Harivansh Rai Bachchan Poems

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Harivansh Rai Bachchan
Harivanshrai "Bachchan" Srivastav (November 27, 1907 - January 18, 2003) was a distinguished Hindi poet, perhaps best known for his early work Madhushala. He is also the father of Bollywood film superstar, Amitabh Bachchan. He was born as Harivanshrai Srivastav into a U.P. Kayasth family on November 27, at a small village (of Patti, in district of Pratapgarh,U.P.) near Allahabad in the United Provinces (modern Uttar Pradesh).He was called "bachchan" (meaning 'child') at home. He received his formal schooling in a municipal school and followed the family tradition of attending Kayasth Paathshaalas to learn Urdu as the first step to a career in law. He later studied at the Allahabad University and Banaras Hindu University. In this period, he came under the influence of the independence movement, then under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. In 1926, at the age of 19, Bachchan married his first wife, Shyama, who was then 14 years old. However she died ten years later in 1936 after a long spell of TB at just 24 years of age. Bachchan married his second wife, Teji Suri, a Sikh, in 1941. The marriage produced two sons, Amitabh and Ajitabh. From 1941 to 1952 he taught English at Allahabad University and then spent two years at Cambridge University, at St Catharine's College, Cambridge. There he studied with the famous English literature don, Thomas Rice Henn, and received a doctorate in English Literature for his work on the Irish poet W.B. Yeats. It was then that he used 'Bachchan' as his last name instead of Srivastav. Bachchan was the second Indian to get his doctorate in English literature from Cambridge University. Returning to India, he taught briefly and then worked as a producer for All India Radio, Allahabad. In 1955, Harivanshrai moved to Delhi to join the Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India and there he was closely involved with the evolution of Hindi as the official language of the nation. Bachchan used to introduce himself as Mitti ka tan, masti ka man, kshan-bhar jivan ó mera parichay. (A body of clay, a mind full of play, a momentís life - that is me). Harivanshrai Bachchan died on January 18, 2003, at the age of 95, as a result of various respiratory ailments.

madhushala (the tavern)
Seeking wine, the drinker leaves home for the tavern.
Perplexed, he asks, "Which path will take... [read poem]
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