Photojournalist's hobby becomes a book of political quotes

Photojournalist's hobby becomes a book of political quotes

 What started as a hobby is today a compilation of over 500 comments which includes notes by the likes of Morarji Desai and Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Goyal, 84, calls his book a collection of thoughts on "Desh, Dasha, Darshan," (the nation, its contemporary condition and vision), which is also the name of the book.
A photojournalist for almost half a century - he was working with Hindi newspaper Amar Ujala - he began a journey of discovering India through the eyes of top politicians, academics, spiritual leaders, journalists, poets and social activists.
The simple question he posed was: "How do you feel about India's present social and moral status?"

The respondents were asked to pen down a few lines. These remarks - mostly in Hindi and some in English - have been collected over the years and now form part of a publication brought out by his son, Sanjay. All the comments are in the original handwriting of the personalities he spoke to.
Goyal told IANS: "From the beginning of my career, I was a keen autograph collector. Later, I thought why not ask for a comment on the condition of the country along with the signature."

Socialist leader Jayaprakash Narayan wrote: "Feel bad. But things would improve, I wish. India's future is in the hands of the youth."

Former prime minister Vajpayee lamented: "Feel bad. Inequalities are there in society. Lack of national character is there. At the altar of a materialistic culture, moral norms are being sacrificed. But there is no need to be pessimistic."

Goyal collected most of his comments when all the top politicians of the country visited Agra in 1974, when Indira Gandhi was in power in New Delhi. Then opposition party leaders would meet here to mobilise support against the Indira Gandhi government.
"Let every Indian say he will not do anything that will injure this poor nation," wrote political leader and spiritual guru Acharya Jivatram Bhagwandas Kripalani.
Former prime minister Morarji Desai wrote Feb 19, 1974, "Till we have principled and sacrificing people, the task of developing national character, policies and right human society would remain difficult." He blamed slavery and British rule for the steep deterioration.

Late politician and erstwhile royal Vijayraje Scindia wrote: "Very unfortunate, the steep moral decline and dent in the national character is like never before."

Choudhary Charan Singh minced no words when he wrote "the national character and moral status of the country is clear from the fact that in civilised societies people who would have been behind bars are today occupying the throne of power."

Goyal said the comments of so many people from different walks of life in one volume on one subject can be revealing and really eye- opening for policymakers.
"If they read this volume, perhaps their sensibilities would be touched and they would show more concern for people," Goyal said.

Former prime minister Chandra Shekhar wrote: "The conditions today are alarming, many kinds of crises and tensions are building up in society".
However, founder member of Janata Dal-United George Fernandes felt that "on one side there is hopelessness, on the other side there is some hope. If people's power, youth power, labour power combine their efforts, a new country could be built."

Goyal's compilation costs Rs.4,000 but its abridged edition is for free distribution.
"The challenge of modernity is on us and we have decided to mould it to our purpose. Ultimately, it is the attitudinal change which will determine the course of future," former prime minister  Inder Kumar Gujral wrote.

Politician Raj Narain, freedom fighter Jagjivan Ram, eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani, social activist Nanaji Deshmukh, senior journalist Kuldeep Nayar, Hindi poet Dharamveer Bharati, writers Jainendra Kumar, Kamleshwar and Rajendra Yadav have also contributed to the volume.

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