Thursday 22 October 2020

News Analysed, Opinions Expressed

Culture | Literature

Ravindra Kelekar no more

 

Ravindra Kelekar, the first Jnanpith awardee of Goa, expired today morning. He was 85.

On his sad demise, chief minister Digambar Kamat immediately declared a state holiday for the rest of the day and tomorrow.

He would be given Guard of Honour by the State during final rites at 12 noon tomorrow at his Priol residence.

Kelekar was hospitalised soon after he was awarded Jnanpith on 31 July at the hands of Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar at a function held in Panaji.

He breathed his last at 11.30 am today at Apollo Victor hospital in Margao. His dead body was brought to his Priol residence by afternoon.

Born on 25 March 1925 in Cuncolim, Ravindrabab (as he was widely known) jumped into Goa's liberation movement at young age, taking inspiration from the Civil Disobedience movement started by Ram Manohar Lohia on 18 June 1946 in Margao.

Being a strong Gandhian, Ravindrabab was also influenced by Kakasaheb Kalelkar and spent most of his initial life at Gandhi Ashram in Vardha.

He then equally played a pivotal role during Opinion Poll in 1967 to retain Goa's identity and then making Konkani Goa's official language in 1987.

Raivndrabab, who always proudly said that he is basically a fighter and writer is his by-product, has written hundreds of books in Konkani, Marathi and Hindi as well as has translated many books, including Mahabharata.

He was the first recipient of Sahitya Academy award for his travelogue "Himalayant" in 1977.

As an appreciation to his long-standing courageous and fearless literary career, the Gandhian thinker was honoured as a Fellow by Sahitya Academy in 2007.

He was awarded Padmabhushan in 2008 and was then honoured with prestigious Jnanpith of 2008.

 

Till his death, he has been a strong proponent of widening Goa's boudaries to original position by acquiring the whole Konkani belt, from Sindhudurg in Maharashtra to Karwar, Supa and Halyal in Karnataka.


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RAVINDRA KELEKAR: A WRITER & FIGHTER PAR EXCELLENCE



In Ravindra Kelekar’s death Goa has lost a true, very tall and outstanding Goan. It is an invaluable loss. The void created in his passing away will never be filled. He achieved great heights but always led a very simple, modest and humble life. A prolific writer, a very passionate speaker and a relentless fighter, he had the patience to listen to others, something many of us do not care to. He always spoke, wrote and did whatever he felt was right. Always outspoken, he fearlessly practiced what he preached. Ravindrabab’s final journey from his residence at Priol was very moving and touching. Even the rain gods obliged with a dry spell from the incessant rains during this great leader’s final voyage.

Ravindra Kelekar was the first Goan civilian to be bade farewell with a guard of honour. That the rifles expectedly misfired during the farewell is not suprising. It only symbolizes how rusted the whole system has become. While Ravindrabab rightly deserved the guard of honor, many others who abdicate their duty to protect and save Goa, will be bestowed the Aam Aadmi’s curses when they hit the dust.

With people of all walks and shades of life gathered for his final voyage, it bore testimony to the very tall stature this great fighter enjoyed. He also championed the cause of women’s empowerment. The presence of so many ladies at Ravindrabab’s cremation was something one usually rarely sees at a Hindu funeral. Maybe it was a right step in removing the superstitious barrier that restrains ladies from viewing and participating in the final rites.

Just as Ravindrabab had wished that there should be no speeches at his funeral the great departed soul may also have not desired any commemorative statues or monuments in his memory. Always very caring and concerned about Goa, Ravindrabab in his own way toiled to see that Goa maintained her unique cultural ethos and identity. A true tribute to the great man would be to try and transform what remains of Goa into what he always visualized and wanted our State to be.

Outspoken as he was, he never minced words in all that he wrote and spoke about. He actively led and participated in so many agitations and movements on various issues concerning Goa. His secular credentials were undisputed. Ravindrabab was a linguist and his writings inspired the intelligentsia and the common man too. His rich literary works are our treasure to keep. I was privileged to have personally known the great man who may be no more but whose works and deeds are immortalised.

Ravindra Kelekar contributed his might for Goa’s liberation from the Portuguese. Today it is an irony that we have to strive to liberate Goa once again. This time around from those engaged in the process of its systematic destruction. That would be a true tribute to this great Goan who has departed with a mission incomplete. We owe it to Ravindra Kelekar to carry forward his vision. All that he stood and wanted Goa to be. Let us vow to do it. Otherwise we will have to be content that Ravindrabab was saved the painful and agonizing task of witnessing Goa’s fateful remains.

Aires Rodrigues

Ribandar

 
Aires Rodrigues , Ribandar

May his soul find solace in the kingdom of God. One in an umpteenth million personage, he never let go the causes of Goa. He must have earned displeasure from many for upholding Konkani both in Devnagri and Romi scripts. God be with him.

 
ludovico , old-goa

Scholar, Thinker, Writer, Fighter... Ravindra Kelekar (1925 - 2010) leaves behind an inspirational legacy... may his thoughts continue to provoke unrest and may his fans never rest in peace!

 
Pravin K Sabnis , Alto Betim