Meet Ramesh Bhagvant Veluskar of Pale Shiroda, a rare writer who manages to weave his socio-cultural upbringing into his writing
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A writer is indeed born but as he grows in the lap of nature and ecology, it on the socio-cultural fabric that is weaved around him and the society bonding them together, that he survives and thrives. Ramesh Bhagvant Veluskar is one such writer whose entrance in the world of literature during his formative years has left an impressive mark on the minds of readers and critics.
With 25 odd books to his credit, including translations from languages like Sanskrit, Hindi, Marathi and English, Veluskar started young and has maintained the expressive flow of his writing even in his late sixties – his latest books being Zen Kavita and Pandurang Pandurang (2014).
Beginning to find a way to express his inner emotions and feelings young Veluskar’s very first book, a short novel in Konkani ‘Moni Vyatha’ was published while he was studying in FYBA at Dhempe College. It bagged Kala Academy’s prize in 1976. “This appreciation opened up horizons for a young writer like me giving me the confidence I needed to step in the field of literature,” says Veluskar who never looked back.
Today, a retired teacher from St Andrew’s High School (Pale), Ramesh Bhagwant Veluskar is a name that stands out on the literary map of Goa. Married to Mithilesh Kumar Shrivastava (a retired principal from Raibareili) Veluskar boasts that all of their three children are interested in art and literature and he is quite sure that they will carry forward the legacy of their parents.
Agreeing that today there is no dearth of motivation for budding writers and voracious readers, Veluskar recalls those days when there were hardly any books to refer to. "I would read whatever I could get my hands on, even if it was a piece of newspaper wrapping," he informs.
Veluskar’s foray into the world of words was officially marked in the summer holidays after his SSC (eleventh) in 1968. Originally from Pale-Shiroda, Veluskar grew up amid rich folk culture like the jagar, dhalo, shigmo and natak (plays).
“My father Bhagvant aka Dada was popular in our village for his keen interest in natak, bhajan, kirtan, adhyay vachan (holy reading and recitation), etc,” states Veluskar admitting that the creative atmosphere in which he grew up boosted his socio-cultural upbringing.
“I got my first job in 1969 while I was still studying. It was earning and learning for a middle class boy like me whose father was a bus conductor, but a broad minded person with a spiritual inclination, who loved reading and writing. Today, at 99, Dada still reads a lot and keeps himself abreast with the world,” expresses Veluskar whose interactions with noted poets and writers aided in his own blooming as a writer.
Wordsmiths like Manoharrai Sardesai, Ravindra Kelekar, Bakibab Borkar, Madhav Borkar, Dharmanand Kamat, R V Pandit, S S Nadkarni, Muralidhar Kulkarni, Nagesh Karmali, Evagrius George encouraged Veluskar to write. With a pat on his back from stalwarts in Konkani, noted poets and writers of his times, Veluskar marched ahead to carve a niche for himself in the literary world. “It was a big boost for me,” he smiles.
Be it an artist, poet, writer, musician or painter, everyone tries in their own way to bring out this divine music in nature and pour it into the lives of humans. “I am nobody but just a fraction of one such medium engaged in sketching a lifelong, continual journey which while offering joy to others, brings in peace into my own self,” concludes this humble writer and poet.
Honours and awards
· Konkani Bhasha Mandal’s Kaviraj Puraskar
· KBM Puraskar for Morpaakham
· KBM Puraskar for Mati
· KBM Puraskar for Bhuk Bhuk Bhishu
· Padmashri B B Borkar Puraskar
· Rashtriya Hindi Seva Sahasrabdhi Samman
· Kala Academy Puraskar for Moni Vyatha
· Kala Academy Puraskar for Bhuk Bhuk Bhishu
· Sahitya Academy Puraskar for Saulgori
· Dr TMA Pai’s Special Award for Literary Creativity
· State Cultural Reward for creating National Literature
· State Cultural Award for 2007-08
· Janaganga Puraskar for Darya, 2009
· Sahitya Pratibha Sanman, Goa Konkani Academy, 2010
· Dr Manohar Rai Sardesai ‘Lok-kavi’ Puraskar by Bimb, 2011
· Non-Hindi Hindi Writer Award for ‘Samudramudrikaʼ from HRD Ministry, 2011
· Amrut Mohotsav Sanman Rashtrabhasha Prachar Samiti, Vardha, 2013
· Goa Shikshan Parishad Bhouman Yadastik, 2013
Moni Vyatha 1976, Morpakham 1979, Bhuk Bhuk Bhishu 1980, Chanimama 1981, Mati 1983, Aangani Nachta Mor Moraya 1985, Fulpakulem 1987, Saulgori 1989, Hiranyagarbha 1993, Tanarjyoti 1999, Parvanava 2005, Chuchu 2005, Ghuru Ghuru Varo 2005, Kunnekusksr 2007, Darya 2008, Samudramudrika (Hindi) 2009, Zen Kavita 2014, Kirachem Shikshan; (Translations) – Andha Yug (Dharmavir Bharati) (Hindi) 1996, Andher Nagari (Bharatendu Harishchandra) (Hindi) 2008, Eric (Sri Aurobindo) (English) 2008, Urubhang (Bhas) (Sanskrit) 2008, Pandurang Pandurang (Sant Tukaram Abhang) (Konkani) 2014