shiv kumar

Shiv Kumar was a born poet who migrated from the poetic region of Sialkot to Batala at the most miserable moment of human history. It was the Independence of the sub-continent in 1947 - the dreadful, painful, horrible, miserable, devastating, slaughtering and marauding phenomenon, which bisected the trouble stricken North India. The pangs of separation are recurrent themes of this great lyricist of the land. He has been hailed as one of the great poets of all times.
Sh iv Kumar was born on July 23, 1936 in Bara Pind Lohtian (Shakargarh tehsil), in Punjab (now Pakistan). His father was a Patwari by the name of Pandit Krishan Gopal. After the partition his family moved to Batala. As a child Shiv is said to have been fascinated by birds and rugged, thorny plants on the Punjabi landscape. Shiv was exposed to the -ramlila- at an early age, and it is to be expected that he received what was later to become his instinctive understanding of drama from these early performances.
Shiv passed his matriculate exams in 1953, from Punjab University. He went on to enrol in the F.Sc. programme at Baring Union Christian College in Batala. Before completing his degree he moved to S.N. College, Qadian into their Arts program. It is here that he began to sing ghazals and songs for his classmates. Shiv never gave the final exams he needed to pass to receive his degree.
Around this period, he met a girl named Maina at a fair in Baijnath. When he went back to look for her in her hometown, he heard the news of her death and wrote his elegy -Maina-. This episode was to prefigure numerous other partings that would serve as material to distil into poems. Perhaps the most celebrated such episode is his fascination for Gurbaksh Singh-s daughter who left for the US and married someone else. When he heard of the birth of her first child, Shiv wrote -Main ek shikra yaar banaya-, perhaps his most famous love poem. It-s said that when she had her second child, someone asked Shiv whether he would write another poem. Shiv replied -Have I become responsible for her? Am I to write a poem on her every time she gives birth to a child?- Sounds much better in Punjabi (main oda theka leya hoyaa? Oho bacche banayi jave te main ode te kavita likhda rehma?).
In 1965 Shiv won the Sahitya Akademi award for his verse-drama Loona. He married on Feb 5, 1967
His wife Aruna was a Brahmin from Kir Mangyal in district Gurdaspur. By all accounts Shiv had a happy marriage. He had two children, Meharbaan (b. Apr. 12, 1968) and Puja (b. Sep. 23, 1969) whom he loved immensely.
By 1968 he had moved to Chandigarh, but both Batala and Chandigarh became soulless in his eyes. Chandigarh brought him fame, but scathing criticism as well, Shiv replied with an article titled -My hostile critics-. Meanwhile his epilepsy got worse and he had a serious attack while at a store in Chandigarh-s section 22. In the early 70-s Shiv came to Bombay for a literary conference. In keeping with Shiv-s outrageous behaviour there is a story about his trip to Bombay as well. Part of the conference involved readings at Shanmukhananda hall. After a few people had read their work (one of whom was Meena Kumari), Shiv got on the stage and began “Almost everyone today has begun to consider themselves a poet, each and every person off the streets is writing ghazals”. By the time he-d finished with his diatribe, there was not a sound in the hall. This is when he began to read -Ek kuri jeeda naam mohabbat. gum hai, gum hai…-. There wasn-t a sound when he finished either.
Shiv has been called a Bohemian. There were complaints about his drinking and some suggestions that his -friends- had him drink so he would exhibit his outrageous self. Shiv Kumar died in the 36th year of his life on May 7, 1973 in his father-in-law-s house at Kir Mangyal near Pathankot.
Shiv as the traditional poetical phenomenon was born out of the literary conjugation (Kalmi sanjog) of Amrita Pritam and Mohan Singh, to whom he appropriately dedicated his most important creation -Briha too Sultan-. Both Amrita and Mohan had personally suffered in their respective love lives on account of circumstances beyond their control. In their romanticism therefore, a personal tinge of desperation was in-evitable. Punjabi character is far more emotional, both in happiness as well as sadness, than all other peoples- of the Indian subcontinent. To succeed as a poet, therefore, one must succeed in making people cry as well as bursting into hilarious laughter with the flow of the lines. In contradiction to Amrita and Mohan, Shiv therefore, developed the most superb art of recitation. He will be long remembered, like Heer Warris Shah, for this emotional rendering of whatever he wrote. I was deeply impressed by his exposition of this vivid magic in the very first Kavita that he gave at our house - -Ki puchde ho hal fakiran da-. This ren-dering has the touch of Sehgal-s voice - -])ukhh ke Aab din bitad nahin- Shiv like Sehgal had the inborn gift of soul-touching expression. He needed words and lines and in this he had the help of his creators more than anyone else past or present. I feel that in her enthusiasm to present her -poetic-child- to the world Amrita herself became too emotional in giving an unnecessary notoriety to Shiv as a heart-throwing lover (dil-pheank ashiq.).
Any healthy child experiences love-stings like Shiv and dreams love dreams like he did, but every child cannot be a poet. In the lines that are attributed to this side of Shiv-s creation there is the show of an irksome mockery. Every effort had been made to present him as a love-torn lover; as a half living, babbling corpse of love-s treachery. True to his creators he was expounding all his life a love-lost theme, which was not, his own but was someone else-s. He was never allowed to grow up beyond this slippery, muddy stage of deception with alcohol and tobacco in his body and love-potions in his mind. But Shiv violently protested against this utter subjugation. In his -Main to Main- he says:-
-O mere sirjko
Tan de trashanhar butkaro
Tuhadi wansh wich hun bal nahin
1k swal jamna si
Jida uttar wi moran ton
Tusan sabna sen sangna si
Te jad men oodri thup nen
Mere jungle choun langna si
Taan bhuldi sabiyata men
Shaher de moran to khangna si
He had tried to find himself in his own self. Similar effort has been made again and again in -Loona-. I feel sure that as time passes on people will try to find out more of the philosophy of his life butt at the occasion of the first national meeting that is being held in London to remember Shiv.
No other poet before him, to my knowledge, was so much glamorised by the phenomenon of death as Shiv was. As Shiv was, death truly is a gift that is given to a man at birth and that is not an end, but is a milestone on the journey from beyond to beyond. I see Shiv walking on this path.
-Raat chanani main turan-
He will continue to walk and we will continue to see him shining as a star at nightfall and touch him, smell him, enjoy him as a flower, like the chambe da phul -he will be seen again and again dying on the morning after morning. To him death seems more real then life. No one sees the flower coming into life, but what we see is only the death of the living. But death also is not the end.
-Nahen sade tan koi rog awalra
Nahan sadi oomsr aakhiri
Babul ji
Aasan mukh da suraj
Dubde tak mur aonna
He will come back again on the horizon before sunset to live through the night.
I am waiting for that moment when Shiv, like Lord Shiv Ji will recreate himself out of the pieces and bits that he has left for all of us in the form of his poetry - the immortal images of his mortal frame.
-Zindgi us ke liye ik maut thi
Who pa gaya hai zindagi dar asal mar jane ke baad.-


Active member
Shiv can never die... he lives in his poems and songs ..... his words are thoughtful and inspire his readers to face life's hurdles and embrace death happily...