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Here Are 7 Indian Poets Who Kept Poetry Alive And Adored Through Generations

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By Aditi Thakker:

The art of poetry has always thrived in India through various poets. They have represented different aspects of the Indian society, and written about relevant issues in various styles. Some of the poets mentioned here are very famous nationwide, while other are more popular in their own regions and languages. Here’s a range of poets who have successfully expressed themselves in the form of poetry through generations, proving that poetry can never be dead. I’m sure that most of us know about Rabindranath Thakur and the beautiful poetry he wrote. By not including  his name in this article, I do not intend any disrespect, but wish to shed light on other poets of commendable calibre.


Kamala Das: A victim of child marriage, Kamala Das wrote English and Malayali poetry to express her thoughts after marriage. She wrote strongly about feminism, womanhood and eroticism. She is known for her impeccable presentation of sexual desires of women of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds. Her works include, The Sirens, The Annamalai Poems and My mother at Sixty-six.

Harivanshrai Bachchan: He is one the most influential, inspiring and multi-talented poets the world has seen! He wrote in Hindi and English, on various themes. Poetry was not merely a way of expressing his thoughts but also one of understanding the changing times around him. Madhushala, one of his earlier works talks about the importance of having a purpose in life. Although, it is poetry about alcohol and bars, its imagery draws upon the importance to having self-goals and the pleasure of meeting them. His works include, Dhaar ke Idhar Udhar (Two sides of a sword), Lo Din Beta, Lo Raat Gayi (The Day Passed and the Night has Gone) among others.

Nissim Ezekiel: Ezekiel is known to have addressed contemporary issues with a comic angle. He wrote about India in English, addressing issues of corruption, political movements, and inflation in the 1970-80s. His works include, The Night of the Scorpion, The Patriot, and Goodbye Party for Miss Pushpa T.S. Some of his poetry is read with an intentional Indian accent.

Amrita Pritam: By far the most famous Punjabi poet, her poetry has struck an emotional chord with generations of Indians. She originally wrote in Punjabi, focusing on love and romance. Her later works however involve revolutionary and patriotic poetry, as also feminist thoughts. Her works include, Lok Peera (The People’s Anguish) and Punjabi di Awaz (Voice of the Punjabis). Her poem on post-independence violence, ‘I Ask Wazir Shah Today’ is a must read.

Vikram Seth: Vikram Seth is one of the most famous names in Modern Indian poetry. Having studied many languages including German, Welsh and Mandarin, Seth has an international perspective on poetry and his works generally hold global relevance. His poem, ‘All You Who Sleep Tonight’ expresses the plight of people living away from their loved ones. His works include, Mappings and the Beastly Tales, the latter one being for children.

Kaifi Azmi: Considered to be the most famous Urdu poet of the 20th Century, Azmi started his career presenting ghazals. Initially he wrote romantic poetry but soon embarked on socialist thought, under influence of Communist political parties in India. He wrote about the sufferings and exploitations that a common man had to endure in pre-independence India. His works include, Surmaya, Kaifiyaat and Awaaara Sajde. Aurat (Woman) and Makaan (House) are popular poems written by him.

Habba Khatoon: She started writing poetry as a young Kashmiri girl in the 16th Century. She wrote about the beauty of the Kashmir Valley and the love and romance that bloomed therein. Soon after, she was forced to live away from her husband, she started writing about sorrow, loneliness and pain. She is celebrated as one of the best poets Kashmir has seen, with her songs and poetry still holding prominence in the Valley today. Khatoon’s poetry was always inspired by events in her own life, almost autobiographical in some ways.

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  1. Baldeep Grewal

    I have always wondered, when does a person become a poet? When he\she starts penning down their feelings on paper or when the world realises their gift? One may write perhaps the most beautiful poetry ever but would still not be a poet because the words were always for their eyes only. Personally, I feel there is a poet in all of us. It was Gulzar’s birthday on the 18th and I was glad to see something like this come up. Kudos to the writer 🙂

    1. Aditi Thakker

      Thank you 🙂

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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