Namdev Laxman Dhasal, a political activist belonging to the Dalit Panther Party in Maharashtra, is a poet and fiction writer of repute. Born on February 15, 1949, Namdev was raised by his mother in poverty. In memory of his mother’s tribulations as a sex worker, Namdev ignored the prevailing naming practices by adopting her name for his middle name. As an indication of the painful trajectory of his life, he later adopted his father’s name as a mark of respect.
Dhasal received the Nehru award for Golapitha. Named after Mumbai’s red light district the publication of Golapitha set a realistic trend in Marathi poetry in the 1970s. American scholar Dr. Eleanor Zelliot stated that, the “most important poet in Dalit literature in recent times is Namdev Dhasal, as no one can beat Dhasal in the powerful imagery, evocative language and bold statements against the system”. He has been awarded with three Maharashtra State awards for his five collections of poems. The Library of Congress has acquired eight titles by him.
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