PUNE: Eminent Dalit writerPradnya Pawar has accused “hooligans” of forcing her and Dalit scholar Raosaheb Kasbe to leave the venue of a Marathi literary meet at Patan (Satara) for their alleged comments on the Maratha community and Chhatrapati Shivaji.
The Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad – the apex literary body in the state – had organized the divisional Marathi literary meet, dedicated to Babasaheb Ambedkar. Pawar was nominated president while Kasbe was invited to inaugurate the two-day meet which started on Saturday.
“The first day was smooth, but on Sunday a mob of 100-150 people came in shouting slogans and wanted me and Raosaheb Kasbe to leave the venue. Organisers asked us to pack our bags and leave the spot immediately,” Pawar alleged in a social media post. The development has kicked off a major debate against the wake of massive Maratha marches in the state demanding reservation.
In their speeches, Kasbe and Pawar had raised various issues, including caste-related discrimination, censorship of literature and so on
Kasbe said he tried to communicate with the mob. “But nobody was ready to listen. The mob was not even aware of what I had said,” he told reporters.
Shiv Sena MLA Shambhuraje Desai from Patan said action must be taken against those who ” hurt” the sentiments of the Maratha community.
“(We were told) ‘You are Dalits and you must not say anything. If you speak, we will let you know the consequences.’ This is hooliganism. Is Patan in India or it is in Pakistan?” asked Pawar. She accused the local MLA of playing politics.
Pragya Pawar and Raosaheb Kasbe were at Patan, Satara, for the two-day ‘Vibhagya Sahitya Sammelan’ when the alleged incident occurred. Pawar told ET that they left town the same evening after a mob surrounded the guest house where they were staying and demanded that they should tender an apology for their remarks and leave. “We learnt that the mob was angry with what I and Kasbe had said in the speech. I had touched on the subject of intolerance and then referred to how the Maratha community, which was taking out ‘morchas’ against the Kopardi rape (incident), has been silent when similar atrocities are made against Dalit women,” said Pawar, daughter of Dalit writer and thinker Daya Pawar. “I had criticised this double standards.”
According to Pragya, Kasbe had spoken of how sections of the Maratha and the Brahmin communities were opposed to the coronation of Maratha warrior Shivaji. “What Kasbe said is a historical fact and has been noted by many historians, due to this opposition Shivaji had to get a pundit from Kashi Gaga Bhatt to perform his coronation,” said Pragya.
Pawar said that while their speeches appeared to be well received by the audience, trouble arose later in the evening when a mob surrounded the hostel in which they were staying. “There were 100 to 150 people outside and 30 people had entered the hostel, and after threatening Kasbe, forced him to give an apology. The organisers prevented the mob from coming upstairs where I was stayng,” said Pawar. She said the two were then told to leave.
According to Pawar, Shiv Sena legislator Sambhuraj Desai has filed a complaint against the two with the local police, terming their speeches as “insulting’ to national personalities