(Poorvoday Prakashan, Delhi)

(Sahitya Academy Awardee-Hindi-1966)

"Sri Jainendrakumar (born 1905), a distinguished novelist, short story writer, essayist and exponent of Gandhian thought was drawn into the freedom struggle in his early youth. After a course at Jain Gurukul, Hastinapur, he passed the matricu­lation examination as a private candidate in 1919, and joined the Kashi Hindi Viswavidyalaya for higher studies. But he soon gave it up to join the Non-Cooperation movement and went to jail twice.

Sri Jainendrakumar made his literary debut in 1929 with a collection of short stories, entitled Phansi which drew the attention of no less a person than Munshi Premchand. The contact thus established soon developed into an intimate bond which continued till Premchand's death in 1936. The same year was published Sri Jainendrakumar's novel Sunita creating a stir in the Hindi literary, world by its daring psycho-analysis and originality of theme and style. With his masterpiece Tyagapa­tra in 1937, Sri Jainendrakumar joined the top rank among Hindi novelists. Simple in language and intimate in style, his writings bring to the fore the ethical and moral problems facing the present day society in their many ramifications. His essays, seemingly casual but always thought-provoking, are distinguished by a typically Socratic manner of getting at the truth by sifting the essential from the non-essential.

The Award book, Muktibodh, is a short novel depicting the contemporary dilemma of a political leader brought up in Gandhian idealism and caught in the vortex of power politics. For its psychological insight, its courageous treatment of a contemporary theme, and its humanistic approach, the work has been hailed as an outstanding contribution to contempo­rary Hindi literature." (Citation)


In the novelette Muktibodh, Jainendra has depicted the complex and vast experiences of life with the fineness of craft and artistic awareness. The work comes out of his deep thinking. As far as the experience is concerned it is gathered from inner and outer life. The intricacies, dilemmas, tensions, inner struggles and worries of human beings have been woven and created here with great subl1ety and temperance (with an artistic judgment). Here is a novelist expert in. saying suggestively what he wants to say. Mukdbodh may not have the vastness of experience found in Premchand's novels, yet it has the same depth and intensity of feelings and emotions. The artist in him has become identical with the personality of the main character Shri Sahay. But it has not become a hindrance in developing the character.

The opening sentences of Muktibodh suggest the crisis of the inner self of the person. Here we find the dilemma of a person who has attained the maturity of wisdom. This dilemma drives away his sleep. This state of mind resembles that of Kabir and compels him to think and forces him to write. Muktibodh shows the world, the agony of man who is made restless by the various struggles, tensions and intricacies of life.

Shri Sahay has a highly complex personality. Jainendra has not rendered him an ordinary political character rather he has presented him in a special form. If we accept the views of Tamara, Thakur Jasdev Singh, Kunwanra Neela, etc. about Shri Sahay, it is clear that inspite of being a minister he is not a shrewd politician. He is distressed about the probability of the partition of the country. He is perturbed about a situation where politics has lost ethics. He hates the leaders who are not bothered about the pleasures or pains of the common people. Like a philosopher, he ponders over the question of life and death, virtue and sin. He hates the leaders who have exiled the soul of Gandhi away from the country. Sahay's personality is in a way quite close to the philosophic and thoughtful personality of Jainendra himself. The novel is narrated in the first person so there is a good deal of scope for depicting dilemma and insight.

Man-woman relations have been depicted here through many angles. What Shri Sahay can not get from his wife Rajya Shree, he gets from his beloved Neela. But the affection is not based solely on sex. It is such a sublime emotion that transforms ‘sex’ into ‘love’. Shri Sahay's wisdom in understanding his relatives, friends, etc. shows his 'Sanskari' personality. His analysis of human relations makes it clear that politics has not made his personality static.

What distinguishes this novelette from others is its intellectual approach to the complexity of life. The experience has no end. The novelette is written in a new technique. Its end marks a new beginning. Life here is like a current which has no human control. The fact is that though the question of existence has been raised here, yet it is not an existentialist novel. The creative skill of Jainendra is so powerful here that he elude all description and yet says everything through a few suggestive sentences. The author does not advocate anything here, situations themselves explain everything.       .

The novelette has given shape to a completely new and untouched world of experience. Such a deep analysis of the inner-psyche of the human mind is a great achievement in the Hindi novel. Undoubtedly Muktibodh marks a significant turns in the development of Hindi novel.

K.D. Paliwal

(Source: Sahitya Academy Awards – Books and Writers – 1955-1978

Published by Sahitya Academy. ISBN 81 7201 014 1)