R H Kelkar

The first Marathi translation of the Holy Bible was published in the early years of the 19th century by William Carey and his associates at Serampore in West Bengal, India. Later translations and revisions were mostly carried out by committees appointed by the Bible Society in India from time to time. There were two individual attempts to translate the Bible into Marathi – the New Testament by B N Athavale (1931) and the complete Bible by Pandita Ramabai (1922).

The latest translation of the Marathi New Testament from Greek to Marathi was done by Ratnakar Hari Kelkar between 1968 and 1985. This work, Nava Karar, was published on the internet in 2005.

Translation work done by committees usually entails the use of complex phraseology to find common ground among differing doctrinal viewpoints, and a possible lack of consistency of expression in different parts of the text. R H Kelkar adopted a different approach. He did not use the same Marathi word everywhere for a particular Greek word in order to achieve fidelity of translation. Instead, he studied in great detail the meaning and background of New Testament Greek words, and prepared a wordbook that gave a few carefully chosen Marathi equivalents expressing different nuances of these Greek words. He then built up his Marathi translation by framing sentences using the most appropriate words and phrases. This approach has made his translation extremely readable in contemporary Marathi without loss of authenticity.

R H Kelkar was born on 22 June 1901 in a Christian family in Alibag,Maharashtra. His father Hari Govind Kelkar had accepted Christianity in 1881. After his father’s death in 1904, R H Kelkar had a difficult childhood. He studied in John Elphinstone School in Alibag but could not complete his education. He later moved to Bombay (now Mumbai) and after doing small jobs he got employment in a branch of the Bombay Post Office as a clerk. While working at the Post Office he continued his studies and received the BA degree of the University of Bombay in 1926. He worked in the Indian Postal Department for 34 years and retired in 1956 as the Deputy Presidency Post Master of Bombay GPO. While working in the Postal Service, he also studied accountancy and law, and cultivated a keen interest in religion, culture, history, language, and literature. After his retirement he served as the editor of the Marathi magazine Dnyanodaya from 1956 to 1963, and as a Professor of Marathi at the United Theological College at Pune until 1973. He died on 14 November 1985 at New Delhi, India.


33 responses to “R H Kelkar

  1. i want to download whole marathi bible in pdf format that too pandita ramabai translation

  2. Rev. Premdas U. KOutikkar

    Sir thank you for feeding me every day through the word of God. but I would like to request you that please do correspondence on my new email Id “koutikkarp@yahoo.in. Thanking you.

    • Prof R R Kelkar

      Dear Rev Koutikkar,
      Thank you for your comment. People who have subscribed to this blog receive updates through email directly and automatically from WordPress. I am not involved in this process. Therefore, since your email id has changed, what you have to do is to scroll all the way down to the end of the page where you will see “Follow Blog via Email”. Here please type in your new email id and click “follow”.
      If there is any problem please tell me.
      Ranjan Kelkar

  3. Praise the Lord,
    Yeshu rakte jay;
    Hello Sir; I am a housewife, I am so happy to see Marathi Bible site.

  4. Rajkumar Ramesh Shitole

    Dear sir,
    Thank you for marathi Nava Karar soft copy. Mi to download pan kela aahe. Pan mala Juna Karar chi marathi soft copy pan havi aahe. Please aapan mala ti soft copy kuthe aani kashi milel yasathi kahi madat karu shakal ka? – Rajkumar Shitole

    • Prof R R Kelkar

      प्रिय राजकुमार,
      तुमच्या प्रतिक्रियेबद्दल धन्यवाद. रत्नाकर हरी केळकर ह्यानी फक्त नव्या कराराचे भाषांतर केले होते, जे मी इंटरनेटवर उपल्ब्ध करून दिले आहे.
      रंजन केळकर

  5. Dear sir,
    In your reply to vikrant that there are four christian book shops in pune. can you help me by giving those 4 book shops addresses.

    Johnson, chennai

    • Prof R R Kelkar

      Dear Johnson,

      Here are some addresses of bookshops in Pune selling Christian literature in Marathi:

      Christian Book Shop, 14 Clover Centre, M G Road, Pune 411 001.
      Christian Book Shop, Basement, 8 Thackers House, 2418 General Thimayya Road, Pune 411 001.
      Word of Life Publications, 31 Guru Nanak Nagar, Pune 411 042.
      Om Books, YMCA National Council Building, 382 Rasta Path, Quarter Gate, Pune 411011.

      Best wishes,

      R R Kelkar

  6. Dear Sir,

    It is heartening to learn about you and this website. May God bless you.

    I am from Pune and wanted to buy a Upasana Sangeet book. Do you have any idea of a book shop where I can get it. Any help will be much appreciated.


    • Dear Vikrant,

      Thanks for your comment. There are many Christian bookshops in Pune. One is in Wonderland on M G Road, another on East Street near State Bank, and two shops are near Quarter Gate. You may get Upasana Sangeet at one of these places. Good luck!

      Ranjan Kelkar

  7. I am very happy and very thankful to God because He answered my prayers.I was really happy to this website specially in marathi for Marathi.
    I pray that may God would use this website to be a channel of Blessings to others.


  8. hello,

    Sir, congratulations for this wonderful fulfilment task for the Marathi people

    im married women
    mein ek Christen boy se merreige ki hein
    but mujhe hindi bible thik se samjh nahi aata becoz im marathi
    to kya aap mujhe marathi bible ke kuch copies bhej sakte hein ;


  9. Rev. Premdas U. Koutikkar

    Praise the Lord!

    Sir, congratulations for this wonderful fulfilment task for the Marathi people.

    It is a golden opportunity to our Marathi community to read and study the Bible on line. I am very much excited to see this Marathi Bible on the web site. It is time now to improve ourselves and grow day by day in spiritual life through this website. I am very much impressed and blessed through this web site.

    May God use you for expanding His Kingdom and glory for the Lord.

    Thanking you.

    Rev. Premdas U. Koutikkar,
    Mathura Apartment, Flat No. # 5, Plot No. # G-26-27, Sector-20 BELAPUR CBD, NAVI MUMBAI.400 614

    • Prof R R Kelkar

      Dear Reverend Kouttikar,

      I am happy that you have liked this site. Thank you very much for your kind words.

      I am 66 years old but God is giving me the strength for doing this work. Please remember me in your prayers.


      Ranjan Kelkar

  10. मला खरच कधी वाटल नव्हत की मला मराठी मध्ये कुठली वेब साईट सापडेल… पण मला सापडली …आणि आता मज़ा आनंद गगनात मावेनासा आसा आहे ….
    खरच मी आपला आभारी आहे……….. मला या वरुन बरच कही शिकायला भेटणार आहे ………

    • Prof R R Kelkar

      Dear Deepak,

      Thanks for your kind comment and that too in Marathi. There are still many problems in operating a web site in Marathi. So I have to use PDF and JPEG files. I hope that in the time to come I will be able to convert the site to html format. If you have any suggestions for improving the site, do tell me or send me a mail at kelkar_rr@yahoo.com.

      R R Kelkar

  11. Dear Uncle,

    Praise the Lord! Great site! Keep up the good work. God bless you.

    Can you please send some old hymns from upasana sangeet to my email.
    Would like to know more about you and your ministry.

    In Love of Christ,


    • Prof R R Kelkar

      Dear Megha,

      Nice to read your words of encouragement. I am 65 years old and it is people like you who keep me going! I do not have any ministry or organization as such. Whatever I am doing is just a labour of love and I am doing it alone with God’s help.

      If you click ‘Marathi Hymns’ on this site you will find some hymns composed by my grandfather H G Kelkar. I do not have any other hymns in soft copy form that I can forward to you. But if you live in India you can buy a copy of Upasana Sangeet for yourself. If you are not here, and you tell me one or two of your most favourite hymns, I will try to make a jpeg file and send you.

      Remember me in your prayers,

      R R Kelkar

  12. I discovered this site today! What a wonderful resource.

    I chronicle my journey with Jesus Christ on a blog here: http://noconversion.wordpress.com

    I would like to encourage you and other believers to read it and post comments.

    Keep tilling. Jesus Christ is sowing.

    • Prof R R Kelkar

      Dear Ranjeet,

      I am glad that you have liked my Marathi New Testament site. Even those who do not know Marathi can click on ‘Search Text by Topic’ and use the references to read them in the Bible that they have, whatever the language.

      P. S. I visited your blog and from your narrative it appears that you know Marathi. So you can really make good use of the material.

      R R Kelkar

  13. Vijay pednekar

    i want the copy of the book Nava karar, which was translated by u in Marathi from the Holy Bible

    • Prof R R Kelkar

      Dear Mr Pednekar,

      Thank you for visiting the Marathi Bible site.

      To clarify matters, the Nava Karar translation was done not by me but by my late father, R H Kelkar. It has not yet been published in book form, but I have made it available on the internet and on a CD which has pdf files that can be easily read on a PC.

      I will be glad to send you the CD but for that purpose I will need to know your postal address and contact phone number. You may send me this information by email to kelkar_rr@yahoo.com.


      R R Kelkar

  14. dear sir………
    this is rakesh from pune………
    will you manage CD of marathi bible for me….

    • Dear Rakesh,

      If you can mail me your full name and address, I will send you the Marathi Bible CD. This contains the complete PDF files of all the books of the New Testament. My email id is

      R R Kelkar

  15. Prof R R Kelkar

    Dear Vishal,

    From your email id I believe you are in India. If you let me know your full name, address and contact phone number, I will send you a CD containing the Marathi Bible files by courier.

    Thanks for your interest,


    R R Kelkar

  16. Vishal Bhadlekar

    Dear Uncle,

    Can you please send me Marathi Bible Software for my PC.

    otervise pls send me website address, so that I can download.

    Pls do the needful
    send me on my emai vishal4unu@yahoo.co.in



    Vishal B

  17. I have put in a new link under Blogroll “Acquire New Posts by E-Mail (SUBSCRIBE)”. By clicking on this link, you can subscribe to the Marathi Bible blog and receive new posts by e-mail.

    R R Kelkar

  18. Dear R.H. KELKER I do recpect you. and my recvest from you please send me your marathi bible verses on my mail my id si sushantrajguru@rocketmail.com

  19. Dear R R [Conceal Not Thy First Name] Kelkar,

    My good friend Father Sudhir Tiwari and Sister Stephania Tiwari have forwarded copies of translation of the New Testament done by your father Shri Ratnakar Kelkar. He was the right man to sit into the editor’s chair of the age-old “Dnyanodaya” magazine and I knew him since then. He has left behind his memorable contribution for the Marathi readers of the Bible. Wish he was around for me to give hearty congratulations to him in person.

    Years ago, in the middle of the ’60s, late Shyamsundar Adhav had praised Pandita Ramabai’s translation of the bible in his article in Dnyanodaya with a sour note for the existing one. My reaction to that was in favor of both, keeping things in balance. After all, a translation is a translation. Ultimately it boils down to “To Each His Own!


    Lem Patole
    New York

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