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Mahadevi Verma

Mahadevi's prose works show no signs of this painstricken personality. She was a social reformer, a women's advocate, a cultural and political leader. Her prose reflects her strength in all these areas. The original editor of Mahadevi Sahitya Samagra, Omkar Sharad remarks about her in the introduction: "...being close to Mahadevi, I have also seen the images of Lakshmibai and Meerabai together in one form." Lakshmibai was the eighteenth century queen of Jhansi, who is well known for her fierce fighting spirit, who struggled against British to save her empire. This dual personality is the key to the meld of mysticism and optimism in her poetry. This becomes evident as we follow her poetic journey. Having rebelled against the tradition and having devoted her life to the quest for learning, eventually this quest became a form of abstract worship for her.

Feminism

Mahadevi Varma was also a fervent woman activist, but not 'antagonistically feminist'. In fact, her writings and essays mark the beginning of "feminist" writing in Hindi. Her classic work Srinkhalaa kee kadiyaan is still rated as one of the best collections of concise and pointed thoughts about the condition of Indian women, the cause of their pathetic condition and the possible "Indian" solution to this problem, not a forced or copied solution.

Going a step beyond that, she herself lived a life that exemplified that solution. She renounced her child marriage, an act which is difficult for an Indian woman even today, eight decades after her act of refusal. Refusing the proposals to remarry etc., she continued to pursue her spiritual quest alone. She wandered amongst Himalayas long with her servant-maid, Bhaktin. Her poems convey her deep longing for the supreme soul, God; and her literature is a treasure house of deepest of truths unfolded by Indian Philosophy

Bibliography

Mahadevi is considered as one of the four major poets of the Chhayavaadi school of the Hindi literature, others being Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala', Jaishankar Prasad and Sumitranandan Pant. She was also a noted painter. She drew a number of illustrations for her poetic works like Deepshikha and Yama.

Poetry

Neehar (1930)
Rashmi (1932)
Neerajaa (1934)
Saandhyageet (1936)
Deepshikha (1942)
Saptaparna(1960)
Agnirekha (1990, published after her death)

Prose

Ateet Ke chalchitra (1941)
Shrinkhla ki kadiya (1942)
Smriti Ki Rekhayen (1943)
Path ke Saathi (1956)
Kshanda' (1956)
Sahityakaar ki Asatha (1960)
Sankalpita (1969)
Mera Parivaar (1971)
Sambhashan (1974)
Her poems have been published under a number of other titles as well, but they contain the poems from the above collections only. They include:

Collections

Yama (1936)
Sandhini (1964)
Geetparva (1970)
Parikrama (1974)
Smarika
Smritichitra
Mahadevi sahitya
Meri Priya Kavitaayen
Deepgeet
Aatmika
Neelambaraa
Himalaya is a collection of poems by many poets edited by her

Honours

Mahadevi Varma's creative talents and sharp intellect soon earned her a prominent place in Hindi Literary world. She is considered among the four pillars of the Chaayavad movement. Her poetry collection Yama (1940) received Gyanpeeth, the highest Indian literary award. In 1956, Indian Government bestowed her with the title of Padma Bhushan. She was the first woman to be made a Fellow of the Sahitya Akademi, in 1979.In 1988, Indian Government bestowed her with the title of Padma Vibhushan.


Nine Unknown Men

Nine Unknown Men are a two millennia-old secret society founded by the Indian Emperor Asoka.