Shiv Kumar Batalvi was a Punjabi language poet, who was most known for his romantic poetry.He was born in a Saraswat Brahmin family on 23 July 1936 in village Bara Pind Lohtian, Shakargarh Tehsil, Sialkot District (now in Pakistan) to Pandit Krishan Gopal, village tehsildar in the revenue department, and Shanti Devi, a housewife.
“He became the youngest recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1967, given by Sahitya Akademi (India’s National Academy of Letters), for his epic verse play based on the ancient legend of Puran Bhagat, Loona (1965), now considered a masterpiece in modern Punjabi literature, and which also created a new genre, of modern Punjabi kissa. Today, his poetry stands in equal footing, amongst that by stalwarts of modern Punjabi poetry, like Mohan Singh and Amrita Pritam, all of whom are popular on both sides of India-Pakistan border. ”
In 1947, when he was just 11, his family moved to Batala Gurdaspur district after partition of India, where his father continued his work as a patwari and young Shiv received his primary education.He completed his matriculation in 1953, from Punjab University, and enrolled in the F.Sc. program at Baring Union Christian College, Batala, though before completing his degree he moved to S.N. College, Qadian, where he joined the Arts program more suited to his persona, though he left that too in the second year. Thereafter he joined a school at Baijnath, Himachal Pradesh to do a diploma in Civil Engineering, here again he left it in the middle.Next he studied for some time at Govt. Ripudaman College, Nabha.
He fell in love with the daughter of the noted Punjabi writer Gurbaksh Singh Preetladi who was married off to a UK citizen because of caste differences between the two. It was during this time that he turned increasingly to alcohol for solace, allegedly writing the poem :”Ajj Din Chhadeya Tere Rang Varga” (“Today dawned colored like your complexion…”) while standing outside a “Theka Sharab Desi” [Liquor Vend], waiting for it to open so he could buy his booze. He remained unlucky in love, and bereavement for love loss reflected intensely in his
poetry.In early 1967, he got married, to a Brahmin girl, Aruna, of his parents & family’s choosing. According to friends, he only agreed because she had a striking resemblance to his youthful love,and later the couple had two children, Meharban (1968) and Puja (1969).
His writings had always been open about his pronounced death wish,and on 7 May 1973, he died at his father-in-law’s residence, at Kirri Mangyal Pathankot, due to liver cirrhosis, a result of chronic alcoholism, aged 36.
Mainu Vida Karo (Bid Me Farewell)
Assan Taan Joban Rutte Marna
Mur Jana Assan Bhare Bharaye
Hijar Tere di kar Parkarma
Assan Taan Joban Rutte Marna
I am going to die in the season of youth,
I am going to depart without emptying my contents,
After completing a cycle of separation from you,
I am going to die in the season of youth
Shiv Kumar Batalvi-Live Interview
Shiv kumar Batalvi-A Tribute by Aikam TV
Sikher Dopeher by Shiv Kumar in own voice: