Shantabai Kamble

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Shantabai Krushnaji Kamble
Shantabai Kamble.JPG
Shantabai Kamble
Born (1923-03-01) 1 March 1923 (age 94)
Mahud , Sangola, Solapur, Maharashtra, India
Nationality Indian
Children Arun Kamble

Shantabai Krushnaji Kamble (born 1 March 1923) is a Marathi writer and Dalit activist. She wrote the first female Dalit autobiography.


Early age[edit]

Shantabai Krushnaji Kamble was born in a Mahar Dalit family on 1 March 1923. Her birthplace was Mahud which is located in Solapur. She was from a poor family. The social and economic status of her community was quite low.

Educational struggle[edit]

In India, the traditional attitude towards those belonging to the lower castes can be summed up as: "Education is not their cup of tea." So education was prohibited for the members of her community. Even worse, she was female and girls did not go to school in those days. But her parents decided to send her to school because of her extraordinary talent. According to a newspaper article, "As an untouchable, she [was] not allowed to enter the class-room and has to go through the humiliating experience of sitting outside the class and imbibing whatever she could."[1]

Life after marriage[edit]

After her marriage, she converted to Buddhism. The inspiration behind the conversion was to register a protest and fight against the many damaging rituals and severity of casteism which characterize Hinduism. The chief inspiration behind conversion was Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. Ambedkar's message to Dalits was to adopt Education as a way of empowerment and emancipation. Shantabai Kamble chose to follow this path and she excelled in her chosen path.

Her book[edit]

Shantabai Kamble's Majya Jalmachi Chittarkatha published as a complete book in 1986 but presented to readers and television audiences in serial form named as Najuka through the early 1980s, is considered the first autobiographical narrative by a Dalit woman writer. This book is included in the University of Mumbai's syllabus.[2]


  • Pioneering autobiography : Untouchable castes' woman from India Shantabai Kamble.[3]


  • Poisoned Bread: Translations from Modern Marathi Dalit Literature By Arjuna Ḍāṅgaḷe[4]

Contributor Arjuna Ḍāṅgaḷe Edition: reprint[5]


  1. ^ Bande, Usha. "The double burden". 
  2. ^ Majhya Jalmachi Chitra Katha (TYBA) Shantabai K. Kamble
  3. ^ Animation of "Naja Goes to School" story by Shantabai Kamble on YouTube
  4. ^ Dangale, Arjuna (2009). Poisoned Bread (First ed.). Orient BlackSwan. ISBN 9788125037545. 
  5. ^ Kamble, Shantabai. "Naja goes to school – and doesn’t.". Savari. Retrieved 24 May 2017.