The most famous work of Harivansh Rai Bachchan. While his son, Amitabh Bachchan, is probably the best-known face of Bollywood, the father had his own achievements. He was only the second Indian to get a doctorate in English Literature from Cambridge University. He taught English at Allahabad University and translated Rubaiyat in hindi. Madhushala is inspired by Rubaiyat and you will see similarities in the imagery and rhyme. A wonderful metaphor for the unifying force in our lives: while we may have our differences, our core is one –
Alag alag rah batlaate sab, par mein yeh batlaata hoon;
Rah pakad tu ek chalachal, paa jaayega madhushala.
Each reader can interpret the lines in his own way, and therein lies the greatness of the poem: such simple quartets, and yet such deep meaning.
Harivansh Rai forever maintained his simplicity (for the record, he was a teetotaller!). If asked his introduction, he would simply say:
मिट्टी का तन, मस्ती का मन, क्षण भर जीवन, मेरा परिचय
(A body of clay, a mind full of play, a second of life – that’s me)
No wonder he was called Bachchan (child-like). Wish we can keep the child in us also alive!