While literary accomplishments of Group Captain Randhir Singh popularly known as Kunwar Viyogi in literary circles are many and noteworthy, the poet’s most unique and path breaking contribution is exposing Dogri literature to the lyrical melody and disciplined form of Sonnets, a relatively new and unexplored genre for Dogri writers.
Credited with penning more than 2000 sonnets in Dogri, English and Hindi – a record number that even beats renowned English poet William Wordsworth’s 523 and Shakespeare’s 154, the Sahitya Akademi awardee created his 22 original masterpieces, ranging from Sonnets, Poems, Songs, Ghazals, Short Stories, Rubaiyan, Essays and much more.
Without receiving any formal education in the craft, the celebrated writer penned all his masterpieces at a time when this form of poetry was considered a forte of European literature.
Viyogi’s genius lies in the fact that he crafted each sonnet with such perfection and originality of thought that it speaks volume of the fine quality of work the poet puts into creating his masterpiece.
Inspired by Shakespeare, Viyogi’s sonnets are aesthetically composed, lucid, simple and somber. Diction, an important aspect of sonnets, has been reigned with such perfection that it captures the essence of each line and quenches a reader’s thirst for rich poetic experience.
Widely regarded as the ‘Father of Dogri Sonnets’, Viyogi’s writing 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 a new and uninhibited form of literature, Viyogi’s sonnets are also an attempt to rid the Dogri and English language of its claustrophobic garb.
Adaptations of Kunwar Viyogi’s Work
First Ever Sonnet Sandhya in Asia
History in Indian music was also created recently when Jammu’s largest literary organisation – Dogri Sanstha adapted Kunwar Viyogi’s sonnets into soulful compositions and presented them at first ever Sonnet Concert in any Indian language – Sonnet Sandhya. Composed by renowned composer Brij Mohan, celebrated Dogri singers like Seema Anil Seghal, Jitender Singh Jamwal, Sonali Dogra, Naveen Sharma, Indu Bala lent voice to Viyogi’s sonnets.
Fusion of Kathak and Dogri
Pryutsu – Adorning with Pride – Dance Drama by international Kathak dancer Sanchita Abrol
Kunwar Viyogi’s sonnets have also been adapted into dance drama by international Kathak dancer Sanchita Abrol. She showcased Pryutsu – Adorning with Pride, a script that talks about Unsung Heroes. The script has been created from Sonnets, written by Kunwar Viyogi and performed across India, including at the popular Manekshaw Auditorium. CDS Bipin Rawat graced the event along with more than 700 audience in attendance.
Ghar- Ek Prem ki Gaagar
International Kathak dancer Sanchita Abrol has also adapted Viyogi’s short Poem – Ghar into a dramatic representation of Ghar- Ek Prem ki Gaagar. This showcase is a heartwarming story of a soldier, who leaves his home to protect his motherland. The dance drama portrays the internal struggle of the soldier, who has to abandon one responsibility to fulfill the other, leaving aside a family to support his other family – his regiment. Ghar- Ek Prem ki Gaagar has been performed across India, including at the prestigious Kingdom of Dreams.
Fusion of Bharatnatiyam and Dogri
International Bharatnatiyam dancer Sriyasi Gopinath performed on Viyogi’s popular Dogri song Kangrel. In the song, the poet says to his lover “Your love is like little tinkling bells around my soul. My heart has submitted to your love and this mesmerizing experience purifies my soul as tears of joy well my eyes. Each time I hear the sound of these trinkets, it brings a smile to my face for my soul can feel your presence. I know you are not around me, but my soul feels you in me. My body shivers because it can feel you. The beautiful you. Seeing my intoxicated state, people often ask me, in whose love am I submerged? I smile and tell them, I am lost in the divinity of my love which makes my world beautiful and abundant. Shriyasi’s performance won her accolades and the prestigious Kunwar Viyogi Art Innovation Award.