On September 14 every year, we proudly celebrate Hindi Diwas. Hindi – the widely spoken language of India – has a rich legacy nourished by generations of writers and poets whose literary works will live on for centuries to come. This day, we remember some of these legends whose contributions in enriching the language have very few parallels.
Munshi Premchand: Arguably the most popular among Hindi novelists of the twentieth century, Dhanpat Rai Shrivastava, better known as Munshi Premchand, was born in Benaras in British India in 1880. This “Upanyas Samrat”, as he was called, has fourteen novels and hundreds of short stories to his name. Some of his prominent novels include Gaban, Godaan, Idgah and his works were primarily based on the lives and challenges of poor and middle class people with his unique style of realism in them. Even decades later, the beautiful story of Hori and Dhaniya (Godaan) is as alluring as ever.
Mahadevi Varma: Born on September 11, 1987, Mahadevi Varma, apart from being a remarkable poet, was an academician and a freedom fighter as well. She is one of the four major poets of the “Chhayavaad” movement. Some of Varma’s most notable works include Yama and Neelkanth. In 1982, she was honoured with the Jnanpith Award. She was also awarded with Padma Vibhushan posthumously in 1988.
Babu Devakinandan Khatri: Author of the epic Hindi novel Chandrakanta, Babu Devakinandan Khatri is among the first generation of popular story-tellers in modern Hindi. Back when television sets were just entering the middle class household in India, an adaptation of Chandrakanta had become one of the most awaited Sunday rituals. Also known for his works Bhootnath, Kajar ki Kothari and Kusum Kumari, Khatri started his own printing press and began publishing Hindi monthly paper.
Maitheli Sharan Gupt: One of the pioneers of Khari Boli, Maithili Sharan Gupt was one of the most important Hindi writers. At a time when Braj Bhasha was the popular choice of authors, his works in the plain dialect left a lasting mark in people’s hearts and minds. He was an inspiration to none other than Mahatma Gandhi, who often quoted from his book Bharat-Bharati during India’s freedom movement. Some of his famous works include Saket, Matrubhumi, Panchavati and Gurukul.
Ramdhari Singh ‘Dinkar’: Singhasan Khaali Karo Ke Janata Aaati Hai – The famous line that echoed in the Ramlila Maidan, quoted by Jayaprakash Narayan during the Emergency, was written by Ramdhari Singh Dinkar. Considered as “Rashtrakavi”, Dinkar was one of the torchbearers in the Hindi literary world. His famous works include Veer Rasa, Urvashi, Rashmirathi and Parashuram ki Prateeksha. He was also a three-time nominated parliamentarian in independent India.