Important Writers and Poets of Hindi Literature

Short notes on important writers and poets of Hindi Literature are as follows:

Chand Bardai

Chand Bardai was the court poet Prithviraj III Chauhan and he composed the Prithviraj Raso, an epic poem in Hindi about the life of Prithviraj.

Ramananda

Swami Ramanand (1299-1410) was a Vaishnava saint from Benaras and was a pioneer of the Bhakti movement. He was known for communicating in vernacular Hindi. His 12 disciples include the famous stalwarts of that era such as Kabir, Pipa, Ravidas, Bhagat Sain.

He played significant role in the development of Hindi literature, because he generally spoke and wrote in vernacular Hindi. One of his poems is included in Guru Grantha Sahib.

Malik Muhammad Jayasi

Malik Muhammad Jayasi (1477–1542) wrote his poems in the Avadhi dialect of Hindi. He is best known for Padmavat, a poem describing the story of the historic siege of Chittor by Alauddin Khilji in 1303.

Goswami Tulsidas

Goswami Tulsidas (1532-1623) was a disciple of Ramananda, a contemporary of Akbar and is best known for Ramcharitmanas, wrote in Awadhi as well as Brajbhasha dialects. He also composed Hanuman Chalisa and founded the Sankatmochan Temple dedicated to Hanuman in Varanasi. His Awadhi works include the Ramcharitmanas, Ramlala Nahachhu, Barvai Ramayan, Parvati Mangal, Janaki Mangal and Ramagya Prashna and Brajbhasha works include Krishna Gitavali, Gitavali, Kavitavali, Dohavali, Vairagya Sandipani and Vinaya Patrika. Vinaya Patrika was his last composition.

Surdas

Surdas, the famous poet of 15-16th century is known for his magnum opus the ‘Sur Sagar’, which is said to comprise one lakh songs, out of which only about 8,000 are extant. He was a diciple of Vallabhacharya, who taught him Hindi Philosophy and advised him to sing the ‘Bhagavad Lila’ – devotional lyrical ballads in praise of Lord Krishna and Radha. The songs in Sursagar present vivid description of childhood Lilas of Krishna.

Kabir

Kabīr (1398-1518) was a mystic poet and saint whose poetry greatly influenced the Bhakti movement. His writings include Bijak, Sakhi Granth, Kabir Granthawali and Anurag Sagar. He was a disciple of Ramananda. He is seen as one who balanced the life of a householder, a mystic and a tradesman. The hallmark of Kabir’s works consists of his two line couplets (Doha), which reflect his deep philosophical thinking.

He expressed his poems in vernacular Hindi, borrowing from various dialects including Avadhi, Braj, and Bhojpuri. His poems also include Sakhis and Shlokas. Bijak is the best known of the compilations of the compositions of Kabir, and as such is the Holy Scripture for followers of the Kabirpanthi sect. Bijak is also known to be one of the earliest of the major texts in vernacular Hindi.

Rahim

Abdul Rahim Khan-e-Khana (1556 – 1626) or  Rahim was one of the Navaratnas of Akbar. He wrote Hindi couplets and his books on Astrology. He was a devotee of Lord Krishna and wrote poetry dedicated to him. His works in Astrology include Khet Kautukam and Dwawishd Yogavali.

Meera

Meera Bai (1498-1557) is the most celebrated of the women poets of medieval times. She was one of the most significant figures Sant of the Vaishnava bhakti movement. Some 1,300 pads (poems) commonly known as bhajans (sacred songs) are attributed to her.

The Bhajans of Meera are popular throughout India and have been published in several translations worldwide. Born as a Princess, got married to son of Rana Sanga, got widowed, escaped several efforts of killing her, left home, became disciple of Ravidas, travelled and more travelled and finally met her love at Dwarkadhish temple.

Premchand

The birth name of Munshi Premchand (1880 – 1936) was Dhanpat Rai Srivastav. He was such a prolific write of Hindi Novels that he is known as Upanyas Samrta (King of Novels). He first wrote with a pen name “Nawab Rai”, but subsequently switched to “Premchand”. His works include more than a dozen novels, around 250 short stories, several essays and translations of a number of foreign literary works into Hindi. His first work was Asrar-e-Ma’abid (Urdu) or Devasthan Rahasya (Hindi) published in 1903.

Writing Style of Premchand

Premchand was the first Hindi author whose writings prominently featured realism, depicting rationalistic outlook. His work arouses the public awareness about various social issues. His works often depict the menace of corruption, child widowhood, prostitution, feudal system, poverty, colonialism and freedom struggle. His novels describe the problems of the poor and the urban middle-class.

Important works of Premchand

Godaan (1936) was Munshi Premchand’s last completed work and is generally accepted as his best novel. The protagonist, Hori, a poor peasant, desperately longs for a cow, a symbol of wealth and prestige in rural India. Other important works are Seva Sadan, Rangbhoomi, Pratigya, Kayakalp, Gaban, Kamabhoomi etc.

Bharatendu Harishchandra

Bharatendu Harishchandra (1850 – 1885) lived only for 34 years but he was such a great writer that he is known as father of modern Hindi literature as well as Hindi theatre. His pen name was “Rasa”. The title “Bharatendu” was conferred on him at a public meeting by scholars of Kashi in 1880 for his role in the development of Hindi Literature. Government of India confers the Bharatendu Harishchandra Awards since 1983 to promote original writings in Hindi mass communication.

Writing Style of Bhartendu Harishchandra

The works of Bharatendu Harishchandra represent the agonies of the people, poverty, dependency, inhuman exploitation, the unrest of the middle class and the urge for the progress of the country. He made contributions in journalism, drama, and poetry. He edited the magazines Kavi Vachan Sudha in 1868,In 1873 Harishchandra Magazine , Harishchandra Patrika and Bal Vodhini.

Major works

His most famous dramas include Bharat Durdasha (1875), Neel Devi (1881) and Andher Nagari (1881). Andher Nagari is a popular political satire.

Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi

The active period of Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi (1893–1918) represents the second phase of modern Hindi literature (Dwivedi Yug) which was preceded by the Bharatendu Yug (1868–1893), followed by the Chhayavad Yug (1918–1937). He is known to be the mentor of Maithilisharan Gupta and great nationalist, Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi. He edited the Hindi Magazine Saraswati from 1903 to 1920 and during this time, Saraswati became most popular Hindi magazine.

Maithili Sharan Gupt

Maithilisharan Gupt (1886 – 1964) was one of the first poets to use Khari Boli in poetry at a time when Brajbhasha was prevalent. He wrote in various magazines including Saraswati. In 1910, his first major work, Rang Mein Bhang was published. His magnum opus is Bharat Bharati. Most of his poems revolve around plots from Ramayana, Mahabharata, Buddhist stories. His famous work Saket revolves around Urmila, wife of Lakshmana, while another of his works Yashodhara revolves around Yashodhara, the wife of Gautama Buddha. His nationalist poems became popular during the final days of freedom struggle.

Makhanlal Chaturvedi

Makhanlal Chaturvedi (1889 – 1968) is known for his participation in India’s national struggle contribution to Chhayavaad or Neo-romanticism movement of Hindi literature. He was awarded the first Sahitya Akademi Award in Hindi for his work Him Taringini in 1955.

Jaishankar Prasad

Jaishankar Prasad is considered one of the Four Pillars of Romanticism (Chhayavad) in Hindi Literature along with Sumitranandan Pant, Mahadevi Verma, and Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirala’. He wrote in Brajbhasha as well as Khari Boli.

Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirala’

Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirala’ was one of the most significant poets of modern Hindi and he is known for his contribution to Chhayavad movement along with Jaishankar Prasad, Sumitranandan Pant and Mahadevi Varma. Nirala’s Parimal and Anaamika are considered as the original Chhayavaadi Hindi literature.

Sachchidananda Vatsyayan

Sachchidananda Hirananda Vatsyayana ‘Agyeya’ was the pioneer of modern trends (Nai Kavita) and Prayog (Experiments) in Hindi poetry.  He edited the ‘Saptaks’, a literary series, and started Hindi newsweekly, Dinaman. He served as Editor-in-Chief of Hindi daily Navbharat Times (1977–80) of the Times of India Group. His wife Kapila Vatsyayan is a leading Indian scholar of classical Indian dance, Indian art and Indian architecture and art historian. She has remained the founder director and chairperson of Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Delhi.

Mahadevi Varma

Mahadevi Varma (1907-1987) was known as Modern Meera. She contributed to the Chhayavaad genre of Hindi poetry. She was awarded Sahitya Akademi Fellowship in 1979, followed by the Jnanpith Award in 1982. She was the recipient of the Padma Vibhushan in 1988.


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