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KOHLAPUR: Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar winner Navnath Gore is trapped by circumstance in the very trials his characters endure in the pages of his award-winning debut novel, “Fesati”.
Life changed swiftly when the coronavirus struck and the lockdown in March temporarily closed the college in Ahmednagar district where he worked as a lecturer of Marathi on clocked hours. Since April, Gore (32) has been working as a farm labourer for Rs 400 a day to support his family because his teaching income of a few thousand rupees for the past two years dried up.
His father passed away in February and his responsibilities towards an aged mother and a physically challenged brother, who live in Nigdi, in Jat tehsil of Sangli district, offered him a stark choice. He chose to return to his native village when it became tough to meet their food and medicine expenses.
“My job in the college, which I got after I won the Sahitya Akademi, is not permanent. I earned about Rs 10,000 per month, but won’t get paid since it is on a clock-hour basis. The chances of earning something by taking up any work were brighter in Nigdi,” Gore told TOI.
He travels looking for agricultural work within a periphery of 25 km of his village. “I get Rs 200 for half a day, and Rs 400 for a full day’s work,” he said.
But work is not always available even though farm operations are at their peak in the monsoon. Gore is now worried about getting any work once agriculture operations are over.
Born in a Dhangar (a nomadic shepherds’ community) family, Gore has lived life only the hard way. Despite the financial constraints, his mother insisted he complete his education. “I would run away to mind the flock instead of going to school,” he said. But he completed his post-graduation in Marathi from Shivaji University in Kolhapur.
His novel reflects many rural trials, one of which he is going through himself. “Fesati” is about the struggles of shepherds, landless labourers and marginal land holders in agrarian Maharashtra.
Natha Gore, the main character, represents the plight of a large number of rural youths. The title, “Fesati”, refers to a farm implement made from bamboo to drop seeds for sowing, ensuring zero wastage of seeds.

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