India is a multilingual country. Some of the major
Indian languages and languages recognised by the National Academy of Letters,
India (Sahitya Akademi) are Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi,
Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali,
Oriya, Prakrit, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and
It is chanted by some, rather reverentially, that "Indian literature is one
though written in many languages" that's also the motto of the Sahitya
Akademi (National Academy of Letters). But scholars have opined that a country
where so many languages coexist should be understood as a country with
literatures (in the plural). Professor Amiya Dev opines, "In brief,
arguments of unity in diversity are in my opinion suspect, for they encroach
upon the individualities of the diverse literatures. In other words, a cultural
relativist analogy is implied here, difference is underlined and corroborated by
the fact that both writers and readers of particular and individual literatures
are overwhelmingly concerned with their own literature and own literature only.
It is from this perspective that to the Akademi's motto "Indian literature is
one though written in many languages," the retort is "Indian literature
is one because it is written in many languages."
Till today it has not been possible for any literary scholar to talk confidently
on Indian literature; because there is no one literature, but there are only
Indian literatures. National literature is more than the sum of its
regional parts. There is an uneven development in period and region literatures.
There are gaps in the history chronology. Culture and literature are not
necessarily coterminous with linguistic formation and state boundary. The other
problem is determined by the narrativization of literary history. A major
problem to reconstruct the concept of India as a literary area lies in the
availability of literary texts in translations; Though attempts have been made
by different agencies still one cannot get a comprehensive view of literatures
in regional languages; that too from the Indian language into other directly
without the mediation of English. It is difficult to find multilingual scholars
who are well-versed in many languages of this country, because Indian literature
presumes the knowledge of many languages.
There are, of course, some pan-Indian traits in India's literature. But the
variegated traits are much more.
The status of literature is
therefore not identical in respect of all Indian languages; the range of modern
sensibility in poetic creativity too varies widely.
Writers and readers in one language know very
little of what is being written in the neighbouring linguistic area. "It is,
therefore, necessary to devise methods by which Indian writers may come to know
each other, cross the barriers of language and script, and appreciate the
immense variety and complexity of their country's literary heritage," as it has
rightly been recommended by some thinkers.
Preparation of an archive of biographical data on Indian poets writing in
various Indian languages is visualised in this context.
Although there cannot be any sacrosanct common norms for classification, the
significant Indian poets can be placed in three categories, broadly.
The major figures of Indian poetry may be grouped into the first two categories
---(a) those who were born prior to 1920 annd (b) those who were born in between
1920 to 1949. In the first category, one may place Jibanananda Das (1899-1954),
Mohan Singh (1905-1978), Bal Sitaram Mardhekar (1909-56), Sri Sri (1910-83),
Ajneya / Agyeya (19111987), Baidyanath Mishra Yatri (1911-1998), Ali Sardar
Jafri (1913-2000), Akhtarul Iman (1915-96), Satchidananda Rautroy (1916-2004),
Dina Nath Nadim (1916-88), Gajanan Madhav Muktibodh (1917-64), Gopalakrishna
Adiga (1918-98), Vinda Karandikar (1918) and Subhas Mukhopadhyay (1919-2003). In
the second category, one may include Harbhajan Singh (19202002), Suresh Joshi
(1921-86), Nissim Ezekiel (1924-2004), B.C. Ramachandra Sharma (1925-2005),
Navakanta Barua (1926-2002), Jayanta Mahapatra (b. 1928), Balraj Komal (b.
1928), Raghuvir Sahay (19291990), A. K. Ramanujan (1929-1993), Ayyappa Paniker
(b. 1930), Sundara Ramaswamy (1931-2005), Attoor Ravi Varma (b. 1931), Sankha
Ghosh (b. 1932), Arun Balkrishna Kolatkar (19322004), Hiren Bhattacharjya
(b.1932), Shakti Chattopaddhay (1933-1995), Nilmoni Phookan (b. 1933) Kedarnath
Singh (b. 1934), Ramakanta Rath (b. 1934), Sunil Gangopadhyay (b. 1934), Kamala
Das (b. 1934), Chandrakant Deotale (b. 1936), Sitakant Mahapatra (b. 1937), Keki
N Daruwalla (b. 1937), Abdul Rahman (b. 1937), Dom Moraes (1938-2004), Dilip
Chitre (b. 1938), Bhaben Barua (b. 1941), Sitanshu Yashaschandra (b. 1941),
Soubhagya Kumar Misra (b. 1941), Vasant Abaji Dahake (b.1942), Harekrishna Deka
(b. 1943), Rajendra Kishore Panda (b. 1944), Surjit Patar (b. 1944), K.
Satchidanandan (b. 1946) and Arvind Krishna Mehrotra (b. 1947). Labhshanker
Thaker will also be in this category.
However, the growth and development of Indian poetry in various Indian languages depends, to a large extent, on the creative
force of the poets of the succeeding decades, those who are born in 1950s and
Some of the already-emerged and
the fast-emerging voices of Indian poetry are Bibhu Padhi (b. 1951), Meena Alexander (1951), Udaya Narayana Singh (b. 1951), Manohar Shetty (b. 1953), Rajaram Brammarajan (b.
1953), Arun Kamal (b. 1954), Joy Goswami (b.1954), Siddalingaiah (1954),
Prathibha Nandakumar (1955), Anuradha Mahapatra (b. 1957), Chandrakant Shah (b.
1956), Balachandran Chullikkad (b. 1957), A. Jayaprabha (1957), Bhagirathi
Mishra (b. 1958), Robin S. Ngangom (1959), Swarup Mohapatra (b. 1959), Jeet
Thayil (b. 1959), Soorya Mishra (b. 1960), Rabindra K. Swain (b. 1960), Nilim
Kumar (b. 1962), Sucheta Mishra (b. 1965), Hemant Divate (b.1967), Arundhathi
Subramaniam (b.1967) and Manoj Kumar Meher (b. 1973). Basudev Sunani, Pabitra
Mohan Dash, Anamika and several other poets (it is not necessary to palce an elaborate list) may also be placed in this category. The future of Indian poetry
in form, themes, styles, tone and temper rests
on these poets, and on their peers and successors.
Biographical notes on major Indian poets and on other eminent and emerging poets of India
are placed in this archive. All Indian languages (except Bodo, Prakrit, Sanskrit
and Santhali) have been covered.
The archive can never claim to be complete. It will be our endeavour to update it
continually. It is possible that some factual errors might have crept into the database
which has been built up on the basis of information gathered from multiple
sources. The errors will be corrected as and when we receive further