Maila Anchal inspirer dead

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By GAUTAM SARKAR
  • Published 15.01.11
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Bhagalpur, Jan. 14: Latika Renu, the second wife of Hindi author late Phanishwar Nath Renu, was today consigned to flames at Aurahi Hingna village in Araria district. Padma Parag Renu, the elder son of the writer and the newly elected JD (U) MLA from Forbesganj, conducted Latika’s last rites.

Lovers of Hindi literature said an era came to an end with Latika’s death. She had played a significant role in inspiring her late husband in creating works like Maila Anchal, Parti Parikatha and Mare Gaye Gulfam. Some of his works were adopted by Bollywood filmmakers.

“Latika was instrumental behind the success of late Phanishwar Nath. She indirectly contributed to Hindi literature by stimulating her husband’s creativity,” said Ramkishore, a writer.

“It was Latika’s efforts that Maila Anchal was widely recognised all over the country,” he added.

Phanishwar Nath was known to say on many instances: “If Padma (his first wife) is my body, then Latika is my soul.” In Maila Anchal, he created two female characters — Mamta and Kamli — against the backdrop of poverty-ravaged rural scene of Seemanchal. While Mamta’s character was inspired by the life of Latika, Kamli’s was based on Padma’s life.

Padma said Latika’s death was an irreparable loss. “Even though she was my husband’s second wife, she was just like my younger sister,” Padma told reporters at Aurahi Hingna village.

Latika was staying with Padma for the past year in Aurahi Hingna after leaving her residence at Rajendra Nagar in Patna. The author’s younger son and secretary of Renu Samaj Seva Sansthan, Dakhineshwar Renu, said: “With her death, Mamta and Kamli are now separated from each other.”

Dakhineshwar recalled the sacrifices of Latika, his second mother, for his father. She had come in contact with Phanishwar Nath in the 1950s when he was very ill and admitted at Patna Medical College and Hospital. Latika, who hailed from Hazaribagh district (now in Jharkhand), was a nurse at the hospital and she was assigned to take care of the author.

“Their intimacy grew into love and they got married in 1951 even though he was already married to Padma and had children in his native village Aurahi Hingna,” Dakhineshwar said.

He added: “My second mother contributed a lot to my father. She was the source of inspiration for his creativity.”

Sailendra Sharan, a close family associate of the Renu family, said: “Latika helped Phanishwar Nath publish Maila Anchal with her own money. Satyajit Ray had designed the book’s cover.”