Young, rebel poet refuses to discipline her 'madness'

As Shubham Shree gears up for her PhD in Hindi Literature, she looks back on her controversial award-winning poem and forward to her “unplanned future” assuring us that best is yet to come

Published: 24th August 2016 05:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th August 2016 05:25 AM   |  A+A-


BENGALURU: “Iwill not stop writing and I will write in my way,” says Shubham Shree, a 25-year-old JNU student who has taken the poetic world by storm with her controversial Hindi poem ‘Poetry Management’ that bagged Bharat Bhushan Agrawal Prize.

Her work is about the business of writing poetry and how pointless the exercise can be, and then imagines a world where poetry could dictate the Sensex, hairstyles, international affairs and matrimonial ads. But what got the powers-that-be’s goat was her use of English - Repo Rate, Chief Poetry Officer, Drawing Room, etc -- in her Hindi poem.

The young poetess is unapologetic. She believes language should evolve with the times. “As a contemporary writer, I believe, the language that suited poems 30-years-ago is no more relevant. I used English words to compensate missing words,” she says. Many regional poets dismissed it as a ‘Hinglish’ poem and were furious when it was awarded a prestigious honour reserved for Hindi poems.

The poem was written in 2013 and her friend Asad Zaidi published her poem in Three-Years-Collective Journal. The poem is a satire and Shubham laughingly confesses that she can’t help herself. “I cannot stop myself from using ironies, parodies and sarcasm.”

Poetry Management is not the first of her poems to become controversial and it will surely not be her last. After writing Poetry Management she wrote another poem titled ‘Saraswati’ two years ago that went viral on social media. Her gender, her motive and her caste was questioned. She says that most of the criticism has come from the right-wing, but does not mind the opinions of the literary public on social-media platforms.

She began writing poetry around the age of 18 and since then it has become her life blood. “People criticize me like hell,” says Shubham talking of the hate messages she had received. But the silver lining is the compliments she receives from poets she admires.

On the eve of the award announcement, the Indian literati was split over Shubham Shree’s Poetry Management. A great support came from Uday Prakash, a renowned Hindi poet, who selected the young poetess for Bharat Bhushan Agrawal Prize. Mangalesh Dabral, a prominent contemporary Indian poet, wrote a summary on Shubham’s ‘Poetry Management’.

“Those who misunderstand Poetry Management have simply shown how business management has clouded our ability to see beneath the surface of language and read between the lines. “

However, other rejected it mainly because the language used was “not pure”, according to Shubham. One critic said that Hindi was sufficient to describe contemporary subjects, and that many Hindi poets had creatively reinvented the language during the Chhayavaad era (Indian Romantic era) and not mauled it like Shubham has.

Unchanged by circumstances or recognition,  Shubham thinks her best poem is still unwritten. “Sometimes I reflect on the purpose of my writing. So many writers have written pages and nothing has changed, but I cannot live without writing. It borders on madness,” she says.

Stay up to date on all the latest Bengaluru news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp