Don’t get tied to ‘ism’, be committed to life: Dr Dhere

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 12 Jan 2019 10:24:01


Vaishali Yede, a farmer’s widow, will now forever be recognised as the one who inaugurated the 92nd Marathi Sahitya Sammelan in Yavatmal, expressing her thoughts even as dignitaries on dais, Dr Aruna Dhere, Guardian Minister Madan Yerawar, Cultural Affairs and Education Minister Vinod Tawade, Laxmikant Deshmukh and others look on.

By Kartik Lokhande,

THE historic 92nd Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan was inaugurated at the hands of a farmer’s widow in Yavatmal on Friday evening. The inaugural ceremony provided enough food for thought to literature lovers, as all speakers stressed upon the common message that litterateurs should be guides and guardians of societal good.

Vaishali Yede, farmer’s widow, inaugurated the three-day literature festival of Marathi language. Laxmikant Deshmukh, President of 91st Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, handed over the charge to Dr Aruna Dhere, fourth woman litterateur to have become President of Marathi Sahitya Sammelan in the meet’s history of 92 years. Vinod Tawade, Cultural Affairs Minister; Madan Yerawar, Guardian Minister of Yavatmal and Chairman of Reception Committee; Vidya Deodhar, officiating President of Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Mahamandal; Dr Ramakant Kolte, Working President of 92nd Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, were on the dais to witness the ceremony.

In her speech, noted scholar-writer Dr Dhere said that no litterateur should be tied to any of the ‘isms’. He or she should be free of any such affiliations and remain committed to capturing the essence of life through his or her writings. For, no principle or value or ideology is bigger than humanity. Hence, the struggle for liberty is not to be fought with the Government or the society, but with oneself to get rid of affiliations, negativity, and grudges.

“We should foil the bid of some people to create divisions on different grounds in the society, and see positives to bring about desirable constructive change in the larger interest. We must see through the designs of people or mobs trying to dictate terms for others and beware of social, political, and religious shaped by them,” she said.

In her speech that ran into 46 pages, the scholar-writer took stock of the evolution of human relations and arts through various phases of cultural maturation. She described culture as ‘encyclopaedia of myths’. “We create myths out of people who bring about reforms. However, we should not get caught in the idea of preserving the myths and history thereof. For, present-day human life is more important than the things of the past. Only such an attitude will shape a just, happy, and glorious future.

At the same time, Dr Dhere cautioned against demolition of ‘socially nutritious values’ created by past masters. She rued that while demolishing such positives from the past, those are being replaced by ‘corruption, superficiality, and consumerism’. “It has created ‘instability and thoughtlessness’, which is terrifying. The present-day materialism appears to be destruction-centric and wealth-centric, a construction of society instead of constructive character,” she said.

Dr Dhere expressed concern over commercialisation of all fine arts in the era of materialism, and development of ‘sale value’ of creativity. Besides, there is onslaught of computer age on the strength and creativity of literature. There is ‘extreme individualism’, which is threatening societal life. “The individuals not willing to come together to resolve issues concerning the society, are leading confused, terrible, and empty life,” she observed.

Dr Dhere also touched upon several points in her elaborate speech. She spoke of inter-disciplinary link between various art forms, changes in value system, need for litterateurs to get rid of tendency to use platfoms for arguments shorn of context and incomplete in substance, lack of satisfactory standard of research in universities, lack of focus on positive human values in literature, and role of women in literature. She summed up her address saying, “The warmth of human relations can reduce the dryness that has crept into lives today. Litterateurs must play their role finely in this context.”

At the outset, the organisers welcomed the dignitaries on the dais with shawl, shreefal, a memento and a copy of ‘Gram Geeta’ of Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj. Dr Ramakant Kolte made the introductory remarks. Madan Yerawar delivered welcome speech and wished that someday a Marathi litterateur should win a Nobel Prize for Literature. A souvenir ‘Gondan’ was released on this occasion at the hands of Dr Dhere. The office-bearers of Punyabhushan Foundation, Pune, handed over a cheque of Rs One lakh to Dr Dhere for literary activities in the year ahead.

Kanchan Chaudhari, President of Yavatmal Municipal Council; Madhuri Ade, President of Yavatmal Zilla Parishad; Dr Rajesh Deshmukh, District Collector; M Rajkumar, Superintendent of Police; Jalaj Sharma, Chief Executive Officer of Zilla Parishad, and the members of the organising committee also shared the dais on this occasion. Seema Shete (Rothe) conducted the proceedings of the inaugural ceremony.

I’ll fight and make farming profitable: Vaishali Yede

Vaishali Yede, widow of farmer Sudhakar Yede from village Rajur in Kalamb tehsil of Yavatmal district, created history by becoming the first farmer’s widow to inaugurate Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan. She also created history by winning the loudest applause for her stirring speech, which was shorter in length than other dignitaries on the dais.

Yede’s speech was full of wit, local linguistic connect, concern, and reflected her undaunted spirit. “For celebrations and funerals in a home, only a woman from the locality comes to rescue and woman from Delhi is of no use,” she said at the very beginning of her speech, and won thunderous applause. Having said that she highlighted the plight of widows of farmers who committed suicides, like her husband. “I shall not do like my husband. Because I am aware that escape is no solution. I shall fight and work to make farming profitable in this very life,” she said. Another round of applause came naturally for her spirit.

Speaking on the issues of single women and widows, Vaishali Yede said that the society treated such women as an ‘opportunity’. The society simply refuses to count independence of such women. “Time has come when the society must notice such women who are investing their life in their present to reap a better future. Our struggle must get recognised,” she stressed. Addressing the gathering comprising litterateurs and writers, Yede said that they should discuss the issues of women and farmers with utmost seriousness.

Yede concluded her speech with “Namaskar, Ram Ram, Jai Bhim, Salam, Have a Nice Day,” and another round of applause came again, for her articulate speech.


All-women show, this!

Call it a divine design or a mere coincidence, but the 92nd edition of Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan is an all-women show. Dr Aruna Dhere, noted scholar and writer, is the President of the Sammelan. This will be the fourth time in the history of the Sammelan that a woman is presiding over the meet. After the controversy surrounding Nayantara Sahgal, Vaishali Yede, a farmer’s widow, was chosen to inaugurate the meet.

Dr Shripad Bhalchandra Joshi, President of the main organising body Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Mahamandal also resigned following the controversy over withdrawal of invitation to Nayantara Sahgal. The task to manage the affairs now fell on Vice-President Vidya Deodhar, and now officiating President of Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Mahamandal. Needless to say, the event projected women power as never before. A truly historical moment, indeed!



‘Government will enact law to make Marathi mandatory in all schools’

Staff Reporter,

Cultural Affairs and Education Minister Vinod Tawade announced from the dais of the 92nd Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan that Maharashtra Government will enact a law to make Marathi a mandatory subject in all schools in the State.

Tawade was responding to the demand raised by Laxmikant Deshmukh, President of 91st Marathi Sahitya Sammelan. In his speech earlier, Deshmukh moved certain demands to the Education Minister. He demanded more grants to Marathi publications brought out by Brihan Maharashtra Mandal in various states. Also, he demanded making Marathi mandatory subject in all CBSE schools in Maharashtra on the lines of that done in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Telangana; and empowering of Marathi schools.

“Already, there are rules for teaching of Marathi in all schools in the State including CBSE schools. However, those are often not followed. Since the Government is committed to the cause of Marathi, we will enact a law as sought in Marathi Sahitya Sammelan,” Tawade said. At the same time, he appealed litterateurs to take up a campaign against increasing ‘cyber slavery’ among the youth and children. “I request the litterateurs and thinkers to start a campaign to make the period between 6 pm to 9 pm everyday as ‘no gadget evening’ in which youngsters will read books and engage themselves in some creative activity,” he added.


Dignitaries condemn withdrawal of invitation to Nayantara Sahgal

The withdrawal of invitation to noted English language author Nayantara Sahgal to inaugurate the 92nd Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, drew condemnation from the dignitaries on the dais.

Laxmikant Deshmukh, President of 91st Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, said that he was ‘ashamed, concerned, disturbed, and depressed’ over the issue. “We have bowed down to pressure of a few, and this has sent a bad message about Marathi literary circles to the country. It could have been avoided,” he said. All-inclusive, secular political system must be respected as enshrined in the Constitution of India, he added. He also flayed Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Mahamandal for not being firm on inviting Sahgal.

“The Mahamandal should not seek funds from the Government to avoid such situations. Litterateurs and literary bodies should be financially independent. Then only, it will be able to stand up and raise voice against intolerance,” Deshmukh said.

Dr Aruna Dhere, President of 92nd Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, also referred to the issue and condemned the withdrawal of invitation to Sahgal. She said that the organisers ‘erred’ in doing so. If a mob or a group threatened to disrupt an event, all should stand united against such elements. “However, some people tried to capitalise the entire episode and wanted to scuttle the Sammelan itself. No one should hold the literary meet for ransom for political or other non-literary reasons. Every year, trifle issues overshadow the Sammelan. Literature lovers become victims of such things, and even the politics within literary circles is responsible for this,” she said without mincing her words.

Dr Dhere said, “We must be cautious against such forces. Sahgal must be granted freedom to express herself, and the readers must be allowed to exercise their freedom to agree or disagree with her politics reflected in her literature,” she said.

Vinod Tawade, Cultural Affairs Minister, said that the Government also did not like withdrawal of invitation to a respected author like Sahgal. “The Government only provides funds for Marathi Sahitya Sammelan but never dictates who should be invited. Government has been placed in the position of an accused unnecessarily,” she said. He also flayed those raising bogey of ‘intolerance’ conveniently.

Vidya Deodhar, officiating President of the Mahamandal, said that some ‘unpleasant’ things happened in the past few days. “I, too, am disturbed over this. But, we should celebrate the festival iof Marathi language, keeping the past aside for the benefit of the future,” she added.


Some women sitting in the audience wore masks of Nayantara Sahgal. On being noticed, the cops seized the masks and removed them from the pandal.

A handful of workers of Sambhaji Brigade shouted ‘Nishedh, Nishedh’ as soon as the speech of Vinod Tawade, Education and Cultural Affairs Minister, began. Tawade took it sportingly and said that their slogans were in no way concerned with Sahitya Sammelan, and advised them to sit down.

The messages of Ch Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra; Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister; Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways; and Sharad Pawar, former Union Agriculture Minister and NCP chief.



This and other thought-provoking caricatures of Suresh Raut ‘Sudansh’, an artist from Yavatmal, attracted attention of visitors at the Sahitya Sammelan.