Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Dalit Panther

In Bombay, Baburao Bagul and his young Dalit writer friends Daya Pawar, Arjun Dangale, Namdeo
Dhasal, J.V. Pawar, Umakant Randhir, Ramdas Sorte and Prahlad Chendwankar met and had a discussion for hours. The young generation was influenced by Baburao Bagul who had personally participated in the movement of Dalit labourers and who expressed himself clearly and logically. The inaction of all factions of the Republican Party against social injustice was conspicuous. Except for support by one or two from the party, the other leftist parties were indifferent.

Dalit writers began to realize more and more that there was no point in merely writing provocative poetry against this injustice. They had become familiar with the Black Movement and literature in the USA and were greatly attracted to it.

The result was that youths Namdeo Dhasal, Arjun Dangale and JV Pawar took the initiative and eshtablished the Dalit Panther in Bombay on 9 July 1972. The Panthers observed Independence Day that year, which incidently was the silver jubilee of Independence, as the Black and blach flag demostration were held at various places in Bombay. In the storm following Raja Dhale's article in the special issueof Sadhana in which he made strong comment about the indian national flag, the panthers supported Sadhana and Raja Dhale. The Dalit of Maharashtra got acquinted with the Panthers and discontent of several years began to explode.

The important point here is that the Dalit Panther came to be established through the Dalit literary movement. The leaders of the Dalit Panther were all writers. This was probabaly the first time in India that creatives writers became politically active and led a movement(Arjun Dangale: Introduction: Poisoned Bread).

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