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Harivansh Rai Bachchan

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Harivansh Rai Bachchan
Harivansh Rai Bachchan's portrait on a 2003 stamp of India
Bachchan on a 2003 stamp of India
BornHarivansh Rai Srivastava
(1907-11-27)27 November 1907
Babupatti, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, British India
(present-day Uttar Pradesh, India)
Died18 January 2003(2003-01-18) (aged 95)
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Pen nameBachchan
  • Poet
  • writer
LanguageAwadhi and Hindi
Alma materAllahabad University (B.A)
St Catharine's College, Cambridge (PhD)
Notable awardsPadma Bhushan (1976)
  • Shyama Bachchan
    (m. 1926; died 1936)

    (m. 1941)
Children2 (including Amitabh Bachchan)[1]
RelativesBachchan family
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha[2]
In office
3 April 1966 – 2 April 1972

Harivansh Rai Bachchan ( Srivastava; 27 November 1907 – 18 January 2003) was an Indian poet and writer of the Nayi Kavita literary movement (romantic upsurge) of early 20th century Hindi literature. He was also a poet of the Hindi Kavi Sammelan. He is best known for his early work Madhushala.[3] He was the father of Amitabh Bachchan, and grandfather of Shweta Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan. His wife Teji Bachchan was a social activist. In 1976, he received the Padma Bhushan for his service to Hindi literature.[4]

Early life[edit]

Bachchan was born in Babupatti, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh in British India on 27 November 1907 into a Hindu family.[5][6] His family name was Srivastav.[7] He began using the pen name "Bachchan" (meaning child) for his Hindi poetry. From 1941 to 1957, he taught in the English Department at the Allahabad University and then spent the next two years at St Catharine's College, Cambridge, completing a PhD on W. B. Yeats.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Bachchan married Shyama in 1926 who died of tuberculosis in 1936. In 1941, he married Teji Suri.[8][9] Their elder son Amitabh Bachchan was born on October 11, 1942, followed by their younger son, Ajitabh, on 18 May 1947.[10]

He had used the pen name Bachchan ("child-like" in colloquial Hindi), under which he published all of his works.[11] When looking to get their elder son admitted to a school, he and Teji decided the family's surname should be Bachchan instead of Shrivastava, as both parents opposed the caste system.[12] Thus, it became the legal surname of the family.[13]

Writing career[edit]

Bachchan was fluent in several Hindi languages (Hindustani and Awadhi).[14] He incorporated a broadly Hindustani vocabulary,[15] written in Devanagari script.[14] While he could not read Persian script,[14] he was influenced by Persian and Urdu poetry, particularly Omar Khayyam.[16]

Works used in movies[edit]

Bachchan's work has been used in movies and music. Couplets of his work "Agneepath" are used throughout the 1990 film Agneepath, featuring his son Amitabh, and also later in the 2012 remake Agneepath, starring Hrithik Roshan, as well as in the TV Serial Ishqbaaz.[17]

Mitti ka tan, masti ka man, kshan-bhar jivan – mera parichay.
(मिट्टी का तन, मस्ती का मन, क्षण भर जीवन, मेरा परिचय)
(A body of clay, a mind full of play, a life of a moment – that's me)[3]

List of works[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Harivansh Rai Bachchan, R (2001). In the Afternoon of Time: An Autobiography. Penguin books. p. 327. ISBN 9780140276633. When we entered Amit for school, we adopted 'Bachchan' as our family name, registering him as 'Amitabh Bachchan'; and when our second son was born, he was called 'Ajitabh Bachchan'
  2. ^ "Nominated Members Since 1952". Retrieved 19 March 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Harivanshrai Bachchan, 1907–2003[usurped] Obituary, Frontline, (The Hindu), 1–14 February 2003.
  4. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 October 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  5. ^ "खुली किताब सा जीवन : हरिवंश राय बच्चन की जीवनी के चार खंड!". The Better India - Hindi. 25 November 2016. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  6. ^ "Harivansh Rai Bachchan | Indian poet". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  7. ^ Harivansh Rai Bachchan. kya bhulun kya yaad karu. pp. 11–12.
  8. ^ "इस बीमारी से हुई थी हरिवंश राय की पहली पत्नी की डेथ, इनसे की दूसरी शादी". Dainik Bhaskar (in Hindi). 2017. Retrieved 1 June 2023.
  9. ^ "एक अफेयर से लेकर दो शादियों तक, ऐसी थी Amitabh Bachchan के पिता हरिवंश राय की ज़िंदगी". ABP News (in Hindi). 24 December 2020. Retrieved 1 June 2023.
  10. ^ "Who is Ajitabh Bachchan". pinkvilla. Retrieved 6 December 2023.
  11. ^ "I am proud of my surname Amitabh Bachchan". 28 July 2011. Archived from the original on 30 August 2018. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
  12. ^ "Amitabh Bachchan got his surname because of caste system". gulfnews.com. 30 July 2019. Archived from the original on 2 October 2020. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  13. ^ Bachchan, Harivansh Rai (1998). In The Afternoon Time. Viking Pr. ISBN 978-0-670-88158-1.
  14. ^ a b c West-Pavlov, Russell (2018). The Global South and Literature. Cambridge University Press. p. 167. ISBN 9781108246316.
  15. ^ Williams, Mukesh; Wanchoo, Rohit (2008). Representing India: Literatures, Politics, and Identities. Oxford University Press. p. 73. ISBN 9780195692266. Harivansh Rai Bachchan recalled how some of the Urdu vocabulary used by audiences in appreciating poetic recitals in Hindi kavi sammelans was consciously changed to Sanskritized Hindi creating an artificial Hindi idiom.
  16. ^ Gopal, Madan (1996). Origin and development of Hindi/Urdu literature. Deep & Deep Publications. p. 204. He was influenced by Persian and Urdu poetry, especially by Omar Khayyam and started versifying in the Bachchalian style.
  17. ^ Harivansh Rai Bachchan (1907–2003). IMDb
  18. ^ Bachhan, Harivansh Rai. Madhubala by Harivansh Rai Bachchan.
  19. ^ Baccana; Bachchan, Harivansh Rai (1 April 1998). In the Afternoon of Time: An Autobiography: Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Rupert Snell, Baccana, Harivansh Rai BacHChhan: 9780670881581: Amazon.com: Books. ISBN 0670881589.

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  1. Kaveendra, Anil Pushker. Harivanshrai Bachchan Ki Anuvad Drishti (Hindi) (Hardcover) (2013). Ruby Press & Co., New Delhi. ISBN 978-93-82395-20-1