Vidyapati

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Vidyapati
Statue of Maha Kavi Kokil Vidyapati.jpg
Native name
বিদ্যাপতি
Born1352
Madhubani (in present-day India)[1]
Died1448
Vidyapati Nagar in Samastipur district[2][3]
Resting placeJanakpur (in exile) [4]
OccupationWriter, poet
LanguageMaithili
NationalityIndian

Vidyapati (1352–1448), also known by the sobriquet Maithil Kavi Kokil (the poet cuckoo of Maithili), was a Maithili poet and a Sanskrit writer.

Vidyapati's poetry was widely influential in centuries to come, in the Hindustani as well as Bengali, Maithili, Newari, less actively Nepali language and other Eastern literary traditions. The language at the time of Vidyapati, the prakrit-derived late abahatta, had just begun to transition into early versions of the Eastern languages Maithili, Nepali, Bengali, Oriya, etc.[citation needed] Thus, Vidyapati's influence on making these languages has been described as "analogous to that of Dante in Italy and Chaucer in England".[5]

Life[edit]

Vidyapati was born in the village Bisfi[6] in Madhubani district of Mithila region of Bihar, India,[7] and died in Samastipur. He was the son of shri Ganapati Thakur. The name Vidyapati is derived from two Sanskrit words, vidya ("knowledge") and pati ("master"), connoting thereby "a man of knowledge".

Poetry[edit]

Love songs[edit]

Vidyapati, mainly known for his love songs and prayers for Shiva,

  • All My Inhibition

All my inhibition left me in a flash,
When he robbed me of my clothes,
But his body became my new dress.
Like a bee hovering on a lotus leaf
He was there in my night, on me![8]

Other works[edit]

Vidyapati also wrote on other topics including ethics, history, geography, and law. His works include:

  • Puruṣa Parīkṣā deals with moral teachings.Recently Publications Division of Government of India has brought out the Hindi Translation of Purusha Pariksha by Akhilesh Jha. There are 25 stories in the book selected from 44 stories in the original work. Besides, there are scholarly introductions to both Vidyapati and Purusha Pariksha in the book.
  • Likhanabali is about writing
  • Bhu-Parikrama, literal meaning, around the world, is about local geography
  • Vibhāgasāra is autobiographical in nature
  • Dānavākyāvalī is about charity
  • Gangāvākyāvalī
  • Varṣakṛtya
  • Durgābhaktitaraṅgiṇī
  • Śaivasarvasvahāra
  • Kīrttipatākā
  • Kīrttilatā

About Muslim soldiers, he says: “Sometimes they ate only raw flesh. Their eyes were red with the intoxication of wine. They could run twenty yojanas within the span of half of a day. They used to pass the day with the (bare) loaf under their arm… (The soldier) takes into custody all the women of the enemy’s city… Wherever they happened to pass in that very place the ladies of the Raja’s house began to be sold in the market. They used to set fire to the villages. They turned out the women (from their homes) and killed the children. Loot was their (source of) income. They subsisted on that. Neither did they have pity for the weak nor did they fear the strong… They had nothing to do with righteousness… They never kept their promise… They were neither desirous of good name, not did they fear bad name…” At another place he says: “Somewhere a Musalman shows his rage and attacks (the Hindus)… It appears on seeing the Turks that they would swallow up the whole lot of Hindus.”[9]

Vidyapati and Bengali literature[edit]

The influence of the lyrics of Vidyapati on the love of Radha and Krishna on the Bengali poets of the medieval period was so overwhelming that they largely imitated it. As a result, an artificial literary language, known as Brajabuli was developed in the sixteenth century. Brajabuli is basically Maithili (as prevalent during the medieval period) but its forms are modified to look like Bengali.[10] The medieval Bengali poets, Gobindadas Kabiraj, Jnandas, Balaramdas and Narottamdas composed their padas (poems) in this language. Rabindranath Tagore composed his Bhanusingha Thakurer Padabali (1884) in a mix of Western Hindi (Braj Bhasha) and archaic Bengali and named the language Brajabuli as an imitation of Vidyapati (he initially promoted these lyrics as those of a newly discovered poet, Bhanusingha). Other 19th-century figures in the Bengal Renaissance like Bankim Chandra Chatterjee have also written in Brajabuli.

Tagore was much influenced by Vidyapati. He set the poet's Bhara Badara to his own tune.

Vidyapati and Odia literature[edit]

Vidyapati's influence reached Odisha through Bengal. The earliest composition in Brajabuli is ascribed to Ramananda Raya, the governor of Godavari province of the King of Odisha, Gajapati Prataprudra Dev. He was a disciple of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He recited his Brajabuli poems to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, when he first met him on the bank of river Godavari at Rajahmundry, southern provincial capital of Kingdom of Odisha in 1511–12. Other notable Odia poets influenced by Vidyapati's poems were Champati Ray and king Pratap Malla Dev (1504–32).

In popular culture[edit]

Pahari Sanyal played the role of Vidyapati in the 1937 film Vidyapati, which received a lot of appreciation. The film starred Prithviraj Kapoor as King Shiva Singha of Mithila.[11]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "The birth place of Vidyapati is Known to be Madhubani in Present day Bihar, India". Archived from the original on 23 December 2014.
  2. ^ "Archaelogist revealed Janakpur in Nepal as site of Vidyapati's death place". Archived from the original on 23 December 2014.
  3. ^ "Vidyapati second time exile in Nepal leaves back his death". Archived from the original on 31 January 2014.
  4. ^ "Vidyapati spent his life in exile to Nepal". Archived from the original on 31 January 2014.
  5. ^ Coomaraswamy 1915, p. v.
  6. ^ Bisfi.in Website Archived 2 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Birth place of Vidyapati Archived 18 August 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ Vidyapati Poetry, allpoetry.com
  9. ^ Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan.
  10. ^ Majumdar, Ramesh Chandra; Pusalker, A. D.; Majumdar, A. K., eds. (1960). The History and Culture of the Indian People. VI: The Delhi Sultanate. Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. p. 515. During the sixteenth century, a form of an artificial literary language became established ... It was the Brajabulī dialect ... Brajabulī is practically the Maithilī speech as current in Mithilā, modified in its forms to look like Bengali.
  11. ^ Chandra, Balakrishnan; Pali, Vijay Kumar. "100 Years of Bollywood - Vidyapati 1937". IndiaVideo.org. Invis Multimedia Pvt. Ltd. Archived from the original on 11 August 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2014.

Bibliography[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]