Dalit shahirs of Maharashtra: From Bhimrao Kardak to Sambhaji Bhagat, tracing a legacy of anti-caste music and poetry
The Dalit shahirs of Maharashtra were the poet-musicians of the anti-caste movement, who took Dr BR Ambedkar's idea of the annihilation of caste to the people
Adarsh Shinde was born into the tradition of Shinde-Shahi which spans three generations in his family. He embodies the change that the world of Ambedkari shahiri has undergone
If we listen carefully, Kadubai’s voice does not make us emotional. It puts to rest the confusions and incertitude within the anti-caste movement.
At a time when technology has enabled the propagation of Brahminical values at a mass scale, Sambhaji Bhagat continues to perform in slums and neglected neighbourhoods across Maharashtra
Suresh Bhat, who had failed his exams and faced humiliation because of a deformed leg, found the strength to fight because of the Ambedkarite literature he read
Vilas Ghogare portrayed the dreadful life of the workers that he observed up close, since he was a worker himself in Mumbai. He also spoke of his life as a Dalit — a life that he had inherited.
Despite creating a body of influential work and being one of the Dalit shahirs who took Ambedkar and his ideas to some of the most marginalised people in villages, Arjun Hari Bhalerao's work is still not known to many today
Dalit shahir B Kashinand was optimistic, determined and a dreamer of the Prabuddha Bharath (Enlightened Bharath)
Prahlad Shinde sang many of the Ambedkarite movement’s songs. But he also sang ‘devotional’ and ‘folk’ songs which brought him widespread popularity.
“Song is not a means of livelihood for me [sic]. It is a weapon to bring awareness in society,” Prakash Patankar said
The lyrics of a song that Nagorao Patankar performed in 1935 before BR Ambedkar went: "Dalito Ki Tawarikh/ Mulk Hindostan Se Pucho (The history of Dalits/ Ask the country called Hindostan)"
Though his songs were popular and even sung by established singers, Uttam Mule was never given due credit
Vitthal Umap almost rescued some of the old genres in the Shahiri tradition and tirelessly performed them to keep them alive