Famous Indian Poets

No country in the world can boast of having as rich a heritage and legacy as that of India! The land of the Golden Bird, India has been a mecca for literary lovers. The country has been the address of some of the most versatile and supremely talented poets, writers and novelists from across the world. Be it spiritual guru Kabir whose poetic works influenced the Bhakti movement or Meera the mystic singer and composer of Krishna Bhajans, Amir Khusrow the Sufi musician and poet or pre-independent India’s Abdul Rahim Khan-e-Khana, each of them have been an iconic figure in the cultural history of the country. But the list does not end here. The country served as the birthplace of many more significant poets whose works were a reflection of the social climate and a mirror for the society. These include Rabindranath Tagore, Mathili Sharan Gupt, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Mahadevi Verma, Sumitranandan Pant, Suryakant Tripathi Nirala, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, and so on. The versatility of Indian poets is such that they have penned verses, ballads, couplets and sonnets not just in Hindi but colloquial languages of the different states of India as well. the world would forever stay indebted to their exemplary greatness. With some awe-inspiring biographies presented in the section below, read on to know in details about the life and works of Indian poets.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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Rabindranath Tagore
45
Birthdate: May 7, 1861
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Died: August 7, 1941

Rabindranath Tagore was an Indian polymath who contributed greatly to the fields of literature, art, and philosophy. Referred to as the Bard of Bengal, Tagore is credited with reshaping Bengali literature and music. The first non-European to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, Tagore is also credited with composing the national anthems of India and Bangladesh.

 2 
Sarojini Naidu
(Poet and Freedom Fighter)

Sarojini Naidu
13
Birthdate: February 13, 1879
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hyderabad, India
Died: March 2, 1949

Sarojini Naidu was an Indian poet and political activist. An important figure in the Indian Independence Movement, she was a proponent of anti-imperialistic ideas, women's rights, and civil rights. Her illustrious career as a poet earned her the nickname Nightingale of India. After India became independent, she became the first woman to hold the office of Governor in the Dominion of India.

Harivansh Rai Bachchan
6
Birthdate: November 27, 1907
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Prayagraj, India
Died: January 18, 2003

A pioneer of Hindi romantic poetry and the Chhayavaad movement, Harivanshrai Bachchan is best remembered for his book of 135 quatrains, Madhushala. He was the first Indian to earn a PhD in English literature from Cambridge University. He was also the father of legendary Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan.

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 4 
Savitribai Phule
(Social Reformer, Poet)

Savitribai Phule
5
Birthdate: January 3, 1831
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Naigaon, British India (now in Satara district, Maharashtra)
Died: March 10, 1887

Savitribai Phule was a revolutionary social reformer who dedicated her life to educate girls and bring about gender equality in the face of resistance from the conservative Indian society. Phule, who was illiterate till her marriage, went on to become a teacher, a feat considered first by an Indian woman. With her husband, she established schools for girls in Maharashtra.

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Mirza Ghalib
4
Birthdate: December 27, 1797
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Agra, India
Died: February 15, 1869

Mirza Ghalib was an Indian poet whose works give a detailed description of the beginning of British rule and the subsequent events in India. A respected poet, who wrote in Urdu and Persian languages, Ghalib remains popular among the Hindustani diaspora across the world. Several films and TV shows have been made in his honor.

 6 
Javed Akhtar
(Screenwriter, poet, and lyricist known for his contributions to Indian music and Bollywood films)

Javed Akhtar
5
Birthdate: January 17, 1945
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, India

Born into a family of Urdu poets from Gwalior, renowned Indian lyricist and poet Javed Akhtar had initially been a screenwriter, along with Salim Khan, for films such as Sholay and Deewaar. The Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan winner has also been a Rajya Sabha MP.

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Muhammad Iqbal
(Poet & Philosopher)

Muhammad Iqbal
4
Birthdate: November 9, 1877
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Sialkot, Pakistan
Died: April 21, 1938

Muhammad Iqbal was a Scholar, poet, and politician. Born in British India (present-day Pakistan), Iqbal's poetry in Persian and Urdu languages is regarded as one of the greatest of the modern era. Also an influential politician, Muhammad Iqbal's vision of an independent Muslim state helped inspire the creation of Pakistan where he is recognized as the national poet.

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 8 
Gulzar
(Lyricist)

Gulzar
4
Birthdate: August 18, 1934
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dina, Punjab

Famed Indian lyricist, poet, author, screenwriter, and film director Gulzar has been a major figure in Bollywood for over six decades. He started doing odd jobs as a teenager and eventually entered films, where he made a name for himself as a lyricist and screenwriter. He soon started directing films as well. He is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards.

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Mirabai
(Bhakti Saint)

Mirabai
11
Birthdate: 1498 AD
Birthplace: Kudki
Died: 1557 AD

The 16th-century Hindu mystic poet, Mirabai, was a devotee of Lord Krishna. In the North Indian Hindu tradition, she is a celebrated Bhakti saint. While millions of devotional hymns in praise of Lord Krishna are attributed to Mirabai, only a few hundreds are believed to be actually composed by her. Several temples are dedicated to her memory.

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Amrita Pritam
4
Birthdate: August 31, 1919
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Gujranwala, Pakistan
Died: October 31, 2005

Amrita Pritam was an Indian poet, essayist, and novelist who wrote in Hindi and Punjabi languages. She is widely regarded as the first major female Punjabi poet and the leading Punjabi-language poet of the 20th century. In 1956, she was honored with the Sahitya Akademi Award, becoming the first woman to receive the prestigious award.

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Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
(Independence Activist, Reformer)

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
8
Birthdate: May 28, 1883
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bhagur
Died: February 26, 1966

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was an Indian politician and independence activist. He formulated the Hindu nationalist philosophy of Hindutva and was a leading figure in the Hindu Mahasabha. He was known for his strong oratory skills and was an eloquent writer. He was initially charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi but was later acquitted.

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Ashutosh Rana
4
Birthdate: November 10, 1967
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Gadarwara, Madhya Pradesh, India

While he initially played Ravana in local Ramleela productions of his native state Madhya Pradesh, Indian actor Ashutosh Rana later soared to fame with the series Swabhimaan. The NSD alumnus later won Filmfare awards for his roles in Dushman and Sangharsh. He is married to actor Renuka Shahane.

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Valmiki
(Poet)

Valmiki
4
Birthdate: 0000 BC
Birthplace: India

Born Ratnakara at birth, Valimiki grew up to be a bandit. Eventually realizing his sins, he meditated, while an ant-hill, or Valmika in Sanskrit, grew around him. He later came out of the ant-hill, to pen the Indian epic Ramayana, which narrates the tale of the Hindu god Rama.

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Mahadevi Varma
(Poet, Novelist)

Mahadevi Varma
4
Birthdate: March 26, 1907
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Farrukhabad, India
Died: September 11, 1987

A leading figure of the Chhayavad movement of Hindi literature, Indian author Mahadevi Varma was also a Jnanpith Award and Padma Bhushan winner. A champion of women’s rights, she contributed to the establishment of the Prayag Mahila Vidyapeeth for educating girls. She also developed the soft Khadi boli.

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Kabir
(Saint and Mystic Poet)

Kabir
8
Birthdate: 1440 AD
Birthplace: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India
Died: 1518 AD

Kabir was an Indian saint and mystic poet whose works influenced Hinduism's Bhakti movement, which in turn played a key role in the formation of Sikhism, the fifth-largest organized religion in the world. Kabir is an important figure in both Hinduism and Islam and his legacy continues to live through a religious community known as the Kabir panth.

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Kuvempu
(Novelist)

Kuvempu
4
Birthdate: December 29, 1904
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chikkamagaluru district
Died: November 11, 1994

One of the greatest Kannada literary figures to have ever lived, Jnanpith Award- and Padma Vibhushan-winning author Kuvempu had written the state anthem of Karnataka, Jaya Bharata Jananiya Tanujate. He was also an academic who had served as the Mysore University vice-chancellor and often voiced his concerns on social issues.

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Kumar Vishwas
5
Birthdate: February 10, 1970
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pilkhuwa, Uttar Pradesh, India

Kumar Vishwas is a Hindi poet, politician and lecturer. He was an active member of the anti-corruption movement, Indian Against Corruption, and was also one of the founder members of Aam Aadmi Party. Kumar Vishwas is known for his comments on topical issues relating to India.

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Kazi Nazrul Islam
4
Birthdate: May 24, 1899
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Churulia, India
Died: August 29, 1976

The Rebel Poet of Bengal Kazi Nazrul Islam is remembered for his vast body of literary work, including poems and songs written during the British Raj, mostly laced with socio-political overtones. His songs, known as Nazrul Geeti, are the staple for any Bengali household. He is also Bangladesh’s national poet.

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Soumitra Chatterjee
4
Birthdate: January 19, 1935
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Krishnanagar, Bengal Presidency, British India

Soumitra Chatterjee was an Indian film actor, director, writer, playwright, singer, and poet. He often collaborated with prominent director Satyajit Ray, with whom he worked in 14 films. A veteran actor with over 210 film appearances, he was the recipient of multiple prestigious awards, including the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India's highest award in cinema given by the government of India.  

Ramdhari Singh Dinkar
4
Birthdate: September 23, 1908
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Simaria
Died: April 24, 1974

Ramdhari Singh Dinkar was an Indian poet, academic, patriot, and essayist. Regarded as one of the most prominent modern Hindi poets, Dinkar played an important role during the Indian independence movement,; writing poems that sparked nationalism. In 1959, he was honored with the prestigious Padma Bhushan, India's third-highest civilian award. The same year, he also received the Sahitya Akademi Award.

 21 
Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi
(Islamic Scholar, Reformer)

Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi
4
Birthdate: June 14, 1856
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bareilly
Died: October 28, 1921

Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi, also known as Ala-Hazrat, was a renowned Islamic scholar and an Urdu poet. Born in Bareilly, British India, he belonged to a family of Rohilla Pushtuns who had migrated from Qandahar. He wrote about various subjects such as philosophy, science, and astronomy.

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Vikram Seth
(Writer)

Vikram Seth
4
Birthdate: June 20, 1952
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kolkata

Vikram Seth is an Indian poet and novelist. He is credited with increasing the readership of the English language in India. A revered and celebrated writer, Vikram Seth has been honored with several prestigious awards, such as the Sahitya Academy Award, WH Smith Literary Award, Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, Crossword Book Award, Padma Shri, Commonwealth Poetry Prize, and Commonwealth Writers Prize.

Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana
5
Birthdate: December 17, 1556
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Delhi, Mughal empire
Died: October 1, 1627

Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khana was an Indian poet who served in the court of Mughal Emperor Akbar. He was counted among the Navaratnas, Akbar's nine important ministers. Rahim is best remembered for his couplets and books on astrology.

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Tukaram
(Saint, Poet)

Tukaram
4
Birthdate: 1608 AD
Birthplace: Dehu, Near Pune, India
Died: 1650 AD

Marathi poet Sant Tukaram was one of the pillars of the Bhakti movement of Maharashtra. It is believed he began writing abhangas, or religious poetry, after being visited by Vitthal, an avatar of Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna, in a dream. He is revered by the Varkari sampradaya.

 25 
Sri Aurobindo
(Philosopher, Spiritual Leader)

Sri Aurobindo
4
Birthdate: August 15, 1872
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Died: December 5, 1950

Sri Aurobindo was an Indian philosopher, poet, yogi, teacher, and nationalist. He was one of the most influential leaders of the Indian independence movement before becoming a spiritual reformer, focusing on spiritual evolution and human progress. He is credited with founding the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, which continues to serve spiritual aspirants from all over the world.

 26 
Agastya
(Saint)

Agastya
4
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Not known

Rishi Agastya, one of the Saptarishi, appears in the Puranas and is said to have authored texts such as the Agastya Gita. Legend has it that the Vindhya range lies flat as Agastya had asked it to lie flat till he got back from the South, and then never returned.

 27 

Suresh Oberoi
4
Birthdate: December 17, 1946
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Quetta, Baluchistan, British India

Born in Quetta in British India, Suresh Oberoi relocated to Hyderabad after the Partition. A great athlete, he began modeling and then stepped into acting. Mostly a character actor, he won the National Film Award for Mirch Masala. He is also known as the father of actor Vivek Oberoi.

 28 
Amir Khusrow
(Sufi Poet)

Amir Khusrow
4
Birthdate: 1253 AD
Birthplace: Patiyali, Uttar Pradesh, India
Died: September 30, 1325

Amir Khusrow was an Indian Sufi poet, scholar, singer, and musician. Often referred to as the father of Urdu literature and the father of qawwali, Khusrow is revered and respected in present-day India as well as Pakistan. He is credited with introducing the ghazal style of song to the Indian subcontinent. 

 29 

Tiruvalluvar
4
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Uncertain: Madurai,Chennai, India

Tamil poet Tiruvalluvar, also known as Valluvar, had written some of the finest masterpieces of Tamil literature, such as his collection of couplets, Tirukkural. His towering statue adorns the coast of Kanyakumari, the southern-most tip of India. He is also known as the patron saint of bus drivers in Chennai.

 30 

Rahat Indori
5
Birthdate: January 1, 1950
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India
Died: August 11, 2020

Urdu poet Rahat Indori had an illustrious and versatile career as a painter, a Bollywood lyricist, and a professor. A regular at poetry events such as Kavi Sammelan, he was known for his captivating couplets such as Kisi Ke Baap Ka Hindustan Thodi Hai. He died of COVID-19 in 2020.

 31 
Vairamuthu
(Author, Actor, Poet, Lyricist, Songwriter)

Vairamuthu
4
Birthdate: July 13, 1953
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Vadugapatti, Theni

Padma Shri- and Padma Bhushan-winning Indian lyricist, poet, and author Vairamuthu went from being a translator of law books to one of the most significants Tamil literary figures. The song Chinna Chinna Aasai from the film Roja was written by him and won him one of his seven National Awards.

 32 
Mahasweta Devi
(Human rights activist, Writer, Poet, Novelist, Educator, Short story writer)

Mahasweta Devi
4
Birthdate: January 14, 1926
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dhaka
Died: July 28, 2016

Ramon Magsaysay Award-winning Indian author Mahasweta Devi is regarded as a gem of the Bengali literary world. She had also been a left-wing social activist, and her works such as Hajar Churashir Maa and Rudali have either tribals or people from the marginalized communities as their protagonists.

 33 
Basava
(Hindu religious leader)

Basava
4
Birthdate: 1105 AD
Birthplace: Basavan Bagewadi, India
Died: 1167 AD

Basava was an Indian poet, philosopher, social reformer, statesman, and saint who lived in the 12th century AD. He is credited with spreading social awareness through his poems. Although hagiographic texts and traditional legends claim that Basava founded Lingayatism, modern scholars believe that he refined and popularized the already existing religious tradition, which is popular in Karnataka, South India.

 34 

Jaishankar Prasad
4
Birthdate: January 30, 1889
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Varanasi
Died: January 14, 1937

Jaishankar Prasad was an Indian poet and an important figure in modern Hindi theatre and Hindi literature. Along with Mahadevi Verma, Sumitranandan Pant, and Suryakant Tripathi, Prasad is counted among the Four Pillars of Romanticism in Hindi literature.

 35 
Purushottam Laxman Deshpande
(Author, Film director, Actor, Composer, Poet, Screenwriter)

Purushottam Laxman Deshpande
4
Birthdate: November 8, 1919
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mumbai
Died: June 12, 2000

Purushottam Laxman Deshpande was an Indian writer, humorist, actor, scriptwriter, musician, composer, and orator. Over the course of his illustrious career, Deshpande won several prestigious awards, such as the Padma Bhushan, Sahitya Akademi Award, Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship, and Kalidas Samman. He was also known for his social and philanthropic activities. His life inspired a couple of films and documentaries.      

 36 

Nissim Ezekiel
4
Birthdate: December 14, 1924
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Died: January 9, 2004

 37 
Kannadasan
(Poet, Lyricist, Songwriter)

Kannadasan
4
Birthdate: June 24, 1927
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sirukoodalpatti
Died: October 17, 1981

Kannadasan was an Indian poet, lyricist, philosopher, scriptwriter, and philanthropist. Widely regarded as one of the greatest Indian lyricists of all time, Kannadasan wrote about 6000 poems, 5000 film songs, and 232 books. Best known for his work in the Tamil film industry, Kannadasan became the first lyricist to win the National Film Award for Best Lyrics in 1969. 

 38 
Kālidāsa
(Classical Sanskrit author who is often considered ancient India's greatest poet and playwright)

Kālidāsa
3
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: India

Ancient Indian poet and playwright Kālidāsa is considered one of the greatest Sanskrit literary figures to have ever lived. His epic Kumarasambhava, his drama Abhijnanashakuntala, and his lyric poem Meghadūta are considered classics. Most of his works are drawn from Hindu epics and scriptures, such as the Vedas.

 39 

Na. Muthukumar
4
Birthdate: July 12, 1975
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, India
Died: August 14, 2016

Na. Muthukumar was an Indian poet, author, and lyricist who predominantly worked in the Tamil film industry. He is credited with writing several popular film songs and is widely regarded as one of the most successful lyricists of his generation. During his illustrious career, Muthukumar won several prestigious awards, including two National Film Awards for Best Lyrics.

 40 
Pampa
(Poet)

Pampa
4
Birthdate: 0902 AD
Birthplace: Vemulawada, Telangana, India
Died: 0975 AD

Pampa was an Indian poet remembered for his works written in the Kannada language. A court poet of Arikesari II, Pampa is renowned for writing epics like Vikramarjuna Vijaya and Adipurana. These epics served as a paradigm for future works written in the champu style. Along with Ranna and Ponna, Pampa is counted among the three gems of Kannada literature.

 41 

Kamala Suraiyya
4
Birthdate: March 31, 1934
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Thrssur, Kerala, India
Died: May 31, 2009

Kamala Suraiyya, also known by her pen-name Madhavikutty and by her married name Kamala Das, was a Malayali poet who is remembered for her liberal treatment of female sexuality in her works. Her writings, such as Summer in Calcutta, form an integral part of Indian literature written in English.

 42 
Mir Taqi Mir
(Former Urdu poet of the 18th century Mughal India and one of the pioneers who gave shape to the Urdu language itself)

Mir Taqi Mir
4
Birthdate: March 31, 1934, 1723
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Uttar Pradesh, India
Died: September 20, 1810

Mir Taqi Mir was an Indian poet who lived during the 18th century. He is credited with shaping the Urdu language and is remembered as one of the most important poets of the Urdu language. Mir Taqi Mir's life and career inspired the 2016 Pakistani biographical film Mah e Mir, in which Mir is played by Pakistani actor Fahad Mustafa.

 43 
Nizamuddin Auliya
(Sufi Saint)

Nizamuddin Auliya
3
Birthdate: October 9, 1238
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Budaun, India
Died: April 3, 1325

Nizamuddin Auliya was an Indian Sunni Muslim scholar and Sufi saint of the Chishti Order. He stressed love as a means of realizing God and believed that love of God implies love of humanity. He is considered one of the most famous Sufis from the Indian Subcontinent. His teachings were marked by an evolved sense of religious pluralism and kindness. 

 44 
Narsinh Mehta
(First Poet of the Gujarati Language)

Narsinh Mehta
4
Birthdate: 1414 AD
Birthplace: Talaja, Gujarat, India
Died: 1481 AD

 45 
Sahir Ludhianvi
(Former Poet and Film Song Lyricist Who Wrote in the Hindi and Urdu Languages)

Sahir Ludhianvi
4
Birthdate: March 8, 1921
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ludhiana, Punjab, India
Died: October 25, 1980

Sahir Ludhianvi was an Indian poet and film lyricist best remembered for his works written in the Hindi and Urdu languages. He wrote lyrics for a number of memorable Hindi film songs. He was a member of the Progressive Writers’ Movement. Sahir was a staunch secularist, and he did not practise any religion

 46 

Purandara Dasa
3
Birthdate: 1484 AD
Birthplace: Shimoga, Karnataka, India
Died: January 2, 1564

 47 
Sumitranandan Pant
(Writer, Poet)

Sumitranandan Pant
4
Birthdate: May 20, 1900
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kausani
Died: December 28, 1977

One of the most significant pillars of the Chhayavaadi movement of Hindi literature, Padma Bhushan-winning poet Sumitranandan Pant most wrote in Sanskrit-influenced Hindi. Born in Kausani, as Gosain Dutt, he later changed his name. Known for his socialist themes, he also penned the Kulgeet of IIT Roorkee.

 48 

Michael Madhusudan Dutt
3
Birthdate: January 25, 1824
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Jessore District
Died: June 29, 1873

Michael Madhusudan Dutt was an Indian poet, dramatist, and writer who predominantly wrote in the Bengali language. A pioneer of Bengali drama, Dutt is widely considered the most skilled poet in the history of Bengali literature. His life and career inspired the 1950 drama film Michael Madhusudhan, in which Dutt was played by Indian actor Utpal Dutt.

 49 
Shiv Kumar Batalvi
(Poet Most Known for His Romantic Poetry)

Shiv Kumar Batalvi
3
Birthdate: October 8, 1937
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bara Pind, Pakistan
Died: May 6, 1973

Shiv Kumar Batalvi was an Indian writer, poet, and playwright who predominantly wrote in the Punjabi language. In 1967, he became the youngest person to receive the Sahitya Akademi Award for his epic verse play Loona, which is regarded as a masterpiece in Punjabi literature. The Shiv Kumar Batalvi Auditorium, which is located in Batala, was constructed in his honor.

 50 
D. R. Bendre
(Generally Considered the greatest Kannada lyric poet of the 20th century)

D. R. Bendre
3
Birthdate: January 31, 1896
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Dharwad, India
Died: October 26, 1981

D. R. Bendre was an Indian poet and writer. Regarded as the 20th century's greatest Kannada lyric poet, Bendre is also considered one of the greatest Kannada-language poets of all time. Bendre was honored with India's highest literary award, the Jnanpith Award, in 1973. He was also honored with the Sahitya Akademi and Padma Shri for his contribution to literature.