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Sachin C.

Ketkar, a bilingual writer, translator, editor and critic, was born in Valsad, Gujarat in
1972, and completed most of the schooling there. He did his Masters in English Literature from
the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara, where he presently teaches. His poems
have been translated into Gujarati, Hindi and Telugu. He has read his poems and translations at
several places like Kavi Bharti-5, Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal, 2010, SAARC Literary Festival, Agra
2009, SAARC Young Poets Meet, Puri, 2008, Kala Ghoda Festival, Mumbai, 2008, Akhil
Bhartiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan , Nashik, 2005, Keshavsut Poetry Festival, Aurangabad,
2005, Loquations & Chauraha , NCPA, Mumbai 2005, and Corpus Christi College, Oxford in
He has extensively translated present-day Marathi poetry, most of which is collected in the
anthology Live Update: An Anthology of Recent Marathi Poetry, 2005 edited by him. Along with
numerous recent Gujarati poets, he has rendered the fifteenth century Gujarati poet Narsinh
Mehta into English. He has also translated the work of the well-known contemporary Gujarati
short story writers Nazir Mansuri and Mona Patrawala. His critical writings and translations have
appeared in reputed English and Marathi journals. He holds a doctorate in Translation Studies
from Veer Narmad South Gujarat University, Surat and works as Professor in the Department of
English, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara. He won Indian Literature
Poetry Translation Prize, given by Indian Literature Journal, Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi in
2000. He is married and has one son. He lives in Vadodara.
Available at
Skin, Spam and Other Fake Encounters, Selected Marathi Poems in translation, 2011
(Trans) Migrating Words: Refractions on Indian Translation Studies (2010)
Jarasandhachya Blogvarche Kahi Ansh (2010)
Live Update: an Anthology of Recent Marathi Poetry, 2005, as translator and editor
Bhintishivaicya Khidkitun Dokavtana,(2004)
A Dirge for the Dead Dog and other Incantations, 2003
His homepage: www.
He blogs at
Double Crossing Two Traditions: On Skin, Spam and Other Fake Encounters
One never knows where a poem may end up. The poems in Skin, Spam and Other Fake
encounters, (Poetrywala, Mumbai 2012), began in Marathi, an eight hundred years old language
of the western India with millions of speakers. Now they are also illegal immigrants into

English. However, these outlying Anglicized cousins of the Marathi poems display no symptoms
of guilt.
The poems attempt to confront innovatively the new cultural material of the globalized Third
World society I inhabit. The cultural politics and traditions within which they are located in
Marathi are obviously very different from the cultural politics and traditions in which they are
placed after translation. During the late nineteen fifties and sixties, the little magazine movement
in Maharashtra gathered momentum out of a need for alternative poetics and politics. They were
often avant-garde and were closely associated with the leftist, the feminist, the Dalit, the
grameen, nativist politics and activism. The entire thrust of these movements was to decolonize,
democratize and debrahmanize literary values. The movement gave Marathi the poets like Arun
Kolatkar, Dilip Chitre, and Namdeo Dhasal. The movements lost force during the late seventies
and the eighties due to altered social structures and values.
The little magazine movements resurfaced during the nineteen nineties, largely in response to the
powerful forces of globalization rapidly altering the social and cultural landscape after the
collapse of the Soviet Union and the opening up of the Indian economy. The digital revolution,
explosion in newer forms of media and outburst of cable television played a decisive role in
altering the semiosphere we occupy. These new little magazines acknowledged the importance
and influence of the precursor movements, but insisted on moving on. The little magazines like
Abhidhanantar, Shabdavedh and Sausthav in the nineties provided a platform for fresh poetic
practice along with critical voices which demanded a new conceptual framework for studying
this poetry. This, however, does not mean that the older dogmas of the sixties have completely
given way to the newer ways of writing and conceptualizing literature. The resistance to the new
and the emergent has stubbornly persisted, but it has not succeeded in blocking new creativity.
Seen in this context, my Marathi poetry contains both residual and emergent cultural material,
used and abused for poetic purpose. The selection presented here is from my Marathi collections,
Bhintishivaichya Khidkitun Dokavtana (2004) and Jarsandhachya Blogvarche Kahi Ansh
(2010). I am a Maharashtrian born and educated in Gujarat. English was the medium of
instruction and Gujarati was the medium of social interaction. Marathi was largely confined to
domestic conversation. Hence, one can say that my poems have emerged from the liminal inbetween cultural spaces.
Marathi poetry like mine, influenced by the international modernist poetics, is marginal in the
mainstream of Marathi poetry which is socialist realist, if it is not sentimental and popular. On
the other hand, the status of Indian poetry in English translation is secondary compared to Indian
poetry written in English. It is from these double marginal spaces that I double cross both the