Hindi Language and Literature

Regions and dialects
Modern Standard Hindi, one of the official languages of India according to the Constitution of India (Article 343), is only the basis of modern literature, from the 19th century. Earlier Hindi literature was based on other Hindi languages, including the dialects of Braj Bhasha, Bundeli, Awadhi, Kannauji, and Khariboli in Devnagari script. In addition, regional Hindi languages such as Marwari, Maithili, Magahi, Angika, Vajjika and Bhojpuri continue to be important; although Maithili is now considered a separate language, it was long considered a variety of Bihari and thus a dialect of Hindi.


Adi kaal or Veer Gatha kaal (1050 to 1375)
In the ancient period of Hindi or Adi Kaal (before 1400 CE), Hindi literature was developed in the states of Kannauj, Delhi, Ajmer, stretching up to central India, modern Madhya Pradesh.
Delhi was ruled by Prithviraj Chauhan (1168-1192 CE), that is when his court poet, Chand Bardai, composed a eulogy to him, titled Prithviraj Raso, which was considered one of the first works in the History of Hindi Literature.
Kannauj's last Rathore ruler was Jayachand, who gave more patronage to Sanskrit (which was no longer the common man's language). His court poet was Harsha (whose major poetic work was Naishdhiya Charitra). Mahoba's royal poet Jagnayak (or Jagnik) and Ajmer's Nalha were other literary figures in this period. However, after Prithviraj Chauhan's defeat, most literary works belonging to this period were destroyed during Muhammad Ghori's campaign. Very few scriptures or manuscripts from this period are available and their genuineness is also doubted.
Some Siddha and Nathpanthi poets' works belonging to this period are also found, but their genuineness is again, doubted. Siddhas belonged to Vajrayana, a later Buddhist cult. Many argue that the language of Siddha poetry is not earlier Hindi, but Magadhi Prakrit. Nathpanthis were yogis who practised Hatha yoga. Some Jain and Rasau (heroic poets) poetry works are also available from this period.
In the Deccan region in South India, Dakkhini or Hindavi was used. It flourished under the Delhi Sultanate and later under the Nizams of Hyderabad. It was written in the Persian script. Nevertheless, the Hindavi literature can be considered as proto-Hindi literature. Many Deccani experts like Sheikh Ashraf or Mulla Vajahi used the word Hindavi to describe this dialect. Others such as Roustami, Nishati etc. preferred to call it Deccani. Shah Buharnuddin Janam Bijapuri used to call it Hindi. The first Deccani author was Khwaja Bandanawaz Gesudaraz Muhammad Hasan. He wrote three prose works - Mirazul Aashkini, Hidayatnama and Risala Sehwara. His grandson Abdulla Hussaini wrote Nishatul Ishq. The first Deccani poet was Nizami.
During the later part of this period and early Bhakti Kala, many saint-poets like Ramanand and Gorakhnath became famous. The earliest form of Hindi can also be seen in some of Vidyapati's Maithili works.
Bhakti Kaal (1375 to 1700)
The medieval Hindi literature is marked by the influence of Bhakti movement and composition of long, epic poems.
Avadhi and Brij Bhasha were the dialects in which literature was developed. The main works in Avadhi are Malik Muhammad Jayasi's Padmavat and Tulsidas's Ramacharitamanas. The major works in Braj dialect are Tulsidas's Vinaya Patrika and Surdas's Sur Sagar. Sadhukaddi was also a language commonly used, especially by Kabir in his poetry and dohas.
The Bhakti period also marked great theoretical development in poetry forms chiefly from a mixture of older forms of poetry in Sanskrit School and the Persian School. These included Verse Patterns like Doha (two-liners), Sortha, Chaupaya (four-liners) etc. This was also the age when Poetry was characterized under the various Rasas. Unlike the Adi Kaal (also called the Vir Gatha Kaal) which was characterized by an overdose of Poetry in the Vir Rasa (Heroic Poetry), the Bhakti Yug marked a much more diverse and vibrant form of poetry which spanned the whole gamut of rasas from Shringara rasa (love), Vir Rasa (Heroism).
Bhakti poetry had two schools - the Nirguna school (the believers of a formless God or an abstract name) and the Saguna school (the believers of a God with attributes and worshippers of Vishnu's incarnations). Kabir and Guru Nanak belong to the Nirguna school, and their philosophy was greatly influenced by the Advaita Vedanta philosophy of Adi Sankaracharya. They believed in the concept of Nirgun Nirakaar Bramh or the Shapeless Formless One. The Saguna school was represented by mainly Vaishnava poets like Surdas, Tulsidas and others and was a logical extension of the Dvaita and Vishishta Advaita Philosophy propounded by the likes of Madhavacharya etc. This school was chiefly Vaishnava in orientation as in seen in the main compositions like Ramacharitamanas, Sur Saravali, Sur Sagar extoling Rama and Krishna.
This was also the age of tremendous integration between the Hindu and the Islamic elements in the Arts with the advent of many Muslim Bhakti poets like Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana who was a court poet to Mughal emperor Akbar and was a great devotee of Krishna. The Nirgun School of Bhakti Poetry was also tremendously secular in nature and its propounders like Kabir and Guru Nanak had a large number of followers irrespective of caste or religion. it is all about period of veer ras
Ritikavya Kaal (1700 to 1900)
In Ritikavya or Ritismagra Kavya period, the erotic element became predominant in Hindi literature. This era is called Riti (meaning 'procedure') because it was the age when poetic figures and theory were developed to the fullest. But this emphasis on poetry theory greatly reduced the emotional sspects of poetry—the main characteristic of the Bhakti movement—and the actual content of the poetry became less important. The Saguna School of the Bhakti Yug split into two schools (Rama bhakti and Krishna bhakti) somewhere in the interregnum of the Bhakti and the Reeti Eras. Although most Reeti works were outwordly related to Krishna Bhakti, their emphasis had changed from total devotion to the supreme being to the Shringar or erotic aspects of Krishna's life—his Leela, his pranks with the Gopis in Braj, and the description of the physical beauty of Krishna and Radha,(Krishna's Consort). The poetry of Bihari, and Ghananand Das fit this bill. The most well known book from this age is the Bihari Satsai of Bihari, a collection of Dohas (couplets), dealing with Bhakti (devotion), Neeti (Moral policies) and Shringar (love).
Adhunik Kaal: 1900 onwards
In 1800, the British East India Company established Fort William College at Calcutta. The College President J. B. Gilchrist hired professors to write books in Hindi and Urdu. Some of these books were Prem Sagar by Lallu Lal, Naasiketopaakhyan by Sadal Mishra, Sukhsagar by Sadasukhlal of Delhi and Rani Ketaki ki kahani by Munshi Inshallah Khan.
The person who brought realism in the Hindi prose literature was Munshi Premchand, who is considered as the most revered figure in the world of Hindi fiction and progressive movement. Before Premchand, the Hindi literature revolved around fairy or magical tales, entertaining stories and religious themes. Premchand's novels have been translated into many other languages.
Bhartendu Yug
Dwivedi Yug 
The Dwivedi Yug ("Age of Dwivedi") in Hindi literature lasted from 1900 to 1918.It is named after Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi, who played a major role in establishing modern Hindi language in poetry and broadening the acceptable subjects of Hindi poetry from the traditional ones of religion and romantic love. He encouraged poetry in Hindi dedicated to nationalism and social reform.
Dwivedi became the editor of Sarasvati in 1903 and used it to crusade for reforms in Hindi literature. One of the most prominent poems of the period was Maithilisharan Gupta's Bharat-bharati, which evokes the past glory of India. Shridhar Prathak's Bharatgit is another renowned poem of the period.
Some scholars have labeled much of the poetry of this period as "versified propaganda". According to Lucy Rosenstein: "It is verse of public statement; its language is functional but aesthetically unappealing. Earnest, concerned with social issues and moral values, it is puritanical poetry in which aesthetic considerations are secondary. Imagination, originality, poetic sensibility and expression are wanting, the metre is restrictive, the idiom clumsy." She adds, however, that the period was important for laying the foundations for modern Hindi poetry, it did reflect sensitivity to social issues of the time, and the inelegance is a typical feature of a "young" poetry, as she considers Modern Hindi.
Without a poetic tradition in modern Hindi, poets often modeled their forms on Braj, and later on Sanskrit, Urdu, Bengali and English forms, often ill-suited to Hindi. The subjects of the poems tended to be communal rather than personal. Characters were often presented not as individuals but as social types.
Chhayavaadi Yug
In 20th century, Hindi literature saw a romantic upsurge. This is known as Chhayavaad (shadowism) and the literary figures belonging to this school are known as Chhayavaadi. Jaishankar Prasad, Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala', Mahadevi Varma and Sumitranandan Pant, are the four major Chhayavaadi poets. Poet Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar' was another great poet with some Chayavaadi element in his poetry although he wrote in other genres as well.
This period of Neo-romanticism, represents the adolescence of Hindi Poetry. It is marked by beauty of expression and flow of intense emotion. The four representative poets of this era represent the best in Hindi Poetry. A unique feature of this period is the emotional (and sometimes active) attachment of poets with national freedom struggle, their effort to understand and imbibe the vast spirit of a magnificent ancient culture and their towering genius which grossly overshadowed all the literary 'talked abouts' of next seven decades.
Other important genres of Adhunik Sahitya (Modernism) are: Prayogvad (Experimentalism) of Ajneya and the Tar Saptak poets, also known as Nayi Kavita (New Poetry) and Nayi Kahani (New Story) of Nirmal Verma and others; followed by Pragativad (Progressivism) of Gajanan Madhav Muktibodh and other authors.
Among the numerous schools of poetry which sprang up in the fifties of this century was Nakenwad, a school deriving its nomenclature from the first letters of the names of its three pioneers - Pandit Nalin Vilochan Sharma, Kesari Kumar, and Naresh Mehta all poets of note in their own right. Apart from being poets, Nalin Vilochan and Kesari Kumar were also brilliant critics, with a wide perspective on literary history. Their critical attitude is marked by a synthesis or coordination of various disciplines of human knowledge - philosophy, history, art and culture, all pressed into the service of literary appraisal and analysis.
Hindi travel literature
Rahul Sankrityayan, Bhadant Anand Kausalyayan, Sachchidananda Hirananda Vatsyayan 'Ajneya' and Baba Nagarjun were some of the great Indian writers who dedicated themselves entirely to the Hindi Travel Literature (Yatra Vritanta). Rahul Sankrityayan was one of the greatest traveled scholars of India, spending forty-five years of his life on travels away from his home. He is known as the ("Father of Hindi Travel literature"). Baba Nagarjun was a major Hindi and Maithili poet who has also penned a number of novels, short stories, literary biographies and travelogues, and was known as ("Janakavi- the People's Poet").
Hindi playwriting
The pioneer of Hindi theatre as well as playwrighting, Bhartendu Harishchandra wrote Satya Harishchandra (1875), Bhar Durdasha (1876) and Andher Nagari (1878), in late 19th century, Jaishankar Prasad became the next big figure in Hindi playwriting with plays like Skanda Gupta (1928), Chandragupta (1931) and Dhruvswamini (1933).
As the Independence struggle was gathering steam playwrights broaching issues of nationalism and subversive ideas against the British, yet to dodge censorship they adapted themes from mythology, history and legend and used them as vehicle for political messages, a trend that continues to date, though now it was employed to bring out social, personal and psychological issues rather than clearly political, though street theatre broke this trend in coming decades in post-independence era, like IPTA-inspired, Naya Theatre of Habib Tanvir did in 1950s-90s, Jana Natya Manch of Safdar Hashmi did in 1970s-80s. Post-independence the emerging republic threw up new issues for playwrights to tackle and express, and Hindi playwriting showed greater brevity and symbolism, but it was not as prolific as in case with Hindi poetry or fiction. Yet we have playwrights like Jagdish Chandra Mathur (Konark) and Upendranath Ashk (Anjo Didi), who displayed a steadily evolving understanding of stagecraft. These were followed another generation of pioneers in Hindi playwrighting, Mohan Rakesh, who started with Ashadh Ka Ek Din (1958), Adhe Adhure and Lehron Ke Rajhans, Dharamvir Bharati, who wrote Andha Yug, and other playwrights like Surendra Verma, and Bhisham Sahni.
Hindi essay-writing
Acharya Kuber Nath Rai is one of the writers who dedicated themselves entirely to the form of essay-writing. His collections of essays Gandha Madan, Priya neel-kanti, Ras Aakhetak, Vishad Yog, Nishad Bansuri, Parna mukut have enormously enriched the form of essay. A scholar of Indian culture and western literature, he was proud of Indian heritage. His love for natural beauty and Indian folk literatures and preference for agricultural society over the age of machines, his romantic outlook, aesthetic sensibility, his keen eye on contemporary reality and classical style place him very high among contemporary essayists in Hindi.
Prominent Figures of Hindi literature
  • Chand Bardai (1148–1191), author of Prithviraj Raso
  • Sheikh Farid (c.1173-c.1266)
  • Amir Khusro (1253-1325 AD), author of pahelis and mukris in the "Hindavi" dialect.
  • Vidyapati (1352–1448), a prominent poet of Eastern dialects.
  • Kabir (1398–1518), a major figure of the bhakti (devotional) movement.
  • Nanak (1469–1538) author of a section of the Adi Granth
  • Surdas (1467–1583) author of Sahitya lahri, Sur Sarawali, 'Sur Sagar etc.
  • Malik Muhammad Jayasi author of the Padmavat (1540) etc.
  • Mirabai (1504–1560) author of Mira Padavali etc.
  • Goswami Tulasidas (1532–1623) author of Ramacharitamanas Vinay Patrika
  • Keshavdas (1555–1617) author of Rasikpriya etc.
  • Bihari (1595–1664) became famous by writing Satasai (Seven Hundred Verses).
  • Guru Gobind Singh (1669–1708) author of Bichitra Natak etc.
  • Bharatendu Harishchandra (1850–1885), whose works are compiled in Bharatendu Granthavali
  • Ganga Das(1823–1913) was a revered saint of udasi sect and known for piety and Hindi poetry, who composed about 50 kavya-granthas and thousands of padas, who is known as Bhismpita of the Hindi poetry.
  • Munshi Premchand (1880–1936), considered one of the greatest Hindi novelists of all time
  • Rahul Sankrityayan (1893–1963), widely traveled scholars of India
  • Swami Sahajanand Saraswati (1889–1950), books on peasant movement and the nationalist struggle, autobiography(mera jeevan sangharsh) and many others.
  • Jaishankar Prasad (1889–1937), stalwart of the literary movement called Chhayavaad.
  • Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala' (1899–1961)
  • Hazariprasad Dwivedi (1907–1979)
  • Mahadevi Varma, one of the "four pillars" of the Chhayavada movement
  • Rani movement of the 1950s
  • Dharmavir Bharati (1926–1997), a renowned Hindi writer and editor
  • Raghuvir Sahay (1929–1990) was a versatile Hindi poet, translator, short-story writer and journalist.
  • Rajkamal Chaudhary (1929–1967) poet, short story writer, novelist, critic
  • Nirmal Verma (1929–2005), one of the founders of the Nai Kahani (new short story) school
  • Bhupendra nath Kaushik"fikr" (1925–2007), Urdu, Hindi writer "Koltar main aks"
  • Narendra Kohli (b. 1940) known for his plays, satires, short stories and novels
  • Harishankar Parsai, known for satirical works
  • Jainendra: An extremely influential figure in 20th century Hindi literature.
  • Babu Gulabrai (1888–1963): an eminent critic, philosopher and essay writer, known for his biography Meri Asafaltaein
  • Guru Bhakt Singh 'Bhakt' (1893–1983)
  • Yashpal (1903–1976), author of Jhutha Sach
  • Devaki Nandan Khatri (1861–1913) author of Chandrakanta etc.
  • Maithili Sharan Gupt (1886–1964), pioneer of Khadiboli poetry
  • Vibhuti Narain Rai (b. 1951), a renowned modern Hindi writer and Police Superintendent.
  • Kumar Vishwas (b. 1974), a renowned modern Hindi poet
  • Viveki Rai (b. 1927)
  • Hrishikesh Sulabh (b. 1955) short story writer, playwright, drama critic. Pioneer of modern Hindi theatre in Bihar.
  • Paigham Afaqui (b.1956) Novelist,short-story-writer and poet and author of novel Makaan.
  • Ram Ratan Bhatnagar (b.1914) writer and critic of Hindi literature and poetry.
  • Phanishwar Nath 'Renu' (b.1921) freedom fighter, socialist, his best work considered to be Maila Anchal

Eminent Hindi Journalists

Durgaprasad Mishra
Born in Kashmir, he came to Calcutta and started Bharat Mitra in 1878. In 1879, he began another weekly magazine- Saar Sudhanidhi but it closed down in that same year. On 17 August 1880, he started a 3rd weekly- Ucchit Vakta- meaning Right or Best Time. Ucchit Vakta focused on spreading the truth (about the British Raj) and fighting for justice. It became very popular for many years.
Mishra underwent a lot of difficulties trying to bring out a critical publication at the time of the British Raj. At times he was the editor, writer and also sold the paper himself. He was an inspiration for many journalists, particularly Bal Mukund Gupta.
Dharmveer Bharati
Born on 25 December 1926, he graduated in BA (first class) in 1945 and in 1947 completed his MA in Hindi literature (first class) and finally did his PhD from Allahabad University. For some time he was principal of Allahabad University.
He began his journalist career in Abhyudaya, a journal by Padmakant Malviya. He then joined Sangam, edited by Ilachand Joshi and then became editor of Dharmayug. Thanks to Bharati, this journal became very popular.
During the 1971 war, Bharati reported from the frontlines of the battle. He covered all the horrors of the war. His series of reports, the finest in Hindi war journalism, were published under the title of 'Yudh Yatra'. As an honest and dedicated reporter, Bharati was unrivaled. After the war, he became editor of 2 more journals- Aalochana and Nikarshak.
Bharati was also famous as a short story writer, poet, essayist and novelist. The best known of his works are 'Band Galli ka Aakhiri Makaan', 'Andha Yug', 'Kunpriya'.
Bharatendu Harishchandra
Began a journalists career at the age of 17. Published Kavi Vachan Sudha (1867) a monthly dedicated to ancient and medieval poetry. Published Harishchandra Magazine in 1873- a general interest magazine Published Bala Bodhini from 1874- for women and young girls.
KVS was acknowledged to be the finest literary journal in any Indian language of that time, and was on par with the best of English journals. Bharatendu kept the journal up until his death 1885. Because of his extraordinary achievements, he is considered the most prolific Hindi journalist.
Madan Mohan Malviya
He was born in 1861 in Allahabad to a Brahmin family. From 1885 to 1887 was the editor of Indian Opinion. He was a strong supporter of the Congress. He helped launch the newspaper Dainik Hindustan and was its editor from 1887 to 1889. He was a close friend of many eminent Hindi writers like Gopalram Gehmari, Amrutlal Chakravarty and Pandit Pratap Narayan Mishra.
Along with Bal Mukund Gupta, he launched an Urdu journal 'Kohinoor' from Lahore. In those days, Gupta was not a facile Hindi scholar, but under Malviya's training, Gupta became editor of Bharat Mitra. In 1908, Malviya founded a new revolutionary journal Abhyudaya from Prayag. The renowned writer Purushottamdas Tando was a frequent contributor to it.
After Abhyudaya, Malviya founded a monthly magazine 'Maryada', in 1909 he founded a daily 'Leader' and later on another daily- 'Bharat'.
Malviya was a great patriot and his love for his country was seen in all of his writings. He also contributed to Aaj, and helped to found the Hindustan Times in 1933, along with its Hindi counterpart Hindustan. Babu Gulabrai (January 17, 1888 - April 13, 1963) (pen name: Gulabrai MA) was one of the greatest literary figures of modern Hindi literature.
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