Allahabad Iconics
Late Mahadevi Varma
Born: 26 March 1907

Mahadevi Verma was best known as an outstanding Hindi poet, and was a freedom fighter, woman's activist and educationist from India. She is widely regarded as the "modern Meera".She was a major poet of the Chhayavaad generation, a period of romanticism in Modern Hindi poetry ranging from 1914–1938. With the passage of time, her limited but outstanding prose has been recognised as unique in Hindi literature. She was a prominent poet in Hindi Kavi sammelans (Gatherings of poets).

She was the Principal, and then the Vice-Chancellor of Prayag Mahila Vidyapeeth, a woman's residential college in Allahabad. She was awarded India's highest literary award, for lifetime achievement, the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship in 1979, followed by the Jnanpith Award in 1982.[3] She was the recipient of the Padma Bhushan in 1956[4] and the Padma Vibhushan in 1988, India's third and second highest civilian awards respectively

Mahadevi was born in Farukhabad in a "kayastha" family of lawyers. She was educated at Jabalpur-Madhya Pradesh; her early studies included Sanskrit, Braj and painting. She was the eldest child of Govinda Prasad Verma and Hema Rani and had two brothers, Jagmohan and Manmohan, and a sister, Shyaama. She got married to Dr Swarup Narain Verma in Indore in 1913, which became a source of scandal as she refused to live with him; she even unsuccessfully tried to convince him to remarry.[6] She stayed with her parents while her husband studied in Lucknow to complete his education, during which time, she received her higher education at the Allahabad University and passed her B.A.examination in 1929 and completed her master's degree-M.A. in Sanskrit in 1933.

After the death of her husband in 1966, she moved permanently to Allahabad and lived there until her death. In 1930 Varma began teaching at schools around Allahabad. She was appointed as the first headmistress of Allahabad (Prayag) Mahila Vidyapeeth in 1933, which was started with a view to imparting cultural and literary education to girls through Hindi medium. Later, she became the chancellor of the institute.

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