sion.

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