|Mahatma Gandhi translated sixteen abhangs
of Tukaram while in Yerwada Central Jail in January, 1930.Abhang
generally consists of four couplets, of which the second
couplet contains the central theme of the poem. He had a
special affinity for Tukaram's abhang "Papachi wasana
nako" as he discovered the three wise monkeys in it.
It was his favourite abhang; he called it "My Heartfelt
Prayer". His translation runs thus:
O God, let me not be witness to desire for sin, better
make me blind;
Let me not hear ill of anyone, better make me deaf;
Let not a sinful word escape my lips, better make me dumb;
Let me not lust after another's wife, better that I disappear
from this earth.
Tuka says: I am tired of everything worldly, Thee alone
I like, O Gopal.
Tukaram finds frequent mention in his letters, speeches
and notes. In his letter to Maganlal Gandhi, his dear
nephew he writes, "The abhangs of Tukaram admit ample
scope for manly striving." Maganlal looked after
the Ashram press and the publication "Indian Opinion".
Sanskrit scholar Dattatray Parchure Shastri, a leprosy
patient, asked to be admitted to Sevagram ashram. Some
members objected as they feared infection. Gandhi not
only admitted him; he gave him massage. In his letter
to Shashtri he writes, " Shastriji, You have fallen
ill! It is not good if it is from worry. But if it is
death calling, there is no harm. You must go with a smile
on your lips. And that too from a Lepers' House. Whatever
it may be, remain calm and sing Tukaram's abhangs. Blessings
In 1945 a revised edition of "Tukaram ki Rashtragatha"
was published. The selection and arrangement of Rasthtragatha
was done with a purpose and intended to introduce Tukaram
to the modern reader to understand properly his views
on different problems, which confronted the humanity for
ages. In his foreword Gandhi wrote, "Tukaram is very
dear to me. My knowledge of Marathi is very slight. But
I could read only a few of his abhangs without effort.
I therefore passed on Dr. Bhingare's selection to Kundarji
Diwan who took great pains to go through the whole thing.
The Gatha needed a fitting picture. I requested Shri Nandalal
Bose, the renowned Shanti Niketan artist to draw pictures
of Tukaram. I hope this edition will command the respect
Gandhi was being modest about his knowledge of Marathi;
Dr.Sadanand More recipient of Sahitya Akademi Award for
his work on Tukaram says, "The translations done
by Gandhi are excellent."
Kishorilal Mushrawala translated 120 abhangs of Tukaram
while in Yerwada Jail in 1930-31. He seems to have been
inspired by Mahatma Gandhi. These translations were later
published by the name "Sant Tukaramni Vaani"
in 1956 by Gujarat University.It has a foreword by Kedarnath
and introduction by Mukul Kalarthi.
In the 1990's Suresh Dalal translated 40 abhangs of Tukaram
which were published as "Tuka Kahe Tuka Mhane"