Prabhakar Urdhwareshe

(1918 -1989)

प्रभाकर ऊर्ध्वरेषे

Prabhakar Urdhwareshe is known as a Marxist thinker, journalist, critic and translator of Russian and Chinese literature.
Urdhwareshe was born in Indore on 9th January 1918. At that time, his family lived in sheer poverty. He finished his primary and secondary to matriculation education in Indore itself. Later, he got himself enrolled for Inter Science as per the wish of his father but he was not interested in Science based subjects, particularly Mathematics. Opposing his father’s wish, he took admission in Arts stream. He finished his B.A. in 1939 followed by his M.A. in 1942. He was influenced by Communalism right from his college days. In the intervening period, his father’s death led to deterioration of the financial condition of his family and looking for a job he reached Rangoon in erstwhile Burma (now Myanmar).He started working as a copywriter in an advertising firm. During the same period, Rangoon was bombed and it led to enormous panic. All the roads leading out from Rangoon were closed. Many migrated from Rangoon> Urdhwareshe also reached India on foot after having crossed hundreds of miles and he finished his education which was not completed. Urdhwareshe was fond of reading since his childhood. He had read magazines like ‘Kirloskar’, ‘Pratibha’ which had a progressive outlook and philosophy. He was greatly influenced by them and he started to study religion and revolution. This led to his foray into world of writing. His first article ‘Amhi Hindu aahot ka? Are we Hindus?’ was published in the August 1942 issue of ‘Kirloskar.’ The entire world was in the grip of Second World War and its effects could be felt in India too. During that period, Urdhwareshe wrote stories with war as a backdrop and also which supported progressive thoughts in periodicals like ‘Satyakatha-true stories’, ‘Kirloskar’, ‘Manohar’ etc. During this period, he also wrote a column, ’Chaupher- All around’ which took cognisance of international events. The decade from 1940 to 1950 was characterised by the activities of Communist party and the freedom struggle of India. It was also important and sensational. He was influenced and overwhelmed by the Communist philosophy and moved from Indore to Mumbai. He dedicated himself in the service of Communist party and its work. During 1944 to 1951, he worked as a full time worker of the Communist Party. He also took up the responsibility as an editor of the publications/periodicals of the party namely ‘Lok Yug-People’s era’, ‘Mashal-The torch’ and ‘Nave Jag-New world’. During the same period, his wife Ushatai also joined him to work in the Communist Party. He was disillusioned after working in Communist Party for ten years. He was a close observer and witness to the internal factionalism and conflicts of interests within the Party. Highly frustrated and disappointed, he decided to leave the party. He bid farewell to the Party and Mumbai too and entered the field of education in 1951 in Vidarbha. He worked for a long period as a proficient professor and also as a Principal in colleges at Washim, Khamgaon and Pusad. He was renowned as a popular professor among his students. He also took part in the activities of Vidarbha Sahitya Sangha from 1968 to 1971 while working as a Professor. As a member of the working body of the Sangha, he also worked as an editor of the magazine ‘Yug wani-Voice of the era’ which was the house publication of Vidarbha Sahitya Sangha. Later, he joined as the Professor of English in Nagpur University and continued to teach there till his retirement. During this period, particularly the article ‘Hindu Bhasheche punarujjeewan- revival of Hindu Language’ written by him won may laurels.
During this period he did a lot of writing under the category of ‘random musing’. Quite a lot of it remains unpublished. His collection of ‘random musings’ has been published as ‘Disha-direction’ in ‘Kirloskar’ in 1961. He has also translated some Chinese and Russian books. He has translated Mao Tse Tung’s book as ‘Wangmay aani kaleche prashna- Literature and questions of Art(1951)”,Stalin’s books as ‘Leninawaadache prashna- Questions of Leninism(1947)’,Alexander Pushkin’s book as’ Dubrocski’(1957),Maxim Gorky’s ‘Mother’ as ‘Aai(1958), and Ivan Turgenev as ‘Mumu’. Apart from this, he has translated Russian Folk Tales, part 1 to 5(1955-1959), Ukrainian Folk Tales (1958). Having worked in the communist party at the peak of his youth, his autobiography which is an apt analytical criticism of his days in the ‘Communist Party’ is also well-known. He aptly says that it cannot be called his autobiography in the strictest sense of the word. He has tried to clarify his limitations through the subtitle, ‘Eka Maji Communistache atma -niwedan- A self-expression of an ex-Communist’. This story is undoubtedly very precious because it is true and loyal to the experience, touches the harsh truth at a philosophical level and pursues it with boldness and courage. It is truly worth reading. This self-expressive creation won the Sahitya Academy award. He settled in Pune after retiring from Nagpur University in 1978. He worked with the Kirloskar group for some time. He passed away on 10th July 1989 while he was in Pune. After his death, Govind Talwalkar wrote on his contribution through his editorial ‘Harawalelya Diwasanchee Kahani- Story of bygone days’ and thus underlined the valuable contribution of his self-expressive writing.

Prabhakar Urdhwareshe
(9th January 1918 -10 July 1989)

Written by - Mahendra Munjal
Translated by - Prof. V.A.Upadhye

साहित्यिक दस्तावेज

मराठीतल्या निवडक ज्येष्ठ आणि श्रेष्ठ साहित्यिकांविषयीची माहिती दस्तऐवज स्वरूपात नोंदवून ठेवण्याचा उपक्रम आम्ही यंदा सलग तिसऱ्या वर्षीही राबवत आहोत. हा उपक्रम यापुढेही सुरू राहणार आहे.

लिहिण्याची भाषा

देवनागरी / मराठी
Roman / English
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