Bashir Momin Kavathekar
Lokshahir Bashir Momin Kavathekar (March 1947 till date), popularly known as B.K.Momin or Momin Kavathekar (मोमीन कवठेकर) is a Marathi language poet, writer from Pune district of Maharashtra who was conferred with the year 2017-18's Vithabai Narayangavkar Jeevan Gaurav Puraskar.  by Government of Maharashtra for his contribution in the field of folk art, literature and culture. He has been closely associated with Maharashtra's traditional form of theatre Tamasha for almost 50 years– supporting the various Tamasha Troupes by providing them with folk songs like ‘Lavani’, ‘Gan Gavalan’, ‘Bhedic’ and short plays called ‘Vag Natya’. He has acted in dramas and short plays. For the last two decades, he has been mentoring young generation of artist/performers   . His use of folkloric narrative styles has helped in popularizing and making his work understandable & accessible to common man & communities.
‘Momin Kavathekar’ was born in March 1947 at Kavathe Yamai, a small village in drought prone western Maharashtra; to a Muslim weaver family. The village has a legacy of various artist performing ‘Jagaran Gondhal’, ‘Bharud’, ‘Tamasha’ [all local folk arts]. As a kid, Momin Kavathekar has grown up watching these artist perform at village functions, during their rehearsals prior to the stage- shows and hence, his interest grew gradually.
‘Momin Kavathekar’ has completed his education from a Marathi Medium school. Due to non-availability of the higher secondary school in the village, all the students from the Kavathe has to walk to a village ‘Loni-Dhamani’ located 10km away. Due to health issues, he gave up the school after completing the 9th standard and started helping his family in the business.
‘Momin Kavathekar’ has written his first song at the age of 11 years. This song was presented in his school function and received appreciation from the audience. This encouraged him to continue & explore his writing skills. At young age, he joined the Tamasha troupe of ‘Gangaram Kavathekar’ where he got exposure to the expectations of the rural audience, their preferences for entertainment and the difficulties faced by artist/troupes/operators. He performed on-stage roles in short plays (Vag Natya). During free time, he used to pen down couplets/ short folk songs/ Lavani etc. which were sung on the Tamasha shows. However, his folk songs & short plays received appreciation from audience and his work become popular amongst the rural areas . Popularity of his songs earned him fame and various Tamasha Troups/Operators started flocking down to Kavathe (his native place) to obtain new songs/ Vag Natya . He got associated with the other Tamasha Troupes such as ‘Kalu-Balu Kavalapurkar’, ‘Raghuveer Khedkar & Kantabai Satarkar’, ‘Aman Tambe’, ‘Lakshman Takalikar’ and ‘Datta Mahadik Punekar’. However, he never charged any royalty/ fees from these Tamasha operators for the songs/lyrics or Vag Natya he used to provide them . With the advent of Television/ Radio/VCR/ Cable, the Tamasha as a ventures started to face difficulty due to dwindling earnings. During this phase, he worked on digitalization options and came up with couple of Musical Audio Albums (CDs). He also guided many Troupes/ Owners to adapt the new technological changes for marketing purpose . He has also written songs for the upcoming Marathi Movie "VIP GADHAV" which features noted comedian Bhau Kadam aka Bhalchandra Kadam as lead actor 
‘Momin Kavathekar’ has written more than 4000 folk songs which were /are being used by local artist over the years. His collection of songs include a variety such as ‘Lavani’, ‘Gan’, ‘Gavlan’, ‘Poems’, ‘Devotional Songs’, ‘Songs on social issues/ reforms’. His use of folkloric narrative styles has helped in popularizing and making his work understandable & accessible to common man & communities. He has written a Play/ Drama based on historic incidents/personalities. He has written short stories/ street plays/ songs on the social subjects like ‘Praudh Saksharta Abhiyan – National Literacy Mission Programme’, ‘Gram Swachchta Abhiyan – Cleanliness Drive by Govt’, ‘awareness about AIDS’, ‘ill effect of Dowry’ etc. and presented/performed them across rural Maharashtra. . His contribution & popularity among rural masses has earned him rare recognition. A Professor of Marathi language has chosen his literature for Ph.D. thesis at Savitribai Phule Pune University   .
- “भंगले स्वप्न महाराष्ट्रा (Bhangale Swapn Maharashtra)”--- Play based on the life & struggle of Maratha warrior king Chatrapati Shri Rajaram Maharaj against the Mughal empire.
- “वेडात मराठे वीर दौडले सात (Vedat Marathe Veer Daudale Saat)” –-- Play based on Maratha general Shri Pratparao Gujjar lead battle.
- “लंका कुणी जाळली (Lanka Kuni Jalali)”
Some of these were also performed / broadcast on the Radio from All India Radio/ Aakashvani Kendra, Pune.
- “सोयऱ्याला धडा शिकवा (Soyaryala dhada shikawa) ” -- Awareness in society about ills of Dowry
- “हुंड्या पायी घटल सार (Hundya payi ghadale saar) ”-- Awareness to prohibit/stop tradition of Dowry
- “दारू सुटली चालना भेटली (Daru sutali, chalana bhetali) ” -- Awareness to prohibit/stop young generation from alcohol addiction
- “दारूचा झटका संसाराला फटका (Darucha Zataka, Sansarala Fatak) ”-- Awareness of social problems arising due to addiction of alcohol.
- “मनाला आला एड्स टाळा (Manala Aala AIDS tala) ” -- Awareness in society about causes of AIDS and its effect on family life.
- “बुवाबाजी ऐका माझी (Buvabaji aika majhi) ”-- Awareness in society for eradication of Blind Faith & to fight superstition.
- “बाईने दावला इंगा”
- “ईश्कान घेतला बळी”
- “तांबड फुटलं रक्ताचं”
- “भंगले स्वप्न महाराष्ट्रा”
- “भक्त कबीर”
- “सुशीला, मला माफ कर” – Received ‘Chotu Juwekar Award (1980)’
Songs popularized by ‘Tamasha Troups’
- “सार हायब्रीड झाल... ”
- “हे असच चालायचं... ”
- “खर नाही काही हल्लीच्या जगात... ”
- “फॅशनच फॅड लागतंय गॉड... ”
- “लंगडं.. मारताय उडून तंगड!”
- “लई जोरात पिकलाय जोंधळा... ”
- “मारू का गेन्बाची मेख…”
- “बडे मजेसे मेरेज किया…”
- “महात्मा फुल्यांची घेऊन स्फूर्ती, रात्रीच्या शाळेला चला होऊ भरती” .. Composed by Shri Ram Kadam for National Literacy Mission
- “कलावंतांच्या आठवणी (अभ्यास पुस्तक)”... Published by Maharashtra Rajya Sahitya Sanskrutik Mandal and used as reference/ guide by students/ scholars studying the Maharashtra's folk art and the contribution of various artiste 
- “भंगले स्वप्ना महाराष्ट्र (ऐतेहासिक नाटक) ” ....Published by Tridal Prakashan, Pune
- “प्रेम स्वरूप आई (कविता संग्रह)” .... Collection/Published/Composed by Shri Rajendra Kankaria
Awards and recognitions
- “तमाशासम्राज्ञी विठाबाई नारायणगावकर जीवनगौरव पुरस्कार (२०१९)” .
- “मुस्लिम सत्यशोधक मंडळ विशेष सन्मान (२०१९)"– Received at the hands of noted social activist Shri Baba Adhav.
- “महाराष्ट्र साहित्य परिषद पुरस्कार (२०१९)” .
- “लोकनेते गोपीनाथ मुंडे जीवनगौरव पुरस्कार (२०१८) ”
- “विखे पाटील साहित्य कला गौरव (२०१४)”  – Received at the hands of Maharashtra Chief Minister Shri Prithviraj Chavan.
- “ग्रांड सोशल अवार्ड, पुणे (२०१३) ” - Received at the hands of Bollywood cine actor Shri Jackie Shroff.
- “व्यसनमुक्ती पुरस्कार (२००३)” - Received at the hands of Maharashtra Dy Chief Minister Shri Ajit Pawar
- “लोकशाहीर पुरस्कार (१९९९)” - Received at the hands of Chairman of “Aashwasan Samiti- Maharashtra State Assembly”
- “ग्रामवैभव पुरस्कार (१९८१)” - Received at the hands of veteran Marathi Cine actor Late Shri Nilu Phule
- “छोटू जुवेकर पुरस्कार, मुंबई (१९८०) ”  - Received at the hands of Bollywood cine actor Shri Amol Palekar
'Momin Kavathekar' formed a small troupe (Kalapathak) who performed street plays as part of awareness campaign against social evils like prevalence of dowry, epidemics like AIDS, blind following of superstitions & resulting exploitation . He actively participated in the various initiatives of Government like ‘Praudh Saksharta Mission / National Literacy Mission’, ‘VyasanMukti Abhiyan - campaign to minimize addiction of alcoholism’, ‘Gram Swachchata Abhiyan - a predecessor of ‘Swatch Bharat Abhiyan'. As a recognition for his contribution to the social cause, he was honored by Government with ‘Vyasan Mukti Purskar (व्यसनमुक्ती पुरस्कार)’.
He formed and headed an organisation of folk artist with objective to work for their development. He tried to address the issues such as scholarship for the children of artiste, Pension for the elderly artiste  and pursued with Government Agencies to ensure the pension funds are released on time. He used to organise health check-up camps for the folk artiste in the Pune District . He advocated for documenting the contribution of folk artiste so that the art and culture is preserved and made available to next generation.
For the last two decades, he has been mentoring young generation of artist and performers thereby aiding in the development of the art and preserving the traditional art forms prevalent in Maharashtra culture  
- बी. के. मोमीन कवठेकर यांना विठाबाई नारायणगावकर पुरस्कार जाहीर “Sakal, a leading Marathi Daily”, 2-Jan-2019
- आयुष्यभराच्या निरपेक्ष सेवेचा गौरव- लोकशाहीर बशीर मोमीन यांच्या भावना "Saamana, a leading Marathi Daily”, 1-March-2019
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- "शिरुर येथे प्र. के.अञे. राज्यस्तरीय राज्य नाट्य एकांकीका स्पर्धेचे उदघाटन उत्साहात संपन्न",“Samajshil”, a local marathi Weekly, Retrieved on 27-March-2019
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- Prof. Kasabe, "Preface to PhD Thesis”, July-2010
- Prof. Kasabe."शाहीर बशीरभाई मोमीन कवठेकर: व्यक्ती आणि वाङ्मय", Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune, 7-July-2010.
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