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Tribute to a Great Literary Figure from Kashmir

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Dr Hajini learnt about the fact that extremists have attacked AIR Station. He did not care for own life and rescued Betab from AIR Station. Betab was given safe shelter for a week with hospitality at Hajini’s house.

Dr Aziz Hajini has passed away. He was one of the top literary figures of Jammu and Kashmir for a long time. We remained friends for two decades.

It was on request of Government of J and K that NBT held a seminar on children’s literature at Srinagar a decade ago coordinated by me.Dr Hajini was requested to chair. Baijanath Betab from AIR was invited as one of the speakers on the request of Dr Hajini.

On one evening Dr Hajini invited us to have dinner at his place and stay there. The next day we had to catch our flight to Delhi.

Betab was a daily drinker. Non of the invitees except me was used to Alcohol.We sat separately with our respective glasses.

What Betab told me that night was very interesting and speaks of a great human and He Man side of Dr Aziz Hajini.

Betab was posted as a News Reader at AIR Srinagar. Suddenly extremism broke out in the state.His life was in danger. His wife and children were at Jammu.

Dr Hajini learnt about the fact that extremists have attacked AIR Station. He did not care for own life and rescued Betab from AIR Station. Betab was given safe shelter for a week with hospitality at Hajini’s house.

Later, Betab was transferred to Delhi. Dr Hajini dropped him at Srinagar Airport himself as my friend Param Shivam, CRPF Commandant confirmed.

I don’t have contact details of Betab since then.He once called me on phone at Delhi.

Two months ago I spoke to Dr Hajini to enquire about well being of Betab. They have maintained their goodwill as I am aware.

- How is our friend Betab after this Modi created turmoil in J and K ? I asked.

-Well, Insa Allah, Betab has been transferred to Jammu AIR and has settled there with his family. He replied with a sign of happiness.

Betab is a Pandit from Kashmir Valley. Hajini maintains Betab’s ancestral house with utmost care. Extremists have not been able to capture it.He hopes that one day everything will be normal and he and his dear friend Betab will have dinner together at Betab’s ancestral house at Pahalgam.

Then he informed gladly, ‘ Betab has left the habit of consuming alcohol.’

- ‘Me too’, I said.

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