Gajanan Raikar passes away: Goa bids adieu to its son of soil

Sachin kandolkar
Friday, 24 September 2021

Gajanan Raikar, freedom fighter and member of the first legislative assembly after the liberation of Goa, passed away in Margao in the early hours of Thursday.

Gajanan Raikar passed away. After Gopalrao Mayekar another famous poet has left us. A poet who carried the 'Divaj' lit by Goan literary giants. A poet who celebrated the glory of Goa is no more. A freedom fighter who challenged the authority and jumped into the battlefield with the burning aspirations of the masses has left us. The son of the soil who rejected worldly pleasures to identify with the aroma of Goan soil has passed away.

Raikar wrote poetry since the pre-liberation time. He participated in the freedom struggle for Goa, at the age of 18. He was a part of several meetings and other activities for the liberation movement launched by the Indian National Congress. I can still remember getting goosebumps while listening to several anecdotes about him told by Mahadhav Pandit and Shivaji Desai. I heard a lot from Raikar himself. G.P. Pradhan in his book, 'Satha Uttaranchi Kahani has mentioned his work with great honour.

Several dimensions of his personality are worth revealing. He performed the beauty of a teacher with great honesty. In fact, he accepted teaching as a vocation with a specific goal before his eyes. He always believed, literature is a work of cultivating social values and identity, whereas, a teacher inculcates good values among the children. Even after retirement, he didn't give up his work of spreading good values. He taught several songs to the children at the camps of Rashtra Seva Dal. Through those songs, children learned the importance of good values system.

Raikar was a journalist too. Despite financial hardships, he edited and published a weekly Marathi magazine "Sangam", where he encouraged and mentored many budding writers

Gajanan Raikar was a great short story writer. His love for Goa, its people, folk stories and folk art is expressed through his short stories. His short story collections like, 'Daduli' and 'Natalin' reveal his identification with the local people and culture. His short stories effectively portray human emotions, weaknesses and lusts.

However, Raikar is predominantly remembered as a poet. From his poetry collection, 'Jay Jaykar', 'Kulakar' and ' Rangiyatri',  praises and hails the nature of Goa. He was enlightened by the works of Sohirobanath Ambiye and was inspired by Krishnambhat Bandkar. The divine melody of Dinanath Mangeshkar ran in his blood that gave different rhythms to his poetry. One of his beautiful poems titled 'Varsa' echoes in my ears like a flute of beautiful couplets written by the legendary B.B Borkar. He writes about how he found a new path of humanity through the literature of Mahadevshastri Joshi. He writes about how the holy lamp (nanda deep) of Damodar Achut Kare burns. His works are included in Marathi textbooks in Goa along with those of B.B.Borkar, Shankar Ramani, Subhash Bhendi, Gopal Krishna Bhembre, V.J. Borkar and B.D Satoskar.

His love for Goa was immense, which gets portrayed consistently through his poems. He blended with the local land. He saw fairies dancing in this beautiful land. He saw flowers blooming on the banks of streams. He saw the dewdrops laced bright blades of grass. The regionalism in his poetry could be a separate topic of research. He was proud of the Marathi language and culture. He was particularly fond of the real son of the soil, the Gavda of this land. "Mi Nijacha Gavada re, Gavgavdacha mi Dhani, ya bhumicha mich varsa, vanda majla ha bhumi" (I am the original Gavda, lord of the village, and the legacy of this land, this land is sacred to me).

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