V. S. Khandekar
The first Marathi litterateur who was awarded the Dnyanpeeth Award
V.S.Khandekar is one of the foremost novelists in Marathi literature and a popular litterateur. Along with novels, he has contributed to various genres of literature like stories, poems, short essays, critique, screen plays, plays, biographies, and discourse. He also made a mark for himself through newspaper articles and editing books.
He was exposed to literature from a very young age, by his Marathi teachers and his association with literati like Balkavi, Ram Ganesh Gadkari, Achyutrao Kolhatkar. He had also picked up a hobby of reading ancient literature because of Gadkari. Shripad Krusha Kolhatkar suggested that Khandekar should write stories that applied both humour and poetry since he had a good handle on both; that is when he found the storyteller hidden in him. He was also famous as an excellent orator in Maharashtra.
He received immense popularity as a novelist in Maharashtra and even outside Maharashtra since pre- Independence. He wrote his first novel, Hrudayachi Haak (Call of the Heart) in 1930. After this a number of his novels were published, like Ek Kanchanmrug (1931), Don Dhruv (1934), Hirva Chafa (1938), Rikama Devhara (1939), Pahile Prem (1940). Approximately thirty-five collection of stories, ten collections of short essays, collection of critical appreciation like Gof Aani Gophan were some of his vast contribution to literature. He wrote the screen play for some of the popular Marathi movies like Chaayaa, Jwaalaa, Amrut, Devtaa, Maaza Baal.
His command over language, expertise in punning, and creative imagination are qualities that he seems to have imbibed from the heritage of Kolhatkar and Gadkari. He primarily illustrated the dreams and aspirations of the middle class, pleasure and pain of the common man, and their idealism in his stories and novels. His main character was socially conscious and idealistic. This kind of idealism was a necessity of the middle-class youth in the slowly changing social circumstances; he therefore was the most popular author of his time. His novel KrounchVadh(1942) was extremely popular. Yayati (1959) and Amrutvel (1967), were the most famous of his novels after Independence. Yayati received the Sahitya Academy Award in 1960. Kolhapur Shivaji University conferred upon him the D.Litt. The Indian Government honoured him with the PadmaBhushan award in 1968. In 1974, he received the highest honour by being awarded the Dnyaanpeeth award from the Indian Dnyaanpeeth (Altar of Knowledge).
Many movies and television serials have been made in multiple languages based on his stories. There have been discourses on his literature in other Indian and non-Indian languages as well as.
RoopakKatha is a huge contribution to Marathi stories by Khandekar. He laid out his philosophy on life and ideal principles in these stories. These stories are included in Vechleli Phula (1948), a collection of stories.
Khandekar has served his mother tongue through his varied, unique and phenomenonally excellent writing, and has made a great contribution to Marathi literature. Most importantly, he has infused new confidence and spirit into Marathi literati and connoisseurs of Marathi literature by becoming the recipient of the Dnyaanpeeth Award.