Shiv Kumar Batalvi
|Shiv Kumar Batalvi ( Birha Da Sultan )|
23 July 1936
Bara Pind Lohtian, Shakargarh Tehsil, Punjab, British India
|Died||6 May 1973
Kir Mangyal, Pathankot, India
|Occupation||Poet, author, playwright|
|Genre||poetry, prose, play|
|Notable works||Loona (1965)|
He became the youngest recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1967, given by Sahitya Akademi (India's National Academy of Letters), for his epic verse play based on the ancient legend of Puran Bhagat, Loona (1965), now considered a masterpiece in modern Punjabi literature, and which also created a new genre, of modern Punjabi kissa. Today, his poetry stands in equal footing, amongst that by stalwarts of modern Punjabi poetry, like Mohan Singh (poet) and Amrita Pritam, all of whom are popular on both sides of India-Pakistan border.
Shiv Kumar was born on 23 July 1936 (though a few documents related to him state 8 October 1937) in village Bara Pind Lohtian, Shakargarh Tehsil, Sialkot District (now in Punjab province, Pakistan), to Pandit Krishan Gopal, village tehsildar in the revenue department, and Shanti Devi, a housewife.
In 1947, when he was aged 11, his family moved to Batala Gurdaspur district after partition of India, where his father continued his work as a patwari and young Shiv received his primary education. Allegedly, he was a dreamy child, often vanishing for the duration of the day, to be found lying under trees by the riverbank close to the Mandir or Hindu temple outside the village, lost in a brown reverie. He appears to have been fascinated by local renditions of the Hindu epic Ramayana, as well as wandering minstrel singers, snake charmers and the like – which feature as metaphors in his poetry, giving it a uniquely rural flavour.
He completed his matriculation in 1953, from Punjab University, and enrolled in the F.Sc. program at Baring Union Christian College, Batala, though before completing his degree he moved to S.N. College, Qadian, where he joined the Arts program more suited to his persona, though he left that too in the second year. Thereafter he joined a school at Baijnath, Himachal Pradesh to do a diploma in Civil Engineering, here again he left it in the middle. Next he studied for some time at Govt. Ripudaman College, Nabha.
Youngest recipient of Sahitya Akademi Award
Later in life, his father got a job as patwari at Qadian, it was during this period, that he produced some of his best work. His first anthology of poems was published in 1960, titled Piran da Paraga (The Scarf of Sorrows), which became an instant success. Some senior writers of Batala, including Jaswant Singh Rahi, Kartar Singh Balgan and Barkat Ram Yumman, as the saying goes, took him under their wings. In 1965, he became the youngest recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1967, for his magnum opus, a verse play Loona (1965). His poetry recitations, and singing his own verse, made him and his work even more popular amongst the masses.
Soon after his marriage, in 1968, he shifted to Chandigarh, where he joined the State Bank of India, as a PRO. In the following years, bad health plagued him, though he continued to write prolifically.
Shiv Kumar died in the 36th year of his life on 7 May 1973 in his father-in-law's house at Kir Mangyal near Pathankot.
Many of his poems were sung by Deedar Singh Pardesi. Jagjit Singh-Chitra Singh, and Surinder Kaur, have also sung many of his poems. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's rendition of one of his poem "Maye ni Maye" is known for its soulfulness and imagery. In a recent album, Rabbi (2004), by Rabbi Shergill features, his poem, "Ishtihar". Punjabi folk singer, Hans Raj Hans also did a popular album, 'Gham', on the poetry of Shiv Kumar. In 2005, a compilation album was released, titled, Ek Kudi Jida Naa Mohabbat... 'Shiv Kumar Batalvi, with numbers sung by Mahendra Kapoor, Jagjit Singh and Asa Singh Mastana.
In 2012, Album titled "Panchee Ho javan" based on same titled poem written by Shiv Kumar Batalvi was sung by Jasleen Royal and the album also contains another song "Maye Ni" based on the poem "Maye ni Maye".
- Piran da Paraga (The Scarf of Sorrows) (1960)
- Mainu Vida Karo (Bid Me Farewell) (1963)
- Gazlan Te Geet
- Aarti (Prayer) (1971)
- Lajwanti (Touch Me Not) (1961)
- Atte Dian Chirian (The Sparrows of Flour) (1962).
- Loona (1965)
- Main Te Main (I and Me) (1970)
- Dardmandan Dian Aahin
- Alvida (Farewell) (1974)
- Shiv Kumar: Sampuran Kav Sangreh (Complete Works); Lahore Book Shop, Ludhiana.
- Birha Da Sultan, (A selection from Shiv Kumar Betalvi's poems), Selected by Amrita Pritam, Sahitya Akademi, 1993. ISBN 81-7201-417-1.
- Luna (English), tr. by B.M. Bhatta, Sahitya Akademi, 2005, ISBN 81-260-1873-9.
- Handbook of Twentieth-century Literatures of India, by Nalini Natarajan, Emmanuel Sampath Nelson. Greenwood Press, 1996. ISBN 0-313-28778-3. Page 258.
- List of Punjabi language awardees Sahitya Akademi Award Official listings.
- World Performing Arts Festival: Art students awed by foreign artists Daily Times, 16 November 2006.
- Shiv Kumar The Tribune, 4 May 2003.
- Pioneers of modern Punjabi love poetry The Tribune, 11 January 2004.
- The Batala phenomenon Daily Times, 19 May 2004.
- Shiv Kumar Batalvi The Tribune, 30 April 2000.
- Shiv Kumar Batalvi sikh-heritage.co.uk.
- Sahitya Akademi Award – Punjabi 1957–2007 Sahitya Akademi Award Official listings.
- Batalvi’s better half comes calling The Tribune, 8 May 2003.
- 7 Punjabi writers, folk singers honoured Tribune, 21 October 2003.
- Shiv Kumar Batalvi Award Tribune, 16 April 2002.
- Shiv Kumar Batalvi
- Ek Kudi Jida Naa Mohabbat... Amazon.com.
- In the deep sea of power, and poetry of pain, pathos Indian Express, 1 June 2004.
- "Birha da Sultan". The Tribune, 7 May 2005. A name given by Amrita Pritam herself.
- Makers of Indian Literature: Shiv Kumar Batalvi, by Prof. S.Soze, Published by Sahitya Akademi, 2001. ISBN 81-260-0923-3.
- Shiv Kumar Batalvi : Jeevan Ate Rachna
- Shiv Batalvi: A Solitary and Passionate singer, by Om Prakash Sharma, 1979, Sterling Publishers, New Delhi LCCN: 79-905007.
- Shiv Kumar Batalvi, Jiwan Te Rachna, by Jeet Singh Sitola. LCCN: 83-900413
- Shiv Kumar da Kavi Jagat, by Dharam Pal Singola. LCCN: 79-900386
- Shiv Kumar, Rachna Samsar, by Amarik Singh Punni. LCCN: 90-902390
- Shiv Kumar, Kavi vich Birah; by Surjit Singh Kanwal. LCCN: 88-901976
- Shiv Batalvi , www.Shivbatalvi.com
- A biography on Shiv Kumar Batalvi
- A great collection of Shiv Kumar Batalvi's Poems