"Madhushala" an eternal creation by Shri Harivansh Rai Bachhan was a craze and whenever Mr. Harivansh Rai Bachhan presented it on Stage the audience became so personally involved in it that the entire Hall seemed to be swayed under the influence of the message in it.
With the publication of Madhushala (House of Mead, 1935), a literary masterpiece of Bachchan, a rhapsody on wine and joy of living, his position as a major Hindi poet was firmly established.He burst upon the horizon of Hindi poetry as a bright star one evening in 1935 with his recitation of Madhushala, a cry straight from the soul of a young man who had suffered much, to a huge audience, unfolding to listeners an enchanting world with rings of Omar Khayyam. Longing for an eternal union with his beautiful beloved, the poem employs a range of symbols, especially that of wine, much as in the tradition of Persian poetry. (The meaning of these symbols of operates at many levels.)
The influence of Omar Khayyam`s Rubaiyaat and its style he had written two other long poems, completing a trilogy with Madhushala, Madhubala (1936), and Madhukalash (1937).
The underlying message of these three collections was the meaninglessness of the sordid worldly ambitions, greed acquisitiveness, bigotry and intolerance in religion, morality and behaviour. In a sad poetic irony, Harivansh Rai boldly challenged sickening conventionalism and moralist and thus, gave to Hindi poetry an entirely new dimension.
The death of Shyama had a profound effect on his psyche, shattering all his hopes and dreams. His feelings of deep grief and pessimism were expressed through Nisha Nimatran (Invitation to Night, 1938), collection of a hundred lyrics. Harivansh had tried to evolve his own version of sonnet and in harmony with its own poetic style. Instead of following the traditional pattern of octave and sextet, his lyrics consisted of 13 lines suited to Hindi language. Beginning with a cry of loneliness and ending with an assurance, the basic imagery of these lyrics were linked with the darkness and the light symbolising his grief and hope.
Satrangee (The Rainbow) was published in 1945. The Bengal Famine in 1943 caused Harivansh to move away from his earlier concerns. His new involvement in the human predicament resulted in the collection Bangla ka Kal (The Fate of Bengal, 1946). Bhupendranath Das translated the volume into Bengali in 1948. Aware of human suffering and a sensibility sharpened by private grief, in the same year (1946) he published Halahal.
Harivansh Rai expressed a happy mood after a long time, in 1950s, after publishing Milan Yamini (1950) and Pranav Patrika (1955), named after Tulsidas`s Vinay Patrika. The poems of these two volumes had transcended the sensuousness of his early poems. Ghar ke Idhar Udhar (1957) was a work of transition in which the poet was gradually returning to share the glory of his clan and family. In the next collection, Arati Aur Angare (1958), he celebrated his return to one`s own heritage. However, with the publication of these poems his first phase of writing, in real sense, ended.
In his later works he charts his path from loneliness and futility of existence to the emerging joys of life. The element of irony returns in another form in his poems after 1958, the first manifestation being in Buddha aur Nachghar (Buddha and the Dance Hall). In his own opinion Buddha aur Nachghar was the turning point of his poetic career, as he was able to express the seen and anger of the society around him. In Tribhangima, Char Kheme Chaunsath Khoonte, Roop aur Awaz, and Bahut Din Beete he had experimented with the language of folklore. Bachchan moved on to social satire in these volumes. This time he was more concerned with contemporary life, the hollowness and villainy in society and politics. His desire was to live a full-blooded life on this earth, which is quite evident in his poems. This quality of the poet had made his the most liked and loved poet of HindI.