As a child, I was an avid reader and would devour magazines and storybooks within a week. When I started school, my Hindi teachers, Veena Ma’am and Geeta Ma’am, fostered my love for Hindi literature and poetry. I read countless works by legendary Hindi writers and poets, including Munshi Premchand, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, Jaishankar Prasad, Mahadevi Verma, Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirala’, and Shivani. These writers and their work made a significant impact on Hindi literature and their works continue to be widely read and appreciated.
Over the next few posts, I’ll be sharing some of my favourite books on Hindi stories and poems which I thoroughly enjoyed. So whether you’re a seasoned Hindi literature buff or just dipping your toes into the world of Indian literature, these picks are sure to delight and captivate you. Trust me – each one is an absolute gem waiting to be discovered. So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of Hindi literature together!
#1: Rashmirathi by Ramdhari Singh Dinkar
If you’re looking for an epic poetry adventure, Rashmirathi by Ramdhari Singh Dinkar is a book that must be on your reading list for this year. This poem is a true classic of Hindi literature and was awarded Jnanpith Award in the year 1972. The poem is a poetic portrayal of the life of Karna, a complex and tragic hero from the Indian epic Mahabharata, in seven chapters. The poem explores themes of loyalty, identity, and fate, and it’s sure to leave you pondering these weighty issues long after you’ve put the book down. You can read the premise of this poem on Kavita Kosh here. Rashmirathi has garnered rave reviews on Goodreads (4.5/5) and Amazon (4.7/5), with readers calling it “powerful,” “thought-provoking,” and “unforgettable.”
As the writer Dan Brown said, “Sometimes, a change in perspective is all it takes to see the light.” The best part of this poem is, it changes your perspective to see Mahabharata from the standpoint of Pandava to Karna.
Here are some of the powerful and inspirational lines from this poem to kindle your interest.
तेजस्वी सम्मान खोजते नहीं गोत्र बतला के,
पाते हैं जग में प्रशस्ति अपना करतब दिखला के।
हीन मूल की ओर देख जग गलत कहे या ठीक,
वीर खींच कर ही रहते हैं इतिहासों में लीक।
सच है, विपत्ति जब आती है,
कायर को ही दहलाती है,
शूरमा नहीं विचलित होते,
क्षण एक नहीं धीरज खोते,
विघ्नों को गले लगाते हैं,
काँटों में राह बनाते हैं।
‘दो न्याय अगर तो आधा दो,
पर, इसमें भी यदि बाधा हो,
तो दे दो केवल पाँच ग्राम,
रक्खो अपनी धरती तमाम।
हम वहीं खुशी से खायेंगे,
परिजन पर असि न उठायेंगे!
दुर्योधन वह भी दे ना सका,
आशीष समाज की ले न सका,
उलटे, हरि को बाँधने चला,
जो था असाध्य, साधने चला।
जब नाश मनुज पर छाता है,
पहले विवेक मर जाता है।
प्रासादों के कनकाभ शिखर,
होते कबूतरों के ही घर,
महलों में गरुड़ ना होता है,
कंचन पर कभी न सोता है.
रहता वह कहीं पहाड़ों में,
शैलों की फटी दरारों में.
नरता का आदर्श तपस्या के भीतर पलता है,
देता वही प्रकाश, आग में जो अभीत जलता है।
आजीवन झेलते दाह का दंश वीर व्रतधारी,
हो पाते तब कहीं अमरता के पद के अधिकारी।
Ramdhari Singh Dinkar
Ramdhari Singh Dinkar was a legendary Hindi poet born on September 23, 1908, in Simaria, Bihar. Dinkar was one of the most prominent figures of the Chayavadi school of Hindi literature, and his contributions had a significant impact on modern Hindi poetry.
Dinkar was the author of many acclaimed poems and essays, including the famous epic poem “Kurukshetra” and “Rashmirathi“. His other notable works include “Urvashi,” “Parashuram ki Prateeksha,” and “Hunkar.” You can read these poems here. Dinkar’s writing reflected his patriotic ideals and deep love for India’s cultural and social heritage. His poems often explored themes of love, courage, and sacrifice, inspiring many generations of readers.
Dinkar’s contributions to Hindi literature earned him many honours and accolades, including the Sahitya Akademi Award, Jnana Peeth Award, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Vibhushan, making him one of the most revered Hindi poets of all times. He died on April 24, 1974.