Abhay Kumar

(1980 / Bihar / India)

Biography of Abhay Kumar

Abhay Kumar poet

Abhay Kumar (Hindi: अभय कुमार; Russian: Абхай Кумар) (also known as Abhay K) is an Indian author, poet, artist and diplomat. His book River Valley to Silicon Valley tries to draw the portrait of a modern young Indian. His work in the field of Gov2.0 & digital diplomacy,philosophical poetry, planetary scale of thinking in his art works and writings on Global democracy envision a second renaissance on the planet.

Life

Abhay K. was born in Nalanda district in Eastern India in 1980 and grew up at Chhabilapur (near ancient city of Rajgir) in Nalanda district, Bihar. His father Rajendra Singh was a primary school teacher and mother Dayawanti Devi a housewife. He studied at Primary School Chhabilapur, R.D.H. High School Rajgir, B.N. College Patna before joining Kirori Mal College of Delhi University from where he earned a bachelor's degree in Geography. Being a keen debater he represented Kirori Mal College at the XIXth World Universities Debating Championship in Manila, Philippines in 1999. He earned a master's degree in Geography from the Centre for the Study of Regional Development (CSRD), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in 2000.

He topped the All India M.Phil entrance examination of JNU in Geography in 2002, passed National Eligibility Test (NET) and received Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) from the University Grant Commission (UGC) before being selected for Indian Foreign Service in 2003.

As a probationer of the Indian Foreign Service he travelled to Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and wrote a paper proposing a SAARC University at Nalanda. He was sent to Moscow, Russia on his first diplomatic assignment in 2005 where he studied Russian language, history and literature at the Moscow State University. It was in Moscow and St. Petersburg where his literary and artistic career began and flourished. He served as Second Secretary at the Embassy of India, Moscow and as Consul at Consulate General of India in St. Petersburg from 2007 to 2010. He visited the United States as a fellow of the Asia Foundation in summer 2011 and studied U.S. Foreign Policy at the Geroge Washington University.

Works

His literary work began with his first book River Valley to Silicon Valley that tells his story 'from the banks of the river’s valley to Silicon Valley, and how his brothers and he overcame their handicaps to achieve what they eventually did. This is also a commentary on the tremendous change in India, its values and culture and how education and competition can make way for anybody to break out of the mould.' His story may well be an analogy for an emerging India today.

He wrote several poems while staying in Moscow which were later published as three books viz. Enigmatic Love, Fallen Leaves of Autumn and Candling the Light.

He painted more than sixty paintings during his stay in Russia. His art works are minimalist in nature and create allegory of planetary consciousness. The geometry of Malevich and the musical coloured vision of Matyushin gain typical Indian colour vibrancy and even somewhat folklore inflections in his abstract and half-abstract works. His works explore different colours, forms, shapes and the stages of life. Veteran art critic Suneet Chopra finds it fascinating the way he uses a blend of dots, lines, colours, spaces and even geometric shapes in his works. According to Rajeev Lochan, Director of the National Gallery of Modern Art, his artistic works address the realized worldly issues with a sense of introspection. Indian Express, notes that Kumar's paintings lean toward abstraction while trying to capture the cosmic beauty of the earth through geometric forms and colours.

He was an early adapter to digital media, started his blog Ideas & Universe in April 2005 and since then has been working on a number of digital initiatives to connect Indian diplomats spread over the globe. He set up Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts of Public Diplomacy Division of the Ministry of External Affairs. On July 8, 2010, he sent the first tweet on behalf of the Ministry of External Affairs of India. He has been called Geek by the Indian Express because of his pivotal role in bringing Twitter to the central stage in the affairs of the Ministry of External Affairs, India and has been credited with providing real time updates on evacuation of Indians from Libya in March 2011.

He received Gov2.in 2011 Award on behalf of the Public Diplomacy Division, Ministry of External Affairs.

Global democracy and the role of the Internet in transforming the public sphere have been recurring themes in his writings. His Op-Ed 'Birth of Global Democracy' in The Times of India has been quoted in serious journals of international affairs. He believes whatever be our individual, social or other interests, we should not forget that we have only one cosmic home, Earth. He conceived the idea of India's first ever international conference on 'the Internet and a changing world' which was organized at the Jindal Global University in September 2011.

Positions Held

Third Secretary/Second Secretary, Embassy of India, St. Petersburg August 2005-July 2007
Consul, Consulate General of India, St. Petersburg August 2007- June 2010
Under Secretary(Public Diplomacy), Ministry of External Affairs, India July 2010 onwards.

Social Activism

He led the soft launch of Clean India Campaign at Nehru Park with Robinder Sachdev, President Imagindia Institute on 20 February 2011 that followed cleaning up of public places such as Raj Ghat and All India Institute of Medical Sciences premises in Delhi by a large number of volunteers and a nationwide campaign to clean India.

He campaigned for the rights of disabled persons on wheel chairs, parents with prams and pedestrians to walk on footpaths of New Delhi with dignity and ease. As a result New Delhi Municipal Council(NDMC) lowered the road divider at cross section of Shanti Path and Satya Marg in diplomatic enclave of New Delhi and promised to refashion footpaths and zebra crossings in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi.

Literary Works

He is a noteworthy figure in contemporary Indian English Literature for giving humanistic outlook and supranational character to Indian English Poetry. His poems deal with existential issues of the mankind, power play pervasive in our every day life, themes such as now and eternity, death and immortality etc. In May 2011, he became one of the youngest Indian poets invited by Sahitya Akademi, India's National Academy of Letters, to present his poems at the Academy to a distinguished audience of poet, writers and literature lovers.

His poem 'The Soul Song' talks of the permanence of the being.

Artistic Activities

His art works include paintings, photography and sculpture. He has taken part in several personal and group exhibitions in St. Petersburg, Paris & New Delhi. He represented India in the II International Independent Art Festival 'Sea Level' in St. Petersburg in October, 2009.

In St. Petersburg, he met and visited studios of several well known artists and collected their art works. Over a period of three years works of noted Russian contemporary masters such as Timur Novikov, Nikolai Sazhin, Bob Koshelokhov, Sergey Bugaev Afrika, Aron Zinshtein became part of his art collection.

He authored a book on St. Petersburg art life titled 'Colours of the Soul' dedicated to the great city of St. Petersburg and its people.
He was Coach Persona in February 2011, with his portrait appearing on cover page of the popular St. Petersburg magazine Coach.

His art exhibition 'We have come far' highlighted the journey of life from the state of non-being to the state of being, then 10,000 years of civilization's journey of mankind and strengthened hope of the whole humanity coming together soon. Art columnist Georgina Maddox in her article 'A Second Life' in Indian Express put him in par with prominent artists such as Paul Gauguin, Henri Rousseau, Sudhir Patwardhan and Bhupen Khakhar who have created a distinct oeuvre pursuing their passion along side their professional commitments.

Awards and Recognition

Received 1st Class diploma from the Steiglitz Academy of Arts, St. Petersburg for his exhibition 'We are different, we are together'.
Received Gov2.in 2011 award on behalf of the Public Diplomacy Division, Ministry of External Affairs, India for exception use of Social Media in government organization.

Abhay Kumar's Works:

Non-fiction

River Valley to Silicon Valley, 2007
10 Questions of the Soul, 2010
Cvet Dushi (Colours of Soul). 2011

Poetry

Enigmatic Love, 2009
Fallen Leaves of Autumn, 2010
Candling the Light, 2011

Poetry Anthologies

'Natural Spirit' edited by Michelle Afford (2006), Forward Press, UK
'A Moment of Déjà vu' edited by Annabel Cook (2007), Forward Press, UK
'Inclinations' edited by Shirley Allard (2008) Word Catalyst USA
'Harmonious Palette' edited by Olga Zabelina (2011) Russia

Short Stories

Mishka, 2006 That Evening Storm, 2006
A Day Opens Slowly, 2006

Selected Foreign Translations

V Put ot Rechnoi Dolini, 2008

Selected Publications in Russian Literary Journals

'Severnaya Avrora'
'Nevsky Almanac'
'Literary St. Petersburg'
'Sphinx'
'Okno'

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