Surender Mohan Pathak
Among the Indian mystery writers, Surender Mohan Pathak has definitely been the numero uno during the past half a century. He is the author who has rendered a prestige and dignity to the pulp-fiction novels of crime-detection or mystery genre written in Hindi. He wrote a lot in the heyday of pulp-fiction books in India which had a huge sale but seen derogatorily by the decorous readers. However it’s Mr. Pathak who created a unique identity for himself in the crowd of pulp-fiction writers and gradually became so popular that he gained celebrity status.
Born to Mr and Mrs Pannalal Pathak, in Lahore (now in Pakistan) on 19.02.1940, Mr. Pathak moved to India at the time Partition along with his family. Mr Pathak completed his degree in science from DAV college and Masters from MMh college Gaziabad. Despite having studied Science subjects, Mr Pathak had very keen interest in languages with
sound knowledge of English, Urdu and his mother tongue – Punjabi. He writes in
Hindi but his knowledge of English, Urdu and Punjabi reflects on his Hindi
writing as well, making the language of his novels spicy and influential.
In 1964, he got a job in Indian Telephone Industries which he continued to do till his retirement on 28.02.1998. However, he carried on with his literary interest with the job. He read a lot of quality novels from the English literature and due to his keen interest in crime fiction he started writing himself
A short story – Sattavan Saal Puraana Aadmi (a man that existed fifty-seven years back) was his first published work. It was published in a Hindi magazine – Manohar Kahaniyaan. His first novel – Puraane Gunaah Naye Gunahgaar was published in a crime-fiction magazine – Neelam Jaasoos in 1963. He started with Sunil Series which contains the ventures of an investigative journalist – Sunil Kumar Chakravarty. Later, he wrote some novels under Pramod Series and James Bond Series as well.
However, he got enormous fame through his Vimal Series whose hero is a Sikh (original name – Sardaar Surendra Singh Sohal) who has been compelled by circumstances to become a criminal. He is a gangster with a conscience and takes the law in his hands only to eliminate the hard-core criminals and help the needy, the underdog and the innocents. Mr. Pathak has gradually given him the form of Robinhood. He is a God-fearing man and keeps on reciting couplets from Guru Granth Saheb (the holy book of the Sikhs).
One more popular hero created by Mr. Pathak is Sudhir Kohli who is a private detective and resides in Delhi. Since Mr. Pathak himself is settled in Delhi, spending almost the whole of his life there itself, he knows the Delhites and the Delhi culture very well. Hence he created a very practical hero who is not an idealist like Sunil or Vimal.
The latest serial hero created by Mr. Pathak is Jeet Singh, a petty criminal who has taken to crime because of a heart-break in his life. Mr. Pathak has also written several thrillers and murder mysteries not containing any permanent characters. He has penned several joke books too because of his fondness for collecting and creating jokes. He is a good painter also and made cover pages of some of his novels in the early years of his writing.
Mr. Pathak has penned more than 100 novels under Sunil Series which is a world record for any author to write so many novels with a particular serial hero.
A simple man with a jolly nature and a positive attitude towards life, this seasoned author is active even in his seventies. He wants to write till his last day on this Earth and asserts - "I want the people to say that in the field of mystery writing, Mr. Pathak died with his shoes on."