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Nissim Ezekeil Biography

Considered to be the Father of post independence Indian verse in English, Nissim Ezekiel was a prolific poet, playwright, critic, broadcaster and social commentator.
He was born on December 24, 1924 in a Jew family. His father was a professor of botany and mother was principal of her own school. Ezekiel was inclined to the poets such as T.S. Eliot. Yeats, Ezra Pound in his school days. The influence of all these literary personalities was apparent in his early works. His formal use of the English language was linked to colonialism and resulted in controversy.

His first collection of poetry ‘Time To Change’ was published by Fortune Press (London) in 1952. His poetry has all the elements of love, loneliness, lust, and creativity. Nissim Ezekiel went on to join The Illustrated Weekly of India as an assistant editor in 1953. ‘Sixty Poems’ was his next book followed by ‘The Unfinished Man’. Nissim Ezekiel started writing in formal English but with the passage of time his writing underwent a metamorphosis. As the time passed he acknowledged that ‘the darkness has its own secrets which light does not know.’ His poem ‘The Night Of Scorpion’ is considered to be one of the best works in Indian English poetry and is used as a study material in India and British schools.

Nissim Ezekiel worked as an advertising copywriter and general manager of a picture frame company . He was the art critic of The Times Of India (1964-66) and editor of The Poetry India(1966-67). He was also the co-founder of the literary monthly Imprint. Ezekiel was awarded the Sahitya Akademi award in 1983. In 1988 he received another honor,Padma Shri, for his contribution to the Indian English writing

He passed away on January 9, 2004, in Mumbai after a prolonged illness.

Major works of Nissim Ezekiel:

  • Time To Change
  • Sixty Poems
  • The Third
  • The Unfinished Man
  • The Exact Name
  • The Three Plays
  • Hymns In Darkness
  • The Night Of Scorpion
  • The Professor
  • Case Study
  • Poster Prayers