|Born||4 September 1940|
Samba, Jammu and Kashmir India
|Died||2015 (aged 75)|
|Notable works||Ghar-A long poem, Pehliyaan Banga-A sonnet sequence of 200 sonets|
|Notable awards||Sahitya Akademi (1980)|
|Spouse||Prem Rajput (1965–1988; her death)|
Sudha Chaturvedi (1989)
Kunwar Viyogi (4 September 1940 – 2015) christened as Group Captain Randhir Singh Jamwal is the first and only Indian Air Force officer to have received the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award for his long Dogri poem titled 'Ghar' in 1980. He used 'Ghar' (Home) as a peg and strung together 238 four lines verses embracing a wide variety of subjects and ideas and feelings into a long poem. He is also the youngest poet in the history of Sahitya Akademi to have been bestowed with such an honour. While literary accomplishments of Group Captain Randhir Singh are many and noteworthy, the Sahitya Akademi awardee's most unique and path breaking contribution to the language is exposing Dogri literature to the lyrical melody and disciplined form of Sonnets, a relatively new and unexplored genre for Dogri writers.
Kunwar Viyogi was born on 4 September 1940 in the Samba district to Poorakh Singh Jamwal, who served as an Inspector in the J&K Police Department. His mother, Pushpa Devi was a home maker, and mother to 5 brothers and three sisters. Kunwar Viyogi was the eldest of them all. Most of Kunwar Viyogi's siblings served the country by either joining the Army or the Air Force. All his sisters were married to defence officers. Kunwar Viyogi's childhood was not tied to one place owing to his father's occupation. He grew up in Gaur Bajorian, Rajouri, Buddal, Kotli (presently in Pakistan), Jammu and Udhampur. He spent a major part of his life in Jammu's Fattu Chogan area and was inspired by poetry at the age of 13. He achieved acclaim for his work published in the magazines Khilona and Shamaa, contributing short stories.
Kunwar Viyogi received his primary education from primary schools in Gaur, Sarore and Pacca Danga. His middle level education was from the prestigious princely school, Partap Memorial Rajput School in Jammu. He later joined the G.G.M. Science College for higher studies. His interest in studies led him to pursue BSc, PGDM (Post Graduate Diploma of Management), PGDMC (Post Graduate Diploma of Mass Communication), MBA (Master of Business Administration) and post graduation in Journalism. Kunwar Viyogi was proficient in Dogri, Urdu, Hindi, English and Punjabi. It made his poetry multilayered and rich. His hobbies included playing football and hockey and he actively participated in the events of the Student Union. But his passion continued to be literature.
While pursuing his graduation, Kunwar Viyogi applied for the Defense Forces -Army, Navy, and the Air Force and was selected for all three. He opted for the Air Force and joined the Air Force Flying College for training as a pilot. The nature of his job took him across India and he also got the opportunity to serve as a Squadron Leader in New York for about one and a half years. Though Kunwar Viyogi excelled as an Air Force officer, he took premature retirement due to the untimely demise of his wife who lost her life to breast cancer. He withdrew from the life that he had known with her, moved to Bhilwara, Rajasthan and gave up all his literary musings. He then devoted his time in training students pursuing IAS and MBA. In 1992, Kunwar Viyogi returned to Jammu to find his creative center and joined Kashmir Times as the editor of the Dogri edition. He created some memorable editorials, essays and poems, but once again retreated to Rajasthan, leaving his home and language behind. In 2001, Kunwar Viyogi was conferred the Sahitya Ratan Award by the Nami Dogri Sanstha for his invaluable contribution to Dogri. From 2012-15, he worked to publish and reprint his works and make footsteps back in to the lap of his homeland.
Kunwar Viyogi- The Air Warrior
Former Wing Commander Carol Kumar recalls Group Captain Randhir Singh, the air warrior poet, as a fearless, sharp and a very meticulous officer. An avid reader, discussion on any issue was a delight with Randhir Singh because he could speak at length on any given issue, be it politics, religion, science or literature, recalls Kumar.
“As an officer, he was administrator of ace quality, punctual and a man everyone could rely on. If you entrusted Randhir with a responsibility, be sure it would be carried out as you wanted it. One of the best qualities in him was that instead of relying on others, he would himself do things and with such perfection that it would take everyone by surprise,” Kumar said.
“It is so rare to come across a person who is a perfect blend of mind, body and matter. He was a very handsome man, an officer with very high standards of work ethics, deep love for his country and someone with a sharp mind that was always hungry for knowledge. You would often find Randhir walking the corridors with a pencil tucked behind his ear. Perhaps that tiny piece of lead was his best friend that brought his thoughts to life.
An officer par excellence, Randhir Singh was a rare gem that the India Air Force is proud of.”
Dogri-Ghar – A long poem,1979 in Rubaiyat
Kunwar Viyogi wrote ‘Ghar’ (Home) in the year 1980. He used ‘Ghar’ as a peg and strung together 238 four lines verse embracing a wide variety of subjects and ideas and feelings into a long poem.
Dogri-Pehliyaan Banga – A sonnet sequence of 200 sonets,1987
Kunwar Viyogi created his original masterpiece – Pehliyaan Banga, a book of 200 Dogri sonnets at a time when this form of poetry was unheard of in Dogri and was considered a forte of European literature.
A magnanimous stream that attempted to introduce new and uninhibited form of literature, ‘Pehliyaan Banga’- a historical achievement in Dogri, was also the poet's attempt to rid the language of its claustrophobic garb.
Kunwar Viyogi's sonnets are aesthetically composed, lucid, simple and somber. ‘Pehliyaan Banga’ is a testimony of Kunwar Viyogi's simple and carefree views that translate his deep and true discontents and triumphs. It creates a complex depiction of love, hope, joy, wisdom, defiance, bravery, arrogance and brutal honesty. The poet comments on social norms, explores the struggles of human existence and shares life lessons that are wise and tongue in cheek. The comprehension is sharpened by life that is written with a masterly control on meter and language, steeped in love and wisdom.
ENGLISH—Vol. 1-- Rosary of Sonnets (collections 0f 365 sonnets)
Year 2018 also saw publication of Kunwar Viyogi's work in English. ‘Rosary of Sonnets’ – a two volume anthology of more than 300 Sonnets. He writes of wringing life worth living out of the dismal bounties he was bestowed. He brought forth the pathos and joy of a romantic, ferocity of a social reformist, wisdom of gentle soul bouncing through the turbulent waters of life.
English- River Sage- A sonnet sequence
Another gift from an indomitable River Sage is a curated anthology of select 45 sonnets, passionate writer and poet, Kunwar Viyogi, to the literature world is River Sage. The sonnets penetrate our consciousness most easily almost like thoughtless thoughts and the subsequent stirrings simply grip and entice the soul.
- ENGLISH—Vol. 2-- Rosary of Sonnets (collections 0f 365 sonnets)
- ENGLISH-Vol.3 ---Now I Know---(1 Poems & 2 Gazalen)
- ENGLISH-Vol.5 ---BANJARAN (1. Features & 2. Book review )
- English- Vol. 4 -- The Ante Room (1 Stories & 2 RandomThoughts)
- DOGRI—Vol 6-7 .-- Poems--- POORNE (collection of ~491 poems)
- DOGRI—Vol. 11-14-- Sonnets- Sanneten De mala (A collection of 650 sonnets+200)
- DOGRI—Vol 15 -- Rubaian- SABAK (Collection of ~755 rubaian)
- DOGRI—Vol 16----Rubaian-- Ghar-A ALNA
- DOGRI—Vol. 17. --- Geet—TOSHI (collection of ~125 Geet)
- DOGRI—Vol 18 --. Sher- Chutkian , URDU
- DOGRI—Vol. 19 ---- Stories-
- DOGRI—Vol. 20 --- Novels
- DOGRI—Vol. 21 --- PATTE DI GALL
Awards and recognition
- Sahitya Akademi Award for his long poem Ghar in 1980
- Sahitya Ratan Award by the Nami Dogri Sanstha in 2001
- A Gold Medal for best fighter controller in 1966.
- Commendation of Chief of Air Force in 1985.
- History in Indian music was created in 2017, when Jammu's largest literary organisation – Dogri Sanstha adapted Kunwar Viyogi's sonnets into soulful compositions and presented them at first ever Sonnet Concert in any Indian language -“Sonnet Sandhya“
Kunwar Viyogi Memorial Trust
The Kunwar Viyogi Memorial Trust is established in the commemoration of the renowned Sahitya Akademi Awardee Dogri Poet, Group Captain Randhir Singh, mainly known by his pen name ‘Kunwar Viyogi’.Education, literary, art innovation, technological advancements in language and literature and entertainment are the key areas through which the Trust has been working towards the revival, preservation and promotion of Dogri language.
In order to encourage the youth in embracing Dogri language, Kunwar Viyogi Memorial Trust awards scholarships, literary awards, art innovation awards at university, college and school level for the young and talented.
The Trust has also introduced innovation in Entertainment, whereby Dogri couplets, sonnets, verses, ghazals etc. written by renowned Dogri writes are being converted into modern-day Dogri music to attract youth towards the language.