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Hindi literature: For Premchand, Good Literature Was About Truth and Humanity

The great Hindi writer remains as relevant today as he was more than a century ago.

Born 137 years ago on July 31 in Lamhi, a village near Varanasi, Premchand (1880-1936) wrote about things that have always existed but had hitherto been considered beyond the pale of literature – exploitation and submission, greed and corruption, the straightjacket of poverty and an unyielding caste system. Son of a post office clerk, he was named Dhanpat Rai (literally meaning the ‘master of wealth’), yet he waged a lifelong battle against unremitting genteel poverty. Reading and writing, always the stock in trade of a good kayastha boy, coupled with acute social consciousness and an unerring eye for detail turned him – with a literary career spanning three decades which included 14 novels, 300 short stories, several translations from English classics, innumerable essays and editorial pieces – into a qalam ka sipahi, a ‘soldier with the pen’.

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Kalam: Hindi literary event set for London debut

London/ Kolkata, Mar 18 : The popular Indian literary event Kalam will make its international debut on Sunday in London, under the aegis of Kolkata-based Prabha Khaitan Foundation in association with London-based Vidyapath.

With the onset of the Kalam series, poets and litterateurs from the world of Hindi literature will get an opportunity to meet with a select global audience in London, the organisers said.

Kalam is a literary event in which an eminent author engages in a free wheeling tete-a-tete session with a select audience comprising people from different walks of life. Read more

Source: New Kerala


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In 2016, Hindi Literature Became the Voice of the Marginalised

By Priyadarshan

Who reads Hindi literature these days? And who writes it?

For a language rightly claiming to be spoken by more than 400 million people, such questions seem astonishing. But they aren’t, for one precise reason. In last two decades, almost entire Indian middle class has shifted towards English. Private schools and universities and all premier institutions teach in English. All corporate firms and private companies prefer and promote English as their medium. English is gradually developing as a household language for the upper middle classes. On the other hand, Hindi is spoken and used as the medium of study only in the families of first-generation school students. The class character of Hindi has shifted. It is no more the language of the Brahminical order or the ‘upper’ caste sensibility; it is thriving as a language of Dalits, Adivasis and marginalised people.

The impact of these changing sensibilities can easily be seen in the literary works written in 2016. A number of novels have traced and addressed the issues of communities that are gradually being pushed towards the margins. Akaal Men Utsava by Pankaj Subeer is one such novel. As the name suggests, a festival is being arranged despite the ongoing drought because otherwise designated funds will lapse. It’s more than a simple satirical piece; Subeer is able to juxtapose the irony of the festival and the tragedy of a farmer. Bhagwandass Morwal’s novel Halala raises the burning issue of Halala – a practice prevalent in sections of the Muslim community and being discussed these days as a part of the debate on triple talaq. But this novel is not written for the political debate. The book is about the brutal suppression of woman under the garb of a social practice sanctioned by religion. It also answered the general complaint that the space for Muslim characters has been reducing continuously in Hindi writing. Read more

Source: The Wire


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Santokh Singh Dhir’s delightful short stories are tinged with music and humour

By Moazzam Sheikh

Santokh Singh Dhir’s Merian Saras Kahaniyan is a delightful little book. Through the phrase ‘a delightful little book’, I mean to suggest that the book’s strongest point is its language, which is tinged with music and humour. The rustic and rooted Punjabi of the book belongs to a part of Punjab that the author knows well, where the toll of standardisation or tyranny of Hindi/Urdu has been kept at bay.

At the beginning of the book, Dhir tells the reader that the selected stories in the book are one-third of his total output. It would have helped if the indefatigable Maqsood Saqib, the publisher, had also provided an introduction of Dhir, to place him within the context of modern Punjabi literature, along with a list of his entire corpus.

By and large, all the stories delight the reader not just in encountering Dhir’s thoughts and insights but also when his various characters engage in conversations. To both the initiated and otherwise, comprehending what is written on the paper could be a challenge. But that’s exactly what is pleasurable about his work. Read more

Source: The News on Sunday


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‘The writer feels more isolated than ever before’: Hindi writer Uday Prakash

Born in Shahdol in Madhya Pradesh, Hindi writer Uday Prakash is best known for his short stories Peeli Chhatri Waali Ladki and Mohandas, the latter a disturbing tale of a Dalit boy who sets off to rediscover his stolen identity. Later made into a film, Mohandas fetched Prakash the Sahitya Akademi Award for Hindi in 2010. Through his writings, Prakash has explored themes of displacement and alienation, and given voice to the concerns of the marginalised. Last year, Prakash was the first of many artistes to return his Akademi Award over the killing of fellow recipient, Kannada litterateur MM Kalburgi. He was objecting to the literary body’s silence over the assaults on writers, and sparked a national debate over intolerance and nationalism.

uday-prakash

You returned your Sahitya Akademi Award a year ago in protest over the killing of M M Kalburgi. How do you look back on that decision?
Honestly, it was fear that prompted my decision. All these killings were done by fanatics, by people of a particular mindset. Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and Kalburgi — they were all people like me, elderly. They were shot at home or while they were out on a walk. I had met Kalburgi twice. I knew Dabholkar too. These people were killed in cold blood and what surprised me was that there was no uproar over their deaths. The institution that had awarded Kalburgi did not even hold a condolence meeting for him. Read more


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India: Awakening the aesthete within the reader

Munshi Premchand, whose 135th birth anniversary was on July 31, aimed to take the average middle-class reader from a state of ennui and indifference to a state of enlightenment: The Hindu

Upanyas samrat (master novelist) — that’s how Munshi Premchand, whose 135th birth anniversary was on July 31, is known in modern Hindi literature. His patois consisted of a delicious combination of Urdu and Hindi (Urdu-mishrit-Hindi, as critics call it), expressed in a form that even an unlettered person could easily relate to. A socialist, feminist, progressive intellectual much before these terms acquired their modern definitions, Premchand believed in championing the cause of the marginalised — like peasants, widows, prostitutes — through his writing. His oeuvre —14 novels and 300 short stories — established his reputation as a genius. His reflections in the form of numerous essays provide a glimpse into the mind of the master-wordsmith.

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Indian PM Modi hails Mauritius for enriching Hindi literature

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday hailed Mauritius for enriching Hindi literature through its contribution and said the language has occupied a special place in the world.

On the second leg of his three—nation visit, Modi wished the people of Mauritius on behalf of nearly 125 crore Indians on the occasion of the country’s National Day. Continue reading


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Is Hindi literature back in fashion?

The rise of online publishing and social media may inadvertently be beneficial for Hindi authors and its readers: The Hindu

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Hindi-Urdu Sahitya Award Committe organises 25th International Literature Festival in Lucknow

The 25th International Literature Festival organised by the Hindi-Urdu Sahitya Award Committe in association with the UP Sangeet Natak Academy , is dedicated to writers of Hindi and Urdu literature, Dr Harivansh Rai Bachchan and Majrooh Sultanpuri. The inaugural ceremony on Saturday witnessed the presence of famous personalities from the field of art, literature and politics.  Continue reading


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Young turks re-inventing Hindi literature

A new breed of writers in Hindi, many of them IIT-IIM graduates, are seeking to become the agents of a new revolution in Hindi literature. Their protagonists represent the young, resurgent India and its problems as well as their dreams. ‘Terms &Conditions Apply’ is the title of Divya Prakash Dubey’s latest book. The choice of the title in English, Dubey says, is deliberate. Continue reading