Book Reviews

Bakar Puraan – From Facebook page to print, story of innovation in literature

“A writer picks up his pen only when his sensibility is hurt – Sadat Hasan Manto”
Ajeet Bharti, one of the co-founders of the Facebook page Bakar Adda and author of the book ‘Bakar Puran’, instated his unique style of writing to protest against the common practice of writing Hindi in Roman script. A rebel at heart, he wears socks of different colors, hates being addressed as a cool dude, and is worried about lack of authenticity in thoughts in the younger generation.
He is of profound belief that every artiste has a duty towards his or her art. An artiste should not just look at the means of using medium of art to send across some message, but should also aim to enrich the art, through his or her contributions.” He confesses that ‘Bakar Puran’ is his humble attempt to map the availability and readability of Hindi Literature to the current world, style-driven largely by technology and lack of time, to enjoy rich and voluminous literature.
‘Bakar Puran’, rightly written as बकर पुराण, a ‘bachelor satire’, or as Ajeet calls it ‘Bakar Sahitya’, is a unique book in several ways. It has authentic humor; is innovative in writing style; perhaps is one of very few books which address the dilemmas in day-to-day life of a bachelor; and a big portion of the content comes from an original Facebook page, which was printed in form of a book owing to its popularity!
Ajeet started off with contributing to the Facebook page, Bakar Adda, back in 2012, when he joined his friend, Sanidhya who had already initiated the page. The page, as an ode to Devnagri, was created to cater to Hindi reading population on Facebook and as a protest against the practice of writing Hindi in Roman script.
Although, initially skeptical about the reception of the page, founders began posting content, which was usually authentic contemporary satire, humourous memories of the past, commentary on social issues, poetries, micro fiction etc. Stories and humourous articles mostly revolved around the struggles of bachelor life. Ajeet adds to it, “Imagine, if I have a date with my girlfriend, as a bachelor I face several conflicts and confusions, which range from reaching the meeting point at right time to wearing the least dirty shirt in my wardrobe!”
The Facebook page had a remarkable and organic growth over the years. Ajeet claims that the page aimed only to entertain its readers with authentic content, which was primarily in satiric style, encouraged Hindi writing in Devanagari, and kept a very tight control on all incoming comments on the page to avoid any kind of vulgarity.
The thought to convert ‘Bakar Adda’ from a facebook page to ‘Bakar Puran’, was conceived during early days of Facebook activity, when the page began getting appreciation and regular readership from its viewers. It took Ajeet almost 10 months to convince a publisher for producing an unconventional book of this kind.
A book, which was offspring of a Facebook page, written in Hindi, used common language words like “launda” and did not concentrate on usual candy floss rom-com, signaled high risks of failure to most publishers. Ajeet thanks ‘Hind Yugm Prakashan’ and Shailesh Bharatwasi, the founder, for making his book a reality. Hind Yugm Prakashan’s motto of the year is to promote the contemporary Hindi writing style, like they call it “Nayi waali Hindi”.
‘Bakar Puran’ is like a breath of fresh air in the world of literature, because it makes Hindi literature accessible and enjoyable for a common man of India, who has become habitual of reading English literature over Hindi or local languages. It specifically uses the daily, and perhaps sometimes slightly crass language, to mock at the fakeness of the elite world.
Just like Ajeet puts it succinctly, “It is literature for public in public language”.  It encompasses funny, perhaps trivial situations, in daily life of a bachelor and uses those trivial situations to expose the real face of the polished society. It has several interesting sections like ‘Saprasang Vyakhya’, which explains in reference to, with context, current item songs, from Bollywood movies.
Another similar section is ‘Qutiyapa Saptaah’, which mocks at the current trend of celebrating the Valentine’s week. Readers can also look forward to section like ‘Buddha Anand Samwaad’ which decodes modern concepts like ‘moving on’, or ‘giving space’ ‘pure pleasures of life’ over a cup of coffee in a plush coffee bar! Or ‘Yudhishthira Yaksha Samwaad’ where Yudhishthira answers pressing questions like why do young men of the country opt for B Tech to save lives of their brothers.
But nowhere does ‘Bakar Puran’ loses its sense of humor, and nowhere it crosses the boundaries and gets vulgar. The delicate balance of satire, which refrains from vulgarity, is what makes ‘Bakar Puran’ standout!
When questioned about his unique writing style and his thought process, Ajeet credits his creativity to his mother, and his sense of humor to his father. Ajeet hails from Bhabangama, a village from Begusarai district in Bihar, from a family of farmers, where it was not usual for anyone to pass high school in his family. But his mother’s grit and his father’s support got Ajeet to clear local school, and then reach Sainik School Tilaiya (one of the finest military schools in the country) and, thereafter, land in Kirori Mal College, Delhi University. He migrated to Kirorimal College after enrolling as a correspondence student in English Hons, where he topped in his first year, and got an offer to enroll as a full time student! Later, for a masters degree, he finished it  in journalism from IP University.
Ajeet believes in the spirit of ‘Bakar Puran’. As a matter of fact, content of ‘Bakar Puran’ is quite simple in style. Ajeet claims that the basic idea was to present the complexities of normal life in a simplified and witty version, and it was a huge challenge in itself.
But breaking down this piece of complexity is what makes ‘Bakar Puran’ way more relatable. He is assured that it will connect with the youngsters who come from small towns, fall in love, struggle to survive, and try to fit-in. He thinks twitter, short messages, and Facebook posts are changing the way people are reading and expressing, and ‘Bakar Puran’ is quite contemporary in that style because it fits in the parameters of ‘micro literature’, which is also unconventional in the sense that no one, prior to ‘Bakar Adda’, treated or took this style as a serious and potential field of literature.
For newcomers in the field of literature, he states, “Writing or creating something is like giving birth to a child! If you can create something, you should be proud of it, and continue with it, that is the only way you learn and you get better”
Youthopia wishes ‘Bakar Puran’ all the best!
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