Sumitranandan Pant: Poet Laureate of the Himalayas

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Sumitranandan Pant (20 May 1900 – 28 December 1977), was an Indian poet. He was considered one of the most celebrated 20th-century poets of the Hindi Language. He was known for his progressive left-wing poems. His poems also had romanticism and were inspired by the beauty of nature and people.

Early Life

Sumitranandan Pant was born on 20 May 1900 in the Kausani village of Bhageshwar in the hills of Kumaon, Uttrakhand, as Gosain Dutt. He was born into a Brahmin family that was educated and economically middle-class. His father was a manager in a tea garden and was also a landholder. Unfortunately, his mother died within a few hours of giving birth to him. He was raised by his grandmother and was the smallest of all his seven siblings. His birth name was Gosain Dutt, but he did not like this name and chose Sumitranandan Pant as his official name. He completed his early schooling in Almora and at the age of 18, he moved to Kashi with his brother and finished his matriculation there. Post matriculation, he went to Allahabad to pursue graduation from Allahabad University, but left it midway and joined the Satyagraha Movement to support Mahatma Gandhi. However, he continued his education by reading English, Sanskrit, and Bengali literature at home.

His career in poetry started as early as 1907 when he was just seven years old. Living amidst the natural beauty of the Himalayas, greatly influenced his poems. It is also believed that he was highly inspired by the poetry displaying Romanticism by Rabindranath Tagore, P B Shelley, William Wordsworth, and John Keats. In 1926, he published a poetry collection Pallav. Pallav brought him to the limelight of Hindi renaissance poetry.

Sumitranandan died on 28 December 1977. The house where he grew up in Kausani has been turned into a museum and displays original manuscripts, poems, photographs, letters, and awards. His poems have been translated into several languages, and he remains a very influential voice in the realm of Indian poetry.

Awards and Recognitions

Pant won several honors and awards for his inspiring works. He received a Sahitya Academy Award for “Kala and Budha Chand“. The Government of India awarded him the Padma Bhushan Award in 1961, India’s second-highest civilian award. He became the first Hindi poet to receive the Jnanpith Award in 1968 for his most famous Collection of poems “Chidambara“. He even received the Nehru Peace Prize from the Soviet Union for “Lokayatan“.

Sumitranandan Pant’s biggest achievement is his inspirational poems that have the essence of timelessness to them. He has also written other kinds of literary works including drama poetry, song lyrics, and short stories, but none are more famous than his poetry. Jayati Jayati Vidya Sansthan, composed by him is used as the kulgeet in the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee