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  • About the Playwright and Translator

Dharmavir Bharati was born in 1926 in Allahabad, in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. His father died while Bharati was young, which created financial hardships in his youth. Nevertheless, he attended Allahabad University, where he received his master's degree in Hindi in 1946. He then worked as a magazine editor, during the period of Partition, before returning to earn a doctorate in 1950. While teaching at the university in Allahabad, he became a prolific writer of novels, plays, poetry, and essays. Leaving the university in 1960, he moved to Bombay to work as chief editor of the Hindi weekly magazine Dharma Yug, published by the Times of India Group. Under Bharati's leadership, the magazine became one of the most popular Hindi periodicals in India, noted for its excellence in writing and breadth of coverage. He remained with the magazine until 1987.

Bharati gained his greatest recognition, however, as an author of literary works in many genres. Among his honors were Padma Shree—the fourth-highest civilian award given by the Government of India—which he received in 1972. In 1988, he received the Maharana Mewar Foundation Award for best Hindi playwright. This was followed in 1989 by the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, the highest national recognition given in the performing arts by the Indian government. And in 1994, he was awarded the Maharashtra Gaurav, Kaudiya Nyas, and Vyasa Samman.

Bharati may be most remembered for his fiction. His novel Gunahon Ka Devta made him one of the most recognized names in Hindi literature. In 1992, the novel was made into a nationally distributed, award-winning film, directed by Shyam Benegal. Among Bharati's other notable works is the novella Suraj Ka Satvan Ghodha (The Seventh Steed of the Sun). Considered one of the foremost examples of metafiction in twentieth-century Hindi literature, it too was made into a film. The novella was translated into Bengali by the poet Malay Roy Choudhury, for which he received the Sahitya Academy Award.

Dharamvir Bharati died in 1997 of heart disease.

Alok Bhalla is an eminent scholar and one of South Asia's foremost translators of literature from Hindi and Urdu into English. He obtained his master's degree in English from Delhi University and doctorate from Kent State University in Ohio. Most recently, he was a visiting professor at Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi. He has been a professor at the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages University in Hyderabad; a Lady Davis Visiting Professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem; a fellow at the Rockefeller Centre in Bellagio, Italy; and a fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla. He is also on the executive council of the Sahitya Akademi (Indian Institute of Advanced Study). As a writer and ethicist, Bhalla has published extensively on the Partition of India and on the role of translation [End Page 142] in the building of peace and reconciliation in democratic societies. Among his more than twenty-three authored, edited, or translated books are works by the prominent Pakistani authors Intizar Husain and Saadat Hasan Manto. Other books include Stories about the Partition of India (three volumes); Partition Dialogues: Memories of a Lost Home; The Life and Times of Saadat Hasan Manto; and The Place of Translation in a Literary Habitat. [End Page 143]



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