Some people live beyond lifetime. Shiv Kumar Batalvi (1936-1973) is one of them. Shiv was an epoch in himself,a born romantic, introvert and passionate performer blessed with mellifluous voice laced with poignant emotions soared high to leave impeccable impression on his fans. Shiv equally emphasized on his chosen language of expression — Punjabi. The main reason behind the extraordinary popularity of Shiv is, his exceptional capability to embody the collective psyche of Punjabis and their traditional cultural identity in his poetry, beyond any divisions of religion and caste system.The real wonder of Shiv Kumar Batalvi’s poetry is not that, he mastered the new and innovative ways to express modern poetical sensibilities better than most of his contemporaries, but that he did it by masterfully and artistically combining and fusing them with the spirit of Punjab’s culture and with the age old charm of classical Punjabi poetry and folk songs.
Shiv Kumar was born on July 23,
1936 in Bara Pind Lohtian (Shakargarh tehsil), in Punjab (now
Shiv passed his matriculate exams in 1953, from
Around this period, he met a girl named Maina at
a fair in Baijnath. When he went back to look for her in her hometown, he
heard the news of her death and wrote his elegy 'Maina'. This episode was to
prefigure numerous other partings that would serve as material to distil into
poems. Perhaps the most celebrated such episode is his fascination for
Gurbaksh Singh's daughter who left for the
Shiv's arrogance is legendary, but he had good cause to indulge himself. To get back to his life, with some help from his father Shiv became a Patwari as well. This had been his father's vision for Shiv. The period that followed his becoming a Patwari are the most productive years of his life.
In 1965 Shiv won the Sahitya Akademi award for his verse-drama Loona. He married on Feb 5, 1967. His wife Aruna was a Brahmin from Kir Mangyal in district Gurdaspur. By all accounts Shiv had a happy marriage. He had two children, Meharbaan (b. Apr. 12, 1968) and Puja (b. Sep. 23, 1969) whom he loved immensely.
By 1968 he had moved to
Shiv has been called a Bohemian. There were complaints about his drinking and some suggestions that his 'friends' had him drink so he would exhibit his outrageous self.
Shiv Kumar died in the 36th year of his life on May 7, 1973 in his father-in-law's house at Kir Mangyal near Pathankot.