President inaugurates Marathi literary and theatre meets


Sangli/Sholapur (Maharashtra) : President Pratibha Patil inaugurated two conventions in two Maharashtra towns Saturday amid lingering controversy over state patronage and political interference in organising literary events.

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The president inaugurated the 81st Marathi literary meet at Sangli and the 88th Marathi theatre meet at Sholapur in southern Maharashtra.

Paying tributes to women litterateurs like Bahinabai Choudhary and Tarabai Shinde, Patil said Marathi literature did not have to import feminism from Europe.

“The quintessential litterateur is one who can diagnose the deeper maladies of the society, figure out its vulnerabilities and soothe the frayed human spirit,” she said referring to the long tradition of Marathi saint poets.

Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and two of his cabinet colleagues occupied the centre stage alongside President Patil.

The sammelan (meet) has been marred by protests by what many see as undue interference by the politicians in literary events. The outgoing sammelan president Arun Sadhu had resigned saying that the politicians have turned the event into a political show.

In Sadhu’s absence, the chairman of the sammelan reception committee Uttam Kamble passed on the mantle to new sammelan president M.D. Hatkanaglekar.

Later, Patil inaugurated the Marathi Natya Sammelan (theatre meet) at Union Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde’s hometown Solapur.

Veteran Marathi film and theatre actor Ramesh Deo took over as the president of the theatre festival from outgoing president Lalan Sarang.