Uma Virupaksha Kulkarni, an accomplished author and translator, was born on October 1, 1950 in Belgaum, Karnataka. She attended Saraswati Mandir for her primary education, and Thalakwadi High School for her secondary schooling. Kulkarni did her higher education at Rani Parvatibai College before earning an MA in art and painting from SNDT University, Pune, in 1983. She furthered her academic pursuits by completing her PhD with a dissertation titled The Evolution, Development, and Artistic Features of the Dravidian Style in Indian Temple Sculpture. Kulkarni is renowned for expanding horizons of Marathi literature by translating well-known Kannada works into Marathi.
She has translated 23 novels, three collections of short stories, five plays, and two autobiographies, expanding the sphere of popularity of Kannada literature and promoting national cohesion through her small but significant efforts. Besides translations, her independent writings have been published and broadcast on All India Radio and television. She is also a famous screenwriter, lyricist and dialogue writer. Kulkarni, born Sushma Bhagwantrao Kulkarni, married Virupaksha Kulkarni, an engineer and admirer of Kannada literature. She learned Kannada only as an adult through conversations with friends.
Her inspiration to bridge the gap between Kannada and Marathi literature arose after three Kannada writers received the Jnanpith Award three times, followed closely by Marathi writers. Kulkarni collaborated with her husband, who searched for appropriate materials, and she translated them. Their first collaboration was in 1980, with the Marathi translation of Shivram Karantha’s novel Tanmanachya Bhovryaat. Kulkarni wrote several books, including Eka Veglya Lagnachi Goshta, Mavshicha Salla, and Ketkar Vahini.
Her work has received multiple awards, such as the Sahitya Akademi Translation Award, the Maharashtra Gaurav Award, the Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad Award, and the Tarkatirtha Laxmanshastri Joshi Award. Uma Kulkarni's contribution to the literary world is immense, and her efforts to bring two literary traditions together have garnered her much appreciation and recognition. Her work has enriched Marathi literature and helped to bridge the gap between different languages and cultures.