Ramdhari Singh ‘Dinkar’ (September 23, 1908– April 24, 1974) was born in a poor Bhumihar Brahmin family in Simariya village, in the Begusarai district of Bihar. As a student, his favorite subjects were history, politics and philosophy. He studied Hindi, Sanskrit, Maithili, Bengali, Urdu and English literature. Dinkar was greatly influenced by Iqbal, Rabindranath Tagore, Keats and Milton. He translated works of Rabindranath Tagore from Bangla to Hindi.
His works are mostly of ‘Veer Rasa’, or the ‘brave mode’, although Urvashi is an exception to this. Some of his greatest works are Rashmirathi and Parashuram ki Prateeksha. He is hailed as the greatest Hindi poet of ‘Veer Rasa’ since Bhushan. Acharya Hazari Prasad Dwivedi wrote that he was very popular among people whose mother-tongue was not Hindi and he was a symbol of love for one’s own mother-tongue. Harivansh Rai Bachchan wrote that for his proper respect he should get four Gyanpith Awards – for poetry, prose, languages and for his service to Hindi. Rambriksh Benipuri wrote that Dinkar is giving voice to the revolutionary movement in the country. Namvar Singh wrote that he was really the sun of his age. Hindi writer Rajendra Yadav, whose novel ‘Sara Akash’ also carried a few lines of Dinkar’s poetry, has said of him He was always very inspiring to read. His poetry was about reawakening. He often delved into Hindu mythology and referred to heroes of epics such as Karna. He was a poet of anti-imperialism and nationalism, says well-known Hindi writer Kashinath Singh. He also wrote social and political satires for socio-economic inequalities and exploitation of the underprivileged. A progressive and humanist poet, he chose to approach history and reality directly and his verse combined oratorical vigour with a declamatory diction. The theme of Urvashi revolves round love, passion, and relationship of man and woman on a spiritual plane, distinct from their earthly relationship. His Kurukshetra is a narrative poem based on the Santi Parva of the Mahabharata. It was written at a time when the memories of the Second World War were fresh in the mind of the poet. Krishna Ki Chaetavani is another poem composed on events that led to the Kurukshetra war in the Mahabharata. His Samdheni is a collection of poems reflecting the poet’s social concern transcending the boundaries of the nation. In his Sanskiti ke Chaar Adhyay he said that despite various cultures, languages and topography, India stands united, because however different we may be, our thoughts are the same.
He received awards from Kashi Nagri Pracharini Sabha, Uttar Pradesh Government and an award by the Government of India for his epic-poem Kurukshetra. He got the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1959 for his work Sanskriti ke Char Adhyay. He was also a recipient of Padma Bhushan in 1959 by the Government of India. He was awarded the LLD degree by Bhagalpur University. He was felicitated as Vidyavachaspati by Gurukul Mahavidyalaya. He was felicitated as Sahitya-Chudamaniby Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Udaipur on 8 November 1968. Dinkar was awarded the Jnanpith Award in 1972 for Urvashi. He also became a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha, in 1952.
On September 30, 1987, to mark his 79th birth anniversary tributes were paid to him by the then President of India, Shankar Dayal Sharma. In 1999, Dinkar was one of the Hindi writers featured on a set of commemorative postal stamps released by Government of India to celebrate the “Linguistic Harmony of India.” marking the 50th anniversary since the Indian Union adopted Hindi as its official language. The government released a book on Dinkar’s birth centenary authored by Khagendra Thakur. At the same time a statue of him was unveiled in Patna at the Dinkar Chowk, and a two-day national seminar was organised in Calicut University.