Who was Kalidasa?
Kalidasa was a Sanskrit poet and dramatist, probably the greatest Indian writer of any epoch. The six works identified as genuine are the dramas Abhijnanashakuntala (“The Recognition of Shakuntala”), Vikramorvashi (“Urvashi Won by Valour”), and Malavikagnimitra (“Malavika and Agnimitra”); the epic poems Raghuvamsha (“Dynasty of Raghu”) and Kumarasambhava (“Birth of the War God”); and the lyric “Meghaduta” (“Cloud Messenger”).
Kālidāsa has had great influence on several Sanskrit works, on all Indian literature. He also had a great impact on Rabindranath Tagore. Meghadūta’s romanticism is found in Tagore’s poems on the monsoons. Sanskrit plays by Kālidāsa influenced late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century European literature.
A lyric poem, the “Meghaduta,” contains, interspersed in a message from a lover to his absent beloved, an extraordinary series of unexcelled and knowledgeable vignettes, describing the mountains, rivers, and forests of northern India.
The society reflected in Kalidasa’s work is that of a courtly aristocracy sure of its dignity and power. Kalidasa has perhaps done more than any other writer to wed the older, Brahmanic religious tradition, particularly its ritual concern with Sanskrit, to the needs of a new and brilliant, more secular Hinduism. The fusion, which epitomizes the renaissance of the Gupta period, did not, however, survive its fragile social base; with the disorders following the collapse of the Gupta Empire, Kalidasa became a memory of perfection that neither Sanskrit nor the Indian aristocracy would know again. (Britannica)