at Loktak Lake, December 2016
|Born||Sitanshu Yashaschandra Mehta|
18 August 1941
Bhuj (now in Kutch, Gujarat, India)
|Occupation||poet, literary critic, playwright, editor|
|Period||modern Gujarati literature|
|Notable works||Jatayu (1986)|
Anjaniben (m. 1966)
Sitanshu Yashaschandra Mehta (born 1941), better known as Sitanshu Yashaschandra, is a Gujarati language poet, playwright, translator and academic from India.
He is the President of Gujarati Sahitya Parishad. He was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award for Gujarati given by Sahitya Akademi, India's National Academy of Letters, writer in 1987 for his poetry collection Jatayu. Subsequently, he was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award by Government of India, in 2006.
He was born on 18 August 1941 at Bhuj, Cutch State (now in Kutch, Gujarat, India). His family belonged to Petlad. His father was a Government Officer. He completed BA in Gujarati and Sanskrit from St. Xavier's College, Mumbai and later MA from University of Bombay in 1965. He taught Gujarati from 1965 to 1968. In 1970, he went to US under Fulbright Scholarship and studied MA in Aesthetics and Comparative Literature from Indiana University. He later completed PhD in 1975. He went to France for a year under Ford West European Fellowship where he studied, translated in Gujarati and did comparative study of Eugène Ionesco's Macbett and Shakespeare's Macbeth. He also completed PhD in 1977 from University of Mumbai under Ramprasad Bakshi.
Sitanshu married Anjaniben on 8 May 1966. His daughter, Vipasha, was born in 1971, while his son, Aranyak, in 1978.
He has taught Gujarati at Mithibai College from 1972 to 1975 and later at Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda from 1983. Sitanshu served as Vice-Chancellor of Saurashtra University, Rajkot for three years. He served as a visiting Professor at the Sorbonne University, Loyola Marymount University, and Jadavpur University. He was an Emeritus Professor and National Lecturer at University Grant Commission. He was appointed as the chief editor of the Encyclopedia of Indian Literature published by Sahitya Akademi, Delhi in 1977.
He wrote mainly in Gujarati but his works are translated into Hindi and other languages. He has translated some works of poetry, drama and criticism from English to Gujarati. Surrealism is considered as his signature style.
Odysseus nu Halesu (1974), Jatayu (1986) and Vakhar (2008) are his collections of poetry. Mohen-jo-dado is a collection of poems published in August 1970 in Sanskriti magazine and later released on audio cassette in 1978.
He has written and adapted several plays. He adapted Eugène Ionesco's The Lesson in Gujarati. He also adapted Thomas Hardy's story, Day After The Fair as a play, Vaishakhi Koyal in Gujarati. He also adapted Peter Shaffer's Equus as Tokhar in Gujarati. It was produced by Pravin Joshi, Shafi Inamdar, and Mahendra Joshi. All three adaptations were successful literary and commercially. His Aa Manas Madrasi Lage Chhe (This Man Looks Madrasi, 1978) was directed by Satyadev Dube. Kem Makanji, Kya Chalya? (Hello Makanji, Where Are You Going?, 1985) appeared as a radio play was directed by Nimesh Desai of Chorus. Grahan (Eclipse, 1989), directed by P. S. Chari, was inspired from Oedipus.
In 1999, his six plays, all performed on stage, were published, which included Chhabili Ramati Chhanumanu, Kem Makanji, Kya Chalya?, Lady Lalkunwar, Aa Manas Madrasi Lage Chhe, Tokhar and Khagras. Lady Lalkunvar (1999) is a Gujarati adaptation of Eduardo De Filippo's play, Filumena Marturano. Ashvatthama and Grahan are his unpublished works. Jagine Joyu To is his another work. He has edited Natya-Kesuda.
Simankan ane Simollanghan (1977), Ramaniyata no Vagvikalpa (1979) and Asyaha Sarga Vidhau (2002) are his works of criticism, theory of literature and literary historiography.
He received Sahitya Akademi Award for Gujarati writer in 1987 for his poetry collection Jatayu. He also received Ranjitram Suvarna Chandrak, the highest award in Gujarati literature, in 1987. He was awarded Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in India, in 2006. He also received Rashtriya Kabir Samman (1998) by Government of Madhya Pradesh, Indian National Theatre – Gujarat Samachar award, Nanalal Award, Gujarat State Government Poetry award. He was selected for Adyakavi Narsinh Mehta Award in 2008 but he had declined. In 2013, he won Sahitya Gaurav Puraskar. He received Saraswati Samman (2017) for his poetry collection Vakhar. The award citation said: "...Vakhar is the pinnacle of his poetic journey where he crosses the boundaries of the real world and establishes high standards of Liberty in language and creativity by evolving a balance in the contradicting elements of human emotions and thoughts".
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- Brahmabhatt, Prasad (2010). અર્વાચીન ગુજરાતી સાહિત્યનો ઈતિહાસ - આધુનિક અને અનુઆધુનિક યુગ (History of Modern Gujarati Literature – Modern and Postmodern Era) (in Gujarati). Ahmedabad: Parshwa Publication. pp. 63–69. ISBN 978-93-5108-247-7.
- Upadhyay, Darshana (31 December 2007). "Chapter 6". સર્જક સિતાંશુ યશશ્ચન્દ્ર: કાવ્ય અને નાટ્ય-સાહિત્ય સંદર્ભે: એક અભ્યાસ [Writer Sitanshu Yashaschandra: A Study in Contex of His Poems and Plays] (Ph.D) (in Gujarati). Vallabh Vidyanagar: Department of Gujarati, Sardar Patel University. pp. 772–775.
- Baradi, Hasmukh (2004). "Yashashchandra, Sitanshu (1941– ): Gujarati poet and dramatist.". In Lal, Ananda (ed.). Oxford Companion to Indian Theatre. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780195644463.001.0001. ISBN 9780195644463 – via Oxford Reference. (subscription required)
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- Emmanuel Sampath Nelson, Nalini Natarajan (1996). Handbook of Twentieth-century Literatures of India. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 121–122. ISBN 9780313287787.
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- PTI (27 April 2018). "Gujarati poet Sitanshu Yashaschandras "Vakhar" chosen for Saraswati Samman". India Today. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
- "Gujarati poet Sitanshu Yashaschandra presented Saraswati Samman for 2017". Hindustan Times. 22 January 2019. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
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