( Image and Information source: Wikipedia).
Mahadevi Verma is one of the greatest poets, essayist, sketch story writer and an eminent personality of Hindi literature. I remember reading her poems as a part of our Hindi syllabus. She’s been one of my inspirations after Sarojini Naidu to delve into the magical world of poetry. As Robert Frost said, ” And Miles to go before I sleep, ” . This is just the beginning and have a long way to go before I could even think of writing 1/10th of what Ms. Verma contributed to Hindi Literature. Such was her popularity that her poems are well known even now.
She was born on 26 March 1907, at Farrukhabad, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, British India. Her parents were Govind Prasad Verma, a professor in a college in Bhagalpur, and Hem Rani Devi, a religious woman with a keen interest in music.
Ms. Verma, initially, went to a convent school but after severe protests, she joined Crosthwaite Girls College at Allahabad. She wrote poems secretly. Her talent was discovered by her friend and a senior Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, who was a poet herself.
According to a quote by Ms.Verma:
” While others used to play outside, me and Subhadra used to sit on a tree and let our creative thoughts flow together…She used to write in Khariboli, and soon I also started to write in Khariboli…this way, we used to write one or two poems a day…
— Mahadevi Verma, Smrti Chitra (Memory Sketch) English Translation
She was one of the poets who figured in the Chhayawadi movement which is equivalent to the Romantic movement in English. According to Suryakant Tripathi Nirala, She was akin to Goddess Saraswati ( The Hindu Goddess of Learning and Arts) in the temple of Hindi Literature. She combined the soft words of Sanskrit and Bangla (Bengali) to coin a soft vocabulary in the Hindi poetry of Khadi Boli, a dialect in Hindi.
She started her career as a teacher but gradually moved on to become the Principal of Prayag Mahila Vidyapeeth.She got married but preferred to live an ascetic life. Besides literature, she had a flair for painting and creative translation. She also worked for the welfare of the people, especially women. Under the able guidance of Mahatma Gandhi, she also participated in the Indian freedom struggle. Google featured her image as The Google Doodle during her centenary year in 2007.
Ms. Verma has the unique distinction of winning all the major awards in Hindi Literature. Prominent poets like Sumitranandan Pant and Suryakant Tripathi Nirala were her good friends. She sent Rakhi to Shri. Nirala for almost 40 years. Besides, she has also been honored with prestigious awards like.
1956: Padma Bhushan
1979: Sahitya Akademi Fellowship
1982: Jnanpith Award for her poetry collection Yama.
1988: Padma Vibhushan
She left for her heavenly abode on 11 September 1987 at Allahabad ( now Prayagraj) in Uttarpradesh, leaving behind her immortal memories in the hearts of her admirers and Hindi literature lovers.
Her popular works :
The poem is translated as :
The storm came with a loud noise,
The tree branches are broken with a jerk.
Blown nest, Eggs cracked,
To whom would she narrate her sorry tale?
Where will this bird live now?
We opened the cupboard,
Calling the poor bird
But she screams
She won’t stay at home!
Where to get trees in the house,
How To Build This Nest!
How to join the cracked eggs?
To whom will she tell all this?
Where will this bird live now?
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