Jaishankar Prasad

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Jaishankar Prasad
Jaishankar Prasad,1889-1937.jpg
Born(1889-01-30)30 January 1889[1][2]
Benares, Benares State, British India
Died15 November 1937(1937-11-15) (aged 47)
Benares, Benares State, British India
OccupationNovelist, playwright, poet
Notable worksKāmāyanī (1936)
ParentBabu Devki Prasad (father)

Jaishankar Prasad (30 January 1889[1]  – 15 November 1937)[3] was a prominent figure in modern Hindi literature as well as Hindi theatre. Prasad was his pen name.[4] He was also known as Chhayavadi poet.

Poetic style[edit]

Prasad started writing poetry with the pen name of ‘Kaladhar’. The first collection of poem that Jai Shankar Prasad penned, named, Chitradhar, was written in Braj dialect of Hindi but his later works were written in Khadi dialect or Sanskritized Hindi.

Later on Prasad promulgated ‘Chhayavad’, a literary trend in Hindi literature.

He is considered one of the Four Pillars (Char Stambh) of Romanticism in Hindi Literature (Chhayavad), along with Sumitranandan Pant, Mahadevi Verma, and Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala'.

His vocabulary avoids the Persian element of Hindi and mainly consists of Sanskrit (Tatsama) words and words derived from Sanskrit (Tadbhava words). The subject of his poetry spans the entire horizon of subjects of his era, from romantic to nationalistic.

Dramas and other writings[edit]

His dramas are considered to be most pioneering ones in Hindi. Prasad's most famous dramas include Skandagupta,Chandragupta and Dhruvaswamini . Many children like him as he gives us a knowledge about Ancient times.

The majority of them revolve around historical stories of Ancient India. Some of them were also based on mythological plots.

In 1960s, Shanta Gandhi Professor of Ancient Indian Drama while at National School of Drama, revived interest in Jaishankar Prasad's plays for modern Indian theatre, by successfully staging his most important play Skanda Gupta written in 1928, with little changes to the original script.[5][6]

Major works[edit]


  • Kānan kusum (The Forest Flower)(1913)
  • Mahārānā kā mahatv (The Maharana's greatness)(1914)
  • Jharnā (The Waterfall)(1918)
  • Ānsū (The tear)(1925)
  • Lahar (The wave)(1933)
  • Kāmāyanī (an epic about Manu and the flood)(1935/36)
  • Prem pathik (The Love Wanderer)(1914)
  • Aatmkathya (Autobiography)


Story collections[edit]

  • Aandhī
  • Pratidhvani (The Echo)
  • Akashdeep (Internal Lamp)
  • Indrajāl (Hypnosis)
  • Sandeh (Doubt)
  • Daasi (Maid)
  • Chitra Mandir


  • Kankal (The Skeleton)
  • Titli (The Butterfly)
  • Iravati ( not completed)

Poetic drama[edit]

  • Karunalay


Neo-romanticism in Hindi Literature[edit]

Jaishankar Prasad's Kamayani (Hindi: कामायनी) (1936), a Hindi classic poem is considered as an important magnum opus of this school. The poem belongs to the Chhayavadi school of Hindi poetry.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

In her glowing tribute to Jai Shankar Prasad, the poet- critic Mahadevi Verma said:

"Whenever I remember our great poet, Prasad a particular image comes to my mind. A fir tree stands on the slope of the Himalaya, straight and tall as the proud mountain peaks themselves. Its lofty head braves the assaults of the snow, the rain, and the blazing heat of the sun. Violent storms shake its spreading branches, while a thin stream of water plays hide-and-seek amongst its root. Even under the most heavy snowfall, the most fierce heat, and the torrential rain, the fir tree holds its head high. Even in the midst of the worst thunderstorm and blizzards, it remains steady and unflinching.”

Regarding his influence in Indian literature, the late scholar David Rubin wrote in The Return of Sarasvati (Oxford, 1993):- "To Jayshankar Prasad belongs the credit of making the first successful leap forward in the development of a genuine poetic art in khari boli Hindi and giving it, in Ansu, its first masterpiece." Rubin felt his lyrics regarding nature and human love helped to define the Chhayavad movement, and that his reflective nature and deep love of reading and music heavily influenced his work.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Hindi sahitya ka brihat itihas, volume-10, editors- Dr. Nagendra and others, Nagari pracharini Sabha, Varanasi, edition 1971, page 145.
  2. ^ http://www.drikpanchang.com (Almanac of 30.1.1890; for matching English dates etc with Hindu (Vikram samvat) Tithi etc).
  3. ^ Vinod Shankar Vyas, Antarang sansmarano mein Jaishankar 'Prasad' , editor- Purushottam Das Modi, Vishwavidyalaya Prakashan, Varanasi, edition- 2001, page 43-44.
  4. ^ Dimitrova 2004, p. 15
  5. ^ "Re-discovering Dhruvaswamini". The Hindu. 29 October 2009.
  6. ^ Lal, Mohan (2006). The Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature – Volume 5. Sahitya Akademi. p. 4119. ISBN 81-260-1221-8.
  7. ^ Kamayani By Jaishankar Prasad


External links[edit]