Sachin Ketkar

Baroda, Gujarat / India
Sachin Ketkar
Baroda, Gujarat / India


Sachin Ketkar is a Maharashtrian bilingual writer, translator and critic, based in Baroda, Gujarat.

Sachin Ketkar was selected by Marathi poet Hemant Divate for the November 2008 edition of PIW India, ‘Poets on Poets’.

He has authored two collections of poems – one in Marathi and one in English – and has translated and edited an anthology of contemporary Marathi poetry, entitled Live Update. He has worked on translating fiction and poetry from Gujarati and Marathi into English. His translation projects have focused on the work of Gujarati short fiction writers, Nazir Mansuri and Mona Patrawala, as well as 15th-century Gujarati poet, Narsinh Mehta. He holds a doctorate in translation studies and works as a Reader in the Department of English at the MS University, Baroda. He is also a contributing editor for New Quest, a journal for participatory cultural enquiry in Mumbai.

He mostly translates fiction and poetry from Gujarati and Marathi into English. He has translated contemporary Gujarati short story writers like Nazir Mansuri and Mona Patrawala along with the Gujarati poets like Narsinh Mehta (15th century AD) into English. He also works as contributing editor for New Quest, a journal for participatory cultural inquiry, Mumbai. He holds a doctorate in translation studies and works as Reader in Dept. of English, The MS University of Baroda, Baroda.

Writes Hemant Divate on the poet of his choice:

“Sachin is one of the most unusual talents in contemporary Marathi poetry today . . . He can be very detached about himself, and at the same time, he reflects upon the world in an exceedingly personal way. This makes his poems paradoxically self-centred and other-centred. He usually writes about mundane and ‘un-poetic’ objects in an exceptionally imaginative way."

“He translates the everyday world into an outlandish and bizarre work of art. . . . He grapples with contemporary social and personal problems in a poetic way by using and abusing images from the technological sphere and the present-day metropolitan milieu: the world of internet and mobiles, multiplex theatres, shopping malls and photocopying shops.”

Divate’s observations are clearly substantiated in the three Ketkar poems selected for this edition. While images of a fast-moving globalised world flow thick and fast, the poems seem essentially fuelled by a spirit of intellectual enquiry. A world of blogs and limited-over cricket matches rubs shoulders with a medieval world of myth and epic. Thus, in the poem about Jarasandha – the king of Magadha in the Mahabharata, who was memorably vanquished in combat by being torn apart lengthwise and thrown in opposite directions – the images seem primarily to be a means to probe cultural ironies and historical dislocations: “I order desi liquor / In the English wine shop. / In the desi shop/ It's the English liquor that I order.” Torn between his native soil and the cyber café, between T.S. Eliot and medieval Marathi saint poet, Dnyaneshwar, the poet parodies the postcolonial predicament in an extended literary conceit.

Divate concludes: “All this makes Sachin Ketkar’s vision and style particularly idiosyncratic and original. He is also one of the best young translators and critics in Marathi today.”

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