Born On: 18th September, 1906
Born In: Hatharas, Uttar Pradesh
Died On: 18th September, 1995
Career: Satirical Poet
This renowned poet was known for his humorous and satirical poems. The basic intention of his literature was to make people aware of the social and religious evils that were prevalent during his time. Kaka Hathrasi also wrote sharp satires based on corruption and greed that engulfed India during his time. His unique style and sarcasm found its way into the hearts of people which gave him one of his biggest achievements of being named the 'Jan Kavi' or the 'people's poet'. He had inspired the rise of satire through his writing and poetry so much so that several other aspiring writers still do the same. One of his famous sayings included - "Eat until you are half full, drink twice the amount of water, work three times that much and laugh four times as much. Then you will live to be a hundred and twenty five".
Not much is known about the early life of this prominent poet except that his actual name was Prabhulal Garg and he was born in the Hathras village of Uttar Pradesh in North India and he wrote under the pen name of 'Kaka Hathrasi'. The name of his parents and his background are not yet known, but Ashok Chakradhar, another renowned Hindi poet, is his relative by virtue of marriage to Kaka Hathrasi's niece. Kaka was also a musicologist and a fine painter in his days.
As a poet, Kaka Hathrasi wrote in simple and fluent language that appealed to the masses and hence the title 'people's poet'. He had about 42 verses of humorous poetry under his belt.
In 1932, he established the 'Sangeet Karyalaya' at Hathras, his hometown, which was originally under the name of 'Garg & Co'. It was at this time that he decided to revive and bring Indian classical music back into the temples and palaces. He realized that the best way to do this was by analyzing old literature, translating and reworking on them to appeal to the layman. To achieve this objective, Kaka Hathrasi did extensive research on the same.
In 1935, he started a magazine called 'Sangeet' which showed people the various forms and nuances of classical music. This magazine showcased various forms of classical music such as taraana, thumri, dhamaar and dhrupad etc. along with folk music and other popular forms of music like geet, ghazal, qawwali and so on. He worked relentlessly to promote this magazine and it still continues to be one of the best and longest monthly magazines of India.
During his time, Kaka Hathrasi was also featured on the radio program called 'Meethi Meethi Hasaivan' that was on air for 11 years. A total of 786 shows were broadcast during those 11 years, which again created the record for longest running program in India. This was supposedly mentioned in the 'Limca Book Of Records' as well!
In the year 1985, he was honored with the prestigious Padmashri award by the President of India, for his contributions in the field of versatile poetry.
'The Kaka Hathrasi Puraskaar' is an award that is given to humourous poets every year and the 'Kaka Hathrasi Sangeet Sammaan' is awarded to the most distinguished musician/musicologist.
'Stri-ling Pul-ling' or 'feminine-masculine' was a poem that depicted, in a very unique style, the differences between the two genders. He was one of the best known 'hasya kavi' or 'funny poet' of all times and 'Teli ka Byah' was an apt representation of his humour in the form of a story. In 'Naam Bada Aur Darshan Chota', he made fun at how people's personalities were not in tune with their names. Other poems include: 'Kuch Toh Standard Badao', 'Jalebee', 'Aiyi Mein Aaa Gayi', 'Murghi Aur Neta' and so on. Some of his famous works also include 'Kaka Ke Kartoos', 'Kakadoot', 'Kaka Ke Kehkahe' and 'Kake Ke Prehsan'. Other books are 'Kaka Tarang', 'Kaka Ki Pati', 'Kaka Ki Fuljhariya', 'Kaka Ke Cuthkule', 'Kaka Ke Vyangye Ban' etc.
It is said that Kaka Hathrasi attained nirvana before death. He died on his birthday on the 18th of September, 1995 at the age of 89. In memory of this great poet, this day was declared as 'Hasya Divas' (Humor Day) and a park called 'Kaka Hathrasi Udyaan' was also opened in his name in New Delhi.
Jaipur's 'Sangeet Sankalp' has highlighted Kaka Hathrasi's work and a number of publications about the theory and history of classical music are still remnant due to his legacy. There are inquisitive practitioners and followers of classical, semi-classical and rich folk music of India, who have been inspired by his contributions. Several blogs still discuss his poetry and their meanings.
Awards And Accolades
Entered Limca Book Of Records for his radio show "Meethi Meethi Hasivan" (not confirmed)
Padmashri Award in 1985
1906: Born in Hatharas in UP as Prabhulal Garg.
1932: Established the Sangeet Karyalaya that was a centre for Indian classical music.
1935: Started a magazine called 'Sangeet' which promoted different forms of music.
1935 - 1985: A period of great accomplishments like featuring in a radio program and writing several works which are still treasured.
1985: Awarded the Padmashri Award by the President of India
1995: Died on his birthday on 18th September at the age of 89.