Marathi Literature




Hari Narayan Apte
Chintaman Joshi
Sane Guruji
V.S Khandekar
B.S Mardhekar
S.N Pendse
Vijay Tendulkar
Dilip Chitre
Balachandre Nemede
Nandev Dhasal

Jnaneshwar (1275-1296): Jnaneshwar was the greatest philosopher-saint and progenitor of the Bakhti Movement in Maharashtra. He is revered for his great works like Bhawarthadipika, Anubhavamrita (Nectar of Experience), Changadevaprasasti and Abhangagatha. Bhawarthadipika is a commentary on the Gita running into 9,000 couplets. It is the first religious treatise written in the language of the masses with a view to bring within the reach of the common man the highest spiritual truths contained in the ancient Sanskrit scriptures.

Eknath (1528-'99): Eknath, respected greatly as a major poet of the Warkari tradition after Jnaneshwar and Namdev, was born in 1528 in Paithan, a well known holy place in medieval Maharashtra. He was a preacher of worldly and spiritual values. Eknath has to his credit several significant works.., His commentary on the eleventh chapter oof the Sanskrit Bhagwat is popularly known as Nath Bhagwat. He wrote a long narrative poem entitled Rukmini Swayamvar. In addition to these he composed a large number of abangas, songs and folk-poems known as bharudas. Bhavartha Ramayana is Eknath's magnun opus. It is a massive narrative poem divided into seven cantos and running into 40,000 ovis (metrical stanzas).

Ramadasa (1608-'81): Born as Narayan Suryaji Thosar at Jamb in 1608 Ramadasa ran away from home as a boy and devoted himself to the pursuit of spiritual attainment for 12 years on the banks of the river Godavari near Nasik. He was a devotee of Lord Rama. Known for his saintliness, Ramadasa was an ardent social worker who established many mutts (monastaries) for uplift of the poor and the deprived. Dasabodha is a well known magnun opus of Ramadasa. It is an independent treatise which took 50 years of his life. It is a dialogue between a teacher and a disciple, illustrating the path of Bakhti (devotion). Consisting of 20 parts, with 7751 ovis (verses) Dasabodha deals with a lot of conventional philosophical issues like the nature of atman (self), jyana (knoweledge), bhakti, death and renunciation.


Hari Narayan Apte (1864-1919): Influenced by the reformist writings of Justice M.G Ranade, Hon'ble G.K Gokhle and Principal H.N Apte, H.N Apte is the pioneer novelist in the genre of social realism in Marathi. Founder-editor of the periodical Karamnuk, Apte produced a vast body of literature including translations, adaptations, short-stories, essays, biographical sketches, poems and novels. Apte wrote 18 novels eight of which depict contemporary society in the realistic mode and the rest historical novels. His Pan Lakshat Kon Gheto has become a classic in Marathi literature.


Tryambak Bapuji Thomre (1890-1918): Universally acknowledged as one of the most outstanding nature-poets in Marathi literature, Balakavi ( T.B Thomre) wrote some 200 poems in his brief span of life lasting only 28 years. Samagra Balakavi (Complete Works of Balakavi) is considered to be one of the greatest anthologies in Marathi literature. His famous poems are Anandi-Anand (Joy, Joy Everywhere), Shravanamasi (In the Month of Shravan), Fulrani (Flower-Princess) and Arun (Dawn).


Chintaman Vinayak Joshi (1892-1963): One of the leading masters of humour in Marathi literature, Chintaman Vinayak Joshi, worked as a professor of Pali at Baroda.He has published more than 10 collections of humorous stories, sketches, etc. Influenced by Jerome K Jerome, Barry Pain and P.G. Wodehouse, Joshi ushered in a new kind of humour in Marathi which finds its utterance in Chimanravache Charhat (The Long-winded Chronicle of Chimanrav), a classic of modern Marathi literature. It is a collection of 13 humorous stories narrating the inglorious exploits of the unheroic hero Chimanrav.


Sane Guruji (1899-1950): Sane Guruji was also a freedom fighter. His major novels are Shyamchi Aai (Shyam's Mother), Astik (The Believer), God Shevat (Sweet Ending), and a marathi translation of Tolstoy's book What is Art?, entitled Kala Mhanaje Kay? Guruji's contribution to children's literature remains unparalled to this day. His God Goshti (Sweet Stories) includes simplified and abridged versions of world classics like Hugo's Les Miserables and Goethe's Faust.


V.S Khandekar (1889-1976): A famous writer who dominated the Marathi literary scene from 1930 to 1960, V.S Khandekar wrote, besides many novels, numerous short stories literary essays and edited a number of books. Apart from Yayati, Don Dhruv (The Two Poles), Ulka and Krounchwadh (Killing of Krounch Birds) are major among his other novels. Drawn towards mythology and disturbed by the climate of nihilism and the loss of moral values in the contemporary society, Khandekar sought to expand the scope of the social novel. He won the Sahitya Academy Award for Yayati in 1960 and the Jnanpith Award in 1975.

B.S Mardhekar(1909-'56): Mardhekar published three poetry collections in his lifetime: Shishiragam (The Advent of Shishir) Kanhi Kavita (Some Poems) and Anakhi Kanhi Kavita (Some More Poems). He also wrote three novels, one play and four operas. His Saundrya Ani Sahitya (Beauty and Literature)has greatly influenced the development of Marathi critical thought. Mardhekar's poetry is historically important because for the first time it introduced in Marathi a modernist consciousness and an idiom appropiate to it. His poetry is a classic example of nativisation of Western influence.

S.N Pendse (1913): A major novelist of the post-Indipendence period, S.N Pendse has numerous novels to his credit out of which Haddapar (The Outcast), Garambacha Bapu (Bapu of Garambi) and Tumbadche Khot (The Khots of Tumbad) are famous. His Rathachakra (The Chariot-Wheel) won him the Sahatya Academy Award in 1963.


Vijay Tendulkar (1928):

One of the most outstanding of Marathi dramatists, Vijay Tendulkar started his career with Srimant. He has so far written 20 plays including the highly acclaimed Gidhade (Vultures), Sakharam Binder, Shantala! Court Chalu Ahe (Silence! The Court is is Session) and Ghashiram Kotwal. His plays are notable for their uncompromising realism, merciless probing of human nature, candid scrutiny of individual and group psychology and experimental technique.


Dilip Chitre (1938):

Dilip Chitre is a major and highly influential poet in modern Marathi literary scene. Besides three collections of poems entitled Kavita (Poems), Kavitenintarchya Kavita (Poems After Poems) and Ekoon Kavita (Collected Poems), Chitre has also to his credit a trendsetting collection of short stories called Orpheus and a travellogue Shiba Ranichya Shodat (In Quest of Queen Shib).


Bhalchandra Nemade (1938):

Nemade has taught Marathi, English and Comparative literature at various universities including The School of Oriental and African Studies,London. He is known by his first novel Kosala. His other novels are Bidhar (House), Jareela and Zool (Decorative Cloth-cover). His poetry collections are Melody and Dekhani. His influential body of criticism collected in Teekaswayamvara won him the Sahitya Academy Award in 1990.


Namdev Dhasal (1946):

Dhasal is an influential Dalit poet of the post-1960 period. His very first collection of poems Golpitha (name of a slum in Bombay) was a landmark in the history of modern Marathi poetry. His other collections are Murkh Mhataryane Donger Halwale (The Stupid Old Man Has Moved Mountains), Priyadarshini, Tuhi Iyatta Kanchi (What Standard Are You In), Khel (Play) and Gandu Bageecha (Impotent Garden).


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