Dalit literature has its origin in its pain, suffering, and humiliation of Dalits and represents a quest for equality in the society. Dalit writing today is extremely varied. Apart from the realistic, non- realistic, naturalistic and quasi-journalistic fiction that comprises the staple of Dalit prose writers, there are surrealistic, expressionist poets among the Dalit whose writing is extremely sophisticated or avant-garde. Namdeo Dhasal poetry is complex, vigorous and high voltage, attacking society and attempting to treat Dalit issues realistically. Dhasal’s arrival in Marathi literature altered the face of Marathi poetry and caused a great disruption and brought revolution in cultural discourses. Dhasal is not speaking of a personal and romantic disaster but of a massive disease which he finds eating away a whole civilization.
Dr. BR Ambedkar believed that education is the only way to liberate the Dalits, hence the new generation of Dalits started to analyze their treatment in the society which resulted in a powerful movement, Dalit Panthers in 1972. It was a militant organization and there was strong resistance against the exploitation faced by Dalits. Namdeo Dhasal founded Dalit Panthers, the militant organization taking inspiration from the American Black Panther movement, in 1972. The same year he published Golpitha, a poetry collection that became a landmark in Marathi literature.
Dhasal born in a Mahar caste near Pune, spent his entire childhood in Golpitha, living in small houses and driving a taxi for a living. The women were brought from all around the world, especially poor minor kids with chronic malnutrition, customers are only slightly better off, for Golpitha is the poor man’s source of cheap sexual gratification. This is the world Dhasal refers to, hence there is a surrealistic and vivid narrative frame to most of his poems. It is difficult to reach his personal vision, the most accessible part of his poems is the didactic passages where he is speaking of the exploitation of the underclass and proclaiming a revolution. The primary argument in this paper would be looking at Dhasal’s poems not vigorously but rather with a sentimental quality.
This paper would thus attempt to look at Dhasal’s poems in an appreciative and sympathetic manner. In doing so, the paper would also attempt to look at Dalit men and Dalit violence differently. This paper would try to discover kindness rather than violence in his poems.
Dhasal’s poems are often looked as an interaction among negative emotions. There is an anger energy when he deals with pain or suffering which can be a blind rage or murderous fury. Along with his extraordinary marriage, we tend to look at Dhasal with negativity. While most of the poems of protest are angry, very few poems of protest are successful. The language in the poems is designed to strike but Dhasal is also capable of extreme gentleness. Dhasal had not only used the languages of his environment, the very environment is what brought the ruggedness in his poems.
This paper will not be looking at the Dalit Panther movement except in association with Namdeo Dhasal’s poetry. This is mostly due to the reason that focusing on anything else would need to constitute another paper all together.