Abhay Kumar

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Abhay Kumar
Poet-Diplomat Abhay K.jpg
Born
Abhay Kumar

1980 (age 41–42)
NationalityIndian
Alma materKirori Mal College Jawaharlal Nehru University
OccupationPoet, Diplomat, Editor,Anthologist, Ambassador
Known forPoetry, Diplomacy, Earth Anthem, Cosmic Anthems
Websitewww.abhayk.com

Abhay Kumar [Pen Name Abhay K.] (born 1980) is an Indian poet-diplomat[1] and India's 21st Ambassador to Madagascar[2][3] and Ambassador to Comoros.[4] He has served in different diplomatic capacities earlier in Russia, Nepal and Brazil. His published collections of poetry include Monsoon,The Magic of Madagascar, The Alphabets of Latin America, The Prophecy of Brasilia,The Eight-Eyed Lord of Kathmandu,The Seduction of Delhi among others, while his edited books are CAPITALS, 100 Great Indian Poems, 100 More Great Indian Poems, New Brazilian Poems, The Bloomsbury Anthology of Great Indian Poems,The Bloomsbury Book of Great Indian Love Poems among others. His translation of Kalidasa's Meghaduta and Ritusamhara has received Kalinga Literary Festival 2020-2021 Poetry Book of the Year Award.[5] He recorded his poems at the Library of Congress.[6] His poem 'The Partitioned Land' was taught at the Cornell University in the Fall 2021.[7] His writings cover poetry, art, memoir, global democracy and digital diplomacy.[8] His Earth Anthem has been translated into over 150 languages [9][10] and was played at the United Nations to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Earth Day.[11] He also wrote an anthem for SAARC spurring search for an official SAARC Anthem. He wrote a 'Moon Anthem' to celebrate the success of India's Moon Mission Chandrayaan-2.[12][13] He has penned a 'Mars Anthem' to inspire the younger generation to explore our neighbouring red planet.[14][15] He has penned anthems on all the planets in the Solar System.[16]

He received the SAARC Literary Award for his contribution to contemporary South Asian Poetry and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2013. He has also been honoured with Asia-Pacific Excellence Award in 2014. His The Seduction of Delhi was shortlisted for Muse India-Satish Verma Young Writer Award 2015.

Early life[edit]

Abhay was born and raised near Rajgir in Nalanda district of Bihar. He studied at 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, U.S. foreign policy at George Washington University and has a Certificate in Poetry Writing from the International Writing Program, University of Iowa.[17] He speaks Magahi, Hindi, English, Russian, Nepali, Portuguese and knows French and Sanskrit. He has translated poems of 60 Brazilian poets from Portuguese and Kālidāsa's Meghadūta and Ritusamharafrom Sanskrit.[18]

Career[edit]

Diplomat[edit]

Kumar is an Indian Foreign Service officer and has served in various positions at the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of the government of India and at the Indian missions and posts abroad in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kathmandu and Brasilia. At the MEA headquarters in New Delhi he served as the Under Secretary Digital diplomacy and sent the first tweet after setting up an official Twitter account of the Ministry of External Affairs of India in 2010.[19][20] He served as the spokesperson of the Embassy of India, Kathmandu from 2012 to 2015.[21] He was appointed Director of the Nehru Centre, London in March 2015.[22][23] Subsequently, he was appointed as India's Deputy High Commissioner to Australia in August 2015.[24] He currently serves as India's Ambassador to the Indian Ocean islands of Madagascar[25] and Comoros. He started Indian Foreign Service Day celebrations on 9 Oct in 2011.[26] He also proposed celebration of the International Day of Diplomats on the United Nations Day[27] which was celebrated in Brasilia for the first time on 24 Oct 2017 with the participation of diplomats from several countries.[28] The second International Day was celebrated in Brasilia while the third one was celebrated in Madagascar.[29] The fourth International Day of Diplomats was celebrated globally.[30] The Embassy of India, Antananarivo became the first Indian Embassy to go solar on 2nd Oct 2020 during his tenure as Ambassador of India to Madagascar [31] and to have a Street Library.[32]

Poet[edit]

Abhay K. and Forrest Gander at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2020
Abhay K, Fady Joudah, Lionel Fogarty, Sadaf Saz, Arjun Deo Charan, Ashok Bajpai at JLF 2015

Abhay Kumar's first book titled River Valley to Silicon Valley(2007) was a memoir that also contained his first poem, 'Soul Song'.[33] He has published eight collections of poetry. The Eight-Eyed Lord of Kathmandu (2017) is a collection on the UNESCO World Heritage sites, festivals, historical personalities, landscapes and prominent places of Nepal written during his stay in Nepal from 2012 to 2015.[34] It was translated into Nepali as Jatra[35] The Seduction of Delhi was shortlisted for the Muse India-Satish Verma Young Writer Award 2015.[36] The 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."[37] Pulitzer Prize winning poet Forrest Gander says about The Alphabets of Latin America(2020)-"Abhay K. has a great sense of lineation, of understatement, of memorable, very particular images, and of manuscript structure."[38] Robert Fay in his piece 'In Search of the Writer-Diplomat tradition' writes- "India continues to maintain this venerable tradition, with poet Abhay Kumar serving in recent years as the Indian Ambassador to Madagascar and Comoros."[39]

Abhay K and Eleanor Catton at JLF 2015

Abhay Kumar's poems have appeared in several magazines and literary journals including Poetry Salzburg Review,[40] The Asia Literary Review,[41] Gargoyle,[42] and The Caravan.[43] His poems have also been included in a number of anthologies including A Poem A Day edited by Gulzar (HarperCollins|2020), The Younger Indian Poets edited by Sudeep Sen(Sahitya Akademi|2019), 100 Great Indian Poems (Bloomsbury|2018), and The Himalayan Arc edited by Namita Gokhale (HarperCollins|2018). Abhay has read his poems at major poetry and literature festivals across the globe.[44][45][46]

Editor[edit]

CAPITALS[edit]

In 2017, CAPITALS, an anthology of poems on the capital cities of the world edited by Abhay K., was released. It brought poets together from across the planet and included contributions from Derek Walcott, Vijay Seshadri, George Szirtes, and Ruth Padel among other prominent poets from 185 countries.

100 Great Indian Poems[edit]

100 Great Indian Poems (2018) is an anthology of Indian poetry edited covering over 3000 years of Indian poetry and 28 Indian languages.[47] It has been translated and published into Portuguese,[48] Spanish,[49] Italian,[50][51] Malagasy and Arabic.It has also been translated into French, Russian and Nepali, which will be published soon.[52][53]

New Brazilian Poems[edit]

This anthology selected, edited and translated by Abhay K. contains the works of 60 contemporary Brazilian poets.

100 More Great Indian Poems[edit]

It is a sequel of 100 Great Indian Poems and was published in 2019 by Bloomsbury India.

The Bloomsbury Anthology of Great Indian Poems[edit]

It is a collection of 200 Great Indian Poems edited by Abhay K. and published in 2020.

The Bloomsbury Book of Great Indian Love Poems[edit]

He has also edited The Bloomsbury Book of Great Indian Love Poems sweeping through three millennia and over two dozen Indian languages.[54]

The Book of Bihari Literature[edit]

It is a first anthology of its kind edited by Abhay K. which brings together poems and short stories from ten languages of Bihar spanning over 3000 years into English translation.It will be published in October 2022 by HarperCollins India.

Lyricist[edit]

In 2013 Abhay released Earth Anthem, a song intended as an anthem for the planet Earth, written by him and translated into 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.[55] It has been translated into over 130 languages.[56][57] On World Environment Day 2017, Abhay K's Earth Anthem composed by L. Subramaniam and sung by Kavita Krishnamurthy was released in Brasilia.[58] A New video of Earth Anthem was released on 22 April 2020 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Earth Day.[59] Over 100 eminent artists from across the world came together to read Earth Anthem to mark 51st anniversary of Earth Day on 22 April 2021.[60] Abhay also wrote an anthem for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in an attempt to foster South Asian consciousness and bring the member states of SAARC together.[61][62] It has spurred discussions on the need for an official SAARC Anthem.[63] He is the first Indian poet invited to record his poems at the Library of Congress.[6] He was given the epithet of 'World Poet' by Pulitzer Prize winning poet Vijay Seshadri[64] He wrote Moon Anthem to mark the landing of Chandrayaan 2 on the Moon, which has been composed by Dr. L. Subramaniam and sung by Kavita Krishnamurthy.[65] He has penned anthems on all the planets in the solar system.[66]

Artist[edit]

Recipients of SAARC Literary Award 2013
Citation of SAARC Literary Award to poet-diplomat Abhay K

Abhay's art work focus on planetary consciousness.[67] He has exhibited his paintings in St. Petersburg, Paris, New Delhi and Brasilia.[68][69][70] Poetry-paintings of Abhay K and Italian artist Tarshito exhibited at the National Academy of Art, New Delhi highlight Delhi's glorious past.[71]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Works[edit]

Poetry Books[edit]

  • Enigmatic Love : Love poems from Moscow (Bookwell|2009)[77]
  • Fallen Leaves of Autumn (ArtXpress|2010)[78]
  • Candling the Light(Yash|2011)[79]
  • Remains (HarAnand|2012)[80]
  • The Seduction of Delhi(Bloomsbury|2014)[81]
  • The Eight-eyed Lord of Kathmandu (Bloomsbury India |2018) & (The Onslaught Press, Oxford & Paris|2017)[82]
  • The Prophecy of Brasilia (Bilingual edition in English and Portuguese| GaNa, Brazil|2018)
  • The Alphabets of Latin America: A Carnival of Poems (Bloomsbury India |2020)[83][84]
  • The Magic of Madagascar (Bilingual edition in French and English|L'Harmattan, Paris|2021) [85][86]
  • Monsoon (Sahitya Akademi, India, 2022)[87]
  • Celestial (f/c 2022)

Translated[edit]

  • Uttering Her Name by Gabriel Rosenstock (Salmon Ireland) into Hindi|2015
  • Meghaduta by Kalidasa into English (Bloomsbury|2021) [88]
  • Ritusamhara by Kalidasa into English (Bloomsbury|2021)

Edited[edit]

  • Anthology of Contemporary Indian English Poetry (Enchanting Verses Literary Review|2016)[89]
  • CAPITALS (Bloomsbury|2017)[90]
  • 100 Great Indian Poems (Bloomsbury|2017)[91]
  • 100 More Great Indian Poems (Bloomsbury India|2019)[92]
  • The Bloomsbury Anthology of Great Indian Poems (Bloomsbury India|2020)[93]
  • New Brazilian Poems (Ibis Libris|2019)[94]
  • The Bloomsbury Book of Great Indian Love Poems (Bloomsbury|2020)
  • The Book of Bihari Literature (HarperCollins|2022)

Non-fiction[edit]

  • River Valley to Silicon Valley (Bookwell|2007), republished as Becoming A Civil Servant (Kalinjar|2015)
  • 10 Questions of the Soul (2010)[95]
  • Colours of Soul (Cvet Dushi) (2011)[96]

Research Work on Poetry of Abhay K.[edit]

A PhD on "Cultural Construct of Self: A Critical Study of Abhay Kumar's Poetry" was awarded by Maharaja Ganga Singh University, Bikaner, Rajasthan, India to Amit Dhawan in 2017.[97][98] Academician Sapna Dogra has written a research paper comparing 'A River'of A.K. Ramanujan and 'Yamuna' of Abhay K.[99]

Quotes[edit]

  • "Whatever be our individual, social or other interests, we should not forget that we have only one cosmic home, Earth."-Abhay K.
  • "We are humans, Earth is our home." - Abhay K.
  • "I was never born, I didn't die."- Abhay K.
  • "United we stand as flora and fauna, united we stand as species of one Earth."- Abhay K.
  • "There is no greater joy in life than the joy of creating something."- Abhay K.
  • "Poetry is an intrinsic need of our species."- Abhay K.[100]
  • "All the people and all the nations, one for all and all for one." -Abhay K.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ UNESCO finds Indian poet-diplomat's idea of an Earth Anthem inspiring, Business Standard, 27 February 2014
  2. ^ Ambassador's Profile Embassy of India Website, Madagascar April 2019
  3. ^ Abhay Kumar appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Madagascar MEA India website November 2018
  4. ^ Abhay Kumar concurrently accredited as the next Ambassador of India to the Union of the Comoros MEA website, 28 May 2019
  5. ^ Poet-diplomat Abhay K's translation of Kalidasa's 'Meghaduta', 'Ritusamhara' win KLF Poetry Book of the Year Award 2020-21 ANI, 9 September 2021
  6. ^ a b K first Indian poet to record poems at Library of Congress[permanent dead link] ANI, 30 August 2018
  7. ^ Revisiting Kashmir: A Survey and Literature and Culture. Cornell University, Fall 2021
  8. ^ Public Diplomacy Division Receives Gov2.in 2011 Award Deccan Herald, 12 March.
  9. ^ Earth anthem in 150+ languages Earth Anthem Website 31 December 2021
  10. ^ World Biodiversity Day: Earth Anthem by Indian poet-diplomat translated into 100 languages Yahoo news, 23 May 2021
  11. ^ UN commemorates Earth Day with ‘Earth Anthem’ penned by Indian poet-diplomat Abhay Kumar The Financial Express, 28 April 2020
  12. ^ Nalanda-born diplomat writes anthem on Moon The Times of India, Patna, 9 September 2019.
  13. ^ Ahead of Chandrayaan 2 Landing Poet-Diplomat writes Moon Anthem NDTV, 6 September 2019
  14. ^ Nalanda-born diplomat pens anthem for Mars The Times of India, 7 March 2020
  15. ^ Indian poet and African musician come together for 'Mars Anthem' Big News Network 4 March 2020
  16. ^ Ten anthems for the solar system Scroll.in, 21 December 2020
  17. ^ "Diplomat-writer, who pens verse", The Tribune, Chandigarh, 16 December 2012
  18. ^ What Kalidasa teaches us about Lockdown, Biodiversity Loss and Climate Change Madras Courier, 11 April 2020
  19. ^ "A diplomatic web", The New Indian Express, 5 August 2011
  20. ^ "Poke your Babus Online" The Times of India, 26 March 2011.
  21. ^ Nepal Rations Fuel as Political Crisis With India Worsens The New York Times, 28 September 2015
  22. ^ India appoints poet-diplomat as Nehru Centre Director in UK Business Standard, 26 March 2015
  23. ^ Abhay K. to head Nehru Centre in London The Hindu, 28 March 2015
  24. ^ Abhay K appointed India's Deputy High Commissioner to Australia Archived 2 October 2015 at the Wayback Machine ANI, 28 September 2015
  25. ^ Abhay Kumar appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Madagascar Ministry of External Affairs of India Website 9 November 2018
  26. ^ IFS officials building their own traditions The Times of India, 10 Oct 2013
  27. ^ Why the world needs International Day of Diplomats, our everyday peacekeepers Daily O, 11 October 2017
  28. ^ First International Day of Diplomats celebrated in Brasilia Business Standard, 25 Oct 2017
  29. ^ Third International Day of Diplomats celebrated in Madagascar Business Standard, 26 October 2019
  30. ^ 4th International Diplomats Day Celebrated Globally Business World 25 Oct 2020
  31. ^ Indian embassy in Madagascar becomes first to go fully solar Mongabay 2nd October, 2020
  32. ^ With Literary Fiction, Biographies & History Books, Street Library Opens At Embassy Of India Antananarivo India Times, 22 Jan 2021
  33. ^ The Hindu Literary Review 2007 The Hindu, 5 August 2007.
  34. ^ The poetics of public places:How poetry from a poet-diplomat can turn into spiritual healing The Kathmandu Post, 1 August 2015
  35. ^ Now, go on a 'Jatra' of poems on Nepal IANS, 23 April 2015
  36. ^ Poet-diplomat Abhay K's 'The Seduction of Delhi' shortlisted for Muse India award, Business Standard, 11 November 2015
  37. ^ Diplomat Abhay K's book 'The Seduction of Delhi' to be launched at Jaipur Literature Festival DNA, 10 January 2015
  38. ^ Diplomat Abhay K's new poetry collection out, offers fascinating roller coaster ride into Latin America ANI, 25 July 2020
  39. ^ In Search of the Writer-Diplomat Tradition RobertFay.com 25 Sept 2020
  40. ^ Poetry Salzburg Review Issue 30 PSR website, Issue 30, Autumn 2016
  41. ^ [1] The Asia Literary Review Issue 31, August 2016
  42. ^ [2] Gargoyle Magazine, December 2016
  43. ^ Dara Shikoh and other poems
  44. ^ Poet-diplomat brings Indian poetry to Medellin, Colombia Outlook,12 July 2017
  45. ^ Poets from across the world come together to read poems on capital cities Yahoo News, 7 January 2017
  46. ^ Buenos Aires to get a taste of Indian poetry The Indian Express, 10 June 2016
  47. ^ 100 Great Indian Poems Bloomsbury India, October, 2017
  48. ^ 100 Grandes Poemas da India Cadernos da Literatura em Traducao, USP,25 March 2018
  49. ^ Cien Grandes Poemas de la India UANL website, 16 October 2018
  50. ^ Antologia traduz para o português pérolas da poesia indiana Correio Braziliense, 20 Jan 2018
  51. ^ Entrevista com Abhay K .100 Grandes Poemas da Índia Brasilia in Foco, 12 January 2018
  52. ^ Arabic edition of ‘100 Great Indian Poems’ launched at Sharjah Book Fair The Indian Express, 13 November 2021
  53. ^ "A diplomat is taking Indian poetry to the world through translations of a hundred ‘great poems’",Scroll.in, 21 Jan 2018
  54. ^ This new anthology of love poems from India sweeps through histories, geographies and societies Scroll.in 4 Nov 2020
  55. ^ [3] ICCR website, June 2013
  56. ^ "Indian Diplomat pens anthem for Earth" The New Indian Express, 5 June 2013
  57. ^ "Indian diplomat in Nepal pens the Earth Anthem" Indo-Asian News Service, 27 June 2013
  58. ^ Poet-diplomat's Earth Anthem enlivened by maestro L. Subramaniam, Kavita Krishnamurthy The Daily Pioneer, 6 June 2017
  59. ^ Earth Day: L Surbramaniam, Abhay K, Kavita Krishnamurti release new anthem on 50th anniversary First Post, 22 April 2010
  60. ^ On Earth Day, over 100 eminent artists from across the world to read ‘Earth Anthem’ penned by senior Indian diplomat The Indian Express, 22md April 2021
  61. ^ Indian diplomat pens "SAARC Anthem" NDTV, 3 December 2013
  62. ^ The Hindu, 4 December 2013
  63. ^ Indian diplomat's poem spurs search for SAARC anthem Hindustan Times, 9 January 2014
  64. ^ Indian poet Abhay K. receives warm welcome in the United States ANI, 17 October 2018
  65. ^ Moon Anthem penned by Abhay K. releases ANI, 27 October 2019
  66. ^ Indian diplomat-poet releases video of cosmic anthems to mark great conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn Hindustan Times 22 Dec 2020
  67. ^ Indian Diplomat turned Artist presents his works on Planetary Consciousness, ANI, 28 April 2011
  68. ^ "We have come far", Indrus, 15 April 2011
  69. ^ Art exhibition "We have come far" by Abhay Kumar opened at RCSC, rusembassy.in, 15 April 2011
  70. ^ "A second Life". The Indian Express. 4 May 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
  71. ^ Artists highlight the glory of Delhi through poetry-paintings, Business Standard, 16 September 2014
  72. ^ "1st prize awarded to Abhay Kumar by Amity School of Business". Issuu.com. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  73. ^ a b "IFS officer nominated for coveted Pushcart Prize", 2 December 2012
  74. ^ "Poet Abhay K wins SAARC Literature Award" Archived 23 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Hindustan Times, 14 March 2013
  75. ^ "Five writers honoured at the SAARC Literature Festival" Archived 15 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine, PTI, 11 March 2013
  76. ^ Asia-Pacific Excellence Award to Indian poet-diplomat Abhay K, ANI, 14 October 2014
  77. ^ "Enigmatic Love". Issuu.com. 4 August 2010. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  78. ^ "Fallen Leaves of Autumn". Issuu.com. 4 August 2010. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  79. ^ "Candling the Light". CNN-IBN. 7 November 2011. Archived from the original on 5 June 2014. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  80. ^ "Diplomat Abhay K. releases his new book Remains". The Indian Express. 1 July 2012. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  81. ^ "Dream WINDOW". The Hindu. 1 July 2012. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  82. ^ The Eight-Eyed Lord of Kathmandu The Onslaught Press, UK, October 2017
  83. ^ The Alphabets of Latin America Bloomsbury Publications, May 2020
  84. ^ Book Review: The Alphabets of Latin America Financial Express, 28 august 2021
  85. ^ La Magie de Madagascar L'Harmattan, Paris September 2021
  86. ^ Book Review : The Magic of Madagascar Financial Express, 07 September 2021
  87. ^ Monsoon Sahitya Akademi, 15 March 2022
  88. ^ Meghaduta Bloomsbury Publishing, February 2021
  89. ^ Contemporary Indian English Poetry Enchanting Verses Literary Review, November 2015
  90. ^ CAPITALS Bloomsbury Publishing, 18 December 2016
  91. ^ Great Indian Poems Bloomsbury Publishing, October, 2017
  92. ^ 100 More Great Indian Poems Bloomsbury Publishing, March 2019
  93. ^ Bloomsbury Anthology of Great Indian Poems Bloomsbury Publishing November 2019
  94. ^ New Brazilian Poems Ibis Libris Publishing February 2020
  95. ^ "10 Questions of the Soul". Issuu.com. 4 October 2010. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  96. ^ "Цвет души". Issuu.com. 17 February 2011. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  97. ^ Cultural Construct of Self: A Critical Study of Abhay Kumar's Poetry Shodhganga Website, 2017
  98. ^ Indian Varsity awards PhD on poet's poetry ANI 31 July 2018
  99. ^ A.K. Ramanujan's 'A River' and Abhay K's 'Yamuna': River as a Symbol of Endless Flow of Meanings ResearchGate, February 2020
  100. ^ *"Poetry is an intrinsic need of our species," says Ambassador Abhay Kumar The Diplomat 4 February 2021

External links[edit]