It started in 1878 with 150 writers gathered in the town hall of a city to discuss Marathi books.
Today, the 83rd Akhil Bharatiya Sahitya Sammelan is being relayed to lovers of Marathi literature across the state.
The inaugural session, held on Friday, was telecast live to audiences in nine other cities.
While invites for the first literary meet, presided over by Justice M G Ranade, were written on paper, organisers of this year’s meet invited most participants using a recorded message sent on their mobile phones.
This is Pune’s tenth year as the venue for the literary meet.
Information technology companies in Pune gave their employees a chance to experience the event live, by allowing them access to the literary meet’s official website after the organisers requested companies to do so.
With blogs being recognised as an effective vehicle for literary expression, the president of the meet, Dr D B Kulkarni and the reception committee president, Satish Desai, started their own blogs this year to interact with followers of literature.
Some felt the lack of use of technology to promote Marathi literature has been driving the younger generation of Maharashtrians to literature written in other languages. “Gobalisation has its impact not only on financial aspects but the cultural field as well,” said Rajhans Prakashan’s Dilip Majgaonkar. “It has increased the curiosity of the reader, who wants to know more, but unfortunately Marathi authors have neglected science, which has become so inevitable, and treated it only at an applied level.”
Literary experts felt that the Marathi language is undergoing a transformation because most of the new books are translations of books written in other languages. Kulkarni, however, had another view. “Liberalisation, globalisation and privatisation may impact Marathi language,” said Kulkarni. “But such attacks will only bring about changes in the language. They will not be able to finish it.”