Who reminded our heroic hearts of independence, of their strength and indomitable spirit of nationalism and brotherhood through his soul-stirring, sentimental verses, remembering our Rashtrakavi.
Born on 23rd September 1906
Mujhe kya garv ho apni vibha ka
Chita ka dhulikan hoon, shar hoon main.
Pata tujhe mera mitti karegi
Sama jismein chuka sau baar hoon main.
Hymns of nationalism are passed onto generations, carolled in every national day with pride. Our chevaliers of independence, their chronicles of struggle, are recalled to make the future generations aware of the value of this life, we are leading today; without any foreign dominance and breeze of deliverance they have gifted us. We know the names of those who stormed the battlefields with a sword and a shield. But I hear a pen can cut a wound, deeper than a sword?
Our mahakavi, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, was a lionhearted knight, who chose to pick his ink dipped quill to blot the hearts of Indians, sealing them with the lines of fraternity and liberty.
Dinkar’s childhood is more of like how the West likes to portray our country in their entertainment zones- poverty stricken. He was born in Begusarai district of Bihar, which used to be a part of Bengal Presidency in the British India. His interests fixated on the subjects like history, politics and philosophy. He took a particular interest in the works of Rabindranath Tagore, Iqbal, Milton and Keats. Though he studied Hindi, Sanskrit, Maithili, English, Bengali and Urdu, his family’s penury didn’t let his schooling go smoothly.
With Mahatma Gandhi’s leadership, nationalist movements entered Dinkar’s juvenescence. The agenda of Simon Commission was spreading like a wildfire during his stay at Patna. He was studying at Patna College, when Lala Lajpat Rai was heavily injured due to the lathi charge at Gandhi Maidan. This fanned the flare of patriotism in Dinkar’s heart.
He brought out his first poem in Chhatra Sahodar (a local newspaper) in 1924. He recorded the valiant moments of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in the peasant Satyagraha in Gujarat, fettered in ten of his poems which composed the book, Vijay-Sandesh. He turned incognito, by adopting the name, ‘Amitabh’, signed under his poems to elude the British. Two of his small poems, Birbala and Meghnad-Vadh, alongwith Pran Bhang, were published around 1930.
His first collection of poems, Renuka, was shown to the world in 1935 and to his great fortune, the editor of Vishwa Bharati, Banarasi Das Chaturvedi, who was highly influenced by the book, took a copy to Sevagram; where he handed it over to Gandhiji.
Though his public spirit was ascended by many national leaders of that time, the one who patronized his historical sense was Dr. Kashi Prasad Jaiswal.
His works mostly fall under the genre of Veer Rasa, but the mango in the basket of apples was Urvashi- a heavenly elucidation of a relationship shared between a man and a woman, distanced from the Earthly elements.
Some of the noteworthy praises in the forum of Dinkar’s stature were,
As Harivansh Rai Bachan has said, “For his proper respect, Dinkar should get 4 Bharatiya Jnanapith Awards- for prose, poetry, languages and his service to Hindi". Acharya Hazari Prasad Dwiwedi commended on how he enriched the language of Hindi amongst those whose mother tongue differed from it. And some has applauded his sense of nationalism running in the pages of his books. In Rajendra Yadav’s words, “His poems are about reawakening. He often delved into Hindu mythology and referred to epic heroes like Karna."
"He was a poet of anti-imperialism and nationalism.” - Kashinath Singh
His works, not only portrayed the heroes, but the drowning socio-economic condition of the country and the deprived masses, like Samdheni.
To Dinkar, history is just not a folder of discovered facts. It’s a reflection of the ideological perspectives. In his Sanskriti Ke Char Adhyay, the tide rises from the various cultures, religions to Renaissance and freedom movements like Bhakti, Sufi. He proceeded by accounting the encounters with the Aryans, doctrines of Buddha, Mahavira, Hindu and Islam, and finally diving into the European upheaval. He integrated values like secularism, anti colonialism in the shadows of these encounters, as a touch of his nationalist historian persona.
Some of his notable works are: Dvandvageet (1940), Kurukshetra (1946), Baapu (1947), Itihas ke Aansoo (1951), Dilli (1954), Kavishri (1957), Bhagwaan ke Daakiye (1970), anthologies like Dinkar ke Geet (1973), Rashmilok (1974), and prose works like Chittaur ka Saka (1948), Hamaari Saanskritik Ekta (1954), Panth, Prasad Aur Maithilisharan (1958), Lokdev Nehru (1965), Bhaaratiya Ekta (1971) and Chetana Ki Shilaa (1973). His biographies include Sri Aurbindo : Meri Drishti Mein, and, Pandit Nehru aur anya mahapurush.
He was awarded with the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1959 for his Sanskriti Ke Char Adhyay. In the same year, he received Padma Bhushan from the Government of India. He was honoured with the Jnanpith Award in 1972 for Urvashi.
In 1999, after his demise, a commemorative stamp was issued in the honour of the 50th anniversary since Hindi is adopted as the national language.
It can be concluded that, every Indian was born with the pursuit of fighting for the independence, breaking the shackles of the British. Be it a bloodshed or an ink spill, all their deeds are immortal in the golden pages of our dignified history.
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