Sudama Panday 'Dhoomil'

Sudama Panday 'Dhoomil'

What I inherited were citizenship
in the neighbourhood of a jail
and gentlemanliness
in front of a slaughter house.
- "The City, Evening, and an Old Man: Me": ‘Dhoomil’ [1][2]

Sudama Panday 'Dhoomil' (सुदामा पांडेय 'धूमिल') (November 9, 1936 – February 10, 1975), known mostly as Dhoomil, was a renowned Hindi poet from Varanasi, who is known for his revolutionary writings and his 'protest-poetry' [3][4], along with Muktibodh.

Known as the angry young man of Hindi poetry due to his rebellious writings [5], during his lifetime, he published just one collection of poems, 'Samsad se Sarak Tak', 'संसद से सड़क तक' (From the Parliament to the Street), but another collection of his work, titled "Kal Sunana Mujhe" 'कल सुनना मुझे' was released posthumously, which in 1979, went on to win the Sahitya Akademi Award in [Hindi [6][7].



Sudama Panday 'Dhoomil' was born on November 9, 1936 in Khewali, Varanasi district, Uttar Pradesh. After successfully passing out to tenth standard, he joined the Industrial training institute (ITI]) Varanasi], where he passed out with a Diploma in Electricals, and later he joined the same institution, as an instructor in the 'Electricals Department' [7].

He died on February 10, 1975, at the young age of 38 years [8].

In 2006 the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a rightwing political party, raised an objection in the Indian parliament over the inclusion of one his radical poems, Mochiram, in the NCERT Hindi textbooks, which, subsequently, was replaced by one of his other poems – ‘Ghar Main Wapsi’ [9][10].

The last book of Dhoomil, Sudama Pandey Ka Prajatantra, was published by his son Ratnashankar Pandey.


  • “Today I’m in Battle” where the poet hopes for a happier time in the future, because “today it is dark / and our hands are bloody.” Tomorrow there might be a different kind of poetry because in the dark present “Chains rattle against the laughter of flowers / Kinships are on the lookout for a change in the script.” Today “children are unfed / Mother’s face has turned stone, / father’s wooden. / It is as if the house burns / in its own flames.” Today “the professional smiles of roses / have cancelled the spring / and blood coursing through the veins of poetry / is more a burden / than a necessity.” Where are the youths, the poet asks, those “fire-wheels of change, / of a hungry history.... Are the breasts of girls / wandering like jokes doing the rounds / artificial? / Do young men wear false teeth? / Why are those jaws jammed / that read the reports of massacres?” And the answer emerges within him “like words on the walls of a life-convict: / Hear me tomorrow / when plants shed milk flowers / on the tongue of a child drinking wordlessly / and in the courtyard / bread is broken with mutton / when the joy of eating what is earned / turns into family and fraternity / Hear me then. Today I am in battle [11]
  • “Twenty years after independence” – “Twenty years later/I ask myself......../is freedom only the name/of three tired colours/dragged by a single wheel/or does it have some special significance?” [2].
  • मुझसे कहा गया कि संसद/दे श की धड़कन को / प्रतिबिंबित करने वाला दर्पण है / जनता को/ जनता के विचारों का नैतिक समर्पण है/ लेकिन क्या यह सच है?/ या यह सच है कि /अपने यहां संसद -/ तेली की वह घानी है / जिसमें आधा तेल है/ और आधा पानी है/ और यदि यह सच नहीं है / तो यहाँ एक ईमानदार आदमी को / अपनी ईमानदारी का मलाल क्यों है?/ जिसने सत्य कह दिया है / उसका बुरा हाल क्यों है? – Sansad se sadak Tak [8]

Further reading

  • Unfinished Business: Five Modern Hindi Poets (Dhoomil, Shrikant Verma, Raghuvir Sahay, Kunwar Narain, Kedarnath Singh) by Vinay Dharwadker. [12]
  • Four Hindi Poets, Journal article by Shrikant Verma; World Literature Today, Vol. 68, 1994 [13]
  • Contemporary Literature of Asia, by Arthur W. Biddle, Gloria Bien and Vinay Dharwadker. 1996, Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-373259-2.


  1. ^ Civil Rights
  2. ^ a b c Words turned into images The Tribune, November 7, 1999.
  3. ^ The City, Evening, And An Old Man: Me, by 'Dhoomil'
  4. ^ Kedarnath Singh Interview
  5. ^ , Dhoomil
  6. ^ Official list of Awardees 1955-2007 Sahitya Akademi website.
  7. ^ a b Sudama Panday Dhoomil, Biography & Works
  8. ^ a b Dhoomil Profile and Poems
  9. ^ Antara-I Press Information Bureau, Government of India.
  10. ^ Mochiram by Dhoomil
  11. ^ .”Today I am in battle. Samizdat Magazine, Issue #6, Fall 2000.
  12. ^ Vinay Dharwadker Books
  13. ^ Four Hindi Poets

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