Vijaydan Detha

[Bijji] (1 September 1926 - / Borunda, Jodhpur, Rajasthan / India)

Biography of Vijaydan Detha

Vijaydan Detha poet

Vijaydan Detha also known as Bijji is a noted writer from Rajasthan and a recipient of Padma Shri award. He is also recipient of several other awards such as Sahitya Akademi Award and Sahitya Chudamani Award.

He has more than 800 short stories to his credit, which are translated into English and other languages. He is co-founder of Rupayan Sansthan with late Komal Kothari, an institute that documents Rajasthani folk-lore, arts and music. His literary works include Bataan ri Phulwari (garden of tales), a fourteen volume collection of stories that draws on folk-lore and spoken dialects of Rajasthan. His stories and novels have been adapted for many plays and movies including Habib Tanvir's Charandas Chor, Prakash Jha's "Parinati" and Amol Palekar’s Paheli.


Vijaydan Detha hails from charan caste. His father Sabaldan Detha and grandfather Jugtidan Detha were also well known poets of Rajasthan. Detha lost his father and two brothers in a feud at the age of four year. At the age of six he moved to Jaitaran (25 km from Borunda) where his brother Sumerdan used to work in civil court. He studied there till class IV. His brother had transferable job hence Vijaydan also had to move with him. Vidaydan did his school study at Bihar and Barmer. Detha in his school years was poor in English language and had to face many embarrassing moments. In Barmer, while competing with another student Narsingh Rajpurohit, he realized that he wants to be a writer. His brother then transferred to Jodhpur where Detha studied in Durbar School.

Vijaydan Detha considers Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay as his first inspirer. He is equally good fan of Chekhov. In beginning he was critical of Tagore but after reading Tagore 's Stripatra he became fan of Tagore .

Detha joined college in 1944, by that time he had already established his name in poetry, however he gives credit for it to his cousin brother Kuberdan Detha, who had left school after standard X. Vijaydan says he used to pass his cousins poems in his name, applause brought from those poems made him to think to establish his own name in writing.

One of his first books to create a storm was Bapu Ke Teen Hatyare. The book is critique of the work of Harivanshrai Bachchan, Sumitranandan Pant and Narendra Sharma. The trio brought out books about Gandhi within two months of Gandhi 's death.

Nathuram Godse may have killed Gandhi physically, but these three writers killed his soul
— Vijaydan Detha , Bapu Ke Teen Hatyare

In 1950-52, Detha read and was inspired by 19th Century Russian literature. That is when he thought: "If you do not want to be mediocre writer, you should return to your village and write in Rajasthani." By that time he had already written 1300 poems and 300 short stories. In 1973, renowned filmmaker Mani Kaul, directed ' Duvidha', based on Bijji's story' duvidha'. The film was appreciated all over the world. much of it was shot at his village Borunda in Jodhpur district. Later Shah Rukh Khan made ' Paheli' on the same story, which was directed by Amol Palekar. "Paheli' was also India's entry in Oscar. Prakah Jha made' Parinati', a wonderful film based on Bijji's story. Habib Tanvir, adapted Bijji's story into one of his most acclaimed play' Charandas Chor', the same was converted into a film by Shyam Benegal. Bijji's stories have been converted into various films and dramas all over. Talking to Mahendra lalas in India Today, he said,' My land ( Rajasthan) is full of stories, whatever I've written is just a drop of the ocean. Bijji, was inspired by Shah govradhan Lal Kabra to write in Rajasthani' till date I have not written in any other language, he says regarding his immense love for the language. His favourite authors include Sharat Chandra Chattopadhya, Anton Chekhov and Rabindranath Tagore. Bijji has always portrayed the sufferings of the poor in his writings,' he is one of the finest authors, the world has ever produced, says Professor Gopal bharadwaj, former head of Sociology department of Jai Narayan vyas university, Jodhpur. Bijji was also tipped for the Nobel prize for literature in 2011 which ultimately went to Tomas Tranströmer. Bijji was awarded rao Siha award by Mehrangarh Museum trust on 24 November 2011.

Awards and Honors

Sahitya academy award for Rajasthani in 1974
Bhartiya Bhasa Parishad Award in 1992
Marudhara Puraskar in 1995
Bihari Puraskar in 2002
Sahitya Chudamani Award in 2006
Padmashri in 2007
Rao Siha award 2011 by mehrangarh museum trust.

Vijaydan Detha's Works:

Due to respect for his mother tongue Rajasthani,'Bijji' has never written in any other language, most of his works are translated into Hindi by one of his sons Kailash Kabeer.
Usha, 1946, poetry
Bapu ke teen hatyare, 1948, critics
Column in Jwala Weekly, 1949–1952
Sahitya aur samaj, 1960, essays
Anokha Ped, illustrated children's stories, 1968
Phoolwari, Hindi translation by Kailash Kabir, 1992
Chaudharain Ki Chaturai, short stories, 1996
Antaral, 1997, short stories
Sapan Priya, 1997, short stories
Mero Darad Na Jane Koy, 1997, essays
Atirikta, 1997, critics
Mahamilan, novel, 1998
Priya Mrinal, short stories, 1998

Batan Ri Phulwari, vol. 1-14, 1960–1975, folk lores
Prerana co-edited with Komal Kothari, 1953
Soratha, 1956–1958
Parampara , edited three special issues - Folk songs, Gora Hatja, Jethava Ra * Rajasthani Lokgeet, folk songs of Rajasthan, six volumes, 1958
Tido Rao, first pocket book in Rajasthani, 1965
Uljhan,1984, novel
Alekhun Hitler, 1984, short stories
Roonkh, 1987
Kaboo Rani, 1989, children's stories
Detha also been credited for editing following works [2]
Complete work of Ganeshi Lal Vyas for Sahitya Akademi
Rajasthani-Hindi Kahawat Kosh

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