The achievement of suryakant Tripathi Nirala (1899-1961), the foremost practitioner and exponent of Chhayavada, the romantic movement in Hindi, is little-known in the English speaking world. By his mastery of the Khari Boli, by his unique individual genius coupled with his powerful historic sense, Nirala ushered in a new kind of idiom in Hindi poetry, enriching the language as no other poet of his time did. Truly an epoch-making poet, leading the struggle to launch free verse to a memorable victory through a storm of opposition, he made many experiments.
Three of his long poems, Tulsidasa, Rama Ki Shakti-Puja and Saroj-Smriti exemplify what can be achieved through a sense of tradition; in the last-named, he transmuted into great poetry his personal experience of his daughter’s life being cut short in its prime, giving a perfect example of the complete separation between the man who suffers and the mind which creates.
Seventy-six of his selected poems are rendered here for the first time in English.
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