Biography of Nirmal Verma – Pioneer of the Nai Kahani (New Story) literary movement of Hindi literature

Nirmal Verma, a famous name in Indian literature, is popular for his famous fictional works that reflected both the sharpness of his thinking and his skills as a world-famous writer. He was a famous Hindi writer, novelist, activist and translator. Nirmal Verma’s stories, which rose to fame with the story “Parinde” (1958), are considered unique in terms of expression and art, wherein his first collection of stories “Parinde” (Birds) is considered its first signature. Nirmal Verma is considered one of the most modern writers in the country. Nirmal Verma changed the prevailing style of the story. The stories of Nirmal Verma, who instilled a sense of modernity in works, emerge from the world of memory, taking readers on an exciting journey to the past.

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In his works, he very easily mentions events related to the daily life of people. His language was intuitive and along with Hindi, he was also very knowledgeable about English.

Nirmal Verma has a leading place among storytellers who bring modern knowledge to Hindi stories. He has written less, but as much as he has written, he has been able to gain a lot of fame. Not only has he corrected the prevailing art of the story but he has also tried to penetrate the direct reality and get inside it. Among the great library of Hindi, there are only a few writers like Agyeya and Nirmal Verma who have considered deeply and extensively the contradictions between the culture of India and the West, based on their direct experience.

Biography of Nirmal Verma

Biography of Nirmal Verma

NameNirmal Verma[1]
Date of BirthApril 3, 1929
Place of BirthShimla
Father’s NameNanda Kumar Verma
OccupationNovelist, writer, activist, translator
DeathOctober 25, 2005, New Delhi

Early Life and Education of Nirmal Verma

Nirmal Verma was born on April 3, 1929 to an educated family in Shimla. His father was working in the Civil and Services Department of the British Government of India. He was the seventh child of eight siblings. Nirmal Verma was introduced to the field of literature by his mother and sister, who helped him to become an avid reader. At that time his greatest interest was in European literature.

He has done M.A. in History from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi. Between 1959 and 1972, he had the opportunity to migrate to Europe. He stayed in Prague for 10 years, where he was invited by Institute of Oriental Science to initiate a program of translation of modern Czech writers like Karel Capek, Milan Kundera, and Bohumil Harbal, to Hindi; he also learnt the Czech language, and translated nine world classics to Hindi, before returning home, as the result of Prague Spring. He returned to India in 1968 after living in Prague for nearly ten years. His story ‘Maya Darpan’ was made in 1973 which won the Best Hindi Film Award.

Nirmal started teaching after completing his master’s degree in Delhi, but his love for literature kept him writing for various literary magazines.

His first short story was published in a student magazine in the early 1950s, which gained him some recognition. Then in 1959, he published his first collection of stories, “Parinde”, which is considered to be its first signature of the “Nai Kahani” (New Story) movement in Hindi literature.

The unique and glorious route that Nirmal Verma visited was his first step. He was an activist from a very young age and a card holder in the Communist Party of India. However, he resigned after the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956.

Also Read: Biography of Narendra Sharma

Career and work of Nirmal Verma

Nirmal Verma visited the whole of Europe during his ten years in Prague. It was a passion for learning and writing about the socio-cultural situation in European countries, which started their travel needs.

During his stay in Prague he travelled widely across Europe, and the result was seven travelogues, including Cheeron Par Chandni (1962), Har Barish Mein (1970) and Dhund Se Uthti Dhun and his first novel, based on his student days in Prague, titled, “Ve Din” (Thoose Days) (1964).

Nirmal Verma’s writings after his return from Prague reflected his views on Indian traditions, which were modern. His active nature strengthened him against the emergency called by Indira Gandhi in 1975-1977 and also made him an advocate of the Tibetan independence movement. His subsequent writing reflected his concerted relooking of Indian traditions, which he found to be innately modern, compared with extremely modernity reflected in the western viewpoints and cultural milieu, which were being imposed on Indian ethos, all around, so much so that later his views were confused as Pro-Hindutva as well. A critical analysis of Verma’s work was presented by Ram Prakash Dwivedi.

Verma also served as chairman of the “Nirala” creative writing chair at Bharat Bhavan in Bhopal from 1980-83. He was also the director of Yashpal Creative Writing Chair in Shimla from 1988-90. A film based on his story, Maya Darpan (1972), directed by Kumar Shahani, won the Fimfare Critics Award for Best Film.

Nirmal Verma has five novels in his name, Eight short story collections and nine essays and travelogues that were translated into several European languages such as English, Russian, German, Italian and French.

Nirmal Verma’s Story Art

Modern storyteller Nirmal Verma is the pioneer of new stories. The stories of Premchand and Jainendra’s next generation of Vermaji show the end of the scenes so closely that the reader immerses himself in mysterious thoughts and begins to dive into the story.

In eco-oriented stories, they are paying less attention to growth. Minds are deeply peered into the state. It is only then that very little is found in the name of the object and the mental dialectic of the characters becomes more exposed.

Literary work of Nirmal Verma

Story Collection

‘Parinde’, ‘Pichli Garmiyon Mein’, ‘Beech Bahas Mein’, ‘Kuvve aur Kala Pani’ etc.

Novel

“Ve Din”, “Lal Tin Ki Chaat”, etc.

Essay

“Bharat aur Europe”, “Sabda aur Smriti”, etc.

Award and Recognition

1. Jnanpith Award in 1999, the highest literary award for Indian writers.

2. ‘Kuvve aur Kala Pani’, A collection of seven short stories, won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1985.

3. Padma Bhushan in 2002.

4. Jnanapith Trust’s “Murtidevi Award” for his book of essays, Bharat Aur Europe: Pratishruti Ke Kshetra (1991)

5. Jury member Lettre Ulysses Award for the art of Reportage,2003

6. He was a fellow with the International Institue of Asian Studies.

7. Library of Congress catalogues most of the works of Nirmal Verma in its collection.

8. India’s highest literary award, for lifetime achievement, the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship in 2005.

9. On the publication of his book, “The World Elsewhere”, in 1988, by the Readers International in London, BBC Channel Four telecasted a film on his life and works.

10. Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres (France) 2005.

Contribution

After writers like Premchand and his counterparts like Bhagwati Charan Verma, Phaneeswarnath Renu, the literary landscape changed drastically. Especially during and after the sixties and seventies, there were very few writers who would be remembered for their unprecedented contribution from the point of view of art to Hindi literature. The number only increased proportionally compared to quality. These are the main reasons for this. officialization of Hindi, emergence of new promises and debates, dominance of consumerism etc.

From a librarian like him, he can learn his contemporary and later literature as much as he can and increase their contribution. As much as they were given, they were ignored. Perhaps the discussion that should have been on his actions has not happened at all. He was among the select individuals who practiced literature and art and lived with his values all his life.

Death

Nirmal Verma, died in Delhi on October 26, 2005 at the age of 73. He had been suffering from lung disease for a long time. The Government of India also nominated Nirmal Verma for the Nobel Prize at the time of his death.

FAQ 

1. When did Nirmal Verma win the Jnanpith Award?

Ans: During his lifetime, Nirmal Verma was honoured with almost all the best honours in literature, including the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1985,  the Jnanpith Award in 1999,  the highest honour of the Sahitya Akademi in 2005.

2. When and where was Nirmal Verma born?

Ans: Nirmal Verma was born on April 3, 1929 in an educated family in Shimla.

3. When did Nirmal Verma died?

Ans: Nirmal Verma, a modern Hindi writer, died in Delhi on October 26, 2005 at the age of 73.

4. Who is the composer of the “Parinde” story?

Ans: Nirmal Verma.

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