Mahadevi Verma was a famous Indian Hindi Poet born on 26 March 1907 in Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh, who was the eldest among four siblings. She was also a good prose writer, painter, Social reformer, Educationalist and famously known as “Modern Meera“, as her poetry consists of constant pain. She started her schooling at Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh and married at the age of nine to Dr.Swaroop Narayan Verma in 1916.
After marriage, She remained with her parents and continued her studies at Crossthwaite girls school in Allahabad while her husband continued his education in Lucknow. In the Crossthwaite hostel, she came to know the power of unity though they are from different religions and also the fuss created in the name of religion. From then, her poetry journey had started. She used to write the poems secretly and one day discovered by her roommate Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, who was also a well known hindi poet and writer. After her talent was exposed, both used to write poems in their free time which was included in her biography called “Mere Bachpan Ke Din” that can be seen below.
“While others used to play outside, I and Subhadra used to sit on a tree and let our creative thoughts flow together…She used to write in Khariboli, and soon I also started to write in Khariboli…this way, we used to write one or two poems a day.”- Mahadevi Varma, Mere Bachpan Ke Din
They also sent their poetry to the weekly magazines in which some of their poems were published and later on they used to attend poetry seminars too. After completing her education in Crosthwaite, she went to Allahabad University to complete her higher education and received her Master’s degree in Sanskrit. Then she joined as a teacher in village schools nearby Allahabad and later worked as the Principal, and then the Vice-Chancellor of Prayag Mahila Vidyapeeth college in Allahabad.
Some of her works can be discussed below:
- She stood as one of the four pillars of Chhayavaad school for Hindi literature from 1914 to 1938.
- She was a poet in Kavi sammelanas.
- As a painter, she drew some of her poetic works like “Yama, Deepshikha and Yatra”.
- Neelkanth was one of her writing which showcases her experience with the peacock and is added as a chapter in the syllabus of Central Board of Secondary Education(CBSE) for 7th Standard.
- Her biography named Mere Bachpan Ke Din and Gillu is also added into the syllabus of In Central Board of Secondary Education for the 9th Standard.
- “Madhur Madhur Mere Deepak Jal” is a poem written by her which was included as a part of CBSE curriculum for 10th grade.
- Atita Ke Chalchitra (The Moving Frames of the Past) and Smriti Ki Rekhayen (The Lines of Memory) are some of her heart touching writings.
- Some of her poetic publications are Nihar, Rashmi, Neerja and Sandhya Geet.
- One of her writing Shrinkhala ki kadiyan provides a mirror image of the difficulties of Indian women.
- Sahityakar Ki Astha is also a writing that adds credit to her work.
- She dares into a new field Hindi called “Rahasyavaad”.
- She worked as an editor for the famous Hindi monthly Chand.
David Rubin, an American Novelist praised Mahadevi Verma and her writings as follows:
“What arrests us in Mahadevi’s work is the striking originality of the voice and the technical ingenuity which enabled her to create in her series of mostly quite short lyrics throughout her five volumes a consistently evolving representation of total subjectivity measured against the vastness of cosmic nature with nothing, as it were, intervening-no human social relationships, no human activities beyond those totally metaphorical ones involving weeping, walking the road, playing the vina, etc.”- David Rubin
She had received many awards such as:
- In 1956, Government of India awarded her with Padma Bhushan.
- In 1979, She was the first woman joined as Sahitya Akademi Fellowship.
- In 1982, Yama, one of the collection of her poetry won Gyanpeeth Award which is the highest literary awards of India.
- In 1988, She was honoured with Padma Vibhushan.