Lallu Lal

Lallu Lal
Born 1763
Died 1835
Nationality British Indian
Other names Lallu Lalji, Lallu Lal Ji, Lallulal, Lalloolal, Lallo Lal, Lulloo Lal Kuvi, Lallū Lāla, Lallu Lal Kavi
Occupation college instructor, translator, author
Notable work Prem Sagar

Lallu Lal (1763–1835) was an academic, author and translator from British India. He was an instructor in Hindustani language at Fort William College. He is notable for Prem Sagar, the first work in modern literary Hindi.


Lallu Lal was born in a Gujarati Brahmin family of Agra. He had knowledge of Persian and Hindustani. He came to Murshidabad to earn a living, and served the Nawab of Murshidabad for 7 years. He was noticed by John Gilchrist, who brought him to the Fort William College in Calcutta. There, Lallu Lal translated and authored several literary works into modern vernacular Hindi. He retired from the Fort William College in 1881 Vikram Samvat (1823–24 CE), after serving there for 24 years.[1]


Lallu Lal's most notable translation is Prem Sagar (1804–1810), the earliest prose in Khari Boli dialect of Hindi. Along with Kazim Ali Javan, he translated Singhasan Battisi and Shakuntala into Hindustani. Along with Mazhar Ali Vila, he also translated Baital Pachisi and Madhunal (1805) in Hindustani.[2]

Lallu Lal's original work included The Grammar of Brij-bhasa (1811), in Urdu script. He also authored Lala Chandrika, a commentary on Bihari's Satasai.[3]

In addition, he compiled Lataif-i-Hindi or The New Cyclopedia Hindoostanica of Wit (1810) in Urdu and Devanagari scripts. It is a collection of around 100 witty stories and anecdotes.[4]

Prem Sagar

Prem Sagar or Prem Sagur ("Ocean of Love") was one of the first modern Hindi books, composed between 1804 and 1810. A translation of Chaturbhuja Misra's Braj Bhasa book, its story is based on the tenth book of the Bhagavata Purana, the legend of Krishna.[5]

The earliest Hindustani language literature made heavy use of Persian words, and resembled modern Urdu. Lallu Lal was among the first writers to use words of Indo-Aryan origin in Hindustani language literature. His Prem Sagar is the earliest work, whose language resembles modern Sanskritized Hindi. Linguist Jules Bloch describes the importance of Lallu Lal's work as follows:[6]

Lallu Lal, under the inspiration of Dr. Gilchrist, changed all that by writing the famous Prem Sagar, whose prose portions are on the whole Urdu, from which Persian words have been throughout replaced by Indo-Aryan words… The new dialect gave a lingua franca to the Hindus.
Jules Bloch


  1. Akbar Padamsee; Shamlal (1966). Western Influence in Bengali Literature. Vakil. p. 320.
  2. Thomas Grahame Bailey (2008). A history of Urdu literature. Oxford University Press. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-19-547518-0.
  3. George Abraham Grierson, ed. (1896). The Satsaiya of Bihari, with a Commentary Entitled the Lala-candrika, by Çri Lallu Lal Kavi. Office of the Superintendent of Government Printing, Calcutta.
  4. Abdul Jamil Khan (2006). Urdu/Hindi: An Artificial Divide. Algora Publishing. p. 205. ISBN 978-0-87586-437-2.
  5. The Prem Sagur of Lallu Lal. Translated by W. Hollings. Ridsdale. 1848. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-4655-8069-6.
  6. Tara Chand (1994). "Some Misconceptions About Hindustani". The Problem of Hindustani (1944). Indian Periodicals.

External links

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