In an online program conceptualized, presented and executed by the writer Chandrakanta, Shri Shanta Kumar, Himachal Pradesh’s Ex Chief Minister and India’s Ex Union Minister paid tributes to his late wife Smt. Santosh Shailaja on her birthday on 14th April.
The program which was attended by senior and prominent writers of Himachal Pradesh was presented live by Chandrakanta on Himachal Pradesh Langauge, Arts and Culture Academy Facebook page. The attendees – Dr. Sushil Kumar Phul, Dr. Gautam Vyatith, Mr. Satish Dhar, Mr. Sudarshan Vashishth and Dr. Ashutosh Guleri – reminisced the literary work of Santosh Shailaja, read poems and and other work from her book. They also hailed Santosh’s poetic and unwavering literary spirit by recounting the experiences with the down-to-earth personality she embibed.
Shri Shanta Kumar shared how the couple used to exchange letters when the former was jailed during Emergency. The veteran leader also mentioned about her priceless contribution in his political and literary journey, and how Santosh managed to be writing actively despite her greater family responsibilities.
The host Chandrakanta read one of the letters from the book ‘Kuhuk Koyaliya’, written by Santosh Shailaja to Shanta Kumar when he was in jail during the Emergency period.
At the age of 83 years, Santosh Shailaja succumbed to Covid-19 in the early hours of 29th December 2020. She had been undergoing treatment at Dr Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College (RPGMC), Tanda.
Shailaja, born on April 14, 1937 in Amritsar, completed her post graduation in Hindi from Delhi and also taught in a government school. Shailja and Shanta Kumar got married in 1964 and lived in Palampur thereafter.