In this interview series where we ask questions to people who are making a difference, it can be big, it can be small, it doesn’t matter, what matters is their contribution to our society. It can be anyone from any walk of life and from any country. Please, do send us suggestions of people whom you think we should interview for this series.
Laxman Rao, who runs a tea stall in New Delhi, is a well known author of 25 Hindi books. He has recently completed his postgraduation in M.A. (Hindi Literature) from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) in August, 2016. He has been awarded by various trusts and organisations.
Also, he was invited to the President House to meet former President of India Smt. Pratibha Patil along with his family on 23 July, 2009. In addition to his achievements he has also been invited to many schools, universities, educational institutions, corporate seminars, and NGO’s as a guest speaker.
His books are available on various major online marketplaces. Following are his thoughts on our questions.
Facebook Page of Mr. Rao can be reached through link below
- Tell us something about yourself?
Myself Laxman Rao, I was born on 22.07.1952 in Talegaon Dashasar village in Amravati district in Maharashtra. I am an author by profession and have written 25 Hindi books so far which consists of novels, plays and literary analysis. An incident of my village inspired me to become an author.
Ramdas was of my village and we studied in same school, but he was my senior. He was a characterless student in the school. A teacher of the school completely changed him and he became favourite student of all the teachers. One day when he was returning from his maternal uncle’s village, his urge to take a bath in a river made him to jump in the river and he never came back. That incidence inspired me to become an author.
- What drives you to write? Where this passion came from?
My personal experiences of my life drive me to write. Whatever I write is mainly based on real life stories which I get to know through interactions with the people who visits my shop. I observe people and pen down my experience in my books.
- For our readers, can you illustrate some of the hardships that you faced for your dream?
My struggle started way back in 1975 when I landed in Delhi with an aim to become a successful Author. Before that I used to work in a spinning mill in Amravati. After the closure of the mill I started working in the fields. Then I took Rs. 40 from my father and left my hometown. I wanted to come to Delhi but all my money was spent till Bhopal. There I worked as a labourer at a construction site for three months. After I arranged some money I came to Delhi in July, 1975.
I stayed in a Dharmshala (Lodge) of Birla Mandir (A famous temple in New Delhi) for 3 days. I was looking for a job but didn’t succeed. Then I worked as a labourer and afterwards as a waiter at roadside eateries for two years. In 1977, I opened my own paan (beetle leaves) and cigarette shop at Vishnu Digamber Marg near I.T.O. Later I converted my paan shop into a tea shop.
I approached a number of publishers to publish my books in early days of my struggle in Delhi, but they all refused to publish my books for some reason or the other. One of them said, “Get out from here. You don’t know what publication is all about.” That was when I decided to publish the books on my own. I established my publication house ‘BHARTIYA SAHITYA KALA PRAKASHAN’ and published my first novel ‘NAYI DUNIYA KI NAYI KAHANI’ in 1979. And I publish only my books under my publication house.
When I came to Delhi, I was only matric passed in Marathi language from Nagpur Board, Maharashtra and when I published my first book ‘Nayi Duniya Ki Nayi Kahaani’, media persons were curious about the fact that how could a ‘PAANWALLAH’ (beetle leaves hawker) write a book. They used to ask about my education. I realised at that time that higher education is important.
Hence, I passed senior secondary classes from C.B.S.E., New Delhi and graduated from Delhi University. In August 2016, I have completed M.A. in Hindi Literature from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).
Whatever I earn from the sales of books goes into publishing another book. But my publication work is progressing year by year. Now my books are available on online marketplaces and are available in eBook format also. So, the sales has increased for the past 2-3 years. I hope to stop selling tea and engage in full time writing very soon.
So many articles and news coverage about my work has been published and broadcasted respectively by the national and international media. I have been invited to President House alongwith my family to meet former President of India Smt. Pratibha Patil on 23rd July, 2009.
Now schools, universitites, educational institutions, corporate seminars and NGO’s regularly invites me as a guest speaker. It has been a priviledge for me.
- How many books have you written so far and how many have you published among them?
I have written 25 books so far. But the list of all the books that I have got published till date is as follows:
- Nayi Duniya Ki Nayi Kahani – 1979
- Pradhanmantri (The Prime Minister – Play) – 1984
- Ramdas – 1992, 2001, 2013 & 2017
- Narmada – 2001, 2014 & 2017
- Parampara Se Judi Bhartiya Rajneeti – 2006, 2010 & 2013
- Abhivyakti – 2010 & 2013
- Renu – 2008, 2012 & 2017
- Ahankaar – 2012
- Drishtikon – 2014
- Pradhanmantri (Indira Gandhi) – 2015
- Dansh – 2016
My books are now available on various online marketplaces as follows:
Amazon and Kindle eBooks – http://goo.gl/5KeLUF
Flipkart – http://goo.gl/p9zpYC
Ramdas, Narmada, Dansh and Renu (All novels) have been my top selling works so far. Readers liked these novels very much.
- Who is your ideal as a person?
Gulshan Nanda is my ideal person as an author. When I was in 8th standard, I used to read novels of Gulshan Nanda. He was the most famous Hindi language novelist in the 60s and 70s in India. Novels written by him were being sold in million number of copies in those times. He has written 60 novels and 15 Bollywood films have also been made based on his novels. So, I was inspired to become an author like him.
- What would you say to those writers or people who face a lot of rejections in life?
I would say that emerging writers should try to first understand the field of publication. Today I am being considered as an established author in India because I was passionate about writing and faced all the difficulties just to establish myself as an author. New writers should not think that they have established themselves as author just by publishing a couple of books. They should work hard to publish more and more books and should themselves make an effort to sell those books. Another publisher won’t work hard to sell their books and pay them royalty.
- Do you think a writer should be free to write on any subject or there is a Laxman Rekha a writer shouldn’t cross?
An amateur author can’t be an establish author. A person can’t write a meaningful book until he has a deep knowledge about the subject on which he is writing. But the one who is writing keeping only money in his mind or just because it’s his hobby to express his feelings through words, he can write anything which may or may not be useful for the readers. But such a person can never become a role model.
- From your experience do you think money = happiness in life? What’s your opinion this?
As per my experience, money is important for a living but it cannot buy you the respect and credibility which you earn from your profession and experience. I like to set goals and then I work really hard to achieve those goals. That’s why today I am known as an established author. Hence, I always feel satisfied and happy. Money and fame follows once you whole heartedly follow your passion.
- As a society, do you think we do justice with our artists?
An artist or an author should not run after fame, awards and money. He should only focus on his passion. Rest just follows.
- What are the lines from a novel or a poem that inspires you most?
I read books of all genres. I like to read books which gives good knowledge. That’s why lines from any particular novel etc. are irrelevant for me.
- Your message for our readers?
Follow your dreams. Do not expect and do not wait for the right time or circumstances. Success is bound to come if you work hard.