I was lucky to attend the event. It was like a Jazz concert.
Chitre's e-mail invitation said: "...This event is open to the public on a first-come-first-served basis and there are NO SEAT RESERVATIONS for the invited guests..." (Chitre was probably the most technology-savvy Indian artist of his generation. More on this in future posts.)
I sat in the first row. No one asked me to move.
Chitre made a small but moving speech where he compared Vinda to Sant Eknath(संत एकनाथ).
I though how appropriate considering Eknath's:
"जगाचिये नेत्री दिसे तो संसारी, परी तो अंतरी स्फटिक शुद्ध" ("In the world's eyes he looks ordinary married man but inside he is crystal pure.")
That was followed by reading by Vinda of his selected ‘reflective’ poems. The poem based on imaginary meeting of Tukaram and Shakespeare was among them. (Go to the end of this post to read it in Marathi in full.)
After the event I congratulated Chitre on the wonderful event. He just shrugged.
[The only jarring note in the entire function came from Dr. Sadanand More सदानंद मोरे, highly respected scholar of Tukaram, who presided over the function.More trashed British philosophers saying they were deservedly not included by Vinda.
It was unnecessary.
According to Schopenhauer, "There is more to be learned from each page of David Hume than from the collected philosophical works of Hegel, Herbart, and Schleiermacher taken together." (source- Wikipedia)]
Albert Einstein wrote that he was inspired by Hume's positivism when formulating his Special Theory of Relativity. (source- Wikipedia)
Immanuel Kant wrote that David Hume aroused him from dogmatic slumber. (source- "Stray Dogs" by John Gray)
Schopenhauer, Hegel, Kant are among Vinda's chosen eight while Hume is not.)
Returning to Chitre on Vinda, what he didn't say in the speech but said on his blog, on Vinda's 90th birthday:
"...August 23 is the birthday of Vinda alias Govind Vinayak Karandikar. Today he is exactly ninety years old. I spoke with him a little while ago on the phone as he is one of my many 'Gurus' in poetry as well as in life. I reviewed his second collection of Marathi poems in 1954 when I hadn't yet graduated from high school. My review was published by the then leading Marathi cultural weekly Mouj.
Vinda was so excited by my appreciation of his poetry that he wrote me a postcard using every millimetre of its scant space and invited me to see him in person at his residence in Mahim, a suburb of Mumbai. In the event we met, he a person twenty-one years older than me, and I just deciding that poetry and the fine arts were my true vocation. I took admission in the Ramnarain Ruia College in Matunga, Mumbai where he had recently joined as a lecturer in English.
For my B.A. I chose English Literature as my major subject. Vinda taught us English prosody for our Honours degree. He came from the Konkan coast of Maharashtra and his English accent was influenced by his Marathi dialect. Students who came from English medium schools made fun of him for his quaint English accent and his whimsical style of teaching. But they also held him in awe partly because his grasp of prosody and partly because of his booming voice that went far beyond the classroom.
As a reader of poetry from a platform---whether in Marathi or in English---Vinda is unique. He is a performer who browbeats his audience with a thundering and sometimes melodramatic voice. Quite theatrical, he injures his own tender and delicately nuanced phrases and lines with an aggressive pitch and volume. However, he is loved by Marathi audiences and readers, and when he recently won the Jnanpith Award the whole of Maharashtra was ecstatic.
A.K. Ramanujan, Ramesh Sarkar, and Vilas Sarang have translated some of his poems into English; as have I, and Arun Kolatkar, though Kolatkar's translations cannot, unfortunately, be traced.
I wish him a long life. He would be able to use it well. He has donated the amounts received as literary awards to ngos and individuals doing social work. The longer he lives, the longer they all will be able to work in the public interest!"
तुकोबांच्या भेटी । शेक्सपिअर आला ।।
तो झाला सोहळा। दुकानात.
जाहली दोघांची । उराउरी भेट
उरातलें थेट । उरामध्ये
तुका म्हणे "विल्या। तुझे कर्म थोर;
अवघाचि संसार । उभा केला।।"
शेक्सपीअर म्हणे । एक ते राहिले; ।
तुका जे पाहिले विटेवरी."
तुका म्हणे, "बाबा ते त्वां बरे केले,
त्याने तडे गेले। संसाराला;
विठठ्ल अट्टल, । त्याची रीत न्यारी
माझी पाटी कोरी । लिहोनिया."
शेक्सपीअर म्हणे । तुझ्या शब्दामुळे
मातीत खेळले । शब्दातीत
तुका म्हणे गड्या । वृथा शब्दपीट
प्रत्येकाची वाट । वेगळाली
वेगळिये वाटे । वेगळिये काटे;
काट्यासंगे भेटे । पुन्हा तोच.
ऐक ऐक वाजे । घंटा ही मंदिरी।
कजागीण घरी । वाट पाहे."
दोघे निघोनिया गेले दोन दिशां
कवतिक आकाशा आवरेना ।