It is the 102nd birth anniversary of the renowned poet and father of actor Amitabh Bachchan, Harivansh Rai Bachchan.
A distinguished Hindi poet and the writer of the great collection Madhushala, was born in 1907. Longing for an eternal union with his beautiful beloved, Madhushala employs a range of symbols, especially that of wine, much as in the tradition of Persian poetry. His poetry combines the best of Sanskrit and Persio-Arabic poetic traditions. He had set a model of lyricism in Hindi and his contribution in changing the temper, approach and style of poetry during the 30s has been very significant.
He was the second Indian to get his doctorate in English literature from Cambridge University. A total of about 30 volumes of his poetry were published making him one of the most prolific poet of his time.
At the behest of Jawaharlal Nehru, he joined the Hindi Cell in the Union Ministry of External Affairs as an OSD in 1955 to translate official documents from English into Hindu, which he had continued till his retirement.
His works include Nisha Nimantran, Khadi Ke Phool, Ekant Sangeet and Satrangini. His last poem Ek November 1984 was on the assassination of Indira Gandhi's.
He had written essays, travelogues, and edited several volumes of his own poetry and that of his contemporaries. His memorable contribution to the Indian film Industry through his songs Rang Barse from Yash Chopra's Silsila (1981) and Koi Gata Main So Jata for the movie Aalap (1977) shows his varied moods.
His greatest achievement in prose writing was his autobiography in four volumes Naye Purane Jharokhe beginning with Kya Bhoolon Kya Yaad Karoon, Need Ka Nirmaan Fir, Basere Se Door and Dashdwaar Se Sopaan Tak was chosen for the Saraswati Samman.
He was also a Sahitya Akademi award recipient. In 1976, he was honoured with the Padma Bhushan for his contribution to Hindi literature. He is a recipient of the Soviet Land Nehru Award for Hindi translation of sixty-four Russian poems entitled Chaunsath Rusi Kavitayen in 1966. He was also awarded the Afro-Asian Writers' Conference Lotus prize.
Harivanshrai Bachchan passed away on January 18, 2003 as a result of various respiratory ailments. A postage stamp was released in his memory.
With Inputs from News Tomorrow