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Marathi Literature

Prabhakar Machwe

By Narayan Surve
Popular, Bombay, 1975, 71, 6.00

By Arati Prabhu
Manj Prakashan, 1975, 93, 10.00

By Vasant Bapat
Popular, Bombay, 1975, 112, 9.00

VOLUME II NUMBER 3 May-June 1977

Narayan Surve's third collection of twenty-six poems with a seventeen-page essay on ‘Poetry and I’ has the same ruggedness and the strong smell of the soil—nay, even the stench. Born on a footpath, having no formal education, Surve became a communist worker and his first collection of poetry, Aisa Ga Mi Bramha, (Such a Brahma am I) won the Maharashtra Government Literary Award in 1961. It was followed by Maze Vidyapitha (My University) which went into three editions in 1966, 1970 and 1971. He has candidly stated in the epilogue that he does not know any language except his mother tongue and Urdu/Hindi. He had been to Alma Ata for the Afro-Asian Conference of writers. He is a committed poet yet his poetry does not read like a poster. It is not loud or lurid. I translate two of his poems to give the feel of his writing:   O Dear O Dear What must you be doing at this moment I don't know Maybe Your hands are busy defusing the bombs underwater in Vietnam harbour My Negro brothers, You may be in a posh New York hotel throwing a brick at Pentagon   The fisher-folk in Paris may be pulling their fishing nets in sun-lit seas, singing folk songs   Northern old winter remembering Lumumba,  knocking a tailor's door in Congo   I don't know Sitting in a corner in the last building       of Chandni Chowk I am imagining—all this     And O Dear I have also brought a stale bread, and a cheeroot Near the grave of darkness to converse with you My lips are eager O Dear!   Karl Marx   I met Karl Marx in my first strike In the centre of the procession His banner was on my shoulder Janaki Akka said: ‘Do you know This is our Markas-Baba! Born in Germany, wrote bagful of books Dust to dust in England. For a sanyasi all land is the same He had also four young ones like you !   Marx met me thus in my first strike Later on; I was speaking in a meeting —Why this slump? What is the root of poverty? Marx came forward; said, ‘I will tell’ And he went on non-stop.   I was standing at the gate—meeting hearing some speech. I said— ­‘Now we are the heroes of our history of all the future biographies.’ I saw the person who applauded loudly was he, laughing heartily, coming forward He ...

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