Five Indian Poets You All Should Know About!

Five Indian Poets You All Should Know AboutPoetry is known to touch even those souls who claim to have a heart of stone. It brings to life the aesthetics that the universe, around us as well as within us, encompasses.

To say poetry is every person’s cup of tea would be like saying that a butterfly can play basketball. This is because to fathom poetry and to flow in its rhythm, it is imperative to connect to the words of a poem. One has to dive into the deeper meanings that exist between the lines of a poem and only then can a person be able to construct its true meaning.

Celebrated annually on 21st August, Poet’s Day is dedicated to those who shine luminously in historical tradition of poetry, and who enter our universe with their enthusiasm and wonder, thus helping us create more meaning than is apparent in the world.

This Poet’s Day, we bring to you 5 Indian Poets who have time and again reframed the spectrum of Indian Poetry.

  1. Henry Derozio
    Derozio (1809-31) was an Indian, only in the context that his mom was Indian, because his father was Portugese. The gifted young poet, also a teacher of poetry, influenced a tremendous passion for the language and literature of England, among his students. He was a radical thinker and a teacher who spread Western thought and science among Bengal’s youthful thinking. Here are a few lines by him.

“When, like a thing that is not ours.
This earthliness goes by,
And we behold the spiritualness
Of all that cannot die.”

  1. Toru Dutt
    The first Indian poetess to write English and French verses is considered to be Toru Dutt. In colonial times, this was a near-impossible achievement. But Toru Dutt got a lot of recognition for her compositions even at a time only handful of Indian could speak English. She didn’t live to see much acclaim, but let’s take a moment to appreciate the lilting lyricality of her prose.

“From my lips broke
Where – oh where shall I fly?
Who comfort will bring?
Sing, – said God in reply,
Chant poor little thing.”

  1. Nissim Ezekiel
    Nissim Ezekiel is regarded as the Father of the modern Indian English verse. He was a professor of English in Bombay University and was an intellectual as well as a philosopher. He rose to be an Indian both in credo and as a person, composing poems which dwelt upon the essential Indian-ness of our populace. Critical, yet endearing, here are some lines by him to read and absorb.

“The saint, we are told,
once lived a life of sin –
nothing spectacular, of course,
just the usual things.”

  1. Vikram Seth
    Vikram Seth is one of India’s most famous writers and poets. He was born in Kolkata but his roots are in Punjab. Seth has written works with several styles and genres although he began his writing profession with poetry. He was also the recipient of the Poetry Prize of the Commonwealth. Here is a romantic excerpt from his poetry.

“I willed my love to dream of me last night, that we might lie
at peace, if not beneath a single sheet, under one sky.”

  1. A. K. Ramanujan
    After first becoming an Indian English Poet in the mid 60’s, Ramanujan’s ground-breaking translations of classical Tamil poetry and subsequently Bhakti poetry in Tamil and in Kannada earned him longstanding fame in India and overseas. AKR wrote poetry and fiction throughout his career in several genres. Savour these two lines by him.

“Watch your step. Sight may strike you
blind in unexpected places.”

The tradition of poetry in India is rich. Start by exploring these five poets, and then never stop!