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Dalpatram Dahyabhai
Kavi Dalpatram.JPG
Statue of Kavi Dalpatram at lambeshwar ni Pol, Ahmedabad
Born 1820
Died 1898
Occupation Poet
Nationality Indian

Dalpatram (Gujarati: દલપતરામ) (18201898) was a Gujarati language poet during 19th century in India. He was the father of Nanalal Dalpatram Kavi, a poet. The name of his father was Dahyabhai.

Early life[edit]

Born in 1820 in a humble Brahmin family, Dalpatram grew up to the resonant chanting of 'mantras' and recitations of religious scriptures. He was a child prodigy and displayed his extraordinary literary skills by composing 'hondulas' at the age of 12. He mastered the structures of rhyme, poesis and 'Vrajbhasha' as a Swaminarayan devotee under Brahmanand Swami, and later moved to Ahmedabad at the age of 24.[1]


Dalpatram, who knew no English, was a Sanskrit scholar and poet.[2] Dalpatram taught Gujarati language to Alexander Kinloch Forbes, a British colonial administrator to Ahmedabad. Gujarati was considered at the bottom of language hierarchy during those times. So he preferred to write his poems in Brijbhasha instead of Gujarati, his mother tongue. Forbes encouraged him to write in Gujarati. They became close friends. He inspired Dalpatram to write Laxmi Natak published in 1849, the first play in Gujarati, based on Greek drama Plutus.[3][4][5]

Forbes who wanted Gujarati literature develop, had helped found the Gujarat Vernacular Society. He served as its first assistanst secretory and started Biddhiprakash periodical in 1850. He edited the periodical till 1878.[6] When Forbes died in 1865, Dalpatram composed Farbesvirah, a Gujarati elegy, and Farbesvilas, his account of the gathering of bards, both dedicated to him.[3] At the end of the 19th Century He was entitled Mahakavi (Great Poet) by Shahjanand Swami, the founder of Swaminarayan Sampraday.[2]

Unlike Narmad, another prominent Gujarati poet of the same period, Dalpatram supported British rule for the benefits it gave India. Dalpatram also supported social reforms such as opposition to child marriage, allowing widows to remarry. Both Dalpatram and Narmad were the first Gujarati poets to address subjects connected to common life in their verses. Dalpatram's poems had subjects like English law, how to write an essay, and even "trees in a college compound". His verse often reflected his sense of humour.[2]

Dalpatram was an authority on meters and wrote a treatise, Pingal ("Prosody"), used by scholars as a sourcebook for many decades.[2]

Statue and Memorial[edit]

In tribute to Dalpatram's work, AMC and citizens of Ahmedabad proposed a memorial at the site of his house, which was destroyed in 1985. With very few references or photographs available, it was really difficult to recreate the house. References were then taken from the memories of residents and the architectural design of surrounding houses to create a memorial in the form of facade of the house and statue of Kavi Dalpatram in the year 2001.

In the year 2001, the memorial became a part of Heritage walk of Ahmedabad. The design of statue was debated before they came up with the idea of sitting posture of Kavi with a book in his lap.

The statue is made of bronze and weighs 120 Kg. Another key feature of the statue is the empty shoe of kavi which is very dear to the children. The children call him 'Dada' or grandfather with love and have deep emotions attached to the statue.

The platform behind the statue displays the plan of the original house. The yellow stone on the floor indicates the walls, grey stone indicates the rooms and the black stone represent the open courtyard. The staircase is also marked with yellow stone.[7]

The memorial also serves as a platform for community gatherings. His plays and recitations are also enthusiastically performed on various occasions including his Birthday. The Heritage department has taken the responsibility of maintenance of the Dalpatram Memorial.[8]


He was a progressive thinker and advocated the upliftment of oppressed classes and women empowerment. He utilized his literary skills to bring about changes in society.[9] At the end of 19th century, he was entitled Mahakavi or the great poet by Shahjanand Swami, the founder of the Swaminarayan Sampraday.[9]

Years have passed but the poems of Mahakavi still resonate in the hearts of people, inspiring them to move ahead in life, bringing peace to disturbed minds and questioning the social structure and system. Dada's poems also aim to teach moral values to the children through rich imagery and simple language.[1]

Kavi Dalpatram's voice was the voice of the people of their dreams and conscience – soft but firm, simple yet rich.[1]


His career spanned 6 books and 25 awards including drama, poems, songs, essays and articles. 'Hari Lila Amrut', 'Ven Chandra', 'Mithyabhiman' and 'Laxmi' are his major contributions.[1][10][11]

  • Laxmi (play)
  • Shrey (play)
  • Bipani Pinpar (poetry)
  • Buddhiprakash (anthology)
  • Mithyabhiman (play)
  • Farbesvirah (elegy)
  • Farbesvilas (poetry)

See also[edit]



External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalpatram — Please support Wikipedia.
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31 news items

The Statesman

The Statesman
Wed, 11 Nov 2015 13:56:15 -0800

Our first stop was at Kavi Dalpatram Chowk, which housed the great 19th century Gujarati poet Lambeshwar ni Pol. He was a reformist, who played a vital role to promote Gujarati language. To celebrate his achievements, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation ...


Fri, 13 Nov 2015 10:56:15 -0800

A Gujarati poet, Nanalal Dalpatram Kavi (1877-1946), had compared him with the German novelist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) and the French novelist Victor Hugo (1802-85). Tripathi wrote the four volumes between 1887-1901 and they offer a ...
Times of India
Tue, 18 Feb 2014 13:17:48 -0800

Alexander Forbes, a British civil servant posted in Ahmedabad in the 19th century, encouraged Sanskrit poet and scholar Dalpatram to write in Gujarati. In those days, Gujarati was at the bottom of the language hierarchy and was considered a 'bazaar ...
Times of India
Sun, 22 Sep 2013 14:10:31 -0700

AHMEDABAD: For the past one week, Kavi Dalpatram Chowk in the Walled City is being given a major facelift. The AMC has undertaken the project as part of its programme to refurbish the famed heritage walk of Ahmedabad. Also, because of years of ...
Times of India
Sun, 18 Oct 2015 10:03:45 -0700

These lines, starting a garbi penned by Gujarati author Dalpatram reflected the mood of Gujarat and Mumbai in aftermath of 1865 stock market crash following crash in international cotton trade. Many were riding high on sudden rise in cotton prices ...


Sun, 25 Oct 2015 01:04:03 -0700

In 1858, about a decade before Karan Ghelo was published, a British administrator, Alexander Kinloch Forbes, with the help of the poet Dalpatram Dahyabhai, had compiled Rasmala, a rich repository of bardic tales, Jain chronicles, Persian texts and ...

Economic Times

Economic Times
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 02:56:15 -0700

The region's leading poet Dalpatram encouraging his fellowmen to adapt to the 'Invasion of Hunnar Khan' (industry) and to his minister, 'Yantra Khan' (machinery). Resourceful men supplying indigo and gunpowder. Bankers advancing monies to village ...
Times of India
Tue, 23 Jun 2015 10:15:29 -0700

Two prominent figures of Gujarati literature — Dalpatram and Narmad — had burnt their hands at 'satta' and both had written poems about the vices of speculation. Mehta says that Dalpatram had been to the residence of AK Forbes, his friend and senior ...

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