Dalit Panthers is a social organization that seeks to combat caste discrimination, founded by Namdeo Dhasal and J V Pawar on 29 May 1972 in Maharashta. The movement saw its heyday in the 1970s and through the 1980s, and was later joined many Dalit-Buddhist activists.
|Leader||Arun Kamble, Raja Dhale
J V Pawar
|Founded||29 May 1972 |
|Succeeded by||Dalit Panthers of India|
The Dalit Panthers were inspired by the Black Panther Party, a socialist movement that sought to combat racial discrimination against African-Americans, during Civil Rights Movement in the United States, which occurred in the mid-20th century. The initiative to form the Dalit Panther Movement was taken up by Namdeo Dhasal, J.V. Pawar, and Arun Kamble in Mumbai. They conceived the Dalit Panther Movement as a radical departure from earlier Dalit movements, due to its initial emphasis on militancy and revolutionary attitudes, akin to attitudes espoused by their Black American counterparts.
Most members were young men, some of whom were Neo-Buddhists. Most of the leaders were literary figures whose academic qualifications ranged from not having a basic education to master's degrees. The controversy over the article "Kala Swatantrya Din"(Black Independence Day) by Dhale which was published in Sadhana, the Dalit Panthers' official publication, on August 15, 1972 created a great sensation and built recognition for the Dalit Panthers through Maharashtra. The Panthers' full support to Dhale during this controversy brought Dhale into the movement and made him a prominent leader. As a result, branches of the Dalit Panther Party were established in many parts of Maharashtra, as well as other states such as Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
The Dalit Panther emerged to fill the vacuum created in Dalit politics, as B.R. Ambedkar's Republican Party of India had split into factions. The Dalit Panthers led to a renaissance in Marathi literature and arts. They advocated for and practiced radical politics, fusing the ideologies of Ambedkar, Jyotirao Phule and Karl Marx. Crucially, the Dalit Panthers helped popularize the use of the term 'Dalit' to refer to lower-caste communities. This manifesto issued in 1973 combines the Ambedkarite spirit with a broader Marxist framework and heralds the rise of autonomous Dalit perspective in post-Independence India.
Dalit Panthers Iyyakkam in Tamil Nadu (TN)Edit
- "The Dalit Panther's first leap". Indian Express. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
- Rajawat, p. 325
- Michael, S. M. (2007). Dalits in modern India: vision and values. SAGE. p. 173. ISBN 978-0-7619-3571-1. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
- Satyanarayana and Tharu (2013). The Exercise of Freedom: An Introduction to Dalit Writing. New Delhi: Navayana. p. 55. ISBN 9788189059613.
- Contursi, Janet A. (1993). Political Theology: Text and Practice in a Dalit Panther Community, The Journal of Asian Studies 52 (2), 320-339 – via JSTOR (subscription required)
- Murugkar, Lata (1991). Dalit Panther Movement in Maharashtra: A Sociological Appraisal, South Asia Books. ISBN 0-86132-246-0.
- Rajawat, Mamta (2004). Encyclopaedia of Dalits in India. Anmol Publications. ISBN 81-261-2084-3.
- Sebastian, M. (1994). Liberating the Caged Dalit Panther, Emerald Publishers
- Mody, Navroz (Jan. 19, 1974). Atrocities on Dalit Panthers, Economic and Political Weekly, 9, (3), 44 – via JSTOR (subscription required)