Poet Shambhu Badal receives the 32nd Radhakrishna Award from Justice Bikramaditya Prasad at Jain Mandir Hall in Ranchi on Sunday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Think Hindi poets, think Harivansh Rai Bachchan, think Dinkar, Nirala, Agyeya, Mahadevi Verma, Maithili Sharan Gupt or Sumitranandan Pant. But even if a Hindi literature enthusiast is asked to name a contemporary Hindi poet, he is sure to scratch his head for names.
For instance, Shambhu Badal is an urban balladeer few have heard of.
But Badal, a poet from Hazaribagh, received the 32nd Radhakrishna Award on Sunday in Ranchi for his contribution to Hindi literature.
Instituted over three decades ago in the memory of well-known Hindi writer Radhakrishna by Ranchi Express, the capital’s oldest Hindi daily, the award is given every year to a state writer in recognition of his or her contribution to literature in Hindi.
At the event held at Jain Mandir Hall, Ranchi’s Upper Bazar area, he got a certificate, shawl and cash award of Rs 15,001.True poet that he is, he proposed the prize money be given to needy students of the Hindi department of either Ranchi University or Vinoba Bhave University in Hazaribagh or be distributed among both.
Badal has to his credit collection of poems such as Paidal Chalnewale Puchhtey Hain (Pedestrians ask), Mausam ke Haq Mein (On the rights of seasons) and Swapno se Bante Hain Swapne (Dreams beget dreams).
Chief guest Justice Bikramaditya Prasad, retired judge of Jharkhand High Court, lauded the poet, as well as the recognition.
“Literature and littérateurs are often ignored by politicians. Society should give them due recognition,” he said.
True, a committed but dwindling tribe of poets such as Badal apart, Hindi poetry seems to be alive thanks only to Bollywood.
Take for instance Prasoon Joshi, an adman who discovered his calling as a poet with startling lyrics such as Rubaroo roshni hai (Light faces me) in the Aamir Khan-starrer Rang De Basanti.
Or more recently, poetess Kausar Munir, one of the few woman lyricists in Bollywood to pen the stirring love song Pareshaan from the film Ishaqzaade, of youthful, yet doomed passion. “Naye naye naina mere dhoonhe hai, dar-badar kyun tujhe (Why do my new-found eyes search for you everywhere)?” asks the opening lines.
Two toppers of journalism courses of Ranchi University — Budhmani in undergraduate and Puja Paribhashita in postgraduate — received gold medals, also known as Sita Ram Maroo memorial awards.