1 September 1926|
Borunda, Jodhpur State, British India
(now in Rajasthan, India)
10 November 2013 (aged 87)|
Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India
|Genre||fiction, satirist, folk-lore|
|Subject||socialist, anti-feudal, feminist|
|Children||Kailash Kabir,Premdan,Late Shri Satyadev,Mahendra Detha|
Vijaydan Detha (1 September 1926 – 10 November 2013), also known as Bijji, was a noted writer from Rajasthan and a recipient of the Padma Shri award. He was also recipient of several other awards such as the Sahitya Akademi Award.
He has more than 800 short stories to his credit, which are translated into English and other languages. He was co-founder of Rupayan Sansthan with late Komal Kothari, an institute that documents Rajasthani folk-lore, arts and music. His literary works include Bataan ri Phulwari (garden of tales), a fourteen volume collection of stories that draws on folk-lore and spoken dialects of Rajasthan. His stories and novels have been adapted for many plays and movies including Habib Tanvir's Charandas Chor, Prakash Jha's Parinati, Amol Palekar's Paheli, and Duvidha by Mani Kaul.
Vijaydan Detha hails from charan caste. His father Sabaldan Detha and grandfather Jugtidan Detha were also well-known poets of Rajasthan. Detha lost his father and two brothers in a feud when he was four years old. At the age of six he moved to Jaitaran (25 km from Borunda) where his brother Sumerdan used to work in a civil court. He studied there till class IV. His brother had a transferable job, hence Vijaydan had to move with him. Vijaydan studied in Bihar and Barmer. Detha in his school years was poor at English. In Barmer, while competing with another student Narsingh Rajpurohit, he realised that he wants to be a writer. His brother then transferred to Jodhpur where Detha studied in Durbar School.
Vijaydan Detha considers Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay as his first inspiration. He is equally passionate about Chekhov. In the beginning he was critical of Tagore but changed his mind after reading Tagore's Stripatra.
Detha joined college in 1944, by that time he had already established his name in poetry, however credits his success to his cousin brother Kuberdan Detha, who had left school after standard X. Vijaydan says he used to pass off his cousins poems as his, and the appreciation he received for those poems made him want to establish his own name as a writer.
One of his first books to create a storm was Bapu Ke Teen Hatyare. The book is a critique of the work of Harivanshrai Bachchan, Sumitranandan Pant and Narendra Sharma. The trio brought out books about Gandhi within two months of Gandhi's death.
— Vijaydan Detha, Bapu Ke Teen Hatyare
In 1950–52, Detha read and was inspired by 19th Century Russian literature. That is when he thought: "If you do not want to be a mediocre writer, you should return to your village and write in Rajasthani." By that time he had already written 1300 poems and 300 short stories. In 1973, renowned filmmaker Mani Kaul, directed ' Duvidha', based on Bijji's story' duvidha'. The film was appreciated all over the world. Much of it was shot in his village Borunda in Jodhpur district. Later, Amol Palekar directed 'paheli' based on the same story, starring Shah Rukh Khan. "Paheli' was also India's official entry to the Academy Awards. Prakah Jha made' Parinati', a wonderful film based on Bijji's story. Habib Tanvir, adapted Bijji's story into one of his most acclaimed plays 'Charandas Chor', the same was converted into a film by Shyam Benegal. Bijji's stories have been converted into various films and dramas all over. Talking to Mahendra Lalas in India Today, he said,' My land ( Rajasthan) is full of stories, whatever I've written is just a drop of the ocean. Bijji, was inspired by Shah govradhan Lal Kabra to write in Rajasthani' till date I have not written in any other language, he says regarding his immense love for the language. His favourite authors include Sharat Chandra Chattopadhya, Anton Chekhov and Rabindranath Tagore. Bijji has always portrayed the sufferings of the poor in his writings,' he is one of the finest authors, the world has ever produced, says Professor Gopal bharadwaj, former head of Sociology department of Jai Narayan vyas university, Jodhpur. Bijji was also tipped for the Nobel prize for literature in 2011 which ultimately went to Tomas Tranströmer Bijji was awarded rao Siha award by Mehrangarh Museum trust on 24 November 2011. Vijay dan detha has four sons and a daughter.
Due to respect for his mother tongue Rajasthani,'Bijji' has never written in any other language, most of his works are translated into Hindi by one of his sons Kailash Kabeer.
- Usha, 1946, poetry
- Bapu ke teen hatyare, 1948, critics
- Column in Jwala Weekly, 1949–1952
- Sahitya aur samaj, 1960, essays
- Anokha Ped, illustrated children's stories, 1968
- Phoolwari, Hindi translation by Kailash Kabir, 1992
- Chaudharain Ki Chaturai, short stories, 1996
- Antaral, 1997, short stories
- Sapan Priya, 1997, short stories
- Mero Darad Na Jane Koy, 1997, essays
- Atirikta, 1997, critics
- Mahamilan, novel, 1998
- Priya Mrinal, short stories, 1998
- Batan Ri Phulwari, vol. 1–14, 1960–1975, folk lores
- Prerana co-edited with Komal Kothari, 1953
- Soratha, 1956–1958
- Parampara , edited three special issues – Folk songs, Gora Hatja, Jethava Ra
- Rajasthani Lokgeet, folk songs of Rajasthan, six volumes, 1958
- Tido Rao, first pocket book in Rajasthani, 1965
- Uljhan,1984, novel
- Alekhun Hitler, 1984, short stories
- Roonkh, 1987
- Kaboo Rani, 1989, children's stories
Detha also been credited for editing following works 
- Complete work of Ganeshi Lal Vyas for Sahitya Akademi
- Rajasthani-Hindi Kahawat Kosh
Awards and honours
- Sahitya Akademi Award for Rajasthani in 1974 
- Bhartiya Bhasa Parishad Award in 1992 
- Marudhara Puraskar in 1995
- Bihari Puraskar in 2002 
- Sahitya Chudamani Award in 2006
- Padmashri in 2007
- Rao Siha award 2011 by mehrangarh museum trust.
- Rajasthan Ratna award in 2012
- "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 November 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 September 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2011.
- Who's who of Indian writers 1999
- Interview on Tehelka
- Indian National Portal, Govt. of India
- Padmanabhan, Chitra (21 January 2006). "The English Adversary". Tehelka. Archived from the original (asp) on 11 November 2007.
- Dutt, Kartik Chandra (1999). Who's Who of Indian Writers. India: Sahitya Akademi. pp. 317–318. ISBN 81-260-0873-3.
- "Padma Shri Award". National Portal of India, Govt. of India. Archived from the original on 29 April 2012. Retrieved 5 December 2007.
- "Biodata – Vijaydan Detha". Shree Sabal Woman Teacher's Training College, Borunda, Jodhpur. 15 October 2007. Archived from the original on 10 December 2007. Retrieved 10 December 2007.