Rashmi Bajaj was born and brought up in a small town Bhiwani in the state of Haryana – a single girl child. Her father, a Sanskrit scholar, professor, and mother first lady graduate of Bhiwani town. Rashmi say that she is fortunate to have the parents who are liberal and have progressive views who chose not to go beyond one child. She has always been encouraged by her parents to excel in academics and literary field, going beyond the stereotype of women. Her maternal grandfather was a person with poetic sensibility composing Urdu poems. Her maternal grandmother and maternal aunt composed and sang devotional and patriotic numbers. She have been composing poems since her childhood. Her first poem was written and published at the age of eight or nine. It was a philosophical piece on “life” which appeared in a small city newspaper, a composition talking about the philosophy of life, joy, sorrow, success, failure, death… Readers were really surprised and called me a precocious, child who writes philosophy at an age when other children are barely reading Champak and Nandan. Her favourite genre continues to be poetry. Rashmi Bajaj finds herself strongly responding to society around and its various issues. As she was growing up, she was deeply pained at the sexist and highly patriarchal, even at times misogynist structures, systems and customs of our society. Rashmi was a direct witness to sufferings of so many girls and women inside and outside the family, inside and outside house. Born as unwanted children, victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, dowry deaths, inhuman treatment where a woman is not recognised as a human being at all. It is pain, anguish and anger started finding expression in her poems right from her college days. Much of her poetry is what you may call feminist (she call that humanist). Women issues are at the centre of her writings from identity crisis to assertion and finally celebration of identity as woman.
Apart from gender issues, she finds herself passionately reacting to the contemporary political, socio, cultural and intellectual scenario also which has found a profound expression in her fifth collection of poetry released in the World Book fair “Jurrat Khwaab Dekhne Ki”, which is a much-talked about book. She have been feeling dismayed and infuriated at the present state of affairs in our country. She believes that the political class, the intellectuals, litterateurs, the activists – all have let us down. Everything has been politicised, all has become a sham and a drama. Literature and intellectual discourse has became akharas for promotion of party politics and ideology. In place of human and humanity concerns, caste, class and religion are misused to create divisions and a discourse of venom. Real and realistic sufferings of people are ignored – be it the poor, exploited people/Kashmiri Hindus/ murdered Dr Pankaj Narang of Delhi. Literature today has became mostly a tool to settle political agenda! Rashmi strongly believes that a real writer must transcend all pretty politics to speak of humanity and human issues. A writer should be beyond party politics, she /he should be an instrument to enlighten society, to create positivity and make people more sensible and sensitive human beings. Dominant/ m a i n – s t r e a m contemporary Hindi lite r a t u r e does not seem to be doing much of that. Her anger, her frustration and pain have found an outburst in her poems of fifth collection and so many people could relate to them as the poems struck chord in so many hearts of right-thinking people. Her favorite genre is poetry and her favourite poets are Maya Angelou, Amrita Pritam, Kamala Das, Wordsworth, TS Eliot, Walt Whitman, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Faiz, Kaifi Azmi, a kind of mix of romantic , modern and even post-modern sensibility as Rashmi herself is! So far Rashmi have published five collections of poetry and a book of criticism. Titles of poetry collections are: Mrityorma Jeevanam Gamay Nirbhay Ho Jao Draupadi Surbalala ki Madhushala, Swayamsiddha, Jurrat Khwaab Dekhne Ki e- book of criticism, Women Indo-Anglian Women Poets, has been an internationally acclaimed work, declared one of the best publications by US Library of Congress in 1996. The poetry collections are also nationally talked about works – subjects of many research papers and theses. Rashmi Bajaj poem has been prescribed in university textbook as syllabus input. She is presently working on a study of new feminisms, women poets, comparative study of marginalised literatures. It comes to me as a flow and that can be anytime and anywhere. Yes, books do sell even in this age of internet. The writers may not be having the best of the deals but the publishers are flourishing.
Book fairs, literature festivals have created fresh and renewed interest in literature even of the young generation. Internet has rather helped in making the information and the availability of the books accessible. You get the information on Internet, you purchase the book from online sellers or otherwise and then read it – that seems to me to be the latest trend. Rashmi is a music lover, a real passionate one. Rashmi is somewhat of a singer and somewhat of a composer too. She does live poetry; reading sessions also a motivational speaker interacting with youth and other people from various public platforms. Social media is a favourite indulgence. A nature-lover, a traveller, Rashmi is also into meditation and yoga, attended self-empowerment programmes by the Art of Living international organisation and many others. Living an honest, courageous, positive life to the fullest that what she wishes for.
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