Kanhaiyalal Sethia

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Kanhaiyalal Sethia (Hindi: कन्हैयालाल सेठिया) ((1919-09-11)September 11, 1919 – November 11, 2008(2008-11-11)) was a well known Rajasthani and Hindi poet.[1] He was born in Sujangarh, Churu District in the Indian state of Rajasthan. He was a passionate supporter of making Rajasthani, the mother tongue of the people of Rajasthan, at the union level. He was a government-recognized freedom fighter, social worker, reformer, philanthropist and environmentalist.[2]


Kanhaiyalal graduated from the Scottish Church College at the University of Calcutta.[2]


His father's name was Chhagan Mal Sethia and mother was Smt. Manohari Devi. He has two sons Jay Prakash and Vinay Prakash and a daughter named Smt Sampat Devi Dugar.[2][3]


Kanhaiyalal's poetry shows his patriotic fervor for Rajasthan. His poems reflect the silent changes taking place in rural life of Rajasthan. His poetry is the melting pot of elements like nature, universal humanism, philosophy, humility and devotion that find unparalleled life-like expression through his command over the language: Every word seems to have been generated to suit what the poet wants to convey. Some of his poems are full of religious and spiritual overtones. His poetry has insight and a feeling of intense human sensitivity. It emphasizes the sublime, selfless and righteous aspects of life that have the power to soothe the frayed nerves of society that is trapped in a whirlpool of confusion and uncertainty.[2]


His first collection, Ramaniyai ra soratha, was written in the traditional style of didactic poetry rich in images and similes.[2]

His other books of Rajasthani poems are Minjhara, Kum kum, Lilatamsa, Dhara kuncham dhara majalam, Mayada Ro Helo, Sabada, Satavani, Aghori kala, Leek Lakodia, Hemani, Kakko Kod Ro, and Deeth.

His book of poetic prose is Gala-gachiya.

Kanhaiyalal wrote 18 books in Hindi: Vanphool (1941), Agniveena (1942), Mera Yug (1948), Deepkiran (1954), Pratibimb (3rd edition), (1996), Aaj Himalaya Bola (1962), Khuli Krirkiyan Chaure Raaste (1967), Pranam (1970), Marm (1973), Anam (1974), Nirgranth (1976), Swagat (1986), Deh Videh (1986), Akask Ganga (1990), Vaaman - Viraat (1991), Nishpatti (1993), Shreyas (1997), Trayee (1998), 14 books in Rajasthani, and two books in Urdu: Taj Mahal (1975) and Gulchi (2001).

Two of his Rajasthani poems are world famous and have attained cult status. "Dharti Dhoran Ri" is recognized as the anthem song of Rajasthan throughout the world. Internationally acclaimed film maker Gautam Ghosh has made a documentary based on this poem titled Land of the Sand Dunes which was awarded the Swarna Kamal (Golden Lotus) by the Government of India.[2]

His other poems that are extremely well known are "Pathal 'R' Pithal" and "Kun Jameen Ro Dhani" which are in the hearts of more than 100 million Rajasthanis throughout the world.

The United States Library of Congress has chosen him as one of the literary geniuses of the 20th century. His books have been archived by the library, and his recordings are available on the Internet.[4]

Kanhaiyalal's works have been translated in the following languages:

  • Pratibimb - Reflections In A Mirror - 1973 - English
  • Nirgranth - Nirgranth - 1984 - Bengali
  • Nirgranth - Nirgranth - 2007 - English
  • Selected Rajasthani Poems - Anuvartan - 1994 - Hindi
  • Leeltans - The Blue Jay - 1995 - English,
  • Leeltans - Leeltans - 1995 - Hindi
  • Khuli Khirkiyan Chaure Raaste - Khuli Khirkiyan Chaure Raaste - Marathi


Kanhaiyalal Sethia was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award for his work Lilatamsa. He received the Jnanapitha Moortidevi Award in 1986 and Surajmal Misrana Sekhar Award in 1987.

He was conferred Padma Shri award in 2004. He was awarded the prestigious Sahithya Vascahpati by the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, Prayag and the prestigious Sahitya Manishi by the Sahitya Academy, Udaipur.

He was also a nationalist and a social activist.[2]


He died in Kolkata, West Bengal.[2]


  1. ^ Blogspot.com
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Calcutta’s poet who was Rajasthan’s voice". The Telegraph, Calcutta. The Telegraph, 20 December 20 , 2012. Retrieved 2013-02-10. 
  3. ^ Blogspot.com
  4. ^ Library of Congress