Born On: August 3, 1886
Born In: Chirgaon, Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, India
Died On: December 12, 1964
Career: Poet, Dramatist, Translator
Maithili Sharan Gupt is one of the most recognizable names in the world of modern Hindi poetry. Maithili Sharan Gupt not only enriched Hindi literature through his writings which consisted of poems, dramas and translations from other languages, but he was also the first person to use the Khari Boli script as against Brajbhasha that was rampantly used in Hindi writing during his times. Before Maithili Sharan Gupt, every writer in Hindi preferred the Brajbhasha or the Hindi dialect heard in Central and North India. Maithili Sharan Gupt was the first person to use the Khari Boli or the Hindi dialect of the rurals living in Western India, a style which is popular in Hindi writing till today.
Maithili Sharan Gupt was born on August 3, 1886 in a Gahoi family in the small city of Chirgaon in the Jhansi district of Uttar Pradesh. 'Gahoi' is the term that was used to describe a merchant family residing in various cities across Central India in British-ruled India. Hence, Maithili Sharan Gupt's father Seth Ramcharan Gupta was a merchant or a trader by profession. It is said that Maithili Sharan Gupt hated school and studies so much as a child that his father had no other option left in front of him other than to tutor his son at home. Seth Ramcharan Gupta invited teachers at his home in Chirgaon to teach Maithili Sharan Gupt languages such as Hindi, Sanskrit and Bengali. Maithili Sharan Gupt's deep knowledge of the Hindi language may be credited to Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi, his home Hindi tutor. Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi was also one of the most important writers that modern Hindi literature has ever seen. Maithili Sharan Gupt got married very early in life, when he was a small child of nine years. The wedding took place in the year 1895.
Though Maithili Sharan Gupt did not have a formal schooling, he did enjoy a flourishing career in Hindi literature, largely because of his profound knowledge of the Hindi language. Maithili Sharan Gupt's literary career started with writing poems for popular Hindi magazines like Saraswati. In the year 1910, Maithili Sharan Gupt experienced the first taste of success among masses after 'Rang Mein Bhang' was published by the Indian Press. The chief subject of his poems and the plots for most of his plays were inspired from mythological plots from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. He also liked dealing with the lives of religious leaders from across the world and stories revolving around Lord Buddha. While 'Saket' deals with the story of Urmila, Lakshmana's wife from Ramayana, his other famous work 'Yashodhara' has Yashodhara, the wife of Gautama Buddha as its central plot. 'Bharat Bharati' was one of the most popular collection of poems written by Maithili Sharan Gupt. The nationalistic spirit portrayed through 'Bharat Bharati' was widely circulated in British dominated India serving as an inspiration for freedom fighters. Apart from drama and poetry, Maithili Sharan Gupt also translated a couple of popular Sanskrit works to the Hindi language, Hindi translations of 'Rubaiyat' and 'Swapnavaasavdatta' being the most popular among them.
Career in Politics
Maithili Sharan Gupt also had a brief career in the politics of India after independence. Shortly after India acquired independence in August 1947, Maithili Sharan Gupt was appointed an honorary member of the Rajya Sabha in the Indian Parliament. Even during his stint at the Rajya Sabha, Maithili Sharan Gupt did not stop writing. In fact he was known to use lines from his poetry while putting forward his opinions in the upper house of the parliament. He remained a Rajya Sabha member till his death in the year 1965.
Maithili Sharan Gupt breathed his last on December 12, 1964. He was 78 years of age at the time of death.