Now, Yavatmal farm widow to inaugurate Marathi literary meet
Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan has decided to invite Vaishali Sudhakar Yede (28) to inaugurate the three-day conference that will begin from January 11 at YavatmalUpdated: Jan 11, 2019 15:34 IST
The embarrassed organisers of the 92nd Marathi literary meet, the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, on Thursday decided to invite a farm widow, Vaishali Sudhakar Yede (28) to inaugurate the three-day conference that will begin from January 11 at Yavatmal.
Dr Ramakant Kolte, executive president of the literary meet said the decision was taken in a meeting at Yavatmal on Thursday evening, in the wake of the withdrawal of invitation to eminent writer Nayantara Sahgal.
Earlier, the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Mahamandal, the parent body, had unceremoniously withdrawn its invitation to Sahgal triggering a controversy and widespread criticism. The raging controversy had also led to the resignation of Shripad Bhalchandra Joshi, president of the Mahamandal on Wednesday.
Several people, including a local Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader had objected to her presence at the conference on grounds that she is a writer in English and would not be abl e to promote Marathi.
These protestors had also threatened to disrupt the literary meet, following which the organisers decided to send her a letter, tendering an apology and revoking her invitation.
Sahgal had expressed surprise over this and had said that it was her first such humiliating experience. She hinted at “political pressure” behind the withdrawal of her invitation to her.
Yavatmal is one of the worst-hit farmers’ suicide districts in Maharashtra where on an average, one farmer commits suicide every day.
Vaishali Yede from Rajur village in Yavatmal district, who will now inaugurate the meet on Friday, is a distressed farm widow, living with two sons.
“I was just 19 when I got married into a family of 14 people. We all worked on the farm, but my husband killed himself over mounting debts in 2011. I had a 5-year-old son and was pregnant again when we lost him,” she said.
The meet will be inaugurated by her in the presence of Maharashtra education minister Vinod Tawde. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis will be present for the concluding ceremony of the three-day conference on Sunday.
The Marathi literary meet organizers, justified the withdrawal of Sahgal to the event to “avoid any untoward incident and in view of the controversy that cropped up involving her inaugurating the meet”.
Sahgal was at the forefront of the ‘award wapsi’ campaign a couple of years ago. “Many people had objected to inviting Sahgal, an English language author, to the Marathi literary meet and had issued threats through a section of vernacular newspapers to create ruckus during the meet,” Dr Ramakant Kolte, executive president of the 92nd Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, Yavatmal, said.
First Published: Jan 11, 2019 15:29 IST