contents  |
Raghuvir Sahay
(1928-1990) is among the most significant figures on the modern literary scene in India. He represents a generation that grew with the aspirations of the freedom movement in the subcontinent, lived to see the unfolding of what this freedom meant for people at large,and gave voice to the unfulfilled aspirations. He died on the threshold of the new wave of communalism and right wing onslaught that threatens our national unity and divides people along religious lines.

His voice is an expression of much wider concerns in that his work transcends the world of Hindi, the language in which he wrote even as he belongs to it. Sahay belongs to a tradition of literature that looks forward rather than to the past for inspiration, for whom the golden age would come when the aspirations of all the millions of people are fulfilled. His concern for people was not romantic. It expressed itself in the voice of democracy and scientific temper. The baggage that he carried with him of the past was one of the heritage of composite culture and a rational expression whose roots lay within the movements for social emancipation in the struggle against colonialism. Like Tagore, Iqbal and Faiz, his is the voice of the entire subcontinent.

Sahay, like most literary figures of his generation was not merely a significant poet. He was a writer-journalist, a social commentator, a literary critic and a partisan for secularism. From late 60's till the beginning of 80's he was editor of Hindi weekly Dinman, whose status as the best political-social journal in Hindi is yet to be surpassed. He advocated the use of a language that preserved the heritage of Hindustani, the Hindi-Urdu synthesis. In 1990 the year of his death, he chaired a committee of the Press Council of India to look into the role of the press in the context of Mr. Advani's rath yatra, the first attempt at destruction of the Babri Masjid and the ensuing anti-Muslim riots.

He died in December 1990, without having compromised on any of his ideals, may be not a very happy man at the way things were some 45 years after Independence.

Poems of Raghuvir Sahay

Raghuvir Sahay

In our first issue, we are presenting a selection from the poetry of Raghuvir Sahay. These English translations of the his original Hindi poems were mostly done during a workshop organised in the winter of 1989. The 15 day workshop organised by Sahitya Akademi, the Indian Academy of Letters, brought together 25 eminent Hindi poets and translators for an intensive interaction. The purpose of the workshop was to produce an anthology comprising the poems of 10 selected Hindi poets.

[main page][about sanam][links][e mail]