Prominent Hindi writer and poet Vinod Kumar Shukla, whose poems, stories and novels have been part of the Hindi curriculum for years, accused his publishers on Wednesday of paying him the pittance for years.
A video of the 86-year-old Raipur-based writer, taken by a local channel, has gone viral on social media where Shukla is seen talking about the royalties he has received from Hindi publishing houses like Vani Prakashan and Rajkamal Prakashan for his most popular books including the novels ”Naukar Ki Kameez” and ”Deewar Mein Ek Khidki Rehti Thi”.
Shukla alleged that while Vani paid him only Rs 1.35 lakh for the past 25 years, Rajkamal pays him around Rs 14,000 a year for six pounds.
In a statement, Ashok Kumar Maheshwari, managing director of Rajkamal Prakashan, said the publication promised to sort out the issues in a meeting with Shukla.
“Vinod ji is a respected elder in our family of writers. Respecting their wishes is essential to us. His wish is our command. Why did he suddenly start to feel limited and uncomfortable with us, to know that we will meet him and talk to him and in the future we will follow what he says. “When asked for comment, there was no immediate response from Vani.
Writer and actor Manav Kaul, one of the many admirers of Shukla’s writings, had met the poet recently in Raipur while filming a documentary and was the first to bring up the issue.
Speaking to PTI on behalf of his father, Shukla’s son, Shashwat Gopal Shukla, said they only learned of the low royalties after the writer met Kaul. And after Kaul’s Instagram post, many of his students and young writers confirmed their suspicions.
“About a week ago, Manav Kaul ji came to meet my father in Raipur and spent some time here. During their conversation, he asked about royalties. The father said that on average he gets about Rs 6,000 from Vani Prakashan for three of his books. If you average the royalties received over the past 25 years, that comes to around Rs 5,500 per year. Rajkamal on average paid 14,000 rupees a year for six pounds,’ Shashwat told PTI by phone.
”My father asked them for four-five years not to publish some of his books because there were errors in evidence but there were no answers. They even continue to release new editions. was made at a time when there were no e-books or Kindles.
He claimed that they got to know that Vani published a Kindle edition of the novel and poetry book ‘Atirikt Nahi’ without any royalty statement to the writer.
”We don’t use Kindle and e-books so we had no knowledge about it and we just found out now. We were told by young writers, students and admirers of my dad that even a new writer gets about Rs 3-4 lakh per year for two or three books and here my dad only gets paid Rs 5,500. When my dad Hearing about this, he said, “Main thaga gaya hoon” (I have been deceived).
“He feels like his trust has been shattered and that’s what he said in the video broadcast by a local station,” Shashwat added.
When asked if any of the editors had contacted his father after the controversy broke, Shashwat said they had received no word from Vani, but Ashok Maheshwari had messaged him saying that he would meet the veteran writer in Raipur by the end of this month.
In his Instagram post, while highlighting the issue, Kaul also posted photos with the writer.
”Last year, he only received Rs 6,000 for three books published by Vani Prakashan. And only Rs 8,000 for the whole year from Rajkamal Prakashan, almost the same amount. This means that the country’s top writer only earns Rs. 14,000 for the year. He received no response to his letters for months. He wrote to Vani not to publish his book but nothing was done about it,” the images of ”The Fame Game” actor had captioned.
The rights to Shukla’s Sahitya Akademi Award-winning ”Deewar Mein Ek Khidki Rehti Thi”, poetry book ”Atirikt Nahi” and another collection of poems are with Vani, while Rajkamal publishes ”Naukar ki Kameez” , ”Sabkuchch Hona Bacha Rahega”, ”Kabhi Ke Baad Abhi”, ”Kavita Se Lambi Kavita” and the children’s novel ”Hari Ghaas ki Chhapar Wali Jhopadi aur Bauna Pahaad” among others.
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)