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Google on Friday celebrated freedom fighter, women’s rights activist, Hindi poet and Jnanpith awardee Mahadevi Varma with a doodle.

On this date, in 1982, the Bharatiya Jnanpith honoured her with the prestigious award for her “outstanding contribution towards literature”.


Guest artist Sonali Zohra has designed the doodle that shows the transformative poet busy penning her thoughts into beautiful verses under a tree by the field on a breezy afternoon.

Often referred to as ‘modern Meera’ for ushering in the era of romanticism in Hindi literature, Varma was born on March 26, 1907, in Farukhabad in Uttar Pradesh into an orthodox family.

Married at the tender age of nine in 1916, Varma remained at her parental home to continue her education at Crossthwaite Girls’ School in Allahabad.


Mahadevi Varma (Wikimedia Commons)

The spirit of a writer was kindled by Varma’s mother who inspired her daughter to write in Sanskrit and Hindi, according to Google.

She penned her first verses in secret, while pursuing a master degree in Sanskrit. However, her roommate and friend, Subhadra Kumari Chauhan (a well-known poet) discovered her talent soon.

Varma is revered as one of the foundational poets of the Chhayavad movement in Hindi literature, the Google blog said. Her poignant poetry and essays, mostly centred around her feminist outlook.

In her biography “Mere Bachpan Ke Din” (My Childhood Days), Varma wrote that at a time when a girl child was considered a burden upon the family, she was very fortunate to be born into a liberal family.

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Her works appeared in magazines and books. Her collection of short stories “Sketches from My Past” portrays those women whom she encountered as the principal of an all-girls school.

Though a firm supporter of women’s rights, Varma also explored the topics of tradition and the past with great fondness, it added.

Varma was honoured with the Padma Bhushan in 1956, Sahitya Akademi Fellowship in 1979, and Padma Vibhushan in 1988. She passed away on September 11, 1987. IANS


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