Mukhavata | Marathi Novel | Arun Sadhu

Mukhavata | Marathi Novel | Arun Sadhu
(to read this blog in Marathi  Click here)

Mukhavata- Marathi Novel
One of the Facebook friend had suggested to read writer Arun Sadhu’s Novel- Mukhavata means the mask. before reading the novel, i was not aware about who is Arun Sadhu? How is the novel? More than 550 pages novel was taken in hand and I began to read it from the prologue. The initial ten to fifteen pages may have been read, and I was surprised to see the tone of the novel, the grip on the language, the source of the writing. Of course, i thought this writer must be a very good and with simple curiosity I searched on Google about Arun Sadhu and “Mukhavata” novel.

The novel is not that old. The first edition was printed in the year 1999. The novel is based on a post-independence period. The author was born in 1909 and died on September 2017, that is, last to last year. The famous "Sinhasan" (throne) novel is authored by this author. Feature film “Sinhasan” was based on this novel featuring Nilu Phule, Arun Sarnaik, Dr. Shriram Lagu Knowing his character, life and death, I realized that he had a very good name in the journalistic world. People like Rajat Sharma, Narendra Modi have lamented their demise. I felt very sorry to myself that Arun Sadhu is such a great writer / journalist from Maharashtra and I didn’t know anything about him. Not much information/feedback about the novel was found on Google.

Anyway !! keeping all my mind set aside, I started reading the novel again. The novel is so big that it doesn't end easily... in fact it is a 'novel' in real sense. About two hundred pages may have been read and the reading was interrupted. The novel could not be touched in a couple of months because of the workload. Even in the journey, such a thick novel was difficult to carry out. Finally started reading some other books. In the span of one and a half months, three to four small books were read, but the novel and the characters in the novel were knocking on the corner of the mind. There was something itching in the corner of the mind and I was eagerly wondering what might have happened next in the lives of those characters. Then again I started reading the novel, the commotion started to calm down and car was on track finally.

As the novel's name suggests, the novel revolves around a 'mask'. You get to read story from the time of Abdali's invasion of Devagiri till the year 1990, A Brahmin dynasty of ‘Vamana Shastri’ who survived the invasion of Abdali comes down from generations to present family members. The novel is written on this lineage, every member of the present generation and on the nature of every member. There are so many characters with names in the novel that one has to go back around five ten pages to figure out who the first one is and who’s who? .... But gradually all the characters are remembered by the author's catchy style and excellent capture of behaviors and characterization of each character, and after a few pages you need not look back for these characters.

This generation of Vaman Shastri lives in a nice village called 'Aksi' in Maharashtra. The family tree is settled in various places like Mumbai, Nagpur, Delhi, Pune, Bangalore, USA. But due to the masks of Vamana Maharaj, this family tree is strongly connected with the soil and the root of the this house. In addition to the mask of the Vaman Maharaj, a character named 'Nani' is responsible for binding this whole family in a single thread. Starting from the first page, the character of the Nani keeps coming up to the very last minute of the novel.

Nani, a childhood widow has come to this palace at the age of seventh or eighth. After demise of doer of the house, Nani handled everything from housekeeping to earning for home, to farm collection...from welcoming of guests, childbirth nursing of family members, to the celebration of the Vamana Maharaj's festival. She does everything from the bottom of her heart. Due to her strict discipline over all the members but soft and caring nature was creating deep impact on everyone’s life and it was the real cause of binding all the members to the root tree named 'Nani'.

One of the three main brothers of today's generation in the house, settles in Nagpur and earns a good fame and money. The other brother runs away from the family and goes into relinquishment, and a brother named 'Aba' manages the castle, manages the farm, and settles down in the middle of the great fortress. The novel keeps knocking on these three brothers and their children. The author correctly paints these three brothers, their children, their wives, their relatives, with their unique characteristics. Each member has its own unique feature. So all these characters feel alive and keep moving around.

What makes these characters less or so, the author has elaborately mentioned and scripted many persons associated directly or indirectly with this castle. Therefore, the novel revolves around Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Delhi, Bangalore etc... This has prevented the monotony of such a large novel. Variety continues to play a vital role in this novel.

Each of the characters in this novel has some direct or indirect connection to the castle, so that none of the characters seems to be intrusive and each character gives you a different experience. It also gives us dense experience of characters' behaviors with peoples revolving around us with almost some or less difference.

Nanny's strict discipline but loving nature.... Aba's compassion .... Pradeep's independent behavior.... Sharad's curtness... Manjusha's outspokenness...light romance of husband-wife in between Sharad and Manjusha... the pure and innocent nature of Dwarka Kaku ... Ravindra's richness ... Gayatri Kaku's showoff.. the poet mind of Shobha .... The love story of Shobha and Patil Guruji .... Ramesh's stubbornness...exact prophecy of Tatya... transformation of Achyutarao and Ramesh.... Adhav family members... Sheshrao, Uttamrao, his wife, Yashwant, Vasant Adhav and other members of Adhav family, Ministers's PA Mungale and his wife Seema...hipocrat Prabhakar Maharaj... Delhi's Dhanajay and his wife... Nalu aunt from Pune... Viju who has attracted to hermit since he turns youth... all such persons with greater than  each other are very well penned down in this novel by a writer. 

It's a belief since old age, 'Man' is the cause of heredity and fame of family.... The author has been successful in convincing how wrong the preconceived notion that men are the only ones responsible for the descent and family.The author has beautifully illustrated with a brief description of the contribution that women who comes from different families have in creating such a big fame of family. No matter how important a woman is in every family, be it daughter-in-law, be it a mother, be it a grandmother is very well explained. These women bring their customs, traditions, experiences while coming from their originating family and contribute heavily in making these families renowned. All these traditions and experiences of women from different families make a man's household famous.

Farms that are earned or forcefully acquired from lenders have to be sold out slowly. Due to the lack of proper farming, the debt were getting increased. The expenses incurred for the festival of the Vaman Maharaj were also increasing... The palace was also getting old and started falling. At that point, Ramesh deliberately separates the older brother and Nani by creating disputes between them and ensures to send his older brother Sharad in the nearby city- Wardha for new job. The Nani and Dwarka aunt were also moved to then Sharad's new house with the reason of sickness. Only two people remain in the palace at the end. Infact in one year no one remains back to celebrate the festival of "Vaman Maharaj".

The nanny, while counting her last days, is expecting his grandson - Viju. who has left the house without informing anyone in the family in search of renunciation. Nani is sure that she will not die unless he is returned.

Nani who loved each and every member of family in her life but sadly no one was near to her during her last days of life except Sharad and Dwaraka aunt. Even in her last moments, she remembers that the date of the festival of Vamana Maharaj is near and for the first time in the last eighty-ninety years of her life she will miss her participation.

The whole story comes near to end with full of sadness. The novel and the story-line stand on the edge of curiosity that what will happen next??

Whether Vamana Maharaj's festival, which has been going on for hundreds of years, will get completed or not, does Nanny gets the last celebration of this festival... Will Viju come back to put Gangajal in Nanny's mouth?… What happens next to the mask of Vamana Maharaj that was maintained for years? to know all such twists and endings you should read this novel once.

In the last twenty-thirty pages, the author gives wonderful twists to complete the story in a great manner. The climax of all the characters and the complete story-line in the novel is very well-presented. After reading the novel, you get the satisfaction of completing a wonderful book. All questions gets solved and gives a mental satisfaction of reading such huge novel.

But at the end the character of Nani, Aba, Annaheb remains for few time in your mind and their death leaves deep scar on your memory and increases unease among you.

Author, Reporter -Arun Sadhu
This 500 plus pages marathi novel is worth to read and also a good choice to keep in collection. This great novel combining a unique blend of rural and urban life gives Marathi language a different glory. I did not found any information related to reward or recognition for this comprehensive novel written by fluently mixing urban and rural Marathi language, Varhadi, Khandeshi and Nagpuri Marathi language. In fact i didn't noticed even any feedback, write-up for this novel on Internet. still wondering how such a blissful novel escaped the gaze of readers and critics.

Anyway !! I have read, experienced, and enjoyed this novel and I'm sure you will also read and enjoy this novel  True salute and hearty prayers to the late Arun Sadhu.

- Ashish Sawant

(image source- internet)



  1. Very good briefing of book Mukhwata. After reading this article, my curiosity and excitement is increased. I will definitely read this book


आवडले तर कमेंट करायला विसरू नका !!

to top