Late Prabodh Narayan Singh

स्व: प्रबोध नारायण सिंह

प्रबोध नारायण सिंहक जन्म 12 फरवरी 1924 कें अपन मातृक एखुनका मधेपुरा जिलाक पस्तपार गाम मे भेल छलनि। नान्हिएटा मेधावी छात्रक रूपमे परिचित हिनक प्राथमिक शिक्षा पौतृक ग्राम सहमौरा तथा सहरसा मे भेल। इन्टर भागलपुर सँ एवं बी.ए. पटना सँ कएलनि। ओना स्वाधीनता संग्राम मे उग्र सहभागिताक कारणे अध्ययन मे व्यवधान अबौत रहल आ एक समय एहनो आएल जखन ई तत्कालीन सरकार द्वारा भगोड़ा घोषित कएल गेल छलाह। छात्र जीवन मे पटना सँ प्रकाशित होएवला हिन्दी-उर्दू पत्रिका `मेल-मिलाप`क ई सम्पादक मंडल मे छलाह। 1948 ई. मे प्रबोध बाबू कोलकाता अएलाह एवं हिन्दी दैनिक लोकमान्य मे सहायक सम्पादकक रूप मे कार्य करए लगलाह आ ताहि संग अध्ययन सेहो जारी रखलनि। 1950 मे दू गोट स्वर्ण पदकक संग हिन्दी मे एम.ए.क डिग्री पओलनि। 1968 ई. मे तुलनात्मक भाषा-विज्ञान, 1969 ई. मे पाली तथा 1970 मे फारसी मे एम.ए. केलनि आ सभ विषय मे स्वर्ण पदक प्राप्त भेलनि। 1972 ई. मे कलकत्ता विश्वविद्यालय सँ डी.लिट आ 1976 मे मगध विश्वविद्यालय सँ दोसर डी.लिट प्राप्त केलनि। चारुचन्द्र कॉलेज सँ अध्यापन आरंभ कऽ जयपुरिया कॉलेज होइत 1959 मे कलकत्ता विश्वविद्यालयक स्नातकोत्तर हिन्दी विभाग मे योग देलनि आ 1990 ई. मे विभागाध्यक्षक पद सँ सेवानिवृत्त भेलाह।

सामाजिक संगठनक अद्भुत क्षमता रखनिहार प्रबोध बाबू सर्वदा मौथिली भाषा-आन्दोलनक अग्रिम पाँति मे सजग रहलाह। मौथिलीक उत्थानक लेल कलकत्ता मे एवं ओकर लग-पास रहनिहार शिक्षित एवं कमासुत मौथिल मे सामाजिकता एवं भाषा-चेतनाक लेल ओ बाबू साहेब चौधरी आ देवनारायण झाक संग अखिल भारतीय मिथिला संघक स्थापना कयलनि।

प्रबोध बाबू मौथिली भाषा आन्दोलनक चरम काल मे ओकर समन्वयक लेल अखिल भारतीय मौथिली महासंधक स्थापना कयलनि जे महासंघ अनेक छोट-छोट मौथिली संस्थाक लेल मार्ग-निर्देशनक काज करैत रहल। भाषा आन्दोलनक क्रम मे प्रबोध बाबू अपन कतिपय अनुयायीक संग मिथिलाक गाम गाम भ्रमण कय ओजस्वी भाषण सँ लोग कें प्रभावित कयलनि जे आइयो स्मरण कयल

जाइत अछि।

मातृभाषाक अनन्य उपासक प्रो. सिंह 1953 सँ मिथिला दर्शन मासिक पत्रक प्रकाशन/सम्पादन आरंभ केलनि जे मौथिली आन्दोलनक मुखपत्रक रूप मे ख्यात अछि। अपन दीर्घ संपादकक जीवन मे ओ अनेक नवतुरिया लेखक एवं विद्वान कें अपन उर्वर तथा समृद्ध मातृभाषा मौथिली मे लिखबाक लेल प्रेरित कयने छलाह। हुनका मे अद्भूत नेतृत्व क्षमता एवं अभिभावकत्व गुण छलनि। ओ जतय कतहु जाथि व्यक्तिगत रूपसँ नवतुरिया कें प्रोत्साहित एवं प्रशिक्षित करथि। प्रबोध बाबू अपन जीवन काल मे अनेक छात्र, विद्वान, साहित्यकार एवं सामान्य जनक जीवन कें प्रोत्साहित एवं सम्बल दए बदलि देलनि। सभसँ महत्वपूर्म बात तँ ई अछि जे ओ मौथिली भाषाक विकास कें एक अभिनव दिशा दए मिथिलावासी कें एक नव आशा प्रदान कयलनि।

अध्ययन-अध्यापन-आन्दोलनक व्यस्तता रहितो प्रबोध बाबूक लेखनी सदा गतिशील छल परिणामत: हिनक तीन गोट मौथिलीक मौलिक काव्य संकलन, एक नाटक तथा तीन अनूदित नाटक एवं दू गोट हिन्दी काव्य-ग्रंथ प्रकाशित छनि। जीवनक सांध्य बेला मे प्रबोध बाबूकें 2002 मे कुर्अतुल ऐन हैदरक प्रसिद्ध उर्दू उपन्यास `पतझड़ की आवाज`क उत्कृष्ट मौथिली अनुवाद `पतझड़क स्वर`क लेल साहित्य अकादमी पुरस्कारसँ सम्मानित कयल गेलनि। 20 मार्च 2005 कें हिनक देहावसान भऽ गेलनि।

मौथिली भाषाक विकास मे प्रबोध बाबूक अभूतपूर्व योगदान सदा स्मरणीय रहत। प्रबोध बाबूक चमत्कारी एवं अद्भुत प्रेरक व्यक्तित्व कें मृत्यूपरान्तो ओहिना स्मरण कयल जाइछ जेना हुनक जीवन काल मे तकर आदर कयल जाइत छल।

Late Prabodh Narayan Singh
Founder-Editor,Mithila Darshan

Born on February 12 th , 1924 at Pastapar, Saharsa (Bihar) – his maternal uncle’s village
near Madhepura, Prabodh Babu was the eldest of the three children (followed by his brother,
Subodh, and sister, Vaidehi) of Jaya and Sridhar Prasad Singh from Shahmourah in the Sonbarsa
sub-division in the Saharsa district of Bihar.

Prabodh Babu spent his childhood mostly in his village Sahmoura, Saharsa, and
received education from his father, Sridhar Narayan Singh – a highly respected figure in the
entire Sonbarsa region for his wisdom and wide reading. He was educated in a school set up by
his father in the initial years. Later, he joined the Shahpur School in the near-by village. However,
he passed his Middle School Examination from Shah-Alamnagar Middle School in 1938. After that,
he joined the High School in Saharsa, which is now the district head-quarter, but which was then
a major town in the Bhagalpur district. It was soon after 9 th August 1942 – after the arrest of
Gandhiji and other national leaders in the wake of ‘Quit India movement’ that he plunged into
militant freedom struggle. As a part of the efforts in armed uprising, which made him miss out on
a considerable time of regular education in Saharsa, he had become one of the “most wanted”
persons in the eye of the then British Government with a prize money on his head. Later, some
leading advocates of the region supported him, which enabled him to resume his studies. He
joined Madhepura School to appear in the Matriculation examination and then joined the Inter-
mediate education at Bhagalpur.

Meanwhile, in the middle of his ‘Swadeshi’ activities, Prabodh Babu was married to Binda
Devi of Barahi, and was blessed with a daughter, Ila Rani1. Meanwhile, Prabodh Babu had
passed out his Matriculation examination from Madhepura Shirres School (Bhagalpur district) with
English, Hindi, Sanskrit, History, Geography and Mathematics in 1944 and Intermediate with
English, Hindi, Sanskrit, Logic and Economics in 1946 from Bhagalpur – both from under the
jurisdiction of Patna University.

Professor Singh began his serious academic career initially with Sahityalankar (1945) and
Sahityaratna (1947) from Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, Prayag, and followed it up with a B.A.
(Honours) degree in Sanskrit from Patna College of the Patna University (1946-1948) with Hindi,
English and Philosophy as subjects. Meanwhile, in October, 1947, his wife (Binda Devi) passed
away. During this period in Patna, he also worked as a part of the editorial team of the Hindi
journal, ‘Mel-milaap’.

Ever since then, Prabodh Babu left Bihar and settled down at Kolkata – first, as an
Assistant Editor of a Hindi Daily – Dainika Lokamanya, and later as a Professor in the university.
It was here that he also pursued his educational interest while continued to work at night, and
earned the degree of Master’s in Hindi from the Modern Indian Languages (MIL) department,
University of Calcutta, in 1950, earning two gold medals – one for having stood first in the first
class in Hindi and another for shattering all-time record of the MIL department between 1918
and 1948. Later, Prabodh Babu also earned additional Master’s degree in Comparative Philology
(1968), Pali (1969), and Persian (1970) from the University of Calcutta, with several other gold
medals. His first teacher in Urdu during his childhood days was a tailor in Shahpur Bazar who
knew the language very well. Later, between 1967 and 1980s, he studied Persian as well as
Arabic under an erudite Moulavi at Calcutta to pursue his interest in Islamic Studies.

It was at Calcutta, during his initial Master’s course in Hindi that he had studied together
with Anima Dhar – who hailed from Mymensingh now in Bangladesh but with deep interest in
Hindi language and literature. They got married on July 28 th , 1950, and worked as a team for
various causes related to Maithili language development. Anima Singh herself became a celebrity
scholar in Maithili Folklore studies with her numerous publications and also as a doctoral student
of Prof. Sukumar Sen. Later, she became a Professor of Hindi at Lady Brabourne College,
Calcutta. Prabodh Narayan and Anima Singh have two sons, Udaya and Ajay. Ila Rani Singh, Prabodh Babu’s eldest child from his first marriage, became an eminent poetess in Maithili as well as a scholar-teacher in Maithili and Hindi, having taught at Bhagalpur and Calcutta universities. She passed away in 1995.

Prof. Singh was awarded the degree of D.Litt. in Maithili (1972) by the University of
Calcutta, and also a D.Litt. in Hindi (1976) by Magadh University, Gaya. His dissertations at
Calcutta on ‘Vaijnaanika Pariprekshya meM rasa-siddhaanta’ and the one in Gaya – ‘Hindi Khari
Boli aur Manak Maithili Tulanatmak Bhasha Vaijnanika Adhyayan’ drew wide attention, although
they have remain unpublished till this day. His doctoral studies showed that he was firmly
established as a scholar of language as well as literature.
Prabodh Narayan Singh taught Hindi, Pali, Persian and Comparative Philology in Calcutta
between 1950 and 1990 in various capacities, and made his mark as a multilingual scholar and
teacher of eminence. He initially joined as a Lecturer in Hindi in Charuchandra College in July
1951, and shifted in 1953 to Jaipuriya College (both at Calcutta),during which he began teaching
as a Part-time Lecturer in Calcutta University since January, 1959. However, from July, 1960, he
joined Calcutta University as a full-time lecturer by July 1960, where he was promoted to Reader
in Hindi in February, 1978.

Prabodh Babu founded the Maithili periodical ‘Mithila Darshan’ in 1953, and authored a few
anthologies like – ‘Cayanikaa’ (1952) and ‘TaTaka gapp’ (1968). Later, he gave phillip to the
theatre movement in Maithili by having translated/adopted three plays from Bangla (‘Cor’ by
Prabir Banerjee), Hindi (‘Anher Nagarii’ by Bharatendu Harischandra) and French (‘Premak rog’
by Moliere), published three collections of original poems in Maithili (‘Hanumana Ashtaka’ in
1968, ‘Jayanti’ in 1968, and ‘Vaijayanti’ in 1976), one in Hindi (‘Lasika’ in 1946), and a collection
of stories in Hindi (‘Azad Hind Fauz’ in 1947). His original play in Maithili, ‘Hathika Danta’ (1961)
became a highly popular stage show in Mithila. His translation of Qurratuleen Haider’s ‘PatjhaR kii
Aawaaz’ (1997) from Urdu to Maithili brought him the Sahitya Akademi Award for Translation in
2002 Prof. Singh also had guided several doctoral students during this period.

As a social organizer, Professor Prabodh Narayan Singh has always been at the forefront
of Maithili language movement, initially having worked hard to set up the Akhil Bharatiya Mithila
Sangh at Calcutta jointly with Babusaheb Chowdhury and Devnarayan Jha, and later an Akhil
Bharatiya Maithili Mahasangha – which was an umbrella organization of numerous Maithili outfits.
His frequent visits to all parts of Mithila, moving with a convoy from village to village is
remembered by the language enthusiasts even to this day. His house at Kolkata would always
throb with activities – whether it be a meeting place for associations or a venue for poetry
reading or as a home theatre. It housed numerous major writers of Maithili and Hindi and
Nagarjun, Subhadra Jha, Jayakanta Mishra and many others used to be a part of them. Besides,
he was associated with Maithili Rangamancha – an organization devoted to the performing arts,
Loka Sahitya Parishad – devoted to folklore studies of Mithila, having set up a printing establishment, called the Singh Press (now closed), which made it possible for many writers in Maithili to bloom. He personally groomed and encouraged many young writers and scholars to write in Maithili, and inspired them and many more13. He was also associated with the Advisory Board of Sahitya Akademi (New Delhi), Maithili Academy (Patna), Rajendra Chatra Bhavan (Calcutta), Hanuman Mandir Sahitya-Nyas (Calcutta), and was an active member of Asiatic Society of Bengal, Iran Society, Calcutta and the Calcutta chapter of the Lingusitic Society of India as well as the Philological Society of Calcutta. He also served on various boards of
numerous universities in Bihar – Patna, Bhagalpur, Magadh and Mithila universities.

Like his daughter, Udaya Narayana Singh (also known as ‘Nachiketa’ to the Maithili literary world) has also grown up to be a major voice in Maithili poetry and play-writing today, besides being a major translator from and into Maithili. His younger son Ajay Singh  joined the Indian Revenue Service in 1982 and retired as a Chief Commissioner of income tax in 2016.

At the fag end of his life, Professor Prabodh Narayan Singh was awarded the Sahitya Akademi award for his translation of Quratulain Haider’s urdu novel ‘patjhar ke awaaz’ in 2004. Prabodh Babu passed away in March 2005.