Habitual Melancholy of Worrying about Marathi

In one of the novels, by Marquez, a child was born with eyes wide open. In my late thirties when I read the novel, I asked my mother, whether I was born with eyes wide open. I asked my grandmother, all my aunts from mother’s and father’s sides whether that can be true. (Many of them had delivered babies in the backyard rooms of their big houses, as in the novel, not in hospitals, where the nurse collected the blood soaked moss of flesh without or partial knowledge of the mother.)

Nonsense all, including my mother, said at once, and rubbished the statement.  

Mind you well she was not an illiterate mother, many early generation writers and politicians liked to boast about. 

When I had asked her this question she had already read Dnyanpith (Jnanpith) Award winner, V. S. Khandekar to Arun Sadhu and in the meanwhile the entire set of detective novelists having terrific imaginative capacity, Baburao Arnalkar and his brother Madhukar Arnalkar; so much so when she came to Mumbai first time she insisted to visit the Thane railway tunnel to understand and confirm how the loot was passed to the trucks from the train, a la The Great Train Robbery on which the Arnalkar’s detective story was based.

Her next touring spot was Marine Drive where another character created by Baburao Arnalkar, Zunzar, resided and his equally brave wife Vijaya landed the helicopter on the terrace of their building, then called a bungalow, Zunzar Mahaal! She wanted to view the narrated location though she knew it was an imaginary story.


Why did you say, nonsense? I asked her meekly.

It’s not possible for birth taking kid to keep his eyes open through the nasty journey through the womb.

Hehi Aso…

Once one of senior friends, interested in literature and literary criticism to me, “when I saw Bhalchandra Nemade suddenly other day, the open eye birth story by Marquez flashed before my small, not exactly Chini Makao small, eyes.” “Ah, do mind you that I am not making any chronological mistake here many a Marathi writers are fond of,” he added further. 

If you believe that there is an exception to a thing, and to the above statement, read Dragon Jaaga Zalyavar, a chronological account of China by Arun Sadhu. 

Now-a-days Namade has been in the limelight more because of his brazen remarks growing in arithmetical progression about literature and writers, with a premeditated exception of his panthis (henchmen like but non-violent followers) than by the diversity or quality of his writing.

Calculate, dividing his comments by creative output. Taken into consideration the 34 years of non-production the GIP (Gross Individual Product) he may be thrown BPL (Below Poverty Line), in context with literature.

Being a literary gossip monger I (who is not?) am attracted by Nemade time and again for making me play such statistical games occasionally. 

Recently, he received some kind of state government scholarship the name of which I am unable to comprehend. It was some Abhyaasvrutti. I sincerely feel Abhyaasvrutti means tendency to study. How a government or an institution can offer it, and in terms of money? Is ‘Vrutti’ of any kind in-built or can it be injected by a purse attached to it? Scholars of language and especially critics born with and for the sole, and soul too, purpose accept the vrutti-purse without any dissection of the taxonomy? 

At such a golden occasion how can he leave a chance to fling a stone at the beehive?

In consonance to his nature he commented about the state of literature in Maharashtra, saying, there is not a single writer born in Maharashtra in last 50 years who could change the image of Maharashtra.

From the abortive reports published in a couple of mainline Marathi newspapers I could gather this statement by Nemade playing his clichéd disk.

Another morninger (a Marathi daily) quoted, Nemade regretting, his generation has not created a writer who could direct him and his generation like the early generation writers.

Here is some confusion, either in the writings of the reporters or in the mind of Nemade. Reporters, including editors, are continuously in a confused state of mind; there are no two opinions about that. 

However, if Nemade has in his mind Maharashtra and not Marathi how can he expect the thoughts like that of Phule, Ambedkar could be delivered by his generation. They were thinkers; they formulated thoughts, not characters like Sangvikars and likes. 

Homogenous and socially advanced Maharashtra is already invaded by other language writers and self-proclaimed social thinkers, who are not necessarily so and totally unaware of Maharashtra milieu, and who do not care about anything but for their extravagant life style. They encourage crossing boundaries and invite social trouble as the sign of social revolution which unfortunately they are unable to comprehend. 

The age in which Nemade lives is of socialites, in short. 

So true, how and who can give direction to the present or Nemade’s generation? 

A clairvoyant sage not attuned to playing gimmicks, I hope or rather let us hope.

Also he expresses his satisfaction over Marathi writers not writing in English. Why shouldn’t they? Nemade could have attempted, I say. What maximum could have happened? Farcical verbatim output like the one Vilas Sarang produced out of his own Marathi ‘Enkichya Rajyat’ into ‘In the land of Enki’ in English! Nemade was a professor of English and head of English Department like Vilas Sarang who too was honoured in the same function by the CM. He didn’t attend. Not known whether he accepted the honour.

If they accept these state level honours why not national or international achievements like say Manu Joseph (His novel has a backdrop of BDD Chawls) or our own Kiran Nagarkar? The hitch, of course, is implicit.

What Nemade propagates is a camo. If you can’t do, ask others not to do, like the phony preachers of religion.

Now back to the Marathi ethos.

There is at least one writer in Maharashtra and Marathi who has given, whatever is in the mind of Nemade, profoundly to Marathi and Maharashtra.

A budding writer was telling me once; he reads a lot of writings by famous columnists who are established writers also. But occasionally when his article is published along with them once in a blue moon, he doesn’t read their articles at all and keeps on reading his own. 

The boy suffers from Narcissus syndrome. Few of Nemade generation writers, including him, are suffering from the same complex.

Now my usual disk which I have played time and again and not tired of continuing forever; let me questioningly proclaim Mr. Nemade, has Arun Sadhu not changed the image of Maharashtra by writing in Marathi as you expect? 

Or do you expect gaoganna sermons and self-shining devices from him to understand implied thoughts in his writing in different forms? There are a couple of publicity hungry writers of your generation who are reincarnations of Gandhari as far as Arun Sadhu’s writings go. Forget about attaining the height of his writings, they, including you don’t even accept the fact that Simhasan is one of the bestsellers for last 34 years, matching your period of torpidity.

The worst part is, already devoid of prolificacy of literature they are fatuous of any oratorical or conversational skill too.

So this situation counted Namade is true, but with the above exception.

Following books are recommended, either as a good reader or as a writer of Teekaswayanvar or both:

(The choice is careful and based taking into consideration opinions expressed time to time by you and the possibilities that are unattainable for many. The subjects of the books are mentioned in parenthesis. We have thousands of references for lacunae of understanding, in case.)

  • Mukhavata (Novel with a rural base but of international caliber)
  • Sphot (Science fiction – novella simple yet intelligent)
  • Viplawa (Novel – A science fiction)
  • Trishanku (Novel on a mindset of a dalit artist in high-bro environ)
  • Ziprya (Novel about a shoeshine boy on railway platform)
  • Bin Pawasacha Divas (Short story collection of proletariat)
  • Padgham (Play on corruption)
  • Shubhmangal (Translation of The Suitable Boy par excellence the original in English)
  • Biography (Kakasaheb Gadgil)
  • Screenplays (Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar), virtually not been possible to Marathi writer of such a repute and intelligence; but very much made possible by MT Vasudevan Nair in Malayalam.

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