March 7, 2021 11:47:10 pm
The 94th Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, an annual gathering and one of the focal points of the Marathi literary world, scheduled to be held in Nashik between March 26 and 28, has been postponed due to rising cases of Covid-19 in the state, the organisers said on Sunday.
Noted astrophysicist, science writer and academic Jayant Narlikar has recently been named as the president of the 94th edition of the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan.
“After holding discussions with various member bodies, we have decided to put the Sammelan on hold as the cases of Covid-19 are rising rapidly again in the state. It has not been cancelled, and will certainly take when the situation is normal again. We tentatively hope to conduct it, towards the end of May, if the situation normalises by then,” said Kautikrao Thale Patil, president of the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Mahamandal, an umbrella body of various regional Marathi literary organisations in India that organises the Sammelan.
The Mahamandal currently includes representatives of the four main Marathi literary bodies from Vidarbha, Marathwada, Pune and Mumbai regions and allied organisations from Vadodara, Goa, Karnataka, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Since the Covid-19 cases started rising in Maharashtra recently, questions were raised on the organisation of the Sammelan, which has a history of large number of people attending it from across the state and India. The organisers had been holding talks on various platforms about its proposed organisation.
Thale Patil added, “We, along with member and allied bodies, also held discussions with other key stakeholders about the process of the event’s organisation. We all agree that it should be put on hold for a while. We are ruling out the option of holding it online.”
After the decision was announced, The Indian Express spoke with Mangala Narlikar, noted mathematician and writer and wife of Jayant Narlikar. Speaking on behalf of both of them, she said, “We have been informed of the decision earlier today. We both fully agree with the decision as safety and health of people should always be the first priority.”
The first annual Marathi literary conference dates back to 1878 when social reformer, writer and judge Mahadev Govind Ranade chaired the meet. Since then, it has remained the central platform for literary discourse, debates, expression and literary criticism in Marathi language. While the meet itself is an affair of three days, the president of the Sammelan remains on the position for a year and steers the discussions about the key issues in Marathi literature.
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