Navalram Pandya

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Navalram Laxmiram Pandya (Gujarati: નવલરામ) (9 March 1836 – 7 August 1888) was a Gujarati critic, playwright, poet, essayist, editor, educationist and social reformer. He is considered as the first critic of modern Gujarati literature.


He was born on 9 March 1836 at Surat in Gujarat. He passed matriculation in 1853. He was a prodigy in mathematics but did not join college. He joined English Highschool in Surat as an additional teacher in 1854 and later was appointed at Anglo Vernacular School at Deesa in 1861. He later became the vice principal of Ahmedabad Training College from 1870 to 1876 and the principal of Rajkot Training College from 1876. He died on 7 August 1988.[1][2][3]


Navalram was a critic of distinction besides writing literary essays and book reviews. He started his writing career with a report on the Maharaj Libel Case (1863).[2][3]


In 1867, he penned the Gujarati play Bhatnu Bhopalu based on Henry Fielding's The Mock Doctor, a play which was the adaptation of French playwright Molière's Le Médecin malgré lui.[4] He wrote historical play Veermati in 1869 based on the story of Jagdev Parmar published in Alexander Kinloch Forbes' Rasmala.[2][3][4][5][6][7]


He reviewed the first Gujarati novel, Karan Ghelo in Gujarat Mitra daily in 1867 pioneering the criticism in Gujarati literature.[2][3][8]


Navalram was an editor of Gujarat Shala Patra, a perodical on education.[7][9] He wrote serial commentary on poetry with humour titled Akbarshah ane Birbal Nimitte Hindi Hasyatarang in the periodical from 1860 to 1870. His another serialized writing in periodical Engrej Lok no Sankshipt Itihas (Concise History of Englishmen, 1880–1887) was later edited and published by Balwantray Thakore in 1924. He translated Kalidasa's Meghadūta (1870) in Gujarati and also discussed the methodology of translation in it. Kavijivan (1888) is a biographical work on Gujarati poet and social reformer Narmad based on his autobiography, Mari Hakikat.[2][3][5][10]


His poetry collections Balalagnabatrisi (1876) criticized child marriage while Balagarbavali (1877) is about ideals of life of women. He edited Premanand Bhatt's Kunwarbai nu Mameru (1871).[2][3][7] His Vyutpattipatha (1887) was a pioneer essay on philology in Gujarati while Nibandh-riti was an essay on writing essays.[7][11]

His complete works are published under Navalgranthavali (1891), edited by Govardhanram Tripathi.[2][3][7]


  1. ^ report of the department of public instruction in the bombay presidency. 1870. pp. 89–93. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Navalram Pandya" (in Gujarati). Gujarati Sahitya Parishad. Retrieved 16 October 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Mansukhlal Maganlal Jhaveri; Sahitya Akademi (1978). History of Gujarati Literature. Sahitya Akademi. pp. 86–100. 
  4. ^ a b Amaresh Datta; various (1 January 2006). The Encyclopaedia Of Indian Literature (Devraj To Jyoti). 2. Sahitya Akademi. p. 1071. ISBN 978-81-260-1194-0. 
  5. ^ a b Nalini Natarajan; Emmanuel Sampath Nelson (1 January 1996). Handbook of Twentieth-century Literatures of India. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 103–104. ISBN 978-0-313-28778-7. 
  6. ^ Rita Kothari (8 April 2014). Translating India. Taylor & Francis. pp. 45–46. ISBN 978-1-317-64215-2. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Sujit Mukherjee (1 January 1998). A Dictionary of Indian Literature: Beginnings-1850. Orient Blackswan. pp. 259–. ISBN 978-81-250-1453-9. 
  8. ^ Indian Literature. Prabhat Prakashan. 1988. p. 306. 
  9. ^ Narsinhrao Divetia (1 January 1993). Gujarati Language and Literature. Asian Educational Services. p. 429. ISBN 978-81-206-0648-7. 
  10. ^ U. M. Chokshi; M. R. Trivedi (1991). Gujarat State Gazetteer. Director, Government Print., Stationery and Publications, Gujarat State. pp. 380–382. 
  11. ^ Thomas Albert Sebeok (1971). Current Trends in Linguistics. Walter de Gruyter. p. 111. GGKEY:58UAB133QTX. 

Further reading[edit]

  • 'Navalram' by Rameśa Ma Śukla, Published in 1988, Sahitya Akademi (New Delhi)
  • Milestones in Gujarati Literature by K M Jhaveri.
  • Brahmbhatt, Prasad. (2003) Kavyasarita. (Literary Criticism of the evolution of Poetry). Ahmedabad: Parshwa Publication.
  • Trivedi, Ramesh. M. (1994) Arvachin Gujarati Sahityano Itihaas. (History of Modern Gujarati Literature). Ahmedabad: Adarsh Prakashan.
  • Trivedi, Ramesh. M. (2005) Gujarati Sahityano Itihaas. (History of Gujarati Literature). Ahmedabad: Adarsh Prakashan.

External links[edit]