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 600 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 four original masterpieces – three in English – Rosary of Sonnets Volume 1, Rosary of Sonnets Volume 2, River Sage and one in Dogri Pehliyaan Banga
Without receiving any formal education in the craft, the celebrated writer penned his masterpieces in English and Dogri at a time when this form of poetry 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 in to creating his masterpiece.
Inspired by Shakespeare, 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.
Widely regarded as the ‘Father of Dogri Sonnets’, 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, Viyogi’s sonnets are also an attempt to rid the Dogri and English language of its claustrophobic garb.
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.