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Haldhar Nag

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Haldhar Nag
Born (1950-03-31) 31 March 1950 (age 74)
Ghens, Bargarh, Odisha, India
OccupationPoet, Social worker
Notable worksKavyanjali[1]
Notable awardsPadma Shri[2]
SpouseMalati Nag
Children1 daughter

Dr. Haldhar Nag (Odia: ହଳଧର ନାଗ; born 31 March 1950) is a Sambalpuri poet and writer from Bargarh, Odisha, India. Popularly known as "Lok Kabi Ratna" (Odia: ଲୋକକବିରତ୍ନ, meaning "folk poet gem"). He was awarded Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India by Government of India in 2016.

In 2019, Haldhar Nag was awarded Doctorate Degree by Sambalpur University.[3]


Early life[edit]

Padmashree Haldhar Nag Kavi Kutir, Nag's house.

He was born in a poor family of Ghens in Bargarh district of Odisha. At a very small age, he lost his only financially capable father due to which he had to do work for his family. He had to drop his school when he was studying in class 3.[4] He had to work as a local dishwasher in a sweetmeat shop to feed his family, Realizing his condition village head took him to high school and there he worked as a cook for more than 10 years. He also opened a small stationery shop near the school by taking a loan of ₹ 1000.[5]

Though he is an awardee of Padma Shree which is the fourth highest civilian Honor in India, he lives a simple life with just a shop and hawker, as his main source of income. He also sells Raag Chanaa (spicy chickpeas; an Indian snack, popular in Western Odisha) in the street.[6]

Literary career[edit]

Haldhar Nag is receiving the Padma Shri award from President Pranab Mukherjee.

He has been compared to Gangadhar Meher for his Sambalpuri style of writing.[7][5] The BBC made a documentary film about his life and works.[7][8] Dhodo Bargachh (The Old Banyan Tree) was published in a local magazine, which was one of his first Poems. His literary works mostly include a fighter in his own right, and social reformation through protecting human dignity. According to The Hindu he was very encouraged by the people who liked his literary work in Sambalpuri style, he said:[5]

"I was felicitated and that encouraged me to write more," -Lok Kabi Ratna.

He is also known for his prolific memory, he can recall all the poems he had written till his last poetry known to people.

He again recalls to us, what he believes that...

A man of simple needs, "Poetry must have a real-life connection and a message for the people."

His poetry is now considered a subject of research by five doctoral scholars.[9] Sambalpur University has also compiled his works in a book called Haldar Granthabali-2. In the year 2016, he also received the Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian award, from The 13th President of India Pranab Mukherjee for his contribution to the Sambalpuri language.


Some of his works which are still most favoured are:[7]

  • Lokgeet
  • Samparda
  • Krushnaguru
  • Mahasati Urmila
  • Tara Mandodari
  • Achhia
  • Bacchhar
  • Siri Somalai
  • Veer Surendra Sai
  • Karamsani
  • Rasia Kavi (biography of Tulasidas)
  • Prem Paechan

In addition, he has also acted in two Sambalpuri films, namely Sahamate Maa Samalei[10] and Maa Budhi Kamgei Kathani.[11]

Literary Style[edit]

His poetry is based on the issues of daily life such as social issues, nature, religion and fighting oppression.


Dinesh Kumar Mali being honored in a literary program organized by Haldhar Nag's Samvad Sahitya Ghar, Angul.

In the year 2020, Professor Jaishankar Babu, Head of the Department of Hindi, Pondicherry University, organized a two-day international seminar under the guidance of its Vice-Chancellor Professor Gurmeet Singh, in which "Haldhar Nag Ka kavya- Sansar" translated into Hindi from Sambalpuri by renowned Hindi writer-transaltor Dinesh Kumar Mali was released and there was an intensive discussion on his poems by the participants from India and abroad. In the year 2021, under the joint editorship of Professor Jaishankar Babu and translator Dinesh Kumar Mali, the book "'Haldhar ke Lok-sahitya par vimarsh'" and the book "Ramayan prasangon par Haldhar ke Kavya aur yugin Vimarsh " translated by Dinesh Kumar Mali based on Ramayana contexts. published from Pandulipi Prakashan, New Delhi. The popularity of these books Hindi Belt honoured Haldhar Nag with Dr Ram Manohar Tripathi Lok Seva Samman on the Silver Jubilee eve of Acharya Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi Smruti Sanrakshan Abhiyan under the leadership of Gaurav Awasthi in the auditorium of Firoz Gandhi College, Rae Bareli on date 12.11.22.


Nag wearing a white vest, with gamchha.

Haldhar Nag is usually barefoot and does not wear any shoes.[note 1] Because he often wore a white vest and dhoti to attend events, was called "The Vest Poet". He said he felt good and open wearing the clothes.[12]

Social media[edit]

Haldhar Nag on stage, in 2018.

Advertising filmmaker and documentary director Bharatbala aimed to produce 1,000 short films under the banner Virtual Bharat to chronicle the untold stories, which is where Haldhar Nag was narrated by litterateur and film director Sampooran Singh Kalra, also known as Gulzar.

His narration in this short film begins with "I am writing a letter to you, Haldhar. Son of the soil of Sambalpur, this Adivasi poet. His language is Sambalpuri."[13]

As part of the series, Gulzar narrated a brief summary about Nag in the approximately 8-minute long story in Virtual Bharat, which is a collection of short stories about country India in various fields. Gulzar, as a token of appreciation, sent him ₹50,000.[14]

Research centre[edit]

In April 2016, the government of Odisha announced that a Sambalpuri language and literature research centre at Ghens village in Bargarh district will be established soon under his name.[15][16]

Academic citation[edit]

Sambalpur University is coming up with a compilation of his writings — Haldhar Granthabali-2 — which will be a part of its syllabus.[5]

The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) has included a review of the literary creations of Padma awardee and noted poet Haldhar Nag. According to sources, students pursuing a Master of Arts (MA) in Folklore and Culture Studies will study folk literature by Nag in a course component titled, ‘Folklore: Canon, Multimediality, Interdisciplinarity, and Social Epistemology’ in their second year. The course book has described Nag as the true representative of orality in the present times. His creations have been reviewed in the category, ‘Case study of orality from East India’. “Nag has based his poems on his surroundings. Folklorists and folklore researchers are vulnerable to multiple challenges with regards to archiving, documentation, and dissemination of the folk material,” TOI reported writer Nandini Sahu, who has designed the MA course for IGNOU, as saying. Notably, writer Dinesh K Mali has written a chapter for the MA programme on Nag’s poetry.'

See also[edit]


  1. ^ But in this photo, he is wearing flip-flops.


  1. ^ "Translation takes Nag's poems to more readers". www.telegraphindia.com. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  2. ^ PrameyaNews7. "Odisha's Nila Madhab Panda and Sambalpuri poet Haldhar Nag chosen for Padma Shri Award". Prameya News7. Retrieved 25 January 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ "Sambalpur University honour for poets". The Times of India. 1 January 2019. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  4. ^ "Haldhar Nag - the Class 3 dropout poet is Padma Shri recipient. Know more about him". 30 March 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d Krishnan, Madhuvanti S. (13 April 2016). "Poetic crusader". The Hindu. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  6. ^ "I take pride in earning money from my labour: Padmashree Haldhar Nag". The Statesman. 15 July 2019. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  7. ^ a b c Sudeep Kumar Guru (25 September 2010). "Poetry makes him known as new GangadharMeher". The Telegraph (India). Ananda Publishers. Archived from the original on 24 November 2010. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
  8. ^ "Haldhar Nag's poetic journey…". Latest Indian news, Top Breaking headlines, Today Headlines, Top Stories at Free Press Journal. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  9. ^ "Padma Shri Poet Haldhar Nag is a Class 3 Dropout, but His Odia Poetry is Now a PhD Subject". 31 March 2016.
  10. ^ Panini Prajna Productions (18 October 2018). Full Film // Sahamate Maa Samalei // New Sambalpuri Film // PP Production. YouTube.
  11. ^ Jhankar Studio Bargarh (30 October 2021). Maa Budhi Kamgei Kathani // Full Short Film // Suraj Pradhan // Jhankar Studio Bargarh. YouTube.
  12. ^ "हलधर नाग : ओड़िशा के लोककवि, जिनपर पाँच ने किया पीएच.डी". Archived from the original on 23 October 2021. Retrieved 1 August 2022.
  13. ^ Haldhar Nag The People’s Poet Gulzar
  14. ^ "Haldhar Nag features in Bharatbala's short film". The Pioneer. 25 September 2019.
  15. ^ "Kosli dailect and research centre in Odisha". India Today. 7 April 2016.
  16. ^[permanent dead link]

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