The house of one of the luminaries of Hindi literature, Mahadevi Varma, in Ramgarh village in Nainital district has been transformed into a national museum by the Government of Uttaranchal. This initiative has been taken to treasure the memory of the great writer and freedom fighter. The 20th century writer’s former residence will now be looked after by the authorities of Kumaun University. Earlier, the authorities in the Ramgarh village were taking care of the house. “Uttaranchal Government has decided that Mahadevi Varma’s property, both land and buildings should be under the care of Kumaun University, so that Hindi literature can be benefited by it,” says Dr. Rakesh Kumar, District Magistrate, Nainital. The writer, poetess, social activist and freedom fighter, Mahadevi Varma, constructed the house in 1936 and named it “Meera Kuteer” as she has often been compared with Meera Bai, the great 16th century devotional poetess.
Mahadevi spent a long time of her life in Ramgarh. Her famous creation like Atita Ke Chalcitra (The Moving Frames of the Past) and her poetic works like Deepshikha were written here. Mahadevi Varma was born in Farukhabad, Uttar Pradesh in 1907, in a family of lawyers, She was educated at Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh. Mahadevi’s creations were intimate and affectionate sketches of women, men and children that she personally knew. Her works reveal compassion for the desperate plight of the disinherited poor in India, as well as her intense rage at those who exploit women and the dispossessed. Whether it was Binda, the lonely orphan girl victimised by her step-mother; Bhabi, who emotionally and physically abused the child widow barring her from any contact with the outside world; or Sabiya, the poor sweeper woman deserted by her husband shortly before the birth of their child, the subjects of Mahadevi’s creations convey her vision to resurrect the inner dignity of “these wounded and mauled lives”.
She was not only doing her writing work in Ramgarh but also worked for the welfare of the locals. “She not only wrote poems here but also worked for the development of Ramgarh. She worked for the welfare of villagers and women. She wanted to create awareness among the people of Ramgarh. She worked as social activist,” said Laxman Singh Batrohi, Head of the Department, Hindi Division, Kumau University. She was considered as one of the four major pillars of the Chhayavaadi school of Hindi literature. Along with Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirala’, Jaishankar Prasad and Sumitranandan Pantm, Chhayavaad refers to the romantic upsurge in the Hindi literature particularly poetry, which began in early 19th century. She was also honoured with the coveted Padma Bhushan by the President of India. After living for more than eight decades, she died on September 11, 1987.
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