Hamid Dalwai

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Hamid Dalwai
Born 29 September 1932[1][2]
Mirjoli, Ratnagiri district, Maharashtra[1]
Died 3 May 1977 (aged 44)
Nationality Indian
Occupation social reformer, thinker, activist, essayist, writer

Hamid Umar Dalwai (20 September 1932 – 3 May 1977) was a Muslim social reformer, thinker, activist and Marathi language writer in Maharashtra, India.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

He was born in a Marathi-speaking Muslim family in the Ratnagiri district of Konkan.[4] His Village is Mirjoli near Chiplun.


Dalwai joined the Indian Socialist Party of Jai Prakash Narayan in his early adulthood, but left it to devote himself to social reforms in the Muslim community, especially regarding women's rights. Despite living in a period when most people were staunchly religious and orthodox, Hamid Dalwai was one among the few religiously secular people. He strove towards a uniform civil code rather than religion specific laws, and fought to abolish Triple talaq in India.[5]

To create a platform for his views and work, he established the Muslim Satyashodhak Mandal (Muslim Truth Seeking Society) in Pune on 22 March 1970. Through the medium of this Society, Hamid worked towards reforming bad practices in the Muslim community especially towards women.[6] He helped many Muslim women who were victimised to get justice. He campaigned for encouraging Muslims in acquiring education in the State language rather than Urdu, their mother tongue. He also tried to make adoption an acceptable practice in the Indian Muslim community.

He also established the Muslim Secular Society. He organised many public meetings, gatherings, conventions and conferences to campaign for better social practices. He was also a great Marathi litterateur. He wrote Indhan (Fuel) - a novel, Laat (Wave) - a collection of short stories and Muslim Politics in Secular India - a thought provoking book. He used the medium of his writing for social reform.[7]

An unprecedented event in his social work was the Muslim women’s march that he organised on the Mantralaya (the administrative headquarters of Maharashtra in South Mumbai, built in 1955) to fight for their rights. Hamid Dalwai dealt with opposition with tremendous equanimity and worked towards social reform without getting discouraged at the slow rate of success. It is because of these traits that the great Marathi genius P. L. Aka PuLa Deshpande described him as a great social reformer and put him in the same bracket as the great Indian leaders Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and Ambedkar.

He died of progressive kidney failure on 3 May 1977, at the age of 44.[4]

Literary works[edit]

Dalwai worked as a journalist. His works include Lat (The Wave) and Indhan (Fuel) in Marathi, and Muslim Politics In Secular India in English, Islam che Bhartiya Chitr (Islam's Indian story) in Marathi, Rashtriya Ekatmata aani Bhartiya Musalman (National Unity and Indian Muslim) in Marathi.He also has written a short story namely "10 rupayachi goshta" which was later published in "Dhanurdhara" magazine.


Dalwai's brother Husain Dalwai is a Congress leader in Maharashtra. He is currently a member of Parliament upper house - Rajya Sabha. He also served as a Congress spokesperson in Maharashtra.


  • Muslim politics in India. Nachiketa Publications, 1969