Abhay Kumar

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Abhay K
Abhay K portrait by Alina Medvedeva.
Born Abhay Kumar
1980 (age 34–35)
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) (literary name Abhay K) is an Indian poet-diplomat and artist.[1][2] He has written several books including The Seduction of Delhi [3][4] and River Valley to Silicon Valley.[5][6][7] His writings cover digital diplomacy,[8] philosophical poetry, art and global democracy.[9][10][11] The Earth Anthem, written, produced and directed by him in eight languages, was appreciated.[12][13][14][15][16] He wrote the South Asian Anthem[17] spurring search for an official SAARC Anthem.[18] He received the SAARC Literary Award for his contribution to contemporary South Asian Poetry[19][20] and nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2013.[21] In 2011, he also received the Gov 2.0 award on behalf of the Public Diplomacy Division, Ministry of External Affairs.[8][22] He has been featured as a celebrity Indian author in Forbes India 100 Celebrity writers list[23] and has been honoured with Asia-Pacific Excellence Award in 2014.[24]

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.[25]



Abhay K at Gangtok

Abhay K is one of the literary flag-bearers of contemporary Indian poetry.[26][27] Major Indian poet Jayanta Mahapatra thinks "qualities of love, tenderness and compassion set Abhay K's work apart from much of the general run of current poetics." [28] Kumar's collection of poems The Seduction of Delhi became a bestselling poetry book after its launch in January 2015.[29] His first book was River Valley to Silicon Valley(2007).[5] Jatra, his latest collection of poems on Nepal translated in Nepali paints a poetic portrait of Nepal.[30] It was launched by the Vice-President of Nepal.[31]

His poems have appeared in several magazines and literary journals.[32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39] His poetic works startle and heal [40] and give humanistic outlook to Indian English Poetry[41][42][43] making subtle use of metaphor and imagery.[44] 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."[34][45] 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." [46] Arvind Krishna Mehrotra released The Seduction of Delhi at the Jaipur Literature Festival.[47]

His poem "Foreign Service" is a take-off on Shakespeare's "All the world's a stage" summarizing diplomatic careers.[48] 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".[49] His poem "Ghalib" is a glimpse of tragic life of poet Ghalib.[50] Kumar's poems have been translated into Irish by Irish poet Gabriel Rosenstock[51] and in Russian by noted Russian poet Andrei Rodossky.[39]

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.[52] [53][54][55][56][57][58] He was nominated for the Pushcart Prize for his three poems ‘What’s a Beach’, ‘Masseur’ and ‘Everything has Secrets’.[59] His poems have been recited by K.Satchidanandan [60] A. J. Thomas,[61] and Helena Sinervo.[62] He also co-founded the Poetry at the Monument poetry movement[63] He is currently editing a global anthology of poetic-portraits of about two hundred capital cities of the world.[64] He is also the guest-editor of the special issue of The Enchanting Verses Literary Review on contemporary Indian English Poetry. [65]

Monument for Earth — A painting by Kumar

Earth Anthem[edit]

In 2013 Kumar released Earth Anthem, a song intended as an anthem for the planet Earth, written by him in eight languages including six official UN languages — Arabic, Chinese, French, English, Russian and Spanish — as well as Hindi and Nepali. It was set to music by Sapan Ghimire and sung by Shreya Sotang from Nepal.[66] It has received acclaim[13][67] and is being used by CBSE.[clarification needed][68]

In 2014, Kumar suggested that UNESCO stage a global online competition to establish an official anthem for the planet, but the organization felt unable to to conduct a global competition due to its "limited financial and human resources".[69][70] The Permanent Delegation of India, Paris had recommended Kumar's proposal of an official anthem for UNESCO's consideration.[71]

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.[72][73] It has spurred discussions on the need for an official SAARC Anthem.[74] Columnist Stanley Weiss hopes that the South Asian leaders will choose to move forward in the words of the SAARC Anthem.[75] Nepal's foreign minister has expressed the need for a SAARC anthem to connect SAARC nations.[76] SAARC Anthem was to be played at the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi in presence of the SAARC leaders.[77] 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.[78] The song penned by Abhay K may become SAARC Anthem.[79] Pooja Bhatt and Mahesh Bhatt have praised SAARC anthem.[80]


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.[81][82] He has been appointed as the new Director of the Nehru Centre, London. [83] [84] 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.[85][86]


Kumar's art work focus on planetary consciousness.[87] He has exhibited his paintings in St. Petersburg, Paris and New Delhi.[88][89] His art has received good reviews.[90] Poetry-paintings of Abhay K and Italian artist Tarshito exhibited at the National Academy of Art, New Delhi highlight Delhi's glorious past.[91]

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • 2015: Invited as a speaker at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2015 with major international poets [92]
  • 2014: Featured in Forbes India Celebrity 100 Nominees list 2014 and as one of 82 Celebrity Indian authors[23]
  • 2014: Asia-Pacific Excellence Award[21][24]
  • 2013: SAARC Literary Award[20][93] - Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature
  • 2013: Nominated for the Pushcart Prize[21]
  • 2012: Received 1st Class diploma from the Steiglitz Academy of Arts, St. Petersburg for his exhibition We are different, We are together.[94]
  • 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[95]



  • River Valley to Silicon Valley (2007)
  • 10 Questions of the Soul (2010)[96]
  • Colours of Soul (Cvet Dushi) (2011)[97]
  • Becoming A Civil Servant (2015)

Poetry Collections[edit]

  • Enigmatic Love (2009)[98]
  • Fallen Leaves of Autumn (2010)[99]
  • Candling the Light(2011)[100]
  • Remains (2012)[101]
  • The Seduction of Delhi[102]
  • The Eight-Eyed Lord of Kathmandu (English) / Jatra (Nepali)

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. ^ The Seduction of Delhi Jaipur Literature Festival website, January 2015
  4. ^ Diplomat Abhay K's 'The Seduction of Delhi' launched at Zee Jaipur Literature Festival DNA, 23 January 2015
  5. ^ a b The Hindu Literary Review 2007 The Hindu, 5 August 2007.
  6. ^ Pen Drive, The Indian Express, 22 Nov 2012
  7. ^ "The Poetic Side of Indian Diplomats", The Times of India, 25 August 2012
  8. ^ a b Public Diplomacy Division Receives Gov2.in 2011 Award Deccan Herald, 12 March.
  9. ^ "Better with verse" The Hindu, 2 November 2011.
  10. ^ "Indian Diplomat's Paintings on Show", indusage.com.au, 29 April 2011
  11. ^ "Indian Diplomat turned artist presents his work on planetary consciousness" Yahoo, 27 April 2011
  12. ^ ANI, 4 June 2012
  13. ^ a b "Indian Diplomat pens anthem for Earth" The New Indian Express, 5 June 2013
  14. ^ "Inspiring Earth Anthem" The Himalayan Times, 9 June 2013
  15. ^ "UNESCO to consider making Earth Anthem by Indian diplomat a global initiative", Business Standard, 26 June 2013
  16. ^ UN to consider "Indian diplomat's song as a global initiative", The Economic Times, 26 June 2013
  17. ^ "Indian poet-diplomat pens S.Asian anthem after Earth anthem success" ANI, 27 November 2013
  18. ^ "Indian diplomat's poem spurs search for SAARC anthem", Hindustan Times, 9 January 2014
  19. ^ "Poet Abhay K wins SAARC Literature Award", Hindustan Times, 14 March 2013
  20. ^ a b "Five writers honoured at the SAARC Literature Festival", PTI, 11 March 2013
  21. ^ a b c "IFS officer nominated for coveted Pushcart Prize", 2 December 2012
  22. ^ MEA's Public Diplomacy Division gets coveted Social Media Award, ANI, 11 March 2011
  23. ^ a b Forbes India Celebrity 100 Nominees List for 2014, Forbes India, 12 December 2014
  24. ^ a b Asia-Pacific Excellence Award to Indian poet-diplomat Abhay K, ANI, 14 October 2014
  25. ^ "Diplomat-writer, who pens verse", The Tribune, Chandigarh, 16 December 2012
  26. ^ Five Literary flag-bearers, Indian Poetry has been benefiting from INVC, 28 November 2014
  27. ^ Voices and Visions in Indian Poetry in English after 1980s LITSEARCH Vol.II Issue No.II, ISSN 2277-6990 June 2012
  28. ^ Diplomat Abhay K's book 'The Seduction of Delhi' to be launched at Jaipur Literature Festival DNA, 10 January 2015
  29. ^ Abhay K's 'The Seduction of Delhi' becomes bestseller poetry ANI, March 30, 2015
  30. ^ Now, go on a 'Jatra' of poems on Nepal IANS, April 23, 2015
  31. ^ Vice President of Nepal releases Abhay K's collection of poems ANI, April 22, 2015
  32. ^ Poems of Abhay K. translated into Irish by Gabriel Rosenstock An Gael, Samhradh 2014
  33. ^ THE IRON PILLAR OF DELHI' AND OTHER POEMS Chiaroscuro, June 2014
  34. ^ a b Dara Shikoh and other poems
  35. ^ Ghalib The Missing Slate, 11 February 2014
  36. ^ Poems of Abhay K in Indian Literature, June-July 2012
  37. ^ Kritya Poetry Journal
  38. ^ Poetic License
  39. ^ a b Северная Аврора № 12, 2010. Абхай КУМАР
  40. ^ [1] Poetry at Sangam, November 2014
  41. ^ "Contemporary poets, storywriters to exhibit their oratory skills at Sahitya Akademi", Yahoo News, 2 May 2011
  42. ^ "Young Indian poets, storywriters mesmerize audience with their skills"
  43. ^ "‘Diplomat poet’ creates rhymes from life" Millennium Post, 1 July 2012
  44. ^ 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
  45. ^ Review of HarperCollins Book of English Poetry by Roomy Naqvy Wasafiri Reviews Volume 28,Issue 3, 2013, 19 August 2013
  46. ^ Poems on Delhi The Rising Nepal Friday Supplement,page 3, 19 Dec 2014
  47. ^ The Seduction of Delhi launched by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra at Jaipur Lit Fest ANI, 11 January, 2015
  48. ^ "Foreign Service Poem" Diplomat Magazine, London, 23 January 2013
  49. ^ "Possessed Idiots and Deadly Demons" Pratilipi, December 2012
  50. ^ "Ghalib" The Missing Slate, 11 February 2014
  51. ^ Dornán Dánta le Abhay K Rogha Gabriel 13 January 2014
  52. ^ ‘Hindi, local languages have a bright future in changing India’ The Times of India, 8 Dec 2014
  53. ^ "Young Indian poets mesmerize audience with their skills"
  54. ^ [2]
  55. ^ "Sikkim Akademi hosts literary interaction programme"
  56. ^ [3]
  57. ^ Kritya.in Kritya, 6 October 2013
  58. ^ ANI 14 September 2013
  59. ^ IFS officer nominated for Pushcart Prize The Hindu,3 December 2012
  60. ^ K. Satchidanandan reads poems of Abhay K, 15 Nov 2011
  61. ^ A.J. "Thomas on Abhay K's new book Candling the Light 15 Nov 2011
  62. ^ Helena Sinervo reads Abhay K 19 September 2013
  63. ^ "Take it in a word" The Hindu, 12 May 2012
  64. ^ Can you write a poem about Canberra? Australian Poetry, 2014
  65. ^ Poet-diplomat Abhay K to be guest editor of Enchanting Verses YahooNews, March, 21, 2015
  66. ^ [4] ICCR website, June 2013
  67. ^ "Indian diplomat in Nepal pens the Earth Anthem" IANS, 27 June 2013
  68. ^ [5] CBSE Website,6 October 2013
  69. ^ "UNESCO lauds Indian poet's idea of an Earth Anthem". The Times of India. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  70. ^ "UNESCO finds Indian poet-diplomat's idea of an Earth Anthem inspiring". Business-standard.com. 27 February 2014. Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  71. ^ UNESCO Lauds Indian Poet's Idea of Earth Anthem Outlook, 28 Feb, 2014
  72. ^ Indian diplomat pens "SAARC Anthem" NDTV, 3 December 2013
  73. ^ The Hindu, 4 December 2013
  74. ^ Indian diplomat's poem spurs search for SAARC anthem Hindustan Times, 9 January 2014
  75. ^ The Most Important Regional Organization That Nobody Has Heard Of The Huffington Post 12 May 2014
  76. ^ Nepal foreign minister expresses need for an anthem to connect SAARC nations Business Standard, 6 June 2014
  77. ^ SAARC Anthem to be played at Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony DNA, 25 May 2014
  78. ^ Will SAARC have an anthem like ASEAN? Hindustan Times, 3 November 2014
  79. ^ Song penned by Indian may become SAARC anthem The Sunday Guardian,16 August 2014
  80. ^ Pooja-Mahesh Bhatt praise SAARC anthem The Himalayan Times,06 August 2014
  81. ^ "A diplomatic web", The New Indian Express, 5 August 2011
  82. ^ "Poke your Babus Online" The Times of India, 26 March 2011.
  83. ^ India appoints poet-diplomat as Nehru Centre Director in UK Business Standard, March 26, 2015
  84. ^ Abhay K. to head Nehru Centre in London The Hindu, March 28, 2015
  85. ^ "In the Service of the Nation", M.Y.O.D. 12 April 2012
  86. ^ India Perspectives, ISSUU 16 August 2012
  87. ^ Indian Diplomat turned Artist presents his works on Planetary Consciousness, ANI, 28 April 2011
  88. ^ "We have come far", Indrus, 15 April 2011
  89. ^ Art exhibition "We have come far" by Abhay Kumar opened at RCSC, rusembassy.in, 15 April 2011
  90. ^ "A second Life". Indian Express. 2011-05-04. Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  91. ^ Artists highlight the glory of Delhi through poetry-paintings, Business Standard, 16 September 2014
  92. ^ Speakers for 2015 Jaipur Literature Festival website, January 2015
  93. ^ Poet Abhay K wins SAARC Literature Award, IANS, 14 March 2013
  94. ^ "First Class Diploma to Abhay Kumar from the Steiglitz Academy of Art, St. Petersburg". Issuu.com. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  95. ^ "1st prize awarded to Abhay Kumar by Amity School of Business". Issuu.com. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  96. ^ "10 Questions of the Soul". Issuu.com. 2010-10-04. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  97. ^ "Цвет души". Issuu.com. 2011-02-17. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  98. ^ "Enigmatic Love". Issuu.com. 2010-08-04. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  99. ^ "Fallen Leaves of Autumn". Issuu.com. 2010-08-04. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  100. ^ "Candling the Light". IBNLive. 2011-11-07. Retrieved 2012-11-22. 
  101. ^ "Diplomat Abhay K. releases his new book Remains". Indian Express. 2012-07-01. Retrieved 2012-11-22. 
  102. ^ "Dream WINDOW". The Hindu. 2012-07-01. Retrieved 2012-11-22. 

External links[edit]