Dr Harivanshrai Bachchan

Two of the contemporary poets in Hindi have shaped the thought process and my attitude towards the problem; One is Ramdhari Singh Dinkar and other is Dr Harivansh Rai Bachchan. Dinkar’s poems are like steroids which would give one instant motivation and zeal to surpass any obstacles in life whereas the poems of Bachchan are like supplements which toughen us to bear much more damage.

Last, I wrote at length on Dinkar. Today being the birthday of Bachchan I would like to give my tribute to my favourite Kavi by writing a short article.

Born in 1907 in Present day UP, Bachchan was the pet name of Dr Harivansh Rai shrivastava. He was a professor of English in Allahabad university, being the second Indian to do his doctorate from Cambridge in English, his foray in hindi poems was unexpected. He married young at he age of 19 but within a period of 10 years he lost his wife to TB. He wrote extensively at that time about dealing with jlosses o companions and his manuscript was found by his friend got it printed keeping Bachchan out of he loop. He was a poet who wrote in rhymes, quite in opposition to other of his period

A teetotaller to the hilt he has written one of most wonderful tribute to alcohol in his poem Madhushala.

Madhushala being his most famous and most quoted poem, is interpreted in various forms. For me, though, it is a poem which shows life from birth to death.

The allegorical poem links every desire in the world with the alcohol, whether it is the milk of a mother being fed to a baby or the nectar of flowers being suck by bees. H finds addiction in love for Saki.

He deals in this with love aspiration, separation, desperation , reconcillation, infatuation, lust, and a sense of detachment after getting all the pleasures.

It is not only a poem but a treatise in life which everyone has something for them.

His other poems which are my favourite includes path ki pehchan where he speaks of gauging our own ability before embarking on any path. A line in this has been my guiding one ancestor I have read the poem:

कौन कहता है कि स्वप्नों को न आने दे हृदय में,

देखते सब हैं इन्हें अपनी उमर, अपने समय में,

और तू कर यत्न भी तो, मिल नहीं सकती सफलता,

ये उदय होते लिए कुछ ध्येय नयनों के निलय में,

किन्तु जग के पंथ पर यदि, स्वप्न दो तो सत्य दो सौ,

स्वप्न पर ही मुग्ध मत हो, सत्य का भी ज्ञान कर ले।

पूर्व चलने के बटोही, बाट की पहचान कर ले।

There are so many couplets which are so dear to me but writing and explaining all of them will certainly become long and distasteful, so ending this article with another line of bachchan

मैं रोया, इसको तुम कहते हो गाना,

मैं फूट पड़ा, तुम कहते, छंद बनाना;

क्‍यों कवि कहकर संसार मुझे अपनाए,

मैं दुनिया का हूँ एक नया दीवाना!

मैं दीवानोंका एक वेश लिए फिरता हूँ,

मैं मादकता नि:शेष लिए फिरता हूँ;

जिसको सुनकर जग झूम, झुके, लहराए,

मैं मस्‍ती का संदेश लिए फिरता हूँ!

6 thoughts on “Dr Harivanshrai Bachchan

  1. बच्चन जी का गद्य भी उतना ही उतना ही श्रेष्ठ था जितना उनका पद्य. ‘क्या भूलूँ क्या याद करूँ’, ‘नीड का निर्माण फिर’, ‘बसेरे से दूर’ और ‘दशद्वार से सोपान तक’ गवाह हैं. कविता में मेरा दखल नहीं है लेकिन ‘मधुशाला’ को कौन नहीं जानता? निम्न हल्की -फुलकी पंक्तियाँ ‘मधुशाला’ का भाग नहीं हैं लेकिन मुझे प्रिय हैं.

    ‘मैं कायस्थ कुलोदभव
    है मेरे पुरखों ने इतना ढाला
    पचहत्तर प्रतिशत बहती है मेरे लोहू में हाला
    पुश्तैनी अधिकार मुझे है मदिरालय के आँगन में
    मेरे दादे परदादे के हाथ बिकी थी मधुशाला’

    शायद कम ही लोग जानते हैं इन पंक्तियों को.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 👍🙏 thanks a lot sir for your fruitful addition. The lines you mentioned were added in the appendix as he was always questioned how can he write about Madhushala when he never drinks


      1. Really! I did not know. I have not bought a new copy for decades. I read these lines in ‘Darmyug’. And yes, it was in reply to a question when he was being interviewed.

        Liked by 1 person

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