In conversation with poet and critic Bhalchandra Nemade

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Geetanjali Minhas | April 3, 2015


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Recipient of Padma Shri and the Sahitya Akademi award, novelist, poet and critic Bhalchandra Nemade has taught English, Marathi and comparative literature at various places, including the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. Before retirement, he held Mumbai University’s Gurudeo Tagore chair for comparative literature studies. A proponent of ‘Deshivad’, Nemade endorses the theory that a writer must write in his or her native language and assert the value of native heritage to counter globalisation. Terming English as a “killer language”, Nemade advocates that primary and secondary education should be in the mother tongue. He has been conferred with the prestigious Jnanpith award this year. Excerpts:


The book I am reading right now
Prachin Bharat: Samaj ani Sanskriti by Madhukar Anant Mehedale, a Vedic Sanskrit scholar (Prajna Pathshala, Wai, 2001), in Marathi

The book I enjoyed most while writing
The Changadev quartet

My favourite pastime
Listening to all kinds of music, especially Indian and German

My inspiration to write comes from
My own experiences – seen and heard and felt; when they accumulate their pressure inspires me

If not a novelist, poet, academician, and critic, I would have been...

A traditional kind of farmer in Khandesh, where my forefathers were

Preserving our languages and nativism is important because...
These are the two crutches all colonised people need to maintain: one, their sanity; and two, stability in living

Can mother tongue and English language co-exist in a globalising world?
Yes, provided it is restricted to the individual only, social bilingualism always kills one language – usually the receiving one

Winning the Jnanpith award means to me
One more encroachment by recognition, this time from all sides, on my spindly privacy

An aspect of my personality that nobody knows
I am a very kind-hearted man

My advice to young generation
Read whenever you can and write only when you must. Translate at least one masterpiece relating to your trade into your mother tongue
At present I am busy with Preparing a teaching course for Goa University

I want to be remembered as
A teacher
 

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