Eminent Marathi poet Manik Godghate, a Sahitya Akademi award winner who was better known by his pen name ‘Grace’, died yesterday morning at the Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital in the city after an over-two-year battle with cancer. He was 75.
He is survived by son Raghav and daughters Mithila Naik and Madhavi, who were by his side when he breathed his last.
His body was airlifted to Nagpur, his hometown, yesterday afternoon and the cremation will take place there today.
Rest in peace: Dr Madhavi Vaidya (fourth from left), executive president, Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad, pays her last respects to Kavi Grace at the Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital in the city yesterday
Grace was honoured with the Sahitya Akademi award for his prose writing ‘Varyane Halate Ran’.
He was undergoing treatment in hospital after cancer presence was detected around his liver six months ago.
“He was detected with throat cancer two-and-half years ago, which was brought under control after prolonged treatment at the Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital. But six months ago, it was noticed that the cancer was spreading around his liver and so he was admitted to our hospital,” Dr Dhananjay Kelkar, medical director of Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital, said. “Such type of cancer is difficult to cure. He underwent chemotherapy a second time, but breathed his last during treatment.”
Grace was critically acclaimed for the ambiguity in his poetry. ‘Sandhyakalchya Kavita’, ‘Chandramadhavichya Pradeshat’ and Sandhyaparvatil Vaishnavi’ were his three popular books of poetry.
‘Church bell’ and ‘Mitva’ were his two acclaimed prose writings.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said poetry lovers had lost a “real ruby” — the late poet’s name Manik means ruby.
Eminent singer-composer Pandit Hridaynath Mangeshkar, a close associate of Grace who composed many of his famous poems, criticised the state government for delaying the process of announcing the award named after late Marathi poet Vin Da Karandikar to Grace.
He said the announcement of the Kusumagraj award was also delayed in a similar manner.
“It is really ironic that such prestigious awards are being announced after the death of the recipient and, unfortunately, Grace was not an exception to this,” he said.
Dr D B Kulkarni, a veteran critic and president of the 83rd Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, said Grace was the John Keats of Marathi poetry.
“Like the poetry of Keats, Grace’s writing covered the contrasts between sorrow and ailment on the one hand and the beauty of nature and life on the other.
Most of his poems were based on his mother, fiancée and death. His poetry appeared absurd to many only because his writings were based on the metaphor, based on his own subconscious instincts,” he said.
Dr Madhavi Vaidya, executive president, Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad, said: “Kavi Grace was a real poet and brought words alive through his poetry. He used the blend of nature and human sorrows in his writings so well that most of his poems reached a new high of appreciation.”