Sachchidananda Hhirananda Vatsyan Agyeya was a leading Indian poet novelist and journalist of Hindi literature. Like T.S Eliot in English literature, he himself was a great institution that gave rise to a number of new thoughts and visions in both criticism and creation. He has won many literary awards and honours including ‘Sahitya Akademi’, ‘Jnanpith’, ‘Bharat-Bharati’, ‘Golden Wreath’ awards etc. In his poems and novels, he expresses his nationalist and patriotic views about India under British rule. He himself was a great freedom fighter and has also been sentenced to prison for some time.
Biography of Agyeya
|Date of Birth||7 March 1911|
|Place of Birth||Kasia, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, British India|
|Father’s Name||Pandit Hirananda shastri|
|Mother’s Name||Vyanti Devi|
|Spouse||Santosh Malik, Kapila Vatsyayan|
|Died||April 4, 1987|
Early Life and Education of Agyeya
Agyeya was born on March 7, 1911 in an archeological camp near Kasia, Khushinagar district of Uttar Pradesh. He died on April 4, 1987 at the age of 76 in New Delhi. His father Hirananda was a renowned archaeologist and a great scholar of Sanskrit. So knowledge of Sanskrit and history had a huge impact on Agyeya’s personality. Agyeya spent his early childhood in Lucknow. Since his father’s job was transferable, poet Agyeya’s childhood was spent in many places such as Gorakhpur, Lucknow, Nalanda, Jammu, Madras and Udupi. Due to this peripatetic lifestyle, Agyeya came in contact with different languages and cultures, His father, himself a scholar of Sanskrit, encouraged him to study Hindi and taught him some basic English. He was taught Sanskrit and Persian by Pandit and Maulavi in Jammu. His mother was Vyantidevi who was not much educated. Hirananda and Vyanti had 10 children, of whom Agyeya was the fourth. After passing his matriculation in 1925 from the University of Punjab, Agyeya moved to Madras, joined the Madras Christian College, and did intermediate in Science in 1927, studying mathematics, physics and chemistry. In the same year he joined the Forman Christian College in Lahore, where he studied mathematics, physics, chemistry and English, and received a Bachelor of Science in 1929, standing first in the class. Thereafter he enrolled for an M.A. in English but dropped out, and joined the Hindustan Socialist Republican Army (HSRA), a revolutionary organisation, with a view to fight for Indian independence movement, and participated in rebellious activities against the British colonial government. The knowledge of English played a very important role in his translator’s career. Since he has translated various well-known books like Gora (Rabindranath Thakur, from Bengali), Raja (Rabindranath Thakur, from Bengali), as well as some of his own Hindi poems.
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Agyeya as a patriot
Agyeya joined the Indian independence movement along with Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad and Yasfal. He was arrested and sent to jail on charge of seditation against British rule in India. He spent the next four years in jail in Lahore, Delhi and Amritsar. During these prison days he started writing short stories, poems, and the first draft of his novel Shekhar: Ek Jivani. His great classic novel Shekhar: Ek Jivani is very concerned with the experience of prison life. The third part of this novel has not been published.
He was associated with the Progressive Writers Association (PWA) and in 1942, he organised the All India Anti- Fascist Convention. During World War II in 1942, he joined the Indian Army as captain and was sent to the Kohima Front as a combatant officer, but left the army after the end of the war in 1946. He stayed at Meerut (Uttar Pradesh) for sometime and remained active in local literary groups. During this period, he published several translations into English of other writers, and a collection of his own poems, Prison Days and Other Poems. Like Ernest Hemingway, he has a first-hand experience of war hypocrisy that he has shown in some of his poems, novels and magazines.
Agyeya as a Journalist (editor)
After his release from jail in 1934, Agyeya worked as a journalist in Calcutta, for All India Radio. Poet Agyeya was a editor. Agyeya edited Sainik from Agra (1936-1937), Vishal Bharat from Calcutta (1937-39), Prateek (1973) respectively from Allahabad and New Delhi. In English, he edited Vak (1951). He served as an editor of Jayaprakash Narayan’s Everyman’s Weekly (1973-74) and editor-in-chief of Hindi daily Navhharat Times (1977 80) of the Times of India Group.
He founded The Dinaman Magazine of the Times of India Group in 1965. When members of the Bhookhi Peerhi (hungry generation movement) of Bengal were arrested and prosecuted for their anti-establishment writings, Agyeya through Dinaman relentlessly supported the young literary groups of Calcutta till they were exonerated. His dispatches on Bihar’s famous famine are considered milestone in pro-people reporting. He remained in India till 1968, before embarking on a trip to Europe. In 1969 he returned to Berkeley as Regents Professor, and continued there till June 1970. In 1976, he had an 8-month stint at Heidelberg University, as a Visiting Professor. Later he joined University of Jodhpur, Rajasthan as Professor and Head of the Department of Comparative Literature.
Literary Life of Agyeya
Agyeya started writing around 1934. His time was the great time of progressive literature. He wrote both poetry and prose. In terms of prose, he has done high quality work in prose – poetry, novels and stories besides new genres like articles, travels, interviews, commentary, non-fiction. Poet Agyeya gained special fame as an editor and journalist.
He successfully edited Sainik, Vishal bharat, Pratik, Dinaman etc. He was a landmark writer. Despite many criticisms about experimentalism and innovation, the fact cannot be ignored that the poet was the pioneer among the creators of literature that gave modern Hindi literature a new respect and a new glory. In fact, he is credited with modernizing Hindi literature.
He has written many psychological story novels etc. His main works are as follows :
‘Parampara’, ‘Vipathga’, ‘Kothri ki baat’, ‘Sharnaarthi’, ‘Jaydol’, ‘Ye teri pratiroop’ etc.
‘Shekhar: Ek Jeevani I’, ‘Shekhar: Ek Jeevani II’, ‘Shekhar: Ek Jeevani III (Unpublished), ‘Nadi ke dweep’, ‘Apne-apne ajnabi’, ‘Chhaya mekhal Barahkhambha’, ‘Beenu bhagat’
‘Bhagndoot’, ‘Chinta’, ‘Ityalam’, ‘Hari ghaas par kshan-bhar’, ‘Baawra ahri’, ‘Indradhanu raunde hue ye’, Ari o karuna prabhamaya, Angan Ke Par Dwar, etc.
Sab rang’, ‘Sab rang aur kuchh raag’, Kahan hain dwaraka’, Chhaya Ka jangal’ etc.
Poet Agyaeya, who was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1964, the Jnanpith Award in 1978, the Golden Wreath Award in 1983, passed away on April 4, 1987.
1. What is the full name of Agyeya?
Ans. The full name of Agyeya is Sachchidananda Hhirananda Vatsyan Agyeya.
2. When and where was Agyeya born?
Ans: Agyeya was born on March 7, 1911 in Kasia, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, British India.
3. When did Agyeya died?
Ans: Poet Agyeya, who was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1964, the Jnanpith Award in 1978, the Golden Wreath Award in 1983, passed away on April 4, 1987 at New Delhi, India.
4. What is the name of Agyeya’s father?
Ans. Agyeya’s father’s name is Pandit Hhirananda Shastri.
5. What is the name of Agyeya’s mother?
Ans. Agyeya’s mother’s name is Vyanti Devi.
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