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Well-known Gujarati writer Chandrakant Bakshi dead

By Kanti Bhatt and Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi
Last updated on: March 26, 2006 01:15 IST
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Chandrakant Bakshi, 74, highly-acclaimed Gujarati novelist, died in Ahmedabad on Saturday. Baxi had captivated Gujarati youth like none else. He was an inspiration to three generations of Gujarati youth. He was considered "an angry young thinker" of Gujarati literature.

He wrote against hypocrites, pseudo-secularists and cowardly thinkers. It was difficult for many Gujarati writers to face Baxi's creative outburst. They tried hard to remain off Baxi's "radar".

Bakshi was sharp, crisp and brutal when he criticised people he disliked or trends he hated.

His biography's last chapter which was serialised in the Gujarati daily Samkalin could not be printed because it's content had too much violent imagination. He imagined in the last chapter that he was urinating on the dead body of his enemy.

He gave fantastic turns and twists to current thinking and contemporary issues by giving historic facts.

His novels and other writings have created lasting impression and his books have been translated in many Indian and foreign languages.

For many years, he remained the best-seller. He hated many Gujarati traits but he highlighted strength of Gujaratis and its history. His writings provoked many young Gujaratis – and that was his biggest success.

Bakshi was brought up in Kolkata, a city that had a deep impression on him and his writings.

He ran away from home to fulfill his creative urges. Self-pride was his identity that he preserved it, at high cost, till his death. His critics said he had exaggerated ego and he heavily took the help of history books and Western writings. But Bakshi was a trendsetter who could upset his critics through words and inspire young minds.

Bakshi faced the ire of many prominent personalities when he wrote against them.

His short story Kutti was once banned by the state government and there was even an arrest warrant issued against him. Bakshi belonged to the Palanpur Jain family in Gujarat famous for its diamond merchants -- who are known for their strict vegetarianism. Baxi made mockery of vegetarians till he died.

His stories had huge doses of non-vegetarianism, violence and non-conventional sexual relations. When he wrote a column criticising Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, many Shiv Sainiks reached his home in Worli, Mumbai to attack him and asked him to apologise. But Bakshi being Bakshi refused. His first short story Makan Nu Bhut (ghost of the house) was written while sitting on the cash-counter of his own readymade garment shop at the age of 18.

He has written more than 160 books. He was a Sheriff of Mumbai and had also served for few years as principal of Mithibai college in Mumbai. It was believed that death of his wife Bakula had affected his enthusiasm and health. Bakshi is survived by Riva, his unmarried daughter.

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Kanti Bhatt and Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi