Shiv Kumar was born on July 23, 1936 in Bara Pind Lohtian (Shakargarh tehsil), in Punjab (now Pakistan).
In 1965 Shiv won the Sahitya Akademi award for his verse-drama Loona. He married on Feb 5, 1967. His wife Aruna was a Brahmin from Kir Mangyal in district Gurdaspur. By all accounts Shiv had a happy marriage. He had two children, Meharbaan (b. Apr. 12, 1968) and Puja (b. Sep. 23, 1969) whom he loved immensely. In the early 70’s Shiv came to Bombay for a literary conference. In keeping with Shiv’s outrageous behaviour there is a story about his trip to Bombay as well. Part of the conference involved readings at Shanmukananda hall. After a few people had read their work (one of whom was Meena Kumari), Shiv got on the stage and began “Almost everyone today has begun to consider themselves a poet, each and every person off the streets is writing ghazals”. By the time he’d finished with his diatribe, there was not a sound in the hall. This is when he began to read ‘Ek kuri jeeda naam mohabbat. gum hai, gum hai…’. There wasn’t a sound when he finished either.
Shiv has been called a Bohemian. There were complaints about his drinking and some suggestions that his ‘friends’ had him drink so he would exhibit his outrageous self.
Shiv Kumar died in the 36th year of his life on May 7, 1973 in his father-in-law’s house at Kir Mangyal near Pathankot.