Google doodle celebrates Jnanpith Award-winning poet Mahadevi Varma

NEW DELHI: Google Doodle on Friday celebrated Mahadevi Varma, a Jnanpith Award-winning Hindi poet, freedom fighter and champion of women's rights.

Widely regarded as the "modern Meera", Varma was born on March 26, 1907, in Farukhabad, to what she later described as a "reltively liberal family". However, her parents married her off at the age of 9, though she continued to live in Allahabad to complete her education while her husband stayed in Lucknow.

It was Varma's mother who inspired her to write in Hindi and Sanskrit. As a young woman, she penned her first verses in secret -- only to be discovered by her friend Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, who also went on to become a well-known poet.

Varma is counted among the four proponents of the Chhayavad movement in Hindi poetry. Her written works often centered on the experience of being a woman. Her feminist writing appeared in magazines and books, and her collection of short stories, 'Sketches from My Past', portrays the women she encountered while principal of an all-girls school.

While she was a firm advocate of women's rights, Varma also explored the topics of tradition and the past with great fondness.

She received the Jnanpith Award on this date in 1982 for her immense contribution to Indian literature. She was also honoured with Padma Bhushan in 1956, Sahitya Akademi Fellowship in 1979, and Padma Vibhushan in 1988.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)

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