|Native name||બળવંતરાય કલ્યાણરાય ઠાકોર|
|Born||Balwantray Kalyanray Thakore
23 October 1869
|Died||January 2, 1952
|Pen name||Valkal, Sehni|
|Education||Master of Arts|
|Alma mater||Deccan College, Pune|
|Years active||1886 - 1952|
Balwantrai Thakore (Balavantarāya Kalyāṇarāya Ṭhākora, Gujarati: બ.ક.ઠાકોર or બળવંતરાય ઠાકોર) (1869-1952), as popularly he is known, was a "Poem-teacher" or "Kavita-Shikshak" in Gujarati literature. He, known as 'Ballukaka' in his intimate circle, was one of the great pioneers of Pandit yug. He played a great role in giving a new direction to modern Gujarati poetry and the first six decades of Gujarati poetry of this century were marked with his assertive personality.
Thakore was born to a lawyer on 23 October 1869 in Porbandar, and later moved to Bharuch in Gujarat. After his schooling in Bharuch, he went to Rajkot for further education where he became acquainted with Navalram Pandya, a contemporary of Narmad; Mahatma Gandhi and Manishankar Bhatt 'kant'. While studying at Rajkot, he came under the influence of Christianity. In his mature age he appreciated certain principles of Islam as well. This exposure gave him a rational and impartial outlook, also reflected in his poems. He got married with Chandramani at the age of eighteen years, later he remarried after the death of his first wife.
As a student he was very bright. He learnt Sanskrit from Manibhai Dwivedi, a great scholar and thinker. He composed poetry in Sankrit and got an award for his essay on a historical topic. He began to nurse a desire for going abroad but he did not get such an opportunity. Afterwards he got an opportunity to go abroad but he could not go as he lost his wife and he had to bear the responsibility of bringing up his children. Thakore graduated with honors from Deccan College, Pune where he was awarded with The Ellis scholarship for highest marks in English. He later went to Mumbai with the view for appearing at the ICS examination where he started writing articles in the Times of India for getting some money. Later on he worked as an assistant editor of the Indian Spectator for some time. Later, he returned to Deccan College to pursue his Master of Arts. He was invited by Lokmanya Tilak as an assistant editor for the celebrated Maratha which he later declined. In 1983, he was awarded a gold medal for writing a historical essay An account of the first Madhavrao Peshwa.
Thakore taught History, Economics, Political Science, Logic and Ethics at DJ Sindh College, Karachi. He remained active throughout his life talking lectures at Wilson College, Mumbai, even at the age of 80. He also started his own publishing house at around the same time which he wanted to establish as a trust for encouraging literature. However, he couldn't live long to do so. He died in Mumbai at the age of 83 years on 2 January 1952.
Thakore wrote under the pen-name 'Sehni' (Senani or military officer), as his great grandfather Anuprai was an officer in army of the Scindias. After disowned that pen-name, he wrote under another pen-name 'Valkal'. He wrote his first poem in 1886 and got published in the same year. His first essay on Teaching of Tennyson was published in 1891
He is considered one of the greatest pioneers of the Pandit yug. His sonnet sequence "Premo Divas" (Day of love) and the collection of poems Bhanakar (published in 1917) are believed to be the major contributions to Gujarati Literature, which was followed by Mhara Sonnet (1935). He also wrote some books on literary criticism like 'Lyric', Aapni Kavita Samrudhhi. His first collection of critical essays Kavitashikshana was published in 1924, followed by Lyric (1928), Navin Kavita Vishe Vyakhyano' (1943), Vividh Vyakhyano (1, 2 ,3) and Praveshako (1, 2). He edited an importent work Aapani Kavita Samriddhi' (A collection of Gujarati poetry) in 1931 with the aim of to establishing a fine rapport between readers and some of the best poems in Gujarati literature. With the same aim he started contributing a regular feature in a literary magazine called Prasthan edited by Ramnarayan Pathak where he selected a poem and discussed it in detail. He also edited Vachak Manimanikya's Ambad Vidyadhar Ras and Vachak Udaybhanu's Vikramcharit Ras. In co-operation with some other scholar he edited a series of six medieval 'Ras' poems called Gurjar Rasavali. He translated Kalidasa's Abhijnan Shakuntalam in 1906, Malvikagnimitra in 1933 and Vikramorvarshiyam in 1958. He had adopted a Russian comedy by Valentine Keteyev called The skaring the circle. His play Ugati Jawani (Rising Youth) was published in 1923, followed by Lagnaman Brahmacharya (1923). He collection of Short stories was published as Darshaniyun in 1924. B.K Thakoreni Dinki (1969) is a diary work by him. His historical works includes Itihas Digdarshan (1928), An account of First Madhavrao Peshwa (1897) and Indian Administration to the Dawn of Responsible Government (1922). The Shree Lalshankar Umiyashankar Arts and Harivadan and Padmaben Thakore Commerce College for Women was established in part by the dedication and effort of Thakore.
- Panchal, Shirish (1998). B.K Thakore. Makers of Indian Literature. New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 81-260-0373-1.
- B.K. Thakore.
- "History of S.L.U.Arts and H. & .P Thakore Commerce College for Women - Women Empowerment - Women Education Ahmedabad".
- Brahmbhatt, Prasad (1990). "Thakor Balwantray Kalyanray". In Topiwala, Chandrakant. Gujarati Sahityakosh (Encyclopedia of Gujarati Literature) (in Gujarati). 2. Ahmedabad: Gujarati Sahitya Parishad. pp. 175–177.