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Author Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar'
Original title रश्मिरथी
Country India
Language Hindi
Publisher Lok Bharti Prakashan, Allahabad (1st edition)
Publication date
Media type Print

Rashmirathi (English: Sun's Charioteer) (Rashmi: Light (rays) Rathi: One who is riding a chariot (not the charioteer)) is a Hindi epic written in 1952, by the Hindi poet Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar'.[1] The work is centered around the life of Karna, who was son of unmarried queen Kunti (Pandu's wife) in the epic- Mahabharata. It is one of the most appreciated works of Dinkar apart from "Kurukshetra" and one of the classics of modern Hindi literature.[2] The present Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, wrote a message appreciating the translation of Rashmirathi into English by the Mauritian cultural activist Leela Gujadhur Sarup.[3]

About the poem[edit]

Karna was the first-born son of Kunti, whom she had abandoned at birth as he was conceived before Kunti's marriage. Karna grew up in a lowly family, yet became one of the best warriors of his time. In the Great Mahabharata war, Karna was obliged to fight from the side of Duryodhana as Duryodhana, recognizing his merits, had made him a king and adopted him as a close friend. Karna fighting from Kaurava's side was a great worry for Pandavas as he was reputed to be unconquerable in war. The way Dinkar has presented the story of Karna with all hues of human emotions trapped in moral dilemmas, is simply marvelous. The rhythm and meter is lilting. Choice of words and purity of language is exhilarating.

On the eve of Mahabharata War, Kunti went to Karna and requested him to diffuse the war by leaving Duryodhana and coming over to Pandava's side as he was her first born and it was only appropriate for him to fight from the side of Pandavas. A part of Karna's reply in words of Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar' is given below. Karna says that even as he foresees a defeat for Kauravas, he must fight from the side of Duryodhana. He says that the war is quite pointless yet it is a destiny that has to be fulfilled.

The present Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi wrote a message appreciating the translation of Rashmirathi into English by the Mauritian cultural activist Leela Gujadhur Sarup by writing, "The story of 'a man blessed by the Gods but rejected by Destiny', Rashmirathi is the magnum opus of the Poet laureate of India, Ramdhari Singh, known to all as Dinkar. Reproducing its original in moving English poetry has been a labour of love for Mrs. Leela Sarup, taking her years to do it justice. This will enable a wider range of non-Hindi readers to savour the heart wrenching lyrical poetry of Dinkar."[3]

2009 Hindi film "Gulaal" directed by Anurag Kashyap, has got rendition of Dinkar's poem "Ye dekh gagan mujh mein lay hai(Part of "Krishna ki Chetavani")" from Rashmirathi chapter 3, performed by Piyush Mishra.



  1. ^ Ramdhari Singh Dinkar (1952). Rashmirathi. Lokbharti Prakashan. ISBN 978-81-8031-362-2. 
  2. ^ Sweta Kaushal (September 15, 2014). "7 classics of Hindi literature you must read right now - Hindustan Times". Retrieved 2014-10-11. 
  3. ^ a b Gujadhur Sarup, Leela (2013). Rashmirathi by Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar' (Rider on the Sun's Rays !) Interpreted in English by Leela Gujadhur sarup. Kolkata: Aldrich International. ISBN 978-93-80313-17-7. 

External links[edit]