Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala' (1896 - 1961)

Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala', one of the most significant poets of modern Hindi, was born on 22 January 1896 in a Brahmin family of Midnapore in Bengal. Though a student of Bengali, Nirala took keen interest in Sanskrit from the very beginning. In time, through his natural intelligence and acquired knowledge, he became an authority on various languages – Bengali, English, Sanskrit, and Hindi.

Nirala pioneered the Chhayawad movement alongwith Jaishankar Prasad, Sumitranandan Pant and Mahadevi Varma. He voiced his protest against exploitation through his verses. He amalgamated Vedantism, nationalism, mysticism, and love for nature and progressive humanist ideals in his works. The sources of his themes include history, religion, nature, Puranas and contemporary social and political questions. He initiated the use of blank verse in his poems. He introduced aesthetic sense, love of nature, personal viewpoint and freedom of form and content in writing which went on to become the chief tenets of Chhayawad. His multifaceted genius, which ushered in a new style of poetry, acquired him a pseudonym, Nirala (unique).

His thinking was influenced by Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa and Swami Vivekananda and in the literary field by Michael Mudhusudan Dutt and Rabindranath Tagore.

A prolific writer, his poetic works include Anamika, Parimal, Geetika, Tulsidas, Kukurmutta, Anima, Bela and Naye Patte. His novels include Apsara, Alka, Nirupama, Prabhavati, Kale Karname, and Chameli. Among his short-story collections are Sakhi, Lily, Chaturi Chamar, and Sukul Ki Bibi. Among his prose works are Kullibhat and Billesur Bakriha. His works of criticism are Ravindra Kavita Kanan and his essays are Prabandh Padma and Prabandh Pratima.

Nirala died in Allahabad on 15 October 1961.