Veteran Marathi poet, lyricist and writer Mangesh Padgaonkar died at his Mumbai residence on Wednesday. The 86-year-old literateur was on life support system for the past three days.
Born on March 10, 1929, Padgaonkar was one of the most beloved literature personalities in Maharashtra, whose words ruled millions of hearts for more than six decades. His songs ‘Ya Janmawar Ya Jaganyawar Shatada Prem Karawe’, ‘Kuthe Shodhishi Rameshwar’ and ‘Shukratara Mand Wara’ were popular hits among audiences across ages for the spirit of romance with life and nature that Padgaonkar portrayed.
‘Asa Bebhaan Ha Wara’ and ‘Dole Kashasathi’ are loved by many while ‘Bhatukalichya Khelamadhali’, ‘Sang Sang Bholanath’ and ‘Ek Hota Kau’ are some of his ageless classics for children.
His songs were voiced by veterans like Lata Mangeshkar, Arun Date, Sudhir Phadke and Asha Bhonsle. Padgaonkar’s most popular works include Shukratara, Salaam, while he also translated works of saints Kabir, Mira in Marathi.
His translations of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Julius Caesar and Romeo and Juliet into Marathi were later added to the collection of Shakespeare Memorial in Stratford upon Avon in England. The only other Indian whose works are part of the memorial’s collection is Rabindranath Tagore.
Senior scholar of saint literature, Dr Sadanand More likened Mangesh Padgaonkar to saints Tukaram and Dnyaneshwar, saying, “the man in Padgaonkar never overpowered the poet in him”.
Padgaonkar has received a number of awards and honours for his works including a Padma Bhushan in 2013, a Maharashtra Bhushan in 2009 and a Sahitya Akademi award in 1980. He was also the president of 2nd Akhil Vishwa Marathi Sahitya Sammelan in Dubai, organised by the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Mahamandal in 2010.
Padgaonkar’s last rites will be performed with state honours from the Maharashtra government at the Sion crematorium in Mumbai at 3pm on Wednesday. He left behind his wife Yashoda, two sons, a daughter and their children, apart from the millions of fans who lost their “Shukratara” of Marathi literature.