Babasaheb Purandare turns 99, wishes pour in
PUNE Eminent author, historian and theatre personality, Balwant Moreshwar alias Babasaheb Purandare — who is renowned for his scholarly works on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj — completed 99 years, here on Thursday.
Speaking on the occasion, Purandare expressed gratitude towards his parents and teachers for shaping his life. “I learned a lot of things in this journey of 99 years but I still need to do a lot of things,” he said.
Top office-bearers and leaders across political parties from governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) president Raj Thackeray, union ministers Amit Shah and Nitin Gadkari, state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Chandrakant Patil, and leader of the opposition Devendra Fadnavis; litterateurs and others made a beeline to wish Purandare on his special day and seek his blessings.
Raj Thackeray drove down to the home of the “Shiv Shahir” or Shivaji’s bard, as Purandare is popularly known, kneeled on the floor, and touched his feet.
Born on July 29, 1922, at Saswad near Poona (now Pune), Purandare was fascinated by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and his exploits right from an early age and wrote essays and stories that were later published in a book titled “Thinagya” which is Marathi for sparks.
In more than eight decades of his career in writing and theatre, Purandare delivered more than 12,000 lectures on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, and studied all the forts and the history of the Maratha Empire, making him an authority on the subject. He penned and directed a historical play titled “Jaanta Raja” in 1985, which became a theatrical magnum opus performed down the years by over 200 artistes, translated and enacted in five languages and clocking over 1,250 stage shows in Maharashtra, Goa, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and the USA.
Among Purandare’s prominent works is the monumental two-volume “Raje Shivchhatrapati” and “Jaanta Raja”, “Maharaj”, “Shelarkhind”, “Gadkot Kille”, “Agra”, “Lal Mahal”, “Purandar”, “Rajgad”, “Panhalgad”, “Sinhagad”, “Pratapgad”, “Purandaryanchi Daulat”, “Mujaryache Mankari”, “Fulwanti”, “Savitri” and “Kalawantinicha Sajja”. He was conferred the “Maharashtra Bhushan” in 2015 and the country’s second highest civilian honour, “Padma Vibhushan” in 2019.