Suryakant Tripathi “Nirala” is considered to be the modern face of Hindi Literature. He wrote poetry, novels, essays and short stories too. Born into a Brahmin family in Bengal, from the beginning he was naturally inclined towards Sanskrit. Later in life he gained authority over several languages including Hindi, Bengali, English and Sanskrit. As for his personal life, Suryakant had very short periods of happiness for tragedy struck him in succession. He first lost his mother at an early age, his wife died when he was only 20, his daughter, a widow also died during her prime, and all through his life he remained a victim of financial crunch. A rebellion by nature, Nirala got plenty of derision and ridicule throughout his life. He strongly opposed the concepts of social injustice and exploitation in the society. If you’d like to know more about his works, here’s mentioning 7 of his most influential books, a must read.
7. Maharana Pratap:
Maharana Pratap narrates the story of one of the bravest and most patriotic rulers of India during the medieval times. Born in a Hindu Rajput family during the reign of Mughals ruler Akbar, Maharana Pratap was never convinced about the greatness of King and never acknowledged his supremacy over the country. Influenced by the honorable life of Maharana Pratap, Suryakant decided to pen down the story of a great ruler to inspire readers of all times to come – and he did it successfully.
The rebellion nature of Nirala surfaces through his story, Nirupama. The central character, Nirumapa, is born into a traditional family and falls in love with Krishankumar, a foreign educated man, who inspite of his degree is forced to become a boot polisher. Written in 1995, the novel is beautifully captures the Indian culture and a man’s quest for freedom in the midst of orthodoxy and caste discrimination.
The indelible story of a beautiful and determined young Indian girl, Apsara leaves behind a permanent imprint on the reader’s conscious. Apsara, which can be literally translated as a “nymph” in English exposes the two most extreme sides of feminism – determination and tenderness. The story also brings to light the determined mind set of the youth, their ambitions and struggle in making the society just and freedom loving.
Prabhatvati is an outstanding novel from the pen of Suriyakant Nirala. The novel focuses on emerging women power in India. Prabhatvati and Yamuna, the two main women around whom the story revolves are struggling between tradition and righteousness. Blending history with fiction, the novel is a master piece and must read for it beautifully captures the essence of women hood and its trapped strength.
3. Saroj Smriti:
Amongst the longest of Nirala’s poems such as Tulsidaas, Ram Ki Shakti Ki Pooja, and Sajor Smriti, it was the last one that remains the most important of his texts. A Touching poem, it describes the beautiful relation between a father and a daughter, and this time it happens to be one of his personal experiences with his daughter. Nirala had first lost his mother at a young age, his wife had died when he was 20, and the death of his daughter in her prime years brought him more sadness and remorse, which he expresses through the verses of this poem.
Alka is novel based on the Awadh region, where Nirala describes the general apathy of rural farmers during the independence movement post World War II. During these times, most of the educated and learned people including lawyers, barristers, and others were actively participating in the movement organized under the leadership of Ghandi, but nothing was being done about the uprising of farmers and lower classes. The novel clearly depicts the vested interests of the upper class and the rich.
Tulsidaas is one of Nirala’s master pieces where he gets inside the shoes of a poet, and examines his romanticism with learning, nature and freedom during the cultural sunset in the country. Here the setting of the sun is indicated by the invasions of the Mughals into the Indian mainland, and Tulsidaas is the soft light of this new culture born. The book in its text also appraises concepts of philosophy and curiosity, fascination with women, mental conflicts, and physiological problems too.