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Ravindra Kelekar passes away

Special Correspondent

— Photo: Special Arrangement

Ravindra Kelekar

PANAJI: Konkani litterateur and Jnanpith Award winner Ravindra R. Kelekar, 85, died at a hospital at Margao on Friday after a brief illness.

He is survived by son Girish and his family.

The mortal remains will be consigned to the flames with full State honours at his native village of Priol in south Goa, around 18 km from here, on Saturday, Chief Minister Digambar Kamat said.

As a mark of respect, the State government announced a public holiday for half a day on Friday and for the whole day of Saturday.

Ravindra Kelekar was born on March 25, 1925 at Cuncolim in south Goa. Influenced by the Gandhian thoughts, he was actively involved in the freedom struggle and the Goa liberation movement. Though he also wrote in Marathi and Hindi, his contributions to the growth of Konkani were immense. He was always at the forefront of the Konkani movement. He fought several battles to seek recognition of the Konkani language.

He was an illustrious disciple of Kaka Saheb Kalelkar, a social reformer, and was widely acknowledged as an architect of the Konkani language.

In his long, illustrious career, Ravindra Kelekar bagged numerous awards and honours, including the Padma Bhushan and the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship. His book, Himalayan, a travelogue written in 1975, won for him the Sahitya Akademi Award.

He was the only writer of Goa and of Konkani to win the Jnanpith Award as well as the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship.

This prolific writer dealt with most of the genres. Though known for his thought-provoking essays, he produced travelogues, diary musings, fiction, children's literature, plays and translations.

He penned more than 32 books, in Konkani, Marathi, Hindi and Gujarati.

Expressing grief at the demise of Ravindra Kelekar, Mr. Kamat said it was a “great loss to the State of Goa.”

Governor S.S. Sidhu, writers, academics and heads of various literary and cultural institutions paid tributes.

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