Controversy sparks over venue of 91st Marathi Sahitya Sammelan | pune news | Hindustan Times
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Controversy sparks over venue of 91st Marathi Sahitya Sammelan

The anti-superstition committee opposed the literary meet at Hiwara citing alleged superstitious practices carried out at Hiwara’s Vivekanand ashram, the venue and host of the literary meet

pune Updated: Sep 12, 2017 14:41 IST
Prachi Bari
Raosaheb Kasbe, president of Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad, has also opposed the choice of venue.
Raosaheb Kasbe, president of Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad, has also opposed the choice of venue.(HT File Photo)

Decision to hold the 91st All India Marathi Literary Meet at Hiwara in Budhana district of Vidarbha has triggered a controversy with anti superstition committee and some members of Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad opposing it.

The decision about the venue was announced on Sunday at Nagpur after the local literary body from Hiwara submitted the invitation for the upcoming meet. Following the announcement, anti-superstition activists including Shyam Manav, expressed his opposition saying the committee will launch an agitation if the literary meet was held at Hiwara.

The anti-superstition committee opposed the literary meet at Hiwara citing alleged superstitious practices carried out at Hiwara’s Vivekanand ashram, the venue and host of the literary meet.

“I had already organised campaigns against the superstitious practices carried out inside the ashram. If the literary body does not change the venue, I have no option but, to expose the ashram once again,” said Manav.

Raosaheb Kasbe, president of Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad, also opposed this decision saying literature related events cannot be held at a place facing opposition for superstitious practices. “Although, I am president of the Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad, I am going to personally oppose the venue,” said Kasbe who is also a renowned author.

According to Kasbe, the ashram in question is run by Shukadas Maharaj, who is said to fuel superstitious beliefs among followers. Hence, Kasbe and the anti-superstition committee are against this location, he added. 

According to Milind Joshi, secretary, Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad said, “Opposition over the venue of the literary meet is not new at all as it happens every year. The literary meet is a tradition and every year the literary body organises it to promote Marathi literature.”

Shripad Joshi, president, Akhil Bharatiya Sahitya Mahamandal, said the literary body had received six proposals, of which, three were shortlisted. A committee, consisting of Shripad Joshi, Sudhakar Bhale, Kautikrao Thale-Patil, Milind Joshi, Dada Gore, Prakash Paigude, K Wasnik and Indrajeet Orke, was formed and they visited various locations and finalised Hiwara as the venue for the next literary meet after taking into account transport, accommodation and other facilities. 

Since this will be the first time the literary meet is being held in rural areas like Hiwara ashram, this decision has a special significance. Previously, the meet was held at various cities including places outside India. Besides Buldhana, the committee also had invitations from Delhi and Baroda for the forthcoming literary meet. Last year’s literary meet was held in Dombivli with Akshaykumar Kale presiding over it.

Shukadas Maharaj, who considers himself a follower of Swami Vivekanand, founded the ashram in the name of ‘Vivekanand’ on January 14, 1965, at his father’s village Hiwara. The ashram runs various educational institutions including an agriculture college.

The ashram authorities claimed Swami Vivekanand’s doctrines as the base of the ashram’s religious and social activities.

 More on sammelan

The first Marathi Sahitya Sammelan was held in Pune in 1878 under the chairmanship of Justice Mahadev Govind Ranade.

This year, there are two aspirants, Pune authors - Rajan Khan and Ravindra Gurjar, running for the post of the president of the Sammelan.