WRITER LAXMANRAO SARDESAI
Eminent writer Laxmanrao Sardesai was born in 1904 and he passed away in 1986. He has witnessed almost the major part of the 20th century. He has cast indelible imprint upon the literature and education spheres.
Laxmanrao was born in a picturesque hamlet of Savoi-Verem of Ponda. This village is endowed with lush green natural beauty and obviously Laxmanrao was groomed, bred and fed under the beauty of palms, farms, lakes, temples etc. He studied first three standards in Marathi medium at Panaji. Then he studied Portuguese upto setimo ano. He passed with flying colours with high score with a special subject of Literature. Laxmanrao also studied French as second language. At very young age he came in touch with masterly works from Portuguese and French and that formed the outlook of his literary vision.
Laxmanrao started a Portuguese school namely 'Colegio Indian' at Mapusa. Later on he also contributed well as a director of Colegio Antonio Jose de Almeida at Ponda. His many students earned recognition in their respective fields later on. Laxmanrao also mastered Marathi and English literature to sharpen his skills. He was a prolific writer with consistency and voracious reader. He delved deep while analyzing various complex issues of life and interactions of humans with world around.
Laxmanrao wrote in Marathi and gained popularity as a short story writer. Regionalism of Goa is deeply reflected in his writings. His first short story was published in 1929 namely SASURVASINI in 'Yeshwant' magazine. Till 1983 he wrote incessantly in Marathi contributing around 700 short stories. In his presidential address at Cudchadem in 1977 in Marathi literary conference he said-" Any literature whether modern or ancient is primarily regional. There cannot be liveliness in literature without regionalism. The writer ought have a mature vision to comprehend regionalism and universality first so as to convey it in his well knit story. Well the characters may differ in various regions but their likes, dislikes, tastes, joys, sorrows, innate feelings are one and the same. The true regional literature is actually universal literature and has to be in that fashion."
Laxmanrao came to Konkani literature rather late. Konkani was struggling to reach the height of its recognition. Laxmanrao enriched Konkani literature by his artistic essays and short stories. His book 'Khabri kaim varmacheo kaim karmacheo' won Sahitya Academy Award in Konkani in 1980. His Konkani style is quite lucid. He wrote a book named KATHASHILP reviewing the short stories of budding writers then. He enlightened the writers fraternity by analysing the finer tenets an parameters of short story genre. His Konkani book PAPDAM KOVLLEO was also received with overwhelming response.
Laxmanrao always said - A writer should also be fighter. He personality flowered adhering to such principles. He was a blend of many colours, multi faceted and versatile personality. He was an eminent educationist, a front ranking freedom fighter and all through a writer. He liked to talk and everyone enjoyed his company including children. He would cite short stories to little kids in his unparalleled narration style. He was a good friend of yet another genius poet Bakibab Borkar. Laxmanrao was a keen connoisseur of literature and primarily of life, with sensitivity and nostalgia etc. The nature, fragrance of the soil, lifestyle, social set up, folklore, flora and fauna, cultural nuances from green Goa are richly abundant in all his writings and stories. He never voiced grumbled reminiscences at his old age about the bitter experiences of the prison, the torture he faced with other freedom fighters. Laxmanrao was a beautiful human, large hearted Goan, always ready to help and serve and loved mixing with the masses. He would deeply watch and talk to the fellow beings, shared their problems, difficulties and converted this raw material into his literature. Balkrishna Kandolkar, lecturer at Department of Goa University has written a thesis researching upon the literature of Laxmanrao Sardesai.
In 'Khobri' ( means small talk or gossip) Laxmanrao has skillfully exploited the popular folk style of narrating with a streak of humour and turned it into a composite literary genre oscillating between the short story and the essay. In fact, 'Khobri' is the trendsetter of this genre in Konkani literature. This book consists of 16 narrative pieces on subjects ranging from old age, cataract, childhood reminiscences, passion of 'bidi' smoking, village nicknames, crab-hunting, to pen portraits of a village toddy-tapper, goldsmith, baker, priest, passionate gluttons and then a recounting of himself which he sums up in the words- ' I am content, I am a fakir'.
Poet Vaman Sardesai has written, " he was a passionate lover of all good things of life, winding his way in the glow of a successful author and thinker, adored by hundreds of his past students, he stunned all his friends, admirers and innumerable readers when, on perceiving the nation's call, he bade goodbye to the cosy life and threw himself into the freedom struggle courting himself a majestic fakir's life."
Laxmanrao has written around 700 short stories in Marathi. The truest tributes while celebrating the birth centenary year of this great writer would be to write vigourously, consistently more and more like him.
- MUKESH THALI