By OUR STAFF REPORTER
DEHRADUN, 4 Nov: Prof Lekh Raj Ulfat’s life and work was celebrated at Nanhi Dunya, “The International Movement for children and their friends”, by dedicating an evening of reminiscences, listening to his biography, poems, songs and dance. Family and friends gathered at the Inder Road branch to share ideas, concerns and hope for the future of the Nanhi Dunya Movement. Lekh Raj Ulfat founded Nanhi Dunya in 1946 and over the 73 years it has become strong organisation working in the field of child, woman and youth welfare. Later, joined by his wife Sadhana Ulfat in 1952, they strove together for the expansion of the movement. He is remembered by close associates as an experimentalist, fearless and fascinating storyteller, with vivid imagination and sharp memory. He would describe events and people of long ago with extraordinary clarity. He even claimed to know his previous incarnation. He was spontaneous in action with a generous heart and had a firm belief in unorthodox cultural values. He encouraged the spirit of experiment and discovery. In the quest for freedom, he strongly felt that ‘we could not ride our chariots on borrowed golden wheels’. In his words, it is better to find right relationships than imitate. A conscientious student, he developed varied interests in medicine, philosophy, history and literature, especially poetry. He was a linguist with mastery over five languages. As early as his tenth grade, he added a poetic surname to himself – ‘Ulfat’ giving it, its own meaning – ‘Love in action’. Later, after getting the Munshi Fazals Upadhi, he removed his identity as a Brahmin and, instead of his caste, he started using Ulfat as a surname. He believed in Universal Ideas and religion for him was service of the planet and its families. Mineral, Plants, Animals and Humans for him were all part of a cosmic family. He felt that Religion was just a very small part of life and its purpose is to help life to unite on earth, neither more nor less. He used to say ‘Jo dharan karta hai wohi Dharam hai’ – that which holds together and causes universal harmony is Dharma. There are no conflicts in healthy spiritual practices. He said, “I would like to see Dehradun develop in to a well-balanced city with endless greenery – a centre for learning and amazing example of organic living; where people of all cultures live in perfect harmony and look forward to change themselves according to the needs of time. I love old markets, our parks and green agricultural fields. I just hope they don’t destroy the basmati rice fields and tea gardens. I hope our schools and centres of further learning become oasis of wisdom and have deep love for the earth and art. With Ganga River on one side and Yamuna River on the other we are blessed to be in Dehradun. I hope Alok and Kiran will become the custodians of Education, Environment and cultural life of the region.” Nanhi Dunya is run by a trust and Prof Ulfat’s daughter, Kiran Ulfat, is the chief promoter and executive. There is a strong group of trustees and many organizations as trustworthy allies who fully support Nanhi Dunya and the future is promising. Jashn-e-Ulfat was a mesmerising evening and touched many hearts. Alok Ulfat conducted the evening with anecdotes and humor. The select audience included the professionals, social workers, youth and children. The programme began with lighting of the lamp followed by a ghazal that was written by Prof Ulfat, sung by Kiran Ulfat Goyal. A brief biography on Ulfat was presented by r grandchildren Satvika Goyal and Ojasya Soham Ulfat. Alok Ulfat then initiated an open mic session, in which people shared their thoughts and love for Prof Ulfat. The evening included a Sufi songs musical presentation by Shubham, Sneha and Shivam. A beautiful dance was presented by the children of Nanhi Dunya. Vijay Goyal proposed the vote of thanks.