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‘Present generation is cut off from their mother tongue,’ says Pune Marathi Sahitya Sammelan’s new chief

IAS retired officer and Author Laxmikant Deshmukh is newly elected President of the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan to be held in 16 to 18 February 2018 Baroda.

pune Updated: Dec 12, 2017 14:58 IST
Prachi Bari
IAS retired officer and Author Laxmikant Deshmukh.
IAS retired officer and Author Laxmikant Deshmukh.(Rahul Raut/HT Photo)

IAS retired officer and Author Laxmikant Deshmukh is newly elected President of the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan to be held in 16 to 18 February, 2018 Baroda. He is a prolific writer with 18 books to his credit for which he has received several awards including one from the Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad. He shares his plans and views with Prachi Bari.

What is special about being a president of Marathi Sahitya Samelan?

Sahitya Sammelan is a unique tradition only in Marathi Literature and it has been celebrated for 100 years although it will be the 91st Sammelan but there was gap during the World War. We have several Maharashtrians living in various parts of India and this is best way to stay in touch with regional language literature where as many as 50,000 authors and literature lovers meet, deliberate and discuss latest trends and Marathi culture.

What kind of problems do regional language authors/ writers face?

More than authors, Marathi language is facing a problem of existence as compared to other regional language. Because of widespread of English language and to an extent Hindi, Marathi is almost a lost language. The third fourth generation of Maharashtrian family hardly knows how to read or write in Marathi in metropolitan cities. The new generation is learning, conversing, thinking and even dreaming in English. They are cut off from their mother tongue thus the correlation between language and culture is also lost. If they don’t start reading in Marathi, then it is a loss of great legacy of literature and culture. That dichotomy we are facing nor can we compel parents to ask their children to learn Marathi. Many South Indian schools and colleges have made it compulsory to learn their mother tongue in education which also helps retains the language and culture. All state are formed on linguistic patterns but somehow we will lose out on retaining the hold on Marathi.

What are your plans to make Marathi popular?

Regional language writers don’t reach beyond their state boundaries, hence what we need to concentrate is on getting good translations of Marathi literature. South India, Hindi have fairly good translations but Marathi is very slow in that area. I have few suggestions to the Government of Maharashtra and to Sahitya Parishad if we can have the some good Marathi books translated in Hindi or English, we can get wide spread readership and pan India popularity for the rich literature that we have. If we can have a English or Hindi magazine dedicated to Marathi literature which will help get wider audience and also be considered for literary awards. For example Girish Karnad got the Dyanpeeth Award but our great writer Vijay Tendulkar did not win one. Only a few of his books and plays are translated which even Girish Karnad agreed that Tendulkar is a great writer but not many have read him.

Is there a platform for young upcoming writers in Marathi?

Sadly there is no such platform to groom young writers, which I plan to begin this year with a workshop on novel writing. We can mentor and guide them to write a good full length novel and help publish a good novel. This can be a good catalyst activity

What are you plans for the oncoming Sammelan?

The first thing that any president has to do in a Sammelan and people watch out for is the presidential address which for traditions has been one which can be posterity. It is major charge to open with a good speech and I am working in same. The speech will have elements of culture, challenges, tradition and also speak about the problems that we have faced. For authors there should be freedom of speech, right of expression is being denied and creativity, which is deteriorating. One has to express without fear. Creativity demands absolute freedom and that ambience has to be given by society where we are now are facing a problem.