Makhanlal Chaturvedi, or 'Panditji', was the first recipient of the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award. Read the following biography of this eminent literary figure which chronicles his profile, childhood, life and timeline in detail.

Makhanlal Chaturvedi

Born On: April 4, 1889
Born In: Bavai Village, Hoshangabad District, Madhya Pradesh
Died On: January 30th, 1968
Career: Hindi Poet
Nationality: Indian

Pandit Makhanlal Chaturvedi was a prominent freedom fighter, an acclaimed poet and such a meticulous journalist that Asia's first University of its kind dedicated to journalism and communication is named after him. It is called the Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication and is situated in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He is particularly remembered for his contribution to the freedom movements like Non-Cooperation Movement and Quit India Movement during the British Raj. He was the first person to receive the Sahitya Akademi Award in the year 1955 for his exceptional contribution to the Neo Romanticism Movement in Hindi literature. His work 'Him Taringini' remains popular among the literary circles even today. He was also honoured by the Sagar University with a 'D.Lit.' (Doctorate of Literature) honorary in the year 1959. Makhanlal was the editor of nationalistic journals, "Prabha" and later "Karmaveer". He was also repeatedly imprisoned during the British raj and was one of those few freedom fighters who refrained from seeking a position in the government after the Indian independence. He continued to speak and write against social evils and supported an exploitation-free, equitable society as dreamt by Mahatma Gandhi. Even in his poems this unconditional love and respect towards his country can be clearly seen and that is why he was also referred to as "a true indian spirit".

Early Life
Panditji was born on 4th April, 1889 in a village located in Madhya Pradesh called Bavai. This was a time when the British reigned over India and the freedom struggle was gaining impetus. He pursued a career of a school teacher during the period 1906-1910 but soon found his real calling in the freedom fight for his motherland. He participated in the Non-Cooperation Movement and the Quit India Movement among the many others during that time. He was even imprisoned countless number of times during the British rule but that did not bend his daunting spirits.

After 1910, he became the editor of various nationalistic journals such as 'Prabha' and later, 'Karmaveer'. Possessing a great patriotic fervour, he had the spark to instigate the masses with his dynamic speeches and writings. He presided over the All India Hindi Sahitya Sammelan held at Hardar in 1943. Makhanlal Chaturvedi was a son of India whose 'true Indian spirit' infused hope and anticipation in the masses. His sensitive portrayal of the common man's plight in works such as 'Him Kirtini', 'Him Tarangini', 'Kaisa Chhand Banaa Deti hei', 'Amar Rashtra' and 'Pushp ki Abhilaasa' find an audience even till date. With notable contribution to the Hindi literature, he earned an honorary 'D.Lit.' from Sagar University and was the first individual to win the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award in the year 1955.

Contribution To Literature
The collection of his poems include, 'Him Tarangini', 'Samarpan', 'Him Kirtini', 'Yug Charan', 'Sahitya Devta', 'Dip Se Dip Jale', 'Kaisa Chhand Banaa Deti hei' and 'Pushp ki Abhilaasa'.

Other noteworthy poems written by Pandit Makhanlal Chaturvedi are:
The literary society of India lost one of its key visionary and crown jewels on 30th January, 1968 when Panditji passed away at the age of 79 years.

Many universities have been built and awards created to commemorate this maestro's excellence and to honour his countless contributions. The Madhya Pradesh Sahitya Akademi, which is the Madhya Pradesh Cultural Council, organises the annual 'Makhanlal Chaturvedi Samaroh' that bestows the 'Makhanlal Chaturvedi Puraskar' to deserving Indians for excellence in poetry in any Indian language. This prestigious honour was created in 1987, nineteen years after Panditji's death.

The Makhanlal Chaturvedi Rashtriya Patrakarita University, situated in Bhopal, Madhya Pradeh, was the first of its kind in the whole of Asia. This university was established in the year 1991 and was named after Panditji to honour his exceptional involvement in the freedom struggle through his journalism and writings.

The Posts and the Telegraphs Department of India has also brought out a commemorative postage stamp of Pandit Makhanlal Chaturvedi to honour this brave son of India. This stamp was issued way back on the 4th of April, 1977 to mark Panditji's 88th birth anniversary.

Awards & Accolades
In 1954, Makhanlal Chaturvedi won the Sahitya Akademy Award for his work 'Him Tarangini', becoming the first recipient of this Award in Hindi literature.

He was also conferred the honorary degree of D.Litt. by Sagar University in 1959.

1889: Born on April 4th in Bavai village, Madhya Pradesh
1906-1910: Pursued a career as a school teacher
1935: Inaugurated the Conference for the Raipur District Council in December of this year.
1943: President of All India Hindi Sahitya Sammelan held at Hardar
1955: Won the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award for his work 'Him Tarangini'
1959: Conferred the 'D.Lit.' honorary by Sagar University
1968: Passed away on 30th January at the age of 79 years.