Mannu Bhandari Age, Death, Husband, Family, Biography & More

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Hometown: Ajmer, Rajasthan
Husband: Rajendra Yadav
Age: 90 Years

Mannu Bhandari

Other nameMahendra Kumari [1]Bharat Times
Full nameMannu Bhandari Yadav
Profession(s)Author, Teacher, Playwright
Known forBeing the author of two popular Hindi novels named 'Aapka Bunty' (Your Bunty) and 'Mahabhoj' (Feast)
Physical Stats & More
Eye ColourBlack
Hair ColourGrey
DebutShort story: 'Main Har Gayi' ('I Have Been Defeated') (1957) published in the Hindi Kahaani magazine
Novel: Aapka Bunty (1971)
Awards, Honours, Achievements • Uttar Pradesh Hindi Sansthan for Mahabhoj (1980-1981)
• Bhartiya Bhasha Parishad at Kolkata (1982)
• Kala-Kunj Samman at New Delhi (1982)
• Bhartiya Sanskrit Sansad Katha Samaroh at Kolkata (1983)
• Bihar Rajya Bhasha Parishad (1991)
• Rajasthan Sangeet Natak Akademi (2001–02)
• Maharashtra Rajya Hindi Sahitya Akademi (2004)
• Hindi Academy, Dilli Shalaka Samman (2006–07)
• Madhya Pradesh Hindi Sahitya Sammelan at Bhavbhuti Alankaran (2006–07)
• The 18th Vyas Samman for 'Ek Kahani Yeh Bhi' by K. K. Birla Foundation (2008)
Personal Life
Date of Birth2 April 1931 (Thursday)
BirthplaceBhanpura, Indore State, British India
Date of Death15 November 2021
Place of DeathGurgaon, Haryana, India
Age (at the time of death)90 Years
Death CauseHeart attack [2]The Times of India
Zodiac signAries
HometownAjmer, Rajasthan
SchoolSavitri Girls High School, Ajmer
College/University• Calcutta University, West Bengal
• Banaras Hindu University
Educational Qualifications• Graduation at Calcutta University, West Bengal (1949)
• M.A. in Hindi language and literature at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh [3]The Times of India
ReligionJainism [4]The Indian Express
ControversyIn 1976, during the emergency, she refused to accept the Padma Shri and Sahitya Kala Parishad awards as a protest against the Government of India.
Relationships & More
Marital Status (at the time of death)Widow
Affairs/BoyfriendsRajendra Yadav (writer)
Marriage Date22 November 1959
Mannu Bhandari on her wedding day
Husband/SpouseRajendra Yadav (d. 2013) (Hindi writer)
A picture of Rajendra Yadav, husband of Mannu Bhandari
ChildrenDaughter- Rachana Yadav (kathak dancer)
A picture of Rachana Yadav, daughter of Mannu Bhandari
ParentsFather- Sukhsampat Rai Bhandari (freedom fighter and social reformer)
Mother- Anoop Kumari Bhandari (homemaker)
SiblingsBrothers- 2
Prasanna Kumar Bhandari (teacher)
Basant Kumar (teacher)

Sisters- 2
Snehlata (school owner in Indore)

Note: She was the youngest of five siblings.

Mannu Bhandari

Some Lesser Known Facts About Mannu Bhandari

  • Mannu Bhandari Yadav was a famous Indian writer. She wrote books and stories in Hindi. She is known for her two popular books named “Aap Ka Bunty” and “Mahabhoj.” She also wrote many short stories, novels, and scripts for television and movies. She was one of the pioneers of the Nayi Kahani movement, which talked about the ideals of the emerging middle class in India. Her writings often showed the thoughts and feelings of educated and working middle-class women. She wrote about family, relationships, equal rights, and discrimination in India.
  • Many of her stories were turned into movies and plays for television. Her work was shown on Doordarshan, the BBC, and the National School of Drama in India. Her writings were translated into many Indian languages as well as French, German, and English. She won many awards in India for her writings such as the Uttar Pradesh Hindi Sansthan and the Vyas Samman. She was one of the notable writers in 21st-century Hindi literature. Once, The Indian Express, a popular Indian newspaper, called her a “doyenne of the Hindi literary world” in one of their publications after she passed away.

    A young Mannu Bhandari

    A young Mannu Bhandari

  • Reportedly, her father was the first person to translate English to Hindi and English to Marathi dictionaries. He was also part of a group called Arya Samaj, which aimed to make positive changes in Hinduism. According to Mannu Bhandari, her father often made fun of her dark skin.
  • During her school days, she was involved in politics. In 1946, when two of her friends were kicked out of school for being part of Subhash Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army, she helped organize a strike.
  • After completing her graduation, she began working as a Hindi teacher at Ballygunge Shiksha Sadan school in Calcutta, and later at Rani Birla College in Kolkata from 1961 to 1965.
  • Mannu Bhandari and Rajendra Yadav met in Calcutta (now Kolkata) when Bhandari was a student at Calcutta University. Despite her father’s opposition, they got married and started living in Tollygunge in Kolkata until 1964. After that, they moved to Delhi and stayed there. In Delhi, she started working as a Hindi literature teacher at Miranda House College, University of Delhi.
  • In the 1980s, Bhandari and Yadav decided to live separately, but they did not officially get divorced.

    An old picture of Mannu Bhandari with her husband and daughter

    An old picture of Mannu Bhandari with her husband and daughter

  • From 1992 to 1994, she was in charge of a special position at Premchand Srijanpith in Ujjain’s Vikram University.
  • Mannu Bhandari wrote her first short story titled ‘Main Har Gayi’ in 1957. Later, this story became a popular play, which was performed in several theatres all over India.

    The cover of the short story book 'Main Har Gayi' in 1957

    The cover of the short story book ‘Main Har Gayi’ in 1957

  • In 1961, she wrote a novel called ‘Ek Inch Muskaan’ with her husband. In 1971, she published her first solo novel, ‘Aapka Bunty,’ which was about a child dealing with their parents’ divorce. It became very famous soon after it was released and was later translated into different languages.

    The cover of the novel 'Aapka Bunty' in 1971

    The cover of the novel ‘Aapka Bunty’ in 1971

  • When she was writing the novel ‘Aapka Bunty,’ her daughter, Rachana, was nine years old. Mannu Bhandari chose to stay in the Miranda House hostel for a month to focus on writing her book. Reportedly, at one point, she thought about going home because she missed her daughter, but Rajendra Yadav encouraged her to finish her novel instead.
  • Throughout her career, Mannu Bhandari kept writing short stories. She used to share them in various Hindi magazines and publications like Indian Literature and the Journal of South Asian Literature. She released many collections of these stories in Hindi books like ‘Teen Nigahon Ki Ek Tasvirin 1959,’ ‘Ek Plate Sailab’ in 1962, ‘Trishanku in 1995,’ ‘Yahi Sach Hai in 2004,’ and ‘Sampoorna Kahaniyan.’

    The cover of the book Sampoorna Kahaniyan

    The cover of the book Sampoorna Kahaniyan

  • In 1974, one of her stories, ‘Yehi Sach Hai,’ was adapted into a film called ‘Rajnigandha.’ This film was about a woman trying to choose between her past and present loves by writing in her diary.

    The poster of the 1974 film 'Rajnigandha'

    The poster of the 1974 film ‘Rajnigandha’

  • She adapted a story by another writer, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, into a movie called ‘Swami’ in 1977, but she disagreed with the ending of the film.

    The poster of the 1977 film 'Swami'

    The poster of the 1977 film ‘Swami’

  • In 1979, Bhandari wrote another novel called ‘Mahabhoj.’ It was based on a real incident (which happened in Bihar) where Dalit people were attacked and killed by upper-caste landlords in 1977. This book highlighted the struggles of marginalized communities. Soon after its popularity, Mannu Bhandari turned this novel into a play, which was later performed at the National School of Drama in Delhi. Reportedly, the play was a big success and ran for many years at various theatres across India.

    The cover of the book 'Mahabhoj'

    The cover of the book ‘Mahabhoj’

  • In 1979, one of her popular stories was adapted into a movie called ‘Jeena Yahan,’ and it earned a lot of praise from the viewers.

    The poster of the 1979 film 'Jeena Yahan'

    The poster of the 1979 film ‘Jeena Yahan’

  • In 1985, Manuu Bhandari worked with Indian film director Basu Chatterjee and wrote scripts for a television show titled ‘Rajani.’ This show was about a housewife who got involved in social and political activities. Reportedly, one episode of this show (written by Mannu Bhandari) about the struggles of taxi drivers became very popular.

    A still from the 1985 television show 'Rajani'

    A still from the 1985 television show ‘Rajani’

  • In 2007, she wrote an autobiography called ‘Ek Kahaani Yeh Bhi.’ In this book, she talked about her life, her involvement in politics, her writing journey, and her marriage.

    The cover of the book Ek Kahani Yeh Bhi

    The cover of the book Ek Kahani Yeh Bhi

  • Mannu Bhandari and Rajendra Yadav stayed friends until Yadav passed away in 2013.
  • In 2017, Mannu Bhandari wrote another successful play called ‘Bina Deevaron Ke Ghar.’

    The poster of the play 'Bina Deevaron Ke Ghar'

    The poster of the play ‘Bina Deevaron Ke Ghar’