Week's Person

Person of the Week: Rajiv Khandelwal

Dear Readers,

In this interview series we ask questions to people who are making a difference in our society, it can be big, it can be small, it doesn’t matter, what matters is their contribution. It can be anyone from any walk of life and from any country. Please, do send us suggestions of people whom you think we should interview for this series.

Born, 1957, Kanpur. Rajiv is a decorated poet with eight poetry volumes to his credit. Has three books of critical appreciation published on his poetic works.

Few poems are part of the syllabus of the Foundation Course in English Language, paper II of St. Aloysius College, Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh). Dissertation has been done on his selected poems.

Select love poems have been translated in Hindi – published 2021.

Tell us something about yourself?

 Until the age of eleven, I lived with my maternal grandparents in Kanpur, while my parents were based at Agra. When I graduated to Class 7 during the year 1969, I came down to live with my parents. During this period, my mother made me read a few pages each day from books authored by Enid Blyton, one of the most popular writers of children’s books. As a young boy, I always thought that Enid Blyton was included in our school curriculum and so read the same as part of our daily homework. Later, reading books became my favourite hobby and finally the passion to read increased and during summer holidays, I began reading one novel a day and today have a personal library of over a thousand assorted books including novels. Notwithstanding, academically I am an Electrical Engineer from BIT, Mesra, Ranchi, but now a businessman exporting Auto Rubber Parts.

 What motivated you to write and who are your favorite authors? What sort of themes do you like to write on?

My daughter was studying in Convent of Jesus and Mary School in Shimla, and we used to frequently go to Shimla to visit our daughter.

 During one such trip to Shimla in 1996, I was accompanied by some friends and their families. We were browsing old books stall on mall road of Shimla, and I happened to get hold of a book titled A Profile in Creativity: Poet, Professor, Person: A Festschrift on Som P. Ranchan. On flipping pages we learnt that Poet Ranchan lived at Sanjoli, an outskirt area of Shimla. With a curiosity to see ‘what a poet looks like’, I and my friend decided to give him an unsolicited visit.

We had no idea where Prof Som Ranchan lived, we just had his name. Even though we enquired around the market place, close to the Taxi stand, about his locality, we drew a blank. Dejected at our wild goose chase we were about to give up, when we took a last chance, and as luck would have it asked a young shopkeeper who by chance was his former student and he gratefully guided us to him.

We reached Dr. Som Ranchan’s house and I blurted out that we had come out of curiosity to see how a poet looks like. He was a courteous man, gave us a pleasant smile and sat down to chat with us for almost an hour. I recited a poem titled The Physics Lab that I had written when I was eighteen and my friend Anil Sharma recited several poems, he had penned in Hindi.

Dr. Ranchan encouraged us to keep writing. His motivational aura was so immense that on my return to Agra I penned five poems within a week and posted them to him for approval and editorial corrections/suggestions. He was surprised to receive them at such a short time, he eagerly responded with his editorial expertise after which commenced our Guru-Shishya relationship in full swing from 1996 but which sadly came to an end after his demise in 2014. It was during this span of time that I published three volumes of poetry, Conch Shells and Cowries – published in 1998, Love is a Lot of Work  & A Monument to Pigeons both published in 2013 to critical acclaim.

After publication of my first volume, I have read Linda Goodman and Dr Som Ranchan’s Love Poems for infinite number of days as solemnly as one reads a religious text. Under Dr. Ranchan’s tutelage I was coaxed to read Emily Dickinson, Donne, William Carlos Williams. I sincerely acknowledge with regret that I do not claim to have any particular poet as my favourite.

 In essence, critics acclaim me as a love poet, which is my forté, albeit I do write on an assortment of erstwhile and current concerns too. Poetry for me is not content-oriented

 How has your life changed from this pandemic? How did you cope during the lockdown?

I am a businessman, and during the first phase of the pandemic, since all business activities were closed, I had nothing to keep me busy. As such, my mind was devoid of business tensions that would otherwise have kept me on tenterhooks. Therefore, I diverted my attention to my literary activities and penned down three volumes of Poetry Books for Children published as Crazy Class, Adventure and Magic Moments along with a set of three other volumes of How to Teach / Learn Poetry Writing tagged with the title, Let’s Crawl, all of which were out in August 2021. Incidentally, the subsequent book, Let’s Walk is still in progression while Let’s Run is in its concluding editorial phase.

Nonetheless, I must accept with deep sorrow that all through the second phase of the pandemic my vision came to a standstill as relatives and dear friends succumbed to the vicious virus, which hampered and blocked my creativity and was therefore unable to utilize my penmanship in a constructive manner.

What are some of the social issues that you care about most?

 To be honest, I am not a social reformer by training and temper and have never very seriously pondered over any social issues that I needed to tackle by way of my literary compositions. Yet, my poetic collections definitely highlight some specific social issues which centre around child marriages, dowry, corruption, bonded labour, prostitution, superstition, and relationships besides a host of other disturbing factors leading to divorce and breakups.

 If you get a chance to go back in time and change one thing in your life, what would that be?

 After doing my Electrical Engineering in 1980, I consider myself fortunate, that I have lived life absolutely on my own terms. I have enjoyed the ups and downs of life because they were solely because of my own decisions and I alone was responsible for them. So, I really do not think, I would want to go back in time and change anything.

 I am a keen student, who humbly accepts his mistakes and learns to better himself. At times, I speculate, if I had mastered law instead of engineering, would I have been commercially more successful. However,  no sooner does the deliberation arise than the notion flies away, as being a lawyer I might have raised my financial status and earned a name in the  circle of advocates  but would that have afforded me the time to compose poems and be showered with numerous awards and acclaim in the literary world, both nationally and Internationally. Perhaps not, therefore in truth I am satisfied with my achievements as a poet and have no wish to turn the clock backwards.

 What would be your advice for aspiring authors who want to get published?

As a rule of art, aspiring poets should hone their craft and regularly send their poems to journals that publish poetry. In case the editors reject their poems, they must understand that the poems lack certain criteria and hence require revision. Instead of being disheartened, the poet in making must work diligently to perfect his/her talent. They must always remember that they have to work at the grass root level to achieve success in life, whether as a poet or in any other field of their interest.

 What are your plans for the future in your literary endeavors?

 As a poet, I am very much conscious of the fact that there are certain aspects like prosody and phonetics, which are essential requisites in the art of composing poems, which I have not been able to master yet, since I do not have a literary background. Nonetheless, I am grooming myself and assuredly, I will achieve this mandatory commitment with patience and use the skills in my future writings.

 The Teach/Learn Poetry Writing books are being written in the hope that it will enable children to compose poems.  I would also like to mention here that I would soon be publishing my debut novel, which now is in its editorial phase and if well reviewed by critics and the reading public, it would definitely encourage and challenge me to pen more prose.

 What are your hobbies and interests outside writing?

I love to listen to music, and in fact, before the pandemic attack I was training in Classical vocal music. Being a businessman, time sometimes can be in short supply, particularly when the available time gets spent in reading the Art and Craft of writing Poetry.

 Your message for our readers?

 Dear readers, you would by now have known that academically I was a science student, with limited exposure to literature and no knowledge of poetry writing and I have honed my skills in the art of writing poetry by sheer hard work, patience and perseverance.

Remember, practice makes a man perfect and so here I am, with eight published volumes of poetry and three critical volumes written on my poetic works, all of which  I have achieved in the last 25 years. I firmly believe in the precept where there is a will, there is a way and that one can do anything, accomplish anything, if the craving to attain is strong and if one works doggedly to achieve it.

 Therefore, concentrate on your weak and strong points; compete with yourself, better yourself in every form of letters and forget what the world says.

A poet’s strength lies in knowing his/her weaknesses.



  1. this is a very inspiring interview for those who wish to develop their art of composing poetry. Mr Khandewal’s views are imperative in the sense that if being an engineer, he could teach himself the grave art of writing poetry without any literary background, I am sure others who are intrigued with this creative activity, can also achieve success with patience and perseverance.
    thank you Siddarthji for this very absorbing, informal dialogue with an eminent Poet of international repute.
    My best wishes to Mr Khandelwal for his achievements as a poet and for paving the way for the younger generation, encouraging them to carve a niche for themselves in this literary field

  2. We have studied together in BIT and we never felt that he is a poet, I love reading his poems which is very inspiring. Great.

  3. Although I know Mr Rajiv Khandelwal so well but going through his journey is mesmerizing and encouraging.
    My best wishes for his further ventures.

  4. Inspired by a career of an entrepreneur who’s an engineer but no one could take away the ‘POET’ in you …. The learning is, follow your heart earnestly and you will end up doing your best.

  5. Dr. Kailash Nath Khandelwal

    “Where there is a will, there is a way”, Mr. Rajeev Khandelwal’s evolution from an engineer to a renowned and established poet and writer amply proves the veracity of this dictum. Personally, I find in Rajeev a strange person who has the knack of converting the impossible into possible.
    Rajeev Khandelwal’s poetry has been nationally and internationally acclaimed by renowned poets and critics. The volume of his published poetry is sufficient enough for doctoral research, as some critical anthologies have also been published on his work.
    I don’t have any hesitation in stating that besides being himself a poet, he is a maker as well, which is evident from his upcoming creations, “How to Teach/Learn Writing Poetry”.
    I look forward to much more from his fertile pen in the coming days.
    My best wishes to Rajeev Khandelwal

  6. राजीव जी की कुछ कविताओं को पढ़ने का सौभाग्य मुझे भी मिला है ,उनकी प्रांजल भाषा ,कविता में उनकी गहन सोच ने मुझे भी प्रभावित किया है | इस सुंदर साक्षात्कार के लिए उन्हें और साक्षात्कार लेने वाले ,दोनों को बहुत-बहुत बधाई |

  7. अनिल कुमार शर्मा

    राजीव भाई के साथ मैने शिमला में देखा कि एक अंतरराष्ट्रीय ख्याति प्राप्त लेखक कैसा होता है ?

    लेकिन मैंने अकेले देखा कि एक व्यापारी लेखन के जुनून से अंतरराष्ट्रीय ख्याति प्राप्त लेखक कैसे बन जाता है जुनून शब्द का सही अर्थ समझना हो तो राजीव जी के साथ कुछ पल बितायें

    हार्दिक बधाई व शुभकामनाएँ स्वीकार कीजिए ?सर?

  8. During our college days, I knew Rajeev as an Electrical Engineering batch mate and a very jovial personality. I must say I am impressed to go through the interview. I was not aware about this hidden treasure in you. Wish you all the best !! Take care.

  9. The interview with Er Rajiv Khandelwal is enlightening and inspiring for all those who think of writing poetry. He is now one of the major poets writing today. Poetry is an art that gives bliss not only to the poet but to the reader also.
    Congratulations to Rajiv Khandelwal and thanks to Mr Siddarth for selecting Khandelwal as person of the week.

  10. Mr Rajiv Khandelwal’s story is definitely very inspiring . Creativity is something which helps one not only to de-stress but also teaches you to spend time with positivity . One should have a passion in life whether music , writing , or any other art form .

  11. Very impressive interview

  12. Dear Rajiv, being your batchmate from our days of studying for an engineering degree together, I am very pleasantly surprised to learn about your poetic skills in addition to your being a very fine engineering student. Generally poetry and engineering do not go together, but you have broken the myth to the delight of many. Your interview gives me a glimpse of the years that have transpired between or graduation and now, and it is inspirational how you balanced your lives as a businessman, family man and poet. Kudos to you!!!

  13. Very good interview depicting the background of Mr. Rajiv Khandelwal which made him a good writer. His message to the budding writers is very relevant and useful. His frank statement summing up the interview shows how sincere and honest a poet he is: “A poet’s strength lies in knowing his/her weaknesses.” Congrats and best wishes dear friend Rajiv!

  14. Dr. Kailash Nath Khandelwal

    Rajeev Khandelwal’s evolution from an engineer to a renowned and established poet and writer amply proves the veracity of this dictum. Personally, I find in Rajeev a strange person who has the knack of converting the impossible into possible.
    Rajeev Khandelwal’s poetry has been nationally and internationally acclaimed by renowned poets and critics. The volume of his published poetry is sufficient enough for doctoral research, as some critical anthologies have also been published on his work.
    I don’t have any hesitation in stating that besides being himself a poet, he is a maker as well, which is evident from his upcoming creations, “How to Teach/Learn Writing Poetry”.
    I look forward to much more from his fertile pen in the coming days.
    My best wishes to Rajeev Khandelwal

  15. Rajiv khandelwal is a prolific poet, I have read some of his volumes, his poetry is always appealing, innovative in content and ideas. He is aware of the time and circumstance, the social and political issues and sincerely forwards his ideas without any inhibitions. He has gradually transformed into a significant voice in Indian English poetry today. We expect much more from him in the coming times.

  16. I’m sure after reading Mr Khandelwal’s interview many will be inspired not to let go their dream irrespective of their field of interest. It’s true, one has to persevere in order to achieve one’s goal. Nothing comes to us on a silver platter. Just thinking of wanting to do something but not working on it is as Pt Nehru said, ‘ thoughts not put in action is an abortion of it ( thoughts). Mr Khandelwal has expressed this very well in his interview.

  17. I have enjoyed the experiences of Poet Rajiv Khandelwal growing towards manhood, as a Poet. He is a well read nice poet. I wish that he achieves his desired level of perfection.

  18. Mr. Rajeev,
    Enjoyed going through your experiences, some of which you had recounted during our various meetings. Thanks for sharing. Keep up the good work you are engaged in.

  19. Dr. Bhupinder Parihar


    The interview is Poet’speak as it reflects the poet’s inner voice and offers peak into his thought process, modes of perception and his world view. A pioneering post-modernist, Rajiv Khandelwal’s poems have a transporting quality. The narrative modes render the poems a rare charm and remoteness. The poet effaces the self with rare élan and finesse. A socially relevant poet, the poems exhibit a preferred concern and sensibility shaping i.e. subversive realm where art and life merge.

    With Rajiv Khandelwal, a new postcolonial school of Indian English Poetry (2) takes shape. Binaries and ambivalences of socio-cultural temper mirror the tension and tribulations of the turbulent contemporary mind. In the post-truth age, the poet discovers new strands and strains, a new texture and grammar of poetry writing. He knows well – language is an act of the mind – an expression of the unconscious structured enigmatically. His poems weave a magic–web unlayering its inner most cores and recesses.

    The decoration is so well deserved. It comes to a poet who has successfully and impact fully done what Ezra Pound called –‘make it new’. Heartiest felicitations to the poet – an innovative master of the art of ‘Making it New’.

    Wishing Rajiv Khandelwal many more laurels in days ahead.

  20. Dr. R.S. Tewari 'Shikhresh'

    Indeed ,Rajiv Khandelwal is a unique poet of English . His interview unfolds him a real litterateur .His attitude to life ,love and literature is that of a realist replete with emotions ,imagination and social concerns .The way he came forward in his interview with Indian Periodicals ,a well recognized and reputed literary forum shows the gravity of his thoughts and sublimity of his literary outpourings .As I have known him for years together ,his personality as revealed in the interview is an appraisal of truth and multi-dimensional figure who is basically an industrialist whose heart throbs for poetic effusions ,though far from traditional rhyming ,yet leave a powerful impact on readers .This makes him a unique literary artist .
    Congrats ,dear poet !
    Kudos to the Indian Periodicals for choosing a dynamic figure !

  21. Prof. Sagar Mal Gupta

    Dear Khandelwalji
    A very honest and inspiring interview. I particularly liked the advice given to the aspiring writers and poets.A rejection of a poem by an editor is a very devastating experience for a new poet. It kills his spirit of writing but then an editor has to do his job honestly. I like Rajiv Khandelwal’s poems especially for his fresh, appropriate and vibrant images.. I wish him good luck and a long , healthy and happy creative life.

  22. I have been associated with rajiv bhai since 35 years. I have moved with him as business supplier then as friend then as NGO’s participant then as business partner and then as critic in his life and work. My ultimate opinion about him is that he is an Amezing personality. He did so much for every body even not knowing about any person which ultimately made his personality as rare of the rarest. God bless his.

  23. Mr. Rajiv Khandelwal’s interview is very truthful and honest. His mother’s earnest endeavour and poet Dr. Ranchan’s encourage ment contributed much in making him a poet today. His transformation from a professional course of study to the world of literature is highly commendable. The aspiring poets of present times may draw much inspiration from his life of commitment and perseverance. I wish him a literary journey very smooth and advancing. My regards and love.

  24. S L Peeran Poet/ Writer and Editor of Sufi World
    On behalf of International Sufi Centre Sri Rajiv Khandelwal was honoured as A Poet of Excellence, who has contributed to the world of Indian English Literature from among thousands of Indians writing Poetry along with 22 other outstanding Indian English Poets.
    This recognition speaks about the merit of Rajiv Khandelwal 🌹

  25. Vertica Khandelwal

    Amazing, inspiring interview!! My best wishes to you for your achievements as a poet and for paving the way for the children, encouraging them to carve a niche for themselves in the literary field.

  26. Rajiv Kahndelwal is an exquisite poet, not only for India but for the entire world
    His poems reach the level of the clouds in a blue sky of perfection. He deserves the best recognition and so I have invited him to be part of my international organization called Bilingual MCA Poets & writers for Peace

    • Dr Manoj Kumar Pathak

      Poetry is a creative art of great virtue. And, Er. Rajeev Khandelwal is for sure a prolific and impressive poet of high repute. I have gone through his poems and they appeal to the mind and penetrates into the heart as well.

      My best wishes for his regular writing and good health.

  27. Dr. N V Subbaraman

    Great. Highly inspiring. I have experienced myself. May God bless you.

  28. I feel really inspired and motivated after reading his journey. He is a big source of inspiration for budding writers like me. I wish him a wonderful career ahead. May God bless him with good health and prosperity.

  29. राजीव जी की कविताएं, संपादन कौशल तथा शुद्धता और पूर्णता के प्रति 100 फ़ीसदी प्रयास मुझे बेहद प्रभावित करते हैं। हर वक्त कुछ नया सीखने और जानने की ललक मुझे भी प्रेरित करती है। उनकी अब तक की साहित्य यात्रा बेहद रोचक और शानदार रही है। निसंदेह वे अभी साहित्य में और भी लंबी यात्रा तय करेंगे।

  30. A poet is born with feelings that are capable of motivating others as Er. Rajiv Khandelwal got and also does. He has such a powerful way of making exquisite use of fabulous words to express his wonderful feelings into different moods and high tech emotional intelligence. His innate talent makes his poems amazing and valuable pieces and places him among the prolific English poets in spite of being an Electronic Engineer and successful businessman. Honestly he is a prolific poet having a thirst of knowledge and a source of motivation. I congratulate him and wish for his success.