Gajanan Madhav Muktibodh (गजानन माधव मुक्तिबोध) (November 13, 1917 in Madhya Pradesh– September 11, 1964) was one of the most prominent Hindi poets, essayist, literary and political critic, and fiction writers of the 20th century. He also remained assistant-editor of journals like, Naya Khun and Vasudha etc.
He is widely considered one of the pioneers of modern poetry in India, and doyen of Hindi poetry after, Surya Kant Tripathi 'Nirala', and known as being a pioneer, the mainstay of Prayogvaad Experimentalism movement of Hindi literature and it was also his work, which also marked the culmination of this literary movement and its evolution into the Nayi Kahani and Nayi Kavita Modernism in 1950s, his presence is equally important in the rise of ‘New Criticism’ in Indian literature.
He started out as an important poet, being published in the first three volumes of Tar Saptak, series of anthologies (1943), which marked a transition in Hindi literature, from the prevalent Chhayavaad movement; this led to the initiation of Prayogvaad Experimentalism in Hindi poetry, and developing along with Pragativaad Progressivism, eventually led to the creation of the ‘Nayi Kahani’ (New Story) movement, Modernism .
Brahmarakshas (ब्रह्मराक्षस) is considered his most influential work in experimental poems, noted for the use of archetypal imagery, and the stark depiction of the contemporary intellectual, who gets so lost in his own sense of perfectionism, unending calculations, and subjective interpretation of the external reality that soon he loses touch with the reality itself, and eventually dies and fades away like dead bird.
His work was deeply influenced by his viewpoints of Marxism, Socialism and Existentialism, and carried an innate expression of his deep discontent, heightened by his virulent imagery. He continued to show his progressive streak even after the disintegration of the Progressive Writers' Movement after 1953; and, through the rest of his career, he along with writers like, Yashpal, continued his ideological fight against modernist and formalist trends in Hindi literature.
He is best known for his long poems:Brahma-rakshasa (ब्रह्मराक्षस), Chand ka Muh Teda hai (The Moon Wears a Crooked Smile) (चाँद का मुहँ टेढ़ा है), Andhere Mein (In the Dark) (अंधेरे में) and Bhuri Bhuri Khak Dhul (The Brown Dry Dust) (भूरी भूरी ख़ाक धूल); his complete works extending to 6 volumes, were published in 1980, as Muktibodh Rachnavali.
'Sharadchandra Madhav Muktibodh' (1921–1985) a Marathi poet, novelist, and Marxist critic, winner of 1979, Sahitya Akademi Award in Marathi, was the younger brother of Muktibodh