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Balkrishna Bhatt

Balkrishna Bhatt (1844 – 1914), Hindi prose writer and journalist, was born on July 3 in Prayagraj of a Malaviya family. Bhatt’s childhood was spent at him maternal grandparents’ house, where he studied Sanskrit. Later, he went to a missionary school where he learnt English. At home he learnt both Persian and Bengali. He started teaching in missionary school, but soon resigned. Her taught Sanskrit at CAV School, Allahabad, and at Kayastha Pathshala Inter College, but later got involved in political controversies and resigned from the college in order to devote himself fully to writing.

Balkrishna Bhatt was greatly influenced by the writings of Bharatendu Harishchandra, the pioneer Hindi brought out of a monthly paper Hindi Pradipa on behalf of Hindi Vardhini Sabha. In these 33 years as editor of Hindi Pradipa, he faced several financial and administrative hurdles imposed by the British government. He prepared an exhaustive Hindi dictionary called Hindi Sabdasagara. Through all his writings, he promoted both the cause of national resurgence and Hindi literature and language, opposing what he felt to be mental slavery to the West.

The writings of Balkrishna Bhatt reflect the political turmoil of his times. At a time when khari boli (base dialect of modern spoken Hindi) was in its infancy, writers like him helped to make it a literary medium in the entire Hindi belt. His works include novels such as Nutana Brahmachari (1886) and Sau Ajana Ek Sujan (1890), but novel writing was not his forte. He was at his best in his essays and journalistic writing. He wrote some plays dealing with Hindu stories and semi historical themes. Some of these are – Padmavati, Chandrasena, Kiratarjuniya, Prithucarita, Shishupala Vadha, Vrihannala, Nala Damayanti, Sita Vanavasa and Meghanada Vadha.