Shiv Kumar Batalvi

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Shiv Kumar Batalvi (Birha Da Sultan)
Shiv Kumar.jpg
Born Shiv Kumar
(1936-07-23)23 July 1936
Bara Pind Lohtian, Shakargarh Tehsil, Punjab, British India
Died 6 May 1973(1973-05-06) (aged 36)
Kir Mangyal, Pathankot, India
Occupation Poet, author, playwright
Nationality Indian Punjabi
Period 1937–1973
Genre poetry, prose, play
Subject Pathos, passion,
Literary movement Romanticism
Notable works Loona (1965)

Shiv Kumar Batalvi (23 July 1936 – 6 May 1973) was a Punjabi language poet, who was most known for his romantic poetry, noted for its heightened passion, pathos, separation and lover's agony[1] The Government of India posthumously awarded him the civilian honour of the Padma Bhushan in 2001.[2]

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),[3] now considered a masterpiece in modern Punjabi literature,[4] and which also created a new genre, of modern Punjabi kissa.[5] Today, his poetry stands in equal footing, amongst that by stalwarts of modern Punjabi poetry, like Mohan Singh (poet) and Amrita Pritam,[6] all of whom are popular on both sides of India-Pakistan border.[7]


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.[citation needed]

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.[8] 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.[citation needed]


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.[9] Next he studied for some time at Govt. Ripudaman College, Nabha.

Youngest recipient of Sahitya Akademi Award[edit]

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).[10] 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.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

On 5 February 1967 he married, Aruna,[11] a Brahmin girl, from Kirri Mangyal, Gurdaspur district, and later the couple had two children, Meharban (1968) and Puja (1969).


Shiv Kumar died in the 36th year of his life on 7 May 1973 in PGI Hospital,CHANDIGARH.


One of his anthology, Alvida (Farewell) was published posthumously in 1974, by the Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. 'Shiv Kumar Batalvi Award' for Best Writer, is given each year.[12][13]

In media[edit]

Many of his poems were sung by Deedar Singh Pardesi. Jagjit Singh-Chitra Singh, and Surinder Kaur, have also sung many of his poems.[14] 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.[15]

In 2004, Punjabi play titled Dardaan Da Darya based on the life of Shiv Kumar was performed at 'Punjab Kala Bhavan', Chandigarh.[16]

Several of his poems have been adapted for movies, e.g. "Ajj Din Chhadeya Tere Rang Varga," was adapted in 2009 Hindi movie Love Aaj Kal which became an instant hit.

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".


Aloona Tola
  • 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
  • SOG
  • Alvida (Farewell) (1974)
  • Shiv Kumar: Sampuran Kav Sangreh (Complete Works); Lahore Book Shop, Ludhiana.
  • Birha Da Sultan,[17] (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.


Further reading[edit]

  • 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

External links[edit]