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|March 10, 1999||
Kusumagraj dies at 87
Noted litterateur and Jnanpith awardee Vishnu Vaman Shirwadkar, popularly known as Kusumagraj, died of old age at his residence at Nashik, Maharashtra, this afternoon. He was 87.
Shirwadkar was not keeping well since last few months and the end came at 1215 hrs today at his residence.
Shirwadkar, the most venerated litterateur of Maharashtra, has left behind his treasure of literature for generations to come.
He was born on February 27, 1912 in Pune. His original name was Gajanan Ranganath Shirwadkar and he was adopted by his uncle. He started his career at the age of 17 with writing for a children's magazine. Simultaneously, his poems were also published in the prestigious magazine Ratnakar published from Nashik.
While in college, in 1933, Shirwadkar published his first collection of poems, Jeevan-Lahiri. And the very next year he graduated with Marathi and English as his major subjects. The years 1936-38 witnessed a turning point in his life as he joined a Marathi film company, writing the script of Sati Sulochana and also played Laxman in it.
Since 1938 he worked with Marathi newspapers like Prabhat published from Pune, and Sarathi, Dhaurdhari and Navyug. In 1944 he tied the nuptial knot with Manorama.
Shirwadkar has contributed rich literature to society including poems plays and fictions. Natasamraat was the masterpiece penned by him which won him the best literature award of the Sahitya Academy in 1974.
In his book Shodh Shakespearecha, he had written as how he found a few text of Shakespeare's play in a dark junk room of his uncle's house. He had also translated Macbeth and Othello into Marathi. In 1942, Vishakha, another collection of his poetry was published which contained many of his significant poems including the most inspiring Garja Jayjaykar, a poem which glorifies Indian revolution.
In 1946 he published his first novel Vaishnav and the same year his first play Doorche Dive was staged. In 1950 he permanently shifted to Nashik and devoted himself to writing. He had also actively participated in the Samyukta Maharashtra movement.
Kusumagraj had graced the 45th Marathi Sahitya Sammelan held in Margaon in Goa in 1964. In 1970 he presided over the Marathi Natya Sammelan held in Kolhapur. In 1972 his wife Manoramabai passed away after a brief illness.
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