Born On: February 21, 1896
Born In: Midnapore, Bengal
Died On: October 15, 1961
Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala' is one of the key figures in the history of Hindi literature. Though he hailed from Bengal and acquired his basic education in the Bengali medium, Suryakant Tripathi chose Hindi language when it came to writing down his thoughts through essays, novels, poems and stories. Suryakanth Tripathi 'Nirala's life was tragic and lonely and at every stage he had to come across misfortunes in life. However that did not deter Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala' from pursuing his interest in studying various Indian languages. At a very early age, Nirala became an expert in the Hindi, Bengali, Sanskrit and English languages, most of which he had to master sitting at home. Apart from penning down poems, essays and stories in Hindi, he was also known for his skills as a painter.
Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala' was born on February 21, 1896 in an orthodox Brahmin family settled in the Midnapore district of Bengal. Suryakant Tripathi's parents were originally from the Unnao region of Uttar Pradesh but were settled in Bengal for a fairly long time. Suryakant Tripathi's father Pandit Ramasahaya Tripathi was a very strict person by nature and liked to keep his entire family under his own control. He was a government servant by profession and the money he earned would often be less than what was required for the existence of the entire family. Therefore, it will not be unfair to say that Suryakant Tripathi also knew the meaning of poverty during his lifetime. It was on the insistence of Pandit Ramasahaya Tripathi that Tripathi got enrolled in a Bengali medium school. But it was the Sanskrit language which interested him the most and he would often read books in Sanskrit, Hindi and English. Suryakanth Tripathi's mother died when he was still very young, leaving him to tackle his tyrannical father alone.
Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala' passed his matriculation examinations after the death of his mother, after which he had to remain at home and continue further studies as his father would not allow further education. Since he had already mastered the Bengali language at school, he concentrated on Hindi, Sanskrit and English literature after his matriculation. After a few years Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala' shifted from Bengal to his forefathers' native Uttar Pradesh to continue studies and work. Nirala first settled in Lucknow and then in the Gadhakola village of the Unnao district in UP. Reports claim that Suryakanth Tripathi 'Nirala' was rebellious in nature. He did not accept the set pattern of society and always ventured into new spheres of learning and practice. It was for this reason that Suryakant Tripathi had to bear the brunt of criticism from the society that he lived in.
Nirala tied the knot with Anohar Devi during his stay at the Gadhakola village and spent some good and peaceful years of his life with her. Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala' was a mere kid at the time of his marriage and he found the much needed solace in the company of his wife Anohar Devi. He also had a daughter with her. Nirala had already begun writing in Bengali at the time of his marriage, but noticing his love for the Hindi language, his wife insisted him into writing in Hindi and it was after his marriage that Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala' started penning essays, stories and poems in Hindi. However, like most of his life, misfortune seemed to be waiting round the corner, as his wife Anohar Devi died of illness. Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala' was only 20 years of age at the time of her death. His daughter who had also got married and was already a widow by this time also died an unfortunate death, leaving him all alone.
Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala' went through am emotional and financial loss after the death of two of the closest people to his heart. In order to earn money, Nirala found a job with Samanvaya, while also working as an editor and proof-reader for several publishers in and around Uttar Pradesh. The contents of Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala's writings were not mere figments of imagination, but true incidents from the society he lived in. He used his writings to speak out against the injustice that was prevalent in the early twentieth society. However, he was able to bring little change in the society through his penned down thoughts because nobody was prepared to lend support to his rebellious ways in an orthodox society. All he received in return of speaking out against wrong and evil were ridicule and mockery.
Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala' was an important member of the Chhayavaad era of Hindi literature or the Neo-Romantic period of Hindi literature. Most of his writings were unconventional and differed from the styles of his contemporaries. As stated earlier, he liked to voice his ill feelings about the society through his writings and this led to various publishers dismissing his work and not publishing them. Therefore, even though he was a writer of high standards, his talent and depth of knowledge of the Hindi language were recognized only after his death. Though nationalism and revolution were the chief contents of his writing, he also liked to deal with the history of languages, mythology and religion and nature. His writings often reflected his thorough study of the Puranas. In fact, it was because of the fact that his style of writing was totally different from his contemporaries that Suryakant Tripathi received the title of 'Nirala' which means 'unique' in the Hindi tongue.
Apart from writing and contributing to Hindi literature, Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala' was also an occasional painter. He was responsible for introducing the concept of free verse in the world of Hindi poems and prose. He is best remembered for his poem 'Saroj Smriti', which was dedicated to his deceased daughter. Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala' was a firm believer in the life and ideologies of stalwarts like Swami Vivekananda, Sri Ramkrishna Paramahansa and Rabindranath Tagore. It was their writings which helped him to improve his own style and content over the years. Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala' was one of the imminent members of the Hindi Kavi Sammelan, a gathering which encompassed some of the great poets of Hindi literature during the early twentieth century.
All the misfortunes that Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala' had faced during his lifetime certainly bothered him much even after they were past, culminating into a deadly disease which would ultimately lead to his death in the year 1961. Suryakant Tripathi was a victim of schizophrenia during the later stages of his life and died on October 15, 1961. He left behind a collection of work in Hindi literature which are still celebrated and admired by the present generation.