Award Name : Jnanpith Award
Year of Award : 2006
Award for : Literature
Location : Madgaon, Goa, India
Ravindra Kelekar was a prominent writer of Konkani language. He wrote in Hindi and Marathi as well. For his contributions to Konkani language and literature, he was given Jnanpith award in the year 2006, that he shared with Satya Vrat Shastri. He was a freedom fighter, Gandhian activist and a leading name in the modern Konkani movement. He is also known as a scholar, linguist, and creative thinker. He has also participated in Goa liberation movement. He also led campaign against the merger of the newly formed Goa with Maharashtra. He played key role in the advancement of Konkani language and founded Konkani Bhasha Mandal to make Konkani a fully fledged language. Kelekar was born on March 25, 1925 in Goa. His father, Dr Rajaram Kelekar was a writer too, who translated Bhagawat Gita to Portuguese. During his school studies, Kelekar joined the Goa liberation movement in 1946. In 1949 he left Goa to Wardha. He stayed with noted Gandhian and writer Kakasaheb Kalelkar till 1955. He later moved to New Delhi when he was appointed librarian of Gandhi Memorial Museum. But after one year he returned and joined Goa freedom movement. He started the weekly, Gomant Bharati in 1956. For the active participation in freedom struggle, he was imprisoned by the Portuguese and was released only when Indian Army invaded and annexed Goa in 1961.
His leading works were written after this movement. A few of his noted works during 1960’s include - Aamchi Bhas Konkanich (1962), Shallent Konkani Kityaak (1962) and A Bibliography of Konkani Literature in Devanagari, Roman and Kannada characters (1963). His struggle ended only in 1992, when Konkani was included as an official language in the Eighth Schedule of Indian Constitution. After that he returned to writing. He has written about 100 books. He has done Konkani translation of Mahabharatha. His best books are Brahmandantlem Tandav, Amchi Bhas Konkaneech, Mukthi, Shalent Konkani Kityak, Mahatma, Thulsi, Velevoilio Ghulo, Bahu-bhashik Bharatant Bhashenche Samajshastra, Samidha and Himalayant.