प्रागतिक साहित्य पुरस्कार आणि समाजकार्य पुरस्कार
1990मध्ये अमेरिकास्थितसुनील देशमुखांनी दोन कोटी रुपये महाराष्ट्र फाऊंडेशनला देऊन ही पुरस्कार योजना सुरू केली. पण ते फक्त पैसे देऊन ते थांबले नाहीत तर या पुरस्कारांचे निकष काय असतील, ती योजना पारदर्शकपणे आणि लोकशाही पद्धतीने कशी राबवली जाईल, यांकडेही त्यांनी लक्ष पुरवले. महाराष्टातले सच्चे समाज कार्यकर्ते आणि सामाजिक जाणीव असणारे साहित्यिक पुरस्कार निवडीच्या समितीवर राहतील, याचीही त्यांनी काळजी घेतली. आजही आजच्या समकालीन वास्तवाशी, नवनवीन सामाजिक समस्यांशी आणि आव्हांनाशी आणि त्यांच्या नवनव्याअभिव्यक्तींशी पुरस्कारांचे सततचे नाते नातेराहिले पाहिजे, हा सुनील देशमुखांचा आग्रह असतो. पुढे वाचा …..
इंग्रजीत वाचण्यासाठी क्लिक करा
Progressive Marathi Literature and Social Service Awards
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Sunil Deshmukh, a successful commodity trader on Wall Street hails from Sangli in Maharashtra. Sunilstarted the Progressive Marathi Literature and Social Service Awards scheme in 1994. He always had progressive viewpoints right from the high school days and was influenced by the work and philosophy of Mahatma Phule, Shahu Maharaj, Agarkar, Karve, Ambrdkar, Shikshan Maharshi Shinde and many other progressive giants.
The common theme in these various forms of expression was the quest for social change and a fair and just society that transcends caste, creed, class and many such old barriers. In the social work arena, Sunil noticed that Maharashtra was again, unique in that a lot of pioneering social reform work like women’s education, eradication of superstition, annihilation of caste, education of the lower castes and resistance to dowry, etc. was first started in Maharashtra. Most giants of the social reform movement inspired people in other States to emulate and follow their lead.
Marathi social workers and literary figures thus serve as the guiding lights, source of inspiration and role models for India. Sunil felt that it is equally, if not more important, to highlight and honor the social workers and literary figures who carry that tradition forward and bear the torch today in spite of severe opposition from the entrenched conservative and fundamentalist forces. Thus was born the idea of social service and progressive Marathi literature awards scheme.
Sunil donated Rs. 2 Crore in the early ‘90s to Maharashtra Foundation, a progressive NGO in America to start the awards scheme. Sunil’s contribution goes far beyond just the money. He wrote down the criteria for each award and a selection process for those such that the whole scheme will be open, transparent, fair and democratic. Another unique feature is that the selection work is entrusted to committees of very well-known and accomplished social workers and literary figures. Sunil has thus ensured that the whole process is of high quality and respectful to actual doers in the field. Although Sunil is personally active and involved in the awards scheme, his focus is now on making sure the scheme remains relevant by addressing new social problems, challenges and new ways of expression.
The MF awards scheme is now entering its 25th year and is well accepted and respected in Marathi society. This would not be possible without the invaluable guidance and involvement by Professor Digambar Padhye, Professor Chandrakant Kelkar, Prakash Vishwasrao and Mrunaltai Gore in India. Rajan Gadkari and Shirish Gupte, the guiding lights of Maharashtra Foundation in America also played a key role in making it happen. Dilip and Shobha Chitre have been inspirational and guided the scheme to new heights. Professor Vidyut Aklujkar’s involvement and guidance for the past 25 years has been invaluable.
Keshav Gore Smarak Trust [KGST] team in Mumbai managed the execution of this awards scheme for the first 15 years. It would have never reached the heights in did without their enormous efforts, guidance and inspiration. We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to all volunteers at KGST and especially to Mrunaltai.
Sadhana Trust from Pune has been managing the awards scheme for the past 9 years, initially under the guidance of Dr. Narendra Dabholkar and now with Vinod Shirsath. Participation and vision of the youthful Sadhana team has brought fresh perspective, new technology and efficiency that is truly admirable.
Sunil is focused on making sure that we recognize and address new social issues like the atrocities by the Caste Councils, LGBT rights, Digital Divide etc. and the literary trends like Marathi Gazal, publications on the Social Media, e-Publications by the youth, etc.
As the awards scheme grew, more progressive friends joined hand to contribute their ideas and vision. Rajanee Shendure joined to start an award for progressive dramas that address modern social problems. We also started a special award in the memory of Dr. Dabholkar to recognize those who carry the torch forward in a new way with high impact.
We make sure that the awardees’ work is highlighted so they can serve as the role models and an inspiration to the youth. To that end, we present these awards in a highlighted ceremony with very prominent Chief Guests and coverage in the print and visual media. Most of the Chief Guests have been non-Marathi to assure an exchange of ideas on an all-India level. Bhishma Sahani, Suresh Dalal, Amol Palekar, environmentalist Steve Mills, and Ramachandra Guha have been some of the Chief Guests in the past.
We also publish a beautiful and content rich Souvenir for the occasion that is given to all attendees and is a collector’s item. Its artistic and intellectual content was the brainchild of Prakash Vishwasrao and is appreciated by everyone. It contains the photos and information on all awardees with very insightful articles on their work by prominent social workers and writers.
The nature of the awards continues to change to address new problems and opportunities for social change; however, a typical format certainly includes Lifetime Achievement Awards for literature and social work. In the literary area, broad categories include intellectual [Vaicharik], literary [Lalit] and atypical [Aparamparik] book awards. For social work, Intellectual Guidance [Samaj Prabodhan], unorganized labor [Asanghatit Kamgar] and atypical [Aparmparik] are broad categories for the distinguished social worker awards.