Nilotpal Mrinal is an Indian author, poet, socio-political activist, and social media influencer, who is known for his Hindi-language novels Dark Horse: Ek Ankahi Dastan (2015), Aughad (2019), and Yaar Jadugar (2021).
Nilotpal Mrinal was born on Tuesday, 25 December 1984 (age 37 years; as of 2021) in Dumka, Jharkhand. His zodiac sign is Capricorn.
He did his schooling at Rani Sonawati Kumari Government +2 High School, Nonihat, Jharkhand. He earned a bachelor’s degree in arts from St. Xavier’s College, Ranchi, in 2005. During his college days, he actively participated in various student movements. In 2008, he moved to Mukherjee Nagar in Delhi to prepare for the Civil Services Examination. In the following eight years, he repeatedly appeared in the examination but could not clear it. In an interview, he revealed that he could have secured a well paying corporate job at that time, but he desired to serve the society. Hence, when he didn’t come through the UPSC examination, he decided to address social issues via his writings.
Height (approx.): 5′ 10″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Nilotpal Mrinal is a Bihari, and his family hails from Sangrampur, Munger, Bihar. Not much information is available about his parents and siblings.
Nilotpal Mrinal ventured into writing after he exhausted his attempts to appear in the UPSC exam. He gained immense popularity for his first novel Dark Horse: Ek Ankahi Dastan (2015), which follows the life of a candidate preparing for the country’s highest honoured examination, the Civil Services Examination, just like Nilotpal Mrinal. In the backdrop of Mukherjee Nagar, Delhi, the novel showcases the struggle of the aspirants who get out of their villages and deal with urban life to secure their dream job.
In 2019, he authored the novel ‘Aughad,’ which focuses on the complexities of Indian rural life and its socio-political structure. In the novel, topics like religious hypocrisy, caste, untouchability, conditions of rural women, politics, crime, and middle-class consciousness, are discussed via rhetorics like wearing glasses is a symbol of being a student, motorcycles are more important than toilets, the only boy child of a poor household is treated special, etc.
His novel Dark Horse stood at No.1 in the Dainik Jagran Best Seller list, while Aughad was ranked fourth on the list. His penchant for fighting on political and social issues is clearly visible in his writings. In 2019, he authored and voiced the audiobook ‘Jakh Baba’ for the Storytel app. The novel walks the readers through the leisurely life of Indian villages and talks about the small desires of the villagers.
He authored and voiced the audiobook Darling Democracy (2020) for the Audible app. The audiobook revolves around the Panchayat elections in a village named Bilaiya, a seat reserved for Adivasis. As the story unfolds, the former Sarpanch of the village Rang Bahadur Singh, as well as some other aspiring candidates, try to marry an Adivasi girl to contest the elections.
In 2021, he penned the novel ‘Yaar Jadugar,’ which talks about the inevitability of death meanwhile focusing on the meaning of life. Later, his novels were converted into audiobooks, which he voiced himself, and they were featured on various apps.
Poetry and Folk Songs
He released his first audio cassette of folk songs in 2001, just after Jharkhand became a separate state on 15 November 2000. One of the songs released by him was titled ‘Jharkhand Dhasal Daldal Mein.’ Apart from writing novels, Nilotpal has an equal interest in folk singing and poetry. Various poems penned by him include Duniya Esi Hua Karti Thi, Ab To Lagta Hai Desh Veerana, and Hum Hi To Kal Itihaas Likhenge. In 2017, after campaigning for the removal of a derogatory picture against Biharis from a website, he voiced the song ‘Haan Main Bihari Hun’ and released it on the YouTube channel Global Gumti, which went viral. The song was immensely appreciated by the people of Bihar as the song encouraged them to take pride in their ethnicity. He has also voiced the songs Chal Sadho Koi Desh (2019) and Jagmag Kare Ee Sansaar (2020).
He runs a self-titled YouTube channel on which he uploads his songs and poems. He has over 92.6k followers on his channel.
Campaigned for the Removal of a Derogatory Picture
In 2017, a website named ‘Lallantop’ uploaded a picture in which it made fun of Bihar and Biharis. The picture hurt the sentiments of the people of Bihar and attracted immense criticism from Biharis all over India, including Nilotpal Mrinal. Consequently, Mrinal started a campaign against the website demanding the removal of the picture from the website. He also dragged the case to court and succeeded in getting the picture deleted.
Copyright Infringement Allegations against TVF
In 2021, Nilotpal Mrinal made allegations against the streaming platform The Viral Fever (TVF) claiming that its coming-of-age web series ‘Aspirants’ was based on his 2015 book ‘Dark Horse’. In a long post on Facebook, Mrinal shared a photo of Arunabh Kumar, the founder of TVF, with a caption that read,
Have shared Anurabh’s photo and details of the meeting with him to prove that he knew me as the writer of Dark Horse and was also aware of my interests to make a film based on the book.”
In the post, Mrinal also said that he will initiate legal action against TVF for copying approximately 30% of the story of the series from his book and not crediting him for the same. In response to Mrinal’s allegations, TVF released an official statement, which read,
TVF is a creator-centric organization which has been nurturing writers since inception and takes their rights very seriously. A social media post has alleged that our show “Aspirants” has been inspired from another literary work. The Company has received a notice in this regard and we will fully cooperate to investigate the matter.”
Accused of Sexually Assaulting a Woman for Ten Years
In 2022, a woman, via a Facebook post, claimed that she was physically and mentally abused by Nilotpal Mrinal under the pretext of marriage. Thereafter, an FIR against Mrinal was registered by the Delhi police in the Timarpur Police Station area. Reportedly, the victim was a 32-year-old woman hailing from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, who had been preparing for the UPSC examination at Mukherjee Nagar. In her complaint, she stated that she first met the author in 2013.
In 2019, Mrinal was denied entry into a restaurant named Q’BA in Connaught Place due to a gamchha (scarf) that he carried on his shoulder. Apparently, the manager of the restaurant believed that gamchha wasn’t an appropriate piece of clothing for a fine dining restaurant. While talking about the incident in an interview, Mrinal said,
I was returning after participating in the Purvanchal Mahotsav program by the Delhi government. I was just entering into the Q’BA restaurant when the manager smiled and said that I could not come inside with it (gamchha). This looks bad. The atmosphere here is not like that.”
After arguing with the manager for a long time, Mrinal forcefully entered the restaurant and viewed the menu. The menu featured a Bhojpuri named dish called ‘Lahariya Samosa,’ which then became a topic of debate between the manager and Mrinal. In an interview, while talking about the same, he said,
I told the waiter that your manager is not letting me in because of my gamchha and you use Bhojpuri words in the menu. Why don’t you find an English word for this too.”
In reciprocation to the insult, he shared the incident via a Facebook post. The post hurt the sentiments of Biharis as they saw it as an insult to their identity and traditional dress. Thereafter, numerous people started posting pictures with gamchha on the internet. A day after this incident, Aam Aadmi Party leader Dilip Pandey also went to the same restaurant wearing a gamchha. Bigg Boss celebrity and singer Deepak Thakur also shared pictures wearing Gamcha to show his support to the people of Bihar. Eventually, not only did the manager apologise for his mistake, but the restaurant also made its staff wear gamchha.
In 2015, UPSC’s decision to make CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test) a qualifying paper for the Civil Services Exams outraged many students across India, especially the students who opted to write in Hindi and other local languages as they believed that aspirants with English, maths, and science backgrounds had an advantage over them. Thereafter, the CSAT movement started in Mukherjee Nagar protesting the introduction of CSAT, which was headed by Nilotpal Mrinal. During the movement, Nilotpal, along with his friends, went on a hunger strike, which lasted for 8 days. The police showed brutality towards the protesting students to curb the movement and arrested 7 to 8 students along with Nilotpal Mrinal.
- Much to the amazement of Nilotpal Mrinal, once a question about his book Dark Horse: Ek Ankahi Dastan (2015) was asked in the Civil Services Examination which he was attempting. In an interview, while talking about the irony of the event he said that looking at his own name on the question paper of the exam that he was so desperately trying to pass was the greatest achievement for him.
- He received the Sahitya Akademi Youth Award in 2016 for his novel Dark Horse: Ek Ankahi Dastan (2015). Apart from that, he is also a recipient of the Bihar Gaurav Samman.
- He was also fond of poetry since his school days and used to wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning to write poems. While preparing for the UPSC exam in Dehli, he used to sing qawwalis and verses of various Hindi poets like Suryakant Tripathi (commonly known as Nirala) in his leisure time. Later, Dark Horse gained popularity among readers, but it wasn’t much of a financial success for him. That’s when he took to the stage and started presenting his poetry as it was economically better and paved a way for him to directly connect with people.
- He wrote his first novel in just nine days. Thereafter, he participated in New Delhi World Book Fair (2014), where his book was rejected by approximately 28 publishers. Later, through his Facebook post, Mrinal was contacted by an anonymous man, a struggling publisher who offered to publish Mrinal’s novel. After obtaining the ISBN, Mrinal’s novel was published by Hind Yugm Publication.
- In an interview, Mrinal revealed that he scored 30 marks in Hindi in his matriculation exams, the exact score that he required to pass the exam. Surprisingly, Mrinal established a career in the same language and went on to win the Sahitya Akademi Youth Award (2016) for his Hindi language novel Dark Horse.
- He often uses his catchphrase ‘Jai ho’ in his social media posts.