Visual Friday: Writers of India – Anita Desai

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India Public Domain 2018: 17 Indian authors whose works entered public domain in 2018

We have a tradition at Over the years  (2012,20132014, 20152016, 2017), we have compiled a list of Indian authors whose work has entered public domain at the beginning of this year. The criteria for this year’s names is that the author died in the calendar year 1957 and the work was published before his death. In case the work was published after the author’s death, it will only come out of copyright after 60 years from the date of publication.

We have collected the data from various sources including Wikipedia and other online sources, some which we will be linking here. The information provided is not foolproof, so if you notice any errors or are aware of other writers who died in 1957 and whose names have not been mentioned here, please let us know.

When an author enters public domain, it means that most of his works are now free to be republished, translated, and converted to different formats. This way the long-gone author breathes life again and gains new readership. Help us in our quest to conserve our rich literary culture.

Bhai Vir Singh (1872-1957)

This distinguished Punjabi poet is considered as the orchestrator of the Sikh literary Renaissance. He dabbled with lyrics when he was young and went on to invest his energies in pamphleteering. His work is a treatise on renunciation, piety and sacrifice. Rana Surat Singh is a famous poem he composed. Vir Singh played an important part in the renewal of Punjabi literary tradition by merging it with ideas he picked up from English. Some of his major creative works such as Sri Guru Nanak Chamatkar and Sri Guru Kalgidhar Chamatkar were originally serialized. He was an exponent of the romance and philosophy; some of his books are SundariBijay SinghSatwant KaurSubhagji da Sudhar Hathin Baba Naudh Singh. He also dabbled in shorter poems and lyrics. He was honored with the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1955 and the Padma Bhushan Award in 1956. More about this prolific writer and creator of The Punjab & Sind Bank here.

Aleixo Clemente Messias Gomes (1873-1957)

Better known as Prof. Messias Gomes, this secondary school teacher, writer and Goan journalist was the author of several works on historical themes and co-founder of the daily O Heraldo, the first daily to be published in Portuguese India. More here.

Brajendra Kishore Roy Chowdhury  (1874-1957)

This Zamindar was a patron of the Indian national education movement and was also a renowned classical music maestro who hailed from Gouripur, Bengal. Marxism and the Indian Ideal and Indian Music & Mian Tansen are two books by him.

Jagadish Gupta (1886-1957)

An Indian poet, novelist and short story writer, Jagadish Gupta was one of the major exponents of modern Bengali literature. His style was original and he dealt with realistic and psychological themes. His stories and poems had been published in periodicals like BharatiBijoliUttaraKali-Kalam, Prabasi, Bharatbarsha, Sonar Bangla and Kallol. Some of his other notable works include Asadhu SiddharthaKashyap o Surabhi, BinodiniUdaylekhaMeghabrito AshaniDulaler DolaNishedher PatabhumikayLoghu Guru, etc. In 1954, the Government of India granted him a ‘Distinguished Man of Letters Allowance’. Read this.

S Shripad Mahadev Mate (1886-1957)

Mate was was a Marathi writer, educator and a social reformer from Maharashtra, India. The Dalits dubbed him Mahaar Mate as he worked against caste discrimination. Some of his works include Rasvanthichi Janm KathaSanth-Panth-ThanthUpekshithanche AntarangParasuram Charitra, etc. More details here.

Karmegha Konar (1889-1957)

Also known as Chennaa Pulavar, Konar was a popular Tamil poet and educator. He was the Chairman of the Tamil department at The American College in Madurai.

Narahari Dvarkadas Parikh (1891-1957)

Parikh was a writer, Indian independence activist and social reformer from Gujarat, India. Influenced by Mahatma Gandhi, he was associated with Gandhian institutes throughout his life. He wrote biographies like Mahadevbhainu Purvacharit on Mahadev Desai, Sardar Vallabhbhai Part 1-2 on Vallabhbhai Patel and Shreyarthini Sadhana on Kishorelal Mashruwal. He also edited works of his associates and translated some works. Manav Arthshastra is his work on human economics. His writings on economics education, politics and Gandhian thought include Manav Arthshastra, Samyavad and SarvodayVardha Kelvanino PrayogYantrani and Maryada, etc. Read more about him here.

Venkata Krishna Rao, Bhavaraju (1895- 1957)

He studied law, was the founder-secretary of the Andhra Historical Research Society and edited its journal. He organized the 900th celebration of the coronation of the King Raja Raja Narendra, patron of Telugu’s best adikavi. His publications include History of the Early Dynasties of the Andhradeshas (200-625 AD) and a sequel of this work called History of the Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi, which was posthumously published by the Andhra Pradesh Sahitya Akademi. He wrote numerous historical monographs in Telugu including Rajaraja NarendraduPrachina Andhranauka JivanamuAndhradeshamuvidesha Yatrikulu. Some of his historically themed stories have been published in the Telugu journals of the time. Read an encyclopedic entry on him here.

Nanduri Venkata Subba Rao (1895–1957)

This famous Telugu poet who practised law was the author of the famous work Yenki Patalu (an anthology of songs on a woman called Yenki) that ended up influencing eminent writers and thinkers like Adavi Bapiraju, Sri Sri, Chalam, Devulapalli and Krishna Sastry. More here.

Ram Babu Saxena (1897-1957)

This polyglot civil servant from Uttar Pradesh was learned in English, Persian and Urdu literature. He wrote a book in English called Modern Urdu Poetry. Only the Urdu translation of his work History of Literature by Muhammad Askari is available.

Bose Sunirmal (1902-1957)

He was a pioneer of Bengali juvenile literature, his output consisting of poetry, rhymes, stories, drama, and travelogues. He wrote prolifically in journals of the time like PrabasiSandeshRamdhanuAlpanaKishorAsia, etc.  Some of his books are ChhanabadaBade MajaHai ChaiMarener DakSahure, etc.

J. Friend-Pereira  (1907-1957)

He was an Anglo-Indian academic and author.  Some of his poetry publications include Mind’s Mirror. He contributed to journals in India like the Modern Review and the New Review, besides translating works on the Islamic philosopher Avicenna as well as poetry from French and Latin.

Bhuvaneshwar (1910-1957)

He was a pioneer of the western style one-act play in Hindi and was heavily influenced by Ibsen, Shaw, Lawrence, Freud.  His first piece Shyama (Ek Vaivahik Vidambana) was published in 1933. Some of his works includShaitan,  Ek SamyahinSamyavadiPratibha ka vivaahRahsya romanch. He also wrote plays that dealt with other dimensions besides relationships such as MrityuHum Akele Nahin HeySava Ath BajeStrikeUsar, Roshni aur AagKathputlian, Photographer ke SaamneTambe ke KireItihaas ke kenchul, etc. His plays including Azadi ki NinuJerusalemSikandarAkbar, and Chengiz Khan have also dealt with historical themes.

Mahadevan or Devan (1913-1957)

Devan is a popular Tamil writer, a veteran Charles Dickens of the south, known for his witty and humorous stories. He worked as a teacher and also as a sub-editor at Ananda Vikatan That way Devan resembled Charles Dickens. He explored various genres of writing including the short story, novel, travelogue, drama and reporting. One of his novels, Justice Jagannathan has been translated into English. Some of his novels are MythiliMalathiCID Chandru, etc. Unlike other authors, there are various commentaries on this author. Check out the wiki entry.

Bakulesh (1919-1957)

Bakulesh is the pen name of Ramji Arjun Gajkandh. Born in a Gujarati Kutchhi family, this journalist and writer composed stories about the common man. His style has been described as poetic and down to earth. Recently a collection of his short stories called Bakuleshni Vartso was published.  Other works include Kharan Pani and Kadavnan Kanku.

Krishan Nair (?-1957)

He was a Malayalam scholar and critic and author of Kavya Jivitha Vrtti(vols 1& 2), a treatise on Indian poetics and commentaries of attakathas.

Lala Laxman (?- 1957)

This satirist was inspired by the writer and satirist Habibullah. His compositions have the element of Shahrashob (which is an Urdu genre of writing that deals with unrest for socio-political reasons and is a kind of lamentation for urbanity).


India Public Domain 2017: 18 Indian authors whose works entered public domain in 2017

In keeping with our tradition (2012,20132014, 2015, 2016), we have compiled a list of Indian authors whose work has entered the public domain at the beginning of this year. The criteria for a particular work to enter public domain this year is for the author to have died in the calendar year 1956 and the work to have been published before his death. If the work has been published after the author’s death, it will only come out of copyright after 60 years from the date of publication.

We collected the data from various sources including Wikipedia, books on the history of Indian literature (brought out by the Sahitya Akademi) and other online sources. While the sources for individual photos and pieces of information have not been attributed, we would like to acknowledge all these sources here. Many of the sources are linked below.

There are bound to be mistakes in this data. So please point out anything you notice. If you know of more Indian authors who died in 1955 and hence have entered public domain this year, do let us know and we will add it to the list for your reference.

Why should you as a writer or someone who loves books care? An author entering public domain means that most of his works are now free to be republished, translated, and converted to different formats and introduced to a new audience in any way you can imagine. It is possible to digitize these works and conserve them forever. So dig into the list and find some gems. And when you find one, let the whole world know.

Dakshinaranjan Mitra Majumder  (1877–1956)

He was a celebrated Indian writer in Bengali of fairy tales and children’s literature. His major contribution to Bengali literature was the collection and compilation of Bengali folk and fairy tales in four volumes – Thakurmar Jhuli (Grandmother’s Bag of Tales), Thakurdadar Jhuli (Grandfather’s Bag of Tales), Thandidir Thale (Maternal-Grandmother’s Bag of Tales) and Dadamashayer Thale (Maternal-Grandfather’s Bag of Tales).

Amarlal Hingorani (1907-1956)

A Sindh short story writer known for his realistic portrayal of characters. His famous story is ‘Ado Abdul Rehman’ which was included by the UNESCO on one of its publications.

Anantram Kandukuri (Karuna Kumara) (1901-1956)

A famous Telugu writer of short stories, first to treat rural life as themes. He was also an actor of mythological roles.

Bal Sitaram Mardhekar (1909 – 1956)

B.S. Mardhekar was a writer-poet, critic and novelist who is also known as the Father of Modernism in Marathi poetry. Born in Maharashtra, he studied in Pune and London, and worked at All India Radio. His earlier collection of poems, Shishiragam, was a product of Ravi Kiran Mandal poetry which was sentimental and lyrical. But his later avant-garde poetry altered his reputation. Works by him include Anakhi Kahi Kavita, and novels like Pani and Ratrica Divas. Mardhekar was influenced by Marathi bhakti poetry, the poetry of T. S. Eliot and W. H. Auden.

Baishnaba Pani (1882–1956)

He was an Odia jatra writer and arranger. He incorporated mythology and contemporaray issues in his fiction. He is credited with writing 600 works, including 150 yatras, 19 farces, 65 anthologies of lyrics, etc.

 Har Datt Sharma (1890-1956)

A Dogri poet, author of Dogri Bhajanmala (1936).

Makhmur Dihlavi, Fazl-I Ilahi (1900-1956)

A well-known Urdu poet, his famous work is Kulliyat-I Makhmur.

manik_bandopadhyayManik Bandyopadhyay (1908-1956)

One of the major Bengali novelists and short story writers, he produced 36 novels and 177 short stories in his short lifespan. His earliest works reflect the impact of Freudian ideology. When he became a Communist, the sentiment reflected in his writing. His works include Putul Nacer Itikatha (1936), Padmanadir Majhi (1936), Jiyanta(1950), and Sahartali.


Mohammad Mobin (pseudonym Kaifi Chiryakoti) (1890-1956)

His important work is Jayahiri-I sukhan, va’ni, Urdu shu’ara ke kalam ka intikhab (4 volumes-1935-1939), a selection of poems by various poets. His own poems were collected in Parah hai Jigar and Nashter-i-gham (1927).

Munsif Nachiket Drupadlal (pseudonym Ketan Munsi) (1930-1956)

A Gujarati short story writer, some of whose works are Andhari Rate (1952) and Svapnano Bhangar (1953).

Pandit Godavarish Misra (1886-1956)

A major Oriya poet, dramatist and novelist, he wrote a number of ballads and lyrical poems. Although he belonged to a conservative Brahmin family, Mishra was a socialist. He was also a competent editor. He published magazine Lokamukha from Banapur in 1924. He also used to write for the Eastcoast (An English paper) published by Shashi Bhusan Rath. He was awarded a doctorate in literature from Utkal University. He used literature as a weapon to promote patriotism. His works include Alekhika, Kalika, Kisalaya, Gitayana, Purusottama Deva, Mukunda Deva, 1817 and Arddha Satabdira Odisa O Tahinre Mo Sthana.

Qazi Mohammad Abdul Ghaffar (1888-1956)

He was a journalist and a political activist. His publications include Ajib and Tin paise ki chokri.

Sitaramacandra Rao, Oddiraju (1887-1956)

Along with his brother, these scholars have made a substantial contribution to the Telugu language in the Nizam state.

Sobharaj Fani (1883-1956)

A poet and essayist in Sindhi, especially known for his historical essays on about eighty towns and cities of Sindh. Some of his write-ups include Khyali Jhalka, Chita Phulawari, Roohani Tijala, Tarjuma-e-Gulistan (translation of Gulistan from Persian).

Vavilla Venkateswara Shastri (1885-1956)

He rendered many services for the development of Telugu studies by bringing out innumerable journals and publications.

Virumal Begraj (1874-1956)

This Deshbhakta was one of the first nationalist authors in Sindhi to go to jail during the freedom struggle. His famous work is Munhinji Jail Yatra (1923).

Yaganah Changezi (1883-1956)

He was an Urdu poet who published several volumes of poems with Mirza Yas. Yagana has four collections of poems to his credit: Nishtar-i- Yaas (1914), Tarana (1933), Aayat-i-Wijdani (1927) and Ganjina (1948), besides his works in prose, which include Ghalib-Shikan.

Zafar Ali Khan, Maulvi (1873-1956)

He was an Urdu poet and prose writer; founder and publisher of the Zamindar of Lahore, he wrote satirized poetry. His publications include Khayaban-I Faris, poems like Chamanistan and Nigaristan, and novels like Haqiqatva afsanah and Tilismi hur.