Vishnu Prabhakar

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Vishnu Prabhakar
Dr. Vishnu Prabhakar.JPG
Vishnu Prabhakar
Born (1912-06-21)21 June 1912
Uttar Pradesh, India
Died 11 April 2009(2009-04-11) (aged 96)
New Delhi, India
Occupation Novelist, writer, journalist
Nationality Indian
Citizenship India
Genre fiction, novels, non-fiction, essays
Notable works Ardhanarishwar, Aawara Masiha

Vishnu Prabhakar (21 June 1912 – 11 April 2009) was a Hindi writer. He had several short stories, novels, plays and travelogues to his credit. Prabhakar's works have elements of patriotism, nationalism and messages of social upliftment.

He was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1993, Mahapandit Rahul Sankrityayan Award in 1995 and the Padma Bhushan (the third highest civilian honour of India) by the Government of India in 2004.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Vishnu Prabhakar was born on 21 June 1912, in the Mirapur village of Muzaffarnagar district in Uttar Pradesh.[2][dead link] His father, Durga Prasad, was a religious person who kept himself untouched by modern times. His mother, Mahadevi, was the first well-educated lady of the family who dared to reject the 'Parda Pratha' of the traditional Hindu families. Prabhakar stayed in Mirapur until the age of twelve, completing his primary education. His mother sent him to his maternal uncle in Hisar, located in the Haryana state. There he completed his matriculation at the age of sixteen in 1929.[citation needed]

He wanted to pursue higher education but owing to financial situation in his family at Mirapur, he had to find a job. Through the efforts of his maternal uncle he joined the government service. It was a fourth-class job and his salary was eighteen Rupee per month. He kept his studies going along with his work, and obtained degrees of Prabhakar and Hindi Bhushana in Hindi, Pragya in Sanskrit and B.A. in English.[citation needed]

Along with his work he pursued an interest in literature. He also joined a Natak company in Hissar. His literary life started with the publication of his first story Diwali in the Hindi Milap in 1931.[3] He wrote Hatya Ke Baad, his first play in 1939. Eventually he began writing as a full-time career. He stayed with the family of his maternal uncle until the age of twenty seven. He married Sushila Prabhakar in 1938 who stayed as an inspiration source for his literature until her death in 1980.[4]

After Indian Independence he worked as a drama director, from September 1955 to March 1957, in Akashvani, All India Radio, New Delhi. He made news when in 2005 he threatened to return his Padma Bhushan award after he allegedly had to face misconduct at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Vishnu Prabhakar died at the age of 96, on 11 April 2009 after a brief illness in New Delhi.[2][5][6] He was suffering from a heart problem and infection of the urinary tract. His wife, Sushila Prabhakar, had died in 1980.[4] Prabhakar is survived by two sons and two daughters. His sons Atul Prabhakar and Amit Prabhakar decided to donate his body to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi as their father's last wishes.

How he became 'Prabhakar'[edit]

He became 'Vishnu Prabhakar' from 'Vishnu'; his name was listed as 'Vishnu Dayal' in the primary school of Mirapur. In the Arya Samaj school, on being asked the 'Varna', he answered – 'Vaishya'. The teacher put down his name as 'Vishnu Gupta'. When he joined government service, the officers changed his name to 'Vishnu Dharmadutt' because there were many 'Guptas' in the office and it confused the officers. He continued writing by the pen name of 'Vishnu'. Once an editor asked, "Why do you use such a short name? Have you passed any examination?" Vishnu answered that he had passed 'Prabhakar' examination in Hindi. Thus the editor appended Prabhakar to his name making it 'Vishnu Prabhakar'.[4]

Writing style[edit]

Although mainly a story writer, Vishnu Prabhakar has written in almost all the genres of literature including poetry. Collection of his poems titled Chalta Chala Jaonga was published posthumously in the year 2010. He did not let himself limit to any special school of thought and it is reflected in his vast variety of works. Aawara Masiha, biography of Sharat Chandra Chatterjee and Ardhnarishwar, however remain the most awarded and widely acclaimed of his works. He was initially influenced by Munshi Premchand but later started following Sharatchandra. His works are said to be a mirror of modern Indian society.

Prabhakar's works concentrate on the problems of today's Indian society. In his drama, Tootate Parivesh, he writes about a modern family in which gaps between younger and older generation are increasing. His novel Koi To tells how corrupt politics has become in modern times.

Prabhakar was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi's principals of non-violence. This can be seen in his writing very often. In some of his works, oppressed female characters talk like philosophers and even dacoits who usually are expected to have negative roles are full of humanitarian values. This is the reason why some critics labelled him as a Gandhian ideologist.

Prabhakar was also affected by many foreign authors. He had studied Leo Tolstoy, Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens, O. Henry and O'Neill in-depth. In an interview, he said that Tolstoy's War and Peace had influenced him very much.

Prabhakar was very fond of travelling. He travelled for fourteen years continuously to collect material for his book – Aawara Masiha which is a biography of famous Bengali author, Sharatchandra. For this he had to visit all the places linked to Sharatchandra, even to Myanmar(Burma). His love of travels also resulted in many travelogues.



  1. Dhalti Raat, 1951
  2. Nishikant, 1955
  3. Tat Ke Bandhan, 1955
  4. Swapnmayi, 1956
  5. Darpan Ka Vyakti, 1968
  6. Parchhai, 1968
  7. Koi To, 1980
  8. Ardhnarishwar, 1992

Story Collections[edit]

  1. Ek Kahani Ka Janam (एक कहानी का जन्म) (Collection of his Love Stories), 2008
  2. Aadi Aur Ant, 1945
  3. Rehman Ka Beta, 1947
  4. Zindagi Ke Thapede, 1952
  5. Sangharsh Ke Baad, 1953
  6. Dharti Ab Bhi Ghoom Rahi Hai, 1959
  7. Safar Ke Saathi, 1960
  8. Khandit Pooja, 1960
  9. Sanche Aur Kala, 1962
  10. Meri Tentis Kahaniya, 1967
  11. Meri Priya Kahaniya, 1970
  12. Pul Tootne Se Pehle, 1977,
  13. Mera Watan (मेरा वतन), 1980,
  14. Meri Lokpriya Kahaniya, 1981
  15. Khilone, 1981
  16. Aapki Kripa (Short Stories), 1982
  17. Meri Kahaniya, 1984
  18. Meri Kathayatra, 1984
  19. Ek Aur Kunti, 1985
  20. Zindagi Ek Rehearsal, 1986


  1. Chalta Chala Jaonga, 2010


  1. Naprabhat, 1951
  2. Samaadhi (Gaandhar Ki Bhikshuni), 1952
  3. Doctor, 1961
  4. Yuge-Yuge Kranti, 1969
  5. Toot-te Parivesh, 1974
  6. Kuhaasa Aur Kiran, 1975
  7. Tagar, 1977
  8. Bandini(बंदिनी), 1979
  9. Satta Ke Aar-Paar, 1981
  10. Ab Aur Nahin, 1981
  11. Shwet Kamal, 1984
  12. Keral Ka Krantikari, 1987
  13. Vishnu Prabhkar : Sampurna Natak (Part-1,2,3), 1987
  14. Pustak Kit
  15. Seema rekha

swaraj ki neev

Biographies – Memoirs[edit]

  1. Jaane Anjaane, 1961
  2. Kuchh Shabd : Kuchh Rekhaayen, 1965
  3. Aawara Masiha, 1974
  4. Amar Shahid Bhagat Singh, 1976
  5. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, 1976
  6. Yadaun Ki Teerthyatra, 1981
  7. Shuchi Smita, 1982
  8. Mere Agraj : Mere Meet, 1983
  9. Samantar Rekhaayen, 1984
  10. Hum Inke Rini Hain, 1984
  11. Mere Humsafar, 1985
  12. Rah Chalte-Chalte, 1985
  13. Kaka Kalelkar, 1985


  1. Jan-Samaj Aur Sanskriti : Ek Samgra Drishti, 1981
  2. Kya Khoya Kya Paya, 1982

Children's Literature[edit]

  1. Mote Lal, 1955
  2. Kunti Ke Bete, 1958
  3. Ramu Ki Holi, 1959
  4. Dada Ki Kachehari, 1959
  5. Sharachandra, 1959
  6. Jab Didi Bhoot Bani, 1960
  7. Jeevan Parag, 1963
  8. Bankimchandra, 1968
  9. Abhinav Ekanki, 1968
  10. Abhinay Ekanki, 1969
  11. Swaraj Ki Kahani, 1971
  12. Hadtaal, 1972
  13. Jaadu Ki Gaay, 1972
  14. Ghamand Ka Phal, 1973
  15. Nutan Baal Ekanki, 1975
  16. Heere Ki Pehchaan, 1976
  17. Motiyon Ki Kheti, 1976
  18. Paap Ka Ghada, 1976
  19. Gudiya Kho Gayi, 1977
  20. Aise-Aise, 1978
  21. Tapovan Ki Kahaniyan
  22. Pahad Chade Gajanand Lal, 1981
  23. Balvarsha Zindabad, 1981
  24. Khoya Hua Ratan (खोया हुआ रत्न), 2008
  25. Pustak Keet


  1. Baapu Ki Batein, 1954
  2. Hajrat Umar 1955
  3. Badrinath, 1955
  4. Kasturba Gandhi, 1955
  5. Aise Thai Sardar, 1957
  6. Ha-Du-Al Rashid, 1957
  7. Hamare Padosi, 1957
  8. Man Ke Jeete Jeet, 1957
  9. Murabbi, 1957
  10. Kumhar Ki Beti, 1957
  11. Baajiprabhu Deshpande, 1957
  12. Shankracharya, 1959
  13. Yamuna Ki Kahani, 1960
  14. Ravindranath Thakur, 1961
  15. Pehla Sukh : Nirogi Kaya, 1963
  16. Main Achhoot Hoon, 1968
  17. Ek Desh : Ek Hridaya, 1973
  18. Manav Adhikar
  19. Nagarikta Ki Aur


  • Plays: Prakash aur Parchhaiyan, Barah Ekanki, Ashok
  • संस्मरण: हमसफ़र मिलते रहे

Awards and honours[edit]

  1. Sahitya Akademi Award, 1993[7]
  2. Mahapandit Rahul Sankrityayan Award, 1995[8]
  3. Padma Bhushan, 2004[9]

Both Sahitya Akademi and Padma Bhushan awards were given for his novel Ardhanarishvara (The Androgynous God or Shiva).



  • Sandhya Singh (Editor) 2004. Sanvaad Part 2, NCERT, New Delhi