91-yr-old activist won’t give up on his mission

Scholar, writer Krishan Kumar Nutan from Mandi is fighting ‘untouchability’, dowry and superstition

Dipender Manta

Krishan Kumar Nutan (91), who is a native of Mandi district, is a renowned scholar and writer, who has dedicated his life to end social evils such as ‘untouchability’, child marriage, dowry and prevalent superstition in society.

His journey started at the tender age of 13, when his parents forced him to marry a minor girl. This shocked him completely. Talking to The Tribune KK Nutan confessed that this incident hit him hard and to escape from the situation, he even tried to end his life.

To protest his parents’ decision, he went to the forests in the Himalayas for penance and become a saint. During that period, he studied religious books, which gave him the power to fight with the situation. Impressed with Nutan, Raja Joginder Sen, the then emperor of Mandi state, became his disciple and gave him the Beas Gaddi (a religious sitting place) in Mandi town.

He wrote a story Yaadgar, in which KK Nutan criticised the practice of ‘untouchability’ in society by describing the life of a sculptor, who built sculptures for temples. After building or designing temples, the sculptors were not allowed to visit the temples. A movie was also made later on the similar lines.

Instrumental in entry of SC people to temples in Mandi 

In 1944, KK Nutan opened the doors of temples in Mandi town for the Scheduled Caste people, called Harijans, after requesting the then ruler of Mandi state — Raja Joginder Sen, who was his disciple, to do so.

Nutan said: “My story Yaadgar played a crucial role in hitting untouchability in society. I tried to describe the plight of sculptors, who built temples, but were not allowed to touch it after these were ready for worship. On my request, the then Raja Joginder Sen of Mandi opened the doors of the temples for the Harijans.”

He said: “My story Yaadgar was copied by then film director V Shantaram, who made a film ‘Geet Gaya Pathron Ne’ on it. The matter was taken to court. I won the battle and the dispute was resolved after paying Rs 25,000 as the price of story.”

“To send out a message against prevalent dowry system in society, I started it from my own house. I performed the marriage of my children in the temple without taking a single penny in dowry. It was just to lead by example for the cause, which I was advocating since long,” he said.

Stayed in Mumbai 

Nutan is the son of famous freedom fighter late Khem Chand and Dwarka Devi.  He lived in Mumbai between 1949 and 1957 and was planning his carrier as a film writer. Unfortunately, his mother fell ill. She was suffering from cancer. It forced Nutan to return to Mandi and serve his ailing mother. During his stay in Mumbai, he had a direct link with many prominent people including actor Balraj Sahni, Anand Bakshi, Ramanand Sagar, Gulzar, Bharat Vyas and Guru Dutt.

KK Nutan said: “I also worked as a journalist in Hindi vernaculars and tried to hit social evils through the power of pen. I wrote articles over burning issues in society. I want to uproot untouchability, dowry and superstition from society completely, which is still deep-rooted, especially in remote areas.”

He urged people to shun the ill practice of untouchability, taking or giving dowry and believing in superstitions, which are harmful to society in this modern era, when the nation is moving on development path. 

Famous works

  • Drama: Chanderahaas
  • Poem: Vyakul Hriday
  • Short story collection: Mamta 
  • Film story: Yadgaar 
  • Others: Man ek Pyasi Machhali, Sanskar, Mridula, Haripriya, Ras Kalash and Itihaas Sakshi Hai, in which he tried raising his voice against prevalent socials evils in society

When director V Shantaram copied his story

My story Yaadgar was copied by film director V Shantaram, who made a film ‘Geet Gaya Pathron Ne’ on similar lines. The matter was taken to court. I won the battle and the dispute was resolved after paying Rs 25,000 as the price of story.

Touching lives...

... my story Yaadgar played a crucial role in hitting untouchability in society. I tried describing the plight of sculptors, who built temples, but were not allowed to touch it after these were ready for worship. On my request, the then Raja Joginder Sen of Mandi opened the doors of the temples for the Harijans. To send out a message against dowry system in society, I started it from my own house. I performed the marriage of my children in the temple without taking a single penny in dowry. I was just propagating the cause, which I was advocating since long.

KK Nutan, renowned scholar, writer

I also worked as a journalist in Hindi vernaculars and tried highlighting social evils through the power of pen. I wrote articles over burning issues in society. I want to uproot untouchability, dowry and superstition from society completely, which is still deep-rooted, especially in remote areas. — Krishan Kumar Nutan

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