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Rajendra Keshavlal Shah (January 28, 1913 – January 2, 2010) was a lyrical poet who wrote in Gujarati. Born in Kapadvanaj, he authored more than 20 collections of poems and songs, mainly on the themes of the beauty of nature, and about the everyday lives of indigenous peoples and fisherfolk communities. In his poems using Sanskrit metrics, he was influenced by Rabindranath Tagore. He is considered as one of the giants of post Gandhi-era in Gujarati literature.[1]

Rajendra Shah
Born (1913-01-28)28 January 1913
Kheda, British India
Died 2 January 2010(2010-01-02) (aged 96)
Occupation Author
Nationality Indian
Alma mater MSU Baroda
Period 1947-2003
Notable works
  • Dhvani (1951)
  • Shant Kolahal (1962)
Notable awards

Among his various professions, Shah was also a printer in Mumbai, where he launched the poetry magazine Kavilok in 1957.[2] The press itself became an important Sunday meeting-place for Gujarati poets. Apart from writing poetry, Shah also translated into Gujarati Tagore's poetry collection Balaaka; Jayadeva's Gita Govinda; Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner; and Dante's The Divine Comedy.[3]

Shah won the Jnanpith Award for 2001. The judges noted, "his intensity of emotion and innovation in form and expression which set him apart as a poet of great significance. The mystical tone of his poetry stems from the tradition of great medieval masters like Narsinh Mehta, Kabir and Akho."[4]



In 1930, he discontinued from the study, as he was arrested in Civil disobedience movement and sentenced to the jail. In 1931, He married Manjula Agrawal.[5] Later, in 1934, he joined Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda and completed his bachelors in philosophy, and thereafter, started his career by teaching school students in Ahmedabad.[6]

He died on 2 January 2010 in Mumbai.[7]


Poetry CollectionsEdit

  • Dhvani (1951)
  • Andolan (1952)
  • Shruti (1957)
  • Morpinchh (1959)
  • Shant Kolahal (1962)
  • Chitrana (1967)
  • Kshan je Chirantan (1968)
  • Vishadne Saad (1968)
  • Madhyama (1978)
  • Ikshana (1979)
  • Udgiti (1979)
  • Patralekha (1981)
  • Prasana Saptak (1982)
  • Dwasupama (1983)
  • Panch Parva (1983)
  • Vibhavan (1983)
  • Chandan Bhini and Anamik (1987)
  • Aranyak (1992)[8]


Kavi Rajendra Keshavlal Shah Library located near Himmatlal Park in Ahmedabad

He won Kumar Chandrak in 1947, Ranjitram Suvarna Chandrak in 1956. He received Sahitya Akademi Award (1963) for his book Shant Kolahal.[9] He is also a recepiant of Aurobindo Suvarna Chandrak presented (1980) by Gujarati Sahitya Parishad, Sahitya Gaurav Puraskar (1992) and Narsinh Mehta Award 1999. He received Jnanpith Award, considered to be India's highest literary award, in 2001[3]


  1. ^ Mehta, Deepak B. (August 2003). "In love with the world". Frontline. 20 (16). 
  2. ^ Lal, Mohan, ed. (1992). "Shah, Rajendra Keshavlal". Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature. 5 (2001 ed.). Delhi: Sahitya Akademi. pp. 3944–45. 
  3. ^ a b Shah, Rajendra Keshavlal (July 25, 2003). "'I Write What My Inner Voice Says'". Outlook (Interview). Interview with Darshan Desai. Retrieved January 9, 2013. 
  4. ^ Mehta, Harit (July 19, 2003). "At 90, Jnanpith winner Rajendra creative as ever". The Times of India. Ahmedabad. Retrieved January 9, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Meet the Author: Rajendra Shah" (PDF). Sahitya Akademi. Retrieved 19 September 2017. 
  6. ^ Suguna Ramanathan and Rita Kothari (1998). Modern Gujarati Poetry: A Selection. New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi. p. 85. ISBN 81-260-0294-8. 
  7. ^ "Gujarati poet Rajendra Shah(97) passes away". DeshGujarat News from Gujarat. 2010-01-03. Retrieved 2017-02-09. 
  8. ^ "Third Gujarati to win Jnanpith". The Hindu. New Delhi. July 18, 2003. Retrieved January 10, 2013. 
  9. ^ Jani, Jyotish (1992). "Shant Kolahal". In Lal, Mohan. Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature. 5 (2001 ed.). Delhi: Sahitya Akademi. p. 3972.