Ruskin Bond (19-May-1934)
Ruskin Bond (born 19 May 1934) is an Indian author of British descent. He lives with his adopted family in Landour, in Mussoorie, India. The Indian Council for Child Education has recognized his role in the growth of children's literature in India. He got the Sahitya Academy Award in 1992 for Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra, for his published work in English. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1999 andPadma Bhushan in 2014.
Ruskin Bond was born on 19 May 1934 in a military hospital, to Edith Clarke and Aubrey Bond, in Kasauli, Punjab States Agency, British India. His siblings were Ellen and William. Ruskin's father was with the Royal Air Force from 1939 till 1944. When Bond was four years old, his mother separated from his father and married a Punjabi Hindu, Hari. Ellen lived in Ludhiana until she died in 2014.
Bond spent his early childhood in Jamnagar (Gujarat) and Shimla. At the age of ten, Ruskin went to live at his grandmother's house in Dehradunafter his father's death that year from jaundice. Ruskin was raised by his mother and stepfather. He did his schooling from Bishop Cotton School in Shimla, from where he graduated in 1950 after winning several writing competitions in the school including the Irwin Divinity Prize and the Hailey Literature Prize. He wrote one of his first short stories, "Untouchable", at the age of sixteen in 1951.
Following his high school education he went to his aunt's house in Channel Islands in the U.K. in 1951 for better prospects and stayed there for two years. In London, he started writing his first novel, The Room on the Roof, the semi-autobiographical story of the orphaned Anglo-Indian boy named Rusty; he did various jobs for a living. It won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, (1957) awarded to a British Commonwealth writer under 30. He moved to London and worked in a photo studio while searching for a publisher. After getting it published, Bond used the advance money to pay the sea passage to Bombay and settle in Dehradun.
He worked for a few years freelancing from Delhi and Dehradun. He sustained himself financially by writing short stories and poems for newspapers and magazines. On his youth, he said, "Sometimes I got lucky and some [work] got selected and I earned a few hundred rupees. Since I was in my 20s and didn’t have any responsibilities I was just happy to be doing what I loved doing best. In 1963, he went to live inMussoorie because besides liking the place, it was close to the editors and publishers in Delhi. He edited a magazine for four years. In the 1980s,Penguin setup in India and approached him for writing a few books. He had written Vagrants in the Valley in 1956, as a sequel to The Room on the Roof. These two novels were published in one volume by Penguin India in 1993. The following year a collection of his non-fiction writings, The Best Of Ruskin Bond was published by Penguin India. His interest in supernatural fiction led him to write popular titles such as Ghost Stories from the Raj, A Season of Ghosts, and A Face in the Dark and other Hauntings. Since then he has written over five hundred short stories, essays and novels, including The Blue Umbrella, Funny Side Up, A Flight of Pigeons and more than 50 books for children. He has also published two volumes of autobiography. Scenes from a Writer's Life describes his formative years growing up in Anglo-India; The Lamp is Lit is a collection of essays and episodes from his journal.
Since 1963 he has lived as a freelance writer in Mussoorie, a town in the Himalayan foothills in Uttarakhand and lives with his adoptive family inLandour, Mussoorie's Ivy Cottage, which has been his house since 1980. About what he likes the most about his life, he said, "That I have been able to write for so long. I started at the age of 17 or 18 and I am still writing. If I were not a professional writer who was getting published I would still write. In his essay, "On being an Indian", he explains his Indian identity, "Race did not make me one. Religion did not make me one. But history did. And in the long run, it's history that counts.