Meet Odisha’s Haldar Nag: A Class 3 Dropout And A Dishwasher, Just Bagged Padma Shri For His Poetry

The Logical Indian

March 30th, 2016

Image Courtesy: fnbworld Vivek Singh

Starting his journey as a dishwasher at a local sweet shop, 66-year-old Haldar Nag has made a distinct name of himself in the literary field of Odisha. A class III-dropout, Haldar received the Padma Shri award — one of the highest civilian awards in India — from the president on Monday.

Haldar Nag is a poet in Kosli language and he remembers all the poems and 20 epics that he has written. His great contribution to the Oriya literature has been recognised by many. Five scholars have based their PhD research on him, even the BBC has made a documentary film on his life and works. The Sambhalpur University is also coming up with a compilation of his writings, which will be a part of the university’s syllabus.

Always clad in dhoti and vest, Haldar has never even worn any footwear. he goes on attending three- to four- programmes every day, where he recites his poems.

Born in a poor family of Ghens in Bargarh district of Odisha in 1950, Nag could attend school only up to Class-III, when he lost his father. At that time he had no other option than working as a dishwasher in a sweet shop. After two years, he was taken to a high school to work as a cook for 16 years. Later he opened his own small shop, where he used to sell stationeries and eatables for school students.

It was at that time in 1990, he wrote his first poem ‘Dhodo Bargachh’ (The Old Banyan Tree), which was published in 1990. his poems brought him felicitations that encouraged him to write more. Now his works have been recognised worldwide. The theme of his poetry varies from mythological to social, political, as well as scientific events. Often, he is compared to the great Oriya poet Gangadhar Meher.


The Logical Indian salutes Haldar Nag for his wonderful contribution to literature. We wish him all the success for his future works.

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