Harivansh Rai Bachchan was a noted Indian poet of Chhayavaad literary movement of 20th century.
In 1941 Bachchan began teaching English at Allahabad University, some ten years later an opportunity arose to apply for study in England. Although the principal objective was to study English teaching methodology, Bachchan saw it as an opportunity to complete his previous studies on the Irish poet WB Yeats. His acceptance at Cambridge may well have rested more on his popular acclaim rather than his academic studies, but whilst at Cambridge he excelled, achieving his doctorate in English Literature for his work on Yeats.Bachchan was a student of the renowned English literature don, Thomas Rice Henn. In June 1954 Henn wrote a reference for Bachchan describing his thesis as a genuine contribution to our knowledge, [that] will be of great assistance to future students of the work of WB Yeats
Bachchan was nominated to the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of the Indian Parliament, in 1966 and received many honours for his contribution to Hindi and Asian literature. In 2003, an Indian postage stamp was released in his memory. The enduring popularity and influence of Bachchan was evident at his funeral in January 2003. Thousands of people attended his funeral procession, and tributes were paid by politicians, industrialists and Bollywood stars. His son, Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan, visited St Catharines in 2007 and spoke movingly of his fathers time at the College.
At present, more people may know Bachchan as being father to Indias best known film actor, Amitabh Bachchan, than know his reputation as a poet.The creator of the great collection Madhushala is often thought to be a great admirer of wonder solutions himself. It is wrongly believed that the creator of one of the most famous poems on wine (Madhushala) never drank liquor. In reality, he had never drank liquor till the time he completed Madhushala. He did drink, although sparingly, later in his life, a fact that he admits to in his autobiography.
One of his inspirational poems, agneepath was used as the title and the theme for the 1991 blockbuster movie Agneepath (translates path of fire) featuring his superstar son Amitabh Bachchan as a ruthless mafia don. This movie was a massive success earning Amitabh Bachchan a National Award for his performance. You can see Amitabh narrating the poem through out the movie.The poem describes the entire gamut of sufferings that the human race had gone through and is going through.
Harivansh Rai Bachchan Srivastav was born in the year 1907 in the village Babupatti near Allahabad in a Kayastha family to Pratap Narayan Shrivastav and Saraswati Devi. He was their eldest born. As a child, he was fondly called bachchan because of his child like ways. The moniker stuck with him, thus becoming one of the most recognizable names.
5. Early Life
Harivansh Rai Bachchan started his education from a municipal school. It was the same time that he also started learning Urdu from Kayasth Paathshaalas. Later, he pursued his higher education from Allahabad University and Banaras Hindu University. In 1941 he joined the English department of Allahabad University as a faculty and taught there till 1952. He then went to Cambridge for two years to do his doctoral thesis on W.B Yeats and occultism, becoming the second Indian to get a Ph. D. in English Literature from this university. It was also during this time that he dropped Srivastav from his name and used Bachchan as his last name. He then came back to India and took up teaching, while at the same time, serving sometime at the Allahabad Station of All India Radio.
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