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From: Shiva Shankar <sshan...@cmi.ac.in>
Date: Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 7:31 PM
Subject: film on Narayan Surve on youtube

rediff NEWS

Well-known Marathi poet Narayan Surve, who passed away on Monday at
the age of 83, was a social activist who put the voice of Mumbai's
working class in Marathi literature.

Aisa Ga Mee Brahma (1962), is his first collection of poems followed
by Majhe Vidyapeeth, another collection that hit stands in 1966. His
poems described the world of urban population that lived in a metro
like Mumbai, who did whatsoever work they could lay their hands on to
eke out a living. He brought before the world the bitter truth of
those whose life was a mess in search of a mere morsel and also the
lives of toiling workers whose life was filled with the struggle to
make a living.

In his words, Bhakricha chandra shodhnyaatach jindagi barbaad (Wasted
a lifetime in search of the moon of a Bhaakri (flat bread). He is
mostly known for his poetry collection Majhe Vidyapeeth (My

Born on October 15, 1926, Surve grew up in the streets of Mumbai and
raised by a mill worker. He had slept on the pavement and earned a
meagre livelihood by doing odd jobs. He taught himself to read and
write. Surve actively took part in the workers' union movement in
Mumbai and supported himself as a schoolteacher.

In 1998, Surve was honoured with Padma Shri for excellence in
Literature and Education. He received the prestigious Golden Lotus
Award for his poetry and Kabir Samman in 1999 from Madhya Pradesh
government. He was Convener of the Marathi Advisory Board of Sahitya
Akademi and had presided over Marathi Sahitya Sammelan at Parbhani in

Apart from Majhe Vidyapeeth, compilations of Surve's poems and essays
include Jahirnama, Aisa Ga Mi Brahma, Sanad, Manush Kalawant and Ani

Surve would describe his struggle in his early years as Kalu laagle
tevhaa paasun dabba gheun saachyaavar gelo, ghadavto lohaar
haatodyaalaa, tasaach ghadavlaa gelo (I went to the mill with my lunch
box since my childhood, just as a hammer is moulded by an ironsmith,
my life was shaped there among the mill workers).

Influenced by Marxism and comrades Dange and Mirajkar, Surve
proclaimed social revolution through his poems. He narrated the life
of a worker through his poems, using the colloquial language of
workers. His poems brought Marathi poetry out of the circle of the
middle class. He experimented with reading out his poems before an
audience in Maharashtra as well in the entire country. His poems
reached the pinnacle of popularity with all classes of the society.

He describes his own emotional world as, Kaamgaar Mee Aahe, Mee
Talpati Talwar (I am the worker, the flashing sword) Maazhe hi ek
swapna hote re, je malaa pure kartaa ale naahi, Rojchyaa damgirine
tevdhi usantach dili nahi, pan pudhche jag tuzhe aahe (I too had a
dream, my dear, which I could not fulfil, the everyday routine did not
leave me any leisure, but the world ahead is yours)

Without being backed by great wealth, high education or family
heritage, his intellect and high level of thinking as revealed through
his poems, is a miracle of his genius. Surve was awarded the Janasthan
Award by Kusumagraj Foundation in 2004. His Jahirnama, Sanad and
Navyaa Maansaache Aagman (The coming of the new man) were some of his
more popular works.

For those who did not know Narayan Surve, there is not much that one
can find on the web. I think the best publicly available documentation
of the poet's life is Narayan Gangaram Surve, a Marathi film by Arun
Khopkar. It had noted theatre/film actor Kishore Kadam playing the
poet, and had touching visualizations of his poetry. Apparently, this
was also the first Marathi film to win the national award for the best
film in Short film category.

Narayan Gangaram Surve : Part 1 (25 min)

Narayan Gangaram Surve : Part 2 (20 min).

Surve grew up in the streets of Mumbai and was raised by a mill
worker. He did not have the privilege of going to school. Yet he
learnt to read and write, and wrote poetry on the life around him. He
passed away this Monday. Just like the mills and mill workers, just
like "Bombay", the poet of Bombay has also faded away into the world
of memories.


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