Statue of Kavi Dalpatram at lambeshwar ni Pol, Ahmedabad
Dalpatram, who knew no English, was a Sanskrit scholar and poet. 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.
Forbes who wanted Gujarati literature develop, had helped found the Gujarat Vernacular Society. When Forbes died in 1865, Dalpatram composed Farbesvirah, a Gujarati elegy, and Farbesvilas, his account of the gathering of bards, both dedicated to him. At the end of the 19th Century He was entitled Mahakavi (Great Poet) by Shahjanand Swami, the founder of Swaminarayan Sampraday.
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.
Dalpatram was an authority on meters and wrote a treatise, Pingal ("Prosody"), used by scholars as a sourcebook for many decades.
- Laxmi (play)
- Shrey (play)
- Bipani Pinpar (poetry)
- Buddhiprakash (anthology)
- Mithyabhiman (play)
- Farbesvirah (elegy)
- Farbesvilas (poetry)
- Mohan, Sarala Jag, Chapter 4: "Twentieth-Century Gujarati Literature" (Google books link), in Natarajan, Nalini, and Emanuel Sampath Nelson, editors, Handbook of Twentieth-century Literatures of India, Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1996, ISBN 978-0-313-28778-7, retrieved December 10, 2008
- Unnithan, Chitra (2014-02-22). "Briton inspired Dalpatram to write in Gujarati language". The Times of India. Retrieved 2014-02-22.
- Datta, p. 1071
- Mukherjee, p. 83
- Amaresh Datta (ed.) (1988). Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature: devraj to jyoti, Vol. 2. Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 8126011947.
- Sujit Mukherjee (1999). A Dictionary of Indian Literatures: Beginnings -1850. Orient Blackswan. ISBN 8125014535.
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