Born into an Oraon Adivasi family of Ranchi (then Bihar, now Jharkhand) in 1954, Mahadev Toppo is recognized as a leading litterateur. He has written poetry, novellas, short stories and plays in Hindi and in his mother tongue Kurukh. He has also tried his hands at acting – in the Nagpuria film Baha and two short films Pahada and Aidpa Kaana (While Going Home) in Kurukh. Jangal Pahad Ke Path (anthology of poems) is among his notable published works. His poems have been translated into German, Assamese, Sanskrit and Telugu. Edited excerpts of his conversation with Kartik Chaudhary:
What inspired you to take to writing?
I had developed a liking for reading when I was in Grade 4. Once I happened to read somewhere that Father Camille Bulcke, a foreigner, lives in Ranchi and is a great Hindi scholar. When I joined high school, I used to walk past his home every day and would see him working, surrounded by books. That probably inspired me. My illiterate mother was very happy when she saw me reading. So, I read books just to make her happy. That was another source of inspiration.