‘I am a venereal sore in the private part of language.’ That’s Namdeo Dhasal, the maverick Marathi poet who hardly had any formal education.
Born in 1949 in a former ‘untouchable’ community in Pur-Kanersar village near Pune in Maharashtra, as a teenage taxi driver he lived among pimps, prostitutes, petty criminals, drug peddlers, gangsters and illicit traders in Bombay/Mumbai’s sinister and sordid underworld.
In 1972, he founded Dalit Panther, the militant organisation modelled on the Black Panther movement. The same year he published Golpitha that belongs to the tradition in modern urban poetry beginning with Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal. Since then, he has published eight collections of poems from which Current of Blood is a representative selection.
In 2004, India’s national academy of letters, Sahitya Akademi, honoured Dhasal with the only Lifetime Achievement Award it gave during its golden jubilee celebrations. Dhasal’s long-time friend and bilingual poet Dilip Chitre, acclaimed for his translations of the seventeenth century Marathi poet-saint Tukaram, considers Namdeo Dhasal to be one of the outstanding poets of the twentieth century.
‘Dilip Chitre’s translation succeeds in reproducing the images and metaphors of Dhasal’s work, and his unmistakable, hard-hitting voice’ – Outlook
Namdeo Dhasal Translated by Dilip Chitre