Kavi Kant

(1867 – 1923 / Gujarat / India)

Biography of Kavi Kant

Kavi Kant poet

Kavi Kant (Gujarati: મણિશંકર રત્નશંકર ભટૃ or "કાન્ત") is a poet associated with Gujarat and Gujarati literature.

Life

Kavi Kant was born Manishankar Ratnashankar Bhatt in 1868 in Chavand village, part of the Saurashtra region of Gujarat. He was born a Hindu and was part of the Prashnora, Nagar Bhramin caste. His family valued education highly. This initial influence left him with a deep interest in not only educational knowledge but philosophy as well. Apart from knowing about the Hindu philosophy, he was also a student of the Bible and its philosophy.

In 1891 his first wife Narmada died. He was heart broken and could find no comfort in anything, including his religion. His search for answers about life and death lead him to the philosophy of Emanuel Swedenborg. His writings helped provide some relief for his grief and he converted to Christianity in 1898.

His family and friends opposed his decision and due to public and political opposition, he had to give up his position as minister of education in the Princely State of Bhavnagar. He as an outcaste and his family was also shunned by his community. For example, no one would allow a member of their family to be associated in anyway with his new wife or young children. In order to protect his family and save them from this isolation, he separated from them.

As his decision formed greater repercussions, the King of Bhavnagar along with some of his other friends formed an "intervention" of sorts to ask him to change his mind. They implored him to consider what he was doing to everyone and reconsider his decision. He realized that he could not stand to see the suffering of his family because of his own decision. He missed them dearly and did not want to be apart from them. With these two factors in mind he finally converted back to the Hindu religion.

Literary Work

He wrote one poetry book called Purvalap, which was released on the day he died. He invented a form of poetry called "Khand-Kavya". His poem "Sagar ane Sashi (The Sea and the Moon)" is considered one of the ten best lyric (Urmi-Kavita) of all time. He also wrote the plays Roman-Swaraj and Guru Govindsinh.

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