The famous Marathi poet and author Mr. V. V. Shirwadkar alias Kusumagraj, is a very well known personality not only in Nashik, but also in Maharashtra and India. He has contributed in the flourishment of Maharashtra’s literary, cultural and social life. He is the recipient of the prestigious Dnyanpeeth Award for Marathi literature. On receipt of this award, he was felicitated all over Maharashtra.
Although born in Pune, he spent his life and made his career in the city of Nashik. He therefore has a special affection towards this city. Nashik city too loves and respects him. Naturally, the citizens of Nashik wanted to celebrate his achievement, on a grand scale. To decide about the felicitation, the citizens assembled in 1990 and the Kusumagraj Pratishthan was formed. Detailed information about Mr. V.V. Shirwadkar is recorded separately under who’s who section ( earlier in this site ). He has compassion for the poor and the needy and a soft corner for the Adivasis (aborigins), who are deprived of any development – social, economic or technical. His work can be described as an attempt to let help flow from haves, to the have nots. Out of his earnest desire to inspire social and cultural work
emerged Kusumagraj Pratishthan – an establishment which has the following objectives.
Many individuals donated personally and through institutions towards this task. Mr. Shirwadkar himself donated Rs. one lakh to Kusumagraj Pratishthan.
The various schemes executed by the Pratisthan are as follows :
After V. V. Shirwadkar received the Dnyanpeeth Award, by his encouragement, Kusumagraj Pratishthan started to give Janasthan Puraskar to the creative belles – letter writer of Marathi literature. The Janasthan Puraskar is given every alternative year and consists of Rs. one lakh. Janasthan is the name given to this trust, because that is the old name of the Nashik city.
So far the recipients of this puraskar are as follows
|Mr. Vijay Tendulkar||1991|
|Mr. V. D. (Vinda) Karandikar||1993|
|Smt. Indira Sant||1995|
|Mr. Gangadhar Gadgil||1997|
|Mr. Vyankatesh Madgulkar||1999|
|Mr. Shri Na Pendse||2001|
|Mr. Mangesh Padgaonkar||2003|
|Mr. Narayan Gangaram Surve||2005|
|Mr. Baburao Bagul||2007|
|Mr. Na. Dho. Mahanor||2009|
|Mr. Mahesh Elkunchwar||2011|
|Mr. Bhalchandra Nemade||2013|
|Mr. Arun Sadhu||2015|
|Dr. Vijaya Rajadhyaksha||2017|
More Details Click on http://www.kusumagraj.org/pratishathan/jansthan.php
Godavari Gaurav is not a Puraskar(an award), it is Namaskar (Greeting) says Mr. V. V. Shirwadkar. His words express the view of setting up Godavari Gaurav, which is to pay respect and express gratitude to those who have rendered remarkable and excellent performance in their respective fields and contribute in flourishing the cultural life of modern India. This felicitation is on a national level. To voice India’s cultural unity is the sole aim of this Gaurav. Given every alternate year it consists of shawl, Shreephal (a coconut ), Momento and Rs. 11,000.
In the year 1993, the following fields were recognised from which deserving individuals would be acknowledged.
Music, Sports, Cinema, Social Work and Science.
The recipients of the Godavari Gaurav in the respective fields in 1993 were
|Music||Mrs. Gangubai Hangal|
|Sports||Mr. Vijay Hajare|
|Science||Dr. Vasant Gowarikar|
|Cinema||Mr. Ashok Kumar|
|Social Work||Mr. Prakash Amte|
In the year 1994, the recipients of Godavari Gaurav were as follows
|Dance||Ms. Rohini Bhate|
|Sports||Cricket player Pauly Umrigar,|
|Science||Professor Jayant Narlikar|
|Social Work||J.F. Reibero ( Police Mahasanchalak)|
In the year 1996, the following were the winners of Godavari Gaurav.
|Scholarship||Dr. R.N. Dandekar|
|Sports||Capt. S. Mushtak Alee|
|Music||Mr. Sudhir Phadake|
|Social Work||Shri. Anna Hazare|
|Cinema||Mr. Hrishikesh Mukherjee|
|Painting||Shri Madhav Satavlekar|
Apart from the above two schemes, Kusumagraj Pratishthan has initiated many other projects which are as follows.
Although the library existed since last year, it was officially inaugurated on 13th November 1993 at the hands of Vice – Chancellor of Yashwantrao Chavan Open University – Professor Ram Takawale. Smt. Sindhutai Mhatre donated Rs. one lakh in the memory of her husband – Late Mr. Kesarinath J. Mhatre to this library. Along with reference books, this library also has a number of books for children. There are a number of modern and rare books in Marathi, English, Sanskrit in this library. It has encyclopedias in Marathi, English. A number of magazines, weeklys in Marathi, Hindi and English are also available there. The library is open for all.
This library has successfully executed a scheme called Sakhali Balvachanalaya Yojana (Children’s Library Scheme. Sakhali meaning chain). The spirit behind this scheme is to inculcate interest and love for books amongst children. Now a days children are TV addicted. To dissuade them from watching senseless serials and movies on TV and to create interest in books on various topics ranging from fairy tales to computer, this scheme was introduced. To facilitate library in the vicinity of the dwelling place of children, people were encouraged and helped to open up libraries in as many places as possible. The only dire basic requirements were such as an application to Kusumagraj Pratisthan, availability of minimum one room which is convenient for the children in the vicinity to visit and a condition that the library should be named as Kusumagraj Pratisthan Sponsored Balvachanalaya. A set of 100 books is donated to such a library to start with. The library is categorically to be run on free of charge basis. The first stock of books is replaced by another set and the sets of books keep on moving from one library to the other on a chain basis. Thus a small outlet can provide a variety of books to children in their reach. Over ten such libraries have been successfully functioning in different parts of the Nashik city till date.
More than half of the Nashik District is populated by Adivasis (aborigins). Barring a few places, which are connected to the metropolis, most of the region is financially and culturally backward. Since the Adivasis have been cut off from the mainstream of modern life and development for years together, they lead a very poor life. To uplift their living standards, Kusumagraj Pratishthan has set up a Committee called Adivasi Karya Samiti, which executes numerous programmes. At present, four villages from Nashik Taluka and two from Peth Taluka have been targeted for development under this project. The project includes providing of free medical help, creating libraries, arranging various sports, giving lectures on a wide range of topics, debating competitions, screening of movies etc. to the villagers. There are a number of schemes declared by the State and Central Government for development of Adivasies. However these schemes remain on paper and do not reach for whom they are meant for. Adivasi Karya Samiti makes it sure that Adivasies are informed about these schemes and they are benefited out of them.
A few schemes executed by this Samiti are as follows –
To implant the feeling of unity in the multilingual students of the City, on the Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhiji, students from various schools join in a morning march (Prabhat Pheri), sing patriotic songs, Bhajans and group songs, perform story telling , dramas etc. and take oath of the Unity of Indians. Different schools perform different cultural events in Kannad, Hindi, English, Marathi languages.
In a unique manner, the Central Jail at Nashik Road witnessed the Sane Guruji Kaksha inauguration. Kusumagraj Pratisthan donated the Central Jail Library books. Prisoners participated in the function with heartfelt enthusiasm, sang songs and listened to poems. Considering the tremendous response to this gathering, Pratisthan has decided to arrange a literary and cultural gathering in the jail in future too.
To encourage study of Marathi language, this examination, equivalent to the MA. or M.Phil level is started from 1996 May. Any literature lover can appear for this examination. The nature of this examination is very unique. One has to write five papers which encompass different forms of Marathi literature, literary criticism, various streams in Marathi Literature, Practical usage of Marathi in different aspects of day-to-day life etc. Each paper is of 100 marks. There is no coaching for this course, but one has to study at home. Any guidance needed, is provided by the eminent Marathi writers and professors / teachers of Marathi in respective parts of the State. The reference library of Kusumagraj Pratishthan is equipped with the books needed for this examination, which students can refer to. In the month of May, the question papers are sent to the students at their residences and they are supposed to write 5 papers at home only. This has received tremendous response in Maharashtra State and the number of students is increasing every year. The first three toppers are felicitated by Kusumagraj Pratisthan every year.