BORKAR, BALKRISHNA BHAGAVANTA (1910-1984) : Poet
Balkrishna Bhagavanta Borkar was an eminent Marathi and Konkani poet and novelist. Born in a family hailing from the village of Borim, he passed his Teacher’s diploma in Portuguese and Matriculation in English.
He worked as a teacher in various schools in Goa from 1930 to 1945. Soon after the Goa Liberation movement was started by Dr. Lohia, he left for Bombay where he edited the periodicals *Amha Gomantak* (Our Goa) in Marathi and *Porjecho Avaz* (People’s Voice) in Konkani, devoted to the Goan freedom struggle.
Borkar worked as a Spoken Word Producer at Poona (1955-1960) and Panjim (1961-1970) stations of All India Radio. Borkar was the Chairman of the Reception Committee, Gomantak Marathi Sahitya Sammelan (1957). He presided over the Marathi Kavi Sammelan (Solapur, 1958), was a member of the Indian Delegation of Men of Letters to Ceylon (1963), presided over the Konkani Conference (Bombay, 1967) and the second Session of the Marathi Literary Conference (Mahabaleshvar, 1970).
He was the President of Institute Menezes Braganza, Panjim (1964-1970) and was honoured with the title Padmashri (1967).
Borkar started writing poetry at an early age. ‘Pratibha’ (Talent, 1930) is his first collection of poems. His second collection of poems ‘Jivan Sangit’ (1937) contains some of his best known and most popular poems, especially ‘Tethe kar majhe julati’ (Before I fold my hands).
His other collections are ‘Dudhsagar’ (1947), ‘Anand Bhairavi’ (1950, Maharashtra State Award), ‘Chaitra Punav (1970). As a poet, he scrupulously follows the traditional pattern of rhyme and rhythm and remains the most classic of modern poets.
The metrical forms he uses are extremely varied, ranging from the ancient Shardulavikridit to the modern Padakulak and passes through the popular ‘Pavada’ and ‘Lavani’.
Though his poetry has undergone considerable change during its course, it has resolutely refused to follow short-lived fashions. Borkar’s poetry can be sung; this intense musical quality is its hall-mark. Proudly proclaiming himself as a disciple of poet Tambe, he has lifted Marathi poetry to sublime heights of lyricism.
Borkar was an optimist. Though fully aware of the selfishness and cruelty that salk the world, he has unshakable faith in the essential goodness of human nature. His poetry abounds in colourful pictures of nature, especially those of Goa. He is inimitable as a master craftsman of words which, in his hands, become a source of aesthetic delight.
In him can also be found a happy blend of the spiritual and the sensuous. Some of his poems are highly philosophical and even mystic. The favourite themes of his poetry are: love as an all pervading novel passion, the happiness of a peaceful domestic life, nature as an eternal source of beauty and
inspiration, divine grace and the secret ways of destiny.
Borkar has left a deep impression on Marathi and Konkani poetry.
Borkar wrote a few novels, including ‘Mavalata Chandra’ (1938), ‘Andharatil Vat’ (1943) and ‘Bhavin’ (1950). His novel ‘Bhavin’ became quite popular due to its novel theme, lyrical language and racy narration. It depicts the pathos of the life of a ‘devadasi’. He wrote a biography of Rabindranath Tagore (1963) which received the Maharasthra State Award. Borkar wrote in Konkani also. He contributed significantly to the development of the Konkani language.
WORKS BY BORKAR
1945 *Jalte Rahasya’ (The Fiery Secret)
1950 *Amhi Pahilele Gandhiji* (Gandhiji We have Seen)
1951 *Kanchechi Kimaya* (The Magic of Glass)
1956 *Gita Pravachanam* (Discourses on the Gita, by Acharya Vinoba Bhave)
1957 *Bharatacho Distavo* (India of My Dreams, by Mahatma Gandhi)
1960 *Majhi Jivan Yatra* (My Life’s Journey) Konkani: Poetry: *Gitai* (Translation of Bhagvadgita)
1961 *Pamyinam* (Anklets)
1963 *Anandayatri Rabindranath* (Rabindranath, the Traveller of Joy)
1973 *Konkanichi Vatchal, Tiji Jodnuk ani Chadnuk* (Konkani Vocabulary, Its Composition and Formation)
1973 *Paigambar* (The Prophet, by Khalil Gibran)
1975 *Sansay Kallol* (Deval’s Marathi play of the same name).
Deshpande, A.N., *Adhunik Marathi Vangmayacha Itihas*, Vols I and II, 2nd edn, 1970.
Joag, R.S., *Indian Literature Since Independence*, ed. by K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar, Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, 1973.
Pandit, Bhawanishankar, *Adhunik Marathi Kavita*, Suvichar Prakashan, Nagpur.
SOURCE: Encyclopaedic dictionary of Marathi literature By Sunita Deshpande