Writer Hari Datt Bhatt is no more

Dehra Dun: Dr Hari Datt Bhatt ‘Shailesh’, a renowned writer of Hindi and Garhwali, and former teacher of The Doon School, was consigned to the flames at the ghat along the Ganga at Hardwar amidst the chanting of mantras this morning. He was 85 and was suffering from kidney problem for some time. He breathed his last at the Jollygrant hospital on Monday.

Father of well known theatre personality, Himani Shivpuri who has also made her presence felt in Bollywood and the small screen, Hari Datt Bhatt, was house master of both former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and his brother Sanjay Gandhi when they were students at The Doon School. Late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was closely involved with Hari Datt Bhatt and would request him to ensure that her two children grew up respecting the school environment.

After retiring from The Doon School Hari Datt Bhatt settled in Mussoorie and was closely associated with the literary society of both Dehra Dun and Mussoorie. Well known writer and Gyanpeeth award winner Ruskin Bond termed his death as a grell loss to literature in general to him personally adding that Bhatt had almost mastered the art of writing and story telling not only in Hindi and Garhwali, but English also.

Few, however, knew that Hari Datt Bhatt was a great environmentalist also and had been deeply involved in the fight against limestone quarrying in the Mussoorie hills, which was then being spearheaded by Friends of Doon and save Mussoorie Society. Being closely known to Indira Gandhi, he also took up the cause of heavy battery firing practice by the Indo Tibetan Border Police Personnel, which was causing the fragile slopes of Mussoorie to disintegrate, with her.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

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