By Ila Garg
Prosperous at one time, the Hindi language is now slowly meeting its downfall. And so are the Hindi poets…
Today, with teenagers running after western trends and blindly imitating them, Hindi literature is left in a downtrodden state. The youngsters are constantly moving away from older traditions.
Hindi, as a language, has lost its essence. No longer are we able to regularly recall the names of Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, Dharmveer Bharti, Sumitranandan Pant, Sahir Ludhianvi, Suryakant Tripathi Nirala, and many more such legends.
Hindi poets are no longer read and respected. Many of us lack even basic knowledge about these poets, let alone their struggles and the poetic pearls that they weaved over the years.
Hindi poets and their journey
- Ramdhari Singh Dinkar – For a poet born before Independence, he had the required rebellious tone in his poetry. His patriotic compositions were looked up to. During the Emergency, Dinkar’s famous poem: ‘Singhasan Khaali Karo Ke Janata Aaati Hai’ was widely recited. His contribution to the freedom struggle and to the Hindi literature is exemplary and yet his glory is fading in the light of English poetry.
सदियों की ठंढी-बुझी राख सुगबुगा उठी,
मिट्टी सोने का ताज पहन इठलाती है;
दो राह, समय के रथ का घर्घर-नाद सुनो,
सिंहासन खाली करो कि जनता आती है।
- Dharmveer Bharti – A poet and a social thinker, Bharti wrote till his last breath. His plays brought him to the limelight. Engaging in social commentary through his plays was his expertise. He wanted to reflect upon the society and contribute towards directing it to the path of reformation.
‘Andha Yug’ is the most famous of his plays. The masterpiece is structured on the events of Mahabharata, covering the events of last day of the war.
- Sumitranandan Pant – He was a progressive poet and had a philosophical bend of mind. He started writing as a child. Panth was a humanist and wrote with a realistic approach towards life. His love for nature often found its mention in his creations. Memories too, played a very important role in his journey as a poet.
बिदा हो गई साँझ, विनत मुख पर झीना आँचल धर,
मेरे एकाकी आँगन में मौन मधुर स्मृतियाँ भर!
वह केसरी दुकूल अभी भी फहरा रहा क्षितिज पर,
नव असाढ़ के मेघों से घिर रहा बराबर अंबर!
- Sahir Ludhianvi – A popular Bollywood lyricist of his time, he was always a poet at heart. His reputation as a poet came handy in shaping his career as a lyricist. His creations had a flavour of binaries. He never talked about life in isolation with the concept of death. This was because he felt that death was an integral part of life, it is something that gives life its meaning. He saw things in their entirety, and that gave him an edge over the other writers of his time. His poetry was thus, well appreciated by critics.
Teri duniya mei jeene se toh behtar hai ke mar jaaye,
Wohi aansuu wohi aahen wohi gham hai jidhar jaaye,
Koi toh aisa ghar hota jahan se pyaar mil jaata,
Wohi begaane chehre hai jahaan jaaye jidhar jaaye,
Arey o aasmaan waale bata iss mei bura kya hai,
Khushi ke chaar jhonke gar idhar se bhi guzar jaaye.
- Suryakant Tripathi Nirala – Nirala was a poet who emerged out of a life of misfortunes and tragedies. He suffered a great deal and yet he had the courage to make a path for himself. He was a regular participant in Hindi Kavi Sammelans. He was a rebel, both in form and content, that’s why he wasn’t easily accepted as a poet at first, and was even ridiculed at times. He was strongly against social exploitation and injustice and his writings conveyed his emotions.
दलित जन पर करो करुणा।
दीनता पर उतर आये
प्रभु, तुम्हारी शक्ति वरुणा।
Why is Hindi losing its grip?
The answer to this is very simple. Everywhere we go, we are required to converse in English. Our national language Hindi is considered unsubstantial during interviews. Almost all tests require proficiency in English.
In schools, children are encouraged to learn English and speak the language fluently. Today, we feel proud when we say that we are weak in Hindi or act like we have no connection with the Hindi language. With the young generation who are the guardians of old customs and traditions being so disheveled, we can only imagine the future of our cultural roots. This is indeed alarming!
Harivansh Rai Bachchan has rightly traced the fast paced life of the modern world:
जीवन की आपाधापी में कब वक़्त मिला
कुछ देर कहीं पर बैठ कभी यह सोच सकूँ
जो किया, कहा, माना उसमें क्या बुरा भला।
Today, no one wants to read in the first place, and even if they are forced to read something, they will never choose a Hindi poem. This is an evidence of how Hindi has been made to be synonymous with disgrace. Moreover, English texts are believed to be ‘easy reads’.
Who is to be blamed for this situation of the Hindi poets?
Present status of Hindi language and poets
The language which represents India is now conveniently pushed to the back lanes, alleys, and gutters. The young generation cannot seem to accommodate it to their changing lifestyle. Our custodians are disillusioned by the charm of West while Hindi poets are now trapped in their incompetence.
The readership plays a significant role in the triumph of a language but here, Hindi is failing. Its inability to attract enough readers is leading to a decrease in the number of writers and poets who pen their feelings in Hindi.
The future of Hindi poets therefore lies in the hands of masses. Till the time readers don’t show enough compassion towards Hindi poetry, the Hindi poets will remain clutched in shackles, unable to take the magnificent Indian culture ahead.
Hindi poets can no longer retrieve their lost place in people’s heart. They hold no significance in a world where the past glory of Indian culture is forgotten. Culture and language walk hand in hand. If one is weakened, the other can never tread the path of progress.
Hindi language and Indian culture have together become stagnant and soon losing their splendour.
Scope of revival
Yes, we can still get back our past glory. But like always it is easy to destroy a thing, what is difficult is to recreate it. Will we be able to do it? Are we willing to do it?
If we believe in the importance of Hindi poets and if we have faith in our old traditions, we must go back to the roots unless it’s too late. We can make the curriculum more interesting, implement interactive means of poetry recitation in classes, encourage students to talk about the lost demeanor of Hindi poets, and also address the good points of the language.
If the ancient tradition of Yoga can be made international, Hindi can achieve heights too. All we have to do is BELIEVE 🙂