The Life and Legacy of Poet Dinkar
Ramdhari Singh ‘Dinkar’ was a renowned revolutionary Indian Hindi poet. He was a prominent poet of rebellion for his nationalist poetry, which he wrote in the days before Indian independence. He was a poet, essayist and academic. After independence, he was addressed as a Rashtrakavi (National Poet) for his inspirational nationalistic compositions. His bravery-based poems were his famous works. During independence days, He was a regular poet of Kavi Sammelan. He received immense popularity for his patriotic poems and was very much connected with poetry lovers.
Dinkar was born in Simaria village of Bihar in a very poor family. He attended Mokama High School, which was extremely away from his home. He couldn’t attend all classes till school closed. He was used to leaving the school after the lunch break to catch the steamer for home. He could not afford to stay at the hostel due to his poor family background. Even he was used to attending his school barefoot. In this condition, a poet grew up and became a patriotic nationalist poet. In his school days, his favorite subjects were history, politics and philosophy. He was well-versed in different regional languages from his school days. He learned Hindi, Sanskrit, Maithili, Bengali, Urdu and English. Rabindra Nath Tagore, Iqbal, Keats and Milton were the main influences on him. He translated the works of Rabindranath Tagore from Bengali to Hindi. During the third decade of the 20th century, he established Manoranjan Library in Simariya for students and the general public. He also edited a handwritten pamphlet.
He was a Gandhian. However, he did not consider himself a blind follower of Gandhi because initially, he supported the revolutionary drive during the independence movement. He also supported the feelings of outrage and revenge among the youth. In his poem Kurukshetra, he agrees that the war is destructive as well as he claims it is necessary to get freedom. He wrote many essays and poems based on the need for Indian independence. He was very much influenced by the freedom movement. He was very close to the nationalists of that time. Like Rajendra Prasad, Sri Krishna Sinha, Anurag Narayan Sinha, Rambriksh Benipuri and Braj Kishore Prasad.
The poetic identity of the poet Dinkar was shaped by the pressures of life during the freedom movement. In 1920, he saw Mahatma Gandhi for the first time. When he was a youth, the freedom movement began under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. In 1929, the movement became violent when after matriculation, he joined Patna College. In 1928, a nationwide demonstration started against the Simon Commission. The demonstration also reached Patna. Dinkarji also signed the oath paper with other youth. Thousands came to the rally at Gandhi Maidan, which Dinkarji also joined. During this protest, the police of the British Government cruelly charged Lathi, and Lala Lajpat Rai faced tremendous injury. The whole country was in disorder. These incidents affected a lot on Dinkarji. His poetic mind was charged up. He started writing. During this turmoil time, a paper called ‘Chhatra Sahodar’ came out under the editorship of Narshingh Das. In this paper, Dinkar’s first poem was published in 1924 or 1925. He also wrote ten poems based on the Satyagraha movement of Sardar Ballav Bhai Patel. These poems were published in a book named ‘Vijay- Sandesh’. This composition is now available in the Indian market. These days, Dinkarji started writing in his penname “Amitabh” to escape the anger of the police of the British Government. On 14 September 1928, he published his poem on the death of Jatin Das. Around this time, he wrote two small works of poetry. One is called Birbala, and another one is named Meghnad-Vadh. These two are unavailable in the Indian market. In 1930, he composed ‘Pran Bhang’. Dinkar’s journey of writing started with ‘Vijay- Sandesh’. Before that, his poems were regularly featured in the magazine ‘Desh’, published in Patna and ‘Pratibha’, published in Kannauj. In 1935, his first collection of poems was published under the name ‘Renuka’. The editor of ‘Vishal Bharat’ Banarsi Das Chaturvedi wrote that Hindi speakers should celebrate the publication of ‘Renuka’. Chaturvediji shared a copy of ‘Renuka’ with Mahatma Gandhi. Then he started writing in a magazine called ‘Kalpna’.
His writings are mostly based on bravery. However, there is an exception like ‘Urvashi’. Some of his fabulous works are ‘Rashmirathi’ and ‘Parashuram Ki Prateeksha’. He also wrote some social-political satires based on socio-economic differences and deprivation. He chose history as well as reality directly. He wrote ‘Kurukshetra’ based on the Mahabharata. He wrote this with the impression of the Second World War. He also wrote ‘Krishna ki Chaetavni’, based on Mahabharata.
In his ‘Sanskriti ke Chaar Adhyaya’, he said that India is united despite various cultures, languages and topography. Dinkar wrote this in the context of values that evolved from the freedom movement. This is divided into four vast chapters. In the first chapter, there is a vast discussion enclosed about the culture of the pre-Vedic to the middle of the 20th century. In the second chapter, the discussion is on the influence of Islam on Hindu culture after its arrival with the influence of Islam on Hindu- Muslim relations. In this chapter, there is a presentation of the investigation into the mutual relationship between the Bhakti Movement and Islam. In the fourth chapter, the colonialization of education and the differences between Christianity with Hinduism are included. He receivedSahitya Academi Purashkar for his book ‘Sanskriti ke Chaar Adhyaya’.
Dinkarji was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Indian Government. He also got the Gyanpith Purashkar for his book ‘Urvashi’. To show his gratitude, his portrait was uncovered in the Central Hall of Parliament of India by the former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in his centenary year 2008. Present President of India, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, gave Rashtrakavi Ramdhari Singh ‘Dinkar’ Sahitya Ratna Samman to 21 noticeable writers and social workers at RastrapatiBhavan. On that occasion, the president remembered the contribution of ‘Dinkar’ in Hindi literature.
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