Suresh Bhat (Marathi: सुरेश भट; April 15, 1932 – March 14, 2003) was a noted Marathi poet from the state of Maharashtra, India. He was known as Ghazal Samrat (Emperor of ghazals) for his exposition of the ghazal form of poetry and its adaptation to the Marathi language.
Bhat was born in a Karhade Brahmin family in Amravati, Maharashtra to Shridhar Bhat, a physician. His mother was fond of poetry and made young Bhat learn famous Marathi poems by heart. He later acknowledged this practice to be a key influence in the development of his poetic abilities.
When he was two and a half years old, Bhat contracted polio. The disease left his right leg incapacitated for the remainder of his life.
Bhat completed his education in Amravati, and earned a BA degree in 1955 after failing twice in his final exams. He said later that due to his physical disability and lack of interest in academics, he often suffered humiliation at home. According to him, his poems were the only source of comfort for him during such times of bitterness and depression.
After graduation, Bhat continued writing poems whilst holding various teaching jobs in Rural areas around Amravati.
In his private life, Bhat made no bones about his hurt over the rejections and embarrassment that he suffered earlier in life, and said that he was not someone who forgives or forgets easily. His poems reflect his angst about human suffering, and due to their fiery nature, are generally popular amongst the youth.
He had two sons and a daughter. One of them predeceased him when he was killed in an accident.
Suresh Bhat died of cardiac arrest on March 14, 2003. He was 70.
Bhat published his first collection of poems, Roopgandha in 1961. In 1974, he published his second collection, Ranga maazhaa wegalaa and in 1983 he self-published a collection named Elgaar. Other collections of his poems include Zanjhaavaat and Saptaranga
Roopgandha and Ranga maazhaa wegalaa were the recipients of the state literary awards sponsored by the Government of Maharashtra in their respective years of publication. Ranga maazhaa wegalaa was later taught in three universities in Maharashtra for the MA course in Marathi.
Bhat’s poems are generally classified as Marathi ghazals. He is considereda pioneer in adapting the ghazal (which originated as an Persian form of poetry) to the Marathi language.
Bhat’s best-known verses gained popularity after they were set to music by Hridaynath Mangeshkar, and were sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle.
Bhat’s poem ‘Maayboli’ was composed by music director Kaushal Inamdar as the Marathi Abhimaangeet as a mega song featuring more than 450 singers.