The 83rd Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan or the All-India Marathi Literary Meet began on Friday at the S.P. College grounds here.

Poet and Jnanpith award-winner Vinda Karandikar was to inaugurate the meet. However, the 91-year-old passed away at a Mumbai hospital on March 14. The meet was inaugurated by poet N.D. Manohar, while author-critic D.B. Kulkarni presided. A video of poetry recitation by Mr. Karandikar was screened.

Mr. Kulkarni emphasised the need for artistic freedom, while Mr. Manohar said Marathi would not die if it enjoyed the support of 10 crore connoisseurs in the State.

The three-day meet has scheduled debates and discussions on a number of issues over the weekend. ‘The need to make Marathi compulsory in the State,' and ‘Artistic freedom and social pressures' will be some of the topics to be discussed. There will also be poets' meets, story-telling sessions and interviews with authors.

Amitabh invited

The closing ceremony will take place on Sunday. Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and actor Amitabh Bachchan are expected to be present against the backdrop of the Congress having objected to the two sharing the stage at the inauguration of the remaining four lanes of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link in Mumbai recently.

This is also the first year when the proceedings of the meet would be telecast live in nine cities across Maharashtra, allowing experts in those cities to partake in the debates as well. There will also be laser shows showcasing historic places in Pune, authors and their works.

On Thursday, a Granthadindi (procession of books) was taken out from the Hirabaug town hall, where the first convention was held way back in 1878, to the venue of the present meet.