Carefully Curated
Abhidhanantar, a quarterly edited by Hemant Divate, was one of the foremost little magazines in Marathi. It saw uninterrupted publication for almost a decade and half. It was one of the earliest literary magazines and a literary movement in Marathi to recognize and respond creatively to the powerful forces of globalization which were rapidly transforming Indian society, culture and life. Abhidhanantar gave generous attention to the linguistic, cultural and literary changes taking place, as well as to the crises they led to, in the post-1990s. It launched the careers of new poets who had started writing in response to the new cultural and social predicament brought about by the compelling and intimidating forces of globalization in the 1990s, and also offered a forum for critical speculation and discussion.

Abhidhanantar conformed to the tradition of the famous ‘little magazine movement’ in Marathi poetry heralded by internationally renowned poets like Dilip Chitre and Arun Kolatkar in the 1950s. The poetry this movement gave birth to is radical, experimental and nonconformist. The aesthetics it promoted insisted on erasing the artificial dichotomy between art and life and between poetics and politics. The movement lost its momentum in the late 1970s, and the serious poetry of the 1980s could not emerge out of the looming shadows of illustrious predecessors like Chitre, Kolatkar, Namdeo Dhasal and others.

Owing to the overwhelming influence of the ideology of nativism, as expounded by Bhalachandra Nemade, a noted novelist and critic, poetry became more and more parochial and typical. Only in the 1990s did young poets start to search for their individual voices. Abhidhanantar gave an open platform to poets from various social, cultural and geographical backgrounds who were eager to do something different and original in poetry. It also brought out authoritative special issues on Dilip Chitre and Arun Kolatkar and on globalization and Marathi poetry.

All in all, Abhidhanantar played a historic role in shaping contemporary Marathi poetry. Abhidhanantar began as Abhidha in 1992. After a successful run of seven years, it got registered and began to be published from 1993 with the new title Abhidhanantar, which means ‘after Abhidha’. Many worthy young poets and critics such as Saleel Wagh, Sachin Ketkar, Manya Joshi, Sanjeev Khandekar and Hemant published their best works in this magazine. Moreover, Abhidhanantar is also doubled up as a publishing house and brought out 23 poetry collections of outstanding quality of best new voices in Marathi. It also made contemporary Marathi poetry globally accessible with the pioneering concept of ebooks. As editor of Abhidhanantar, Hemant Divate was conferred the Maharashtra Foundation Award in 2006 for notable contribution to Marathi literature.