The Occasion of Namantar Din!


Pradnya Jadhav

~ I have seen you
At the front of the Long March
The end of your sari tucked tightly at the waist
Shouting "Change the name"
Taking the blow of the police stick on your upraised hands
Going to jail with head held high......... ~ Jyoti Lanjewar

Namantar means Renaming. Few decades ago, the word Namantar had galvanized the entire Maharashtra, especially the Marathwada region, as the demand for renaming Marathwada University after Dr. Ambedkar started to evolve. In recent times, renaming places, institutions does not demand rigorous engagement and constant follow up, provided, the suggested name represents the true spirit of nationalism. However, the renaming of Marathwada University took more than 17 years causing severe damages to the lives of Dalits and yet without meeting the actual demand of the movement. The renaming was perhaps replaced by expansion of the previous name. Keeping the word "Marathwada" intact, on 14th January, 1994 the university was named as "Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University".

(Namantar Shahid Smarak, Nagpur)

Namantar Shahid Smarak Nagpur

Marathwada was formerly a part of Nizam's territory, and was deprived of any educational institutions. Babasaheb had entered into the Marathwada region with the vision of uplifting its educational status. He established huge, spacious, well-equipped modern infrastructure with constructions themes echoing Buddhist culture. This history reflects his grand ideas about educational institutions. He created the safest, most accessible and affordable spaces for the students in the form of hostels. The unique features of the hostels allowed students to cook their own food in the hostel rooms, so that they could easily manage with their limited support from their families and concentrate on studies and needn't have to drop out due to hunger. The educational institutions started by Babasaheb laid the foundation of setting up a separate University for Marathwada region.

The Namantar Andolan lasted for around 20 years from the 1970s to 1994. The history of the Namantar struggle is presented in different and often disconnected versions, sometimes treating it as a site of investigation, or documentation of events spanning the whole time of revolt, analysing the roles of its proponents and opponents, functioning of the State machinery and so on. The patronizing group of researchers have referred to the Namantar struggle mostly in the context of how Dalits were exploited; making evident their fear that after Namantar the entire Marathwada might become the land of Dalits.

The history of Namantar Andolan cannot be concluded on the note of its failure or success. The task of understanding the Namantar struggle from the perspective of constructing the history of Ambedkarite assertions all over the country illustrates why Babasaheb's name was so important. This movement introduces leaders like Pratibha Tayade, Suhasini Bansode, Gautam Waghmare, Vilas Dhone, Narayan Gaikwad, Pratima, Sharad Patole and several thousand others and their sacrifices. It is a movement with women leading from the front, captured so well in Jyoti Lanjewar's poem "Ai". In a song by Vitthal Umap, he rightly conveys the importance of Babasaheb in our lives saying "because of my Babasaheb, mute have a voice, the incapacitated have started to walk, hear, see and read." The name of Babasaheb is important for us, and so is Namantar crucial for us.

Namantar Andolan has continuously asked and will continue to ask why it took so long to rename the University? Until we find a more plausible answer, let us say, it was probably because, "Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar" is a dangerous name! It is Hazardous to the existence of Savarnas and injurious to the "Indian Social Structure". Namantar Din Long Live!

Jai Bhim!



"Namantarache Visthapit" Snehalata Mankar
"Dalit Chalwal: Aklanachya Dishene" Prakash Sirsath



 Pradnya Jadhav is a student at JNU, she is part of the editorial team of SAVARI and a regular contributor to Round Table India.


Other Related Articles

How mainstream feminism has failed Dalit women
Tuesday, 12 October 2021
  Anamika Kumari As long as there is casteism in this country, no other '-ism' would ever stand a chance to flourish. This country follows the rule of 'brahminism' and thus follows every other... Read More...
Delhi university must reinstate the removed texts and Apologize-Dalit intellectual collective
Wednesday, 15 September 2021
  Dalit Intellectual Collective With the select removal of texts by three towering writers in Bengali and Tamil: Mahashweta Devi, Bama and Sukirtharani, from Delhi University... Read More...
Liberal narrative and Afghanistan
Wednesday, 01 September 2021
Vinith Kumar These last few weeks have been about the Taliban. But it hasn’t really been about them. The reports, the end of the war, the exit of the American forces, the tragic images from the... Read More...
We the People: Expanding the Idea of Democracy - Part 3
Sunday, 29 August 2021
Pranav Jeevan P People normally blame democracy by saying it is not a good model of governance citing the issues that plague our country like poverty, corruption, unemployment and under-development.... Read More...
Future. India. Dalit.
Wednesday, 25 August 2021
  Anu Ramdas This article was written for the Society of Future Studies a member of the Swiss Academy for Humanities and Social Sciences and was published in their journal edition of 01/21 which... Read More...

Recent Popular Articles

A portrait of the casteist as a young influencer
Monday, 12 July 2021
Shy of inquiry into privilege, social media posts flaunt antiquated attitudes to caste, reservations Rahi Gaikwad We are all to some extent the prisoners of our upbringing.-PD James (Death in Holy... Read More...
Life of Bahujans in Brahminical Schools
Friday, 18 June 2021
  Pranav Jeevan P Schools are one of the primary places where the functioning of caste is passed on to the next generation. Savarna kids are indoctrinated of their superiority and Bahujan kids... Read More...
Why I decided to be a Pasmanda activist
Tuesday, 22 June 2021
  Razaul Haq Ansari To begin with, i want to say something about myself. I am Razaul Haq Ansari from Deoghar, Jharkhand, and was born in a middle class family of the Julaha (weaver) caste. I... Read More...
Charisma without Organizational Leadership is Abortive for Dalit Politics
Tuesday, 13 July 2021
Rahul Sonpimple Charisma is elusive yet the most common term to define leadership. Charismatic leadership is usually perceived as essential and assenting, specifically in politics. However, the... Read More...
Future. India. Dalit.
Wednesday, 25 August 2021
  Anu Ramdas This article was written for the Society of Future Studies a member of the Swiss Academy for Humanities and Social Sciences and was published in their journal edition of 01/21 which... Read More...