Subhadra Kumari Chauhan

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Subhadra Kumari Chauhan was born on 16 August 1904. She was a famous name in the field of writing. She was a famous writer and a prominent poetess. She was from Allahabad district in Uttar Pradesh. She with her husband joined the famous Non-Cooperation Movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi in 1921 and became the very first woman Satyagrahi. She was jailed twice for her involvement in protests again British rule in 1923 and 1942.

She has given a number of popular works in Hindi. Her poems have emotional touch and inspired many Indian youths to participate in the Indian Freedom Movement. Apart from heroic poems, she wrote many poems for children and also wrote many short stories on the lifestyle of the middle-class man.

Some of her famous poems include ‘Veeron Ka Kaisa Ho Basant’, ‘Rakhi ki Chunauti’, and ‘Vida’ talk about the freedom movement. Her well-known composition ‘Jhansi ki Rani’ narrating the life of brave Jhansi ki Rani Lakshmi Bai, is one of the most recited poems of Hindi Literature and is often taught in schools in India. Subhadra Kumari Chauhan died in a car accident in the year 1948. The Government of India has named an Indian Coast Guard Ship for her as the ICGS Subhadra Kumari Chauhan.

Her famous poem Jhansi ki Rani is still loved by everyone which is most encouraging and strength giving. Some of the lines are translated here:

Sinhasan hil uthe, rajvanshon ne bhrikuti tani thi, Boodhe bharat mein bhi aayi, phir se nayi jawaani thi,

The thrones shook and royalties scowled, old India was re-invigorated with new youth

Gumi hui aazadi ki keemat sab ne pahchani thi, dur firangi ko karne ki sabne mann mein thani thi.

People realized the value of lost freedom Everybody was determined to throw the foreigners out

Chamak uthi san sattawan mein, who talvaar puraani thi, bundele harbolon ke munh ham ne suni kahani thi,

The old sword glistened again in 1857 This story we heard from the mouths of bundela bards

Khoob ladi mardani woh to Jhansi wali rani thi.

Like a man she fought, she was the queen of Jhansi.

These few lines of the poem give us an idea that how great her writing was. Her first edition was published in “Mukul” in 1930. Some of the selected poems were also published in “Tridhara”. She is always known for her poems but she also took part in “Rashtriya Andolan” (National Movement) and had to visit Jail.

Few lines of her poem “Jalian Wala Bagh Mein Basant” are as below

Yahan kokila nahi, kaag hai, shor machate kale kale keet, bhramar ka bhram upjaate.

Here are no nightingales, but crows crow loud, Dark black moths make for hum of the beetles

Kaliyaan bhi adhkhili, mili hai kantak-kul se, veh paudhe , vah pushp shushk hai athva jhulse.

The buds too in half-bloom, meet with thorns here Those plants, those flowers, are dry or scorched

Parimal hin parag daag-sa bana pada hai, Ha! Yah pyara bagh khoon se sana pada hai

Fragrance-less pollen is rotting into oblivion Ha! This lovely garden lies all drenched with blood

Aao priy rituraj! Kintu dheere se aana. Yah hai shok sthaan, yahan mat shor machana.

Come dear spring! But come quietly. This is a mourning place, so cause no commotion.

Anokha daan, Aaradhna, Upeksha, Khilaunewala, Chalet samay, Parichay, Pani aur dhup, Yah kadamb ka ped, Samadhi par, Mere pathik, Veeron ka ho kaisa Vasant, Vyakul chhah, Samarpan, Swadesh Ke Prati, etc were some of her famous poems. After returning from Jail she wrote ‘Bikhare Moti’ in 1932, ‘Unmadini’ in 1954, and ‘Sidhe Sadhe Chitra’ in 1947. Apart from her work in the freedom movement, Subhadra continuously carried out campaigns for social reforms including women education, discarding the veil by them and abolition of untouchability. Her writing strength has inspired many Indians. Her immense contributions to literature, freedom movement and as a social reform will always be cherished.