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Madhav Shukla

Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh

April 05, 2023 to April 05, 2024

Pandit Madhav Shukla, born on 10 July 1881 in Prayagraj, was one of the Indian writers who contributed to the country's freedom movement. Initially employed as a police officer, he was deeply influenced by Madan Mohan Malviya and abandoned his job to join the struggle for independence. Pandit Madhav Shukla's revolutionary poems were published in renowned newspapers and magazines of the time, including Maryada, Abhyudaya, Karma Yogi, Bhavishya, and Pratap, inspiring the youth to embrace patriotism and challenging the British authorities. Besides being a poet, he was also an accomplished dramatist and writer, having established the Hindi Natya Samiti in 1908. At the age of 15, he had already made a name for himself as an active dramatist and writer, penning plays and acting in them. His play Mahabharat was particularly popular, with its dialogues strongly criticizing British rule, leading to the confiscation of 5000 copies by the British. Similarly, his play Siya Swayamvar, performed in 1898, also drew the disapproval of British officers due to its dialogues.

Rajarshi Purushottam Das Tandon, along with many other freedom fighters, participated in plays directed and written by Madhav Shukla. During the Swadeshi movement, Madhav Shukla, along with his wife and daughter, was arrested and imprisoned. While in jail, he received news of his son-in-law's death. The British government offered to release him on parole to attend the funeral, but he refused, asserting his loyalty to Bharat Mata (Mother India) and declining any assistance from the British government. Madhav Shukla, who donned khadi throughout his life, was not confined to Allahabad in his activism.

Madhav Shukla's contributions to theatre extended beyond Allahabad, as he founded theatre organizations in Calcutta, Lucknow, and Jaunpur, staging numerous plays. He even acted in movies such as Kaidee and Roti. His staunch opposition to British rule led to multiple incarcerations, during which he wrote several books, including Bharat Geetanjali, Swarajya Gayan, Bhishma Parakram, Sita Swayamvar, Mahabharat, Nari Jagaran, and Nari Sankalp.

On 6 April 1943, he passed away in Ranchi.

Source:  Dr. Dhananjai Chopra, Contributor for CCRT