Today, 10th September 2015, is the inaugural of the 3 day World Hindi Conference in Delhi.
This reminds me of an incident. I had been appointed a Judge of the Allahabad High Court in 1991, and the incident happened a few months thereafter.
My good friend Neelkant, is a Hindi writer and critic of Allahabad ( my native town ). One day he came to meet me at my residence. He had written a book on Rahul Sanskritayan etc, and he wanted me to come as Chief Guest at a function at the Hindustani Academy, Allahabad for its release. I normally avoided going to functions as long as I was a sitting Judge, but since Neelkant is such a fine and loveable person I agreed.
When I reached the venue there was a huge crowd of about 200 persons or more, ( the capacity of Hindustani Academy hall ) assembled in the audience, many of them literary figures who regarded themselves great writers.. Several speakers spoke, praising modern Hindi literature,and then came my turn.
I got up and said that I was sorry but I could not agree with most of the speakers who had spoken before me. While Sur, Tulsi, Kabir, etc were no doubt great, modern Hindi literature, with a few rare exceptions like Premchand, was ' daridra ' and ' ghatiya ' ( i.e. of a low level ) it has no place in world literature, etc. I also said that modern Hindi poetry had no ' dum ' in it, and was no match to Urdu poetry..
At first the audience was stunned, but gradually as I was speaking an uproar began, which soon reached a crescendo. People in the audience started shouting '' Aise anpadh admi ko kisne judge bana diya '' ( who appointed such an illiterate person as a judge ), '' aap yahan kyon aaye ? '' ( why did you come here ? ), etc.
I coolly replied that I had come because I had been invited by Neelkant whose book was being released, but no one was prepared to listen to me, and a barrage of invectives and vituperations were soon hurled on me.
When this crossed the limits of my endurance I said '' You are a bunch of goondas '' and left the hall in a huff.
Next day many newspapers published accounts of this incident, including my statement that the crowd consisted of a bunch of goondas. The result was, as Neelkant later told me, that there was a huge demand for Neelkant's book, and the first print was soon sold out, and there was a demand for a second edition.
A few days later Neelkant came to my house and apologized profusely for the misbehaviour of the crowd. I told him not to worry. He should now write another book on modern Hindi literature, and invite me again for the release, where I would again lambast modern Hindi literature, and this would ensure another huge sale of his book !