Shobhaa De: Maharashtra must regain its lost glory


Author Shobha De signing copies of her book St...
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One of India’s best-selling authors and an extremely well known and popular Maharashtrian, Shobhaa De has written 15 books which have topped the charts and created records.

Her work features extensively in Comparative Literature courses at Universities abroad and within India. Over a hundred dissertations on her work are in various libraries worldwide.

A recipient of several awards for her journalistic contributions, De writes prolifically for Indian and International publications.

Outspoken and forthright, De chronicles today’s India in her own inimitable style.

She is on the Readers’ Digest’s ‘India’s Most Trusted People’ list published in March 2010, along with Ratan Tata and Dr. Abdul Kalam.

Shobhaa De is on the jury of eminent Maharashtrians who will select eight winners for the Lokmat Maharashtrian of the Year award for 2011 instituted by Lokmat Media. These winners will be felicitated by the President of India, Smt Pratibha Patil in Mumbai on 21 December.

De shared some thoughts on the awards and the state of affairs in Maharashtra. Excerpts:

You are an extremely busy person, but yet you have invested considerable time and effort in supporting the Maharashtrian Of The Year 2011 Awards…  
I have a positive association with the Lokmat Group, having guest-edited their Diwali Issue this year. But more than that, I appreciated the huge amount of hard work that has gone into the short listing of nominees in different categories. The entire process is transparent and there is no agenda behind it.

Tell  me something about the eight areas covered by these awards.
These awards cover Social Service & Public Service, Science & Technology, Politics, Business, Arts, Literature, Sports and Entertainment. Every single category is studded with extraordinary individuals whose contributions to their chosen fields is not just worth celebrating, but also very inspiring. Since I belong to the Arts’ stream, I was naturally more drawn to Literature, Art and Entertainment.

From the final shortlist of 39 nominees, who impressed you the most?
I was particularly inspired by the remarkable work done by Pravin Gavankar from Kolhapur; as also by Raju Shetty‘s involve

ment with Maharashtra’s farmers.

As a celebrated and popular Maharashtrian, what specific changes or improvements would you like to see in tomorrow’s Maharashtra?
We need to ensure Maharashtra regains its premier position in India. Its lost glory. We need a political class that works selflessly for the people of this dynamic state. Better infrastructure and more connectivity will help us to compete with other states and attract higher investments here. Progress that includes the uplift of the rural poor should be our main focus. It is a shame that many villages in Maharashtra continue to be without electricity in the 21st century. Making education a top priority is the answer.

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