World Poetry Day 21 March 2018 – Indian Poets

World Poetry Day is an occasion to celebrate words, verse, rhyme and reason! 21 March is celebrated as World Poetry Day all over the world. Poets, literary enthusiasts, students, professors, and almost everyone who has an inch of poetry within celebrates this day as a festival and with full fervour. 21st March 2018 is also being celebrated across the world – a day dedicated to poetry. Today, on this grand day, we are listing some of the Indian poets whom you must read in order to understand the depth of Indian poetry, across language. We sincerely hope that you will like them once you read their body of work.

Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirala’ – Also known as Dinbandhu, Mahapran and poet of the poor, Nirala was one of the most-read Hindi poets in India. He mainly wrote about those who had no shelter, no food and no clothes. Therefore, he is called Dinbandhu – a brother to the poor. His works revolutionised the modern Hindi literature in India. His rhyme did not have music but certainly had more than enough reasons to attract the readers. He also wrote many devotional poems and songs for different deities. Nevertheless, Nirala is most famous for his poems which arouse the sentiments among his readers.

गीत गाने दो मुझे तो,
वेदना को रोकने को।

चोट खाकर राह चलते
होश के भी होश छूटे,
हाथ जो पाथेय थे, ठग-
ठाकुरों ने रात लूटे,
कंठ रूकता जा रहा है,
आ रहा है काल देखो।

भर गया है ज़हर से
संसार जैसे हार खाकर,
देखते हैं लोग लोगों को,
सही परिचय न पाकर,
बुझ गई है लौ पृथा की,
जल उठो फिर सींचने को।

(Geet Gane Do, by Nirala)

Ravindra Nath Tagore: Who does not know him? The only Nobel Prize-winning poet from India and one of the first among the Asians, Tagore was certainly the most-decorated and most-celebrated poet in India. His poems evoke various sensibilities among the readers and he also composed the national anthem of India – Jana Gana Mana. His most famous body of work is Gitanjali.

You came to my door in the dawn and sang; it angered me to be awakened from sleep, and you went away unheeded.
You came in the noon and asked for water; it vexed me in my work, and you were sent away with reproaches.
You came in the evening with your flaming torches.
You seemed to me like a terror and I shut my door.
Now in the midnight I sit alone in my lampless room and call you back whom I turned away in insult.

(Crossing by Tagore)

Goswami Tulsidas: Does he need any formal third party introduction? We guess no! Tulsidas is considered as one of the precursors of Modern Indian Literature and his timeless creation, Ramacharitmanas, is one of the most-read creatin in the world. He is also known for many other works of literature but Ramacharitmanas by him is considered the magnum opus of Indian spiritual literature written in languages other than Sanskrit. If you haven’t read him yet, it is about time that you get yourself a copy of Ramacharitmanas and start reading it.

हनूमान तेहि परसा कर पुनि कीन्ह प्रनाम।
राम काजु कीन्हें बिनु मोहि कहाँ बिश्राम।

(SundarKaanda, Doha 1)

Harivansh Rai Bachchan – Who does not know Madhushala? The eternal Hindi poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan is one of those early poets in modern Hindi literature who changed the course and made poetry a little more personal rather than being a poet for all. His lines of Shringar Rasa are still very fresh in the memories of those who had the luxury to hear him. You must read his poems, at least for once to ensure that you don’t miss a gem of Indian literature and find yourself baffled when people are talking about the greatness that this man possessed in the terms of rhymes and reasons!

थी किरण अगणित बिछी जब,
पथ न सूझा! गति कहाँ अब?-
कुछ दिखाता दीप अंबर, कुछ दिखाती दीप धरती!
अब निशा नभ से उतरती!

(from Ab Nisha Nabh Se Utrarti)

That’s it for now, dear readers! We will keep bringing more and more poets to the light. Keep reading and a very happy Poetry Day!


by a contributor to LN