Kalapi

(1874 – 1900 / Gujarat / India)

Biography of Kalapi

Kalapi poet

Sursinhji Takthasinhji Gohil (Gujarati:સુરસિંહજી તખ્તસિંહજી ગોહિલ) (popularly known as Kalapi (Gujarati:કલાપી) is a renowned name in Gujarati literature. He lived in Lathi-Gohilwad, which is located in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat.

Personal Life

He was born to a royal family in 1874. He had a very short life of 26 years, and died in 1900. When Kalapi 15 years old, he was married to two princesses. Rajba-Ramaba, the princess of Kutch - Roha, and Kesharba-Anandiba, the Princess of Saurashtra-Kotada. Ramaba was elder to Sursinhji by eight years, while Anadiba was elder to him by two years. When he was 20 years old, he fell in love with Shobhana, who was serving as a maid to his royal family. It is believed that, Kalapi's love for Shobhana became the reason of conflicts with Ramaba, and then the reason for his accidental death due to poisioning by his own wife. He was a follower of The Swaminarayan Sampraday founded by Lord Swaminarayan.

Works

In spite of his short life, poet Kalapi's creation was immense and enormous. His creation includes about 250 poems (including 15,000 verses). He has also given a number of prose writings. His 900 letters to his friends and wives brought the facts and truth. He not only used Gujarati language as his medium to elaborate his own creation, but also translated four English novels in Gujarati.

In his relatively short life, he still managed to mentor a minor number of budding poets, who carried on his style of writing, becoming very famous in their own right. The most prominent among these was Kavi Lalitji, who was about the same age as Kalapi, and already an established poet, when he was invited to the Lathi Darbar as a tutor for the Royal children. He came under Kalapi's influence, the two became great friends, and Kavi Lalitji went on to become the Rajya Kavi (Royal Bard) of Lathi.

All of Kalapi's creations, reading, study and achievements were packed by Kavi Lalitji during the period of his age from 16 years to 26 years. He was the excellent poet in Saurashtra's history, and was the glory of Lathi.

Kavi Kalapi had written poems in various Chhand of Gujarati language. Like Mandakranta, Shardulvikridit, Shikharini etc. To write poem in particular Chhand, one has to follow the structure of that chhand and the rules of chhandas poem. Kavi kalapi is the only poet who has written maximum number of poems in these chhands. Those poems are so smooth and lovely to read and to sing because of chhandas structure. In one of his poem he asks birds to come and eat seeds near his house and not afraid, He will not harm them. He wonderfully wrote those lines in mandakranta chhand. That poem become very famous and Gujarat education board has taken in sylabbus.

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