Ravindra Kelekar

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Ravindra Kelekar
Ravindra Kelekar.png
Born (1925-03-07)7 March 1925[1]
Cuncolim, Goa, India
Died 27 August 2010(2010-08-27) (aged 85)
Margao, Goa, India
Resting place Priol, Goa, India[2]
Occupation freedom fighter, linguistic activist, poet, author
Language Konkani
Ethnicity Konkani

Ravindra Kelekar (7 March 1925 – 27 August 2010) was a noted Indian author who wrote primarily in the Konkani language, though he also wrote in Marathi and Hindi.[3] A Gandhian activist, freedom fighter and a pioneer in the modern Konkani movement, he is a well known Konkani scholar, linguist, and creative thinker. Kelkar was a participant in the Indian freedom movement, Goa's liberation movement, and later the campaign against the merger of the newly formed Goa with Maharashtra. He played a key role in the founding of the Konkani Bhasha Mandal, which lead the literary campaign for the recognition of Konkani as a full-fledged language, and its reinstatement as the state language of Goa.[4] He authored nearly 100 books in the Konkani language, including Amchi Bhas Konkaneech, Shalent Konkani Kityak, Bahu-bhashik Bharatant Bhashenche Samajshastra and Himalayant, and also edited Jaag magazine for more than two decades.

Kelekar died at Apollo Hospital at Margao, Goa at around 11.30 am on Friday 27 August. He was 85.[3][5][not in citation given] His remains were cremated with State honours at his native village of Priol.[2]

Kelekar received the Padma Bhushan (2008),[6][7] the Gomant Sharada Award of Kala Academy,[7] the Sahitya Akademi Award (1976),[8] and the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship (2007)—the highest award of the Sahitya Akademi, India's National Academy of Letters.[9] He also received the 2006 Jnanpith Award,[10] the first ever awarded to an author writing in the Konkani language,[1] which was presented in July 2010.[11]

Early life and education[edit]

Kelekar was born on 25 March 1925, in the city of Cuncolim in South Goa.[1] His father, Dr Rajaram Kelekar, was a physician who later became renowned for his Portuguese translation of the Bhagwad Gita.[7] While still a student at the Lyceum High School in Panaji, Kelekar joined the Goa liberation movement in 1946. This brought him in close contact with several local and national leaders, including Ram Manohar Lohia, under whose influence he was able to recognise the power of language to mobilise the local populace. Later, he saw the potential in his native Konkani language, which became his lifelong work.[7]

Career[edit]

Already deeply influenced by Gandhian philosophy, in 1949 Kelekar left his native Goa for Wardha, to be with noted Gandhian and writer Kakasaheb Kalelkar. Kelekar stayed under Kalelkar's tutelage until 1955, when he was appointed librarian of the Gandhi Memorial Museum in New Delhi. This turned out to be short-lived, as only a year later he plunged back into the Goa freedom movement. With a mission to reconnect the Goan diaspora all over the world, he started the weekly, Gomant Bharati (1956–60),[12] published in the Latin script in Bombay. Soon after, being an active participant in Goa's struggle for freedom, he was imprisoned by the Portuguese. He was released when the Indian Army invaded and annexed Goa in 1961.

He joined the socio-political campaign against the merger of Goa into the neighbouring Maharashtra state, which ended after the plebiscite of 1967, with Goa retaining its separate identity albeit as a union territory. Goa retained this status until 1987, when it was declared a separate state.

After Goa's independence, Kelekar took to literary activism, in the form of getting his native Konkani language its due status as an independent language, rather than as just a dialect of Marathi. He was compared favourably with pioneers in the Konkani literary movement, such as Shenoi Goembab.[13] During this period, he wrote some of his most important works promoting the Konkani language, including Aamchi Bhas Konkanich (1962), a dialogue revealing the importance of Konkani to the common man on the street; Shallent Konkani Kityaak (1962), highlighting the significance of having Konkani medium schools in Goa; and A Bibliography of Konkani Literature in Devanagari, Roman and Kannada characters (1963).[4][14] In February 1987, the Goa Legislative Assembly had passed the Official Language Bill making Konkani the Official Language of Goa.[15] The struggle ended in 1992, when Konkani was included in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution as an official language.[16] With life's mission completed, Kelkar retired from public life, focusing mainly of his writing.[7]

On 26 February 1975, the Sahitya Akademi, India's National Academy of Letters, recognised Konkani as an independent language.[citation needed] The first Sahitya Akademi Award for a work in Konkani was won by Kelekar for his travelogue, Himalayant, in 1977.[17][18][19] The Akademi's first Translation Award in Konkani also went to Kelekar in 1990 for Ami Taankan Manshant Haadle, a Konkani translation of a collection of essays in Gujarati, Mansaeena Diva, by Jhaverchand Meghani.[20] He received the 2006 Jnanpith Award, which was the first given to a Konkani-language writer.[10] The pinnacle of his career came with the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship for lifetime achievement in 2007.[9] A lifelong proponent of regional languages, in his acceptance speech for the Jnanpith award, he said, "People have stopped reading books in regional languages. On the other hand, through English, we have created Bonsai intellectuals, Bonsai writers and Bonsai readers."[21]

When the Vishwa Konkani Sahitya Academy, an offshoot of the Konkani Language and Cultural Foundation, was set up in 2006, the first work it took up for translation was Velavaylo Dhulo, a collection of Kelekar's essays.[22] His books have been translated into Hindi and other North Indian languages, and are used by universities.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Kelekar married Godubai Sardessai in 1949; their son Guirish was born within a year.[4] Kelekar lived in his ancestral home—built by his father in 1937—called "Kelekar House", in the village of Priol in central Goa. The Casa Dos Kelekars, as it is formally known, is now seen as exemplary of a typical Goan Saraswat Brahmin community home.[24]

Bibliography[edit]

Konkani[edit]

  • Kelekar, Ravindra (1976). Himalayant [In the Himalayas] (in Konkani). 
  • Navi Shala
  • Satyagrah
  • Mangal Prabhat
  • Mahatma
  • Ashe Ashille Gandhiji
  • Katha ani Kanyo
  • Tulshi
  • Velevoilio Ghulo
  • Bhaja Govindam
  • Uzvadeche Sur
  • Bhashechem Samaj Shashtra
  • Mukti
  • Teen eke Teen
  • Lala Bala
  • Brahmandantlem Tandav
  • Panthastha
  • Samidha
  • Vothambe
  • Sarjakachi Antar Katha

Konkani translations[edit]

Marathi[edit]

  • Japan Jasa Disla
  • Gnyannidhicha Sahavasat

Hindi[edit]

  •  ? Gandhi ? Ek Jivaniya[vague]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "41st Jnanpith Award to Eminent Hindi Poet Shri Kunwar Narayan and 42nd Jnanpith Award jointly to Eminent Konkani Poet and Author Shri Ravindra Kelekar and Sanskrit Poet and Scholar Shri Satya Vrat Shastri" (PDF) (Press release). Jnanpith. 22 November 2008. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b "Ravindra Kelekar cremated at native village". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 29 August 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "Ravindra Kelekar passes away". The Hindu (Chennai, India: The Hindu Group). 28 August 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c "Konkani luminary Ravindra Kelekar". The Times of India (The Times Group). 28 July 2010. 
  5. ^ Saradesāya, Manohararāya (2000). A history of Konkani literature: from 1500 to 1992. Sahitya Akademi. p. 209. ISBN 81-7201-664-6. 
  6. ^ "Padma Bhushan Awardees". Know India: National portal of India. Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "The man who most influenced a language". The Times of India. 23 November 2008. section Times City, p. 4. 
  8. ^ "Konkani Titan Ravindra Kelekar Passes Away". GoaNewsOnline.com. 28 August 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  9. ^ a b "Akademi confers fellowship on Ravindra Kelekar". The Hindu (Chennai, India: The Hindu Group). 8 October 2007. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  10. ^ a b Kamat, Prakash (24 November 2008). "Jnanpith for Kelekar". The Hindu (Chennai, India: The Hindu Group). Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  11. ^ "Konkani litterateur Ravindra Kelekar presented Jnanpith Award 2006". The Hindu (Chennai, India: The Hindu Group). 1 August 2010. 
  12. ^ Saradesāya, Manohararāya (2000). A history of Konkani literature: from 1500 to 1992. Pune: Sahitya Akademi. p. 242. ISBN 81-7201-664-6. 
  13. ^ "Another feather in the cap for a Konkani giant". The Times of India. 31 July 2010. 
  14. ^ Kelekar, Ravindra; Martyres, F. J.; Saldanha, A. A. (1963). A Bibliography of Konkani Literature in Devanagari, Roman and Kannada characters. Goa, India: Gomant Bharati Publications. OCLC 18500452. 
  15. ^ "Goa battles to preserve its identity". The Times of India (The Times Group). 16 May 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  16. ^ Kumar, Vinay (11 August 2009). "Language issue puts government in silent mode". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  17. ^ "Sahitya Akademi Award: Konkani". Sahitya Akademi. [dead link]
  18. ^ Braganza, Miguel (5 January 2009). "List of sahitya academy award winners – writers in konkani". goan-nri mailing list. http://www.mail-archive.com/goan-nri%40yahoogroups.co.in/msg05318.html. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  19. ^ M.S. (1992). "Travelogue (Konkani)". In Lal, Mohan. The Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature. 5: Sasay to Zorgot. Sahitya Akademi. p. 4373. ISBN 81-260-1221-8. 
  20. ^ "Akademi Translation Prizes 1989–2005: Konkani". Sahitya Akademi. [dead link]
  21. ^ "Ravindra Kelekar presented Jnanpith Award". IBN Live (Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India: CNN-IBN). PTI. 31 July 2010. 
  22. ^ Raghuram, M. (18 December 2006). "Konkani academy to take up translation of well-known works". The Hindu (Chennai, India: The Hindu Group). 
  23. ^ "Konkani titan Ravindra Kelekar passes away". The Navhind Times (Panaji, Goa, India: Navhind Papers & Publications). 28 August 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  24. ^ Banerjee, Sanjay (26 January 2004). "Preserving architecture in unique Goan museum". The Times of India. 

External links[edit]