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learning: Haiku in Indian Languages - Gujarati

Updated: Sep 12, 2021


editor: Vandana Parashar

The influence of haiku on Gujarati literature has provided a new dimension to great literary works in Gujarat.

Jhinabhai Desai(16 April 1903- 6 January, 1991), better known by his pen name “Snehrashmi” introduced haiku in Gujarati literature and popularised it. He was a Gujarati language author and Indian Independence activist, who began the trend with poems very close to the spirit and form of the original haiku. He strictly followed the 17 syllable pattern and set the path for other Gujarati poets. His first collection of haiku “Soneri Chand Ruperi Suraj” was published in 1967 and has 360 haiku. His second book “Sunrise on the Snowpeaks” was published by Gujarat Sahitya Academy in 1988.

Many other known Gujarati poets followed him and started writing haiku, including Niranjan Bhagat, Jayant Dalal and Ushanash.

Mukundbhai P. Brahmakshatriya of Patan (Gujarat) has a record in India Book of Records for writing 10,000 haiku. He published it in 10 volumes.

Haiku and Gujarati literature have another interesting tale. Locally known as the “Ray Math” movement, the neo-literature movement started in the 70s, when its practitioners wrote haiku in protest the best being “Daba hath no khel” and "Shubash Shah in Haiku in Chopadi”. The titles suggest that the poets chose haiku to break the monotony in literature.


haiku: Murtaza Patel, Ahmedabad

translations: Priya Narayanan

વ્યાસ ત્રિજ્યા ને what use are the diameter

પરિઘ શા કામનાં? radius and circumference?

કેન્દ્ર નિહાળો. focus on the centre

શેર કે કૉપી? share or copy?

તારું એ કર્મ આપે, your choice reveals

સાચી ઓળખ. your identity

‘કટ’ થયા છો? have you been ‘cut’?

કે અંદરથી ચાલુ or are you experiencing

છે ‘કૉપી-પેસ્ટ’? an internal ‘copy-paste’?

ભલેને બ્લેન્ક, so what if

હોય ‘ઇમેજ’ તોય the image is blank

‘લાઈક’ કરો. please ‘like’

haiku: Jhinabhai Desai

translations: Priya Narayanan

ઓસબિંદુએ a dewdrop

સમાવ્યું છે, નિજમાં enclosed within it

વ્યોમ વિરાટ an endless sky

ખીલ્યું ગુલાબ rose in bloom

ઝઘડો હવે આંખ now for the fight between

નાક ને હૈયે the eyes and nose

ઝાપટું વર્ષી after the drizzle

શમ્યું; વેરાયો ચંદ્ર the moon dispersed

ભીના ઘાસમાંઘા in the grass

કુહાડીના blows from an axe

વને પડઘા : આંધી echo in the woods: a storm

પંખીની આંખેરાત in the bird’s eyes

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