Award Name : Sahitya Akademi Award
Year of Award : 1993
Award for : Literature
Location : Mīrānpur, Uttar Pradesh, India
Vishnu Prabhakar was a Hindi writer. He had several short stories, novels, plays and travelogues to his credit. Prabhakar's works have elements of patriotism, nationalism and messages of social upliftment. He was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1993, Mahapandit Rahul Sankrityayan Award in 1995 and the Padma Bhushan (the third highest civilian honour of India) by the Government of India in 2004. Vishnu Prabhakar was born on 21 June 1912, in the Miranpur village of Muzaffarnagar district in Uttar Pradesh. His father, Durga Prasad, was a religious person who kept himself untouched by modern times. His mother, Mahadevi, was the first well-educated lady of the family who dared to reject the 'Parda Pratha' of the traditional Hindu families. Prabhakar stayed in Mirapur until the age of twelve, completing his primary education. His mother sent him to his maternal uncle in Hisar, located in the Haryana state. There he completed his matriculation at the age of sixteen in 1929. He wanted to pursue higher education but owing to financial situation in his family at Mirapur, he had to find a job. Through the efforts of his maternal uncle he joined the government service. It was a fourth-class job and his salary was eighteen Rupee per month. He kept his studies going along with his work, and obtained degrees of Prabhakar and Hindi Bhushana in Hindi, Pragya in Sanskrit and B.A. in English.
Although mainly a story writer, Vishnu Prabhakar has written in almost all the genres of literature including poetry. Collection of his poems titled Chalta Chala Jaonga was published posthumously in the year 2010. He did not let himself limit to any special school of thought and it is reflected in his vast variety of works. Aawara Masiha, biography of Sharat Chandra Chatterjee and Ardhnarishwar, however remain the most awarded and widely acclaimed of his works. He was initially influenced by Munshi Premchand but later started following Sharatchandra. His works are said to be a mirror of modern Indian society. Prabhakar's works concentrate on the problems of today's Indian society. In his drama, Tootate Parivesh, he writes about a modern family in which gaps between younger and older generation are increasing. His novel Koi To tells how corrupt politics has become in modern times. Prabhakar was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi's principals of non-violence. This can be seen in his writing very often. In some of his works, oppressed female characters talk like philosophers and even dacoits who usually are expected to have negative roles are full of humanitarian values. This is the reason why some critics labelled him as a Gandhian ideologist.Prabhakar was very fond of travelling. He travelled for fourteen years continuously to collect material for his book – Aawara Masiha which is a biography of famous Bengali author, Sharatchandra. For this he had to visit all the places linked to Sharatchandra, even to Myanmar(Burma). His love of travels also resulted in many travelogues.