Being a bookworm and a novelist, I can say that I believe in the magic of words. And nowhere do words sound more magical than in a beautiful poem. While I now spend most of my time reading and writing fiction, poetry is still very close to my heart. It has always been.
I remember that when I was in school, poems used to be my favourite part of Hindi course books. My elder sister and I used to love reciting Hindi poems. Poems like Hum Panchhi Unmukt Gagan ke, Basanti Hava, Veer Tum Bade Chalo used to be our favourites. There was one poem titled Maan Keh ek kahaani that my sister and I even enacted once in some function. Sadly, I now remember these poems only in parts.
Trouble finding Hindi poems online:
I have often tried to look for my favourite Hindi poems online. But while English poems are easy to find, finding Hindi literature online used to be a trouble. Well, it’s good to see that situation has improved a lot now. We even have several smartphone apps that offer good collections of Hindi poems. And you can always Google for the poem you want. If it is famous, chances are you will now find it easily via Google search.
Kavita Kosh – read various Indian poems online:
But if you are looking for a website that has an extensive collection of Indian poems, check out http://kavitakosh.org. It is a non-profit effort by volunteers to digitize Indian poetry. This includes poems not just in Hindi but also other Indian languages like Maraathi, Awadhi, Gujrati etc. Kavita Kosh doesn’t just host poems, it also provides brief information like date of birth, death, awards, famous creations for each poet. Every poem has option to change the script of the poem. For example, you can read a Hindi poem in Roman script, or Bangla script. As of now, the available scripts are Devnagari, Roman, Gujrati, Gurmukhi, Bangla. Diacritic Roman and IPA scripts are also available.
The website’s home page has an onscreen letters grid. By clicking on any letter, you can go straight to the list of poets whose name start from that letter. You can also browse the poems based upon language, Vidhaein (categories like songs, poem, gazal), Sankalan (categories like love, patriotic, feminist poetry) or based on poetic periods like Veergatha Kaal, Bhakti Kaal etc. You can also browse poems based on themes. The site has a collection of folk songs as well.
However, the biggest trouble with the website is that it has no search bar. So you can’t quickly search out a poem. You need to know the name of its poet and then you need to browse through the poet list or categories to find the poem. This takes up a lot of time. A search bar would add so much convenience for the user.
One good thing is that the website is mobile-friendly and loads up well on smartphones too.
Anyway, if you too love Indian poems, or like me, miss some old favourites, do check out kavitakosh.org. It is an extensive resource for Indian poems. The user interface may not be very polished or convenient, but if you love poetry, you can lose yourself in it for hours.
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