Umashankar Joshi

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Umashankar Joshi
Joshi in 1960, Mumbai
Joshi in 1960, Mumbai
Born(1911-07-21)21 July 1911
Bamna, Sabarkantha, Bombay presidency, British India
Died19 December 1988(1988-12-19) (aged 77)
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Pen nameVasuki, Shravan
OccupationPoet, Novelist, Short story writer
Alma mater
PeriodGandhian Era
Notable awards

Umashankar Joshi
Academic work
Doctoral studentsRamanlal Joshi
Official website Edit this at Wikidata

Umashankar Jethalal Joshi (About this soundpronunciation ) (21 July 1911 – 19 December 1988) was a poet, scholar and writer. He received the Jnanpith Award in 1967 for his contribution to Indian, especially Gujarati literature.[2]


Early life and education[edit]

Umashankar Joshi was born in small village named Bamna village (now in Bhiloda Taluka of Aravalli district, Gujarat). His father, Jethalal Kamalji was a Karbhari in small jagirs. His Mother was Navalbai. He had eight siblings: six brothers and two sisters.[3] Umashankar Joshi received inspiration for creative writing from the beautiful surroundings of the hilly region and the social life of the villages and fairs and festivals held there.[4][5]


Sir Pratap High School of Idar where Joshi studied till 1927

He started his education at Primary school, Bamna in 1916. In 1921, he passed standard fourth in Idar school and continued his education till 1927 at Idar's Pratap High school; which was an Anglo-vernacular school. In 1927, he did matriculation from Proprietary High school, Ahmedabad. In 1928, he took Admission in Gujarat College, Ahmedabad and continued his education there till 1930. Then he took admission in Elphinstone College, Mumbai for BA. and there he was graduated with second division in Economics and History. After that, he got MA with first division in Gujarati and Sanskrit from Mumbai University.[3][5]

Activism and Freedom Struggle[edit]

He joined the freedom struggle led by Gandhi and gained an understanding of history.[4] In 1929, he started his struggle by participating in the 34-day strike called by the students of Gujarat College which began in January that year. In 1930, he took active part in the Freedom Struggle and joined Viramgam Camp as a satyagrahi from early April. After that, he was imprisoned for fourteen weeks, starting from November 1930 in Sabarmati jail and tent-jail at Yerwada till 1931. Then in 1931, he attended National Conference of Indian National Congress at Karachi and stayed at Gujarat Vidyapith from July for six months. He was imprisoned for the second time for eight months, at Sabarmati and Visapur jails in 1932.[3][5]

Academic career[edit]

Umashankar Joshi (left) with Chunilal Madia at Mumbai, 1960

In 1937, he started his career as Teacher at Goklibai High School in Vile Parle, Mumbai. Then, after his graduation in MA, he became a part-time lecturer at Sydenham College of Commerce, Mumbai – till 1939. After that, he was appointed as professor in post graduate research studies department, at Gujarat Vernacular Society (Gujarat Vidyasabha). He worked there till 1946 when he took voluntary retirement. Then, in 1948, he was appointed by Mumbai Government on the Gujarati Textbook Committee. In 1953, he served as a visiting faculty at Lokbharti Shikshan Sanstha which was an educational institution in Sanosara, Bhavnagar district, Gujarat. In June 1954, he was appointed as professor of Gujarati Literature at Gujarat University. He was also appointed head of School of languages in that university. In 1956, he toured America and England as a member of a committee sent by the Indian Government to study the activities of 'General Education' in American and some British Universities. In 1964, he became a member of a committee appointed by the Government of Gujarat for establishment of South Gujarat and Saurashtra Universities. From 30 November 1966: he was Vice-Chancellor of Gujarat University. On 17 November 1972: he retired from that post.[3][5]

Personal life[edit]

Umashankar Joshi inaugurating Jaybhikhkhu Commemoration Volume, December 1970; from left to second is Dhirubhai Thaker

His Father died in 1934. On 25 May 1937, he married to Jyotsna N. Joshi in Ahmedabad. He had two daughters: Nandini and Svati. In 1957, he shifted to his new residence 'Setu', which was at Sardar Patel Nagar, Ahmedabad. His Mother died in 1966.[3]


In 1988, he was admitted for lung cancer in Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai. He died on 19 December 1988 at the age of 77.[3]


Exhibition of Umashankar Joshi's books at Gujarati Sahitya Parishad, July 2018

His collections Hriday Ma Padeli Chhabio and Ishamishida Ane Anya are the character sketches of the literary and historical figures whom he had met.[6] His works include:[7]

  • Nishith ( નિશિથ ) – The God of Midnight (collection of poems)
  • Gangotri ( ગંગોત્રી )
  • Vishwashanti ( વિશ્વશાંતિ ) – World Peace
  • Mahaprasthan ( મહાપ્રસ્થાન ) – Great Departure
  • Abhigna ( અભિજ્ઞ ) – Recognition.
  • Sanskruti' – Editor of the magazine
  • Visamo – collection of stories
  • Haveli – collection of dramas
  • Shravani melo – collection of stories
  • Akho ek Adhyayan
  • "Shakuntal"- translation of Abhigyan Shakuntal of Kalidas
  • "Uttar Ramcharit"- translation of Uttar Ramcharit of Bhavbhooti
  • "Ishavaya Upanishad"- translation and commentary in Gujarati.
  • "Gujarat Mori Mori Re"
  • Mahaprasthan in Hindi translated by Mahavir Sinh Chauhan in 1997


Poet Umashankar Joshi Over bridge in Himatnagar named after him

In Urdu literary journal Naya Adab, Ibham Rasheed called Joshi as one of great writers of India and added that his "prose and poem delve into a space that tempts humans for deception and barbarity".[8]


Positions held[edit]


  1. ^ Modern Gujarati Poetry: A Selection by Rita Kothari. 1998. pp. 82, 85.
  2. ^ "Jnanpith Laureates Official listings". Jnanpith Website. Archived from the original on 13 October 2007.
  3. ^ a b c d e f
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ a b c d e Bholabhai Patel (9 September 2016). "પોતાની કવિતાના નાયક તરીકે ગાંધીજીને રાખી 'વિશ્વશાંતિ'ની રચના કરનારા ૨૦ વર્ષના તરુણ કવિ ઉમાશંકરની મુગ્ધ નજરમાં વિશ્વશાંતિનો જે આદર્શ પ્રગટ્યો, તે પછી દ્રઢ થતો રહે છે". Divya Bhaskar (in Gujarati). Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  6. ^ Solanki, Vipul (2016). "Chapter 2:Critical Appreciation of Vyathana Vitak (The Afflicted)". A Translation of Joseph Macwan's Vyathana Vitak from Gujarati Into English with a Critical Study (PDF) (PhD). Rajkot: Saurashtra University. p. 45. hdl:10603/130572. Retrieved 2017-10-20.
  7. ^ C. D. Narasimhaiah (1 January 1994). East West Poetics at Work: Papers Presented at the Seminar on Indian and Western Poetics at Work, Dhvanyaloka, Mysore, January 1991. Sahitya Akademi. pp. 257–258. ISBN 978-81-7201-385-1.
  8. ^ Kidwai, Shafey (2017-01-05). "The last word". The Hindu. Retrieved 2017-02-10.
  9. ^ a b c d e "Poet Umashankar Joshi remembered". DNA. 29 November 2010. Retrieved 1 December 2013.

External links[edit]