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Indian poetry and Indian literature in general, has a long history dating back to Vedic times. They were written in various Indian languages such as Vedic Sanskrit, Classical Sanskrit, Oriya, Tamil, Kannada, Bengali and Urdu. Poetry in foreign languages such as Persian and English also has a strong influence on Indian poetry. The poetry reflects diverse spiritual traditions within India. In particular, many Indian poets have been inspired by mystical experiences.
Forms of Indian poetry
- Assamese poetry
- Bengali poetry
- Bhojpuri poetry
- Bishnupriya Manipuri poetry
- Gujarati poetry
- Hindi poetry
- Kannada poetry
- Kashmiri poetry
- Konkani poetry
- Mahl poetry
- Maithili poetry
- Malwanchal poetry
- Malayalam poetry
- Marathi poetry
- Meitei-lon poetry
- Nepali poetry
- Oriya poetry
- Punjabi poetry
- Rajasthani poetry
- Sindhi poetry
- Tamil poetry
- Telugu poetry
- Urdu poetry
- Indian Poetry in English
- Indian epic poetry
- Sanskrit poetry
Indian Poetry Awards
There are very few literary awards in India for poetry alone. The prestigious awards like Jnanapeeth, Sahitya Akademi and Kalidas Samman etc. are given away to writers of both prose and poetry. Most of the awards have gone to novelists. Few outstanding poets have received these prestigious awards.
The following poets have won the prestigious Jnanpith award for their poetry :- Firaq Gorakhpuri for his Gul-e-Naghma (1969), Amrita Pritam for her Kagaz te Kanvas (1981), Quarratulain Hyder for her Akhire Sab ke Humsafar (1989)and O. N. V. Kurup for his contribution to Malayalam poetry (2007).
All India Poetry Champions
The Poetry Society (India) gives annual awards solely for poetry. Following poets have won the prestigious annual prizes instituted by the Poetry Society (India) in collaboration with British Council and Ministry of Human Resources Development of India ;-
- 1988 : Vijay Nambisan for the poem "Madras Central"
- 1990 : Rukmini Bhaya Nair for the poem "Kali"
- 1991 : Rajlukshmee Debee Bhattacharya for the poem "Punarnava"
- 1993 : Shampa Sinha for the poem "Siests", Tarun Cherian for the poem "A Writer's Prayer"
- 1994 : Anju Makhija for the poem "A Farmer's Ghost", and Smita Agarwal for the poem "Our Foster Nurse of Nature is Repose"
- 1995 : Tabish Khair for the poem "Birds of North Europe", and Gopi Krishan Kottoor for the poem "The Coffin Maker"
- 1997 : Ranjit Hoskote for the poem "Portrait of a Lady", and Gopi Krishnan Kottoor for the poem "Digging"
- 1998 : K Sri Lata for the poem "In Santa Cruz, Diagnosed Home Sick", and Revathy Gopal for the poem "Lines on Meeting a Cousin, Long Lost"
- 2000 : Shahnaz Habib for the poem "Of Hypocrisy and Cheekbones", and Revathy Gopal for the poem "I Would Know You Anywhere"
Sahitya Akademi Awards
Sahitya Akademi gives away annual prizes for both original works of poetry in the recognised Indian languages, as well as outstanding works of translation of Indian poetry.
Indian Literature Golden Jubilee Poetry Awards
On the occasion of its Golden Jubilee, Sahitya Akademi awarded the following prizes for outstanding works of poetry in translation from Indian languages.
- Rana Nayar for his translation of the verses of the Sikh saint Baba Farid from Punjabi.
- Dr Tapan Kumar Pradhan for the English translation of his own Oriya poem collection Kalahandi and Equation.
- Paromita Das for English translation of Parvati Prasad Baruwa's poems in Assamese.
Ananda Puraskar and Rabindra Puraskar
Anand Bazar Patrika have instituted the prestigious annual Anand Puraskar for Bengali literature. There is also prestigious Rabindra Puraskar. But these awards have usually gone to novelists. The rare poets to have won these awards include Premendra Mitra for Sagar theke phera (1957), Buddhadeb Basu for Swagato Biday (1974), Aruna Mitra for Suddhu Rater Shabda (1979), Jay Goswami for Ghumeichho (1990), Srijato for Uranto Sab Joker (2004) and Pinaki Thakur for Chumbaner Kshato (2012).
Western thinkers and poets interested in Indian poetry
In the 19th century, American Transcendentalist writers and many German Romantic writers became interested in Indian poetry, literature and thought. In the 20th century, few Western poets became interested in Indian thought and literature, and the interest of many of those was minor: T. S. Eliot studied Sanskrit at Harvard, but later lost interest. Buddhism brought Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder to India, but they became more interested in Tibetan and Japanese forms of the religion. Mexican poet and writer Octavio Paz developed a strong, lasting interest in Indian poetry after living in the country as part of the Mexican diplomatic mission (and as ambassador in the 1960s). Paz married an Indian woman, translated Sanskrit kavyas, and wrote extensively about India.