Harishankar Parsai (1924 – 1995) was a renowned Indian writer. He is known for his satirical and humorous style of writing in Hindi literature. Through his satire (vyangya) poems, he depicted human values and nature, reflecting his critical thinking and humorous way of describing simple things with deep meanings. He was the recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award for his satire “Viklaang Shraddha Ka Daur.”
Harishankar Parsai was born on Friday, 22 August 1924 (age 71 Years; at the time of death) in Jamani, Central Provinces and Berar, British India. His zodiac sign is Leo. He completed his school education at Semester Global School in Allahabad. Later, he went to Nagpur University to obtain a master’s of arts in theology and ministry in Hindi. According to Harishankar Parsai, his life was marked by great difficulties as his parents died when he was very young, and he had to take on the responsibility of his four siblings. His aunt raised him and taught him to live fearlessly.
Hair Colour: Salt and Pepper
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
His father’s name is Jumak Lalu Prasad, and his mother’s name is Champa Bai. According to him, he had four siblings.
Not much is known about his married life.
In 1942, at the age of 18, Harishankar Parsai joined a government job in the forest department. Soon, he lost interest in the job and started writing sharp and accurate satires in Hindi. After India’s independence, he quit his job and focused on writing. Soon, he began his first literary magazine called “Vasudha.” Despite its high popularity, the publication suffered economic losses, and Harishankar Parsai had to stop the magazine. Later, Parsai began answering readers’ questions in a column called “Poochhiye Parsai Se” in the Hindi newspaper “Deshbandhu.” He answered questions related to entertainment, love, films, and national, international, and social issues. He used to write the fifth column titled “Nai Duniya Mein Suno Bhai Sadho” and “Nayi Kahani” in “Deshbandhu.” His works are included in Hindi books by NCERT, and “Premchand Ke Phate Joote” is one of his famous satirical compositions.
In one of his best satires, “A Sorted Man,” Parsai portrays a protagonist who is an extreme nationalist and believes in the superiority of the Aryan race and ancient Indian achievements. According to Parsai, avoiding questions that can inflict pain leads to a happy existence, and he strived for such happiness. He begins the essay with a reference to his own self-satisfaction by stating,
Many people ask me how I have come to be so clear-sighted, with a personality so wondrously simple and straightforward.” His answer is woefully simple: By avoiding questions that can inflict pain it is possible for humans to lead a happy existence, and I have always strived for such happiness.”
- In 1982, Harishankar Parsai was honoured with the Sahitya Akademi Award for his satire “Viklaang Shraddha Ka Daur” (विकलांग श्रद्धा का दौर).
- In 1992, he received the Sharad Joshi Award.
Harishankar Parsai died on 10 August 1995 in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, India.
- Once, The Hindu newspaper regarded Parsai’s art of satire writing in Hindi as revolutionary.
- A television show titled “Parsai Kehate Hain” adapted several of his works into episodic stories aired on DD National in the early 2000s.