Wednesday 24 August 2022

Narmad's Contribution : A Critical Study


In 1947, India became free from colonial power. To make their nation free, the efforts were done from entire country. In Pre-independent period, Aurbindo, Vivekanand, Bhartendu, Narmad and many among the others had vision and dream for their nation. These all were aware about the reasons of darkness prevailing in the contemporary society. They all made efforts their best to light the society by their intellectuality and literary outputs. These scholars were conscious about the glory as well as golden past of India too. The chief aim of these people was 'victory over slavery' here slavery means both, to make India free from colonial power and shedding off old shackles of social evils from the inner states of mind of the people of India. These scholars, who came from every part of India of this time, took such task as challenge to give their nation new outlook from every dimension like political, social, moral, cultural, literary etc with their every possible effort.

In the nineteenth century, Narmad, Durgaram, Karsandas Mulji, Ranchhodbhai, Navalram, Dalpatram, Mahipatram, Rupram, Nandshankar, Bholanath, Sarabhai are considered outstanding literary figures in Indian literature of Gujarati language. In the time of Indian Renaissance, like in other parts of the country, the changes wave evident in Gujarat too. In 1825, Ranchhodbhai supported in situating "Native Education Society "in Bharuch. The "Elphinstion Institution" also situated in 1827. Such institutions including "Budhivardhak Sabha" and "Gujarat vernacular society" were inspired to scholars to think broad and universal. K.M. Munshi points out;

It saw the high water mark of fascination for all things western and contempt for many things Indian. It gave birth to renaissance in literature; to a new language and a literary techinque and tradition based on the Romanticism which dominated English literature in the first half of the nineteenth century. " (Munshi)

Narmadashankar Lalshankar (24 August 1833-1886), the father of modern Gujarati prose, is one of the most prominent Indian writers of Gujarati language. He is also considered as father of modern Gujarati prose. Kanaiyalal Munshi called him "First in modern", Sundaram called him "Pranvanto Purvaj". Narmad who studied in Elphinstone Institution in Bombay was not only great writer but also a good reader and observer. He read many European and world's the best writer. Gujarat was completely under colonial rule by the second decade of the nineteenth century. However it is true that Narmad was attracted towards system of the Britishers but Mahavirsinh Chauhan makes clear this issue. He writes;

"....... Narmad, who all his life worked for the nationalist revival and vigorously opposed the English rule paradoxically could not remain unaffected from this trend and praised the British. It is not that the poets of Gujarati alone felt this dilemma. The Hindi poets of that Age too suffered from the same state of mind."(Chauhan)


Narmad's voice and vision echoed renaissance spirit. He was unsatisfied with the social situation of his country and countryman. He was ashamed about what they lost. He had vision for India and he gave words to his vision. Pramod K.Patel writes;

"Narmda had a vision of his country becoming politically independent. But a strong strain in his writings has always been to make others understand what a variety political independence is to achieve this people have to unshackle themselves of all social hindrances and obstacles." (Patel)

Both in his prose and his poetry Narmad was able to express his vision. In his words we can imagine his patriotism. Narmad's patriotism has two aspects - one is criticism of the British rule and the other is laying emphasis on national unity. In 1864 He wrote "Hinduo-ni-padati", The down fall of Hindus." He writes in it.

"Low, indeed, has she fallen, this motherland of Hindus, she has Lost all power. In shame, she hags down her head".(Narmad)

Narmad gave the importance of patriotism in his poem too. As he writes;

"where has gone the love we bore it? And where, the pride we felt in it? A country will never rise without Patriotism; without it, it is but a wilderness, frightful and devouring; people have no political unity; the bond of the cast divide them. They are in the very Jaws of the Tiger".(Narmad)

Narmad narrated that why one should has the proud of one's nation and importance of unity among countryman in the following lines which depicts his national consciousness and patriotism:

"One's proud of nation create unity among the people of country. Strength increase by unity, and by strength the enemy can be defeated and country gets fame...."(Narmad)

Narmad called "Proud of nation" to the freedom fighters. He writes;

"Tatya tope who intimated and drove out the Britishers is known far and wide, valiant and chivalrous, Rani of Jhansi, I can lay down my life for you, you have made the Hindus proud."(Narmad)

Narmad knew that one language of all nation is needed for national unity. As he points out;

"Script of language should Devnagri so the people of entire country can read the books. The scripts of Hindi and Marathi languages are Devnagari while the scripts of Gujarati and Bengoli Should be the same for countrymen. Hindi, which is easy to understand everywhere, everyone should learn to read and to write" (Narmad)

However Narmad wrote in Gujarati language but his writings address to entire nation, beyond the boundaries of languages. As Mansukhlal Zaveri remarks;

"It is pertinent to note that Narmad's India is exclusively a Hindu India. He therefore exfols the glory of the Hidnu as the glory of India, and holds the flwas in the character of the Hindus and their socio-economic inequities responsible for the decline and degeneration of India".(Zaveri)


In September 1864, Narmad and his friends, Girdharilal, Nagindas, Keshavlal, Shridhar, Thakordas started bi-monthly Journal "Dandio" It was their action for awaking the contemporory society from the grass-roots to upper class. It became popular in very short time. This was started from 1, September 1864 and came to and end almost 15, December 1869, the chief aim of "Dandio" was to bring social reform from superstitions and myth about age old traditions. Munshi writes about "Dandio":

"………..through his Journal, "Dandio", The town crier, Narmad poured a stream of lava, burning or scorching all things rooted in convention"(Munshi)

Narmad and his friends chiefly aimed to expose crimes and scandals of white color people and to bring national harmony and rise of patriotism among people, who were illiterate and ignorant. Narmad and his group wanted to show to the people about what was actually and exactly happening in the society through this journal. The journal was not only for crimes and criminals, but also published useful things, world's new thoughts. Many points were discussed like "What is happiness" and many among the others. It worked like alarm for people who were not on right way. Between many difficulties and oppositions, Narmad proves his achievement. No one was given forgiveness of their crimes. The articles which were published with proofs. Vijayroy Vaid says it "Ghulam Prajanu Azad patra". "Dandio" was as popular as "Shatpatra" (1849) in Maharashtra by Gopal Hari Deshmukh and in Uttar Pradesh Raja Shiv prasad's "Banaras Akhbar". "Dandio" was successful achievement of Narmad. A.K.Singh rightly observes;

" The news papers, magazines, journals like kavi vachan sudha in Hindi, Dandio in Gujarati or keral patrika in Malayalam played their pivotal roles in resisting colonization, reclaiming India's past, reforming the society and even imagining the community or country"(Singh)


Narmad made up his mind to remove all nuisances from society like belief in ghost, sati tradition, remarriage, child marriage and untouched ability. Narmad had voiced for rights of women too. These nuisances were also existence in first half of twentieth century which can be reflected in the work of Raja Rao, Premchand, M.K.Gandhi and many more but in nineteenth century it was Narmad and his contemporaries who saw and recognized these nuisances and tried to remove it from society with its roots for making healthy society. To eradicate the old tradition, Narmad married a widow. This problem was deeply rooted in Indian society during colonial and pre-colonial period and also took a more time to free the society but Narmad set a new example and accepted all challenges. Premchand, a well known Indian writer of Hindi language, gave a picture of such typical Indian traditions in his novels and stories including "Godan"(1936). Narmad was rebel by nature and he was a man of action as Mahavirsing chauhan observes;

"The most powerful and impressive poetry imbued with national consciousness is seen in Narmad. A crusader against social conventions and religious superstitions, Narmad was by nature a rebeal. He showed his rebellious disposition in both social and political spheres."(Chauhan)

Narmad dreamt for India and Indians. He accepted new things from everywhere. In his vision and voice we realize his national consciousness and the spirit of renaissance. He tried to make every Indian the person of world with broad world views. The ideas of Narmad were followed by many outstanding literary figures of India. Narmad and his friends tried all to make their country "The Great" and they success in their target. They could not change all things the way they wanted to but their reformation did occur after initial slow pace.

Narmad contributed largely to bring in national awareness by addressing regional issues, Narmad, ideal for youth has given priceless contribution in Indian literature and he also succeeded to give words to his vision and views. The period in which he lived was named after him "The Narmad Age" in Gujarati literature.

Reference :::

  1. Kanaiyalal Munshi, Gujarat and it's literature, Bhartiya vidya Bhavan, 1967, P147
  2. Mahavirsinh Chauhan, "National Consiciousness in Gujarati poetry", Eds, A.K.Singh, Indian Renassance literature, cerative Books, New-Delhi, P.-129
  3. Pramod K.Patel, "Indian Renaissance and its various facts with special Reference to Gujarati literature."
  4. Mahavirsinh Chauhan, "National consciousness in Gujarati poetry", Eds, A.K.Singh, Indian Renaissance literature, creative Books, New - Delhi, P-133
  5. Narmad, "Hindu-ni-Padati, Narm Kavita-2, Kavi Narmad Yagavat Trust, 1997, Surat, P-88
  6. Narmad, "Swadesjabhiman", "Narm gadya, Kavi Narmad Yugavat Trust, Surat. P-25
  7. Narmad, Narmakavita, p-362
  8. Narmad, "Gujaratni sthiti" Narmagdya P.67
  9. Narmad, Narmakavita P-364
  10. Narmad, "Aapni Desh Janta", Narmgadya-2 p.41
  11. Mansukhlal Zavari, "History of Gujarati literature, Sahitya Akademi, New-Delhi, P-80
  12. Kanaiyalal Munshi, Gujarat and it's literature, P-150
  13. A.K.Singh, "Preface", Indian Renaissance literature, Eds,A.K.Singh Creative Books, New-Delhi P.26
  14. Mahavirsinh Chauhan, "National consciousness in Gujarati poetry", P-132-133
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