Kavi Pradeep was an Indian poet and songwriter. He rose to fame after writing for one of the earliest Indian films ‘Bandhan’ in 1940. His next hit was the patriotic song ‘Door Hato Ae Duniya Walo’ for the film ‘Kismet’ in 1943. This film was the first blockbuster hit and made it to the Golden Jubilee awards. The song’s lyrics indirectly conveyed the overthrowing of the British Government in India. Hence, the artist was alarmed about his arrest and went undercover. Post Indian independence, he freely wrote songs and poems about our nation which still fuel our patriotism.
Kavi Pradeep was born as Ramchandra Narayanji Dwivedi on 6th February 1915. It was small middle class family in Badnagar near Ujjain where his childhood passed. He started taking interest in poetry since he joined school. He was also a spoken word poet, his poetry sessions at the Kavi Sammelans were a crowd magnet. This gained him fame among other poets in town and influenced him to take up his pen name ‘Pradeep’. He graduated from the University of Lucknow in 1939.
As for career, Pradeep first chose to be a teacher. He joined a course to become one. But when he got an invitation to Bombay to attend Kavi Sammelan, things started changing. He was offered to write songs for a film. Soon the songs got immensely popular and so did him. His command over the Hindi language helped this poet reach several heights. He got married to Subhdra Ben in 1942.
Kavi Pradeep experienced a lot of events during his time as a poet. He was accused of cleverly using his songs to ignite the Indian crowd to uproar against the British. Also when he was at the peak of his success, he still was a kind hearted, down to earth man. He also went through a career setback. Pradeep’s songs later suffered the westernisation of Indian music but that didn’t stop him from writing. He tried his best to keep his style alive through many more songs and succeeded.
Songs that united India
His career of a poet started flourishing when he gave back to back songs to Hindi cinema. Modern India was gifted by his words of pure love for his country. Here is a list of Pradeep’s songs which made a mark in the musical era:
- ‘Chal Chal Re Naujawan’ of Bandhan in 1940 was the song that brought him the recognition of a fresh new talent of the Hindi music industry. This song became the base for Indian Freedom Movement.
- ‘Aaj Himalay Ki Choti Se Phir Hum Ne Lalkara Hai, Door Hato Ae Duniyawalon Hindustan Hamara Hai’ was for the blockbuster ‘Kismet’ in 1943. It was one of the most praised songs of that time. It went through the heavy censorship of the British and yet made it to the film. The song had a hidden message against the British Raj which the Indians decoded. Until the British understood what was going on, the song had done its job. Kavi Pradeep went undercover to avoid arrest from the British for the patriotic song.
- ‘Dekh Tere Sansar Ki Halat Kya Ho Gayi Bhagwaan, Kitna Badal Gaya Insaan’ was his next hit for the film ‘Nastik’ in 1954. This song conveyed the cruel reality of how disputes among people can destroy precious bonds.
- The song ‘Aao Bachcho Tumhein Dikhayen Jhanki Hindustan Ki, Is Mitti Se Tilak Karo, Yeh Dharti Hai Balidan Ki’ for ‘Jagriti’ in 1954 was both written and sung by him. As India was an independent nation, now Pradeep took his chance to freely write this beautiful piece. He was in the golden era of his career due to ‘Jagriti’. This song will ring a bell to you as it remains evergreen.
- ‘Hum Laye Hain Toofan Se Kishti Nikal Ke, Is Desh Ko Rakhna Mere Bachcho Sambhal Ke’ and ‘De Dee Humein Azadi Bina Khadag Bina Dhal, Sabarmati Ke Sant Tu Ne Kar Diya Kamaal ‘also for the film ‘Jagriti’ are also patriotic songs which are still played during national days of India.
What Influenced Him to recite Patriotism
The patriotic songs written by him proved far more influential than he thought. When he came to know this, he wrote a lot of songs on the topic. And then in 1960 the song of the millennium, ‘Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo’ was released.
It was an instant hit which moved the audience. The lyrics along with the melodious voice of Lata Mangeshkar touched millions of hearts. During its first performance even Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India broke down. The song is dedicated to the soldiers who sacrificed themselves during the Indo-China war in 1960. Kavi Pradeep claimed that he was deeply touched by the story of Param Vir Major Shaitan Singh Bhati who was also one of the soldiers and got inspired to write the song. As an honour, he was titled the National Poet of India.
During his career that lasted 50 years, he penned down 1700 songs. Many made the cut and some he treasured with himself. For his fabulous writing and tremendous hard work, he was awarded with Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1961 and BFJA Award in 1975. He was also recognised for his voice for the song ‘Yahan Wahan’ as the ‘Best Playback Singer’ award by Bengali Journalists’ Association in the year 1975.
In the year 1997, he was honoured with the highest award of Indian cinema, Dadasaheb Phalke Award under the Lifetime Achievement category. Unfortunately, he didn’t live much longer after that to enjoy the honour but his determination and patriotism is immortalised in our hearts.
Quotes by Kavi Pradeep
“Nobody can make you patriotic. It’s in your blood. It is how you bring it out to serve the country that makes you different.”
“Love is just a part of life and the love written about today talks about love between the sexes only. But do young men and women have a monopoly where love is concerned. Aren’t there different kinds of love that between a mother and her children, between a father and his children, between a devotee and his deity, between a man and his motherland? I chose to write about all these different kinds of love.”
“A lot of people wrote in those days and I was encouraged because I was writing something that listeners appreciated then.”
Kavi Pradeep died at the ripe age of 83 on December 11 in 1998 in his house in Ville Parle, Mumbai. His wife and two daughters kept his legacy alive through the Kavi Pradeep Foundation. In the memory of this legendary poet Kavi Pradeep Samman Award has been constituted. He may not be with us now but his songs and poems of patriotism will be carried on from one generation to the next.
Written By: Rituparna Desai