Sitting with this volume clutched in my hands, nostalgia over takes, taking me to the one lone visit to Dedra Dun. I was in that city exactly four years back, for a literature festival hosted by Nazia Yusuf Izuddin at the World Integrity Centre. Writ large was that old world charm about WIC, where Nazia and her team took pains about the minutest little detail to the panel discussions and interactive sessions and, of course, to our stay and commute. Looking back, I can say it was one of the warmest and well organized literature festivals I have attended in recent years. Also, whilst interacting with the guests, what struck was the fact that there seemed much bonding cum connectivity amongst the residents of this city. A rarity in the times we are destined to be living in.
With all that in the backdrop as I read this volume, I feel the author, Raj Kanwar, ought to be saluted for rather too painstakingly putting together all possible aspects to the residents of the city of Dehra Dun. Together with detailed backgrounders to their work and family and professional spheres. It’s a volume complete with the details of the Who’s Who in any given profession or sphere, who are presently residing in that city or who had lived or worked or slogged or schooled in that city.
Writ large Raj Kanwar’s passionate commitment to his city Dehra Dun and to its residents. In fact, diplomat Navtej Sarna best sums it up in his foreword to this book — “Raj Kanwar has seen it all, lived it all. He has made his life and writing synonymous with the best of Dehra Dun. He has distilled into Dateline Dehra Dun the best of what he has experienced, the exceptional people he has met along his journey and the evolution he has seen. This is a treasure trove of his memories being pulled out straight from his heart. All those who share his love for the Valley will enjoy the Book and others will be inspired to learn about the little heaven that it was.”
This volume is one of those must reads for all those fascinated by the Dehra Dun city and what it holds out. It could also be a researcher’s delight or a scholar’s guide…the list could be long because its laced with facts and factors which otherwise could have gone about un- noticed or un-traced.