A strong believer of simple living and high thinking, Padma Shri Poet Haldhar Nag’s life allows everyone to think beyond college degrees and primary education.
Even after being competent, he keeps himself at a distance from all the materialistic things.
Hailing from Odisha, Haldhar Nag is a 71-year-old well-known folk poet of the ‘Kosli’ language.
Born in 1950 to a poor family in Odisha’s Bargarh district, he lost his parents at the tender age of 10. He had to leave his studies in the third grade and spent several years at a dhaba.
He then worked as a cook in a local school for the next 16 years. A few years later, he took a loan from the bank of Rs 1,000 and set up a small-scale stationery shop near the school. However, he didn’t let his passion for writing die and kept writing small pieces.
In 1990, he wrote his first poem 'Dhodo Bargach' (The Old Banyan Tree). He shared a number of his poems with a local magazine and his compositions were soon published.
It was a great honour for me and this sentence encouraged me to write more. After this, I started going to the villages around me and reciting my poems. During this time I also received positive feedback from people.
- Haldhar Nag
Even today, he remembers every single word written by him.
I am happy that the younger generation is very interested in poems written in Kosli language. In my view, poetry is very important to have a real-life and a social message in it.
- Haldhar Nag
The themes of his poems, popularly known as ‘Lok Kavi Ratna’ in Odisha, mostly revolve around nature, society, mythology and religion. He also wishes to promote social reforms through his beautiful pieces.
Back in 2016, The Government of India decided to present a Padma Shri award to Haldhar for his contribution in the field of literature. Donning a spotless white dhoti skirt and vest, he arrived barefeet to receive India’s fourth-highest civilian award from then-President Pranab Mukherjee.
Back at that time, there was a debate on several news channels about why a capable person is forced to live such a life after all.
Seeing his accomplishments, a compilation of his writings 'Haldhar Granthavali-2' has been made part of the syllabus in 'Sambalpur University' of Odisha.
And like he said, "Everyone is a poet, but only a few have the art of giving them shape".