Regional poet Haldhar Nag was bestowed Padma Shri on Monday by President Pranab Mukherjee.
A 65-year-old poet, who writes in Kosli language, is that he has never attended any formal schooling. He just went to school only up to class 3. Nag can even recite all the poems that he had written, all from his memory.
“He remembers whatever he writes and has been reciting them. You just need to mention the name or subject. He never misses anything. Now he attends at least three to four programmes every day to recite his poems,” a close associate of the poet said.
He has been born in a poor family in Odisha. Nag was forced to drop-out from school to support his family after the death of his father.
He did odd jobs like washing dishes, and cooking at a school for years until he opened a small stationary shop near a school. In that period Nag started writing. His first poem, ‘Dhodo Bargachh’ (The Old Banyan Tree) was published in a local magazine in 1990.
Nag who is called ‘Lok Kabi Ratna’ in Odisha has written on nature, society, mythology and religion other than taking up the cause of the oppressed.
His works have gone even beyond some great poets. A collection of his works titled Haldhar Granthabali-2 will be soon published by Sambalpur University and it will be a part of their syllabus.