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|Born||30 January 1889|
Banaras, Banaras State, British India
|Died||15 November 1937 (aged 47)|
Benares, Benares State, British India
|Occupation||Novelist, playwright, poet|
|Notable works||Kāmāyanī (1936)|
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 are in Khadi dialect or Sanskritized Hindi.
Later on Prasad prolugated ‘Chhayavad’, a literary trend in Hindi literature that fused romanticism with spiritualism.
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
His dramas are considered to be most pioneering ones in Hindi. Prasad's most famous dramas include Skandagupta, Chandragupta and Dhruvaswamini .
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 at 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.
Neo-romanticism in Hindi Literature
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 Chhayavaadi school of Hindi poetry.
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 Amsu, 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.
- "Jaishanker Prasad Biography". Varanasi Travel and Tourism Guide. Varanasi.org.
- Dimitrova, Diana (2004). Western Tradition and Naturalistic Hindi Theatre. Peter Lang. ISBN 0-8204-6822-3.