Tuesday, March 4, 2014




Nirala means “Unique “. This word in itself is sufficient to draw an inquisitive mind towards his work . A quest to find what exactly is “UNIQUE “ In his work, made me to read Nirala. 

My suggestion to friends who do not know Hindi is to read him in English Translation . He is a class apart from other Hindi Poets of his age . A great Contributor to the corpus of World Literature .
Nirala lived a Bohemian ,Uncompromising and grossly disorganized personal life. He always needed Money to live with Dignity and peace even before recognition visited him and thereafter as well. Never ever did he ask any person for Financial help. Never ever did he care about his clothes or material Comforts .He lived like a perfect Faqeer , always ready to help others at his own cost and neglect.
He was a poet, novelist, essayist and story-writer. He also drew many sketches.

To Nirala , we  owe the creation of modern Hindi Poetry and the development of the Chhayavaad Movement , In Chhayavaad Movement , Surely , Nirala was not alone but supported by Pillars like Jaishankar Prasad, Sumitranandan Pant and Mahadevi Verma .

Chhayavaad or “ Shadowism “ poetry was characterized by an Enquiry of the self encrusted with themes of love and nature with an added touch of mysticism.
( Photo... L to R ... Dharmveer Bharti , Surendra Tiwari, Nirala ji and Girija Kumar Mathur .. Mumbai January 1961 )

Nirala was the first Hindi poet to use blank verse with flow. His whole literature is the product of his personality.
. He was a Broken man after the death of his mother, wife and daughter .

In 1954 , Pandit Ji and Maulana Azad had to intervene to get a Grant of Rs100 per month sanctioned in favour of Nirala who was fighting poverty and want inspite of the fact that his books were proving quite remunerative for his publishers . Pandit ji wrote a letter to Krishna Kriplani Secretary  Sahitya Academy as under …

“ Nirala has done good work in the past and even now sometimes writes well in his lucid moments. His books were still popular, and widely read and used as textbooks. But, in his folly or extremity, Nirala had sold all those books for a song to various publishers getting just 25 or 30 or 50 rupees. The whole copyright has been sold . Thus  the publishers have made large sums of money and continue to make it, while he  practically starves. This is a  scandalous case of a publisher exploiting a writer shamelessly . I request the  Academy to work on an amendment of the copyright law so that Indian writers would be better protected in future. Meanwhile, Nirala deserves some financial help. It is no good giving the help to him directly because he gives it away to others immediately. In fact, he gives away his clothes, his last shirt and everything. The Academy should  sanction a monthly allowance of a hundred rupees to help Nirala, and that this money be given to Mahadevi Verma to use on his behalf. ".

The death of his wife when he was barely twenty years old followed by the death of his widowed daughter ( who remained a sole companion in his worldly journey ) changed him completely . He turned totally averse to all the material possessions of life.

Well known Hindi poetess Mahadevi Verma once wrote :

“ I am always worried about this brother of mine . He is totally detached and averse to all types of material possessions of life. If he receives money , he immediately distributes it to the needy people around . He has parted with his shirts , clothes , wrist watch , radio set , shoes and many other material possessions . Though I do not dare to discuss this issue with him, I believe he thinks that these material possessions of life obstruct his creative journey. He eats very little , sleeps less and shares every thing with poor and needy. What more traits do real saints possess?”

    ( Nirala Ji in a Function sitting in  first row without a shirt . Mahadevi ji is sitting in next seat )

                                                     ( Nirala and Mahadevi Verma )
There is another incident worth mentioning :

Pandit Jawahar lal Nehru was once invited by writers from Allahabad for a felicitation ceremony. He was Garlanded and made to sit on the dais by the organizers . Pandit ji suddenly saw a white haired man in kurta and shabby dhoti sitting in the first row. He recognized him immediately and rushed down from the dais and put his garland around the neck of this person . The person was none other than NIRALA. And Pandit ji started his speech with a Sanskrit shloka . Unusual for the listeners as he was not well versed in Sanskrit. Here goes the shloka ..

Swadeshe Poojatay Raja
Vidhwaan Sarvatra Poojatay…

( The king is worshiped in his own land ,
The laureate is worshiped everywhere )

He was a Broken man after the death of his mother, wife and daughter .It is believed that he suffered from schizophrenia during his last days.. He died in a Friend’s house at Daraganj Localiy in Allahabad city in 1961 .
                     ( First Day Cover in Memory of Nirala ji released by GOI in 1976 )

I am personally impressed by his poems Saroj Smriti , Basant aaya , juhi ki kali and var de veena vadini. His poems have been translated to various Indian and European languages .David Rubin has translated some of his popular poems to English and published them in a book titled A SEASON ON THE EARTH: SELECTED POEMS OF NIRALA .The paperback edition of the book is available for $4.00 in America .I picked up this book from a foot path vendor in CP New Delhi.Very impressive work.I end this mini post with two lines from his poem saroj smriti ..

Dukh hi jeevan ki kathhaa Rahi
Kyaa kahoon Aaj, Jo Nahin Kahi 

“My life has been a saga of  sorrows alone.
What should i  say today ? 

Is there anything that i have not   said before  ? “

( Autar Mota  )

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CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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