Mahadevi Verma | Modern Meera of India

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Her Life: A Leading Poet of Chhayavad Era

  • Year 1907 – Born in Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh.
  • Year 1933 – Completed M.A. from Allahabad University.
  • Year 1933 – Elected as the Headmistress of Prayag Mahila Vidyapeeth.
  • Year 1934 – Received Sekseriya Puraskar.
  • Year 1956 – Bestowed with Padma Bhushan Award.
  • Year 1979 – Awarded with Sahitya Akademi Fellowship.
  • Year 1987 – Left this mortal world.

“Tum mujhme priya, phir parichay kya…!” 

Mahadevi Verma was a renowned Indian writer, poet and activist of Hindi literature. She is considered as one of the four pillars of Chhayavad Era spanning from 1922 to 1938. She is widely attributed as Modern Meera for her stirring works with themes of love, pain and sadness. Also, She was a prominent poet of the Hindi Poet’s Convention, India.

Childhood

Mahadevi Verma was born on 1907, March 26 to Govinda Prasad Verma, an English professor and Hema Rani in Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh, India. She was eldest among two brothers, Jagmohan and Manmohan, and a sister, Shyaama.

Personal Life

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Mahadevi was enrolled in a Convent school and was later admitted to the Crosthwaite Girls College in Allahabad. Her marriage was arranged to Dr. Swarup Narayan Verma in 1916 but she stayed with her parents to continue her education. She completed B.A. in 1929 from Allahabad University and M.A in Sanskrit in 1933 from the same university.

Poetic Journey

Mahadevi met Subhadra Kumari Chauhan in Crosthwaite Girls College in Allahabad. Initially, she used to write poem secretly, but Chauhan helped her expose her talent. Both started writing poems together and sometimes succeeded to get them published in magazines. The duo’s partnership continued till Mahadevi graduated. After the completion of her B.A, she started teaching at village schools in Allahabad. At this time she adopted Gandhiji’s ideas of nationalism, but did not actively participated in any political activities.

In 1933 she was elected the headmistress of the Prayag Mahila Vidyapeeth in Allahabad and later became Vice-Chancellor of this college. During this time she organized several events and conferences for poets and writers. Along with Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirala’, Jaishankar Prasad and Sumitranandan Pant, she is the fourth pillar of Chhayavad movement. She was also a noted painter and a lot of her work contains self-drawn illustration. She ventured into the whole new domain of Rahasyavad with Deepsikha, a collection of 51 poems.

Her literary work Neelkanth, Mere Bachpan Ke Din, Madhur Madhur Mere Deepak Jal and Gillu are still a part of CBSE curriculum. She received Sekseriya Puraskar from the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan in 1934 for Nirja. She was bestowed with Jnanpith Award for her poetry collection Yama (1936). Mahadevi also received Padma Bhushan in 1956 and Padma Vibhushan in 1988 by the Government of India. In 1979 she became the first woman to be awarded with Sahitya Akademi Fellowship, highest honor conferred by the Akademi.

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Apart from being renowned poet, she was a freedom fighter, woman activist and educationist. In her editorials for the Hindi magazine Chand, she advocated cause of women and voiced for the contribution of women writer in literature. Being a liberal woman deeply inspired by Buddhist teachings she refused to live with her husband.  

Later Life

Mahadevi Verma left the mortal world on September 11, 1987 in Allahabad, India. She is one of the renowned poets of Indian Industry. One of the poem reminds her the most-

अलि, मैं कण-कण को जान चली
सबका क्रन्दन पहचान चली

जो दृग में हीरक-जल भरते
जो चितवन इन्द्रधनुष करते
टूटे सपनों के मनको से
जो सुखे अधरों पर झरते,

जिस मुक्ताहल में मेघ भरे
जो तारो के तृण में उतरे,
मै नभ के रज के रस-विष के
आँसू के सब रँग जान चली।

जिसका मीठा-तीखा दंशन,
अंगों मे भरता सुख-सिहरन,
जो पग में चुभकर, कर देता
जर्जर मानस, चिर आहत मन;

जो मृदु फूलो के स्पन्दन से
जो पैना एकाकीपन से,
मै उपवन निर्जन पथ के हर
कंटक का मृदु मत जान चली।

गति का दे चिर वरदान चली।
जो जल में विद्युत-प्यास भरा
जो आतप मे जल-जल निखरा,
जो झरते फूलो पर देता
निज चन्दन-सी ममता बिखरा;

जो आँसू में धुल-धुल उजला;
जो निष्ठुर चरणों का कुचला,
मैं मरु उर्वर में कसक भरे
अणु-अणु का कम्पन जान चली,
प्रति पग को कर लयवान चली।

नभ मेरा सपना स्वर्ण रजत
जग संगी अपना चिर विस्मित
यह शुल-फूल कर चिर नूतन
पथ, मेरी साधों से निर्मित,

इन आँखों के रस से गीली
रज भी है दिल से गर्वीली
मै सुख से चंचल दुख-बोझिल
क्षण-क्षण का जीवन जान चली!
मिटने को कर निर्माण चली!  – महादेवी वर्मा

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