ila kumar is a Hindi poet, writer and a translator from India, whose works include four books on poetry, a book on gardening and a novel. She has also translated German poet Rainer Maria Rilke’s poems and Chinese Philosophy Tao Te Ching’s verses from English to Hindi. Her poems have been translated in several Indian languages including Bengali, Punjabi etc. The book of poem collection named ‘Zid Machli Ki’ was translated in English as‘Resolution of Fish’. Her numerous articles and poems are regularly published in national, international and e-magazines.
ila’s writings illustrate her interests in variety of subjects. Translator Dhananjay Jog writes about ila’s poetry “When I first read ila kumar’s poetry, I was fascinated by her language. The honesty, which one can feel through the words, is overwhelming. Another important aspect of her poetry is keen observation.” He further writes “Her profound study of Vedanta philosophy and her own spiritual quest pervades her poetry. She tries to wrestle with the fundamental question of human existence and man’s relationship with the divine.” ila talks about vedant “I had always been a serious reader of vedant. It started showing in my writings. It wasn’t intentional but when I finished writing, I realized that it was pure vedant.” An excellent example of such writing is the poem zid machli ki (translated in English as Resolution of Fish), wherein the essence of entire poem lies in the last three lines. They say “In a poet’s life, they would write one novel. And that would be autobiography.” True! Indian Railways serves as the backdrop of her only novel Kriti-ka.
Sometimes by force, sometimes at will, owing to her husband’s job, ila travels a lot. “I have always enjoyed long train journeys. I get undisturbed stretches of 8-9 hours which I have always utilized for writing.” A blessing in disguise was Mr. Kumar’s transfer from Nagpur to Kolkata. With their all belongings packed, she was left with a few books of Rainer Maria Rilke. It was here, in a one room rest house of BNR, she decided to translate the German poet. ‘Tute pankon wala samay’ was the product of this decision.
Born on 1st March 1956 in Muzzafarpur, a city in the north Indian region of Bihar, ila’s father was a reputed lawyer. ila graduated as Bachelor of Science student majoring in physics from University of Bihar and later did her Masters in Physics honors from the same school. She also did her degree in Law, about which she tells, “When I started writing articles on education and social problems, I realized, somewhere all these problems have a solution in law and therefore, I studied law.”
She wrote her first poem at the young age of 13. Since then she kept on writing poems but never published. ila got married to Mritieunjay Kumar, an Engineer in Indian Railways, in 1977. “He has encouraged me a lot” ila tells about her husband, “I wasn’t confident when it came to show my writings to the world. Mr. Kumar’s support has been precious to my writings.” Her first book‘Zid Machli Ki’, a poetry collection, was published in 1995. She dedicated it to her husband. Chronologically, these were not earliest of her poems. Her earliest poems written between 1968 to 1970, is still unpublished. Her other poetry collections ‘Kartik Ka Pehla Gulab’, and ‘Tehera Hua Ehsas’ were published later. Collection of her four books included three above mentioned books and ‘Kinhi Ratriyon mey’, chronologically her second set of poems.
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