Poet, Dalit Panther founder Dhasal dead

Poet, writer and the foremost proponent of the radical and militant Dalit Panther, Namdeo Laxman Dhasal, died in a private hospital after prolonged illness.

Dhasal was 64 and is survived by wife Malika Sheikh and a son. He breathed his last at around 4 am in Bombay Hospital where he was admitted for various ailments.

The funeral will be held on Thursday as the radical poet who in his later years turned towards the right-wing party Shiv Sena, had a large following among poetry lovers.

Born in a Mahar family in a hamlet near Pune, Dhasal’s dark days in childhood, spent in a butcher shop in Mumbai’s red light area, became a major focus of his works. Dhasal was one of the founders of the Dalit Panther movement.

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