(Last Updated on : 17-01-2013)
Mahadevi Varma was born in 1907 in Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh
. She came off a lawyer's family. She had two brothers and one sister. She received her early education at Jabbalpur in Madhya Pradesh
. She received M.A in Sanskrit from the Allahabad
University. She was married to Dr Swarup Narain Varma in 1914 when she was only 9 years of old but continued study after marriage. They mostly lived separately due to their ideological differences.
Literary Career of Mahadevi Varma
Mahadevi Varma took the job of the first headmistress of Allahabad Mahila Vidyapeeth, which was started to spread cultural and literary education to girls through Hindi medium. Later, she became the President of the institute. She was also deeply influenced by Buddhism and also associated with Indian Freedom Movement. Mahadevi Varma also established herself as a painter. She herself illustrated her own poetic works like Deepshikha and Yama.
Mahadevi Varma was one of the famous poets of Chhayavaadi Hindi literature
. Other famous poets in this Genres are Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala', Jaishankar Prasad and Sumitranandan Pant. She is well known for her book Atita ke Chalchitra (The Moving Frames of the Past) and Smriti ki Rekhayen (The Flame of an Earthen Lamp) 1942. This book consists of 51 lyrics. All the poems are based on deep pain of separation from supreme one and are full of mysticism. For this quality she was often compared with Meerabai, the 16th century Saint Poet. Some of her other major books are Nihar (1930), Rashmi (1932), Neerja (1934) and Sandhya Geet (1936), Deepshikha (1942), Saptaparna(1960), Saptaparna(1960), Agnirekha (1990, published after her death). She also incorporated Indian Philosophy into her poems.
Works of Mahadevi Varma
Among her famous prose works, Shrinkhala ki Kadiyan is about the troubles of Indian women. Her other major prose publications are Sahityakaar ki Astha, Path ke Saathi Sankalpita, Sambhashan. She mixed Tatsam and Tatdav words in her writings. She ushered a new era in Hindi Literature - Rahasyavaad. As she was a social reformer, a women activist, a cultural and political leader she selected her subject from this fields. Mahadevi Varma was awarded Gyanpeeth, the highest Indian literary award in 1982. In 1956 she was conferred with Padma Bhushan. She was the first woman Fellow of the Sahitya Akademi, in 1979.In 1988 she was given, the title of Padma Vibhushan by Indian Government. Mahadevi Verma's important works include Deep Shikha, Niharika, Nirja, Rashmi, Yama, Sandhya Geet, Sam-riti Ki Rekhayen and Atit Ke Chalchitra. To her, prose was a subject of the intellect and poetry dealt with emotions. In prose, one needs subjects to ponder over and discuss, but poetry flows by itself. It does not need any sort of external support. She enriched Hindi literature by expressing herself beautifully both in prose and poetry. She was also deeply involved in fine arts, culture and self-expression through her poems, articles and other writings.
Her style was such that she could easily integrate mysticism of nature with the highest imagination of a human being where sorrow and happiness are interwoven. She has not only enriched Hindi literature but also had given it a new direction, directing it towards newer objectives leading to a more enjoyable and rejoicing path. Her readers were not only impressed by her flowery language and beautiful expression but also in the deep aesthetic stream of philosophical realization of eternal truth emerging from a sense of union with the Supreme Reality, which enabled her readers to have a taste of eternal happiness or bliss.
Personal Life of Mahadevi Varma
Mahadevi closely followed Mahatma Gandhi
's philosophy of life. She worked with towering personalities like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru
and Dr. Rajendra Prasad. She realized that truth and happiness flows naturally from sacrifice, from reunion with the Supreme Reality. She practiced what she preached in her life; So much so that each and every word in her poems became more or less a sermon, or a piece of scripture. She is a renowned poet and scholar. In most of her works we can see the essence of spirituality. She was a lover of nature like Wordsworth. For her the beauty of nature was not only a thing of joy, but also an object of worship and adoration. Nature, for her was an eternal source of inspiration leading to self-realization. She believed that, only by educating women, society becomes enlightened. She wanted women to be empowered and become self-dependent. She had no interest in politics but she was very much aware of the contemporary scenario. She was against the evils existing in the society in the form of corruption, bribe, treachery, untruth falsehood and hypocrisy. She was a profounder of truth and was a faithful admirer and disciple of Mahatma Gandhi. She said, "At the time of Mahabharata only one untruth brought a lot of misfortune for both Pandavas and Kauravas, but now everyone was taking shelter under untruth, falsehood and hypocrisy. Hence, we find everywhere in society deep distress, unhappiness and misery. Only God knows what will happen to the country." In her presidential address at Hindi Sansthan, Luc-know, she expressed her anguish over the ways the politicians who were selfish and self-centered they always gave importance for their well-being and ignored the common well-being of the people. According to her, politicians have become mere puppets in the hands of the dishonest tyrants and their only objective was to achieve the highest seat in the corridors of power. She said," I can understand if some one dreams to serve the country and devote himself for the important task of nation building or to serve mankind at large, but I cannot understand how a person can dream to be at the helm of affairs by snatching the highest chair in the power-achieving game and still think that he is a great person."
She passed away on September 14, 1987.