Amit Paranjape’s Blog

‘Vasant Vyakhyanmala’ (Spring Lecture Series) – A Great 140 Year Tradition

Posted in Current Affairs, Marathi, Pune by Amit Paranjape on April 20, 2014

The 140th edition of  the month long ‘Vasant Vyakhyanmala’ (Spring Lecture Series), which was originally started by the great M.G. (Justice) Ranade in 1875, starts this Monday April 21 at Tilak Smarak Mandir Pune. I had written an article about this great tradition few years back, and I am reproducing a version of that below. I have also included the schedule for this year’s lecture series (click on the images at the end of this article). Do try to attend as many lectures as you can! Do note, many of the lectures are in Marathi (a few are in English).

This year’s schedule covers a series of topics including healthcare, law, economics, science, history, government, culture and many more. The inaugural lecture on Apr 21 will be delivered by Dr. H.V. Sardesai. He will be speaking on the topic of ‘Changes in medical science over the past half a century’. Dr. Sardesai has been active in the medical field for over six decades and is considered among the most senior and respected doctors in Pune.

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In recent years, TED and TEDx events are getting quite popular. They do a great job of presenting ideas from various experts and thought leaders. The first TED India event was very well received and many TEDx events have been held in various cities in India over the past year.

But did you know that an event similar in concept, but covering a broader range of topics, has been going on in Pune for 136 years! The great tradition of the ‘Vasant Vyakhyanmala’ (translation: ‘Spring Lecture Series’) was started by Justice M.G. Ranade in 1875. The idea was to present a variety of lectures, across various topics to the people. In those days, newspapers were in their infancy (Kesari had not yet started) and live lectures were the most effective medium for knowledge transfer.

Since the 18th century Peshwa era, Pune has always been a center of knowledge and education. Post the fall of the Maratha Empire in 1818, Pune city witnessed a tough period lasting for a few decades. The city’s economy was in shambles. Many scholars and learned experts left the city. Things started to improve towards the later half of the 19th century, under visionary leaders such as Justice Ranade (and later on Lokmanya Tilak).

Ranade, Tilak and other leaders of that period clearly saw the value of ‘Information’. The citizens had to be educated and informed. The Vasant Vyankhyanmala initiative was born out of the need to disseminate information and create awareness. Justice Ranade delivered the first lecture in 1875 in English. Over the years though, most lectures have been delivered in Marathi. Through its rich 137 year history, there have been very rare occasions, where the series had to be cancelled. For many years,  the Vasant Vyankhyanmala was held at Hirabag and Belbag. It has been held at its present venue – Tilak Smarak Mandir, for many decades. Today, this series covers wide ranging topics such as Culture, Arts, Economics, Science, Health, Governance, History, etc.

While I have followed this lecture series over the years through media coverage, this was my first year attending it.  The event format and the organization was very good. The only negative in my view was the number of attendees (probably less than 500). In the pre-independence era, 1000s attended these lectures. Today, there are many other media sources for getting information, but an informative and thought-provoking live lecture is still a very powerful source. If you are in Pune, you should definitely try and attend at least some of these lectures, over the next 3 weeks. The lectures are virtually free to attend (Single lecture ticket costs Rs 5 and the season ticket is Rs 100).

There is a need to get the word out regarding Vasant Vyakhyanmala. More media publicity and social media presence will definitely help. I do hope that in the next few years, this great tradition that started in 1875 will continue to thrive, and reach much bigger audiences.

_________________

Vasant Vyakhyanmala 2014 Schedule

Vasant Vyakhyanmala 2014 Schedule

Vasant Vyakhyanmala 2014 Schedule

Vasant Vyakhyanmala 2014 Schedule

Some Great Pu La Deshpande Speeches

Posted in Marathi, TV, Entertainment & Movies by Amit Paranjape on January 16, 2013

Pu La had once said that the three most loved personalities in Maharashtra are Shivaji Maharaj, Lokmanya Tilak and Balgandharva. I will add Pu La to that list.

Many of his great classics are available in audio/video formats, and two generations of Marathi Speakers got introduced to him and fell in love with him because of the audio/video media. My first introduction to Pu La was listening to ‘Mhais’, when I was 7-8 years old…many years before I got to the ‘Vyakti Ani Valli’ book.

Recently, I came across a recording set of some of his speeches from 1970s and 80s. Till date, these are the best Pu La recordings I have listened to! The reason why I say this is that, these speeches give a great insight into Pu La as a person. Glimpses of his thoughts are available throughout his famous works, but his speeches convey his ideas, his beliefs, his passion, in a much sharper and clearer fashion.

His respect and intense love of music and arts, his views on blind faith and religion, his love for all languages (not just Marathi), his genuine appreciation of new talent, his irreverent views on politics, his mentoring, his flexibility in moving on with new times and technologies, his views on philanthropy…it is a long list.

I will highly recommend all Pu La fans to listen to these speeches. Some of them are available in a CD Collection (‘Bahu Rupi Pu La Deshpande’)..available in book stores and online. This set includes 7-8 speeches: Brihan Maharashtra Mandal New Jersey 1987 Keynote, Felicitating the Cast & Crew of the Play ‘Vastraharan’ on the occasion of their 175th performance, His talk at the publication of the translation of some of his works in Kannada, and some others.

I was also able find one of his speeches on YouTube (see link above). It is an amazing speech that he delivered at the 74th birthday of renowned music teacher Prof B.R. Deodhar. (Note, Prof Deodhar studied under Pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar, and his disciples included Kumar Gandharva).

Let me leave you with one of Pu La’s great quotes:

“आयुष्यात मला भावलेलं एक गुज सांगतो. उपजिविकेसाठी आवश्यक असणाऱ्या विषयाचं शिक्षण जरुर घ्या. पोटापाण्याचा उद्योग जिद्दीनं करा, पण एवढ्यावरच थांबू नका. साहित्य, चित्र, संगीत, नाट्य, शिल्प, खेळ ह्यांतल्या एखाद्या तरी कलेशी मैत्री जमवा. पोटापाण्याचा उद्योग तुम्हाला जगवील, पण कलेशी जमलेली मैत्री तुम्ही का जगायचं हे सांगून जाईल. – पु. ल. ”

‘Vasant Vyakhyanmala’ (Spring Lecture Series) – A Great 138 Year Tradition

Posted in Current Affairs, Marathi, Pune by Amit Paranjape on April 20, 2012

The 138th edition of ‘Vasant Vyakhyanmala’ (Spring Lecture Series) starts this Saturday April 21 and will go on for a month at Tilak Smarak Mandir, Pune. I had written an article of this great tradition last year and I am reproducing a version of that here. I have also included the schedule for this year’s lecture series, at the end of this article. Do try to attend as many lectures as you can! This year’s speakers include Air Marshal Bhushan Gokhale, Dr. Abhay Bang, Union Agri Minister Sharad Pawar, Journalist Dilip Padgaonkar, National Award Winning Singer Anand Bhate and many others. I attended nearly half of the around 30 lectures last year and they were all great.

___________________

In recent years, TED and TEDx events are getting quite popular. They do a great job of presenting ideas from various experts and thought leaders. The first TED India event was very well received and many TEDx events have been held in various cities in India over the past year.

But did you know that an event similar in concept, but covering a broader range of topics, has been going on in Pune for 136 years! The great tradition of the ‘Vasant Vyakhyanmala’ (translation: ‘Spring Lecture Series’) was started by Justice M.G. Ranade in 1875. The idea was to present a variety of lectures, across various topics to the people. In those days, newspapers were in their infancy (Kesari had not yet started) and live lectures were the most effective medium for knowledge transfer.

Since the 18th century Peshwa era, Pune has always been a center of knowledge and education. Post the fall of the Maratha Empire in 1818, Pune city witnessed a tough period lasting for a few decades. The city’s economy was in shambles. Many scholars and learned experts left the city. Things started to improve towards the later half of the 19th century, under visionary leaders such as Justice Ranade (and later on Lokmanya Tilak).

Ranade, Tilak and other leaders of that period clearly saw the value of ‘Information’. The citizens had to be educated and informed. The Vasant Vyankhyanmala initiative was born out of the need to disseminate information and create awareness. Justice Ranade delivered the first lecture in 1875 in English. Over the years though, most lectures have been delivered in Marathi. Through its rich 137 year history, there have been very rare occasions, where the series had to be cancelled. For many years,  the Vasant Vyankhyanmala was held at Hirabag and Belbag. It has been held at its present venue – Tilak Smarak Mandir, for many decades. Today, this series covers wide ranging topics such as Culture, Arts, Economics, Science, Health, Governance, History, etc.

While I have followed this lecture series over the years through media coverage, this was my first year attending it.  The event format and the organization was very good. The only negative in my view was the number of attendees (probably less than 500). In the pre-independence era, 1000s attended these lectures. Today, there are many other media sources for getting information, but an informative and thought-provoking live lecture is still a very powerful source. If you are in Pune, you should definitely try and attend at least some of these lectures, over the next 3 weeks. The lectures are virtually free to attend (Single lecture ticket costs Rs 5 and the season ticket is Rs 100).

There is a need to get the word out regarding Vasant Vyakhyanmala. More media publicity and social media presence will definitely help. I do hope that in the next few years, this great tradition that started in 1875 will continue to thrive, and reach much bigger audiences.

_________________

First Marathi Blog Camp

Posted in Marathi by Amit Paranjape on January 17, 2010
This is my first ever attempt to write a brief post in Marathi ( ‘मराठी’ ). Please pardon any typos  (primarily the ‘Rasva – Deergha’  mistakes) ! .
 
What better place to start than to talk about the first ever Marathi Blog Camp, organized today at the Pu La Deshpande Uddyan in Pune. The event was quite well attended..nearly 50 people showed up. The attendees covered a wide range — Marathi Media, Regular Marathi Bloggers, Casual Bloggers, and folks (like myself) who were interested in starting some Marathi Blogging. Amongst the important next steps were the setting up of a common mailing-list and a social network (Facebook Group) for this community. I will update this post as more information becomes available.
 
A big thanks for the organizers of this event!
 
पुण्यात  आज पहिला मराठी ब्लॉग कॅंप , पु ल देशपांडे उद्यान मध्ये आयोजित केला होता.  वेगवेगळ्या क्षेत्रातले साधारण ४०-५० bloggers उपस्थित होते.  या कार्यक्रमाविषयी जास्त सविस्तर बातम्या आणी लेख प्रसिद्ध झाल्या आहेत. त्यांच्या लिंक्स (links) मी इथे देत आहे. अजून माहिती (articles, mailing-lists, facebook group, etc.) मिळेल तशी मी इथे प्रसिद्ध करीन.
 
‘इ-सकाळ’ —   ” पहिलावहिला मराठमोळा ब्लॉगकॅम्प ”  http://72.78.249.125/esakal/20100117/5280781501191981335.htm
 
‘प्रभास गुप्ते ब्लॉग’  —  ” मराठी ब्लॉगर्स मेळाव्याचं इति-वृत्त ”  http://my.opera.com/prabhas/blog/show.dml/6591831
 
 
मराठी Bloggers Twitter List  —  @aparanjape/marathi-bloggers
 
‘इ-सकाळ’ Video  —  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3Zd6OYtNUQ
 
 
 
 
 
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