Today’s Google doodle is dedicated to Mahadevi Varma, a Hindi poet, educationist, freedom fighter, and women’s rights activist. Google has dedicated the doodle to celebrate the day Varma received a Jnanpith Award for her outstanding contributions to Indian literature.
Varma was born on March 26, 1907 into an orthodox family in Uttar Pradesh’s Farukhabad. At the tender age of nine, Varma was married, but continued living at her parental home. At home, she was encouraged to study, and she continued her education at the Crossthwaite Girls’ School in Allahabad.
“While both parents encouraged their daughter to pursue her education, it was Mahadevi Varma’s mother who inspired her daughter to write in Sanskrit and Hindi,” Google wrote on its doodle blog.
It was while pursuing her masters in Sanskrit that she is said to have penned her first verses. These were, however, a secret until they were discovered by her roommate and fellow poet Subhadra Kumari Chauhan. Varma, often referred to as “modern Meera”, would base her poems and essays around the experiences of being a woman. Her collection of short stories, Sketches from My Past, portrays a women she encountered while principal of an all-girls school.
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Besides writing about them, Varma also fought for women’s rights, and also explored the topics of traditions. “Today, Mahadevi Varma is considered one of the foundational poets of the Chhayavad movement in Hindi literature,” the Google post reads. Apart from the Jnanpith Award, Varma has also been awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1956, Sahitya Akademi Fellowship in 1979, and Padma Vibhushan in 1988.
Google reveals that today’s doodle has been designed by guest artist Sonali Zohra. The sketch shows Varma seemingly lost in her thoughts, and penning them into beautiful verses. As you can see in the above image, Google has also shared a couple of early drafts of today’s final doodle.