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VIBHAVARI SHIRURKAR (1905-1989?)


Malati Bedekar was a writer in Marathi under the name ‘Vibhavari Shirurkar’ She was born Balutai Anant Khare, and took the name Malati Bedekar after she became the second wife of the Marathi writer Visharam Bedekar in the 1940s. Malati was the daughter of a writer, Anant Khare, about whom she writes in her autobiographical novel Kharemaster. Anant Khare was a forward looking thinker who sent his daughter to an institution for widows to be educated. He pushed his daughters to make something of themselves.

Malatibai’s first book, Kalyanchi Nishwas (The Sighs of Buds) published in 1933 raised a storm of controversy. It was a collection of short stories about young women. Some of them worked and wanted independence from their father’s families, some were getting married and rebelled against dowry. In the suffocating social atmosphere of 1930s India, the stories were shockingly outspoken about sex, money, exploitation and patriarchy. The stories were so hard-hitting that there were several threats to the life of ‘Vibhavari Shirurkar’ (although no one yet knew her real identity). She followed this up with Hindolyawar (The Swing) that year i.e. 1933 and Virlele Swapna (The Faded Dream) in 1935. After a pause during which she did a Ph.D. in Sanskrit, in 1946 she revealed her true name, and published Bali (The Victim) in 1950. Also Kharemaster, and the semi autobiographical Shabari about a woman stuck in a marriage in 1956. She won the Maharashtra State Award in 1964.
 
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