Kailash Vajpeyi
Born(1936-11-11)11 November 1936
Hamirpur, United Provinces, British India
Died1 April 2015(2015-04-01) (aged 78)
New Delhi, India[1]
Resting placeLodhi Cremation Ground, New Delhi
  • Poet
  • Writer
  • Lyricist
LanguageHindi, Indic literature[2]
EducationHindi literature
Alma materUniversity of Lucknow
Years active1964–2015[3]
Notable worksSankranta, Teesra Andhera, Dehant se Hatkar, Sufinama, Hawa Mein Hastakshar
Notable awardsFull list

Kailash Vajpeyi (IAST Kailāśa Vājapeyī 11 November 1936 – 1 April 2015[4]) was an Indian poet, writer, and lyricist who chiefly wrote Hindi language poems throughout his literary career. He wrote more than 28 books, including one of his publications Hawa Mein Hastakshar which translates to "signature in the air" for which he was awarded a literary honour Sahitya Akademi Award in 2009. The University of Lucknow awarded him Vachaspati (Lord of speech) title in recognition of his contribution to Hindi literature.

Early life

Vajpeyi was born in Hamirpur, Uttar Pradesh. He did his PhD degree in Hindi. He was initially working as a journalist and worked for different magazines. He used to teach at Shivaji College of the University of Delhi and continued until he retired in 2004. From 2008 to 2013, he served at General Council of Sahitya Akademi for five years.[4][5][6] When he was studying at the University of Lucknow, he associated himself with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's bhakti movement, vedas and Jayadeva's writings. Later he went to Puducherry where he created a documentary on an Indian philosopher Sri Aurobindo.[7]

Literary career

Vajpeyi began his career writing articles for magazines as a journalist, and later wrote poems on politics through his publications such as "Sankranta" in 1964, "Teesra Andhera", and "Dehant se Hatkar". His poetic work was primarily focused on political system, mysticism, tradition and spirituality. During his last days, his poetry was themed on "death". He criticised the first prime minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru in his poem titled "Rajdhani". He wrote eponymous poems during 1970s. His one of poems was banned by the government of India for its controversial lines, stating to sing a new national anthem.[5] Vajpeyi's prominent literal work revolved around Sufi devotional poems and sankrant. Some of his essays were translated in multiple foreign languages, including English, German and Spanish.[8]

After he wrote some critic poems he went to Mexico and Dallas. He returned to India in 1980s with a new field of poetry and started writing about Hindu saints, musicians and with the theoretical aspects of a subject such as Jain-Buddhism, advaita vedanta, hinayana, and Sufi philosophy. His poem Rajdhani remained the subject of a dispute among the parliament members that sparked a controversy in the parliament, and later the federal government banned his numerous poems, including "Rajdhani".[3] It is believed his poetic style was changed after visiting the U.S.[9] He was influenced by the different mysticism and philosophical literature such as Zen Buddhism, Sufism and Vedanta. He was also involved in writing anti-establishment poetry and lyrics, and later changed his initial poetic views citing "poetry make nothing happen, it is a signature in the wind."[10]

Awards and recognitions

Vajpeyi was the recipient of numerous literary awards and honours, including Sahitya Akademi Award, S.S. Millennium Award, Vyas Samman, the World Hindi Literature Award, and Human Care Trust Award in recognition of his contribution to the Hindi and Indic literature (English).[5]


In April 2015 he suffered from degenerative disease and was subsequently admitted to a hospital.[11][12] He died at Max Healthcare on 1 April 2015 of heart attack.[1]



  1. ^ a b "प्रतिष्ठित हिन्दी साहित्यकार कैलाश वाजपेयी का निधन, बेटी ने दी मुखाअग्नि". NDTVIndia (in Hindi). 8 May 2020. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  2. ^ "Vājapēyī, Kailāśa". id.loc.gov.
  3. ^ a b लिए, बीबीसी हिंदी डॉट कॉम के (5 April 2015). "हवा में एक कवि के हस्ताक्षर". BBC News हिंदी (in Hindi). Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  4. ^ a b "वरिष्ठ साहित्यकार कैलाश वाजपेयी का निधन". Dainik Jagran.
  5. ^ a b c Zaman, Rana Siddiqui (4 April 2015). "Kailash Vajpeyi a poet who fused tradition with modern". The Hindu – via www.thehindu.com.
  6. ^ "Renowned Hindi poet Kailash Vajpeyi no more". Business Standard India. Press Trust of India. 1 April 2015 – via Business Standard.
  7. ^ Ghosh, Tanushree (27 February 2014). "Kailash Vajpeyi | Poetry brings people together like no other concern". Livemint.
  8. ^ "Renowned Hindi Poet Kailash Vajpeyi Dies at 79". outlookindia.com.
  9. ^ "Kailash Vajpeyi: A poet embraces his favourite subject – death". 2 April 2015.
  10. ^ "Kailash Vajpeyi, Renowned Hindi poet, passes away | India News – Times of India". The Times of India.
  11. ^ "Renowned Hindi poet Kailash Vajpeyi no more". Zee News. 1 April 2015.
  12. ^ "ऐसी अर्थियों पर आंसू नहीं रुकते वाजपेयी जी!". aajtak.in (in Hindi). 2 April 2015. Retrieved 21 May 2020.