Famous Hindi Poems #2

The 20th century saw Hindi literature move from regional dialects to standard Hindi as a result of path-breaking works by many well-known writers and poets. This series features some famous Hindi poems by the pioneers of this era. In this post – “Pushp ki Abhilasha” by Makhanlal Chaturvedi.

I stumbled across this gem while browsing the Net the other day. I remember reading it in one of my poetry collections when I was a lot younger than I am now. I glanced through my library shelves to locate it, but in vain. Maybe it went to visit someone and decided never to return; books do have this peculiar habit. Maybe it is hiding in some corner of my house, waiting for me to seek it.

At first look, “Pushp ki Abhilasha” is a fairly simple poem. A single thought expressed using simple words. And in this simplicity lies its beauty. The thought itself is very moving, and the poetry builds a very powerful image. That the poet could do this using such simple language is astonishing.

Pushp ki Abhilasha by Makhanlal Chaturvedi


चाह नहीं, मैं सुरबाला के
गहनों में गूँथा जाऊँ,

चाह नहीं प्रेमी-माला में बिंध
प्यारी को ललचाऊँ,

चाह नहीं सम्राटों के शव पर
हे हरि डाला जाऊँ,

चाह नहीं देवों के सिर पर
चढूँ भाग्य पर इठलाऊँ,

मुझे तोड़ लेना बनमाली,
उस पथ पर देना तुम फेंक!

मातृ-भूमि पर शीश- चढ़ाने,
जिस पथ पर जावें वीर अनेक!


बनमाली – (1) He who wears a garland of wild flowers, i.e. Krishna (2) Gardner


I do not desire to be braided into jewelry for a goddess
I do not desire to be woven into a garland to please a damsel
I do not desire, O Hari, to be scattered on bodies of emperors
I do not desire to be offered to gods, and be pleased at my fate
Pluck me, O Krishna, and throw me on that road
By which patriots travel to offer their lives in service of the country

About the Poet:

06. Makhanlal 3Born in Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh in 1889, Makhanlal Chaturvedi was a Hindi poet, writer, playwright and journalist. He was the editor of nationalist journals Prabha, Pratap and Karmaveer, and was repeatedly incarcerated for his participation in India’s freedom struggle.

He is regarded as one of the important figures of the Chhayavad movement, an era of Neo-romanticism in Hindi literature that is known for its leaning towards themes of love and nature. His poems are known for their nationalist emotions and themes of secretive love. He wrote under the nom de plume “Ek Bharatiya Atma” (i.e. An Indian Soul).

Makhanlal Chaturvedi was awarded the first Sahitya Akademi Award, and also the Padma Bhushan. He passed away in 1968.

Interested in more information on any of the above topics? Please comment on this post, and I will try to write about them soon.


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