Govind Purushottam Deshpande

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Govind Purushottam Deshpande (Devanagari: गोविंद पुरुषोत्तम देशपांडे; 1938 – 16 October 2013[1]) was a Marathi playwright and academic from Maharashtra, India. He was also known as GoPu (his Marathi initials), or GPD.

Born in Nashik, he grew up in Rahimatpur (Satara District), where he went to school. He completed an MA in Ancient Indian History from MS University, Baroda, and enrolled for a Ph.D. at the School of International Affairs, New Delhi. This school subsequently became part of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Deshpande completed in Ph.D. from, and taught at, the Center for East Asian Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi for many years. He lived in Pune after retirement with his wife Kalindi, a women's movement activist. She predeceased him in 2009. He wrote a column in the Economic and Political Weekly, Mumbai, for about four decades.

He received the Maharashtra State Award for his collective work in 1977, and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for playwrighting in 1996.

His collection of essays on culture and politics, Dialectics of Defeat: Problems of Culture in Post-Colonial India (Seagull, Kolkata) was published 2006, and he has recently published a collection of poems, Ityadi Ityadi Kavita (Etc. etc. poems). He was also the editor of the anthology of Indian plays in translation, Modern Indian Drama,[2] published by Sahitya Akademi, 2004.

The U.S. Library of Congress has acquired twelve of his books, including a few on Chinese foreign policy. Some of his works have been translated into English.

He suffered a brain hemorrhage in July 2013 and was in hospital in Pune. He was brought home a few days before he died on 16 October 2013. He was survived by daughter Ashwini, an economist at the Delhi School of Economics, and son Sudhanva, a publisher with LeftWord Books and a theatre activist with Jana Natya Manch, Delhi. The Marathi stage and film actor Jyoti Subhash is his sister, and her daughter Amruta Subhash, also a stage and film actor, is his niece.

Notable plays[edit]

  • Udhwastha Dharmashala (published in English as A Man in Dark Times), directed by Dr Shreeram Lagoo (Marathi), Om Puri (Hindi), Rajinder Nath (Hindi), Shyamanand Jalan (Padatik) in 1982
  • Andhar Yatra (A Journey in Darkness), directed in Marathi by Satyadev Dubey and in Hindi by Rajinder Nath.
  • Satyashodhak (The Truth Seeker) on the life and times of the 19th-century social reformer Jotiba Phule directed by Sudhanva Deshpande and performed by Jana Natya Manch.[3] The Marathi productions were directed by Dr Sharad Bhuthadia (Kolhapur) and Atul Pethe (Pune), who also directed a Kannada production in Heggodu.
  • Antim Divas directed by G.P. Deshpande for Padatik in Kolkata in Hindi and by Jyoti Subhash in Marathi. [ Film-Chak de India fame Shilpa Shukla (Bindia Nayak)and Shalini Vatsa (film- Peepli Live) acted in it with director Arvind Gaur,2001]
  • Chanakya Vishnugupta directed by Satyadev Dubey for the National School of Drama in Hindi with Ashish Vidyarthi and Baharul Islam in the title roles, and by Dr Shreeram Lagoo in Marathi with himself in the title role.
  • Music System directed by Vijay Kenkre in Marathi.[4]
  • Raastey directed in Marathi by Vijay Kenkre,[4] and Hindi translation by Jyoti Subhash, directed by Satyadev Dubey for the National School of Drama Repertory Company, and by Arvind Gaur.[5]


  1. ^ "Marathi playwright G P Deshpande passes away". Business Standard India. 16 October 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  2. ^ Modern Indian Drama, ed. G.P. Deshpande, Sahitya Akademi, 2004
  3. ^ "Life As Message". Tehelka Magazine, Vol 9, Issue 24. 16 June 2012.
  4. ^ a b Gahlot, Deepa (7 November 2019). "What ails theatre?". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  5. ^ PHEROZE L.VINCENT (31 August 2012). "A journey of questions". The Hindu. Delhi, India. Retrieved 13 July 2013.