Biography of Nagarjun – Prominent protagonist of modernity in Maithili

Nagarjun, who occupied a special place in Hindi literature, was a great poet and famous writer of progressive ideals.  Nagarjun’s real name was Vaidyanath Mishra, who was addressed by his loved ones as Nagarjun and Janakavi.

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In Hindi literature, he edited great works like “Yatri” and “Nagarjun” in Maithili language. Nagarjun was a poet of Hindi and Maithili who instilled a new energy in people through his works and spread public consciousness.

Mahakavi Nagarjun has emotionally expressed the pain of the common man with great simplicity in his work, and he has expressed his views in politics. Let us tell you that Nagarjun deeply understands the problems of farmers and working class and extends emotional condolences to them through his works.

Biography of Nagarjun

Biography of Nagarjun

Real NameVaidyanath Mishra
Date of BirthJune 30, 1911
Place of BirthMadhubani, Bihar
Father’s NameGokul Mishra
mother’s NameUma Devi
SpouseAparajita Devi
OccupationPoet, Writer, Novelist
DeathNovember 5, 1998, Darbhanga, Bihar

Early Life and Education of Nagarjun

Vaidyanath Mishra (Nagarjun) was born on 30 June 1911, in a middle-class Brahmin family in the village of Tarauni in Darbhanga District of Bihar, India. He spent most of his days in his mother’s village Satlakha of Madhubani district, Bihar. He later converted to Buddhism and got the name “Nagarjun”. His mother died when he was only three, and his father being a vagabond himself, couldn’t support him so young Vaidyanath thrived on the support of his relatives, and the scholarship he won on the account of him being an exceptional student. Soon he became proficient in Sanskrit, Pali, and Prakrit languages, which he first learnt locally and later at Varanasi and Calcutta, where he was also semi-employed, while pursuing his studies. Nagarjun had a good knowledge of Sanskrit, Maithili, Hindi, Pali, etc. since its inception, he has expressed his great ideals in his work very easy and simplicity. He was a scholar of Hindi literature, he wrote ‘Nagarjun’ and ‘Traveller’ in Maithili, so his fans called him by nicknames like Nagarjun and Yatri. Meanwhile, he married Aparajita Devi and the couple had six children.

Also Read: Biography of Munshi Premchand

Career of Nagarjun

He started his literary career with Maithili poems by the pen name of Yatri in the early 1930s. By the mid – 1930s, he started writing poetry in Hindi. His first permanent job of a full-time teacher, took him to Saharanpur (Uttar Pradesh), though he didn’t stay there for long as his urge to delve deeper in Buddhism scriptures, took him to the Buddhist monastery at Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, where in 1935, he became a Buddhist monk, entered the monastery and studied the scriptures, just as his mentor, Rahul Sankrityayan had done earlier, and hence took upon the name “Nagarjun”. While at the monastery he also studied Leninism and Marxism ideologies, before returning to India in 1938 to join ‘Summer School of Politics’ organised by noted peasent leader, Sahajananad Saraswati, founder of Kisan Sabha. A wanderer by nature, Nagarjun spent a considerable amount of his time in the 1930s and the 1940s travelling across India.

He also participated in many mass awakening movements before and after independence. Between 1939 and 1942, he was jailed by a British court for leading the farmers’ movement in Bihar. He was involved in journalism for a long time after independence.

He played an active role in Jayaprakash Narayan’s movement prior to the Emergency period (1975-1977), and therefore was jailed for eleven months, during the emergency period. He was strongly influenced by Leninist-Marxist ideology. This was one of the reasons that he never found patronage from the mainstream political establishments.

Poetic features of Nagarjun

The poetic features of the great poet of literature Nagarjun are :

Mahakavi Nagarjun has written in both Hindi and Maithili, His simple and intuitive language style keeps readers fascinated with his works from beginning to end. Nagarjun, the great poet of progressive ideals, has used metaphors, analogies, exaggerations and fragrance in his works in a very bright way. Poet Nagarjun has also taken a satire on the government and society through his works. The subject of his poetry are varied. Effects of both his wandering tendencies and activism, is evident in his middle and later works. He often wrote on contemporary social and political issues. His famous poem Mantra Kavita is widely considered the most accurate reflection of a whole generation’s mindset in India.

Besides these accepted subjects of poetry, Nagarjun found poetic beauty in unconventional subjects. One of his most astonishing works is a poem based on a show called ‘With Sharp Teeth’.

Because of the breadth of his poetry, Nagarjun is considered the only Hindi poet after Tulsidas to have an audience ranging from the rural sections of society to the elite. He effectively freed poetry from the bounds of elitism.


Maithili was his mother tongue and he authored many poems, essays and novels in Maithili. He was educated in Sanskrit, Pali, and Hindi. Hindi remained the language of the bulk of his literature. The Hindi of his works varies from highly sanskritized to vernacular forms. He was a poet of the masses, and preferred to write in the language of immediate local impact. Therefore, he never adhered to specific bounds of languages.

He also had good grasp of the Bengali language and used to write for Bengali newspapers. He was close to the Bengali Hunry generation or Bhookhi Prrehi poets and helped Kanchan Kumari in translating Malay Roy Choudhury’s long poem Jakham and Chana Jor Garam in Hindi.

Literary works


‘Yugdharo’, ‘Kal aur Aaaj’, ‘Satrange Pankhon Wali’, ‘Talab Ki Machhliyan’, ‘Tumne Kahan Tha’, ‘Purani Juliyon Ka Coras’, ‘Khichiri Viplava Dekha Humne’, ‘Aise bhi hum Kya’ etc.


‘Rati Nath Ki Chachi’, ‘Balachnama’, ‘Baba Bateshar Nath’, ‘Himalaya Ki Betiyan’, ‘Nai Paudh’, ‘Varun ke Bete’, ‘Dukh Mochan’, ‘Ugratara’, ‘Kumbhi Pak’, ‘Abhinandan’, ‘Imaratia’, etc.

Essay collections

‘Ant Hinam Kriyanam’, ‘Bum Bholenath’, ‘Ayodhya Ka Raja’.

Maithili works

Patrahin Nagna Gachh (collection of poems), Chitra (collection of poems), Pparo (novel), Navturiya (novel),Balchnma (novel)

Works of Baba Nagarjun

Poet Kumar Vishwas and channel ABP News aired a video documentary about the life and writings of Nagarjun in their Mahakavi Series


In 1948, Nagarjun was first attacked with asthma. As a result, his health deteriorated day by day. This is why Baba Nagarjunji, the leading poet of progressive ideology, died on November 5, 1998 at the age of 87 in Darbhanga district, Bihar.


1. When and where did poet Nagarjun born?

Ans: Poet Nagarjuna was born on June 30, 1911 in a middle class Brahmin family in Satlakha, a small village in Madhubani district of Bihar.

2. What is the real name of Nagarjun?

Ans: Vaidyanath Mishra

3. What is the name of the father and mother of poet Nagarjun?

Ans: Poet Nagarjun’s father and mother are – Gokul Mishra and Uma Devi.

4. What is the name of poet Nagarjun’s wife?

Ans: Poet Nagarjuna’s wife’s name is Aparajita Devi.

5. When and where did Nagarjun died?

Ans: In 1948, Nagarjun was first attacked with asthma. As a result, his health deteriorated day by day. This is why Baba Nagarjunji, the leading poet of progressive ideology, died on November 5, 1998 at Darbhanga district, Bihar.

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