The achievement of Suryakant Tripathi Nirala (1899-1961), the foremost practitioner and exponent of chhayavada, the romantic movement in Hindi, is little-known in the English speaking world. By his mastery of the Khari Bolt, by his unique individual genius coupled with his powerful historic sense', Nirala ushered in a new kind of idiom in Hindi poetry, enriching the language as no other poet of his time did. Truly an epoch-making poet, leading the struggle to launch free verse to a memorable victory through a storm of opposition, he made many experiments. Three of his long poems, Tulsidasa, Rama Ki Shakti-Puja and Saroj-Smriti exemplify what can be achieved through a sense of tradition, in the last-named, he transmuted into great poetry his personal experience of his daughter's life being cut short in its prime, giving a perfect example of "the complete separation between the man who suffers and the mind which creates".
Seventy-six of his selected poems are rendered here for the first time in
Murari Madhusudan Thakur, born at Singhwara, Darbhanga in Bihar, in 1932, was educated at Patna University and taught English there from 1955 to 1963 and later at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu, Nepal (1963-1965). He was a Fellow at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario in Canada (1965-1967), and later, Visiting Professor of English in Nepal (1983-1984). Professor Thakur has also distinguished himself as a translator (Sahitya Akademi Prize, 1999). Notable among his Maithili translations are Arogya Niketan, Tarashankar's Bengali novel; Shabdasab, Jean-Paul Sartre's childhood memoirs, Les Mots, and Selected Poems of Lakshmi Prasad Devkota, the Nepali poet.
He is also the author of Thus Spake Bhisma, a novel based on the Mahabharata story.
It is with a deep sense of satisfaction that I introduce the Selected Poems of Nirala in English as the fulfilment of an old dream and a long-deferred plan made possible by Sahitya Akademi.
Nirala's achievement in the field of Hindi letters, especially in poetry written in the Khari Boli, is so outstanding that the leading Hindi journal of the time, Saraswati, in its issue of November, 1961, barely a month after the poet's death, declared unequivocally that after the great Tulsidasa in the sixteenth century, there had been no creative genius in Hindi of Nirala's stature.
While selecting poems from the work of Nirala spread over four decades, I have endeavoured to make the Selected Poems a representative English version of Nirala's poetry, selecting poems which present the poet's view of Man and Nature, including his three long poems.
I have tried to present the poems roughly in chronological order so as to represent here a trajectory of the poet's literary development.
I take this opportunity to acknowledge my deep debt of gratitude to the well-known Nirala scholar and critic, Dr. Nandkishore Nawal, and the first two volumes of the eight-volume Nirala Rachanavali so admirably edited by him, and published by Rajkamal.
Likewise my grateful thanks to Gitanjali Chatterjee of the Akademi, who extended her cooperation at every step towards the completion of the work.
Book's Contents and Sample Pages
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend