Dalit Panthers

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Dalit Panther)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Dalit Panthers
Founder Namdeo Dhasal and J. V. Pawar
Founded 29 May 1972 [1]
Ideology Dalit Socialism

Dalit Panthers is a social organisation that seeks to combat caste discrimination. It was founded by Namdeo Dhasal and J. V. Pawar on 29 May 1972 in the Indian state of Maharashtra.[2][3] The movement saw its heyday in the 1970s and through the 1980s, and was later joined many Dalit-Buddhist activists.


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 Bombay. They conceived the 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.[citation needed]

The Black Panther Party acknowledged and supported the Dalit Panthers through their Black Panther newspaper which circulated weekly worldwide from 1967-1980.[citation needed].

Raja Dhale, One of the original members of the Dalit Panther Party

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 Raja Dhale's article titled "Kala Swatantrya Din" (Black Independence Day), published in Sadhana, the Dalit Panthers' official publication, on 15 August 1972, created a great sensation and built recognition for the Dalit Panthers through Maharashtra. The Panthers' support of Dhale during this controversy brought him 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.[citation needed]

The Dalit Panthers emerged to fill the vacuum created in Dalit politics resulting from B.R. Ambedkar's Republican Party of India splitting into factions. The Dalit Panthers led to a renaissance in Marathi literature and arts. They advocated for and practised radical politics, fusing the ideologies of Ambedkar, Jyotirao Phule and Karl Marx. Crucially, the Dalit Panthers helped invigorate 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.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rajawat, p. 325
  2. ^ Rajawat, Mamta (2004). Encyclopaedia of Dalits in India, Volume 1. Anmol Publications. p. 325. ISBN 81-261-2084-3. 
  3. ^ Michael, S. M. (2007). Dalits in modern India: vision and values. SAGE. p. 173. ISBN 978-0-7619-3571-1. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  4. ^ Satyanarayana and Tharu (2013). The Exercise of Freedom: An Introduction to Dalit Writing. New Delhi: Navayana. p. 55. ISBN 978-8-18905-961-3. 

Further reading[edit]