Shivani : biography
Gaura Pant (October 17, 1923– 21 March 2003), better known as Shivani, was one of the popular Hindi magazine story writers of the 20th century and a pioneer in writing Indian women based fiction. She was awarded the Padma Shri for her contribution to Hindi literature in 1982. Almost all of her works are in print today and widely available across India.
She garnered a massive following in the pre-television 60s and 70s, as her literary works (like her most famous novel, 'Krishnakali'), were serialised in Hindi magazines like Dharmayug and Saptahik Hindustan, leading to her cult status as a Hindi magazine novelist. Through her writings, she also made the culture of Kumaon, somewhat known to Hindi-speaking Indians across the country. Her novel 'Kariye Chima' was made into a film, while her other novels including 'Surangma', 'Rativilaap', 'Mera Beta', and 'Teesra Beta' have been turned into Television serials www.abhivyakti-hindi.org.
Upon her death in 2003, Government of India described her contributions to Hindi literature as, "...in the death of Shivani the Hindi literature world has lost a popular and eminent novelist and the void is difficult to fill". pib.nic.in.
Shivani was married to 'Shuk Deo Pant' (S. D. Pant), a teacher who worked in the Education Department of Uttar Pradesh, this led to the family travelling to various places including Allahabad, Nainital (1958–1964 and 1966–1968)( Priory Lodge at Nainital, where Shivani stayed, 1958–1964 and 1966–1968), before settling in Lucknow, where she stayed till her last days. Indian Express, March 22, 2003. She had four children, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Unfortunately her husband died at an early age, leaving her to take care of the four children, but a resilent Shivani chose to live independently at 66, Gulistan, Lucknow for over three decades - her home became a gathering place for budding writers and literary researchers. Her two daughters, Mrinal Pande, Ira Pande are established writers, and Mrinal is currently Chairman of Prasar Bharati, the apex body of Indian broadcasting. Shivani's other two children are Veena Joshi, and Muktesh (Micky) Pant, who now lives in Dallas, Texas.
Gaura Pant 'Shivani' was born on October 17, 1924, the Vijaya Dasami day in Rajkot, Gujarat, where her father, Ashwini Kumar Pande was a teacher with princely state of Rajkot.He was a Kumaoni Brahmin. Her mother was a Sanskrit scholar, and the first student of Lucknow Mahila Vidyalaya. Later her father became the Diwan with the Nawab of Rampur and the member of Viceroy's Bar Council, Biography at readers-cafe. thereafter the family moved to the princely state of Orchha, where her father held an important position. Thus Shivani's childhood had influences of these varied places, and an insight into women of privilege, which reflected in much of her work. At Lucknow, she became the first student of the local, 'Lucknow Mahila Vidyalaya'.
As she grew older, she along with her brother and a sister, went to live with her grandfather, a Sanskrit scholar and a founding member of Banaras Hindu University.
In 1935, Shivani's first story was published in the Hindi Children's magazine 'Natkhat', at age twelve. Biography at kalpana.it. That was also when, the three siblings were sent to the study at Rabindranath Tagore's Visva-Bharati University at Shantiniketan. Rabindranath Tagore even visited their ancestral home in Almora several times.
Shivani remained at Shantiniketan for another 9 years, left as a graduate in 1943. It was this period that she took to writing whole-heartedly and had the most profound influence in her writing sensibilities, Deccan Herald, July 23, 2005. a period she recounts vividly in her book, 'Amader Shantiniketan'.
In 1951, her short story, 'Main Murga Hun' (I am a Chicken) was published in Dharmayug, and she became Shivani, from Gaura Pant.
Her first novel, Lal Haveli, established her reputation in the early sixties, and in the next ten years she produced several major works which were serialized in the Hindi magazine, Dharmayug. Proficient in many other languages including Sanskrit, Gujarati, Bengali, Urdu, and English, Shivani received the Padma Shri for her contribution to Hindi literature in 1982. Official Padma Shri List.
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