Hindi diwas: Nirala, Mahadevi Varma and others you ignored in school, but should read now

Not many take Hindi literature seriously in school — especially when you've got to mug up the 'lekhak parichay' for that 10 mark answer in the finals. Early teenage is not best known for profundity and this is why you need to revisit your Katha Sarita, Ekanki Chayanika or and give these authors another reading. Perhaps, many more readings.

(L to R, clockwise) Mahadevi Varma, Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala', Subadhra Kumari Chauhan, Harishankar Parsai and Bhagwati Chandra Varma.

(L to R, clockwise) Mahadevi Varma, Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala', Subadhra Kumari Chauhan, Harishankar Parsai and Bhagwati Charan Varma.

On Hindi Diwas (Hindi Day) here's a list of five authors and brief excerpts from their various works.

Mahadevi Varma

Mahadevi Varma should be on every self-professed romantic's shelf. Her work has striven to keep symbols of romance alive, but mainly her work is excellent because it captures a feeling of romantic loss — a pang. There is an anguish in her writing and it candidly speaks of her own perceptions of the world, the people who have touched her life.

वे मधु दिन जिनकी स्मृतियों की
धुँधली रेखायें खोईं,
चमक उठेंगे इन्द्रधनुष से
मेरे विस्मृति के घन में!

Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala'

Nirala's works often mirror the realities of his own life. Often one to write about spirituality and philosophy, his poem in memory of his daughter — Saroj Smriti documents his sadness and personality excellently.

मुझ भाग्यहीन की तू सम्बल
युग वर्ष बाद जब हुयी विकल
दुख ही जीवन की कथा रही
क्या कहूँ आज, जो नहीं कही।

Subhadra Kumari Chauhan

A nationalist at heart, Chauhan was vocal about how she felt about the British Raj. An active member in the national struggle for independence, she was the first woman Satyagrahi to get arrested in Nagpur. Her most popular poem on the queen of Jhansi — Jhansi ki Rani was said to have inspired many a freedom fighter.

क्यों कहते हो लिखने को,
पढ़ लो आँखों में सहृदय।
मेरी सब मौन व्यथाएं,
मेरी पीड़ा का परिचय॥

Harishankar Parsai

Sarcasm, wit, and humour is Parsai's style. Perhaps the David Sedaris of early modern Hindi literature. Armed with a Master's degree in English, he chose Hindi as his medium. Funny, but with a cause best describes Parsai. His anthology of short stories — Nithalle Ki Diary (Diary of a Wastrel) should be read.

जग दिखाता है मुझे रे राह मंदिर और मठ की
एक प्रतिमा में जहां विश्वास की हर सांस अटकी
चाहता हूँ भावना की भेंट मैं कर दूं अभी तो
सोच लूँ पाषान में भी प्राण जागेंगे कभी तो

पर स्वयं भगवान हूँ, इस सत्य को कैसे छलूं मैं?

Bhagwati Charan Varma

Varma has written many political novels which deal with satire, society, and philosophy. His novels satiate a mind seeking both emotional and intellectual depths. His novel, Bhoole Bisra Chitra spreads across a timeline of almost 50 years going through four generations of a family highlighting the birth of the freedom struggle and India's entry into the 20th century.

देखो, सोचो, समझो, सुनो, गुनो औ' जानो
इसको, उसको, सम्भव हो निज को पहचानो
लेकिन अपना चेहरा जैसा है रहने दो,
जीवन की धारा में अपने को बहने दो

Updated Date: Sep 14, 2016 14:16 PM

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