Bharat Patankar

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Bharat Patankar
Bharat Patankar
Personal details
Born(1949-09-05)5 September 1949
Kasegaon, Maharashtra, India
Gail Omvedt (m. 1976)
ParentsIndumati Babuji Patankar
Babuji Patankar
Alma materAzad Vidyalay
Miraj Medical College
Shivaji University
AwardsDalit Mitra Puraskar
Arun LImaye Yuva Jagar Puraskar
Samajik Krutadnyata Puraskar

Bharat Patankar (Marathi: भारत पाटणकर) is a leading activist (cofounder and President) of the left wing Shramik Mukti Dal and of the peasant movement in Maharashtra. Bharat Patankar is an activist intellectual who has worked for almost 40 years in movements of workers, farmers, dam evictees, agricultural laborers, the drought eradication movement, alternative cultural movement, women’s liberation movement, anti-SEZ and coal-based power plant movement based on alternative energy proposals, rights of farmers on windmills, and radical anti-caste movements. He is married to writer and activist, Gail Omvedt.

Early life[edit]

Date of birth: 5 September 1949

Bharat Patankar was born in a village called Kasegoan, near Satara and Kolhapur Kolhapur in the State of Maharashtra in India. He comes from land laborer/ farmer family and grew up working on the family farm in rural India. He is the son of famous freedom fighters Babuji Patankar and Indumati Patankar, both of whom were leading activists in the ‘Prati Sarkar’ or the parallel government movement that was part of the India’s independence movement in the Satara District in the 1940s. The core of the prati sarkar lay in the one hundred or so underground activists – those who left their homes, moved from village to village serving as full timers, carrying guns or other weapons, ready to confront the police if necessary and carrying out "constructive" as well as military and administrative tasks. They were organized into groups which were effective decision-making centers for most activity. Representatives of all groups met from time to time at the district level. At the village level, these activists moved to establish various structures that included volunteer squads and to some extent panch committees chosen or elected by the villagers themselves. This village structure developed only with the movement itself in late 1944 and 1945. Babuji and Indumati Patankar established the Kasegaon Education Society and the first High School in Kasegaon called Azad Vidyalaya Azad Vidyalaya.

He received MD in Gynecology. He has been a full-time activist since 1973. He has participated in numerous movements since then and has led many struggles from urban textile workers to rural farmers and laborers fighting for equal water and land rights. He had been a close associate of Dalit Panther activists in early period as part of the then-existing Magowa group. In the second phase of Dalit Panthers also he was closely related with Arun Kamble etc. He practices Navayana Buddhism.


Bharat Patankar is one of the architects of equitable water distribution movement in Maharashtra. Theoretically one of the rare contributors doing a synthesis of Marx, Phule, Ambedkar, Gramsci, etc. in a new theoretical perspective. One of the rare contributors in interpreting existing contemporary caste system at a theoretical level. He was part of a street play group, collective writer of the plays, songwriter and performer in Samagra Sadak Natak Calwal. One of the founder members of Krantiba Phule Sanskritic Manch in Mumbai during the late 1970s. As a leading activist in Badwe Hatao movement of Vidrohi Sanskritic Calval and still leading the movement of Vithoba-Rakhumai Mukti Andolan for deleting recitation of "purush sukta" from the Pandharpur mandir rites provided for in the mandir act.

Alternative irrigation and dam movements: Bali Raja Memorial Dam, Uchangi dam alternative Founder member, Mukti Sangarsh movement Member, Magowa group, 1973-76 Trade Union mobilizations: activist with Kapad Kamgar Sanghatana, Mumbai, 1976–83; work with engineering and chemical workers, AITUC and Workers’ Democratic Union, Ambarnath-Kalyan industrial belt, 1973–76.

Awards and honours[edit]

Awards received:

  • Arun LImaye Yuva Jagar Puraskar of Chhatra Bharati; Samajik Krutadnyata Puraskar, Dalit Mitra Puraskar and several others.[1]
  • Baburao Bagul Gaurav Puraskar Award [2]

Books and writings[edit]

His numerous books and articles include 20 English articles and books, including:

  • "Characteristics of Contemporary Caste System and its Annihilation," in Two Essays on Caste, Mumbai:University of Mumbai 2013, 3–5 January 2014
  • 24 Marathi articles and books, most notably
    • Maharashtrace Shilpakar Nana Patil (2002),
    • Mudda Ahe Jag Badalnyaca (1989),
    • Mukta Arthavyavyastha ani Vargiya, Jatiya, Laingik Shoshan (1996),
    • Mahatma Phule ani Sanskritik Sangarsh, (1991, 1998),
    • "Hindu ki Sindhu:" Sanghparivaracya Raktapipasu Hindutvavadala Burkhaphad Uttar (1993)
    • Paryayi Vikas Niti (1991),
    • Kavita Zepavnarya Pankhanci (2009; a collection of poems).

He has presented at numerous seminars and conferences including most recently

  • "Who is a worthy Being?" Interdisciplinary National Seminar, University of Mumbai (2013);
  • Echoes of Ghadar convening, New York (2013);
  • 2nd MenEngage Global Symosium, New Delhi(2014);
  • 'Dalit Critical 'Public': Reviewing the Contribution of Asmitadarsh, Sugava and Independent Archive Ambedkarian Thought, University of Mumbai (2014).



[3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]

  1. ^ "क्रांतिवीरांच्या जिह्यात जन्मलो याचा अभिमान".
  2. ^ "Bharat Patankar gets Bagal Purskar". Uniindia News Service. 24 May 2018.
  3. ^ Patankar, Bharat (17 February 2012). "Caste and Exploitation in Indian History:". Kafila.
  4. ^ "Leftists form organization to prevent social discrimination". Times of India.
  5. ^ "Displaced and damned for a generation".
  6. ^ Omvedt, Gail (13 April 1991). "Movement for Water-Takari Peasants Struggle in Maharashtra". Economic and Political Weekly. - XXVI (15, ).
  7. ^ Omvedt, Gail (31 December 1977). "The Bourgeois State in Post-Colonial Social Formations". - XII (53, ).
  8. ^ Patankar, Bharat (5 December 1981). "LABOUR-Textile Workers and Datta Samant". Economic and Political Weekly. - XVI (49, ).
  9. ^ "Bharat Patankar Speaking on Purush Sukta Mantra".
  10. ^ "महाराष्ट्र विठ्ठलाची शासकीय पूजा बंद व्हायला हवी!". 17 September 2014.
  11. ^ Bharat Patankar, and Gail Omvedt (February 1979). "The Dalit Liberation Movement in Colonial Period". Economic and Political Weekly. 14 (7/8): 409–411+413+415+417+419–421+423–424.