In Search of Humanness
Author: Rajen Brijnath
Year of Publication: 2018
Price: Rs 400
About the Author
Rajen Brijnath was born in Lahore in 1935 and moved with his family to Jamshedpur in May 1947. He graduated from St Stephen’s College, Delhi and worked in ITC Ltd from 1955 till 1988. He moved to Dehra Dun in 1988 where he practised as independent consultant in human relations and development till 2014. For seven years he was advisor to Doon Library and Research Centre. He is passionate about music, philosophy, literature, equality of women and men, peace and has been writing essays and poems since he retired. He has travelled from ardent Christianity in his youth to agnosticism to “wobbly” but earnest atheism now.
In his preface, Rajen Brijnath writes:
“For a long time I have been grappling with the concepts of being ‘Human.’ It has been a delightful, knowledge-filled never-ending ‘Bout’; winners on both sides – I and my understandings. I haven’t much time left – I’m 80-plus now and I need to set down
where we are – my understandings and I.
So I’ve done this now in the form of an essay on ‘Humanness’, the processes of
being Human (Insaaniyat in Hindustani). The essay uses the structure of enquiries
I have made, and continue to make, of myself and my work in the management
development of a large multinational business organisation; and into many years of
consultancy after I ‘retired’. In this multi-faceted enquiry I have made inroads of
quest into anthropological and sociological thickets, sometimes extracting myself
with difficulty! What a journey it has been and immensely rewarding for me.
I continued to oscillate between two positions, which were not ’polar’ but
complementary: (a) the self-esteem and joy which reside in the acceptance of my
Humanness and (b) the challenges which demand my best as a human …
But there was something missing in the possibilities, contingencies and potentialities
I was delineating, I couldn’t put a logical finger on it, but I could feel their absence
intuitively. Then it hit me suddenly. I had been writing poems for some time – I
found huge joy, fulfilment and completeness in writing poetry. Why didn’t I publish
whatever I’ve written and see which poems link up with which aspects of
Humanness? Further reflection assured me that I did not need to make any pointers
or markers. Readers were their own translators, interpreters and would make
meanings and linkages without any help from outside their fields of understanding.
The essay and the poems are here. Both contain relevant parts of me; both contain
aspects of and the spirit of Humanness. They are there in the same volume because
they belong together and can be used and enjoyed by the reader in any way s/he
My hope is that the reader will be glad s/he encountered the essay and the poems
and negotiated the path between their respective but friendly universes.”
One essay and 55 poems spread across 5 sections