Posted: November 18, 2011 in Icons, The NamoLeague Times
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137 years down the memory lane, his life and work are still alive in people’s hearts. Sursinhji Takthasinhji Gohel – A renowned Gujarati poet known by the pen-name of Kalapi, meaning a peacock, needs no introduction.

Kalapi was born to a royal family in Lathi – Gohilwad of Amreli district in Saurashtra. He lived a very short but inspirational life of 26 years. He was born on 26th January, 1874 and expired on 9th June, 1900. He had his primary and secondary education with English medium at Raj Kumar College. He was sent to England but returned back within a year. Kalapi was handed over the kingdom when he turned 21.

Kalapi was a follower of The Swaminarayan Sampraday founded by Lord Swaminarayan.

Kavi Kalapi’s personal life reflects his intense love story that was the ultimate reason behind his poetry and romanticism.

At the age of 15 years, he was married to two princesses – Rajba-Ramaba, the princess of Kach-Roha and the second was Kesharba-Anandiba, the princess of Saurashtra-Kotada. Ramaba was elder to him by 8 years, while Anandiba by 2 years. The twist came at the age of 20 years, when Kalapi realized his love for Monghi called as Shobhna. She was a maid who had come along with Ramaba when she got married and then stayed back in Lathi to serve her. She was smart, beautiful and innocent. She would keenly listen to Kalapi’s poems and showed deep interest in literature. All these caught Kavi Kalapi’s attraction. He gave his heart to Shobhna when she was just 12-13 years old.

Kalapi could never love his wives. But at the same time, he never stepped back from his duties of a husband. His love for Shobhna led to many differences and he constantly had to face the conflicts with his heart, mind, love, laws and responsibilities and to add to that, Ramaba’s deceptions. Ramaba tried her best to separate the lovers. Kalapi was even sent away to Bombay on the pretext of state business.

However, Shobhna remained the inspiration and topic of his love and inspired him to write innumerable stanza in praise of her beauty and their marital separation.

Kalapi’s life is the greatest example that nothing can be a barrier. He lived for a short span of 26 years, but it was enough for him to earn the admiration of the people for his poetry. He has penned down 259 soul stirring poems including 15,000 verses.

Apart from poems and verses, he has also given a number of prose writing. His 900 letters to his friends and wives help the readers peep into his personal life. He not only used Gujarati language as a medium to elaborate his own creation but also translated English novels to Gujarati. Kalapi was also an avid reader. He had read more than 500 books in Gujarati, English, Farsi and Sanskrit.

Kavi Kalapi has also written poems in various Chhands of Gujarati language. Mandakranta, Shardulvikridit, Shikharini etc. were the foremost. He is the only Gujarati poet to write the maximum number of poems in these Chhands. Even today, his work is smooth, lovely to sing and unmatched.

Kavi Kalapi was an inspiration to many budding poets of his time. They were the ones who carried forward his style of writing. The most prominent example was Kavi Lalitji, who was about the same age as Kalapi, and already an established poet. He was deeply influenced by Kalapi when he was invited as a tutor for the royal children of the Lathi Darbar. Kavi Lalitji later became the Rajya Kavi of Lathi.

The most striking point is that all these creations, reading, study and achievements were packed by him during the period of his age from 16 years to 26 years i.e. in a span of just 10 years.

After Kavi Kalapi confessed his love for Shobhna, things were torn between his relations. When he was forcefully sent to Bombay, Shobhna went missing. He could never find out the whereabouts of the love of his life. For many years, he wrote letters and poems in her memory. It was rumored that Kalapi’s death was scammed by his own wife, Ramaba. It was not an accidental death but due to poisoning.

Kalapi was an excellent poet in Saurashtra’s history, and will always remain the glory of Gujarat.

Read original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=Kalapi%20No%20Kekarav_586

  1. Yogesh Raval says:

    ” Peda thayo chhu dhundhava tune, SANAM !
    Ummar gujari dhundhata tune, SANAM !…..
    …Patthar bani peda thayo chhu pahadma,
    Chhu chahanaro e y TU thi chhu, SANAM !”

    Hraday ne ekvar to halavuj pade jo Hraday hoy to.
    E chhe kekarav mara Kalapi no.

    Yogesh Raval

  2. Ashwin Madia says:

    I was born in Lathi and, of course, love Kalapi’s creations.

    Love “Gujarati bhasha ni samruddhi” – and have been blessed with “Gujarati bhashanu prabhutva” – may be it has something to do with being born in LATHI!

    Is “Kalapi no Kekarav” available on line (or that matter in print)? Would love to purchase one.

    Thank you for posting this information on Kalapi!

    Ashwin Madia

  3. rajesh patel says:

    sir,,kalapi jee na jeevan kavan par mae 1,album yadi bhari tya aapni.4,audio cd+booklett.ane temani rachana ao nu 1,album aapni yadi 2,audio cd+booklett..banavya chhe koi ne rus hoy to..contact karva nu kahesho…rajesh..09321331083

  4. rajesh patel says:

    kalapi jee no parichay aapto video.part 1-2.mara face book profile par chhe..aap shaer karsho to bahu aananad thashe…tema kavi nu badhu original sahitya sathe,,narretion.ane musical intresting chhe…pls

  5. Malek Arif says:

    it’s beautiful…I also visited…any one have audio of kalapi poem…jiny jiny najar mari …

  6. snupudi@yahoo.com says:

    ““““““““““““““““` My life was shaped by following trinity;
    Kalapi, Kalidas and my father

    [1] Kalapi; the noblest among all man and most sensitive poet ever walked on this earth.
    When i came here i had brought one copy of his book with me however i was afraid to loose it. I read and recite his poems all the time- So my father sent me second copy on my mother’s 70th birthday. On first page he writes- to my revered daughter

    “Rag ane vairag-ma haiyun aa zultu rahyu.”

    Growing up that was me. I knew that if i become a sadhvi i will be the best sadhvi. And if i marry, my marriage will be like a model-today i am in limbo.

    “Anthi anthi mel khato aa vishva kaje, ridya mum ghadayu ko anya lok mate.”
    I knew from the early age that i am not fit to live in this kind of materialistic world which is full of greed, deceit, lies, jealousy anger, arrogance, rude and ruthless, backstabbing, brainwashing, self centeredness, revenge and more.
    [2] Kalidas; the Indian Shakespeare who wrote timeless plays in Sanskrit. Each one of his play is priceless nugget however, Shakuntalam and Maghdut are my favorite. My father lived a long, immaculate and remarkable life, a spiritual life in a secular world. I grew up in Ashram like atmosphere- Aarya-samaj and i was his gem- Shakuntala. Maghdut is celebration of a marital love. When it came to marriage i was dreaming to marry someone like Yaksh of Maghadut.

    [3] A.M.Desai, her revered father whose life could be summed up in few words, – simple living and simple thinking.

    In life he witness what he believed. In true sense he was a “Vaishnav” He followed a spiritual diet described in this prayer. He lived a long, immaculate and remarkable life, a spiritual life in a secular world. His life was a sum total of charity, deeds done with devotion and penance- for the wrong doing of his children and others. He is an unsung hero.

  7. Prakash Prajapati says:

    Hi ! Is there any poem having words “વેદાંત અને દેવાંત ” ? Both these words are in last of line of a poem of Kavi Kalapi’s poem. If any body knows this poem pls share on this blog.

  8. Dhwany Munshi says:

    Hello all.. i was wondering if i could get the original book in print as one of the pictures on the cover page was drawn by my grand dad himself.. looking forward for your help.. thanks…

  9. Tejas says:

    he is a nice poet of the world and he is giving arising the by writng such poems

  10. Any translations of Kavi Kalapi’s poetry into English or other languages ?

  11. Pranay Vasavada says:

    Nice blog Aditi. Can you share the poem “Sukhi hu tehii Kone shu, Dukhi hu tethi kone shu”

    • Raghu Babu Yarlagadda says:

      Here is the painting of Raja Ravi Varma which is an adaptation Kavi Kalapi’s poem Kanya aur Krownch. Two of the greatest creative minds of Bharateeya Sanskriti together. An immortal Poet and immortal Painter. With regards, Raghu Babu Yarlagadda +91 9553039999

  12. Puja says:

    I want this 4 cd

  13. Kamlesh Rathod says:


  14. Raghu Babu Yarlagadda says:

    Very nice article 👌


    Did Kalapi ever write something like: Nirdosh Anand – bhale lo tame game tyathi?

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