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Phillauri redirects here. For the town of Phillaur, see Phillaur.

Shardha[1] Ram "Phillauri" (September 30[2], 1837 – June 24, 1881) was a Punjabi missionary, social reformer, astrologer, and writer, best remembered for his contributions to Hindi and Punjabi literature. He has been called the “father of modern Punjabi prose."[3]

Contents

Biography

Shardha Ram was born in 1837 to a Brahmin family in the town of Phillaur, Jalandhar.[3][4] His father, Jai Dyalu, was an astrologer.[3] Their gotra was Moudgil. [5] He did not have any formal education as such[6]. At the age of seven, he learned Gurmukhi script.[3] By age ten, he had studied Hindi, Sanskrit, Persian, astrology, and music.[3] Later, he was also a missionary of traditional Hinduism (Sanatana dharma).[3][4][7]

In his books, Shardha Ram documented Punjabi culture and language.[3][4]

Shardha Ram gave forceful lectures on the Mahabharata, and because of this was charged with conducting propaganda against the British government[3][4] in 1865. As a result, he was exiled temporarily from his home town, Phillaur.[3][4]

A son of Sharda Ram died at an age of thirty. His grandson lived up to the age of 60. His great grandson, taught at D.A.V. College, Jalandhar, Punjab, India, and lived up to the age of 92. His great great grandson,Shri Sewak Ram Joshi, an alumni of IIT Rorkee, lives in Canada.[8]

Sharda Ram often visited Amritsar and adjoining Lahore, especially in connection with astrology.[3] During this time, he earned a reputation as an astrologer and wrote several books in Hindi.[3]

Shardha Ram has recently been acknowledged as having written the first novel in Hindi.[9][3][4] His novel Bhagyawati, believed to have been written mainly in Amritsar, was first published in 1888, after Shardha Ram's death.[3] It is believed that his wife, a woman of strong will, played a major role in getting it published.[10] The novel's portrayal of women and women's rights was progressive for its day.[3][4]. It is believed that he had also written his biography which was spread over 1400 pages which is considered to be lost for ever.[11]

Shardha Ram died on June 24, 1881 at Lahore.[3]

Works

Work Year Description
Sikhan De Raj Di Vithia (The Story of Sikh Rule)[4][3] 1866 The book is an account of Sikh religion and the rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.[4][12] The last of its three chapters documents Punjabi culture and language, including its customs, usages, and folk songs.[4] The book was often prescribed as a text book.[4]
Partial translation of the Bible into Gurmukhi[3] 1868 This was the first time that the Bible was translated into Gurmukhi.[3]
Punjabi Batcheet[4][3] This book was specifically written to help the British understand the local dialect.[4][3] It may have been the first book transliterated into Roman script from Gurmukhi script.[4][3] The study of this was a requirement for admission into the administrative services.[4][3] The book is taught to this day at schools affiliated with the Punjab State Education Board (PSEB) Mohali.
Om Jai Jagdish Hare[4][3] 1870s) This prayer is widely sung by Hindu families today[4]
Bhagyawati[4][3] published 1888 This book is believed to be the first novel in Hindi.[9][4][3]
Satya Dharm Muktavli[4]
Shatopadesh[4]
Satyamrit Pravaha[4]

Notes and references

  1. ^ Alternately spelled Shradha, Sharda, Shrada, Sharddha, or Shraddha.
  2. ^ Singh Bedi, Harmohinder. Shardha Ram Granthawali. Nirmal Publisher. (A three-volume work by the dean and head of the Guru Nanak Dev University Hindi Department.)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Walia, Varinda. "Hindi novel’s first cradle." The Tribune (March 17, 2005).
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Maitray, Mohan. "The creator of Om Jai Jagdish Hare." The Tribune (September 27, 1998).
  5. ^ A told by great great grandson of Shradha Ram Joshi
  6. ^ Singh Bedi, Harmohinder. Shardha Ram Granthawali. Nirmal Publisher. (A three-volume work by the dean and head of the Guru Nanak Dev University Hindi Department.)
  7. ^ http://www.faithandthearts.com/images/9_20070612201926.pdf
  8. ^ As told by a descendent of Shradha Ram
  9. ^ a b Previously, Lala Sri Niwas was credited with this achievement; his Priksha Guru was written in 1902. Walia, Varinda. "Hindi novel’s first cradle." The Tribune.
  10. ^ As stated by a descendent of Shradha Ram
  11. ^ As stated by a descendent of Shradha Ram
  12. ^ Sisir Kumar Das. A History of Indian Literature, p.540. Sahitya Akademi (1991), ISBN 8172010060.

External links

Further reading

  • Singh Bedi, Harmohinder. Shardha Ram Granthawali. Nirmal Publisher. (A three-volume work by the dean and head of the Guru Nanak Dev University Hindi Department.)
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