By Yogesh Pawar
Even six decades independence, the state that gave birth to Dalit icons like Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj, Jyotiba Phule, and Dr BR Ambedkar seems to be in the grip of casteist prejudices. Why else would the Maharashtra government’s monthly mouthpiece, Lokrajya, exclude major Dalit litterateurs in its list of great Marathi writers, Dalits across the state want to know.
The June-July 2011 issue of Lokrajya, a literature special, carries a list of the greatest works in Marathi. The list was compiled by a panel comprising stalwarts such as Govind Talwalkar, Aroon Tikekar, Arun Athalye and P L Deshpande. All the more strange that it has chosen to leave out all the Dalit literary heavyweights. — Baburao Bagul, Annabhau Sathe, Narayan Surve, Waman Nimbalkar, Tryambak Sapkale, Arjun Dangle, Namdeo Dhasal, Umakant Randhir, JV Pawar, Urmila Pawar, Datta Bhagat, Tarachandra Khandekar, Yogiraj Waghmare, Avinash Dolas, Yogendra Meshram and Bhimrao Shirvale. Ironically, many of these are writers who have been honoured by the state.