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
Nationality Indian
Alma mater Jawaharlal Nehru University
Occupation Diplomat, Poet, Artist
Known for Earth Anthem

Abhay Kumar (Hindi: अभय कुमार) (born 1980) is an Indian poet-diplomat and artist whose idea of an Earth Anthem has been termed by UNESCO as a creative and inspiring thought that would contribute to bringing the world together.[1][2] He has written several books including River Valley to Silicon Valley.[3][4][5] He has written in fields of digital diplomacy,[6] philosophical poetry,[7] art[8] and global democracy.[9] The Earth Anthem, written, produced and directed by him in eight languages, has won appreciation[10][11][12] and is under consideration of UNESCO to turn it into a global initiative.[13][14] He wrote the South Asian Anthem[15] spurring search for an official SAARC Anthem.[16] He has been honoured with 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 received the Gov 2.0 award on behalf of the Public Diplomacy Division, Ministry of External Affairs.[6][20]

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.[21]



Poet Abhay K at Gangtok

Kumar's first book was River Valley to Silicon Valley.[3] His poems have appeared in An Gael(New York),[22] Chiaroscuro (London),[23] The Caravan,[24]The Missing Slate,[25] Indian Literature (IL 269),[26] Kritya[27] Kathmandu Post,[28] Muse India, Pratilipi, La.Lit, St. Petersburg Literary Review, The Enchanting Verses Literary Review, Severnaya Aurora, Sphinx, Okno, The Applicant, Teesta Rangeet, Of Nepalese Clay and several other Indian and foreign literary journals.[29] His poetic works give humanistic outlook to Indian English Poetry.[30][31][32] and make subtle use of metaphor and imagery.[33]

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]

In Kumar's poems on Delhi "a cavalcade of disenchanted spectres walk the streets of Delhi, and the long passage of centuries has not diminished the regret or rancour of their thoughts. Till time itself has come to an end, it appears, they will continue to broadcast their claims about legitimacy, treachery, history and fate" while in his poems set in the Russian landscape "the souls of Nikolai Gogol and Fyodor Dostoevsky wander, one dispersed amongst his fictional creations, the other towering like a colossus over his own body of work and aflame with the drama of both life and literature" notes the poetry editor of the Caravan Magazine.[24]

His poem "Foreign Service" is a take-off on Shakespeare's "All the world's a stage" summarizing diplomatic careers.[35] 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".[36] His poem "Ghalib" is a glimpse of tragic life of poet Ghalib.[37]

Kumar's poems have been translated into Irish by Irish poet Gabriel Rosenstock[38] and in Russian by noted Russian poet Andrei Rodossky.[29]

Kumar has read his poems at Sahitya Akademi-India's National Academy of Letters,[39] Nepali Bhasa Parishad, Darjeeling,[40] Sikkim Akademi, Gangtok,[41] SAARC Literature Festival 2013 at Agra,[42] Kritya International Poetry Festival 2013 at Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University, Wardha,[43] British Council, New Delhi[44] among other places.

He was nominated for the Pushcart Prize for his three poems ‘What’s a Beach’, ‘Masseur’ and ‘Everything has Secrets’.[45] His poems have been recited by well-known poets such as K. Satchidanandan,[46] A. J. Thomas,[47] Helena Sinervo,[48] Müesser Yeniay, Annelisa Addolorato among others.

He co-founded the Poetry at the Monument poetry movement[49] to bring poetry to Delhi and to pay homage to 3,000 years of Delhi's heritage.[50] Kumar has been strongly advocating an Indian International Poetry Festival (IIPF) in Delhi.[51] He has delivered talks on poetry at the British Council, New Delhi,[52] St. Xavier's College, Kathmandu.

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.

"Earth Anthem"[53]

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 from Darjeeling and sung by Shreya Sotang from Nepal was launched at the Indian Council for Cultural Relations on 3 June 2013.[54] It has received acclaim[11][55] and is being used by CBSE.[56] Permanent Delegation of India to UNESCO, Paris recommended Kumar's proposal of an official Earth Anthem to the UNESCO in January 2014,[57] in response to which UNESCO hailed the idea of an official Earth Anthem as a creative and inspiring thought that would contribute bringing the world together.[58] Earth Anthem has been translated into major world languages.

painting of Abhay K

The third edition of Nepal-Africa Film Festival opened with the Earth Anthem.[59] Bollywood actress Manisha Koirala and singing nun Ani Choying Drolma have appreciated the work being done by him to get an official Earth Anthem.[60] Hollywood actor Robert Lin has called the Earth Anthem a great work.[61] The US Consul General Jennifer McIntyre has called Kumar's Earth Anthem a significant contribution to Earth Day and truly an anthem for the Earth.[62]

SAARC Anthem[edit]

"From the Himalaya to Hind(Indian Ocean),
Naga Hills to Hindukush
Mahaweli to Ganga, Sindhu to Brahmputra
Lakshadweep, Andamans, Everest, Adam's Peak
Kabul to Thimphu, Male to Kathmandu
Delhi to Dhaka, Colombo, Islamabad
Every step in harmony, every step in unison
Dzongkha, Hindi, Nepali, Bangla, Pashto, Sinhala
Urdu, English, Dhivehi, every step in harmony,
Every step in unison
One's own identities, one's own dreams
Talks of love and peace, every step in unison
Every step with SAARC, every step in unison
Every step with SAARC, every step in unison."

"SAARC Anthem"[63]
Monument for Earth — A painting by Kumar

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.[64][65] It has spurred discussions on the need for an official SAARC Anthem.[66] Columnist Stanley Weiss hopes that the South Asian leaders will choose to move forward in the words of the SAARC Anthem.[67] Nepal's foreign minister has expressed the need for a SAARC anthem to connect SAARC nations. [68] SAARC Anthem was to be played at the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi in presence of the SAARC leaders.[69]


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.[70][71]

During his two-year tenure (July 2010-July 2012) as in-charge of Digital diplomacy at the Public Diplomacy Division of the Ministry of External Affairs,India, he brought about 70 Indian embassies and consulates onto social media and launched of the India Is Global Video Challenge inspired by the Democracy Video Challenge of the United States.[72] Kumar's efforts helped India's national cultural institutions such as the Sahitya Akademi, the Lalit Kala Akademi and the National Gallery of Modern Art open their accounts on popular social media sites.[73]

His latest initiatives to boost India-Nepal cultural ties include 'Conversations', 'Poemandu' and 'Cinemandu' which provide innovative platforms for the writers, poets and filmmakers of Nepal to express themselves in creative ways.[74][75][76]

Along with a few young IFS officers, he started IFS Day celebrations on the raising day of the Indian Foreign Service in 2011 to deepen the esprit de corps in the service.[77] Since his arrival in Kathmandu in 2012 he reactivated the centrally located Nepal-Bharat Library as a cultural venue for arts.[78]

Kumar has delivered guest lectures on the creative use of social media and global democracy at the leading universities and institutes of India which include Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Research and Information Systems (RIS) New Delhi, Amity University, NOIDA,[79] Indian Society of International Law (ISIL) New Delhi, Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), New Delhi, Kirorimal College, Delhi University (DU), Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurgaon[80] among others.

He was assistant editor of India Perspectives, a monthly magazine published by the Ministry of External Affairs in 17 languages from September 2011 to July 2012.[81][82]


Kumar's art work focus on planetary consciousness.[83] He has exhibited his paintings in St. Petersburg, Paris and New Delhi.[84][85] His art has received good reviews.[86]

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • 2013: SAARC Literary Award[18][87]
  • 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.[88]
  • 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[79][89]



  • River Valley to Silicon Valley (2007)/A Civil Servant's Tale (2011)[90]
  • 10 Questions of the Soul (2010)[91]
  • Colours of Soul (Cvet Dushi) (2011)[92]

Poetry books[edit]

  • Enigmatic Love (2009)[93]
  • Fallen Leaves of Autumn (2010)[94]
  • Candling the Light(2011)[95]
  • Remains (2012)[96]
  • Seduction of Delhi[97]


  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 "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. ^ "Diplomat-writer, who pens verse", The Tribune, Chandigarh, 16 December 2012
  22. ^ Poems of Abhay K. translated into Irish by Gabriel RosenstockAn Gael, Samhradh 2014
  23. ^ THE IRON PILLAR OF DELHI' AND OTHER POEMSChiaroscuro, June 2014
  24. ^ a b Dara Shikoh and other poems The Caravan, 1 May 2014
  25. ^ Ghalib The Missing Slate, 11 February 2014
  26. ^ Poems of Abhay K in Indian Literature, June-July 2012
  27. ^ Kritya Poetry Journal
  28. ^ Poetic License
  29. ^ a b Северная Аврора № 12, 2010. Абхай КУМАР
  30. ^ "Contemporary poets, storywriters to exhibit their oratory skills at Sahitya Akademi", Yahoo News, 2 May 2011
  31. ^ "Young Indian poets, storywriters mesmerize audience with their skills", Newkerala, 4 May 2011
  32. ^ "‘Diplomat poet’ creates rhymes from life" Millennium Post, 1 July 2012
  33. ^ 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
  34. ^ Review of HarperCollins Book of English Poetry by Roomy Naqvy Wasafiri Reviews Volume 28,Issue 3, 2013, 19 August 2013
  35. ^ "Foreign Service Poem" Diplomat Magazine, London, 23 January 2013
  36. ^ "Possessed Idiots and Deadly Demons" Pratilipi, December 2012
  37. ^ "Ghalib" The Missing Slate, 11 February 2014
  38. ^ Dornán Dánta le Abhay K Rogha Gabriel 13 January 2014
  39. ^ "Young Indian poets mesmerize audience with their skills", ANI 4 May 2011
  40. ^ [1] Himalaya Darpan 2 March 2013
  41. ^ "Sikkim Akademi hosts literary interaction programme" Sikkim Now 3 March 2013
  42. ^ Deccan Herald, 10 March 2013
  43. ^ Kritya.in Kritya, 6 October 2013
  44. ^ ANI 14 September 2013
  45. ^ IFS officer nominated for Pushcart Prize The Hindu,3 December 2012
  46. ^ K. Satchidanandan reads poems of Abhay K, 15 Nov 2011
  47. ^ A.J. "Thomas on Abhay K's new book Candling the Light 15 Nov 2011
  48. ^ Helena Sinervo reads Abhay K 19 September 2013
  49. ^ "Take it in a word" The Hindu, 12 May 2012
  50. ^ "Poetry on stone: Timeless genre in revival across India" Zee News, 12 June 2012
  51. ^ "For Better or Verse", Millennium Post, 26 July 2012
  52. ^ "British Council organizes an evening of poetry", ANI, 14 September 2013
  53. ^ Download Earth Anthem Earth Anthem Website, 27 April 2014
  54. ^ [2] ICCR website, June 2013
  55. ^ "Indian diplomat in Nepal pens the Earth Anthem" IANS, 27 June 2013
  56. ^ [3] CBSE Website,6 October 2013
  57. ^ UNESCO Lauds Indian Poet's Idea of Earth Anthem Outlook, 28 February 2014
  58. ^ DIPLOMAT’S IDEA OF AN EARTH ANTHEM INSPIRING: UNESCO Hindustan Times,28 February 2014
  59. ^ Nepal-Africa film festival opens with 'Earth Anthem' Zee News,19June 2013
  60. ^ http://www.ekantipur.com/2014/04/22/capital/manisha-drolma-for-earth-anthem/388590.html Manisha, Drolma for Earth Anthem, The Kathmandu Post, 22 April 2014
  61. ^ actor Robert Lin calls Earth Anthem by Indian poet-diplomat a great work, The Malaysia Sun, 21 May 2014
  62. ^ [4] U.S. Department of State Newsletter, Vol. 4, Issue 2, U.S. Consulate General, Chennai, Apr-Jun 2014
  63. ^ [5] ZEE News, 25 May 2014
  64. ^ Indian diplomat pens "SAARC Anthem" NDTV, 3 December 2013
  65. ^ The Hindu, 4 December 2013
  66. ^ Indian diplomat's poem spurs search for SAARC anthem Hindustan Times, 9 January 2014
  67. ^ The Most Important Regional Organization That Nobody Has Heard Of The Huffington Post 12 May 2014
  68. ^ Nepal foreign minister expresses need for an anthem to connect SAARC nationsBusiness Standard, 6 June 2014
  69. ^ SAARC Anthem to be played at Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony DNA, 25 May 2014
  70. ^ "A diplomatic web", The New Indian Express, 5 August 2011
  71. ^ "Poke your Babus Online" The Times of India, 26 March 2011.
  72. ^ "Capture India’s soul in 3 minutes" The Asian Age, 17 November 2013
  73. ^ "That's the way they like it", The Hindu, 26 July 2012
  74. ^ "Poemandu brings Nepali, Indian poets together", The Himalayan Times, 24 March 2013
  75. ^ "In conversation with Nepali writers", The Kathmandu Post, 5 March 2013
  76. ^ "Diplomat-poet spearheads three new initiatives to boost Indo-Nepal cultural ties", ANI, 23 April 2013
  77. ^ IFS Officials building their own traditions, The Times of India, 10 October 2013
  78. ^ Well versed in diplomacy Nepali Times, 17–23 January 2014
  79. ^ a b "Abhay Kumar at Amity University". youtube.com/user/amityuni. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  80. ^ "Abhay K tells CII bosses about social media" Twitter, 6 June 2012
  81. ^ "In the Service of the Nation", M.Y.O.D. 12 April 2012
  82. ^ India Perspectives, ISSUU 16 August 2012
  83. ^ Indian Diplomat turned Artist presents his works on Planetary Consciousness, ANI, 28 April 2011
  84. ^ "We have come far", Indrus, 15 April 2011
  85. ^ Art exhibition "We have come far" by Abhay Kumar opened at RCSC, rusembassy.in, 15 April 2011
  86. ^ "A second Life". Indian Express. 2011-05-04. Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  87. ^ Poet Abhay K wins SAARC Literature Award, IANS, 14 March 2013
  88. ^ "First Class Diploma to Abhay Kumar from the Steiglitz Academy of Art, St. Petersburg". Issuu.com. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  89. ^ "1st prize awarded to Abhay Kumar by Amity School of Business". Issuu.com. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  90. ^ "http://issuu.com/abhayk/docs/the_civil_servants_tale". Issuu.com. 2011-09-16. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  91. ^ "10 Questions of the Soul". Issuu.com. 2010-10-04. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  92. ^ "Цвет души". Issuu.com. 2011-02-17. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  93. ^ "Enigmatic Love". Issuu.com. 2010-08-04. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  94. ^ "Fallen Leaves of Autumn". Issuu.com. 2010-08-04. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  95. ^ "Candling the Light". IBNLive. 2011-11-07. Retrieved 2012-11-22. 
  96. ^ "Diplomat Abhay K. releases his new book Remains". Indian Express. 2012-07-01. Retrieved 2012-11-22. 
  97. ^ "Dream WINDOW". The Hindu. 2012-07-01. Retrieved 2012-11-22. 

External links[edit]