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Tikaram Upadhyaya Gopal Singh Nepali (Hindi Poet & Lyricist)

20 Jun

Gopal Singh Nepali (1911 – 1963) was born in Bettiah District in the Bihar State. In fact, he was not a Nepali but has taken this as a part of his literary name.

He was an eminent poet of Hindi literature and a famous lyricist of Bollywood. His association with Bollywood spanned around two decades, beginning in 1944 and ended with his death in 1963. He was a poet of Post-Chhayavaad period, and he wrote several collections of Hindi poems including “Umang” (published in 1933). He was also a journalist and edited at least four Hindi Magazines, Namely, Ratlam Times, Chitrapat, Sudha, and Yogi. During Sino-Indian War of 1962, he wrote many patriotic songs and poems which include Savan, Kalpana, Neelima, Naveen Kalpana Karo Etc.

Nakul Singh Nepali, son of Gopal Singh Nepali, has filed a suit at the Bombay High Court against the makers of Slumdog Millionaire Movie, saying that Director & Producer Danny Boyle they wrongly credited poet Surdas for writing the song Darshan Do Ghanashyam. According to the suit, Nepali says his father, a poet, wrote the song and that the filmmakers – Danny Boyle and Celador Films Ltd – have caused loss of reputation to his father and violated the author’s rights. Nepali has claimed Rs 5 crore as damages. He has also sought to have the filmmakers prohibited from presenting in any form the portion of the movie that says that Surdas is the author of the song.

Ramdhari Singh ‘Dinkar’

9 Jun

Ramdhari Singh ‘Dinkar’ (September 23, 1908– April 24, 1974) was born in a poor Bhumihar Brahmin family in Simariya village, in the Begusarai district of Bihar. As a student, his favorite subjects were history, politics and philosophy. He studied Hindi, Sanskrit, Maithili, Bengali, Urdu and English literature. Dinkar was greatly influenced by Iqbal, Rabindranath Tagore, Keats and Milton. He translated works of Rabindranath Tagore from Bangla to Hindi.

His works are mostly of ‘Veer Rasa’, or the ‘brave mode’, although Urvashi is an exception to this. Some of his greatest works are Rashmirathi and Parashuram ki Prateeksha. He is hailed as the greatest Hindi poet of ‘Veer Rasa’ since Bhushan. Acharya Hazari Prasad Dwivedi wrote that he was very popular among people whose mother-tongue was not Hindi and he was a symbol of love for one’s own mother-tongue. Harivansh Rai Bachchan wrote that for his proper respect he should get four Gyanpith Awards – for poetry, prose, languages and for his service to Hindi. Rambriksh Benipuri wrote that Dinkar is giving voice to the revolutionary movement in the country. Namvar Singh wrote that he was really the sun of his age. Hindi writer Rajendra Yadav, whose novel ‘Sara Akash’ also carried a few lines of Dinkar’s poetry, has said of him He was always very inspiring to read. His poetry was about reawakening. He often delved into Hindu mythology and referred to heroes of epics such as Karna. He was a poet of anti-imperialism and nationalism, says well-known Hindi writer Kashinath Singh. He also wrote social and political satires for socio-economic inequalities and exploitation of the underprivileged. A progressive and humanist poet, he chose to approach history and reality directly and his verse combined oratorical vigour with a declamatory diction. The theme of Urvashi revolves round love, passion, and relationship of man and woman on a spiritual plane, distinct from their earthly relationship. His Kurukshetra is a narrative poem based on the Santi Parva of the Mahabharata. It was written at a time when the memories of the Second World War were fresh in the mind of the poet. Krishna Ki Chaetavani is another poem composed on events that led to the Kurukshetra war in the Mahabharata. His Samdheni is a collection of poems reflecting the poet’s social concern transcending the boundaries of the nation. In his Sanskiti ke Chaar Adhyay he said that despite various cultures, languages and topography, India stands united, because however different we may be, our thoughts are the same.

He received awards from Kashi Nagri Pracharini Sabha, Uttar Pradesh Government and an award by the Government of India for his epic-poem Kurukshetra. He got the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1959 for his work Sanskriti ke Char Adhyay. He was also a recipient of Padma Bhushan in 1959 by the Government of India. He was awarded the LLD degree by Bhagalpur University. He was felicitated as Vidyavachaspati by Gurukul Mahavidyalaya. He was felicitated as Sahitya-Chudamaniby Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Udaipur on 8 November 1968. Dinkar was awarded the Jnanpith Award in 1972 for Urvashi. He also became a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha, in 1952.

On September 30, 1987, to mark his 79th birth anniversary tributes were paid to him by the then President of India, Shankar Dayal Sharma. In 1999, Dinkar was one of the Hindi writers featured on a set of commemorative postal stamps released by Government of India to celebrate the “Linguistic Harmony of India.” marking the 50th anniversary since the Indian Union adopted Hindi as its official language. The government released a book on Dinkar’s birth centenary authored by Khagendra Thakur. At the same time a statue of him was unveiled in Patna at the Dinkar Chowk, and a two-day national seminar was organised in Calicut University.

The Legendary Hindi Poet “Baba Nagarjuna”

8 Jun

“Baba Nagarjuna” was Born in 30th June 1911 as Vaidya Nath Mishra in the village Satlakha, his mother’s village, he was fondly called baba by his followers. Baba was known for his revolutionary ideas and unconventional lifestyle. His writings inspired generations and he was known for his candid and anti – establishment views.

Born in a lower middle class Brahmin family of Tarauni village in Darbhanga district of Bihar, Nagarjun lost his mother when he was barely three years old. His father lived as a vagabond and hedonist. So as a child Nagarjun had to depend upon compassionate relatives and some generous landlords for financial help for his education. He showed excellence in the learning of the ancient Indian languages like Sanskrit, Pali and Prakrit first at the rural centres and later in the cities of Varanasi and Calcutta where, along his higher studies he also worked for his livelihood. Though, Nagarjun’s academic expenses could be met by the scholarships which he won as a bright student, he always bore the fact on his mind that he had also to support his father who could barely earn any money by himself.

After the years of learning and semi-employment in Calcutta, Nagarjun moved to Saharanpur (U.P.) where he got a full time teaching job. Apparently Nagarjun had moved to a better paying job but in fact his unsatiable urge to delve deep and yet deeper into the traditional wisdom of India particularly the Sanskrit treatises and philosophical discourses, Buddhist scriptures and handwritten manuscripts of sorts put him on the path of an unstable nomadic existence.

This pursuit took him to Sri Lanka where in the Buddhist monastery of Kelania he had to adopt Buddhism to have free access to the well guarded manuscripts which were inaccessible to the outside world. (This had a precedent. Nagarjun’s mentor Mahapandit Rahul Sankrityayan had to pass through the same experience). It was in 1935 that Nagarjun became a Buddhist monk. As an imperative he had to change his name.




That is when he started his literary career with Maithili poems by the pen-name of Yatri in early 1930s. By mid 1930s, he started writing poetry in Hindi. This is when he adopted the name Nagarjun. A wanderer by nature, Nagarjun spent a considerable amount of his time in the 30s and the 40s traveling across India. He was influenced by Mahapandit Rahul Sankrityayan and Swami Sahajanand Saraswati.

He also participated in many mass-awakening movements before and after independence. Between 1939 and 1942, He was jailed by the British courts for leading a farmer’s agitation in Bihar. For a long time after independence he was involved with journalism. He played an active role in Jaya Prakash Narayan’s movement prior to emergency, and was jailed during the period of emergency. He was strongly influence by Leninist-Marxist ideology. This was one of the reasons that he never found patronage from the mainstream political establishments. Coupled with this, his own vagabond way of life, became the cause of his extreme poverty. He spent his last days in illness and poverty in the poor localities of Delhi and Darbhanga. He died in 1998 at the age of 87 in Darbhanga.
Baba’s style of writing had tinge of social and political satire and protested againt the poltical regime of the times. He wrote on wide range of issues and was loved by all for his hard hitting and incisive views.

The subjects of his poetry are varied. Effects of both his wandering tendencies and activism, is clear in his middle and later works. His famous poems like Badal ko Ghirate Dekha hai , is a travelogue in its own right. He often wrote on contemporary social and political issues. His famous poem Mantra Kavita, is widely considered the most accurate reflection of a whole generation’s mindset in India. Another such poem is Aao Rani Ham Dhoenge Palaki, which sarcastically humiliates the then prime minister of India, Pt. Nehru, for the extravagant welcome thrown by him for Queen Elizabeth.

Besides these accepted subjects of poetry, Nagarjun found poetic beauty in unconventional subjects. One of his most astonishing works is a poem based on a female pig called paine daanto wali. Another such creation is a series of poems on a full-grown jack fruit .

Because of the breadth of his poetry, Nagarjun is considered the only Hindi poet, after Tulsidas, to have an audience ranging from the rural sections of society to the élite. He effectively freed poetry from the bounds of elitism. was given the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1969 for his historic book Patarheen Nagna Gachh. He was also honored by the Sahitya Akademi by appointing him its fellow in 1994.
 
A Socialist to the core of his heart, it was probably only Nagarjuna, after Munshi Prem Chand, who strongly advocated the cause of the downtrodden and the exploited. He wrote extensively about the rotten social system which, according to him, was being used to exploit the peasantry.

Nagarjuna was basically anti-establishment, because he was not compromising by nature. This is why he even rejected the offer of nomination to the Rajya Sabha and thrice to the Bihar Vidhan Parishad.Unfortuanlety on 5th Nov 1998 Baba breathed his last in the Khwaja Sarai locality of Darbhanga town in Bihar in the small house of his eldest son, Shobha Kant. About a month before his death, his daughter-in-law made a sentimental appeal to all Hindi lovers to come forward and give financial help to the seriously ill poet. Her appeal fell on deaf years. His famous protest poetry Om recently featured in Sanjay Jha’s movie Strings bound by faith and thanks to this effort of Sanjay the new generation is discovering the magic of Baba’s writing.

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