Vatsyayan, Sachchidanananda (1911–1987) By Govind, Nikhil
Sachchidanananda Vatsyayan (1911–1987), better known as Agyeya, was one of the key figures of Hindi modernism. Though known primarily as a poet, he wrote two of the most important Hindi novels, Shekhar: Ek Jeevani [Shekhar: A Life] (Volume 1 in 1941 and Volume 2 in 1944), and Nadi ke Dveep [Islands in the Stream] (1951). His editorship of Tar Saptak (named after a musical term for a higher octave) helped bring many new poets into prominence, most famously Muktibodh (1917–1964), who, in the view of some Hindi literary critics, remains the chief ideological and semiotic counter to Agyeya’s sensibility.
It is tempting to think of Agyeya’s ceaseless experimentation through his life as owing something to his eventful youth. He was imprisoned by the British on charges of revolutionary activity, including bomb-making. His years in prison and under house arrest, which comprised a large part of his twenties, helped him refine his sense of self and politics. Agyeya is often seen as a proponent of an intense, confessional, emotive, and cerebral individualism within the Hindi canon.