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Ram Ganesh Gadkari

An excellent playwright, humorist and poet, who also has to his credit the State song that he wrote eulogising Maharashtra

Birth: 26 May 1885

He was a great Marathi playwright, humorist and poet. He is revered especially for his contributions to enroot his humour in theatre and literature.

He wrote poetry under the pen-name Govindaagraj whereas he wrote his humorous genre under the name Balaram. He published a collection of his poems titled Vagvaijayanti in 1921. He considered himself as a follower of the poet Keshavsut. But he was very different from Keshavsut in many aspects.

He wrote a lot of love-poems and was known as the love-bard in his time. He wrote many love-poems like Gulabi Kode, God Nirasha, Pahile Chumban, Murali, Prem ani Maran, Goph, Tee kon? etc.

He writes:

Kshan ek pure premacha, varshav pado marnacha, mag pudhe
(For one moment of love, I am ready for a thousand deaths….)

Verses like these leave a lasting impression of his genius. Talking about separation from a lover and the sorrow arising from that he writes,

Jagaavaachuni laabhatis tar jag me kele aste, tuzhyaavaachuni jag pari aataa ho astyaachenaste…
Dolyaanpurte jag nacha aste roop jagaalaa purte, primal hrudayaa pari nirday jag dagadaakhaali purte…
Hoil hoil aatat hote tech akheris zhale, naav ghetlyavaachun aataa manaat zurne aale…

(A world unto us I would have created, if I had just you, without anything else,
But now, with you not there, the world does not exist for me
A reality does exist beyond what we see, but people are satisfied with seeing the apparent,
The love in the heart the world does not see and thus mercilessly buries it.
What I thought would happen, did happen at last,
I cannot say for whom my heart craves, but it will go on…..)

Anyone who has gone through the experience of breaking off a relationship can relate to the piercing sorrow and depressive expression of these lines.

Govindaadgraj was a love bard, but he also made one big invaluable contribution to Maharashtra, and that is the Maharashtra Geet (A song in praise of and accurately describing Maharashtra)

Raakat deshaa, kankhar deshaa, dagaanchya deshaa |
Naajuk deshaa, komal deshaa, phulaanchyaahi deshaa ||
Anjan kaanchan karvandichyaa kateri deshaa |
Bakul phulaanchyaa praajaktaanchyaa daldaari deshaa ||
Bhaavbhaktichyaa deshaa, aanik buddhichyaa deshaa |
Shaahiraanchyaa deshaa, kartyaa mardaanaachya deshaa ||
(Hardy land, hard land, land of stones |
Delicate land, soft land, land of flowers too ||
Land of trees like Anjan kaanchan and thorny karvanda bushes |
Land full of Bakul and Prajaktaa flowers ||
Devotional land, and intelligent land |
Land of bards, land of courageous fighters ||)

He worked for a while as a teacher. He was appointed as Assistant Editor of DnyanPrakash. From this he became associated with play groups and playwright. He was gifted with immense imagination, intelligence and a complete command over language. These talents aided him in becoming a successful playwright. He was heavily influenced by the plays and humorous writings of Shripad Krishna Kolhatkar. Gravitating towards literature since his childhood days, he wrote a play titled Mitrapreeti when he was just seventeen years old. His first play to be staged was Premsanyaas in 1913. After that his Punyaprabhav (1917), Ekach Pyala (1919), Bhavbandhan (1920) and other plays were staged. His play Rajsanyaas remained incomplete. Along with his plays, some of the characters in his plays too made a mark and became immortal. The characters of Sindhu, Taliram and Sudhakar in Ekach Pyala, Ghanashyam and Dhundiraj in Bhavbandhan, and Gokul in Premsanyaas have made a place for themselves in the minds of theatre aficionados and audiences alike and do not fail to bring happiness in the viewers’ heart even today. His incomplete play Vedyaanche Bazaar was completed by Chintamanrao Kolhatkar.

We can see equal brilliance in depicting the feelings of sympathy as well as humour in his writings. His stories have pure humour as well as humorous satire. His publications as a humorous author are Rikaampanaachi Kaamgiri (1921) and Sampurna Baalakraam (1925). His unpublished writings were published by Acharya P. K. Atre in 1962 under the title of Aprakashit Gadkari (Unpublished Gadkari).

His literature created an indelible mark in all the genres that he dabbled in. This genius Marathi author and playwright passed away at a young age of 34 in 1919.

Death: 23 January 1919



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