Shiv Kumar Batalvi (1936-1973) was a famous Indian Punjabi poet, known for his poems on themes such as separation and the pain of lovers. Shiv Kumar Batalvi is famous for his poetry collections Peeran Da Paraga, Dardmandan Deean Aheen, Loonan and Birha Toon Sultan. On May 6, 1973, Shiv Kumar Batalvi died of cirrhosis of the liver in Kiri Mangyal, Gurdaspur District, Punjab, India. He was only 36 years old.
Shiv Kumar Batalvi was born as “Shiv Kumar” (aged 36 at the time of death) on Monday, July 23, 1936, in the village of Bara Pind Lohtian, a village in northern pre-Partition Punjab, near the border of Jammu and Kashmir in what is now India Philaur District, Jalandhar, Punjab. His zodiac sign is Cancer. Shiv Kumar Batalvi attended the boys’ primary school in his village and was awarded a scholarship in the fourth grade. After Partition in 1947, Shiv Kumar Batalvi and his family moved to Darussalam Mohalla (now Prem Nagar) in Batalala, Punjab. After moving to Batala, Shiv Kumar Batalvi attended the Salvation Army School in Batala and completed his pre-university course in 1953. Shiv Kumar Batalvi studied at United Christian College, Bahrain, Batala, to pursue Science (F. Sc), but he dropped the course and left the college. A few months later, he was admitted to Rip Daman College, Nabha Government of Punjab, but he also left the college a few months later. Shiv Kumar Batalvi studied art at the Sikh National Academy in Kadian, Punjab, but dropped out in his final year of the course.
Height (approximately): 5′ 9″
Hair color: natural black
Eye color: dark brown
Shiv Kumar Batalvi was born into a Punjabi Hindu Brahmin family.
parents and siblings
Shiv Kumar Batalvi’s father Pandit Krishan Gopal was a Patwari/Tehsildar (Official Collector of the Revenue Department) who retired as the principal of Patwar School in Batala. Shiv’s father married his mother Shanti Devi in 1931. Shiv’s mother was a housewife. Shiv Kumar Batalvi had an elder brother Davarka who died young. Shiv Kumar Batalvi’s brother Subhash Batalvi lives in Panchkula, Haryana and his brother Suresh Batalvi lives in Delhi. Shiv’s sister, Surinder, lives in Chandigarh, and her sister, Saroj, lives with her husband, Baldev Mehta, in Toronto, Canada.
wife and children
On February 5, 1967, Shiv Kumar Batalvi and Aruna, a Brahmin girl from Kiri Mangyal village in Gurdaspur district, Punjab marry.
The couple have a son, Meharbaan Batalvi, and a daughter, Puja. Meharbaan Batalvi, born in 1968, holds a Ph.D. in Punjabi and lives in Canada with his mother, Aruna. Puja was born in 1969, has a Ph.D. in Economics, is married and lives in the United States.
It is said that early in Shiv Kumar Batalvi’s career, he met a girl, Maina, at a local village fair. He falls in love with her and goes on to her village to find her. When Schiff arrived in her hometown, he was devastated to learn of Mena’s death. He wrote an elegy called “Maina” in her honor. Shiv Kumar Batalvi dedicated several books throughout his career to the girl and wrote “Apne geetan di maina de naam” (In Memory of Ma) at the beginning of the book Ina). Later in his career, Shiv Kumar Bhattavi fell in love with Anusuya Singh Esther, the daughter of Gurbakshi Singh Praitrali (Punjabi novelist) Wiz. However, she did not want to marry Shiv and moved to Venezuela. It is said that Shiv wrote the poem “Main Ik Shikra Yaar Banaya” on Anusuya.
Shiv Kumar Batalvi practiced Hinduism.
Signature / Autograph
Shiv Kumar Batalvi published his first book Peeran Da Paraga (A Handful of Pain) in 1960. The book contains 25 poems written by Shiv between 1957 and 1960. The poems emphasize the pain of separation and his longing for death.
Shiv Kumar Batalvi published another book “Atte Deean Chirian” (Flour Sparrow) in 1962. The book is known for its various themes and themes about the human emotion of separation and love. This book won the first prize in the language category of Punjab.
In 1963, Shiv Kumar Batalvi published his book Mainu Vida Karo (Farewell to Me). This collection of poems depicts metaphors of death and the pain of separation. In 1965, Shiv Kumar Batalvi published his most famous book, Loona, a poetic drama inspired by the themes of Puran Bhagat, a character from Punjabi folklore. The theme of this book is understanding the suffering of women in a patriarchal world.
In 1970, Shiv Kumar Batalavi released Mein Te Mein (Me and Myself). It was his last book before his death in 1973. It is a long narrative poem that tells the story of a man’s sufferings in different areas and the complexities of his own life.
Awards, Honors, Achievements
In 1967, Shiv Kumar Batalvi won the Sahitya Akademi Award for his verse drama “loona”. He received the award from the then President of India Zakir Hussain.
After moving to Chandigarh, Shiv’s health began to deteriorate and he became an avid drinker. In May 1972, Shiv Kumar Batalvi traveled to London with the financial support of his close friends Dr. Gupal Puri and Mrs. Kailash Puri. This is Schiff’s first international trip and his arrival was announced on public platforms including newspapers and radio channels. Due to many dates and parties, Shiv’s drinking increased day by day. After returning from England in September 1972, Shiv Kumar Batalvi was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. In 1973, his health began to deteriorate seriously and his wife Aruna admitted him to a hospital in Amritsar. Shiv was later shifted to Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, Chandigarh. In his final days, Schiff protested that he did not want to die in a hospital bed, so he was taken to his father-in-law’s house. The day before his death, Shiv suffered a severe heart attack and passed away on the morning of May 6, 1973, in his in-laws’ village, Kirimanjal village, Gurdaspur district, Punjab, India.
- Poets: Shah Hussain and Waris Shah
Facts / Trivia
- Shiv Kumar Batalvi started writing poetry in 1957, when he was a final year student in college.
- Shiv Kumar Batalvi used to write poetry in Urdu (Urdu was the national language before Partition) and Persian as he was fluent in these languages. In 1957, he began writing in Punjabi.
- In his initial writing career, Shiv Kumar Batalvi worked under senior writers such as Jaswant Singh Rahi, Kartar Singh Balgan and Barkat Ram Yumman. Barkat Ram Yumman introduced Shiv Kumar Batalvi to the Kavi Darbars (gatherings where poets gather to recite poetry) in Punjab.
- Shiv Kumar Batalvi used to sing poems written by him and he was famous for his singing in college and Kavi Darbars.
- After failing in his college career, Shiv Kumar Batalvi’s father Pandit Krishan Gopal forced him to join the Revenue Department as Patwari/Tehsildar (Official Collector of the Revenue Department). After joining, Shiv Kumar Patalvi bribed a retired official to handle Shiv’s official affairs in exchange for one-third of his salary. Shiv Kumar Batalvi resigned in 1961.
- Shiv Kumar Batalvi remained unemployed until 1966. Due to lack of financial resources and no financial support from his father, Shiv Kumar Batalvi has been living on the fees of Kavi Darbars.
- Shiv Kumar Batalvi’s original books were published by Lahore Book Shop in Ludhiana, Punjab, owned by Jeevan Singh all. Book owners used to pay book royalties to Shiv Kumar Batalvi in the form of a stitched suit, a bottle of whiskey or a bazaar in return as Shiv used to travel to Ludhi from his village Batala Anna.
- In 1966, Shiv Kumar Batalvi was working as a clerk at the Batala branch of the State Bank of India.
- Shiv Kumar Battavi is also known as “Birha Da Sultan” (the King of Sorrows separated from his beloved) and “the John Keats of Punjabi poetry”.
- Shiv Kumar Batalvi’s mother Shanti Devi was a great singer and it is believed that Shiv inherited his mother’s singing talent.
- Shiv Kumar Batalvi was the youngest recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1967.
- Punjabi revolutionary poet Avtar Singh Sandhu, known by his pen name ‘Pash’, was Shiv Kumar Batalvi’s biggest critic.
- Shiv Kumar Batalvi was a close friend of Punjabi writers Surjit Patar, Mohan Singh and Sahir Ludhianvi.
- Amrita Pritam was a huge encourager of Shiv Kumar Batalvi. The two of them are brother and sister. Amrita mentioned and praised Shiv Kumar Battalvi in one of her books.
Amrita Pritam wrote to Shiv Kumar Batalvi: “Shiv Veer, Tuhadi kavita ne mere kole ena likh’waya ni mainu jena ru’waya ae…” “Shiv di kalam vich rukh boote Panjab de, rasama-rivaja Panjab diyan, sab’yata Sanskar Panjab de par dard sari duniya da Sanjha…!” pic.twitter.com/wRRkWk5BEv
— Rupinder (@RupinderKW) May 6, 2020
- Shiv Kumar Batalvi enjoys playing the flute in his spare time.
- In 1980, the then Chief Minister of Punjab Amin Uddin Ahmed Khan laid the foundation stone of the Shiv Kumar Battavi Auditorium Center in Batala, Punjab. However, the auditorium was inaugurated in 2016 by Shiromani Akali Dal leaders.
- In 1962, Shiv Kumar Batalvi was diagnosed with pleurisy (inflammation of lung tissue). He also suffered from epilepsy, a brain disorder, on several occasions.
- Shiv Kumar Batalvi moved to Chandigarh in 1968 when he got a job in the Chandigarh branch of the State Bank of India. Shiv Kumar Patalvi’s life in Chandigarh was anything but happy.
- In 1972, after returning from England, Shiv Kumar Patalvi fell into a state of depression due to critics’ complaints and outright disapproval of his poetry, which led Shiv to drink more.
- Shiv Kumar Batalvi is an avid smoker.
- Shiv Kumar Batalvi’s collection of poems, Alvida (Farewell), was published by Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, in 1974, a year after Shiv’s death.
- As a child, Shiv Kumar Batalvi used to spend his days wandering around the village. He always likes to sit anywhere by himself. Other villagers used to call him “Malang” (carefree wanderer).