6 Modern And Contemporary Hindi Poets To Read And Follow
Contemporary Hindi poetry has been through evolution and contains various genres. Like every other literary form, modern as well as post-modern Hindi poetry world is full of gems. Here's a list of some renowned and brilliant contemporary Hindi poets whose poems bring in new-age spirit and enrich the sphere.
In the realm of Hindi poetry, Kunwar Narayan marks his presence as one of the leading Hindi poets of the 21st century. With a career spanning more than 60 years, he's essentially associated with the 'new poetry movement' in Hindi. Narayan was born in Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh in 1927 and his literary influence has a wide spectrum, from mythology, great epics or Upanishads to Amir Khusro, Ghalib, Marxism, and Gandhi. Narayan was a resident of Lucknow and his house was a center of the literary meet as well as classical performances till his death in 2017. Apart from poems, his literary genius flourished through essays, short stories, translation works, literary criticism etc. During his early life, he translated poems of French symbolist poets, such as Valery, Mallarmé along with Cavafy and Borges. Amongst his poems, most famous ones are, 'Chakravyuh'(1956), 'Parivesh: Hum-Tum', 'Atmajayee' (short epic based poetry), 'Apne Sapne', 'Koi Dusra Nahi'(1993), 'In Dino'(2008). 'Atmajayee' is a epic poetry on Upanishad-character Nachiketa and is one of the classics of Hindi poetry expressing metaphysical concerns. 'Apne Sapne' has a content of political and social ironies. Narayan was awarded the Sahitya Akademi award in 1995 for 'Koi Dusra Nehin' and overall contribution to Hindi literature. He was always conferred with the highest literature award of India, Jnanpith in 2005 as well as Italy's Premio Feronia award for being an esteemed global author (first Indian author to get that award).
A former civil servant and the Secretary Chairman of Lalit Kala Academy (2008-11), Ashok Vajpayi is one of modern Hindi poets and critics with 15 Hindi poetry books as well as numerous critical essays in both Hindi and English. His works have been translated into English, French and Polish languages apart from Indian languages. His famous book of poems, 'Kahin Nahin Wahin' won the prestigious Sahitya Akademi award in 1994. Vajpayi received many accolades such as Dayavati Kabir Shekhar Samman(1994), Kabir Samman (2006) as well as 'The Officer's Cross of Merit of the Republic of Poland' in 2005, 'Officier De L'ordre Des Arts Et Des Lettres' by the French Government in 2004. His famous books of poems are, 'Kahin Nahin Wahin', 'Shaher Ab Bhi Sambhabhavana Hain', 'Tatpurush', 'Ummed Ka Dusra Nam' etc.
"Aye bhai zara dekh ke chalo,
Age hi nahi, piche bhi,
Daye hi nahi, baye bhi,
Upar hi nahi, niche bhi…"
An immortal song from Raj Kapoor's evergreen classic 'Mera Naam Joker' is the reflection of human life. Who wrote this song? Or who was the lyricist of the epic song 'Rangeela re'? It was Gopaldas Saxena Neeraj whose pen name was Niraj or Neeraj. Being a people's poet, Neeraj is immensely popular for his Hindi poems and songs that express human emotions in simple yet unique words. Neeraj's "Karvaan Gujar Gaya" attracted Dev Anand, the actor so much that he invited the poet to Mumbai in the early 60s. After that poet worked with eminent music director, S.D. Barman and later with Shankar-Jaikishan. The lucid language of his poems and songs appealed to the masses as well as the intellectuals. He received the award of Filmfare for best lyricist and Neeraj believed that his songs lived due to the poetry in each of them.
Mohan Rana can be regarded as one of the leading Hindi authors of this time whose poems stand alone amongst the new-age poetry. Born in 1964 in Delhi, Rana's literary brilliance isn't restricted to a single category. But this refusal to get into a specific ideology doesn't mean his poems shy away from thinking. According to critic and reviewer, it unfurls the difference between the thinking in verse and thinking about poetry. Rana's bilingual Chapbook collection, including 15 poems, has been translated by Lucy Rosenstein and B. O'Donoghue and it has been termed under the World Literature Tour Recommendations by the Guardian. Rana's poetic imagery reciprocates simple and daily metaphors like birds, rains, shirts, stars and because of its vivid and accessible deep philosophy, it touches heart easily. As per the reviewers and translators, Mohan Rana offers an intricate bridge between the cultures. Some of his poem collections are, 'Jagah', 'Jaise Janam Koi Darwaja', 'Shesh Anek', 'Ret Ka Pul' etc.
"Koi deewana kehta hai,
Koi pagal samajhta hai
Magar dharti ki bechaini ki
Bas badal samajhta hai…"
If we want to mention poets of this decade, Kumar Vishwas's name is a must-to-have as a popular celebrity poet whose political identity hasn't reduced his audience's enjoyment. His most popular couplet 'Koi Deewana Kehta Hai..' brought him the limelight and he became the heartthrob of the young generation in one night. Vishwas's romanticism along with wit and perseverance makes him a shining star in the world of current Hindi poets. He is basically a performance poet whose poetry flows like a river and touches the hearts of the audience effortlessly.
Chaturvedi is considered as an avant-garde and postmodern Hindi author who has been included in the list of Indian Express's ‘Ten Best Writers' of India. Born in Mumbai in 1977, he is one of the popular and widely read contemporary Hindi poets whose poems have been translated into 17 languages across the world. The translation of his novella 'Simsim', by Anita Gopalan, has won PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants, 2006.
Chaturvedi's multi-layered narratives are expressed in his poems as well as in fictions who started as a courageous realistic political poet but later turned into a more meta-realist poetics after integration with philosophy, myth as well as political sensibility. He authored six books among which, 'Alaap mein girah', a collection of poems (2010), ‘Nyoonatam main' (2017) received positive reviews. Chaturvedi received the Bharat Bhushan Agarwal Award for his poem Mother India in 2007.
Besides, Gulzar's Hindi shayaris are worth reading, so does the creation of Piyush Mishra, who is a critically acclaimed actor and theatre personality.
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