Modern Hindi literature has been divided into four phases; the age of
Bharatendu or the Renaissance (1868-1893), Dwivedi Yug (1893-1918), Chhayavada
Yug (1918-1937) and the Contemporary Period (1937 onwards).
Bharatendu Harishchandra (1849-1882) brought in a modern outlook in Hindi literature and is thus, called the `Father of Modern Hindi Literature`. Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi later took up this vision. Dwivedi was a reformist by nature and he brought in a refined style of writing in Hindi poetry, which later acquired a deeper moral tone. This was the age of revival when the glory and grandeur of ancient Indian culture was fully adopted to enrich modern life. Social, political and economic problems were portrayed in poetry while songs were of social awakening. This trend helped in the emergence of National Cultural Poetry whose leading poets were Makhanlal Chaturvedi, Balkrishna Shama `Navin`, Siyaram Gupta and `Dinkar`. These poets put more stress on moral aspect of life rather than on love or beauty, which later evolved in the Chhayavada style of poetry.
MahadeviKamayani is the zenith of this school and Prasad, Nirala, Pant and Mahadevi best represented Chhayavada. After the decline of this movement, came the leftist ideology, which found voice in two opposite styles of Hindi poetry. One was Progressivism and Prayogavada or later called Nai Kavita. The former was an effort of translating Marx`s philosophy of Social realism into art. The most notable figure of this movement was Sumitranandan Pant. The latter safeguarded artistic freedom and brought in new poetic content and talent to reflect modern insight. The pioneers of this trend were Aggeya, Girija Kumar, Mathur and Dharamvir Bharati. A third style called Personal Lyrics also appeared, aiming at free and spontaneous human expressions with Harivansh Rai Bachchan as the leader of this trend.