Mahadevi Varma death anniversary: Everything you need to know about the 'Modern Meera'

Varma is regarded as one of the founding poets of the Chhayavad, a romantic literary style in contemporary Hindi poetry that spanned the years 1914–1938.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Saturday, September 10, 2022, 03:46 PM IST
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Mahadevi Varma | File

Mahadevi Varma, popularly referred to as "modern Meera," was born into an orthodox household on March 26, 1907, in Farukhabad.

Varma remained at her parent's house and finished her education at Crossthwaite Girls' School in Allahabad even though she was married at the age of nine in 1916.

Varma is regarded as one of the founding poets of the Chhayavad, a romantic literary style in contemporary Hindi poetry that spanned the years 1914–1938.

She wrote about specific political, social reform, and women's issues even though she was religious and a follower of Buddhism.

While both of Varma's parents supported her in her academic endeavours, it was Varma's mother who gave her daughter the motivation to write in Sanskrit and Hindi. She wrote her first verses in secret while obtaining a master's degree in Sanskrit, and her roommate and companion, Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, was the one who made the discovery (herself a well-known poet).

The first works of "feminist" literature in Hind date back to Varma's writings and essays. One of her best collections, "Srinkhalaa kee kadiyaan," is regarded as illuminating the appalling state of Indian women and suggesting answers.

Varma is now regarded as one of the key poets of the Hindi literary Chhayavad movement. She was also honoured with Padma Bhushan in 1956, Sahitya Akademi Fellowship in 1979, and Padma Vibhushan in 1988.

Her moving poetry and later writings frequently dealt with what it was like to be a woman. Her feminist writing has been published in books and periodicals, and her collection of short tales "Sketches from My Past" depicts the women she met while serving as the principal of an all-girls school. While she firmly advocated for women's rights, Varma also spoke passionately about tradition and the past.

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