Namdeo Laxman Dhasal
Born: 15 February 1949
Died: 15 January 2014
- He was a Marathi poet, writer and Dalit activist from Maharashtra, India.
- He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1999 and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Sahitya Akademi in 2004.
- In 2001, he made a presentation at the first Berlin International Literature Festival.
- In 1982, cracks began to appear in the Dalit Panther movement.
- Ideological disputes began to eclipse the common goal of liberation.
- He wanted to engender a mass movement and widen the term Dalit to include all oppressed people, but the majority of his comrades insisted on maintaining the exclusivity of their organization.
- His illness and alcoholism overshadowed the following years, during which he wrote very little.
- In the 1990s, he once again became politically active.
- He held national office in the Indian Republican Party, which was formed by the merger of all Dalit parties.
- The Dalit literature tradition is an old one, though the term was introduced only in 1958.
- He was greatly inspired by the work of Baburao Bagul, who employed photographic realism to draw attention to the circumstances which those deprived of their rights from birth have to endure.
- His poems broke away from stylistic conventions.
- He included in his poetry many words and expressions which only the Dalits normally used.
- In Golpitha, for instance, he adapted his language to that of the red-light district, which shocked middle-class readers.
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February 15, 2020