Biography of Agyeya
Sacchidananda Hirananda Vatsyayan Agyeya is a leading Indian poet novelist and journalist of Hindi literature. Like T. S. Eliot of English Literature, he was himself a great institution giving birth to a number of new thoughts and visions in both criticism and creation. He has got many literary laurels and accolades including ‘Sahitya Academy’, “Jnanapith’, ‘Bharat-Bharti’, ‘Golden Wreath’ award etc. In his poems and novels, he has expressed his nationalistic and patriotic visions of India that was under the British rule. He was himself a great freedom fighter and for this he has also been sentenced to prison for some time.
Agyeya’s Personal Life
Agyeya was born on 7th March 1911 at Kushi Nagar village in the Devariya Distt. of Uttar Pradesh. He died on 4th April 1987 at the age of 76 in New Delhi. His father Hirananda was a noted archeologist and a great scholar of Sanskrit. So the knowledge of Sanskrit and History exercised a great influence on the personality of Agyeya. As the job of his father was transferable so the childhood of the poet was spent at many places e.g. Gorakhpur, Lucknow, Nalanda, Jammu, Madras and Udupi. In 1927 he did his intermediate from Madras Christian College. He also joined M. A. in English but couldn’t complete. This knowledge of English played a very vital part in his career of translator. As he has translated various well known books into English like Tagores Gor and Raja, Saratchandra’s Srikant, Jainendra’s The Resignation Dharamveer Bharati’s The Seventh Horse of the Sun as well as some of his own Hindi poems into English.
Agyeya: a Patriot
Agyeya also joined the Indian Independence Movement with Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad and Yasphal. In the Delhi Conspiracy Case he was arrested and sent to jail. His great classic novel Shekhar: Ek Jeevani (Trilogy) is very much concerned with the experiences of prison life. The third part of this novel has not been published.
During the Second World War he joined Indian Allied Force as a captain but he left Army after the end of the war. Like Earnest Hemingway he has a firsthand experience about the sham and hypocrisy of war which he has depicted in some of his poems, novels and journals.
Agyeya: An Editor
Agyeya was an editor, par excellence throughout his life, he went on burning his midnight lamp for contributing papers, articles and editorials for a number of magazines and journals of great national and international repute. When he was in Agra he edited Sainik, in 1936. He also edited Vishal-Bharat from Kolkata, Pratik from Allahabad and Naya-Pratik from New Delhi. He also edited the English journal Vak in 1951. In 1965, he established the magazine Dinman. When the members of Bhukhi Peerhi (Hungry generation movement) of Bengal were arrested and persecuted. Agyeya tried his best to fight for their causes through various articles and columns of Dinman.
Agyeya: A Professor
Agyeya has also served as professor in the foreign universities. In 1969 be went to Berkelay as a Regents professor. He also served as a visiting professor for 8 months at Heidelberg University. Later he served as a professor and Head of the Deptt. of Comparative Literature at University of Jodhpur at Rajasthan.
The Navbharat Times, The Member of Times of India group also made him editor in chief during the period of 1977-1980. He was also the editor of Jaiprakash Narayan’s Every man’s Weekly.
Agyeya: A Poet
The main poetic anthologies which matters to us are: (i) Bhagndoot, 1933, (ii) Chinta, 1942, (iii) Hari Ghosh par Kashan Bhar, 1949, (iv) Ashodhya Veena, (v) Baawara Aheri, 1954, (vi) Poorva, 1965, (vii)Sunhale Shaival, 1965 (viii) Kitni : Novo Mein Kitni Bar 1967, (ix)Sagar Mudra, 1970, (x) Sadanira, 1986, (xi) Sarjona Ke Kshan.
Agyeya: A Novelist
Agyeya was a novelist of not only of national but also of an international fame. In his novel writing he was very much influenced the modern technique of ‘Stream of Consciousness’. He is also very much influenced by the psychological discoveries of Sigmund Freud, His chief novels are ‘Shekhar: Ek Jeevani’ Vol. I, 1941; Shekhar: Ek Trevani, Vol. II, 1944, Skekhar: Ek Jeevani, Vol. III, unpublished ; Nadi ke Dweep. 1952, Apne Apne Ajnabi, 1961; Beenu Bhagat (incomplete).
Agyeya: A Short Story Writer
Agyeya is also a noted writer of modern short story. In his short stories we find a very realistic portrayal of man, manner and society. His well known story collections are as follows: (i) Vipathiya, 1937, (ii) Parampara, 1944, (iii) Kothri Ki Bar, 1945, (iv) Sharnarthi, 1948, (v) Chhora Hua Rasta (Sampurna Kahanitan vol. 1), 1975, (vi) Lanti Pagdandiya (Sampurna Kahanitan, vol. II), 1975.
Agyeya: A playwright
His drama Uttar Priyadarshi and his travelogue Krirnon Ki khoj mei are also very important work of Hindi literature. Like the works of V. S. Naipaul, his travelogues is very realistic and satirical. His critical books Trishanku, Hindi Sahitya Ek Aadhunik Paridrishya, Kendra Aur Pasidhi have got worldwide reputation.
Agyeya: A Bilingual Poet
Agyeya was a bilingual poet and writer, of English and Hindi language. In English language he has composed some poems entitled Prison Days and other poems. He has also written some essays in English under the title A Sense of Time.
Thus this brief introduction of the poet shows that Agyeya was not only a great poet but also a great prose writer, thinker, stylish, freedom fighter and above all a journalist. He is supposed to be a great milestone in modern Hindi writing. His thoughts and visions are similar to those of the great exponents of modern Western literature including T. S. Eliot and W. B. Yeats.