Kolatkar, Arun (1932–2004) By Patke, Rajeev S.
Kolatkar was a bilingual poet who wrote in English and Marathi, and also worked as a graphic artist. He was one among several writers from mid-twentieth-century India to succeed in adapting a modernist outlook to his times and circumstances. Born in Kolhapur into a middle-class Hindu family, he studied art in Mumbai and worked most of his professional life in advertising. Intensely private in nature and Bohemian by temperament, he shunned publicity, read eclectically, published sporadically, and developed the attitude of a flâneur browsing the street life of Mumbai. For many years he frequented its humble cafes, and from such vantage points wrote poems that provide a sardonic collection of marginalia on the cultural transformations undergone by his corner of contemporary Asia, refracted through a temperament impatient of cant, indifferent to bourgeois attitudes, and sceptical of much that passes for tradition in India.