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ASHOK VAJPEYI, a Hindi poet-critic, translator, editor and culture-activist, is a major cultural figure of India. With more than 13 books of poetry, 7 of criticism in Hindi and 3 books on art in English to his credit, he is widely recognised as an outstanding promoter of culture and an innovative institution-builder. Over the years he has worked tirelessly to enhance the mutual awareness and interaction between Indian and foreign cultures. In his poetry his main preoccupation has been to explore love, home, nature, arts, mortality, others etc. and as a critic, he has underlined the abiding value of literature in its intellectual toughness, moral responsibility and self-questioning, upholding the view that literature offers ‘the other reality, the other republic of imagination’. A frequent presence at some of the major conferences, seminars and poetry-festivals, he has raised his voice for the autonomy of literature as against contemporary tyrannies of ideologies, markets and fundamentalism. As editor of many prestigious journals he has done much to promote critical awareness of contemporary and classical arts and young talent in poetry and criticism. As an organiser he has more than a thousands events to his credit relating to literature, music, dances, theatre, visual arts, folk and tribal arts, cinema etc. He has been awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award, the Dayawati Kavi Shekhar Samman and the Kabir Samman. Eight book – length translations of his poetry have appeared in English, French, Polish, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi and Rajasthani.

He has written two large books on the Paris-based Indian master Sayed Haider Raza and also one on 7 contemporary Indian abstract painters. He set up the renowned multi-arts centre Bharat Bhavan in Bhopal; has been the first Vice-Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University (set up by Govt. of India). For more than a year he doubled up as the Director General of the National Museum, New Delhi and as the Vice-Chairman National Museum of Man, Bhopal.

A prominent public intellectual of India, he has been a creative global-trotter and visited Europe many times to attend conferences, deliver lectures and give readings. He has translated into Hindi four major poets of Poland namely Czeslaw Milosz, W. Szymborska, Z.Herbert and T.Rozewicz. Has been a writer in-residence at Jamia Millia Islamia University and a fellow of K K Birla Foundation. He lives in Delhi after retiring from civil service. He has been decorated by the President of Republic of Poland by the outstanding national award ‘The Officer’s Cross of Merit of the Republic of Poland’, the French Govt. by the award of ‘Officier De L’Ordre Des Arts Et Des Lettres’ and the Embassy of Romania to India by the award ‘Best Promoter of Indo-Romanian Relations’.

Presently Chairman,
Lalit Kala Akademi,
Ministry of Culture,
Govt of India, New Delhi.