Pore over works of noted authors in Hindi literature
Hindi was accepted as an official language of India on September 14, 1949. Since then, the day has been celebrated as Hindi Diwas every year. From novelists, playwrights, essayists, to poets, here are eight stalwarts who made major contributions to Hindi literature.
Born as Dhanpat Rai in 1880 near Varanasi, Munshi Premchand’s stories, essays, poems, and novels reflect social realism. Recurrent themes in his works include rural-urban dichotomy, public awareness of social issues, child widows, prostitution and Indian Independence. His most famous novels are Godaan, revolving around rural suppression, and Karmabhoomi, which is significantly influenced by the Indian Satyagraha movement. It also portrays the slowly creeping communal divide in society. While Gaban is about how the youth started failing in their morality, Mansarovar is a series of short stories.
Dharamvir Bharati is a celebrated poet, author, and playwright. The social thinker was a recipient of the Padma Shri in 1972 and the Sangeet Natak Akademi award in 1988. His most famous work, Gunahon Ka Devta, portrays unrequited love between the two middle-class protagonists. The novel gained cult status and has since been reproduced in multiple editions, translated to multiple languages and even adapted to television series. His work Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda, a recollection by the protagonist of three women he knew at different points in life, was adapted on the big screen by Shyam Benegal into a national award-winning movie by the same name.
Harivansh Rai Bachchan
Born as Harivansh Rai Srivastava, he is a prominent figure of the Neo-Romantic movement in Hindi literature. He adapted his pen name Bachchan and thereafter continued with it. His famous works include the poetry trilogy inspired by Persian poet Omar Khyyam’s Rubaiyat — Madhusala, Madhubala and Madhukalash. These poems were a way of venting deep love, loss and yearning. His couplets from Agneepath have been used several times in the two Bollywood movies. Bachchan is a commonly taught poet in schools and colleges and several of his works have been recited by his son Amitabh Bachchan on various occasions. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1976.
A prominent poet and novelist of the Neo-Romantic era, Varma has been considered a pioneer of feminist values in Hindi literature. Her works – Nihar, Rashmi, Neerja, Mera Parivaar are classics of literature. Her collection of essays about inequality towards women is well-documented in Srinkhala ki Kadiyan. She was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1956 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1988. Bengali filmmaker Mrinal Sen produced Neel Akasher Neechey based on her memoir, Woh Chini Bhai.
Sahni is known for his novels and screenplays. His birth in undivided Punjab to his migration to India left a profound impact on his works. Pali, Tamas and Amritsar Aa Gaya recollect the horrors of the Partition. He is known for his short story collections like Bhagya Rekha and Basanti; plays like Hanoosh and Madhavi and also children’s short stories collection Gulal Ka Keel. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1988 and the Sahitya Akademi fellowship in 2002.
Kamleshwar Prasad Saxena
Kamleshwar Prasad Saxena was a notable novelist and screenplay writer. He has written screenplays for Aandhi, Mausam and Choti Si Baat. In 2003 he was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award for his novel Kitne Pakistan which depicted the social, emotional, and psychological conditions of the partition of 1947. He was also awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2005.
Subhadra Kumari Chauhan
Chauhan had been extensively involved in political activism during the Independence struggle apart from her writing career. She is said to be the first woman activist to have been imprisoned during the Satyagraha Movement. Her works have been deeply drawn from her own struggles against colonialism. Her works like Jhansi Ki Rani, Jallianwallah Bagh Mein Vasant, and Vida talk about the independence struggle, its history and the forerunners of Indian independence at large.
He is the first Hindi poet to have received the Jnanpith Award in 1969 for his work Chidambara which was partly autobiographical in nature tracing his life and its influences from 1937 to 1957. He is also the recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award for Kala aur Boodha Chand and was graced with the Padma Bhushan in 1961. Pant’s style of writing significantly drawn from the self, nature, and his surroundings earned him a prominent place in the Neo-Romanticism literature movement.
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