“Vinoba, Mein aur Tum”: Book Release, 4th Feb

The release of Pitaji’s new book, “Vinoba, Mein aur Tum” took place on 4th February which also happens to be his birthday. He started on his 85th year that day.

The two-hour long evening program was well attended by literary figures of Jamshedpur and relatives. I gave the welcome address, in Hindi of course! This was followed by a melodious recital of “Mangalacharan”. The book was released by Professor N.K. Singh who is a noted senior educationist and also a former colleague of Pitaji.


The stage is set complete with the banners

The stage is set complete with the banners


"Vimochan" or the book release

"Vimochan" or the book release

A wonderful reading of the 15th Chapter of Gita followed. More a recital than a reading; what a powerful and resonant voice Mr Patnaik had! This chapter, I am told, is one of the significant ones from the Gita. This short explanation, I quote from “bhagawad-gita.org”:

“In chapter fifteen Lord Krishna reveals the virtues, the glories and transcendental characteristics of God being omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. Also He explains the purpose and value of knowing about God and the means by which He can be realized. Thus this chapter is entitled: Realization of the Ultimate Truth.”

Then followed a galaxy of speakers. They had all been given advance copies of the book to prepare for the evening. Each one of them had unique points to make about the book and its writer.

The first speaker, a lady, discussed in detail the book and she also made an interesting point. She said that Pitaji’s letters to me were never directive in nature; like do this, or that is right. So true of Pitaji’s style. Never directive, never over-bearing on his children.

Another speaker referred to my welcome address where I had mentioned that greed (“laalach”) to know more about Vinoba made me insist on more letters which finally culminated into this book. The speaker’s laalach was that he wanted more and more books from Pitaji!

Pitaji was invited to speak and as usual he gave a short, crisp and warm talk. The origin of the series of letters, the origin of the book etc. etc. He also spoke about how he considered the audience as a part of his extended family and how he would like to retain and expand his extended family.


The Author Speaks

The Author Speaks

The chief guest, who released the book, had had an eye surgery just days before. He came in his dark glasses. Wonderful (and very brave) of him. He said at the outset that he had not read the book due to the eye surgery. But he knew about the concept and spoke about how important it is to have a dialogue between generations. He also shared a lot of personal memories of his long association with Pitaji.


The Chief Guest Speaks

The Chief Guest Speaks


Somewhere in the middle of it all, the compere for the evening informed the audience that 4th February is also the author’s birthday. Some attendees had remembered it and had come with flowers, shawls, gifts etc. which they presented on the stage to the “birthday boy” who was somewhat embarrassed by all this public attention!


Birthday Felicitations

Birthday Felicitations


My elder brother, Ashutosh, concluded the evening with his vote of thanks. That was a meticulously done and very well received speech. Ashutosh, or bhaiya as I call him, even remembered to add the Vinoba signature at the end of his talk: “Jai Bharat, Jai Jagat”.


Vote of Thanks

Vote of Thanks


The compere had also announced that the book was available for sale at the end of the function. And that all the proceedings from the sale would be sent to Vinoba’s Paunar Ashram as a donation. There was a deluge of buyers who all wanted to get their copies autographed by Pitaji.


Autographing the Latest Book

Autographing the Latest Book


The real fun was when we returned home after the function. Siblings from around India assembled together for Pitaji’s birthday.

I end this piece with the pic from the birthday celebration at home which we all love!


Ma with Pitaji, the birthday boy!

Ma with Pitaji, the birthday boy!

And the morning after we saw the coverage of the event in all the major newspapers of Jamshedpur. Here is a sampler from “Hindustan”:


The report in "Hindustan", 5th February 2009

The report in "Hindustan", 5th February 2009

13 Responses to “Vinoba, Mein aur Tum”: Book Release, 4th Feb

  1. Amit Das says:

    Highly Inspirational Santosh ! Great Job done !

  2. Binay Pandey says:

    A wonderful thing you have done. This will inspire many of us to follow your path to glorify our elders achievements which would otherwise remain un-noticed.

    Kudos ! Once again.

    Binay Pandey.

  3. Urbi says:

    Brilliant. I am speechless!

  4. santoshojha says:

    Amit, Binay and Urbi: Thanks a lot!

  5. Manish says:

    What can i say santosh. absolutely a wonderful emotional memory for all of you and something your dad would always cherish…..

  6. Krishna Pillai says:

    Lots of parents are willing to impart what they learned from life to their children (and others!). Some are ‘directive’. Some preach. Some nag. A few concentrate on the subject and not the recipient. I guess your father falls in the last group.

    However, for the communication to succeed, someone has to listen. Not only have you listened, you also got others to listen. Your father summed up this sentiment by referring to the audience as his extended family.

    This was the best present you could have given your father on this very special birthday. We call it Shatatibhishekam because one who has completed 84 years would have seen a thousand full moons.


  7. santoshojha says:

    Manish: Thanks a lot, you have always been appreciative and encouraging.

    Pillai: What a wonderful surprise hearing from you! I am very touched by whatever you have said. Your observation about Pitaji referring to the audience as his extended family, I did not think of it that way. Seems so right!

  8. nayantara says:

    Hi Santosh,

    This was a crisp and warm recounting of the proceedings. Very well organized and implemented. Kudos to all of you. Will call yo re copies and the level of difficulty of the Hindi etc. You may want to try an english translation of the book considering you gave aspeech in shudh Hindi!! 🙂

  9. Srinivas Palakodeti says:


    It felt great reading your succinnt account of the book launch ceremony.

    I am based in Mumbai – how can I buy this book


    Srinivas Palakodeti (Pala)

    • santoshojha says:

      Pala: Thanks. Let me have your address, I will courier the book to you. There is no other way to get this book! I will send you my bank a/c details later.

  10. Sandeep Lodha says:

    Santosh Ji,

    I have finished reading the book. I want to dare to write out my comments in Hindi as true tribute to the book. My Hindi is not great but still I will do it. I am just holding it for the paucity of time. I will send it as soon as I am done.

  11. Dr.Seema says:

    Waiting for the next article….:-)

  12. santoshojha says:

    Sandeep: Will await your comments- in Hindi. Pitaji will only be too happy to receive your letter. Though, when I mentioned this to him, he did tell me that English too is fine with him.

    Dr Seema: Have just posted a new piece.

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