Poets influence individuals in particular and the society in general. Their works are always a reflection of social climate and, therefore, they’re called the mirror of the society. Poets have used rhyme in a particular fashion – ballads, sonnets and couplets – in different languages including Hindi, which is undoubtedly endowed with great poets who enriched the language. Here’s our list of top 10 greatest Hindi poets of India.
10. Makhanlal Chaturvedi:
He was born on April 4, 1889, in Bavai village of Madhya Pradesh. Pandit Makhanlal Chaturvedi was an eminent poet of Hindi literature. He was the editor of national journals like ‘Prabha’ and ‘Karmaveer’. The collection of his poems include, ‘Him Tarangini’, ‘Samarpan’, ‘Yug Charan’, ‘Dip se Dip Jale’, ‘Sahitya Devta’, ‘Kaisa Chand Bana Deti Hai’, and ‘Pushp Ki Abhilasa’. He was the first recipient of the prestigious Sahitya Akademy Award, for his work ‘Him Tarangini’, in 1954. He passed away on January 30, 1968.
9. Maithilisharan Gupt:
Born in Chirgaon, Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, on August 03, 1889, Maithilisharan Gupt was a distinguished poet of modern Hindi literature. It was he, who introduced Khari Boli – a dialect – in Hindi writing. His striking verses are, ‘Saket’, ‘Rang Mein Bhang’, ‘Bharat Bharti’, ‘Plassey Ka Yuddha’, and ‘Kaaba Karbala’. He was also briefly associated with Indian politics. He breathed his last on December 2, 1964.
8. Harivansh Rai Bachchan:
This torch-bearer of Chayavad (romantic) generation was born on November 27, 1907 in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh. He is known for ‘Madhushala’ – a book of verses. He worked very hard in promoting Hindi as the official language of India. During his stint at the External Affairs Ministry, he translated some of the major works into Hindi, including Othello, Macbeth, Bhagawad Gita, Rubaiyat and the works of W.B. Yeats. Apart from his other acclaimed works, the four-part serial biography, ‘Kya Bhooloon Kya Yaad Karoon’, ‘Need Ka Nirmaan Phir’, ‘Basere Se Door’, and the last ‘Dashdwaar Se Sopaan Tak’, also need a mention. He died on January 18, 2003.
7. Mahadevi Verma:
She was one of the prominent poets of romanticism in Chayavad era. Born in 1907, in Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh, Mahadevi Verma was popularly known as Modern Meera. The poet was the first headmistress of the Prayag Mahila Vidyapeeth. Some of her poetry work includes, ‘Deepshikha’, ‘Himalaya’, ‘Neerja’, ‘Nihar’ and ‘Rashmi Geet’. Her outstanding poetry collection, ‘Yama’, received the prestigious Jnanpith award in 1940. She was deeply influenced by Buddhism. She died in 1987.
6. Sumitranandan Pant:
He was born on May 20, 1900 in Kumaon, Uttrakhand. Belonging to a place so enriched with flora and fauna, it was usual for Sumitranandan to develop an inclination towards nature. He took to poetry at very young age. At some point of time, he was under the influence of Sri Aurobindo. In 1961, he was honored with a Padma Bhushan and a Jnanpith Award in 1968 for his most famous poems ‘Chidambara’. Apart from ‘Pallav’, ‘Veena’, ‘Granthi’ and ‘Gunjan’, his other acclaimed work is ‘Kala aur Burha Chand’, for which he received the coveted Sahitya Academy Award. He died on December 28, 1977.
5. Jaishankar Prasad:
Born on January 30, 1889, in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, Jaishankar Prasad was like a father-figure of modern Hindi literature. His mahakavya (epic poem) ‘Kamayani’, needs a special mention. Human love is beautifully depicted in the poem. The range of Jaishankar Prasad’s poetry varied from the romantic to the patriotic. Prasad was deeply influenced by the Vedas. He died on January 14, 1937.
4. Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirala’:
He pioneered the Chayavad movement, along with Pant, Prasad and Mahadevi Verma. Nirala was born on February 16, 1896 in Midnapur, Bengal. While growing up, he was inspired by some great personalities such as, Ramkrishna Paramhans, Swami Vivekanand and Rabindranath Tagore. Originally educated in Bengali medium, Nirala later moved to Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh where he started writing in Hindi. Some of his works include, ‘Saroj Shakti’, ‘Kukurmutta’, ‘Dhawani’, ‘Ram Ki Shakti Puja’, ‘Parimal’ and ‘Anamika’. He breathed his last on October 15, 1961.
3. Ramdhari Singh Dinkar:
He was born on September 23, 1908, in Simariya, Bihar. His writings from pre-independence era were rebellious in nature. Because of his patriotic creations, he was given the title of Rastrakavi (national poet). Being a poet of Veer Rasa (courage) style, he’s vouched in favor of the war in ‘Kurukshetra’, giving reasons that though war is destructive, the Mahabharata war was inevitable so as to protect the freedom. His major works are ‘Rahmi-rathi’, and ‘Parashuram Ki Pratiksha’. His died on April 24, 1974.
2. Abdul Rahim Khan-e-Khana:
Born on December 17, 1556, in Lahore, Mughal period (now in Pakistan), he’s popularly known as ‘Rahim’. He is believed to be a descendant of Lord Krishna from his maternal side. He was one of the navratans (nine gems) in Mughal emperor Akbar’s court. The translation of his one among many couplets is: “Don’t let the thread of love to snap; once it snaps, it cannot be joined again and if you do rejoin it, there is a knot in it.” Rahim died in 1627.
Kabir was a spiritual poet born in 1440, in India. His was popularly known as Sant Kabir, as his writings have majorly influenced the Bhakti movement, Sikhism, Sant Mat and Kabir Panth. His poetic works include Bijak, Kabir Garhwali, Sakhi Granth and Anurag Sagar. He was the first Indian saint to bring communal harmony among both Hindus and Muslims through his couplets. Kabir has advocated in his philosophy that life is interplay of two spiritual doctrines, the personal soul (Jivatma) and God (Parmatma). It is Kabir’s ideology that salvation is the process of bringing these two entities into union. Sant Kabir died in 1518.