Kanhaiyalal Sethia (Hindi: कन्हैयालाल सेठिया) (September 11, 1919(1919-09-11) - November 11, 2008) was one of the most well known Rajasthani & Hindi poets. He was born in Sujangarh, Churu District in the Indian state of Rajasthan. He was a passionate supporter of making Rajasthani, the mother tongue of the people of Rajasthan, one of the official languages of India at the union level. He was a government-recognized freedom fighter, social worker, reformer, philanthropist and environmentalist.
He died in Kolkata, West Bengal.
His father's name was Chhagan Mal Sethia and mother was Smt. Manohari Devi. He has two sons Jay Prakash and Vinay Prakash and also a daughter named Smt Sampat Devi Dugar.
The poetry of Kanhaiyalal shows his patriotic fervor for Rajasthan. His poems reflect the silent changes taking place in rural life of Rajasthan.His poetry is the meting pot of elements like Nature, Universal Humanism, Philosophy, Humility & Devotion, which find unparalled life like expression through his magical, miraculous and superflous command over the language where every word seems to have been appropriately generated to suit the meaning of what the poet wants to convey to his readers. Some of his poems are full of religious and spiritual overtones.His poetry has insight and a feeling of intense human sensitivity.His poetry emphasizes the sublime,selfless & righteous aspects of life which have the power to soothe the frayed nerves of society which is trapped in the whirlpool of confusion & uncertainty.
His first collection Ramaniyai ra soratha, was written in the traditional style of didactic poetry rich in images and similes.
His other books of Rajasthani poems are Minjhara, Kum kum, Lilatamsa, Dhara kuncham dhara majalam, Mayada Ro Helo, Sabada, Satavani, Aghori kala, Leek Lakodia, Hemani, Kakko Kod Ro, Deeth .
His book of poetic prose is Gala-gachiya.
He has written 18 Books in Hindi: Vanphool (1941), Agniveena (1942), Mera Yug (1948), Deepkiran (1954), Pratibimb (3rd edition), (1996), Aaj Himalaya Bola (1962), Khuli Krirkiyan Chaure Raaste( 1967), Pranam (1970), Marm (1973), Anam (1974), Nirgranth ( 1976), Swagat(1986), Deh Videh (1986), Akask Ganga (1990), Vaaman - Viraat (1991), Nishpatti (1993), Shreyas (1997), Trayee (1998), 14 Books in Rajasthani and 2 books in Urdu Taj Mahal (1975) & Gulchi (2001).
His two Rajasthani poems are world famous and have attained cult status. "Dharti Dhoran Ri" is recognized as the Anthem Song of Rajasthan through out the world. Internationally acclaimed film maker Gautam Ghosh has made a documentary based on this poem Titled "Land Of The Sand Dunes" which was awarded the "Swarna Kamal" (Golden Lotus) by the Government of India.
His other poems which are extremely well known are "Pathal'R'Pithal", "Kun Jameen Ro Dhani" which are in the hearts of more than 100 Million Rajasthanis living throughout the world.
The United States Library of Congress has chosen him as one of the literary geniuses of the 20th century. His books have been archived by the Library, and his recordings are available on the Internet. His works have been translated in the following languages:
* Pratibimb - Reflections In A Mirror -1973 - English,
* Nirgranth - Nirgranth - 1984 - Bengali,
* Nirgranth - Nirgranth - 2007 - English,
* Selected Rajasthani Poems - Anuvartan-1994 - Hindi,
* Leeltans - The Blue Jay - 1995 - English,
* Leeltans - Leeltans - 1995 - Hindi,
* Khuli Khirkiyan Chaure Raaste - Khuli Khirkiyan Chaure Raaste-Marathi,
Kanhaiyalal Sethia was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award for his work Lilatamsa. He also received Jnanapitha Moortidevi Award in 1986 and Surajmal Misrana Sekhar Award in 1987.
He was conferred Padma Shri award in 2004. He was awarded the prestigious "Sahithya Vascahpati" by the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, Prayag, the prestigious "Sahitya Manishi" by the Sahitya Academy, Udaipur.
He was also a nationalist and a social activist.
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