Poetry, since time immemorial, has been a specialty of Indian people. India has produced so many awe-inspiring poets that have told us about our history in form of poems, stories, songs and so on. Their poetry is the anchor that has made us stick to our roots and provided not only with the knowledge of our country and our ancestors but also have had a soul-nourishing effect on the majority population of the country. Indian literature was written in many languages since India is a greatly diversified nation ranging from languages like Hindi, Awadhi, and Sanskrit to Urdu, Persian etc. Many foreign travelers have come and gone to India and have written praises about its prosperity, peacefulness, and administration.
India, as a country has had a really contrasting history. From being the “The Golden Sparrow” of the world to being colonized by the British for 200 years. Thus, it comes as no surprise that the poetry that drew out of the hearts of these Indian poets is as beautiful as it could get. From poets writing songs about their valiant Kings to poets writing about oppression by the British and bravery of the people of India.
Here is a list of Top 12 Famous Indian Poets of Hindi and English:
Kalidasa lived in the 4th-5th century CE and wrote in Sanskrit language and has widely been accepted as the country’s greatest poet. He has written a number of works, which include poems as well as plays. The most famous one being: Abhigyan Shakuntalam that describes the love story of King Dushyant and Shakuntala. He has also written other famous works like Raghuvansam and Meghadatta.
Kalidasa has also written epic poems like Kumarsambhava which describes the birth of Subramanya.
2. Chand Bardai
Chand Bardai was born on 30th September 1149 in Rajasthan and has been popularly known for writing the famous epic poem Prithviraj Raso. Prithviraj Raso was written in Brajbhasha and describes the life of King Prithviraj Chauhan. It is an incredibly long poem and comprises of an upward of 10,000 stanzas.
Prithviraj Chauhan was a valiant King who defeated Mohammad Ghazni in the First Battle of Terrain, but let him go the first time. When Mohammad Ghazni came the second time he defeated Prithviraj and this poem describes that.
3. Rabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore was born on 7th May 1861 in the Province of Bengal and was not only a poet, but also a polymath, musician, and an artist. In 1913, Rabindranath Tagore became the first Non-European to win a Nobel Prize. Rabindranath Tagore was popularly known as “The Bard of Bengal.” His writing style was exceptionally mercurial but it remained vastly unknown outside the Province of Bengal.
His most famous works include Gitanjali, The Postmaster, Chokher Bali, The Postmaster, Gora, Kabuliwala, Sadhana, Ghare Baire, Nastanirh (The Broken Nest) etc.
4. Harivansh Rai Bachchan
Harivansh Rai Bachchan was born on 27th November 1907 in Allahabad. He is known as one of the most famous modern poets of India. Students throughout the country have read his poems as a part of their curriculum. He also received The Padma Bhushan in 1986 for his immense contribution to Hindi literature. He was a prolific writer and his writing style was very motivational and simple. He could bring about the complexities of life and motivate people by using a very minimalistic and simple approach.
Some of his famous works include Madhushala, Agnipath, Ruke Na Tu, Teer Par Kaise Rukoon.
5. Maithili Sharan Gupt
Maithili Sharan Gupt was born on 3rd August 1866 in Chirgaon. He was one of the finest Indian poets of ‘Khari Boli’ or the Plain Dialect. In a time when most of the poets favored the use of Brajbhasha dialect, Maithili Sharan Gupt wrote in Khari Boli and was amazingly successful at that too. He is also one of the most sought-after modern Indian poets and students throughout the country read his works as a part of their curriculum.
Some of his most famous works include Nahush Ka Patan, Dono Or Prem Palta hai, Arjun ki Pratigya.
6. Muhammad Iqbal
Muhammad Iqbal was born on 9th November 1877 in Sialkot District of Punjab Province during British India. Many literary critics and media outlooks called him the ”Poet of the East”. His family was descended from the Kashmiri Pandit Brahmin line and Iqbal grew up in fairly humble surroundings. He loved both of his parents and, when his mother died in 1914 he wrote a short elegy in her honor.
Sir Muhammed Iqbal died on the 21st April 1938 at the age of 60. Some of Muhammad Iqbal’s famous poems are Sympathy, I Desire, Ahead of the Stars, The Crescent.
7. Mirza Ghalib
Mirza Ghalib was the pen name of Mirza Asadullah Ghalib. He was born on 27th December 1797. He was majorly an Urdu and Persian language poet. He is considered to be one of the greatest poets of all times. Not only in the Indian Sub Continent but throughout the world. Mirza Ghalib has written various short poems that became very famous during that time.
During the reign of Bahadur Shah Zafar II, Mirza Ghalib was given the title of ‘Dabir-ul-Mulk‘ and he was also bestowed upon with an additional title of ‘Najm-ul-Daulah‘
Kabir lived through the 15th Century CE and was a mystical or Sufi poet. He wrote many short poems also known as ‘Kabir Ke Dohe‘. He mostly portrayed a side of the connection between the human and the divine. He was an extremely religious man and portrayed that in his writings. His writings became extremely popular and have since then gained even more popularity.
Each of his writings had a mystical connection to the divinity and also had a moral. His poems could be compared to moral lessons with absolute finesse in poetry.
Meerabai was born in the year 1498 in Kurki District, Pali in Rajasthan. She belonged to the Royal Family of Rajasthan. Her family disapproved of her singing in public since she belonged to the Royal Family, so she left her family and went on to sing praises of her Lord, Krishna and also called herself as her wife. She wrote a number of poems and songs, singing the praises of Lord Krishna and went on to attain Moksha or ‘Nirvana’ through Bhakti Yoga.
She was widely seen as a prominent figure during the Bhakti movement in the late 1600s.
One of her most famous songs was ‘Payo Ji Maine Ram Ratan Dhan’, written in the local Rajasthani dialect.
Ruskin Bond was born on 19th May 1934 in Kasauli, which presently lives in Shimla. He was awarded the Sahitya Academy Award in 1992 for his contribution to literature in India. He has written hundreds of short stories and poems. He wrote his first short story in 1951 which was named “Untouchable.”
He has written several horror stories describing the hauntings of Shimla and the adjacent areas. His short stories are a treat to read. His Autobiography was published in the year 2017 which was titled, “Lone Fox Dancing.”
Some of his most famous works are Himalayan Tales, Indian Ghost Stories, A Tiger in The House etc.
Rudyard Kipling was born on 30th December 1865 in Bombay Presidency of British India. Although he was not an Indian national, he was born here and spent most of his life in India. He was inspired by the Indian way of living. This inspired him to write books like “The Jungle Book”. In 1907, at the age of 42, he was also awarded the Nobel prize for literature which made him the first English Literature writer to win a Nobel prize.
He was also offered Knighthood on several occasions, which he respectfully declined.
Some of his most famous works are: The Jungle Book, If, Rikki Tikki Tavi.
Nissim Ezekiel was born on 16th December 1924 in Bombay Presidency of British India. He was awarded the Sahitya Academy Award in 1983 for his poetry collection, Latter Day Psalms.
Ezekiel enriched and established Indian English language poetry through his modernist innovations and techniques, which enlarged Indian English literature, moving it beyond purely spiritual and Orientalist themes, to include a wider range of concerns and interests, including mundane familial events. Some of his famous works are Time to Change, Sixty Poems, The Third etc.
List of Famous Indian Poets