In Loving Memory of Gopinath Raina - Papaji
Gopi Nath Raina
(Bhagavad Gita 2:23)
Respected Shri Gopi Nath Raina was born in Srinagar, Kashmir, India on June 21, 1924. He did his schooling in Srinagar followed by a Bachelor's degree. Thereafter he studied at Punjab University Lahore and obtained a Masters in Philosophy . During his college days he began a deep interest in the life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. He got married in 1947 and settled down in Shimla with his wife Smt Chuni Devi Raina , where he raised his family . He then moved to New Delhi in 1971. (1924 -2017)
Papaji used to say "Life is a paradox, live our part and depart”. He passed away peacefully on August 14th 2017, at his home with his beloved family by his side. His passing was on the very auspicious day of Janmashtami and coincidentally on his wife's death anniversary, as he had hoped for .
Papaji, your life with us will always be remembered. You were always the perfect gentleman to everyone you met. We will always remember you for the different things you meant to each of us.
You enjoyed your life and lived gracefully. You married a most beautiful and charming women our mother called Mummy. We always hoped and tried to live our married lives as gracefully and romantically as you did. Your love for Mummy kept the promise to meet in heaven and you connected with mummy same day and same time.
You dedicated your efforts to your job and were always the first to be chosen to travel with dignitaries such as the Prime Minister and the President of India. In this service, you traveled all over the world including to the US with the then-Prime Mister, long before we were born. As always, you were ever-graceful, in your retirement from Indian Information Service as distinguished Editor Correspondent, commentator and administrator for All India Radio.
For the community, you served as editor-in-chief of magazines started by you, such as Koshur Samachar, Kasheer, Sanathan Sandesh, and devoted time to the political party congress Magazine Vernika and Shehjar. You were honored with many prestigious awards.
You spent valuable time and effort in thoroughly revising and editing my book, Koshur Saal. I will be forever grateful to you for your help and constructive suggestions and for sharing your rich, vast experience from years of editing and writing.
I lost my father when I was 19-years-old. You were always a father figure to me after my marriage in1980. When I first saw you, I recognized my own father in you. The love and care you always showered on me was far more than that of father-in law. It was always a father and daughter relationship. I would come to you just as a daughter might, with all my issues, seeking your wisdom and assistance.
The first time, when we met at the Broadway hotel, you told me that I do not need to cover my head with saree. Instead, you pulled down my palov from my head and stated, “I am your father. You do not need to act like my daughter-in-law.” (Covering head is a mark of respect given to father – law in Indian culture). You promised my mother that you will never let Chandra feel absence of father and you maintained that.
Whenever a guest came to our home to see the newlywed bride, they would get confused and ask mummy ji bahu kanha hai. Where is bride? I will be playing cards with papa ji or discussing philosophy, clarifying my doubts about life and spirituality. We had developed a very special father-daughter bond which I will sorely miss now.
If friends saw how well we got along with each other, they would never guess that Papa ji was not my real father.
I have always described you as handsome, graceful, intelligent, compassionate, kind, caring, loving and a patient listener — not just because you are my father but as a man who was adored only by me but all who have come in your presence. Your aura would attract all who came into your influence.
You were a philosopher, thinker, writer, astrologer and above all a great personality A “karm yogi”
When I said you were caring reminds me of an incident, when I was newly-married and getting ready to go with Deepak for dinner. I wore the traditional kashmiri dress, phiran, in those days, it was the style to wear this modified form of kashmiri phiran over sarees. But Deepak did not like that style and wanted me to change. I argued for wearing the phiran. Finally, I yielded and changed the dress on papaji’s request. Next day, Papa ji and Mummy had to attend a film fare award function. He came to me and told me get ready as he wanted me to go with them. But, he said, you have to wear the Kashmiri phiran dress that you wanted to wear yesterday. I want to introduce my daughter-in-law in Kashmiri dressed to everybody. This was the loving and caring way of Papa ji.
Another example of his devotion reminds me of when I was studying for post-graduation and attending mummyji who was sick and left us in a month after coming to the US. Papa ji felt bad that I had to work, go to school and then return home to attend mummy and my children, who were young at the time. One day he told me, “You are doing too much. Can I help you with your homework? I can help with your typing assignment?” I laughed and said papa ji .I will have to teach you first. He was OK with learning. So I said, Papa ji, this is how you have spoiled your all children. He was a person who was always ready to do anything in order to make our life comfortable.
I have a long list of interesting stories between Papa ji and me but time and this one essay cannot possibly include everything.
Papa ji raised his children not like a father but as a friend. Saying all this, I always had a disagreement or grievance with Papaji about his raising his cherished son and my husband, Deepak. Deepak was the first baby of Papaji and Mummy. He was pampered and spoiled baby. Papa ji would watch words that might hurt Deepak and would instruct me to behave in a manner so that his baby Deepak, is always happy. Otherwise, baby Deepak would get naraz and may not eat food. I would tell him, “You have spoiled Deepak and I have to suffer.” He would accept this mistake and lovingly avoid talking about it with his beautiful smile.
Papa ji, Deepak will miss you every morning when he will go to your room. Who will he now apprise with all the information he knew. Who will listen to him patiently as you did? Who will enjoy watching Deepak while taking care of his plants? Who will proudly narrate the story, of how Deepak was born and how Deepak was given name? How Deepak always did well in his studies? Who will he say bye bye before going to work. Today your baby, Deepak, has suddenly become an adult. He will miss kissing you and joking with you about mummy.
In short, I admire you papa ji, as my father, father in-law, guide, teacher, philosopher, and listener and last but not least, a good patient. You never lost your temper, never became irritated, never complained. You were always very cooperative.
When I used to give you medicine, you would tell me I am a good patient. You wanted to be the perfect gentlemen at the time when nobody expected you to be. In your last days, you again lived gracefully and with dignity. Your life-style, healthy habits and good deeds helped you through your last days without pain or suffering. Passing of this transaction was smooth without a single needle prick. To me he was manifestation of Shiva, and who unmanifested from this world with his wish and will.
I am in awe of how you handled tragedy of losing your grand daughter Neha and youngest son Akshay in just 13 days, 9 months back with calm composure. I questioned you couple times how could you stay so calm and you always looked at me and smiled, that smile was speaking volumes.
Papa ji, you are exactly how I wish to be, if I reach your age. You are an inspiration to me.
I miss you. I miss our chats. I miss our watching TV at lunch time-White house briefing and “Happening Now”. But want to believe you are always with us, blessing and guiding us. Thank you Papa ji.
You always quoted Lala Ded to me Lali hund Neelvath gasi watchus peyth thavun meaning cultivate patience and deal situation with patience.
Added by: Chandramukhi Ganju