Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Writer Nirmal Verma is no more

Wednesday 26 October 2005, 1130 hours IST, at a cybercafe:

Hindi Writer and novelist Nirmal Verma (born 3 April 1929, Shimla India) is no more. He will be known as one of the founders of the New Story (Nai Kahani) in Hindi Literature. A member of the Communist Party he had resigned his membership when the erstwhile Soviet Union had invaded Hungary. He had also opposed the Emergency declared by Mrs. Indira Gandhi during 1975-77. I am not a very voracious reader of Hindi literature but Nirmal Verma fascinated me. As a schoolboy I had found it a bit strange that somebody who studied English literature at St. Stephen's College Delhi should write in Hindi. (Correction: He was a student of history; thanks to nearly man and alok for correcting me) The time he spent in Czechoslovakia influenced his writings and he was fairly well known in East Europe. He had won every major literary award in India including the Jnanpith award and the Sahitya Akademi Award. I have read some of his work in the original Hindi and I found his prose to be exquisite. A few links to this eminent man of letters:

Newsitem in Rajasthan Patrika announcing Verma's demise
Brief biographical note from The Library of Congress, New Delhi Office
Biographical Note from the Lettre Ulysses Award site
Article from The Hindu on his Sahitya Akademi fellowship
Review from The Hindu of his works Indian Errant and The Last Wilderness
Short Story from Antara Dev Sen's The Little Magazine

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Thursday 27 October 2005; 0452 hrs IST, at home:
Avijit Ghosh's tribute to Verma in The Times of India.
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Later in the day 27 October:

Hindi poet Kailash Vajpayee's tribute to his friend in The Indian Express
A tribute to Nirmal Verma from the Chandigarh city supplement of The Indian Express
A tribute to Nirmal Verma from The Hindu
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9 Comments:

Blogger Nearly Man said...

Nirmal verma was a great writer writing in a medium and exploring subjects which not many Hindi writers did.Besides, He read history at St.Stephen's.iT MAY BE POINTED HERE THAT Kundera was published in hindi in Nirmalji's translation from the czech much before he was translated into western languages including english.

5:27 AM  
Blogger Alok said...

Just a small clarification.

Verma studied history not literature at the St. Stephens!

10:05 AM  
Blogger Dev Kumar said...

Thanks for the correction nearly man and alok. I found it surprising that of three portals rediff, indiatimes and sify only the first had announced the news of Verma's death but they did not go beyond that. A google search revealed that of the major English newspapers only Hindustan Times had a small news item. It was almost the same story in Hindi dailies too. I expected better tributes to this cerebral giant.

4:00 PM  
Blogger aria said...

I read Nirmal Verma's "Ve Din" when I was in class 8th. Since then I'd been mesmerized by his writings. In my yound mind I had imagined him as a hunk! The way he wrote was completely awesome - very much unlike other writers in Hindi. I really think he should have been given better coverage more n more ppl shud be encouraged to read his work - he wrote with wholesome freshness!

11:17 AM  
Blogger aria said...

Sorry sorry typo.. * young mind *
Btw - nice post dev n thanks for the links.

11:19 AM  
Blogger Dev Kumar said...

You know something aria? Whenever I thought of Verma I used to think of the cold of East Europe. I quiet liked the way he drifted from his communist philosphy and ideology towards a more open philosophy of life. Incidentally Ve Din is the only work of his which I have read.

11:38 AM  
Blogger dd.blogspot.com said...

I just finished reading Parinde, a collection of short stories by Nirmal Verma. I have not read many Indian writers, only a bit of Premchand some years ago. I wanted to start Ve Din and before I did, I thought it would be fun to read some sort of an intro on the story and i got steered here. I am glad I found him. Apart from his prose, which is just the kind that I admire, I like the setups of most of his stories- DU and some hill stations. I've spent much of my days as a young adult there. I will continue to read him.

-Jyoti

12:02 AM  
Blogger dd.blogspot.com said...

I just finished reading Parinde, a collection of short stories by Nirmal Verma. I have not read many Indian writers, only a bit of Premchand some years ago. I wanted to start Ve Din and before I did, I thought it would be fun to read some sort of an intro on the story and i got steered here. I am glad I found him. Apart from his prose, which is just the kind that I admire, I like the setups of most of his stories- DU and some hill stations. I've spent much of my days as a young adult there. I will continue to read him.

-Jyoti

12:02 AM  
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