Arun Krushnaji Kamble

14 Mar 1953
20 Dec 2009
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Arun Krushnaji Kamble (14 March 1953 – December 2009) was a Marathi writer and Dalit activist. Arun Kamble, President and one of the founding members of Dalit Panther was working as a Head of Marathi department at University of Mumbai. He was the National General Secretary of Janata Dal. He had taken many major decisions in favour of Dalit, Backward Class and Minorities.

Kamble formed Dalit Panther Of India as a social organisation alongside Namdeo Dhasal and Raja Dhale in 1976. Later Kamble became the National General Secretary of Janata Dal and worked with former Prime Minister V.P. Singh. He demanded the renaming of Marathwada University to “Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar University”.Kamble, a writer, poet and editor, authored many books such as Cultural Struggle in Ramayana, Conversion of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, Cheevar, Vaad-Samvad, Yug-Pravartak Ambedkar, Chalvaliche Diwas, and Tarkateerth Ek Vadato-Vyaghyat. He was awarded with many accolades such as “The Prabuddha Ratna Puraskar”, Life Time Achievement International Award. Some of his works have been translated into English, German, French, Gujarati, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam, Urdu (Dalit Awaaz) and Hindi (Suraj ke Vansh-dhar).

Kamble was born on 14 March 1953, in Mahar Dalit family of village-Kargani, Atpadi near Sangli. He was a follower of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar as Dr.Ambedkar was an inspiration to him.His mother and father both were School Headmaster in Sangli. His mother (Shantabai Kamble) and father (Krushnaji Kamble) have written autobiographies called Majya Jalmachi Chittarkathaand Mi Krushna respectively. His father was a well known personality in Kargani district.

His school days were in Athapadi and Dighanchi at Sangli. He completed B.A. (honors) from Willingdon College, Deccan Education Society, Sangli in 1974. Later he earned his M.A. from Siddhartha College in 1976 with distinction in “Shodhnibandh ani Shodhnibandhachi Lekhan Paddhati”. His major interests were Dalit literature and Ambedkarite Movement.

He joined Dr. Ambedkar College of Commerce and Economics, Wadala, Mumbai in 1976 as a lecturer of Marathi (1976–1985). Later he joined Kirti College, Dadar (W), Mumbai (1985–1989). In 1990 he joined the University of Mumbai as a “Reader”. Until his death he was a PhD Guide in Marathi Department and also was Head of Phule, Shahu Chair in University of Mumbai.

Kamble was the National President and one of the founding members of Dalit Panther.He was also the National General Secretary of Janata Dal, a member of the National Election Committee – Janata Dal (Parliamentary Board), and in charge of Election Committee of Bihar State. He successfully led the Namantar Andolan of Marathwada University as a president of Dalit Panther Of India.

When the dispute arose on the book ‘Riddles in Hinduism’ (Appendix, Riddles of Ram & Krishna) authored by Dr.Ambedkar, Kamble led an intellectual fight and a march with Ten Lakh people (January 1987) and the provision for reservation to Buddhist, Backward class, and minorities with Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh. He got promises and assurance to implement the Mandal Commission;Second Backward class Commission,with an immediate effect (1989).

Kamble resigned from Janata Dal on the issue of Dalit president of India. He led a march as a President of Dalit Panther during an Assembly Session at Nagpur on the issue of publishing Dr. Ambedkar’s complete body of literature (1979). He later worked as a member of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Charitra Sadhane Publication which was borne by a march.

Kamble worked as an editor for the book Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Writings & Speeches. Maharashtra Government declared a decision to omit a part from the Appendix (Riddles in Hinduism, ‘Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Writings and Speeches’ Volume 4). For this issue he left the editor’s committee and filed a lawsuit in the High Court against the Maharashtra Government.

He inaugurated ‘Manusmruti Cremation Conference’ at Karur by Dravida Kazhagam ,founded by Periyar E. V. Ramasamy (1983). He also inaugurated and led a march to protest against the outrageous behavior on Dalit community at Karamchedu (1987). He led Samajik Nyay Jyoti (Social Justice Flame) with Ram Vilas Paswan from Chundur to New Delhi (1992). He was the Chief Guest at ‘All India Dalit Writer’s Conference’ (October 1987) and worked as a convener of the ‘All India Dalit Writer’s Association. He inaugurated a Social Gathering of Dalit Literature at Bangalore (1986) and gave a speech at the conference of the Namantar-Mandal (1984). He inaugurated the 9th Marathi Conference at Badoda (1995) and gave a speech at the All India Dalit Liberation conference (6 December 1987). He undertook an editorial work for the periodicals Ambedkar Bharat, Shoonya, and Sangharsh.

Kamble worked as a member of National Police Commission and as a committee member for the advisory board of Special Department for Scheduled Caste & Scheduled Tribes at the University of Mumbai. He was a president of 3rd All India Conference on Dr. Ambedkar’s Literature at Wardha and also a president at the World Conference on Buddha, Phule, and Ambedkar Literature at Kalyan ( 23–25 March 2002).

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