Ravindra Kelekar

Topics: Konkani language, India, Goa Pages: 3 (918 words) Published: August 15, 2011
Ravindra Kelekar (March 25, 1925 – August 27, 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 August 27. 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

Kelekar was born on March 25, 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...

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 February 26, 1975, the Sahitya Akademi, India 's National Academy of Letters, recognized 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.
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