While literary accomplishments of Group Captain Randhir Singh popularly known as Kunwar Viyogi in literary circles are many and noteworthy, the Sahitya Akademi awardee’s most unique and path breaking contribution to the language is exposing Dogri literature to the lyrical melody and disciplined form of Sonnets, a relatively new and unexplored genre for Dogri writers.

Also known as the ‘Father of Dogri Sonnets‘, Kunwar Viyogi is credited with penning 600 sonnets in Dogri, English and Hindi. The poet created his original masterpiece – Pehliyaan Banga, a book of 200 Dogri sonnets at a time when this form of poetry was unheard of in Dogri and was considered a forte of European literature.

The celebrated writer’s genius lies in the fact that he not only introduced this form of literature to Dogri, but also adapted it to the uniqueness of Dogri language. Each sonnet, crafted with such perfection and originality of thought speaks volume of the fine quality of work the poet put in to create his masterpiece.
Viyogi is also the only Indian Air Force officer to have received the prestigious Sahitya Akademi award for his long Dogri poem titled ‘Ghar’ in 1980. He used ‘Ghar’ (Home) as a peg and strung together 238 four lines verse embracing a wide variety of subjects and ideas and feelings into a long poem. He is also the youngest poet in the history of Sahitya Akademi to have been bestowed with such an honour.

While accepting the award, Kunwar Viyogi, then a 40-year-old Air Force officer, sat proudly in his Air Force uniform alongside his contemporaries like renowned poet, Krishna Sobti to accept the award. As his family and friends recall, upon being called out his name, the soldier-poet, in his signature style marched straight up, saluted and accepted his award. While his chest swelled with pride, his eyes gave in to the moment and welled up.

Apart from penning 600 sonnets in Dogri, English and Hindi,Kunwar Viyogi, in his lifetime, is also credited with writing 417 ghazals, 291 poems, 137 rubiyan, 41 kundalis, short compositions, stories and essays.

Kunwar Viyogi’s writing is progressive and thought provoking. His pen captured complexities of societal norms, passion for freedom and self-determination, zest for life, deep compassion for women with such ease and grace that it reflected in his distinctive style of narrative which was free from pretension and replete with simplicity. A magnanimous stream that attempted to introduce new and uninhibited form of literature, ‘Pehliyaan Banga’- a historical achievement in Dogri, was also the poet’s attempt to rid the language of its claustrophobic garb.

Inspired by Shakespeare, Kunwar Viyogi’s sonnets are aesthetically composed, lucid, simple and somber. Diction an important aspect of sonnets has been reined it with such perfection that it captures the essence of each line and quenches a reader’s thirst for rich poetic experience.

Among many of his writings, the poet’s favorite theme is speaking to God – giving Him great power and also time and again questioning his omnipotence, even seeking his approval in his stoic acceptance of fate. There is a recurring theme of accepting God’s verdict. He writes of wringing life worth living out of the dismal bounties he was bestowed. With publishing of these works the poet rose not just in reputation, but elevated the stature of Dogri literature.

Childhood +

Education +

Profession +

Kunwar Viyogi- The Air Warrior +

Family Life +

Kunwar Viyogi- The Father +