Memories of a Sammelan held 45 years ago refreshed

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 11 Jan 2019 10:22:14


By Kartik Lokhande,

Time flies, moments live. Years later, the seed of such moments grow into beautiful tree of memories. Recalling the memories from the past, also adds a refreshing fragrance to the gift of the present. As Yavatmal is all set to host the 92nd Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan starting Friday, it is an opportune time to recall memories of the Marathi Sahitya Sammelan that the town hosted 45 years ago, in the year 1973.

The Marathi literary meet held in 1973 was no less than an extraordinary event. The literary and political stalwarts had come together to make it a memorable one. Literary legend G D Madgulkar (popularly known as GaDiMa) had presided over the meet. Yeshwantrao Chavan, the then Defence Minister of India; Vasantrao Naik, the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra; Sudhakarrao Naik, ‘Tarkatirth’ Laxmanshastri Joshi, Kavi Yashwant, P B Bhave, Shankar Patil, Anant Kanekar, Narhar Kurundkar, Raja Badhe, Ram Shewalkar, Justice Narendra Chapalgaonkar, Gangadhar Gadgil, Dr V B Kolte, Prof W L Kulkarni, Kavi Anil, D M Mirasdar, Vyankatesh Madgulkar, Wamanrao Chorghade, K B Nikumb, Prof Mukundrao Kirloskar, Vijaya Jahagirdar, Devidas Sote and such legends made the event star-studded.

The idea of hosting the Marathi Sahitya Sammelan in Yavatmal in 1973 originated in an informal chat at the residence of Sudhakarrao Naik, the then President of Zilla Parishad. Prof Sharadchandra Tongo, D L Pande, Dr Sharad Kalnawat, Prof Govindrao Deshpande and others were in discussion with Naik.

During talks, the idea originated that the meet must be held in Yavatmal. As was his habit, Sudhakarrao Naik immediately welcomed the idea and assured the eminent personalities not to worry about financial side. “Leave it to me,” he had said. Apart from the association and presence of stalwarts, another important feature of the Sammelan held in 1973 was the book exhibition. The tradition of organizing book exhibition during the Marathi Sahitya Sammelan started in 1973.

Radhakrishna Muli, Director, Information and Public Relations, Amravati Division, has compiled the available records of 1973 meet held in Yavatmal. He shared an anecdote with ‘The Hitavada’: The school students were working as volunteers for the meet. Student-volunteers were instructed not to allow people who did not have coupons for food hall. A student-volunteer stopped G D Madgulkar as he did not show him food coupon. Madgulkar appreciated the boy.

The 1973 literary meet also had its share of controversy. The meet was being held against the backdrop of severe drought of 1972. Though it rained good in 1973, the effects of drought from 1972 were still visible across Maharashtra. Jambuvantrao Dhote, a popular activist of the time, had raised questions about holding the meet when Maharashtra was reeling under drought. The organisers and stalwarts intervened positively and the meet was held smoothly. In fact, Rain God also blessed the meet with His presence.
Also, some time before the Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, there erupted a controversy over a creative work of literary legend Vinda Karandikar.

In his speech, ‘Adhunik Walniki’ G D Madgulkar referred to it and cautioned the litterateurs to react and respond to the social, cultural, and historical realities but ‘not to violate some limits’. For, he added, when such limits are crossed, even a deep sea could cause destruction.

Now, after 45 years, Yavatmal is once again hosting the Marathi Sahitya Sammelan. The local hosts include Dr V B Kolte Sanshodhan Kendra va Vachanalaya, which is named after Dr V B Kolte. Dr Ramakant Kolte is Working President of 92nd Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan.

This meet also has had its share of controversy. But, with just a few hours remaining for the meet to begin, more than the controversy, what dominates the atmosphere is the sweet memories of the past and enthusiasm of the present.