Born On: April 3, 1929
Born In: Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
Died On: October 25, 2005
Career: Novelist, Writer, Activist, Translator
Nirmal Verma, a famous name in Indian Literature, is popularly known for his famous fictional works that reflected both the sharpness of his thoughts and his expertise as a world renowned writer. He was a famous Hindi writer, novelist, activist and translator born in Shimla on the 3rd of April 1929. Call him a revolutionary writer, a guiding light of the Hindi prose, or a visionary, Nirmal Verma brought about a revolution with his contributions to 'Nayi Kahani' - the literary movement of Hindi literature, along with the likes of Mohan Rakesh, Bhisma Sahini, Kamleshwar and Amarkant. In his career of five decades, Verma set examples of the modern Indian tradition and thinking through his five novels, eight short story collections and nine non-fictionals and travelogues. Verma used to set his plot in cities, hill stations or even foreign lands in order to teach people the meaning and way of life through his themes of love, separation, alienation and nostalgia. In order to learn more about the profile, childhood, life and timeline of Nirmal Verma, scroll down.
Nirmal Verma was born on the 3rd of April, 1929 in Shimla into an educated family. His father used to work in the defence department of the British Indian Government. He was the fifth child among the eight siblings and went to a prestigious school in Shimla followed by Master's in History from St. Stephen's College, Delhi. Nirmal Verma was introduced to the field of literature by his mother and sister who helped make him a voracious reader. Back then he was most interested in European literature.
Nirmal took up teaching after completing his Master's in Delhi, but his love for literature kept him writing for various literary magazines. His first short story got published in a student's magazine in the early 1950's, bringing along some recognition. He then published his first book of stories called 'Parinde' in 1959 which was considered the first signature of the 'New Story' (or "Nayi Kahani")movement of Hindi Literature. This was the first step Nirmal Verma took towards the unmatched and glorious path he travelled. He was an activist from a very young age and a card holder in the Communist Party of India. He, however, resigned in 1956 after the Soviet invasion of Hungary. Nirmal was invited by the Oriental Institute in Prague to initiate a program of translation. There, he studied Czech which helped him translate nine of the world classics to Hindi. He returned to India in 1968 after staying in Prague for around ten years.
Career And Work
During the ten year stay at Prague, Nirmal Verma travelled extensively across Europe. It was an interest in learning about and penning down socio-cultural situations in European nations that initiated his need to travel. The outcome of this travel came in the form of seven travelogues which also included 'Cheeron Par Chandni' in 1962, 'Har Barish Mein' in 1970, 'Dhund Se Uthi Dhun' and also his first novel which was based on his days in Prague as a student, named 'Ve Din' in 1964. On his return from Prague Nirmal Verma's writings reflected his view on Indian traditions, which were modern. His activist nature made him stand strong against the emergency called by Indira Gandhi in 1975-1977 and also made him an advocate of the Tibetan independence movement. Verma also served as the chairperson of the "Nirala" creative writing chair in Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal from 1980-83. He was also the director of the Yashpal creative writing chair located in Shimla from 1988-90.
Nirmal Verma has to his name, five novels, eight short story collections and nine essays and travelogue books that were translated to several European languages like English, Russian, German, Italian and French. Some of his renowned pieces include Parinde (1959), Jalti Jhari (1965), Pichli Garmiyon Mein (1968), Beech Bahas Mein (1973), Meri Priya Kahanian (1973), Pratinidhi Kahaniyan (1988), Kavve aur Kala Pani (1983) and Sookha aur Anya Kahaniyan (1995).
Awards And Milestones
Kavve Aur Kala Pani, Nirmal Verma's short story, won him the Sahitya Academy award in 1985. He was also nominated for the Neustadt Award of the University of Oklahoma in the year 1996. 'Maya Darpan', a film based on the life of Nirmal Verma, directed by Kumar Shahani in 1972 won the Filmfare Critics Award for the Best Film. His book 'The World's Elsewhere' was published by the Readers International in London in 1988, also where BBC's Channel Four telecasted a film on his life. Due to the contributions of Verma to Indian Literature, he was awarded with the highest literary award of India, the 'Bharatiya Jnanpith Award' in 1999. He was also awarded the Padma Bhushan in the year 2002 and the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship in 2005 which is a lifetime achievement award.
The world of Indian literature lost one of its most celebrated and renowned fiction writers, Nirmal Verma, at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi on 25th October, 2005 to natural causes.
1929 - Nirmal Verma was born.
1950's - His first short story was published.
1956 - He resigned from the Communist Party of India as a protest against Hungary's invasion by Russia.
1959 - Parinde, his first book of stories was published.
1959 - He was invited by the Oriental Institute, Prague.
1959-1970 - Verma travelled extensively throughout Europe to study the continent's socio-cultural setup.
1962 - He wrote Cheeron Par Chandni.
1964 - Ve Din was written by Verma.
1970 - He wrote Har Barish Mein.
1968 - He returned to India from Prague.
1980-83 - Verma served as the Chairperson of the Nirala creative writing chair in Bhopal.
1988-90 - He was made the Director of the Yashpal creative writing chair located in Shimla.
1985 - He won the Sahitya Academy Award.
1996 - He was nominated for the Neustadt Award.
1999 - He was awarded the 'Bharatiya Jnanpith Award'.
2002 - He was awarded the Padma Bhushan.
2005 - He was given the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship.
2005 - Breathed his last in October at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences