Indian Poets
Biographical Notes On Indian Poets Writing In Various Indian Languages

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Indian Poets : An Introduction

Marathi
Nepali
Oriya
Punjabi
Sindhi
Tamil
Telugu
Urdu
Indian-English

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 Indian-English.

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 (1911–1987), 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 (1920–2002), 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 (1929–1990), 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 (1932–2004), 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 thereafter.

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 information.

Indian Poetry in English Translation : GoogleSearch


Note of acknowledgement : The image displayed in this page is an artwork named 'Untitled' (Medium acrylic on canvas board, Year : 1984) by Gulam Rasool Santosh (1929-97), an eminent painter and Kashmiri poet.
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