Earlier, the language was solely a matter of communication and understanding. It has evolved through ages to provide humankind with the liberty to pen their thoughts. When a person’s bleak intellect glows with soulful thoughts, mere words turn witty verses which guarantee deep insights. From then on, he or she would find no bounds to ink his or her perceptions.
Indian literature, especially, enfolds all kinds of culture and heritage ranging from ancient epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana to astronomy and political sciences, beforehand. The play of words and ardent contemplations describe each poet.
Poems and verses by such legends from India have elevated Indian literature that stands unique among the world culture. Here is a list of 20 Indian poets who have made our country proud.
Goswami Tulsidas is one the great poets of India and world even. His literary contributions were based on art, culture and society in Sanskrit and Awadhi languages. He is best famous for his Ramcharitamanas, the Awadhi version of the epic Ramayana. A famous verse from this reads,
“तात स्वर्ग अपबर्ग सुख धरिअ तुला एक अंग।
तूल न ताहि सकल मिलि जो सुख लव सतसंग॥ 4॥”
He is an enlightened poet who was blessed by Lord Rama and Lord Hanuman. The other notable works of him are Dohavalis, Sahitya Ratna, Gitavali, Krishnavali and Vinaya Patrika.
Kabirdas is one of the finest Indian poets and his philosophy is based on spirituality and Karma. Have you heard about the Bhakti Movement? Kabirdas fixed the root of this movement that influenced Hinduism despite the fact that he was born into a muslim family.
The dohas and song collections of Kabir Das include Rekhtas, Anurag Sagar, Kabir Bijak and Holy Agams. His works can be found in Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of Sikhism.
Kalidasa, acclaimed as Indian Shakespeare, is one of the greatest Indian poets of all time who flourished classical Sanskrit works. His literary contributions include poetry and plays which were focused mainly on Vedas, the ancient epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata and Puranas.
He was a prominent playwright and dramatist and his beautiful verses influenced Rabindranath Tagore, another gem of Indian Literature.
4. Narsinh Mehta
Narsinh Mehta or Narsinh Bhagat, is one of the Indian poet-saint of Gujarat and is considered the Adi Kavi of Gujarati literature. His works are predominantly in Gujarati language and one among them is “Vaishnav Jan To” Bhajan which is best-loved by Mahatma.
5. Mirza Ghalib
Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan, also known as Ghalib and Asad shortly, is another renowned poet of India during Mughal and British reign. He is a Urdu-Persian poet celebrated beyond the boundaries of India, spread across the earlier Indian subcontinent.
His poem motives are love, philosophy, mysticism in various genres of Ghazal, Qasida and Marsiya. His one of the famous Ghazal verses reads:
“Koi veerani si veerani hai, Dasht ko dekhe ghar yaad aaya”.
6. Amir Khusrau
Abu’l Hasan Yamin ud-Din Khusrau, is a noteworthy Sufi singer, scholar and poet of India whose works are predominantly in Persian and Hindavi (Hindi-Urdu). He is known as the parrot of India and the Father of Urdu Literature who introduced the Ghazal and Qawwali to our country that are a part of Indian and Pakistani cultures. Besides his contribution to literature, he was famous for his contributions in music forms.
Amir Khusrau’s eminent works include, Afzal Ul-Fawaid (Greatest of Blessings), Baqia-Naqia compilation and romantic Masnavi Duval Rani - Khizr Khan.
Who wouldn’t know this poet with strong passion, love and devotion? As we all know, Mirabai is Lord Krishna devotee and an impressive poetess of India who was born into the royal family of Rajput. Her religious hymns on Lord Krishna were popularly known as Bhajans.
One of her famous poem verses reads:
“Payoji maine Ram Ratan dhan payo”
which shows her gratitude towards Lord Ram for his blessings.
8. Rabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore is an intellectual genius with poetry, writing, composing, philosophy and artistic talents and was the first Indian poet to receive Nobel Prize for literature.
His literature contributions had set such world level standards with brilliant English and Bengali poems of great intent. The writer of our National Anthem was the face of modernised Bengali literature and Indian culture with Contextual Modernism.
9. Kamala Surayya
Kamala Surayya, also known as Kamala Das, was an English poetess of India who contributed to the modernised English poetry in India. You might have come across “My Mother At Sixty-six” poem in tenth grade, right?
She owns the poem with an engaging and self-reflexive intent. She had excelled as an author in Malayalam language too. Her works include the subjects of women, politics, child care and many more.
10. Sri Aurobindo Ghosh
Sri Aurobindo Ghosh is a philosopher and one of the Indian poets of British time who was a part of Indian Movement against British rule. His nationalism and spiritual visions are the reasons for him to be identified as a great nationalist and spiritual reformer.
His literary works include The Life Divine about integral yoga and the epic poem Savitri : A Legend and a Symbol.
11. Sarojini Naidu
Sarojini Chattopadhyay Naidu was another poet of India during British rule and was a social activist. Yes! She is the nightingale of India best known for her poetry on themes such as patriotism, romance and tragedy. Her poems have repetitions of lines in the stanzas that are unique in her writings.
One of her most famous poems is “The Bazaars of Hyderabad”.
12. Suryakant Tripathi
Sukryakant Tripathi, pen named as Nirala, is an Indian poet with multifaceted talents of artistry, novelist, essayist, and short story writer.
His poems are so precious as some of it has been translated into other languages too. Notably, American novelist David Rubin’s collection of Nirala’s poems have been translated as “A Season on the Earth: Selected Poems of Nirala” , “The Return of Sarasvati: Four Hindi Poets” and “Of Love and War: A Chayavad Anthology”.
13. Mahadevi Verma
Mahadevi Verma is another prominent Hindi poet of India under British rule and was also a patriotic freedom fighter and educationalist. She was a part of “Chhayavad” movement that emphasized the modern evolution of romanticism in Hindi poetry.
Her works include the poems based on her life experiences such as Neelkanth, Gaura and Smriti Ki Rekhayen. Her childhood memoir “Mere Bachpan ke Dil and Gillu” is one of her extraordinary works that is a part of CBSE syllabus now.
So, Bachchas padein aur samjhen!
14. Harivansh Rai Bachchan
Harivansh Rai Bachchan is an Indian poet and writer who was a part of literary movement named Nayi Kavita. Inspired by Persian poetry work of Omar Khayyam, he brought the touches of Hindustani vocabulary in Devanagari script into his Hindi and Awadhi writings. His couplets are used in movies and music too.
He was honored with Padma Bhushan in 1976.
15. Nissim Ezekiel
Nissim Ezekiel is a Jewish Indian poet who was a protrusive face of Indian English literature post colonial period. He is a polymath - actor, playwright, editor and art critic. His writing intent is as simple as realistic sensibility and cognitive astuteness, which has recognised him as a unique poet of modern literature.
The Unfinished Man, Sixty poems and Hymns in Darkness are a few among his works.
Sampooran Singh Kalra or Gulzar is an Indian poet, lyricist, author, screenwriter and film director of the recent century that the world sees. Gulzar has created masterpieces in Urdu and Punjabi along with Hindi dialects that have Triveni style of writing and are published in three compilations.
He is honored with numerous prestigious awards that includes Padma Bhushan, National Film awards, Filmfare awards, Academy award and Grammy award, which highlights the fact of his repute spread overseas.
17. Kumar Vishwas
Kumar Vishwas is an Indian poet of recent times and a politician. His fame is spread across many countries following his poetry recitations on occasions. His poetry works are in Hindi, Sanskrit and Urdu that are commentative on India and related topics.
18. Vikram Seth
Vikram Seth is an Indian poet and novelist whose works include children’s fiction and non-fictions. His Mapping and Beastly Tales are best known poetry works. Vikram Seth has received many honorable awards like PAdma Shri, Sahitya Academy award, WH Smith Literary Award and Crossword Book Award.
19. Amrita Pritam
Amrita Pritam is an Indian poet, novelist and essayist whose works are mainly in Punjabi and Hindi. She was a part of the literary movement - Romantic-Progressivism. Her notable work is “Ajj Aakhaan Waris Shah Nu” that is an emotional outcome over mass murders during Indian partition.
As an ideal of women in Punjabi literature, she was the first woman to win the Sahitya Academy Award for a long poem, Magnus Opus. She has also received Indian Civilian awards such as Padma Shri and Padma Vibhushan.
20. Subramaniya Bharathiyar
Subramaniya Bharathiyar was a Tamil Indian poet during British Raj whose works are youth sensational and spiritful. He is a solitaire for Tamil literature like all the above gems have taken Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi worldwide.
Within a lifespan of 38 years, Mahakavi Bharathi contributed numerous political, social, spiritual and romantic literary pieces even, excelling in nearly 14 languages inclusive of three foreign languages. His works plunge hard to root instant patriotism into fighting young hearts, in a short and clear - cut way.
He is often referred to with the tagline - “Rowthiram Pazhagu” which means practice anger (reasonably, rightfully and instantaneously); that defines him having a proud moustache and shrunken eyebrows.
You have reached the end of the list showing up great Indian poets of all time who have truly made us proud and inspired us as well. Now, all you need is a paper and a pen to flaunt out the innate writer in you!
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