4 Inspiring Hindi Women Poets Of India To Know, Read and Treasure
Poetry is a deep expression of subtle thoughts, emotions and it's one of the most vital forms of literature since its origin. Not just the male authors, female writers have also shown their prominence in Indian literature world. Be it Meera Bai, Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, Sarojini Nadu, Toru Dutt, Mahadevi Verma or Amrita Pritam, these women poets broke the barrier and left an indelible mark with their own spirit and style.
We are going to discuss three Inspiring Hindi women poets who have enriched the poetry world of India.
1) Subhadra Kumari Chauhan
"Singhasan hil uthe
Rajvanshon ne bhrukuti tani thi,
Budhey Bharat main aayee phirse nayi jawaani thi,
Gumee huee azadi ki, keemat sabney pehchani thi,
Khub ladi mardani, woh toh Jhansi wali Rani thi"
There isn't any single Indian who has not heard of this famous poem, narrating the tale of the brave-heart queen of Jhansi. It was Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, who penned down this evergreen and one of the most famous poems of Hindi literature. Chauhan was one of those early female trailblazing poets who created poetically brilliant lines of the Veer-Ras genre. Born in 1904 in Nihalpur village near Allahabad, she was an active revolutionary who fought against the oppression of the British. In 1921, she along with her husband joined the Non-Cooperation movement and became the first Satyagrahi to be prosecuted in Nagpur. She was jailed twice, once in 1923 and next during the Quit India movement in 1942. Being a freedom fighter, nationalism along with patriotism was the real essence of her poems.
Chauhan’s most evergreen work is ‘Jhansi Ki Rani’ that is the most recited Hindi poem of all time. The reader, as well as the listener, can visualize the gallantry of Rani Laxmibai who fought for her state, Jhansi. Several revolutionaries were inspired by this poem. Her other renowned poetic works such as Veeron Ka Kaisa Ho Basant, Rakhi Ki Chunauti, Ye Kadam Ka Ped revolve around strong nationalism. Subhadra Singh Chauhan used the dialect of Khari Boli of Hindi language in a simple manner. Apart from patriotic poems, she also wrote children's poems.
Famous works: Tridhara, Mukul, Ye Kadam Ka Ped, Khilonewala
2) Mahadevi Verma
"Madhur Madhur Mere Deepak JAL
Yug-yug Pratidin Pratikshan Pratipal"..
Mahadevi Verma, the 'Meera of Hindi literature' was born in 1907 in Farrukhabad and her family was very much liberal minded. She was a student of Master of Arts in Sanskrit in Prayag University and later became the principal of Prayag Manila Vidyapeeth, where she remained the principal lifelong. Even Verma organized conferences of poets or ‘Kavi Sammelan’, ‘Galpa Sammelan’ in the college many times.
In college, she was junior to Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, the famous Hindi poetess. In fact, it was Chauhan, who accompanied Verma in cultivating her talent in poetry. In her memoir, "Mere Bachhpan ke din", Verma has given credit to Chauhan to support her throughout, attend 'Kavi Sammelan' together and practice writing poetries. Mahadevi Verna's family was quite progressive and her mother inspired her the most to grow interested in literature.
Verma was one of the founder pillars of Chhayavaad form, a prolific, distinct romanticism type of Hindi poetry along with the great Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala', Jaishankar Prasad and Sumitranadan Pant. Her deep compassionate writings are the reflection of her era, and famous for the originality, lyrical quality and technical ingenuity. Her work narrates the distress of time truly with deep intellectualism. Total 5 volumes have been covered with all her poems and many compilations. Apart from being a poet and educationist herself, she was a freedom fighter, activist and followed Gandhiji’s principle in her life (such as wearing Khadi as a symbol of 'swadeshi' things, quitting English in spoken form etc.)
For her exemplary literary creation, Mahadevi Verma was conferred many prestigious awards. She was one of the female writers to get Sahitya Akademi fellowship in 1979 along with Padma Bhushan in 1956. Her classic book ‘Yama’ gave her ‘JNANPITH’, the highest literary award of India, in 1982.
Famous works: Yama, Mere Parivar, Adhikar, Neelkanth, Madhur Madhur mere Deepak Jal.
3) Meera Bai
"Mira ke Prabhu Giridhar Nagar"...
Being an Indian, there's hardly any person who hasn't heard of these lines. The great mystic poet, minstrel and devotee of lord Krishna, Mirabai (or Meerabai or Meera) has penned down almost 1300 bhajans in Rajasthani and Brajbhasha language as well as Hindi poems which are popular across the country. Not just in India, Mirabai's poems have been translated into several foreign languages throughout the world. The songs are preserved orally, and the official written forms appeared much later. She's one of the greatest and most famous Indian poets of all time.
She was born in 1499 in Marwar region of Rajasthan and her paternal side was from Rathors of Merta who worshipped lord Vishnu. Naturally she was raised amidst Vaishnava culture that attributed to her devotion towards Lord Krishna. Her religious belief was so deep that she fell in love with the idol of the lord, sang and danced with the idol in ecstasy. When she got married to Rana of Chittor, her devotional form wasn't supported by her in-laws and they tried to defame her. Ultimately, Mira wrote a letter to Tulsidas, a famous Bhakti saint of the medieval India to ask for suggestions and upon his advice, She walked to Brindavan, with barefoot across the desert of arid Rajasthan.
Her undaunted spirit, fearless persona and disregard for social repressions against women, devotional strength, graceful speech and kind heart were reflected in her prayers and songs. She was one of the strongest icons of medieval India's Bhakti Movement who ignored caste and class, gender and orthodox religious beliefs and sought salvation caring for the poor.
While writing about Hindi Women Poets of India, I would also like to also mention here about Amrita Pritam. She was primarily a Punjabi writer but contributed to Hindi literary world also.
4) Amrita Pritam
“When the body perishes, all perish
But the threads of memory are woven of enduring atoms
I will pick these particles
Weave the threads and
I will meet you yet again"
Amrita Pritam's literary contribution is not limited to Punjabi literature, her brilliance is reflected in Hindi poetry world as well. She's one of the celebrated Punjabi novelists apart from being a renowned poet. Born as Amrita Kaur in Punjab's Gujranwala (now in Pakistan), she was the sole child of a schoolmaster father who was also a poet. The death of her mother at her early age(11 years old), pushed her to express her pain and solitude through poems. In 1936, at the age of only 16 years, her first collection of poems was published in the name of Amrit Lehran or Immortal Waves. After getting married to Pritam Singh, She took his name and began writing as Amrita Pritam.
Amrita Pritam was massively impacted by the national movement, especially the partition affected her tremendously. It was the partition that compelled her to shift from Lahore to Delhi during 1947, however her literature was immensely popular in both the countries. She has a bright career of over 60 years with more than 100 books in various forms, such as poetry, essay, anthologies, novel and fictional writings as well as biographical works. Her creations have been translated into different vernacular languages as well as into English across the globe. An evocative and compassionate portrayal of characters and their issues, the heart-wrenching aftermath of the India-Pakistan partition, social scene of the contemporary situation, and most importantly the troubles of women as well as their sufferings are delicately expressed through Pritam's pen. She was the first lady author of India to get Sahitya Akademi award for "Sunehade" (Messages) during 1956. Later in 1969, she was awarded Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan in 2004. Amrita Pritam has been a trailblazer and an inspiration for the female author in a true sense.
Famous Works: Pinjar (novel), Rasidi ticket, Kore Kagaj, Aj Aakhan Waaris Shah Nu
Pic Credit: WIKIMEDIA
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