Poems are a great way of expressing emotion, love, feelings and ideas. India poetry has carried forward these substantial ingredients of writing all along with it from the Rig Vedic period. Along this journey, our country got some of the greatest poetess in various regional languages. On 21st March earlier this month, we celebrated World Poetry Day in the recognition of the unique ability poetry offers to capture the creative spirit of the human mind.
Let’s see some of the established and inspiring women poets of India.
1. Mahadevi Varma
Mahadevi Varma is one of those famous poets who are widely known for their work in the form of poetry and novels. She was born in 1907 in the Farrukhabad region of Uttar Pradesh. Because of her great contribution to Hindi literature, she is considered as one of the four major pillars of ‘Chhayawadi era’ in Hindi literary work. She is well known with the name “Modern Meera”. Her poetry is deeply influenced by the social upliftment work and welfare development of women.
Some of the prominent work are
- Pratham Ayam
- Agni Rekha
2. Subhadra Kumari Chauhan
Subhadra Kumari Chauhan was born in 1904 in Nihalpur village of Uttar Pradesh. She is well known for her famous poems such as ‘Jhansi ki Rani’ and ‘Yeh Kadam Ka Ped’. After being inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s work, she took part in the Non-Cooperation movement in 1921.
Her notable work in Hindi literature includes
- Yeh Kadam Ka Ped
- Ashapurna Devi
Ashapurna Devi was born in 1909 and was a well-known novelist and poet in the Bengali language. She was honoured with Jnanpith Award and Padma Shri in the year 1976.
Some of her famous novels are
- Siri Bhanga Anka
4. Kamala Surayya
Kamala Surayya was born in 1934 in Kerala. She is famous for her poems, short stories, autobiography and novels in Malayalam and English language. She has covered a wide range of topics related to child care and women’ issues. She was marked as an ‘iconoclast’ in her generation and famously known as ‘The Mother of Modern English Poetry’. She has openly written about the topic of female sexuality in her work and is also known by her pen name ‘Madhavikutty’.
Her famous poems are
- The Stranger Time
- The Descendants
- Summer in Calcutta
- Only the soul knows how to sing
- Tonight, This Savage Rite
- My mother at sixty-six
- The Sirens
5. Eunice de Souza
Eunice de Souza was born in 1940 in a Goan Catholic family. She completed her MA in English literature from Marquette University, Wisconsin and did her PhD from the University of Mumbai. She has remained active in the literary festival ‘Ithaka’ during her tenure as Head of the Department at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai.
Some of her poems in the English language are
- Ways of Belonging
- A necklace of skulls
- Women in Dutch Painting
- Learn from the almond leaf
6. Sarojini Naidu
Sarojini Naidu is well known as “Nightingale of India” due to her great contribution to English literature. She had a substantial contribution to the freedom fighting movement of India and became the first women Governor of India in 1947. And she had also served as the president of INC in 1925. Apart from this, she was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1914.
Some of her famous poetry work includes
- The Golden Threshold
- The Illusion of love
- The Bird of time
- Nightfall in the city of Hyderabad
- Autumn Song
7. Nandini Sahu
Nandini Sahu is a famous writer and poetess of India. Her writing area revolves around Indian Literature, American Literature, folklore and culture studies. And she is working as an Editor-in-Chief of ‘Interdisciplinary Journal of Literature and Language’, New Delhi.
Some of her work includes
- Silver Poems on my lips
- Zero Point
- The Silence
- The Other Voice, a collection of poems
8. Sunita Jain
Sunita Jain was a prolific short-story writer, novelist and poet of Hindi and English literature. She started writing at the very young age of 22. She was awarded Padma Shri in 2004 for her contribution to regional literary work in Hindi. She was given the ‘Vyas Samman’ by the Birla foundation for her outstanding work in Hindi literature.
Some of the most loved work of her includes
- Sensum: Collected Poems
- A Girl of Her Age
- The Mango Tree
- American Desi and Other Poems
9. Balamani Amma
Balamani Amma was a famous writer and poet who wrote in the Malayalam language. She is well known as the “Poetess of motherhood”. She was the recipient of various awards and honours such as Padma Bhushan, Sahitya Akademi Award and Saraswati Samman.
Some of her well-known work is
10. Amrita Pritam
Amrita Pritam is a known poet, novelist and essayist of Punjabi and Hindi literature. She was born in 1919 in a Punjabi family. In 1956, she received the ‘Sahitya Akademi Award’ for her work in ‘Sunehadey’ and became the first female recipient of this award. Also, she was the recipient of Bhartiya Jnanpith Award, Padma Shri and Padma Vibhushan for her notable work in Punjabi and Hindi literature.
Some of her poetry anthologies include
- Punjab Di Aawaaz
- Amrit Lehran
- Kagaz Te Kanvas