Amiya Chakravarty
Amiya Chandra Chakravarty

(1901-04-10)10 April 1901
Died12 June 1986

Amiya Chandra Chakravarty (1901–1986) was an Indian literary critic, academic, and Bengali poet. He was a close associate of Rabindranath Tagore, and edited several books of his poetry. He was also an associate of Gandhi, and an expert on the American catholic writer and monk, Thomas Merton. Chakravarty was honoured for his own poetry with the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1963. He taught literature and comparative religion in India for nearly a decade and then for more than two decades at universities in England and the U.S. In 1970, he was honoured by the Government of India with the Padma Bhushan award.[1]

Education and career

He studied in Hare School, Calcutta and graduated from St. Columba's College, Hazaribagh, which was then under Patna University.[2] He joined Visva-Bharati University in 1921 as a student. Later, he became a teacher there.[citation needed]

He was literary secretary to Rabindranath Tagore from 1924 to 1933. During this time, he was a close associate of the poet. He was Tagore's travel companion during his tours to Europe and America in 1930 and to Iran and Iraq in 1932.[3]

He was also a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi, walking with Gandhi in the Salt March of 1930.[4]

Following his 1933 journey with Tagore, he left India to study at Oxford University, and in 1937 earned a D.Phil. He worked at Oxford as a senior research fellow from 1937 to 1940. During this time, he also taught in Selly Oak College in Birmingham as a lecturer. He moved back to India in 1940 to become a professor of English at the University of Calcutta.[3]

In 1948, Chakravarty moved to the US to join the Department of English in Howard University. He was a visiting fellow in English at Yale University, and a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton during 1950–51.[5] In 1953, he became a professor of Comparative Oriental Religions and Literature, Boston University.[6][7] He also held professorships at Smith College and later the State University of New York at New Paltz.[citation needed]

He wrote both poetry and prose and a number of articles in journals of India, England and the United States. He wrote many verse collections in Bengali, most notable among these are Chalo Jai and Ghare Pherar Din.[8] His poetry reflects idealism, humanism and a great love of nature and beauty.[8] He was awarded the Unesco Prize for his book, Chalo Jai. In 1963, he received the Sahitya Akademi Award for Ghare Pherar Din. He authored the book Dynasts and the Post-war Age in Poetry, which is a critical work on Thomas Hardy's poetry.[2][9]

Chakravarty met with many of the notable figures of his time, including Jawaharlal Nehru, Albert Schweitzer, Boris Pasternak, Albert Einstein and Thomas Merton.[citation needed]

He visited Merton in November 1966 at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky. Merton later dedicated his book, Zen and the Birds of Appetite (1968), to Chakravarty.[citation needed]

He served as a delegate to the United Nations for India [10]

Chakaravarty edited a number of English translations of Tagore's works. Most well known among these are: A Tagore Reader (1961) and The Housewarming and other Selected Writings (1965). He was also a consulting editor for The Asian journal of Thomas Merton by Thomas Merton.[11]



  1. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 October 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  2. ^ a b p247, Religious Faith and World Culture, Amandus William Loos, ISBN 0-8369-1976-9, from Google books result
  3. ^ a b A document from Archived 6 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ A speech by Richard Hughes Archived 3 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "entry from Institute for Advanced Study's Community of Scholars database". Archived from the original on 25 November 2015. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  6. ^ Boston University Article on Theological Education Archived 21 March 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ An introduction from a page in[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ a b p 510, Modern Indian Literature, an Anthology: Volume I, K. M. George, Sahitya Akademi, ISBN 81-7201-324-8, from Google books result
  9. ^ List of Early Criticism on Thomas Hardy's works Archived 15 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Thomas Merton(1985). The Hidden Ground of Love
  11. ^ "ISBNDB page for Thomas Merton's books". Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2008.
  12. ^ "Padma Awards Directory (1954–2009)" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 May 2013.
  13. ^ List of Sahitya Akademi Award recIpients (Bengali) Archived 10 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine