Abhay Kumar

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Abhay Kumar
Abhay K portrait by Alina Medvedeva.
Born Abhay Kumar
1980 (age 33–34)
Nalanda, Bihar, India
Residence Kathmandu, Nepal
Nationality Indian
Alma mater Jawaharlal Nehru University
Occupation Diplomat, Poet, Artist
Known for Earth Anthem,SAARC Anthem

Abhay Kumar (Hindi: अभय कुमार) (born 1980) is an Indian poet-diplomat and artist.[1][2] He has written several books including River Valley to Silicon Valley.[3][4][5] His writings cover digital diplomacy,[6] philosophical poetry, art and global democracy.[7][8][9] The Earth Anthem, written, produced and directed by him in eight languages, was appreciated.[10][11][12][13][14] He wrote the South Asian Anthem[15] spurring search for an official SAARC Anthem.[16] He received the SAARC Literary Award for his contribution to contemporary South Asian Poetry[17][18] and nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2013.[19] In 2011, he also received the Gov 2.0 award on behalf of the Public Diplomacy Division, Ministry of External Affairs.[6][20] He has been featured as a celebrity Indian author in Forbes India 100 Celebrity writers list[21] and has been honoured with Asia-Pacific Excellence Award in 2014.[22]

Early life[edit]

Abhay was born and raised at Chhabilapur near Rajgir in Nalanda district of Bihar. He studied at the Kirori Mal College Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University. He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 2003. He studied Russian language, history and literature at the Moscow State University and U.S. Foreign Policy at the George Washington University.[23]



Abhay K at Gangtok

Abhay K is one of the literary flag-bearers of contemporary Indian poetry.[24][25] Kumar's first book was River Valley to Silicon Valley.[3] His poems have appeared in several magazines and literary journals.[26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33] His poetic works startle and heal [34] and give humanistic outlook to Indian English Poetry[35][36][37] making subtle use of metaphor and imagery.[38] Wasafiri quarterly notes Kumar's absence from the HareperCollins anthology of English poetry stating "The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry does miss out on Agha Shahid Ali, the poet-diplomat Abhay K and Nabina Das."[28][39] T.S. Eliot Prize winning poet George Szirtes writes about The Seduction of Delhi- Kumar's collection of poems on Delhi- "One may visit a city and one may live in it. To experience it as a presence and as a history is more than either and to experience it as poetry is sublime. This is a beautiful way to be introduced to a great city as both specific and essence." [40]

His poem "Foreign Service" is a take-off on Shakespeare's "All the world's a stage" summarizing diplomatic careers.[41] while the poem "Gogol" alludes to the works of the writer Gogol such as "The Nose", "The Overcoat", "Nevsky Prospect", "Dead Souls" and "The Government Inspector".[42] His poem "Ghalib" is a glimpse of tragic life of poet Ghalib.[43] Kumar's poems have been translated into Irish by Irish poet Gabriel Rosenstock[44] and in Russian by noted Russian poet Andrei Rodossky.[33]

Kumar has read his poems at several literary occasions including at a poetry evening hosted by the Governor of Goa along with Keki N. Daruwalla, Sitanshu Yashaschandra, Ranjit Hoskote, Arundhathi Subramaniam, Mamang Dai etc. during the Goa Art and Literature Festival 2014.[45] [46][47][48][49][50][51] He was nominated for the Pushcart Prize for his three poems ‘What’s a Beach’, ‘Masseur’ and ‘Everything has Secrets’.[52] His poems have been recited by K.Satchidanandan [53] A. J. Thomas,[54] and Helena Sinervo.[55] He also co-founded the Poetry at the Monument poetry movement[56] He is currently editing a global anthology of poetic-portraits of about two hundred capital cities of the world.[57]

Monument for Earth — A painting by Kumar

Earth Anthem[edit]

"Our cosmic oasis, cosmic blue pearl

the most beautiful planet in the universe
all the continents and the oceans of the world
united we stand as flora and fauna
united we stand as species of one earth
black, brown, white, different colours
we are humans, the earth is our home.

Our cosmic oasis, cosmic blue pearl
the most beautiful planet in the universe
all the people and the nations of the world
all for one and one for all
united we unfurl the blue marble flag
black, brown, white, different colours
we are humans, the earth is our home.</poem>

Earth Anthem written by him in eight languages including six official UN languages — Arabic, Chinese, French, English, Russian and Spanish — as well as Hindi and Nepali, set to music by Sapan Ghimire and sung by Shreya Sotang from Nepal was launched at the Indian Council for Cultural Relations on 3 June 2013.[58] It has received acclaim[11][59] and is being used by CBSE.[60] Permanent Delegation of India to UNESCO, Paris recommended Kumar's proposal of an official Earth Anthem to the UNESCO in January 2014. In response UNSECO called idea of an Earth Anthem inspiring that would help the world bring closer.[61][62] Habitat for Humanity International has shown its support for Kumar's Earth Anthem by promoting it during its events.[63] Shyam Benegal has called multi-language lyrics of his Earth Anthem as extremely inspiring which can be easily made into an official anthem for the beautiful planet Earth.[64] Academy Award winner Hollywood director Jeffrey D. Brown has called his Earth Anthem a joyous celebration of common humanity.[65]

painting of Abhay K

SAARC Anthem[edit]

Abhay wrote SAARC Anthem in Bangla, Dzongkha, Dhivehi, English, Hindi, Nepali, Pashto, Singla and Urdu that attempts to foster South Asian consciousness and bring the member states of SAARC together.[66][67] It has spurred discussions on the need for an official SAARC Anthem.[68] Columnist Stanley Weiss hopes that the South Asian leaders will choose to move forward in the words of the SAARC Anthem.[69] Nepal's foreign minister has expressed the need for a SAARC anthem to connect SAARC nations.[70] SAARC Anthem was to be played at the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi in presence of the SAARC leaders.[71] Nepal at the 18th summit in Kathmandu in November 2014 is planning to introduce proposal for a SAARC Anthem in the agenda of summit when heads of all member states meet here.[72] The song penned by Abhay K may become SAARC Anthem.[73] Pooja Bhatt and Mahesh Bhatt have praised SAARC anthem.[74]


Kumar is an Indian Foreign Service officer and has served in positions at the Ministry of External Affairs of the government of India and at the Indian missions and posts abroad.[75][76] He was also assistant editor of India Perspectives, a monthly magazine published by the Ministry of External Affairs in 17 languages from September 2011 to July 2012.[77][78]


Kumar's art work focus on planetary consciousness.[79] He has exhibited his paintings in St. Petersburg, Paris and New Delhi.[80][81] His art has received good reviews.[82] Poetry-paintings of Abhay K and Italian artist Tarshito exhibited at the National Academy of Art, New Delhi highlight Delhi's glorious past.[83]

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • 2014: Featured in Forbes India Celebrity 100 Nominees list 2014 and as one of 82 Celebrity Indian authors[21]
  • 2014: Asia-Pacific Excellence Award[19][22]
  • 2013: SAARC Literary Award[18][84]
  • 2013: Nominated for the Pushcart Prize[19]
  • 2012: Received 1st Class diploma from the Steiglitz Academy of Arts, St. Petersburg for his exhibition We are different, We are together.[85]
  • 2012: 1st Prize by the Amity School of Business, Noida, India for the case study Digital Revolution and Business at the 8th Renvoi, an International Management Case Study Competition[86]



  • River Valley to Silicon Valley (2007)/A Civil Servant's Tale (2011)[87]
  • 10 Questions of the Soul (2010)[88]
  • Colours of Soul (Cvet Dushi) (2011)[89]

Poetry books[edit]

  • Enigmatic Love (2009)[90]
  • Fallen Leaves of Autumn (2010)[91]
  • Candling the Light(2011)[92]
  • Remains (2012)[93]
  • Seduction of Delhi[94]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ UNESCO finds Indian poet-diplomat's idea of an Earth Anthem inspiring, Business Standard, 27 Feb 2014
  2. ^ Unesco lauds Indian poet's idea of earth anthem, The Times of India, 28 February 2014
  3. ^ a b The Hindu Literary Review 2007 The Hindu, 5 August 2007.
  4. ^ Pen Drive, The Indian Express, 22 Nov 2012
  5. ^ "The Poetic Side of Indian Diplomats", The Times of India, 25 August 2012
  6. ^ a b Public Diplomacy Division Receives Gov2.in 2011 Award Deccan Herald, 12 March.
  7. ^ "Better with verse" The Hindu, 2 November 2011.
  8. ^ "Indian Diplomat's Paintings on Show", indusage.com.au, 29 April 2011
  9. ^ "Indian Diplomat turned artist presents his work on planetary consciousness" Yahoo, 27 April 2011
  10. ^ ANI, 4 June 2012
  11. ^ a b "Indian Diplomat pens anthem for Earth" The New Indian Express, 5 June 2013
  12. ^ "Inspiring Earth Anthem" The Himalayan Times, 9 June 2013
  13. ^ "UNESCO to consider making Earth Anthem by Indian diplomat a global initiative", Business Standard, 26 June 2013
  14. ^ UN to consider "Indian diplomat's song as a global initiative", The Economic Times, 26 June 2013
  15. ^ "Indian poet-diplomat pens S.Asian anthem after Earth anthem success" ANI, 27 November 2013
  16. ^ "Indian diplomat's poem spurs search for SAARC anthem", Hindustan Times, 9 January 2014
  17. ^ "Poet Abhay K wins SAARC Literature Award", Hindustan Times, 14 March 2013
  18. ^ a b "Five writers honoured at the SAARC Literature Festival", PTI, 11 March 2013
  19. ^ a b c "IFS officer nominated for coveted Pushcart Prize", 2 December 2012
  20. ^ MEA's Public Diplomacy Division gets coveted Social Media Award, ANI, 11 March 2011
  21. ^ a b Forbes India Celebrity 100 Nominees List for 2014, Forbes India, 12 December 2014
  22. ^ a b Asia-Pacific Excellence Award to Indian poet-diplomat Abhay K, ANI, 14 October 2014
  23. ^ "Diplomat-writer, who pens verse", The Tribune, Chandigarh, 16 December 2012
  24. ^ Five Literary flag-bearers, Indian Poetry has been benefiting from INVC, 28 November 2014
  25. ^ Voices and Visions in Indian Poetry in English after 1980s LITSEARCH Vol.II Issue No.II, ISSN 2277-6990 June 2012
  26. ^ Poems of Abhay K. translated into Irish by Gabriel Rosenstock An Gael, Samhradh 2014
  27. ^ THE IRON PILLAR OF DELHI' AND OTHER POEMS Chiaroscuro, June 2014
  28. ^ a b Dara Shikoh and other poems
  29. ^ Ghalib The Missing Slate, 11 February 2014
  30. ^ Poems of Abhay K in Indian Literature, June-July 2012
  31. ^ Kritya Poetry Journal
  32. ^ Poetic License
  33. ^ a b Северная Аврора № 12, 2010. Абхай КУМАР
  34. ^ [1] Poetry at Sangam, November 2014
  35. ^ "Contemporary poets, storywriters to exhibit their oratory skills at Sahitya Akademi", Yahoo News, 2 May 2011
  36. ^ "Young Indian poets, storywriters mesmerize audience with their skills"
  37. ^ "‘Diplomat poet’ creates rhymes from life" Millennium Post, 1 July 2012
  38. ^ Review of The Dance of the Peacock: An Anthology of English Poetry from India by Rob Harley, The Enchanting Verses Literary Review, Issue XIX, November 2013, pages 34-35
  39. ^ Review of HarperCollins Book of English Poetry by Roomy Naqvy Wasafiri Reviews Volume 28,Issue 3, 2013, 19 August 2013
  40. ^ Poems on Delhi The Rising Nepal Friday Supplement,page 3, 19 Dec 2014
  41. ^ "Foreign Service Poem" Diplomat Magazine, London, 23 January 2013
  42. ^ "Possessed Idiots and Deadly Demons" Pratilipi, December 2012
  43. ^ "Ghalib" The Missing Slate, 11 February 2014
  44. ^ Dornán Dánta le Abhay K Rogha Gabriel 13 January 2014
  45. ^ ‘Hindi, local languages have a bright future in changing India’ The Times of India, 8 Dec 2014
  46. ^ "Young Indian poets mesmerize audience with their skills"
  47. ^ [2]
  48. ^ "Sikkim Akademi hosts literary interaction programme"
  49. ^ [3]
  50. ^ Kritya.in Kritya, 6 October 2013
  51. ^ ANI 14 September 2013
  52. ^ IFS officer nominated for Pushcart Prize The Hindu,3 December 2012
  53. ^ K. Satchidanandan reads poems of Abhay K, 15 Nov 2011
  54. ^ A.J. "Thomas on Abhay K's new book Candling the Light 15 Nov 2011
  55. ^ Helena Sinervo reads Abhay K 19 September 2013
  56. ^ "Take it in a word" The Hindu, 12 May 2012
  57. ^ Can you write a poem about Canberra? Australian Poetry, 2014
  58. ^ [4] ICCR website, June 2013
  59. ^ "Indian diplomat in Nepal pens the Earth Anthem" IANS, 27 June 2013
  60. ^ [5] CBSE Website,6 October 2013
  61. ^ UNESCO Lauds Indian Poet's Idea of Earth Anthem Outlook, 28 February 2014
  62. ^ DIPLOMAT’S IDEA OF AN EARTH ANTHEM INSPIRING: UNESCO Hindustan Times,28 February 2014
  63. ^ Habitat for Humanity International gets people to sing Earth Anthem Business Standard, 30 August 2014
  64. ^ Abhay K's multi language lyrics of 'Earth Anthem' extremely inspiring: Benegal ANI, 6 August 2014
  65. ^ Hollywood director Jeffrey D. Brown lauds Indian poet's Abhay K's Earth Anthem The Times of India, 11 November 2014
  66. ^ Indian diplomat pens "SAARC Anthem" NDTV, 3 December 2013
  67. ^ The Hindu, 4 December 2013
  68. ^ Indian diplomat's poem spurs search for SAARC anthem Hindustan Times, 9 January 2014
  69. ^ The Most Important Regional Organization That Nobody Has Heard Of The Huffington Post 12 May 2014
  70. ^ Nepal foreign minister expresses need for an anthem to connect SAARC nations Business Standard, 6 June 2014
  71. ^ SAARC Anthem to be played at Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony DNA, 25 May 2014
  72. ^ Will SAARC have an anthem like ASEAN? Hindustan Times, 3 November 2014
  73. ^ Song penned by Indian may become SAARC anthem The Sunday Guardian,16 August 2014
  74. ^ Pooja-Mahesh Bhatt praise SAARC anthem The Himalayan Times,06 August 2014
  75. ^ "A diplomatic web", The New Indian Express, 5 August 2011
  76. ^ "Poke your Babus Online" The Times of India, 26 March 2011.
  77. ^ "In the Service of the Nation", M.Y.O.D. 12 April 2012
  78. ^ India Perspectives, ISSUU 16 August 2012
  79. ^ Indian Diplomat turned Artist presents his works on Planetary Consciousness, ANI, 28 April 2011
  80. ^ "We have come far", Indrus, 15 April 2011
  81. ^ Art exhibition "We have come far" by Abhay Kumar opened at RCSC, rusembassy.in, 15 April 2011
  82. ^ "A second Life". Indian Express. 2011-05-04. Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  83. ^ Artists highlight the glory of Delhi through poetry-paintings, Business Standard, 16 September 2014
  84. ^ Poet Abhay K wins SAARC Literature Award, IANS, 14 March 2013
  85. ^ "First Class Diploma to Abhay Kumar from the Steiglitz Academy of Art, St. Petersburg". Issuu.com. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  86. ^ "1st prize awarded to Abhay Kumar by Amity School of Business". Issuu.com. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  87. ^ "http://issuu.com/abhayk/docs/the_civil_servants_tale". Issuu.com. 2011-09-16. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  88. ^ "10 Questions of the Soul". Issuu.com. 2010-10-04. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  89. ^ "Цвет души". Issuu.com. 2011-02-17. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  90. ^ "Enigmatic Love". Issuu.com. 2010-08-04. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  91. ^ "Fallen Leaves of Autumn". Issuu.com. 2010-08-04. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  92. ^ "Candling the Light". IBNLive. 2011-11-07. Retrieved 2012-11-22. 
  93. ^ "Diplomat Abhay K. releases his new book Remains". Indian Express. 2012-07-01. Retrieved 2012-11-22. 
  94. ^ "Dream WINDOW". The Hindu. 2012-07-01. Retrieved 2012-11-22. 

External links[edit]