Literary Bio Data of Poet Gulab Khandelwal
(February 21, 1924 – July 2, 2017)
Gulab Khandelwal was born in the town of Navalgarh, Rajasthan (India), on February 21, 1924. His forefathers had migrated from Mandava, Rajasthan, to the town of Gaya in Bihar state. His father’s name was Sheetal Prasad and his mother’s name was Vasanti Devi. He was adopted by his father’s elder brother Raisahab Surjulal. After living in Pratapgarh, Uttar Pradesh, for a few years, Gulabji moved to U.S.A. in the state of Ohio, and visited India every year.
He received his early education in Gaya, Bihar (India). He graduated from Banaras Hindu University, Banaras, U.P. (India) in 1943. Banaras Hindu University has always been a hub of art and literature. While in Banaras, he came into contact with the great luminaries of Hindi Literature: poets like Maithili Sharan Gupt, Hariaudh Ji, Bachchan Ji and Bedhab Ji; critics like Pt. Ramchandra Shukla, Nand Dulare Bajpayee and Pt. Shri Narayan Chaturvedi; and scholars like Sampoorna Nand Ji, Kamla Pati Tripathi and Sitaram Chaturvedi. As a result, his inborn poetic faculty matured.
Gulabji was greatly influenced by the literary figures like Tulsidas, Shakespeare and Kabirdas, and relatively more recent figures like Shri Narayananand Sarasvati, Rabindranath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi and Nirala. In 1941, by the time he was seventeen-year-old, his first volume of poems called Kavita was published with a preface by the famous poet Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirala’. Since then, more than 50 volumes of his poems, 2 dramatic works in prose and one autobiography have been published. Some of his works have been digitalized as well in the Digital Library of India.
He wrote poetry in different forms such as Epics, Lyrics, Sonnets, Rubais (Quatrains), Dohas (Couplets), Odes, Elegies, Lyrical Ballads, Poetic Dramas, Ghazals, and Masnavi, with equal felicity. Some of these forms were created by him, and others were given a new life by him. He wrote poetry in both Urdu and Hindi, and even introduced some of these forms into Hindi Literature. His vast collection of devotional songs continued the tradition set by Kabir, Surdas and Tulsi. The span of his poetic language touched upon Sanskrit on the one end and Urdu on the other.
Gulabji wrote gazals in Hindi by successfully using Hindi language that includes some integrated Urdu words as well. He wrote nearly 400 gazals. His Preet Na Kariyo Koi book written in Urdu masanvi form adds a new chapter to the poetic literature. With this masanvi book he became a masanvi-writer in the league of Meer Hasan and Dayashankar ‘Naseem’.
In addition to Hindi and Urdu, Gulabji also wrote poems in English language, which made him known in places outside of India, such as U.S.A. and Canada. He translated some of his poems into English in Gulab Khandelwal: Selected Poems, which was published in 1986 with the preface by Dr. Karan Singh, ex-Prince of Kashmir. His original English poems were published as The Evening Rose, setting his place among English poets. His latest book Omar Khaiyyam and the Scholar is still unpublished.
His 2013 book Rabindranath: Hindi Ke Darpan Mein is a milestone in Hindi literature. In this book he did poetic translation from Bangla to Hindi of his favorite poems written by Ravindranath Tagore. In his translated poems he kept the same meter, rhyme scheme, and meaning as the originals, and, hence, kept their essence intact.
Over the course of his lifetime, he was honored by numerous literary and non-literary institutions in India, Canada, and U.S.A.
Some of his books were presented awards in India:
- Usha – by Hindi Sansthan, U.P. Government, in 1967
- Roop Ki Dhoop – by Hindi Sansthan, U.P. Government, in 1971
- Sau Gulab Khile – by Hindi Sansthan, U.P. Government, in 1975
- Kuchh Aur Gulab – by Hindi Sansthan, U.P. Government, in 1980
- Ahalya – Vishisht Puraskar by Hindi Sansthan, U.P. Government, in 1980
- Ahalya – Akhil Bharatiya Rambhakti Puraskar by Hanuman Mandir Trust, Kolkata, 1984
- Adhunik Kavi-19 – Akhil Bharatiya Granth Puraskar by Bihar Government, in 1989
- Har Subah Ek Taza Gulab – Nirala Puraskar by Hindi Sansthan, U.P. Government, in 1989
Some of his books were selected as textbooks for colleges:
- Usha (Mahakavya) – Had been in B.A. in Magadh University, Bihar (India)
- Kach Devyani – Had been in Intermediate in Magadh University, Bihar (India)
- Ahalya (Khand-kavya) – Had been subject for dissertation in Awadh University, U.P. (India)
- Ahalya (Khand-kavya) – Had been in B.A. in Magadh University, Bihar (India)
- Alok–Vritt (Khand-kavya) – Had been in B.A. in Magadh University, Bihar (India)
- Alok–Vritt (Khand-kavya) – Is in Intermediate Board in Uttar Pradesh (India) since 1976
Recognition in U.S.A in Canada
- Gulab Khandelwal was awarded the Honorary Citizenship of Baltimore City (U.S.A.) on 13th July 1985 “for his achievements and eminent gifts to our times.” And this day was declared as Hindi Day in the entire state by the Governor of Maryland. The Mayor of Baltimore also declared this day as Hindi Day in the City of Baltimore.
- He was awarded the Vishisht Samman (Special Literary Award) by the Antar Rashtriya Hindi Samiti, Washington D.C. (U.S.A.), on 6th Dec 1986.
- On 10th October 1998, he was honored by Alberta Hindi Parishad, Edmonton (Canada).
- On 26th January 2006 for the Republic Day celebration of India, Gulab Khandelwal was honored by the Governor of Maryland (U.S.A) and the title of ‘Kavi Samrat’ was bestowed upon him by the Governor.
- On 28th April 2013, AntarRashtriya Hindi Samiti, Ohio, felicitated him the title of ‘Aaj Ke Tulsidas’ for his contribution to the Hindi Literature.
- On 22th April 2017, Bazm-E-Sukhan of Ohio, USA, awarded him the Lifetime Achievement Award
Recognition in India
- Gulab Khandelwal was felicitated by the Uttar Pradesh Hindi Sahitya Sammelan in 1979.
- In 1989, he was conferred the highest honor of Sahitya Vachaspati (equivalent to the degree of Ph. D.) by Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, Prayag, under the president-ship of Padma Bhushan Dr. Ram Kumar Verma.
- He was the president of Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, Prayag, since 1989, a post in which he got elected six times consecutively and unanimously.
- In 1997, his two books – Bhakti-Ganga and Tilak Kare Raghubeer were released by The President of India, honorable Shri Shankar Dayal Sharma.
- In 2001, he was felicitated jointly by the then Governor of U. P. Shri Vishnukant Shastri, ex-Chief Minister of U. P. Shri Mulayam Singh Yadav, Pujya Murari Bapu, and ex-Attorney General Shri Shanti Bhushan in Itawa, India.
- He was the president of Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, Prayag (India), since 1989, a post in which he got elected six times consecutively and unanimously, and held for more than twenty years.
- In 2007 he became the president of Bharti Parishad, Allahabad (India), an organization founded by Mahamana Malviya Ji in 1910.
- For fifteen years he had been the senior member of the editorial board of ‘Vishwa’, a tri-monthly literary journal published in Hindi in the U.S.A by the International Hindi Association.
- He had been the president of ‘Archana’, a literary society of Kolkata, India, founded in the 1950s.
Research on Poet Gulab Khandelwal
A Dissertation for M.A. was presented by Mukul Khandelwal under the guidance of Shri Shyam Nandan Singh in 1978 from Magadh University, India, and two dissertations were presented under the guidance of Shri Hans Raj Tripathi from Awadh University, India.
Degree of Ph. D. has been awarded to the following 7 individuals on Gulabji’s literature:
- Sagar University, Madhya Pradesh, to Yashvant Singh in 1966 (Hindi Ke Vaad-Mukt Kavi)
- Magadh University, Bihar, to Ravindra Roy in 1985 (Gulab Khandelwal: Vyaktitva Aur Krititva)
- Meerut University, U.P., to Vishnu Prakash Mishra in 1992 (Gulab Khandelwal: Jeevan Aur Sahitya)
- Ruhelkhand University, U.P., to Poorti Avasthi in 1994 (Kavi Gulab Khandelwal Ke Sahitya Ka Alochnatmak Adhyayan)
- Mahatma Jyotiba Phule University, U.P., to Sneh Kumari Kanojiya in 2006 (Gulab Khandelwal Ke Kavya Ka Shastriya Adhyayan)
- Kurukshetra University, Haryana, to Raj Yadav under the guidance of Shri Ramapati Singh in 2008
- Awadh University, U.P., to Mrs. Ankita Mishra in 2011 (Kavi Gulab Ki Kavya Drishti)
Currently 3 Ph. D. studies are in progress:
- Rakesh Kumar Gujarniya under the guidance of Dr. Bhup Singh Yadav, Sikar, Rajasthan, (Gulab Khandelwal Ki Kavya-Bhasha Mein Rashtriya Chetna Ki Abhivyakti)
- Monika Vishnoi under the guidance of Dr. Yagya Prasad Tiwari, Nagpur University (Mahakavi Gulab Khandelwal Ki Kavya Bhasha Aur Shilp Vidhan)
- Sanjeev Km Pathak, Magadh University (Hindi Geet Vidha Mein Gulab Khandelwal ka Yogdaan)
Gulab Khandelwal is Hindi Literature’s gem and one of the greatest contemporary Hindi poets. Even while living in the U.S.A. he always dedicated himself to Hindi Language and Literature, and promoted Hindi worldwide. He was writing poems and active till his last breath. His poetry is unparalleled in both quality and quantity. The full potential of his poetic work is yet to be discovered.