Birthday: February 27, 1912 (Pisces)
Born In: Pune
Vishnu Vaman Shirwadkar, famously known by his sobriquet Kusumagraj, was a Marathi poet, novelist, short story writer, playwright, and also a humanist. His poems revolve around themes of personal freedom, independence, justice, equality, and liberation from oppression. His career began in pre-independent India, and over a period of five decades, he wrote 16 volumes of poems, published three novels and eight volumes of short stories, seven volumes of essays, 18 plays, and six one-act plays. Kusumagraj's most famous collection of lyrics, called the "Vishakha," resonated with the millions fighting in the Indian independence movement and is regarded as a masterpiece in Indian literature. His play "Natsamrat," an adaptation of ‘King Lear,’ has been critically acclaimed and holds a significant place in Marathi literature. Several state and national institutions have recognized him for his achievements in literature. He was awarded the coveted 'Sahitya Akademi Award in Marathi' for "Natsamrat." He was also presented with the 'Padma Bhushan' and 'Jnanapith Award.' He served as the president of several prestigious institutions like 'Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan.' The environment around him influenced his body of work. It reflected the continually evolving social structure and the national freedom struggle before India’s independence. His post-independence work emphasized on social consciousness, which in turn influenced other Marathi writers. It also ushered in the period of modern Dalit literature.