By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*
Mr Bharat Patankar has been a leading intellectual as well as political activist in Maharashtra with around fifty years of experience. His parents were part of the freedom movement and hence he was acquainted with their activities as well as meeting numerous political leaders and activists. Though he was a medical doctor, he plunged into social movement as the ideology of Satyashodhak attracted him. He led various movements for farmers, laborers, water and land rights of the people.
A strong believer in Phule-Ambedkarite ideology, Mr Patankar embraced Buddhism long back. He reinterpreted various cultural contexts for the Bahujan Community in India which are extremely important. In 1976 he and Gail Omvedt got married and started their life in Kasgaon, Maharashtra where both dedicated their life for the cause of people’s rights. We all are aware of the work done by Gail Omvedt towards strengthening the Phule Ambedkarite literature.
He has consistently raised the issue of labour rights and considers that annihilation of caste should top the agenda of all the Ambedkarites, Satya Shodhak and progressive left activists. This conversation was recorded at his office in Pune some years back. It was a great pleasure that Bharat ji joined us with Gail Omvedt though she was not well yet she remained there to listen to our conversation.
The conversation here reflects the high ideological background as well as enormous work done by Bharat Patankar and Gail Omvedt to empower the Bahujan communities. In this conversation, Bharat ji explains where issues before us particularly how we can reclaim and rebuild the Bahujan Samaj as per the Phule Ambedkarite ideology. We hope this conversation will be of great use for all the Bahujan intellectuals and activists.
Please listen to my conversation with Bharat Patankar.
*Human rights defender