Born: 30 June 1911
Died: 5 November 1998
- He better known by his pen name Nagarjun, was a Hindi and Maithili poet who has also penned a number of novels, short stories, literary biographies and travelogues, and was known as Janakavi- the People’s Poet.
- He is regarded as the most prominent protagonist of modernity in Maithili.
- He started his literary career with Maithili poems by the pen-name of Yatri (यात्री) in the early 1930s.
- By the mid 1930s, he started writing poetry in Hindi.
- His first permanent job of a full-time teacher, took him to Saharanpur (Uttar Pradesh), though he didn’t stay there for long as his urge to delve deeper into Buddhist scriptures, took him to the Buddhist monastery at Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, where in 1935, he became a Buddhist monk, entered the monastery and studied the scriptures, just as his mentor, Rahul Sankrityayan had done earlier, and hence took upon the name “Nagarjun”.
- While at the monastery, he also studied Leninism and Marxism ideologies, before returning to India in 1938 to join ‘Summer School of Politics’ organised by noted peasant leader, Sahajanand Saraswati, founder of Kisan Sabha.
- A wanderer by nature, he spent a considerable amount of his time in the 1930s and the 1940s travelling across India.
- He also participated in many mass-awakening movements before and after independence.
- Between 1939 and 1942, He was jailed by the British courts for leading a farmer’s agitation in Bihar.
- For a long time after independence he was involved with journalism.
- He played an active role in Jayaprakash Narayan’s movement prior to the Emergency period (1975–1977), and therefore was jailed for eleven months, during the emergency period.
- He was strongly influenced by Leninist-Marxist ideology.
- This was one of the reasons that he never found patronage from the mainstream political establishments.
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June 30, 2019