Mukesh Modi, D. M. Patel Arts and S. S. Patel Commerce College
The writer here describes the various ages and traditions of Gujarati Poetry, looks into the present condition and questions the practice of writing poetry for the pundits’ sake.
Middle Age Gujarati Poetry
Gujarati poetry has basically evolved from Bhakti Literature of the 15th and 16th centuries. Oral tradition of Gujarati folklore dates back to the 12th century. So many seekers/devotees contributed immensely to the development of Gujarati poetry. Gujarati literature is divided broadly into two periods. The period from 12th century to the early 19th century is known as Middle Age, and the second period from 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century is known as Modern age. Looking at the Middle Age Gujarati literature, we find that the period was, as is the case with other Indian literature, dominated by poetry. In Gujarati, we have Narsinh Mehta Mirabai, Akho, Premanand, Shamal, Dayaram, Bhalan, Nakar, Bhim, Raje, Pritam, Dhiro, Bhojo and many others. With few exceptions, most of these poets liked to be known as devotees more and poets less. As Dr. Ramesh Trivedi mentions: “There was neither a consciousness of being poets nor attachment to being poets.” The central theme of Middle Age Gujarati Literature was religion. Since the society of the time was dependent heavily on religion, the hymns to devotions, wisdom and detachments were the major themes of the poetry of the age.