Haldhar Nag – The People’s Poet

Haldhar Nag – The People’s Poet

By Bhudeb Chakrabarti


Haldhar Nag PadmaShree

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On 28 March 2016, the President of India Pranab Mukherjee bestowed Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in the Republic of of India upon Haldhar Nag.

Born on 31 March, 1950 in a poor family of Ghess village, situated in Bargarh District, Odisha, Haldhar Nag had no formal schooling. The demise of his father when he was just ten forced him to to drop out from the school. Haldhar took up a job of a dishwasher in a local sweet shop. He later worked as a cook of the local High School for 16 years. When a number of schools came up in the area he opened a small shop of stationery articles and eatables for the school students by arranging a bank loan of 1000 Rupees.

Haldhar started writing in Kosali language from 1990. Kosali, a western variation of Odia language is spoken in Western Odisha and adjoining areas of Chhattisgarh State. Kosali language uses the Odia script and is also known as Sambalpuri. When Haldhar sent his poem to a magazine, they published it immediately. He sent four more poems which were also published quickly and he received requests for more of his poems.

Haldhar Nag has penned 20 epics so far. He writes on subjects of nature, people, mythology and religion. A people’s poet Haldhar Nag took up causes of the oppressed people, their rights and dignity of life. He is admired by the common people of Odisha and Chhattisgarh. They come in large numbers to hear him recite his poems. Blessed with a prodigious memory, he remembers all lines and words of all his poems. An unassuming personality Haldhar Nag walks barefooted, mostly dressed in a simple dhoti and a vest.

Haldhar Nag, honoured as ‘Lok Kavi Ratna’ (Gem of a People’s Poet) is a recipient of Odisha Sahitya Akademi Award (2014). BBC made a documentary film on him. Five scholars did Ph. D Research based on his work. Sambalpur University is compiling all his works as ‘Haldhar Granthabali’ (Collected Works of Haldhar) which will be included in the syllabus of the University.

Haldhar Nag’s family comprises of his wife Malati and daughter Nandini. His stationery shop attracts many people and has attained a heritage status. We wish Haldhar Nag a long creative life, good health, happiness and well-being.


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  1. Wikipedia
  2. Times of India
  3. Chakdaha Nadia Facebook Page



This article is contributed by Bhudeb Chakrabarti, Dy IG (Retd) CRPF. He has commanded several Operational and Administrative functions in the force and has imparted training to gazetted officers of CRPF and other central & state police forces.



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  • Somali, I am so happy that you have chosen to showcase the literary achievements of this unassuming genius. He is a prime example that the best education comes from interest in life and not necessarily formal learning.

    • Thank you Lata. You were the first one to tag me on the post about Haldhar Nag. When my FIL wrote this post yesterday, I thought it makes perfect sense to put up the story here, as it is so inspiring and goes beyond the normally perceived notion of achievement.

  • Wowo… I had no clue .. never heard .
    Thank you for writing about this great man.. and well done to the Indian government for recognising that. .

  • I saw that few days back. Such an inspiration. Glad that a talent like that gets recognition and acknowledgement at national level.

  • Very interesting Somali, someone we never would have heard of! Very amazing!

  • Clearly a man of resourcefulness and with an eye for opportunity to open a shop for the students! I’m intrigued to learn more of his poetry.

    • The shop might have been his means of sustenance for long. I don’t know if his poetry has been translated into other languages.

    • bhudeb chakrabarti

      April 5, 2016 at 12:12 pm

      Thank you for taking keen interest in knowing more of Haldhar Nag’s poetry. He writes in Kosali language , a western Odisha variation of Odia language. Odia a rich classical language is very sweet to hear. I understand a bit of Odia but I am yet to learn Odia script and then read Odia literature. Haldhar Nag is widely read all over Odisha. We wish his works are translated in English and other Indian languages by some good Odia writers.

      • I did have a good look round the internet, and couldn’t find any translations! It’s not easy to have really good translations which retain the nuances of the original. Often the richness is lost. All languages have their own way of putting words together. It’s only when you have a deeper understanding of a language that you can take some liberties with it – as poets and writers often do.

  • Thanks, Bhudeb Sahab, for enlightening us about the life of Haldhar Nag – The People’s Poet. If possible, please also share English translation of some of his poems 🙂

    • bhudeb chakrabarti

      April 5, 2016 at 12:21 pm

      Many thanks for taking keen interest in the poetry of Haldhar Nag. He is widely read in Odisha as Kosali is a western variation of Odia language .I will try to find if his works have been translated into English and other Indian languages. We wish the translation of his works are taken up by good writers and patronised by the Universities and Sahitya Akademis.

  • Read about the poet just a few days back. It’s great to see you featuring Haldhar Nag, the People’s Poet on your blog. Nice work by Bhudeb Sir… 🙂

  • bhudeb chakrabarti

    April 5, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    Grateful thanks .Regards.

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