The contribution of Allahabad cannot be ignored in expansion of Hindi. This great city-the Oxford of East- and the city that played a great role in freedom struggle has played an important role in shaping the destiny of Hindi. It not only produced great leaders but it also gave rise to intellectuals that made significant contributions in various spheres of life. True, the onslaught of commercialization has given rise to “Khichadi” language hailed as Hinglish but that has not weakened Allahabad’s bond with cause of Hindi. This city has moved ahead with its agenda to enrich Hindi.
Let’s look at the contributions of some of the people closely associated with the cause of Hindi in Allahabad. Mahdevi Varma’s name needs no introduction. “She was a major poet of the Chhayavaad generation, a period of romanticism in Modern Hindi poetry ranging from 1914-1938. With passage of time, her limited but outstanding prose has also being recognized as unique in Hindi Literature.” She was awarded many prestigious awards by the government of India which include the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship in 1979, followed by the Jnanpith Award in 1982, Padma Bhusan and Padma Vibhushan. Her majaor works include Yama, यामा-1936, Neehar (1930) Agnirekha, pagal hai kya, Deepshikha, Rashmi , Sandhyageet and Neerja. She was born in Jabalpur but came to make Prayag her “Karmabhoomi” (the city of livelihood). She established a forum for wannabe writers. She was also the editor of magazine “Chaand” published from Allahabad. She came to serve Allahabad (Prayag) Mahila Vidyapeeth as its first headmistress.
None can forget the other worldly soul Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirala’. This soul, originally belonging to Unnao district in UP, was born in a Brahmin family in Bengal (Midnapore). However, he shifted to Allahabad and remained there for rest of his life. He lived at Daraganj locality of Allahabad. Nirla was instrumental in strengthening Chhayavaad (छायावाद) movement along with Jaishankar Prasad, Sumitranandan Pant and Mahadevi Varma ). He was born rebel and that same spirit could be traced in his writings as well inspired by likes of Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Rabindranath Tagore and Michael Mudhusudan Dutt.
His main main literary creations are Saroj Smriti, Tulsidas, Aradhana, Parimal, Anaamika, Apsara, Alka, Prabhavati, Nirupama, Chhaturi Chamar, Sukul ki Biwi, Kullibhat and Billesur Bakriha. He also translated some important literary masterpieces which include Anand Math, Vish-Vriksh, Sri Ramkrishna Vachnamrit, Bhatrat Main Vivekanand and Rajyog. Niralaji attained larger than life image because all through his life he remained selfless. He was mired in tragedies but kept providing spirit of survival for people trapped in miseries of life. No wonder his words ” Himmat Karne Walon Ki Har Nahi Hoti (Those who have courage never fail)” inspire us till today. Who can forget these memorable lines “बांधो न नाव इस ठांव बन्धु,पूछेगा सारा गांव बन्धु “or” तोडती पत्थर… देखा उसे मैंने इलाहबाद के पथ पर” ?
Next in the list of great writers arrives Dr. Dharamvir Bharati. He was “renowned Hindi poet, author, playwright and a social thinker of India.” His “Gunahon Ka Devta” is hot favourite among the youths even in our present times and “Suraj ka Satwan Ghoda” inspired Shyam Benegal to make a movie on it. This movie won the National Award. He was the chief-editor of the popular Hindi weekly magazine Dharma Yug published by The Times of India group. He worked as lecturer in Hindi in Allahabad University. His important works include Andha Yug ,Kanupriya, Thanda Loha, Murdo ka Gaon and Thele par Himalayas ( ठेले पर हिमालय).
Now it’s time to remember Sumitranandan Pant. He was a very popular modern Hindi poet who belonged to the Chhayavaadi school of Hindi literature. He came to win Jnanpith Award for collection of his most famous poems, Chidambara, and the Nehru Peace Prize by the Soviet Union for Lokayatan. The teachings of Sri Aurobindo left an indelible impression on his mind leading to philosophical poems. His major works include Chinti, Chidambara and Veena.
Lastly, let me also say something about Mahavir Prasad as well. His period known as “Dwivedi” age is significant in making Hindi the language of the nation. An important figure who is representative of period (1893-1918) sandwiched between Bhartendu Period (1868-1893) and Chhayavad Yug ((1918-1937) in Modern period of the Hindi literature. He became the editor of Hindi magazine Saraswati and in his period (1903-20) the popularity of this magazine attained new heights. On his death his disciple Maithalisharan Gupta said that he wished to see him as his Guru(teacher) even in the next birth. Mahavirji helped in rise of new set of writers. He knew eight language and his writings reflected the problems of farmers.
Well, these were some of the prominent figures who added new dimensions in growth of Hindi. Apart from that founder of BHU and Hindu Hostel Madan Mohan Malviya also palyed a great role in expanding the cause of Hindi. Today we find this city having host of literary organizations actively involved in promotion of Hindi. Though I feel they should work in tandem, it’s anyway a positive sign that they are serving the interests of Hindi. Likes of Vasu Malviya have always appeared from time to time here on this part of glorious land. Amarkantji- winner of Sahitya Akadami Award in 2007 for his work Inhin Hathiyaron Se -is also an important figure. The other literary geniuses of this city who have contributed in the growth of Hindi are Harivansh Rai Bachchan (Madhushala), Upendra Nath ‘Ashq’, Rajendra Yadav, Namwar Singh and Kamleshwar. The contributions of Vibhuti Narain Rai, Mrinal Pandey, Virag Mishra and Ram Kumar Varma can also not be ignored.
The publications like Neelabh, Rajkamal and Lok Bharti have kept the literary traditions alive. The institutions like Hindustani Academy(1927) and Hindi Sahitya Sammelan(1936) are doing a good job in promoting the cause of Hindi amidst the onslaught of Hinglish Yug !!! Even the Allahabad University by sponsoring bodies like Hindi Parishad, Hindi Samiti, Hindi and Anusandhan Samiti, to name a few, have ensured that Hindi remains alive. A branch of Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya Wardha is also doing a good job.
The prominent Hindi literary organisations like Parimal and Parichay have invoked fascinating trend patterns. Anyway, it hurts that likes of Amarkantji and Suresh Kumar Shesh did not get the credit they deserve from the people involved in promotion of Hindi. This forced Amarkantji to live virtually in penury. If one really wishes to see Hindi gain a proper status in India, the government needs to ensure that people involved in promotion of Hindi are encouraged in proper ways. One thing more. The various Hindi literary organizations need not come in conflict with each other over petty concerns. At present, that’s the state of affair in our present day Allahabad. I hope these institutions, keeping in mind the glorious legac, shall keep themselves above politics of all sorts.
I am happy that my Hindi friends like Aradhana Chaturvedi ‘Mukti’, Navodita Sandhya, and Sampanna Kumar ‘Sagharsha’, to name a few, are involved in promotion of Hindi in their own unique ways. Though they are trapped in struggles of life, it’s quite evident from their love for Hindi that in coming days Hindi will shine in the sky of languages like never before.
” I was once ridiculed on Instablogs as to why I boasted of my Allahabadi roots while discussing the cause of Hindi in one of my debates on my Hindi related article. I hope the person who did that would have now realized why I felt so proud to be part of this city. Hindi and Allahabad love each other madly. I hope this love story keep fascinating all of us.”
Allahabad -The City Of Literary Geniuses