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Author Harivansh Rai Bachchan
Country India
Language Hindi
Genre Hindi Poem
Publisher Hind Pocket Books
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
ISBN 81-216-0125-8
Followed by Madhubala

Madhushala (Hindi: मधुशाला) (The Tavern/The House of Wine) is a book of 135 "quatrains": verses of four lines (Ruba'i) by Hindi poet and writer Harivansh Rai Bachchan (1907–2003). The highly metaphorical work is still celebrated for its deeply Sufi incantations and philosophical undertones[1] and is an important work in the Chhayavaad (Neo-romanticism) literary movement of early 20th century Hindi literature.

All the rubaaiaa (the plural for rubaai) end in the word madhushala. The poet tries to explain the complexity of life with his four instruments, which appear in almost every verse: madhu, madira or haala (wine), saaki (server), pyaala (cup or glass) and of course madhushala, madiralaya (pub/bar).

The publication of the work in 1935 brought Harivanshrai Bachchan instant fame, and his own recitation of the poems became a "craze" at poetry symposiums.[2]

Madhushala was part of his trilogy inspired by Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat, which he had earlier translated into Hindi. The other titles in the trilogy were Madhubala (मधुबाला) (1936) and Madhukalash मधुकलश) (1937).[2]

Madhushala in Media[edit]

A recording of selected Rubaai from Madhushala was released by HMV, where twenty stanzas were chosen and sung by Manna Dey, while the first one was sung by Bachchan himself. The music was composed by Jaidev.[3] His son, actor Amitabh Bachchan, has read the verses on several occasions, most notably at Lincoln Center, New York City. The text has also been choreographed for stage performances.[4]



  1. ^ Madhushala (The Tavern)
  2. ^ a b Sharma, Rajendra (February 1, 2003). "The romantic rebel. Harivansh Rai Bachchan, 1907-2003 (Obituary)". Frontline. Retrieved 6 March 2014. Harivanshrai Bachchan must have published some 30 collections of his poetry. Yet he is known mostly for his poetic trilogy of Madhushaala, Madhubaala and Madhukalash, and more so for the first of these. Published in 1935, Madhushaala did not just bring Bachchan instant fame. Rendered by the poet at various kavi sammelans, it literally became a craze. The poet's cinema-star son Amitabh Bachchan was not very far off the mark when he said that the kind of stardom he enjoyed today, had come his father's way a long time back. 
  3. ^ Madhushala Audio
  4. ^ Sharma, Rajendra (February 1, 2003). "The romantic rebel. Harivansh Rai Bachchan, 1907-2003 (Obituary)". Frontline. Retrieved 6 March 2014. Harivanshrai Bachchan's stardom, unique in Hindi literature, was mostly the gift of Madhushaala. It is undoubtedly one of the most enduring works of modern Hindi literature. It has been translated into English and regional Indian languages such as Bengali, Marathi and Malayalam. It has been choreographed, and performed on stage. It was also one the first pieces of Hindi poetry that was set to music, with its best-selling cassettes and CDs attracting generations of listeners. 

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