SOAS University of London

SOAS South Asia Institute

Banned Hindi Poetry and Folklore

'Banned Hindi Poetry and Folklore'
Ashutosh Kumar Pandey (University of Hyderabad)

Date: 24 April 2019Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 24 April 2019Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Paul Webley Wing (Senate House) Room: Wolfson Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Seminar


1857 is just not a mere number in Indian history. This was a turning point of Indian society and literary culture particularly of Hindi literature. The Hindi poetry writings of the period threw a light upon the untold stories of struggles of those sons and daughters who participated in the revolt of 1857 in the country. The brutal suppression of revolt and merciless killing of one lakh people in India leads to the end of the company raj and transfer of power to the queen. Subsequent implementation of press act by British Raj played a notorious role in banning many of the Hindi contemporary poetry which had strong sense of anti-colonialism. Bhartendu Harishchandra, was a leading figure in this milieu. His writings called as ‘Bharat Durdasha’ was not been banned by Raj. In fact his massages had a catastrophic impact on 1857. The metaphors of his poetry can be summed as ‘The whole country was reeling under the mindless acts of British empire’. In his writing he made an important comments on British Government, “Angreh raj sukh Saj saje sab bhari/ pay dhan vedesh chali jat ihaii ati khwzari” (There is no use of luxury and happiness if our wealth is draining to the foreign country). The braveries and mourns of the 1857 was very visible in the Hindi folklore as well. In Bhojpuri, the Holi song sung during the festival of Holi used to praise the great warrior of Veer Kunwar Singh and his brave participation in the revolt of 1857. Similarly, queen of Jhansi was another legend of 1857 who fought against the British raj. In her poem Subhadra kumara Chauhan stated that the “khoob ladi mardani wah to Jhansi wali rani thi”. There for it was not only the heroes and heroines of modern India were suppressed and jailed by company Raj but also the poems, literature and folk songs which was dedicated to the warriors of 1857were also banned.    

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Organiser: SOAS South Asia Institute

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