Acharya Hazari Prasad Dwivedi Collection

Acharya Hazari Prasad Dwivedi (1907-1979), a critic, novelist, and essayist, was born in Arat-Dubeka Chhapra, a remote village of Ballia district in Uttar Pradesh, inherited a passion for astrology, a love for Sanskrit, and a mind enquiring into the mysteries of Indian religion and cultural tradition. Dwivedi got his early education in Sanskrit. In 1930, he passed the Intermediate and Acharya examinations in Astrology from Banaras Hindu University and left for Santiniketan on a teaching assignment. From 1940 to 1950 he held the office of the Director of Hindi Bhavan in Visvabharati. His close association with Rabindranath Tagore, Kshitimohan Sen, Vidhusekhar Bhattacharya and Banarasidas Chaturvedi served as a stimulus to his literary activity.

He was awarded ‘Padma Bhushan’ in 1957. In 1960 he was offered the post of Professor and Head of the Department of Hindi by the Punjab University, Chandigarh. However, a little before retirement, he came back to the Banaras Hindu University as its Rector and ultimately chaired the U.P. Hindi Academy, a position, which he held till his death in Lucknow. He was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Annual Prize for his collection of essays Alok Parva in 1973.

Dwivedi was one of the most important literary figures of post-Acharya Shukla phase. He made an effort to analyse Hindi literature in the context of Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit and Apabhramsha literature and also as a natural development of a composite Indian thought which imbibed both Brahmanic and other non-brahmanic religious influence like those of Buddhism, Jainism and the Siddh and Natha sects.

Dwivedi was a man of phenomenal reading and had an encyclopaedic mind. Acharya Dwivedi had mastered many languages and had fathomed their literature such as Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit, Apabramsa, and Hindi. He knew Gujarati and Punjabi also. Through English he acquainted himself with the classic of ancient Greece and modern Europe and became familiar with the Western philosophy.

A library of a doyen of this stature with a mastery of several languages, an associate of contemporary scholars, writers, painters, nationalists, is a storehouse of information. The collection of 10,000 volumes of Acharya Hazari Prasad Dwivedi has been donated by children to IGNCA for facilitating further dissemination. This collection includes rare editions of Sanskrit, Pali and Prakrit works and a sizable collection of creative and critical writings in modern Indian languates nd literature especially in Hindi, Sanskrit, Bengali and Punjabi literature. It also comprises a large volumes on religion, philosophy, linguistics, history, and science in general. The collection also includes journals, thesis, reports and commemorative volumes on various topics.

There are several volumes of Descriptive Catalogue of Sanskrit manuscripts of various institutes. The collection include books on research methods like Sodha pravidhi, Anusandhan evam sarveksan ki pravidhiyam; books on Journalism like Patra kala, Samachar Sampadan, Samachar Samkalan aur lekhan etc. In the field of Philosophy books like Vaigyanik Darshan ka udaya, Padarth Sastra, Tattva Mimamsa, Vedant Siddhant mat martand, Brahmasutra bhasya are available. In the fielf of religoin it includes books on Hinduism, Saivism, Vaishnavism, Tantrism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism. Various editions of Ramayana are also available like Kambharamayana, Krtivasaramayana, Ramakatha, Kashmiri-ramavtara carita, Maithili sriramacarita-manasa, etc. Hindi translation of classical works like the Republic of Plato, etc. are part of this collection. A good number of books on Gandhian study and Marxism are also available in this collection.

This collection known as Hazari Prasad Dwivedi Collection (HPD collection) is housed in a separate section in IGNCA, and is accessible to scholars for reference purposes. The IGNCA deeply appreciates the gesture of generosity of his children in donating the collection to the IGNCA.

– Parmanand

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