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Kalidas is considered one of India's greatest Sanskrit poets and dramatists. The exact dates of his life are disputed. Some Indian scholars believe he existed around 1st Century BC, but others believe that his works may have been written around the middle of the 4th and 5th centuries A.D, during the reigns of Chandragupta Vikramaditya, and his successor, Kumaaragupta.

He was one of the so-called nine gems of Vikramaditya's court in Ujjain. The earlier claim pointing to his existence around 1st century BC, is supported by his play on the Shunga king Agnimitra who belonged to that period. It is very unlikely that he would have made this obscure king the hero of his play unless he belonged to that period. The Vikrama calendar also begins with 58-57 BC. However, not much is known about his personal life and background, though there are several legends and tales about his life.

Three famous plays attributed to Kalidas are Malavikaagnimitra (Malavikaa and Agnimitra), Vikramorvashiiya(Pertaining to Vikrama and Urvashi)and Abhigyaanashaakuntala (The Recognition of Sakuntala). The work listed last is his most famous play, and was the first of his to have been translated to English and German.

Kalidas is also known for his famous poems. His two famous epic poems are Kumaarasambhava and Raghuvamsha (The Clan of Raghu), and two famous lyrical poems are Meghaduuta (The Cloud Messenger) and Ritusamhaara (The Exposition on different seasons).