Prasad ji, an affectionate name given to late Jai Shankar Prasad, was not merely a litterateur, but a phenomenon with no parallel in the history of Indian literature. He is both extraordinary and par excellence. His unique sense of history and remarkable insight into the spiritual malady that plagues modern civilization, set Jai Shankar Prasad apart from his poetic peers. The depth of his work, examine the realm of philosophy most artfully with wonderful dynamism. He says that men’s salvation lies in the unification of desire, knowledge and action.
No discussion on the whole Hindi literature can ever be completed without a special reference to his incomparable work – “Kamayani”, this work is, most certainly, one of the most prominent creation of this century in India and the best Mahakavya (Epic) that Hindi literature has ever witnessed. Hindi language gained strength by his work, more ever, as days passed by, it laid deep impact on the generations of writers that followed !
Family and Life :
The eminent Hindi Writer-poet Shri Jai Shankar Prasad was born on 30th January, 1890, in an aristocratic family of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. Prasad ji was youngest son of his father Babu Devi Prasad who was a tobacco manufacturer. His family was an elite unites in Varanasi, popular as “Sunghani Sahu”. People of Banaras held Sahu’s family in high esteem and gave them the honour given to the Raja of Banaras by announcing ‘Har Har Mahadev’ as they passed away. After, he lost his father at an early age, he had to encounter some family problems at a relatively young age. Later on Prasad ji had to face tremendous financial crises, during that he had lost his elder brother and two wives. When Prasad ji’s literary glory was at its apex, he was caught in deadly disease of tuberculosis which had no remedy then. The athletic body of Prasad started withering and 15th November at 04:00am 1937, repeating the name of Lord Shiva, he breathed his last at 04:00am, in Brahama Mahurta and entered into ‘Samadhi’ of Infinite Transcendental Bliss. The luminous sun of Hindi literature set on its zenith leaving for posterity a rich cultural values.
“The indelible foot-prints on the ageless rocks of time”
CHILDHOOD AND INFLUENCES :
From the early days of his Childhood hi was interested in languages, literature, history, music and had a special bent towards the Vedas and ancient relics, which is reflected in his works that were penned later. At the age of 5, he was initiated for learning and sent to pathashala run by ‘master Mohinilal Rasmaysidh’ for teaching him Braj Dialect poetry and Sanskrit. Later on, he was admitted in Queens College for formal education in school. At home, eminent teachers were engaged in teaching him Hindi, English, Sanskrit and Persian. He studied these languages with great zeal and diligence.
Prasad ji started writing poetry with the pen name of ‘Kaladhar’ at the famous shop of Sunghani Sahu. The first collection of poem that Jai Shankar Prasad penned, named, Chitradhar, was written in Braj dialect of Hindi but his later works are in Khadi dialect or Sanskritized Hindi. Later on Prasad ji prolugated ‘Chhayavad’ a literary trend in Hindi literature. It is romanticism with a spiritual base and universalism which touches every core of humanism.
Jai Shankar Prasad was a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva and had no trace of bigotry of fanaticism. Shaiva philosophy of prativijana darshan was deeply imbedded in the religious consciousness in him.
MAJOR WORKS :
Jai Shankar Prasad’s vast creative vision, profound reflection and erudite writing have enriched Hindi literature immensely, his literary contribution was immense, include epic Kamayani, moving elegy Ansu, several poetry collection, dramas, stories, short stories, champu (a blend of prose and poetry), novels, literary essays and lyrical songs.
Idealism and beauty have been evenly matched in his literary works with great dexterity and foresight. Prasad ji was universal poet of humanity who signs melodiously the song of “human oneness”, his sublime writings testify universality in his poetry, dramas, stories, novels and essays. His personal ‘I’ is transmuted into universal ‘I’.
He penned 29 books of remarkable literature in short span of life which drew to close when he was 47 year old. He wrote Epic Kamayani, 6 poetry books, 14 dramas, 5 story collection, 3 novel and 1 book of literary essays, one of drama and novel remained incomplete.
His writing in novels, drama, poetry, short stories, essays are following in respective genres:-
Urvashi ‘champu’ (1909) , Premrajya (1909), kanan kusum (1913),
Prem-pathik (1917), Karunalaya (1913), Maharana ka mahatva (1914),
Jharana (1918), Ansu (1925), Lahar (1933), Kamayani (1937).
Sajjan (1910), Kalyani-parinay (1912), Prayschit (1913),
Rajyashri (1914), Vishakh(1921), Ajatshatru(1922), kamana (1927),
Janmejay-ka-nagyagya (1927), Skandgupta (1928),
Ek ghunt ( 1929), Chandragupt (1931), Dhruvaswamini (1933)
Kankal (1929), Titali ( 1933-34), Irawati (1938)
Short stories collection :
Chhaya (1913) , Pratidhwani (1926), Akashdeep (1929),
Aandhi (1929), Indrajaal (1936)
Kavya aur kala thatha annya nibandh (1938)