Thane (Maharashtra), Aug 21 (Calcutta Tube) One of eminent Marathi poets who was honored with Padma Shri Narayan Surve passed away in Thane recently after a brief illness, family sources said. He was 83.
A self-made man, Surve was orphaned soon after his birth. He lived on the streets of Mumbai and earned his daily bread by doing odd jobs. A quick learner, he taught himself to read and write and in 1966 published his first book of poems ‘Majhe Vidyapeeth’ (My University).
Also a social activist, Surve worked in the workers’ union movement in Mumbai and supported himself as a school teacher.
In the 1970s, he was often hailed in India and the erstwhile Soviet Union as a proletarian poet.
In 1998, he was awarded Padma Shri for excellence in literature and education.
Politicians expressed grief Monday over his demise, saying that Surve’s death was a loss to Marathi literature.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said: ‘We have lost a legendary poet and thinker who represented the commonest of the common man.’
Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal said: ‘We have lost a great poet and social activist who became the voice of the depressed classes through his poetry.’
Shiv Sena MP Bharat Kumar Raut hailed Surve as a ‘people’s poet’.
‘Surve gave words to the pain of people who had no voice,’ Raut said.
Union Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde praised Surve’s ‘unique’ style of poetry.
‘Through his poems he vociferously proclaimed social revolution. He had created a unique style of writing poems, using colloquial language of workers in a prose-like style,’ he said.