January 26, 2014

Namdev Dhasal

THROUGH a statement issued on January 15, 2014, by its general secretaries Murali Manohar Prasad Singh and Chanchal Chauhan, the Janvadi Lekhak Sangh (JLS) expressed its deep sense of grief over the demise of Namdev Dhasal, renowned Marathi writer of dalit literature. He was seriously ill since September 2013, was in a Mumbai hospital for treatment and the doctors had diagnosed him as suffering from a kind of cancer. He breathed his last on Wednesday, January 15. Namdev Dhasal was born in a Mahar dalit family in a village near Pune on February 15, 1949. He spent his childhood in Mumbai in utter poverty. When his famous poetry collection, titled Golpitha, came out in 1973, it established him as an important writer which had given dalit literature a new, realistic turn. Apart from having 11 poetry collections to his credit, Dhasal also wrote plays and novels. He earned numerous awards for his writings --- from Sahitya Academy award to the Soviet Land Nehru Award and Padmashri. Namdev Dhasal was the founder of Marathi Dalit Panther movement. The JLS statement recalled that like several sections of the middle class, Dhasal too underwent vacillations in his political views but yet writing always gave a voice to the realities of dalit life and therefore his creativity remained committed to the democratic values which motivate the great writings. The JLS, through its statement, conveyed its tributes to this fighter and its condolences to his family members and friends.