ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Western Influences in ‘Agyeya’s’ Shekhar Ek Jeevani

S H Vatsyayan “Agyeya,” a pioneer in introducing modern sensibility to post-Chhayawadi Hindi literature, is heavily influenced by Western literary aesthetics, fiction, poetry, and ideology. In his first and most famous novel Shekhar Ek Jeevani (Shekhar: A Biography) the influence of the West is sufficiently evident. The shades, contradictions, and enrichment that is born from this literary union are explored. Also examined is whether the influence of the West on Agyeya leads to assimilation into the mainstream Hindi novel writing, or if this venture by the author leads to a separate/parallel stream created by subverting the former.

Sachchidananda Hirananda Vatsyayan “Agyeya” (1911–87), a pioneer among Indian writers who introduced modern sensibility to post-Chhayawadi Hindi literature (1936 onwards), is deeply influenced by Western literary aesthetics, novels, poetry, and ideology. In his first and most famous novel Shekhar Ek Jeevani (Shekhar: A Biography) the influence of the West is sufficiently evident. Shekhar Ek Jeevani is not a complete novel, its two parts (PartI in 1941; Part II in 1944) being parts of a trilogy whose third part, according to the author, was apparently composed but never published. Thanks to certain climactic episodes which are “pre-viewed” in the “Pravesh” section (a kind of prelude) by the execution-awaiting hero, one can roughly visualise the pattern that would follow in the third part.

When Agyeya, the prominent Hindi writer, reveals such an acute and multi-layered consciousness of the Western influence in his writing process, it leads to various possibilities. In this article I have made an attempt to explore the shades, contradictions, and enrichment that is born from this literary union. I have also examined whether the influence of the West on Shekhar Ek Jeevani leads to assimilation into mainstream Hindi novel writing, or if this venture by the author leads to a separate/parallel stream created by subverting the former.

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Updated On : 23rd Jul, 2018

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