Young Marathi Poet: Keshav Deshmukh
Explodes Rural Wrath
Rural life inIndiahas been facing variety of problems from ages. People in villages, especially the farmers, rarely experiences happiness, or a tension free life. Hitherto they continued the sufferings and hard ship. We have seen their frustrations as some farmers preferred death by committing suicides. Today the guys and girls in rural area are angry and aggrieved. They do not want to continue farming. They don’t want to live in villages. Girls do not want farmers in villages as their husbands! Farming is not a feasible profession now. (Lately this problem and change in the mindset of rural youth was also figured in the latest meeting of the planning commission held in Mumbai where the chief ministers of M.P. Maharashtra andGoastate cautioned the experts in commission about it. Some states have lately launched campaigns to persuade the youth to continue farming! )
A Marathi youth poet Keshav Sakharam Deshmukh has expressed the anger, the agony and the anxiety brewing in minds of rural masses very loudly and forcefully in his poems. His recently published collection of poems ‘Athak’ (meaning Untiring) have powers to make a reader apprehensive and uncomfortable. These poems not only document exploitation of farmers from all sides like nature, the markets, regulators and social order in general but also ask questions on behalf of the farmers. He asks
“We work in hot sun to grow crops, yet poverty is
permanently staying on our palms
Will our hands become beautiful again?”
“Why we should continue to suffer as we remain hungry
though we sow for bread?”
Why the farmer is always half naked though he grows cotton?
Why the honest is always exploited by the dishonest?
Why should we take all the troubles to look after the cattle
so that others get milk for their tea?
And why should the only farmers succumb to snake bites?”
Poet Keshav asks us these questions. He demands answers and alerts us all.
Every person has a dream. He lives for it. But the poet asks about the dreams of the Indian farmers. Can he dream? So many factors like draught or heavy rains kill his dreams. Then the traders in the market exploit him and evaluate his efforts with sand and pebbles.
Despite such regular failures and derisions, the Indian farmer hitherto has never stopped cultivation and creation. Generations after generations, he had continued dreaming and struggling. But now the new youthful, educated farmer does not want to follow what his forefathers were doing for ages. He does not want to continue the chain of flops, despair and hopelessness.
Poet Kasha has been born and brought up in such tedious village life full of troubles. He has experienced the plight of farmers in every stage. He has seen burning of farmers’ dreams, their agony in keeping the bulls alive in scarcity of water and grass or at last inevitable situation of selling the beloved cattle to the butchers.
Problems like never ending poverty, hunger, helplessness gave birth to his poetry. His poems do not only describe but analyze state of affairs, seek solutions.
The poet also tells us how pattern of farming has totally changed today. The old romantic concepts of farming have been vanished. The present generation finds it extremely difficult to maintain the farmland it inherits .Globalization has added more problems of farmers. There are new combats and anxiety over property. The markets have become more rigid and adamant for agro producers like farmers.
The poet also tells us how old agri ‘culture’ is almost gone. There are new equipments, new marketing techniques, and new trends in rural social order. They have disturbed the old style of farming and village life. The bull and plough (bail aur hal) are on the verge of becoming extinct species. Today you can not hear the spontaneous folk songs sung while farming or watering fields. Filmy songs or songs from folk shows like ‘tamasha/ navtankis’ have replaced them. Even the ‘bhajans’ or devotional folk songs sung in groups in common ground at night have lost their style, force or charm. The poet explains reasons. There is no improvement in the condition of the poor and middle level. Earlier generations had either accepted the life style because they had no choice or knowledge of their plight. Today people know their poor status.They compares it with better living standards of others, many of whom do not deserve it. Obviously the poet expresses anger of rural youth again and again, demands answers and proclaims his decision to quit cultivation and village.
Keshav Deshmukh’s poems alarm us. It’s high time, we all must try to understand these voluminous national problems and find solutions that will satisfy and persuade the questioner before it becomes too late!
(Based on Author’s forward of the collection ‘Athak’) Ravindra Torne
Ravindra Torne (Age 62) is a freelance writer and translator in Marathi.
He is a retired officer, settled in Mumbai ,India
He has also written dramas and radio plays.
Sachin Tendulkar’s Father
A poet, an educationist and a kind, Helpful Person
By Ravindra Torne, Mumbai
Very few people are aware of the fact that Sachin Tendulkar’s father
Late Prof. Ramesh Tendulkar was a noteworthy gentleman in his own way. His grooming of Sachin is not the only the only thing. He made notable contribution in the field of Education and in Marathi literature.
He was professor of Marathi language and literature in
KirtiCollege, Mumbai. At the same time he also wrote poetry in Marathi.
His poems are few in number, short but full of thoughts and picturesque. They present the reader a different perspective of routine things. They are about the struggle and sufferings of the common man and his efforts to survive in hard times.
Though some of the poems reflect negativism, many of them describe variety of things around us in a funny and in an inimitable style. His love for nature and environment is expressed in these poems. First time I read his poem in the intellectual literary Marathi magazine ‘Satykatha.’ Subject of the poem was ‘Camel’. Prof. Tendulkar described the animal’s daily struggle of existence in tough environment of deserts and its exploitation by man etc. But he had also found beauty in this laborious creature. I wish I had the poem in hand. The moment I read this poem I became his fan. I tried to buy his collections of poems. But I was told that there was no book of Tendulkar.
Despite writing such beautiful poems, he was never eager to publish his own collection.Later his two collections name’MANAS LAHRI (WAVES OF Mind) and ‘PRAJKATA’(a white tender flower or its tree)He also wrote a book on the work of famous marathi poet ‘Baalkavi.
In another readable poem he has described inevitability of “Walking” in a very funny way.
He says “A Roadleads to many other roads. But legs do not get extra legs; As a result one has to walk the same road again and again as there is no other solution.” This poem is a remarkable for the beautiful use of simple Marathi words with rhyme and rhythm. It concludes with a philosophical note.
One more example of his subtlety is experienced in another poem on “Roads” (Roads, walking and physical struggle seem to be his favorite subjects) in this witty poem he narrates beauty of a small road in a funny way. He says “The road is so beautiful that I want to be its beloved!”
Thus his poetry was always enjoyable and philosophical and never bored the reader. It was easy to understand yet full of meanings. Many of his contemporary wrote in a mystic style. In fact many of the modern Marathi poets deliberately chose such difficult genre of expression. But Ramesh Tendulkar did not follow the contemporary fashion of writing poetry in difficult style.He captured the beauty of nature and environment in simple but lucid and beautiful way. He has his own genre, simple, straight and meaningful. So was the man. Always simple and helpful to others.
I did not have opportunity to meet him. I saw him only once at Churchgate station in Mumbai. One of my friend Vividh was his student and he pointed at the person from a distance at Churchgate station. “There goes my professor. Ramesh Tendulakar!” My friend Vividh informed me.
“Come, introduce me I want to give him regards, I am his fan”
“No I can not” said Vividh.
“Because I was his favorite student, he had helped and encouraged me a lot
but I failed to meet his expectations so I don’t have the guts to face him.”
“Oh” I said and gave up.
My friend Vividh had his own problems. He was overburdened with family responsibilities and had been fighting on many fronts simultaneously. He had sacrificed his own creative pursuits for the welfare of his family.
He had lost on personal front and given up education. But he had no wish to tell these things to Professor Tendulkar who loved him. I wish he had told him about it. Perhaps it would have helped. Because what I learned later that Prof. Ramesh Tendulkar was kind and always ready to help and encourage his students. He had helped many students in their hard times. Thus he was a very sincere and devoted teacher.
Prof. Tendulakar has also made another important contribution for Marathi literature. He with some other Professors compiled a volume of famous old Marathi poems and songs. Many People had heard these famous poems from their childhood. But they remembered these lyrics, only partially. Once an NRI had asked Prof Tendulkar about one such funny old poem on ‘illness’. It describes how a child thinks illness is beneficial! But this poem was not easily available in any books. So Prof Tendulkar decided to dig for such old, half forgotten poems and brought out four collections.they are aptly titled “Athavnitil Gaani.(Memorable Songs).
In this way the great poet who was never eager to publish his own poems, worked hard to compile and publish other poets’ work!
email@example.com ( Ravindra Torne, Mumbai. Mobile No. 9892255960)