Jaishankar Prasad: Wikis


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Jaishankar Prasad

Born January 30, 1889(1889-01-30)
Varanasi,  India
Died January 14, 1937 (aged 47)
Varanasi,  India
Occupation Novelist, playwright, poet

Jaishankar Prasad (Hindi: जयशंकर प्रसाद) (January 30, 1889 – January 14, 1937), one of the most famous figures in modern Hindi literature; a dramatist, novelist, poet and a story-writer, he was one of the pioneers of the Chhayavaadi school (Neo-romanticism) of Hindi poetry[1].

His most famous work, the magnum opus, Kamayani (कामायनी), an allegorical epic poem (Mahakavya) came in 1936, and was preceded by another allegoric play, Kamana (कामना), which became a prelude to his magnum opus, along with Ansu (Tears), an earlier long poem and Lehar, his last collection of poems[2]. Among his over 40 published works[3] , his known works include, poems like Jharna; novels like, Titli (तितली), Kankaal (कंकाल), and Iravati (इरावती) and stories like, Akashdeep (आकाशदीप), Madhuva (मधुआ) and Puruskaar (पुरस्कार)[4].



Jaishankar Prasad was born on January 30, 1889, in an elite madheshiya vaisya family in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. His father Babu Devki Prasad, also known as Sunghani Sahu (सुंघनी साहू), was a tobacco dealer. After, he lost his father at an early age, he had to encounter some family problems at a relatively young age, and left school after class eight. However, he remained interested in literature, languages, and ancient history, and continued studying at home; thereafter he developed a special inclination towards the Vedas and these interests are innately reflected in the deep philosophical content of his works. He was also interested in study of ancient relics.

Apart from being a poet, he was also a philosopher, historian and a sculptor. In later years he made himself aloof from worldly matters, and adapted a nearly ascetic life. Though, some of his interests such as chess, gardening, shashtrarth and poetry recitation remained with him.

Jaishankar Prasad was a contemporary of some other literary greats of that time like Acharya Ram Chandra Shukla and Munshi Premchand.

Language and influence

His initial poetry (Chitraadhar collection) was done in the Braj dialect of Hindi, but later he switched to the Khadi dialect or Sanskritized Hindi.

In his earlier days, he was influenced by Sanskrit dramas, but later the influence of Bengali and Persian dramas is evident on his works. Prasad's most famous dramas include Skandagupta, Chandragupta and Dhruvaswamini .

Poetic style

He is considered one of the four pillars (Stambh) of Chhayavad in Hindi Literature along with Sumitranandan Pant, Mahadevi Verma and Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala'. His style of poetry can at best be described as touching (maarmic). Art and philosophy has been exquisitely amalgamated in his writings. He used mainly Tatsam and Tatdbhav words - some of them made really exquisitely by himself.

The subject of his poetry spans the entire horizon of subjects of his era, from romantic to nationalistic. He in a way signifies the epitome of classical Hindi poetry. One of his patriotic poems, 'Himadri Tung Shring Se', won him many accolades in the era of Indian independence movement. However, Kamayani undoubtedly remains his best creation.


Kamayani is widely considered the best of his works. Majority of critics agree that it is the best work of poetry (Mahakavya) in Hindi[5]. Though Kamayani has portrayals of divergent subjects, in entirety, it depicts the development of human culture in metaphoric style. Kamayani tells the story of the great flood and the central characters of the epic poem are Manu (a male) and Shradha (a female). Manu is representative of the human psyche and Shradha represents love. Another female character is Ida, who represents rationality. Some critics surmise that the three lead characters of Kamayani symbolizes a synthesis of knowledge, action and desires in human life.

Dramas and other writings

His dramas are considered to be most pioneering ones in Hindi. The majority of them revolve around historical stories of Ancient India. Some of them were also based on mythological plots.

He wrote short stories as well. The subjects were mixed - ranging from historical and mythological to contemporary and social. Mamta (motherly love) is a famous short-story based on an incident where a Mughal Badshah gets refuge in a Hindu widow's home whose father was killed by Badshah's army. Another one of his well-known short-stories called chhota jadugar (little magician) portrays the life of a child who learns to earn his own living by performing small skits with his dolls on streets.

He also wrote a small number of novels.

Major literary works


  • Kamayani (1935)
  • Kanan Kusum
  • Prem Pathik
  • Jharna
  • Aansoo
  • Lehar
  • Maharana ka Mahatva

Short story collections

  • Chhaya
  • Pratidhvani
  • Akashdeep
  • Aandhi
  • Indrajaal

Some famous short stories

  • Mamta
  • Jaadugar
  • Gunda
  • Madhua
  • Puraskar
  • Pralay


  • Samudragupta
  • Dhruvswamini
  • Sajjan
  • Parinaya
  • Ek Ghoont
  • Karunalaya
  • Praayashchit
  • Taskiyya
  • Rajyashri
  • Vishakh
  • Ajaatshatru
  • Kamana
  • Janamejaye ka Naagyagya
  • Skandagupta
  • Chandragupta (Contains the famous patriotic poem - Himadri Shring Tunga se)
  • Dhruvaswamini


  • Titali
  • Kankaal
  • Iravati

Works online



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