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Shanta Shelke

A well loved poet of Marathi literature

Birth: 21 Oct, 1922

Shanta Shelke was a gifted and well loved Marathi poetess. Apart from this she was also a well rounded litterateur who wrote songs, novels, short stories, commentaries, light stories, children’s stories, critic columns, and also acted as an assistant editor to a newspaper.

She was born in Indapur village, Pune district. She spent her childhood in the same district, in Khed, Manchar and its vicinity. She did her schooling in Huzurpaga, Pune. She has the distinction of being the first lady who received a Masters degree in Arts among the Koshti community. She was influenced by such great litterateurs such as Shri M. Mate, R. S. Jog, and P. K. Atre. She worked for a while with Atre’s Saptahik Navyug and the Dainik Maratha. She taught Marathi in Ruia College and Maharshi Dayanand College in Mumbai.

She has made a huge contribution to Marathi literature. She has written around 100 books to her credit. Though she handled different kinds of literature, she is better known for her poems and songs and is a household name. She charmed many a new age poet by openly appreciating their poems, and acted as their guide. She was also an excellent orator. Literature aficionados of Maharashtra enjoyed the flowing, witty speech that she gave as a President of the Literary Meet held in Alandi in 1996.

Her visage, attire and respectful, smooth and gentle language displayed her high class family heritage. Appreciating audiences would be entranced in her conversation due to her depth of study, intelligence and fantastic memory. She remembered word to word all her favorite poems, from saint poets of the bygone era to modern contemporary poets. The easy feminine grace of her language, well versed in eastern and western literature, and ardent self expression made her writing catchy. Her writings illustrated the changing social, cultural and literature environment around her, and yet she never lost her basic affinity for the aesthetism.

Like G. D. Madgulkar she wrote excellent BhaavGeet and movie songs. She was the lyricist for more than 300 movies. Innumerable of her songs entranced many Marathi people like Toch Chandrama Nabhaat, Mee Dolkar Dolkar, Jivalaga Rahile Door Ghar, Ganraj Rangi, Mage Ubha Mangesh, etc. Varsha (1947) is her first collection of poems. Later she published many collections of poems, viz. Rupsi (1956), Gondan (1975), Anolakh (1986), JanmaJanhavi (1990), Toch Chandrama (1976), Kalyanche Divas Fulanchya Rati (1986). Stories, feminine stories, novels, translation of Japanese Haikus (Panyavarchya paklya: Petals on water), commentary on Meghdoot, were other literature that she created. She has contributed greatly to editing. Selection of GaDi Madgulkar’s songs for the book, editing of the book of Kusumagraj’s stories and poems, editing Rasika Ho! And Shrote Ho!, books of collection PuLa Deshpande’s speeches, and writing prologues for multiple literary works, are some of her invaluable contributions.

Her books Chimanchara and Gondan received the literature award from the Government. She also received the Ga Di Ma GeetaLekhan Award and Yashvantrao Chawan Pratishan Award in 2001, for her contribution to Marathi literature.
She expired in 2002, serving at the altar of Marathi literature. When she died, her own poem Asen Me, Nasen Me (I might me there, I might not) tore into the hearts of Maharashtra.

Death: 6 June, 2002



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