ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Namdeo Laxman Dhasal (1949-2014)

A poet of protest like no one else, Dhasal's verses and political activism were a ferocious challenge to all canons of literature, language, politics, even religion. While his political and personal life was often controversial, to say the least, his poems will keep unsettling us for a long time to come.

They say great poets are immortal. Their verses are pure, lumine­scent, shining. They are tran­scendental, reaching out across time and space. They detach you from the world and its worries. Their words are succour, their words are balm. Reading them is a profoundly uplifting experience. None of this is true for Namdeo Dhasal, a taxi driver who became Maharashtra’s pre­-eminent poet of protest.

There is nothing that can quite des­cribe the sensation of reading Dhasal’s poetry. Your hair stands on end. You feel slapped and spat upon, your head thrust down the gutter. The playwright Vijay Tendulkar, no stranger to street vocabulary, wrote the introduction to Dhasal’s first collection of poems, Golpitha, about Mumbai’s underbelly, Kamatipura. Tendulkar wrote:

Dear Reader,

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