Text and video by Shiva Thorat, Twocircles.net
The 43rd martyrdom day of Bhagwat Jadhav, a prominent Dalit leader of the 70s, was marked in Mumbai on January 10 at the BIT Chawl of Mazgaon, Mumbai.
Jadhav, a leader of Dalit Panthers, was killed in the 1974 Mumbai riots between members of Shiv Sena and Dalit Panthers.
The program was organised by the Krantiputra Shahid Bhagwat Jadhav Smruti Kendra, Lovelane, Mazgaon, Republican Panthers, Mumbai and LIC Karmachari Republican Union, Mumbai.
The event was attended by a number of people, including Dr. Sunkanna Velpula, who is studying in IIT Mumbai. He was one of the five students who was rusticated from HCU. During his speech, he spoke of the times spent at HCU, and how they were targeted due to speaking against the administration.
Maya Bansode, a student of MPhil in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, said “We should identify fake people who are working to trap us (Dalits). We need radical Babasaheb and rather radical Ambedkarites. If we are sensible then only our leaders we can expect them to sensible”.
On the occasion, the Shahid Bhagwat Jadhav Memorial Award was given to Satybhama Suryavanshi, an activist who came from Latur for the program. While accepting the award, she asked the audience to continue their struggles. “How many days we are going to tolerate this exploitation? I don’t think anybody will come and save us, we only need to organise ourselves against the Brahminical structure,” she said.
Shantanu Kamble, the artist behind ‘Dalita Re Halla Bolala’ which became an anthem for the activism post the Khairlanji Massacre, was also facilitated for his works.
Speaking on the occasion, Balladeer Sambhaji Bhagat said that, “Bhagwat Jadhav is inspirational for us. I hope youth can take motivation from a Panther like Bhagwat Jadhav and emerge as Panthers with a new role. He will be remembered by everybody”.
A bookseller, Kamble, said, “A lot of researchers and student turn to the event every year. Lovelane area (where Jadhav lived) becomes a happening place at the time of January 10. Not only common people, even the police visit the place.”
Kabir Kala Manch, the famous cultural troupe from Mumbai performed in the event. Among the members, three members were still in jail for speaking against state authorities, Anjali Kharat, social work said, “I am here to listen to them because I heard a lot about them. But I wish that Shital Sathe, one of their main performers, was also present here.