Abhay Kumar

Abhay K

Poet Abhay K at El Rosedal de Palermo, Buenos Aires

Abhay Kumar
1980 (age 3536)

Nalanda, Bihar, India

Residence Brasilia, Brazil
Nationality Indian
Alma mater Jawaharlal Nehru University
Occupation Diplomat, Poet, Artist
Known for Poetry,Earth Anthem,SAARC Anthem,Digital diplomacy
Website www.abhayk.com

Abhay Kumar/Abhay K (Hindi: अभय कुमार) (born 1980) is an Indian poet-diplomat.[1][2] His books include The Seduction of Delhi[3][4] among others.[5][6][7] His writings cover poetry, art, memoir, global democracy and digital diplomacy.[8][9][10][11] He wrote the Earth Anthem[12][13][14][15][16] and the South Asian Anthem[17] spurring search for an official SAARC Anthem.[18]

He received the SAARC Literary Award for his contribution to contemporary South Asian Poetry[19][20] and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2013.[21] In 2011, he also received the Gov 2.0 award on behalf of the Public Diplomacy Division, Ministry of External Affairs.[8][22] He has been featured as a nominee on the longlist of the Forbes India 100 Celebrity list[23] and has been honoured with Asia-Pacific Excellence Award in 2014.[24] His The Seduction of Delhi was shortlisted for Muse India-Satish Verma Young Writer Award 2015.[25] He is a contributing writer to the Silk Routes Project of the International Writing Programme of the University of Iowa.[26]

Early life

Abhay was born and raised at Chhabilapur near Rajgir in Nalanda district of Bihar. He studied at the Kirori Mal College Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University. He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 2003. He studied Russian language, history and literature at the Moscow State University, Nepali language at the Tribhuvan University, U.S. Foreign Policy at the George Washington University[27] and how writers write poetry at The International Writing Program, The University of Iowa.[28]



Abhay K, Fady Joudah, Lionel Fogarty, Sadaf Saz, Arjun Deo Charan, Ashok Bajpai at JLF 2015

Abhay K is one of the literary flag-bearers of contemporary Indian poetry.[29][30] He features among five Indian poets everyone should know about.[31] Major Indian poet Jayanta Mahapatra thinks "qualities of love, tenderness and compassion set Abhay K's work apart from much of the general run of current poetics." [32] As per the Hindu Book Review- "Abhay K.'s words don’t sit outside and observe. They dig in, making their subject their home, and then they turn outwards, watching the landscape, the people, the city, change." [33] His poetic works startle and heal [34] and give humanistic outlook to Indian English Poetry[35][36][37] making subtle use of metaphor and imagery.[38] His first book was River Valley to Silicon Valley(2007).[5] As an editor, he has edited a special edition of The Enchanting Verses Literary Review on Contemporary Indian Poetry in English[39] and an anthology of poems on capital cities of the world. He also co-founded the Poetry at the Monument poetry movement.[40]


His poems have appeared in several magazines and literary journals including Poetry Salzburg Review,[41] The Asia Literary Review,[42] The Caravan,[43] The Missing Slate,[44] The Stony Thursday(Ireland), Mud Season Review (USA),[45] The Galway Review,[46] Eastlit[47] Kavya Bharati, Sarasvati Quarterly (UK),Big Bridge Anthology of Indian Poetry,[48] Şiirden (Turkey), The Byword, The Long Exposure Magazine(UK),[49] The Seventh Quarry (UK), Drunk Monkeys (USA)[50] Chiaroscuro London[51] An Gael, New York,[52] Indian Literature,[53] Pratilipi[54] Muse India, The Enchanting Verses Literary Review and Kritya[55] among others.[56][57] Wasafiri quarterly notes Kumar's absence from the HareperCollins anthology of English poetry stating "The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry does miss out on Agha Shahid Ali, the poet-diplomat Abhay K and Nabina Das."[43][58]

His Nalanda poems evocatively recount fall and rise of Nalanda .[59] His poem "Foreign Service" is a take-off on Shakespeare's "All the world's a stage" summarizing diplomatic careers.[60] while the poem "Gogol" alludes to the works of the writer Gogol such as "The Nose", "The Overcoat", "Nevsky Prospect", Dead Souls and The Government Inspector.[61] His poem "Ghalib" is a glimpse of tragic life of poet Ghalib.[62] Kumar's poems have been translated into Irish by Irish poet Gabriel Rosenstock[63] and in Russian by noted Russian poet Andrei Rodossky,[57] in Turkish by noted Turkish poet Müesser Yeniay, in Slovenian by Slovenian poet Katja Gorečan, in Italian by Italian poet Franz Laszlo Melas,[64] in Chinese by Chinese poet Arthur Zhang,[65] in Nepali by Nepalese poet Kishore Nepal, in Portuguese by Brazilian poets Antonio Miranda and Marcos Freitas[66] and in Spanish by Spanish poet Alicia Silvestre Miralles.[67] He said in an interview to Alok Mishra, "Poetry for me is what the soul is for the body. I read and write poetry to satisfy my spiritual hunger."[68] His poems have been read aloud by actresses Hazel Keech, Reecha Sharma, Priyanka Karki, models Sahana Bajracharya, Talia Bentson, Nagma Shrestha, actor Rajesh Hamal,[69] poets K.Satchidanandan [70] A. J. Thomas,[71] and Helena Sinervo.[72]

At Literature Festivals

Kumar has read his poems at major literature festivals including at a poetry evening hosted by the Governor of Goa along with Keki N. Daruwalla, Sitanshu Yashaschandra, Ranjit Hoskote, Arundhathi Subramaniam, Mamang Dai etc. during the Goa Art and Literature Festival 2014, at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2015 with Lionel Fogarty, Fady Joudah among others, at Mountain Echoes Literature Festival, Thimphu, Bhutan.,[73][74][75][76][77][78][79][80][81][82] Casa de Literatura, Lima, Peru,[83][84][85] and at the Festival of Indian Poetry in Buenos Aires.[86][87] On this occasion he was interviewed by Argentina´s leading daily Tiempo Argentino.[88]

Abhay K and Eleanor Catton at JLF 2015

Literary Prizes

He was nominated for the Pushcart Prize for his three poems ‘What's a Beach’, ‘Masseur’ and ‘Everything has Secrets’.[89] He was also awarded SAARC Literary Award for his contribution to South Asian poetry.[19][20]

The Seduction Of Delhi

Kumar's collection of poems The Seduction of Delhi became a bestselling poetry book after its launch in January 2015.[90] It was released by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra at the Jaipur Literature Festival.[91] T.S. Eliot Prize winning poet George Szirtes writes about The Seduction of Delhi- "One may visit a city and one may live in it. To experience it as a presence and as a history is more than either and to experience it as poetry is sublime. This is a beautiful way to be introduced to a great city as both specific and essence." [92]

"The Seduction of Delhi" is both inspired poetry and visual illustration (by Italian artist Tarshito) in motion, covering and recalling nearly a thousand years of memory, achievement, success and loss, daily grind and drudgery, a contradictory city of ruins and sprawling high rises.

—Financial Express[93]

Abhay K's poems serve up a Delhi, resplendent with character, torn asunder by marauders, patch-worked back several times with belief and faith - and above all saturated through with the touch of time and history.

—The Times of India[94]

The Seduction of Delhi was shortlisted for Muse India-Satish Verma Young Writer Award 2015.[25]


Jatra, his latest collection of poems on Nepal translated in Nepali paints a poetic portrait of Nepal.[95] It was launched by the Vice-President of Nepal.[96]

In Jatra, Abhay has written on beautiful architectural masterpieces of Nepal's cultural treasures and historical sites which attract tens of thousands of tourists from around the world.

—Business Standard[97]

He is currently editing a global anthology of poetic-portraits of about two hundred capital cities of the world[98] and is also the guest-editor of the special issue of The Enchanting Verses Literary Review on contemporary Indian English Poetry.[99]

Earth Anthem

In 2013 Kumar released Earth Anthem, a song intended as an anthem for the planet Earth, written by him in eight languages including six official UN languages — Arabic, Chinese, French, English, Russian and Spanish — as well as Hindi and Nepali. It was set to music by Sapan Ghimire and sung by Shreya Sotang from Nepal.[100] It has been translated into 26 languages including Tamil, Hindi, Nepali, Russian, Chinese, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Finnish, Korean, Turkish, Arabic, Estonian, German, Bhasa, Czech, Japanese, Tibetan,Slovenian, Montenegrin, Kazhak, Khmer and Uzbek and has received acclaim[13][101] and is being used by CBSE.[102]

In 2014, Kumar suggested that UNESCO stage a global online competition to establish an official anthem for the planet, but the organization felt unable to conduct a global competition due to its "limited financial and human resources".[103][104] The Permanent Delegation of India, Paris had recommended Kumar's proposal of an official anthem for UNESCO's consideration.[105]

SAARC Anthem

Abhay wrote the SAARC Anthem in Bengali, Dzongkha, Maldivian, English, Hindi, Nepali, Pashto, Sinhalese, and Urdu, in an attempt to attempts to foster South Asian consciousness and bring the member states of SAARC together.[106][107] It has spurred discussions on the need for an official SAARC Anthem.[108] Columnist Stanley Weiss hopes that the South Asian leaders will choose to move forward in the words of the SAARC Anthem.[109] Nepal's foreign minister has expressed the need for a SAARC anthem to connect SAARC nations.[110] SAARC Anthem was to be played at the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi in presence of the SAARC leaders.[111] Nepal at the 18th summit in Kathmandu in November 2014 is planning to introduce proposal for a SAARC Anthem in the agenda of summit when heads of all member states meet here.[112] The song penned by Abhay K may become SAARC Anthem.[113] Pooja Bhatt and Mahesh Bhatt have praised SAARC anthem.[114]


Kumar is an Indian Foreign Service officer and has served in positions at the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of the government of India and at the Indian missions and posts abroad in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kathmandu. At the MEA headquarters in New Delhi he served as the Under Secretary Digital diplomacy and sent the first tweet after setting up official Twitter account of the Ministry of External Affairs of India in 2010.[115][116] He served as the spokesperson of the Embassy of India, Kathmandu from 2012-2015.[117] He was appointed as the Director of the Nehru Centre, London in March 2015.[118][119] Subsequently, he was appointed as India's Deputy High Commissioner to Australia in August 2015.[120] He currently serves as India´s Deputy Chief of Mission at the Indian Embassy in Brasilia, Brazil.

He was also assistant editor of India Perspectives, a monthly magazine published by the Ministry of External Affairs in 17 languages from September 2011 to July 2012.[121][122]


Recipients of SAARC Literary Award 2013

Kumar's art work focus on planetary consciousness.[123] He has exhibited his paintings in St. Petersburg, Paris and New Delhi.[124][125] His art has received good reviews.[126] Poetry-paintings of Abhay K and Italian artist Tarshito exhibited at the National Academy of Art, New Delhi highlight Delhi's glorious past.[127]

Awards and recognition


Abhay K and Ruth Padel at JLF 2015

Poetry Collections



Books Translated In Other Languages

Poems in Anthologies


See also


  1. UNESCO finds Indian poet-diplomat's idea of an Earth Anthem inspiring, Business Standard, 27 Feb 2014
  2. Unesco lauds Indian poet's idea of earth anthem, The Times of India, 28 February 2014
  3. The Seduction of Delhi Archived 26 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Jaipur Literature Festival website, January 2015
  4. Diplomat Abhay K's 'The Seduction of Delhi' launched at Zee Jaipur Literature Festival DNA, 23 January 2015
  5. 1 2 The Hindu Literary Review 2007 The Hindu, 5 August 2007.
  6. Pen Drive, The Indian Express, 22 Nov 2012
  7. "The Poetic Side of Indian Diplomats", The Times of India, 25 August 2012
  8. 1 2 Public Diplomacy Division Receives Gov2.in 2011 Award Deccan Herald, 12 March.
  9. "Better with verse" The Hindu, 2 November 2011.
  10. "Indian Diplomat's Paintings on Show", indusage.com.au, 29 April 2011
  11. "Indian Diplomat turned artist presents his work on planetary consciousness" Yahoo, 27 April 2011
  12. ANI Archived 4 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine., 4 June 2012
  13. 1 2 "Indian Diplomat pens anthem for Earth" The New Indian Express, 5 June 2013
  14. "Inspiring Earth Anthem" The Himalayan Times, 9 June 2013
  15. "UNESCO to consider making Earth Anthem by Indian diplomat a global initiative", Business Standard, 26 June 2013
  16. UN to consider "Indian diplomat's song as a global initiative", The Economic Times, 26 June 2013
  17. "Indian poet-diplomat pens S.Asian anthem after Earth anthem success" ANI, 27 November 2013
  18. "Indian diplomat's poem spurs search for SAARC anthem", Hindustan Times, 9 January 2014
  19. 1 2 "Poet Abhay K wins SAARC Literature Award", Hindustan Times, 14 March 2013
  20. 1 2 3 "Five writers honoured at the SAARC Literature Festival", PTI, 11 March 2013
  21. 1 2 3 "IFS officer nominated for coveted Pushcart Prize", 2 December 2012
  22. MEA's Public Diplomacy Division gets coveted Social Media Award, ANI, 11 March 2011
  23. 1 2 Forbes India Celebrity 100 Nominees List for 2014, Forbes India, 12 December 2014
  24. 1 2 Asia-Pacific Excellence Award to Indian poet-diplomat Abhay K, ANI, 14 October 2014
  25. 1 2 3 Poet-diplomat Abhay K's 'The Seduction of Delhi' shortlisted for Muse India award, Business Standard, 11 Nov 2015
  26. Abhay K.|Silk Routes University of Iowa Website, Sept. 2016
  27. "Diplomat-writer, who pens verse", The Tribune, Chandigarh, 16 December 2012
  28. University of Iowa 's certificate in Poetry to Abhay K, Issuu, 25 June 2015
  29. Five Literary flag-bearers, Indian Poetry has been benefiting from INVC, 28 November 2014
  30. Voices and Visions in Indian Poetry in English after 1980s Archived 4 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine. LITSEARCH Vol.II Issue No.II, ISSN 2277-6990 June 2012
  31. The Pigeon, 25 March 2016
  32. Diplomat Abhay K's book 'The Seduction of Delhi' to be launched at Jaipur Literature Festival DNA, 10 January 2015
  33. Free-flowing verse The Hindu, 4 April 2015
  34. Poetry at Sangam, November 2014
  35. "Contemporary poets, storywriters to exhibit their oratory skills at Sahitya Akademi", Yahoo News, 2 May 2011
  36. "Young Indian poets, storywriters mesmerize audience with their skills"
  37. "‘Diplomat poet’ creates rhymes from life" Millennium Post, 1 July 2012
  38. Review of The Dance of the Peacock: An Anthology of English Poetry from India by Rob Harley, The Enchanting Verses Literary Review, Issue XIX, November 2013, pages 34-35
  39. A promising new edition of Indian poetry in English edited by Abhay K launched Business Standard, 23 November 2015
  40. "Take it in a word" The Hindu, 12 May 2012
  41. Poetry Salzburg Review Issue 30 PSR website, Issue 30, Autumn 2016
  42. The Asia Literary Review Issue 31, August 2016
  43. 1 2 Dara Shikoh and other poems
  44. Ghalib The Missing Slate, 11 February 2014
  45. POETRY: ISSUE #17 Mud Season Review, February 2016
  46. Abhay K- Four Poems The Galway Review, June 26, 2016
  47. National Chorten & In Punakha Dzong East Lit, December 2015
  48. Anthology of Contemporary Indian Poetry II Big Bridge, 2015
  49. Boudhanath The Long Exposure Magazine, June 27, 2015
  50. Three Poems by Abhay K Drunk Monkeys, August 27, 2015
  51. THE IRON PILLAR OF DELHI' AND OTHER POEMS Chiaroscuro, June 2014
  52. Poems of Abhay K. translated into Irish by Gabriel Rosenstock An Gael, Samhradh 2014
  53. Poems of Abhay K in Indian Literature, June-July 2012
  54. [pratilipi.in/2013/01/abhay-k-poems/Possesed Idiots and Deadly Demons]Pratilipi, January 2013
  55. Kritya Poetry Journal
  56. Poetic License Archived 27 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  57. 1 2 Северная Аврора № 12, 2010. Абхай КУМАР
  58. Review of HarperCollins Book of English Poetry by Roomy Naqvy Wasafiri Reviews Volume 28,Issue 3, 2013, 19 August 2013
  59. Nalanda Poems, Poetry at Sangam, November 2014
  60. "Foreign Service Poem" Diplomat Magazine, London, 23 January 2013
  61. "Possessed Idiots and Deadly Demons" Pratilipi, December 2012
  62. "Ghalib" The Missing Slate, 11 February 2014
  63. Dornán Dánta le Abhay K Rogha Gabriel 13 January 2014
  64. Il letterato Franz Laszlo Melas, 5 February 2015
  65. The International Poetry Translation and Research Centre Website, 18 November 2014
  66. Website of poet Antonio Miranda, 13 April 2016
  67. The Booksmovie 3 April 2016
  68. "Interview with Alok Mishra for Ashvamegh Journal" Ashvamegh Journal
  69. Poems of Abhay K Read Aloud
  70. K. Satchidanandan reads poems of Abhay K, 15 Nov 2011
  71. A.J. "Thomas on Abhay K's new book Candling the Light 15 Nov 2011
  72. Helena Sinervo reads Abhay K 19 September 2013
  73. ‘Hindi, local languages have a bright future in changing India’ The Times of India, 8 Dec 2014
  74. JLF Program 2015 Archived 28 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Jaipur Lit Fest website 21 January 2015
  75. Kavita Nirantar, Poetry 24x7 JLF YouTube Channel 25 January 2015
  76. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2015-09-06. Mountain Echoes Literature Festival website, August 2015
  77. "Young Indian poets mesmerize audience with their skills"
  78. "Sikkim Akademi hosts literary interaction programme"
  79. Kritya.in Kritya, 6 October 2013
  80. ANI 14 September 2013
  81. Diálogo y lecturas de poemas con el poeta indio Abhay Kumar Website of Casa De Literatura, Peru, May 1, 2016
  82. Poeta indio Abhay Kumar en Casa de la Literatura Peruana La Republica, Peru, May 5, 2016
  83. Peru gets a taste of India Business Standard, May 8, 2016
  84. Argentina has enshrined fond memories of Tagore The Times of India, June 14, 2016
  85. Buenos Aires to get a taste of Indian poetry The Indian Express, June 10, 2016
  86. Cuando me miro en el espejo, puedo ver a Jorge Luis Borges, Tiempo Argentino June 25, 2016
  87. IFS officer nominated for Pushcart Prize The Hindu,3 December 2012
  88. Abhay K's 'The Seduction of Delhi' becomes bestseller poetry Archived 2 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine. ANI, March 30, 2015
  89. The Seduction of Delhi launched by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra at Jaipur Lit Fest Archived 23 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine. ANI, 11 January 2015
  90. Poems on Delhi The Rising Nepal Friday Supplement,page 3, 19 Dec 2014
  91. ‘Seduction of Delhi’, a fascinating combination of poetic verse and drawings Financial Express, 27 July 2015
  92. Book Review : The Seduction of Delhi The Times of India, 6 August 2015
  93. Now, go on a 'Jatra' of poems on Nepal IANS, April 23, 2015
  94. Vice President of Nepal releases Abhay K's collection of poems ANI, April 22, 2015
  95. Indian diplomat contributes to Nepal tourism through poems Business Standard, 2 August 2015
  96. Can you write a poem about Canberra? Australian Poetry, 2014
  97. Poet-diplomat Abhay K to be guest editor of Enchanting Verses YahooNews, March 21, 2015
  98. ICCR website, June 2013
  99. "Indian diplomat in Nepal pens the Earth Anthem" IANS, 27 June 2013
  100. CBSE Website,6 October 2013
  101. "UNESCO lauds Indian poet's idea of an Earth Anthem". The Times of India. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  102. "UNESCO finds Indian poet-diplomat's idea of an Earth Anthem inspiring". Business-standard.com. 27 February 2014. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  103. UNESCO Lauds Indian Poet's Idea of Earth Anthem Outlook, 28 Feb, 2014
  104. Indian diplomat pens "SAARC Anthem" NDTV, 3 December 2013
  105. The Hindu, 4 December 2013
  106. Indian diplomat's poem spurs search for SAARC anthem Hindustan Times, 9 January 2014
  107. The Most Important Regional Organization That Nobody Has Heard Of The Huffington Post 12 May 2014
  108. Nepal foreign minister expresses need for an anthem to connect SAARC nations Business Standard, 6 June 2014
  109. SAARC Anthem to be played at Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony DNA, 25 May 2014
  110. Will SAARC have an anthem like ASEAN? Hindustan Times, 3 November 2014
  111. Song penned by Indian may become SAARC anthem The Sunday Guardian,16 August 2014
  112. Pooja-Mahesh Bhatt praise SAARC anthem The Himalayan Times,06 August 2014
  113. "A diplomatic web", The New Indian Express, 5 August 2011
  114. "Poke your Babus Online" The Times of India, 26 March 2011.
  115. Nepal Rations Fuel as Political Crisis With India Worsens The New York Times, 28 September 2015
  116. India appoints poet-diplomat as Nehru Centre Director in UK Business Standard, March 26, 2015
  117. Abhay K. to head Nehru Centre in London The Hindu, March 28, 2015
  118. Abhay K appointed India's Deputy High Commissioner to Australia Archived 2 October 2015 at the Wayback Machine. ANI, 28 September 2015
  119. "In the Service of the Nation", M.Y.O.D. 12 April 2012
  120. India Perspectives, ISSUU 16 August 2012
  121. Indian Diplomat turned Artist presents his works on Planetary Consciousness, ANI, 28 April 2011
  122. "We have come far", Indrus, 15 April 2011
  123. Art exhibition "We have come far" by Abhay Kumar opened at RCSC, rusembassy.in, 15 April 2011
  124. "A second Life". Indian Express. 2011-05-04. Retrieved 2012-11-24.
  125. Artists highlight the glory of Delhi through poetry-paintings, Business Standard, 16 September 2014
  126. 15 Noted JNU Alumni Who Have Proudly Represented India Nationally & Internationally www.scoopwhoop.com ,26 February 2016
  127. Speakers for 2015 Jaipur Literature Festival website, January 2015
  128. Poet Abhay K wins SAARC Literature Award Archived 15 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine., IANS, 14 March 2013
  129. "First Class Diploma to Abhay Kumar from the Steiglitz Academy of Art, St. Petersburg". Issuu.com. Retrieved 2012-11-23.
  130. "1st prize awarded to Abhay Kumar by Amity School of Business". Issuu.com. Retrieved 2012-11-23.
  131. "Enigmatic Love". Issuu.com. 2010-08-04. Retrieved 2012-11-21.
  132. "Fallen Leaves of Autumn". Issuu.com. 2010-08-04. Retrieved 2012-11-21.
  133. "Candling the Light". IBNLive. 2011-11-07. Retrieved 2012-11-22.
  134. "Diplomat Abhay K. releases his new book Remains". Indian Express. 2012-07-01. Retrieved 2012-11-22.
  135. "Dream WINDOW". The Hindu. 2012-07-01. Retrieved 2012-11-22.
  136. Contemporary Indian English Poetry Enchanting Verses Literary Review, November 2015
  137. "10 Questions of the Soul". Issuu.com. 2010-10-04. Retrieved 2012-11-21.
  138. "Цвет души". Issuu.com. 2011-02-17. Retrieved 2012-11-21.

External links

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