Suicide-hit farmer’s widow to open Marathi Sahitya Sammelan in Yavatmal today

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 11 Jan 2019 10:26:31


By Kartik Lokhande,

It would be for the first time in its history that the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan will be inaugurated at the hands of a kin of a farmer  who committed suicide. With less  than a day remaining for inauguration of the 92nd Akhil Bharatiya  Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, the organising committee and Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Mahamandal decided to have the coveted Marathi literary meet on Friday inaugurated at the hands of Vaishali Yede, whose husband, a farmer from village Rajur in Kalamb tehsil of Yavatmal district had committed suicide.

After the decision of the organisers to withdraw the invitation to noted English language author Nayantara Sahgal, the 92nd Marathi Sahitya Sammelan had mired in controversy. Speculations on who withdrew the invitation to Sahgal – the local organising committee or Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Mahamandal - were rife. To make the matters worse and dampen the spirit of people involved in the preparations of the meet for past six months, a section of writers and social activists started issuing appeals to the people not to attend the Sammelan.  To further add to the chaos, Dr Shripad Joshi resigned from the post of President of Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Mahamandal, two days before the inauguration of the meet.

Against this backdrop, a meeting of the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Mahamandal was held at Yavatmal on Thursday afternoon. Vidya Deodhar, Vice-President of the Mahamandal, chaired the meeting as after resignation of Dr Joshi, the responsibility to take charge of the affairs befell on her. The meeting devoted its time to discussing as to who would inaugurate the Sammelan on Friday. Sahgal’s invitation was revoked following the objection that she was an English language author and threat by local workers of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and Shetkari Nyay Hakka Samiti. Though the local committee had proposed names of eminent litterateurs like Mahesh Elkunchwar, Suresh Dwadashiwar, Vitthal Wagh, all of them had refused.

“A new suggestion came up and we have decided that the 92nd Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan will be inaugurated at the hands of a woman from a family affected by farmers’ suicide,” Deodhar told mediapersons after the meeting. The local organising committee that comprises Dr V B Kolte of Sanshodhan Kendra va Vachanalaya and Yavatmal unit of Vidarbha Sahitya Sangh declared the name of Vaishali Yede, widow of a farmer Sudhakar Yede from village Rajur in Kalamb tehsil of Yavatmal district. Sudhakar Yede committed suicide in 2011.

To a question regarding naming of the new President of Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Mahamandal, Deodhar said that it all depended on Vidarbha Sahitya Sangh proposing a new name. As per the Constitution of the Mahamandal, in case of resignation of President, the Vice-President would function as the officiating President. Dr Joshi, who belonged to Vidarbha Sahitya Sangh, was to complete his tenure in March-end.

As per the rotation, from April 1, the next President of the Mahamandal would be from Marathwada Sahitya Parishad. As the tenure after 92nd Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan would be only two-and-a-half months, nobody from Vidarbha Sahitya Sangh has evinced any interest in occupying the high seat of the Mahamandal.



Vaishali Yede’s story of hardships, courage

VAISHALI married farmer Sudhakar Yede from village Rajur in Kalamb tehsil of Yavatmal district in the year 2009. She used to live with her husband, his elder brother, and mother-in-law in a lane which was populated mostly by Yede family members.

Soon, the tale of her misfortune began. One day, the nine-acre farm land of the family was divided into three parts – one for Sudhakar, another for his elder brother, and third for their mother. However, the said division was not registered on paper. So, following a family dispute, Sudhakar was asked to move out of the house. He and Vaishali made a cattle-shed their home. However, when she went to her maternal home for second pregnancy, Sudhakar was living all alone.

Deeply disturbed by family tensions, he consumed poison and committed suicide on October 20, 2011. Vaishali was, obviously, shaken but did not lose heart. With a firm resolve, she started living in the same village along with her son and daughter. At present, her son is nine-year-old, and daughter is seven. She works as an Anganwadi Assistant, earning merely Rs 3,000/- per month. She is part of Marathi play ‘Terava’. The play is written by Shyam Pethkar and directed by Harish Ithape. Widows of farmers who committed suicide also are part of the play.

In her tale of trials and tribulations, Friday will bring a new dawn. It would be a day when her struggle will get recognition on an altogether unexpected and different platform. For, she will inaugurate the 92nd Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, probably inspiring writers who attend the meet to highlight tales of human struggle and undaunted spirit, with a new dimension.

‘I am overwhelmed’
“I don’t know what to say. I’m overwhelmed, glad, and feel privileged that I’ll be inaugurating Marathi Sahitya Sammelan tomorrow. It’s indeed an honour,” as words flowed the joy that Vaishali Yede felt was obvious. Overwhelmed by the honour to inaugurate Akhil Bhartiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, Vaishali Yede, while talking to ‘The Hitavada’ stated that she would take the opportunity to highlight issues concerning farmers and women. “I shall use this opportunity to highlight the issues concerning farmers and women. Farmers’ suicides is a serious issue, which needs greater attention. Also, whether it’s a woman from rural area or urban area, they face the same challenges. Given the fact that I am given the opportunity to address the wise gathering of litterateurs, in a meet that will be presided over by a woman of eminence like Dr Aruna Dhere, I shall try to make the most of it.”