Renowned Marathi poet and lyricist Mangesh Padgaonkar passed away at his residence in Mumbai on Wednesday after a brief illness. He was 86.
Awarded Padma Bhushan in 2013 and Maharashtra Bhushan in 2008, Padgaonkar headed the second Vishwa Marathi Sahitya Sammelan held in Dubai in 2010. Padgaonkar also won the Sahitya Akademi award in 1980 for his collection of poems titled Salaam.
Born on March 10, 1929 in Vengurla, Sindhudurg in Maharashtra, he was well versed in Marathi and Konkani languages. After receiving Master of Arts in Marathi and Sanskrit from University of Bombay, he taught Marathi at Ruia College, before serving as the editor of US Information Service.
Offering his condolences to Padgaonkar, Prime Minister’s Office tweeted, “Mangesh Padgaonkar was a doyen of Marathi Literature. His poetry and writing influenced many. Saddened by his demise.” Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tweeted, “Maharashtra has lost a great, creative littérateur who not only enriched, but inspired the entire literary world.”
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis described Padgaonkar as an iconic poet, “Who ruled the heart of masses with his writings which captured the youthfulness, romance and anguish which was emoted in his writings.” His books like Gypsy, Udasbodh, Bolagani saw him rise to a new level in Marathi literature. His songs like Savar Re, Bhet Tujhi Majhi Smarate, Ashi Pakhare Yeti are immensely popular in Maharashtra today. Apart from his poems, he has also written essays, which are compiled and published in a book titled ‘Nimbonichya Zadamage’. He is also known for his Marathi translation of the Bible: The New Testament and works of Kabir.
Fadnavis visited the residence of Padgaonkar to offer condolences and paid floral tribute. Fadnavis said, “Padgaonkar’s greatness was his ability to take poetry to the masses. His writings struck an emotive bond with the ordinary people.”
Maharashtra government accorded full state honours to Padgaonkar.
Padgaonkar shared a unique bond with Pune. In 1981, he had penned the anthem of Pune University titled – ‘Dnyan Bano Karmsheel, Karm Dnyanwaan’ (Let knowledge be diligent, and hard work intelligent). For his contribution, university conferred its highest honour, ‘Jeevan Sadhana Gaurav Puraskar’ on him in 2012.
The anthem consists of four verses which cover various aspects of a student’s life. It asks the students to stay adhered to the principles of science, but not at the cost of humanity. It appeals to abolish the differences of castes and religions, and to seek salvation in service. “Padgaonkar’s demise is a big loss for SPPU and I extend my sincere condolences to his family,” said Wasudeo N Gade, Vice Chancellor of Pune University.