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Ambedkari Ekta Jindabad: Vilas Ghogare writes on his wall before hanging himself

On July 15 1997, Vilas Ghogare was found dead at his home in Mumbai. He was a prominent shahir and activist. 

In Mumbai’s Ramabai Nagar on July 11, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s statue was defaced with garlands of sandals. It was followed by protests by agitated Ambedkarites. In an open firing ordered by sub-inspector Manohar Kadam, 10 Dalits were killed and 26 seriously injured.

Vilas Ghogare could not tolerate the growing inhumanity and caste-based atrocities against Dalits. Perhaps he could not endure the pain of the aftermath of Ramabai Nagar massacre. He ended his life at home.

Vilas was popular in the community for his songs accompanied with iktara music. He sang the stories of caste-based oppression and collective assertion. His voice was an amalgamation of many struggles of different intensity. 

Before he ended his life, with dark blue ink, he wrote on one of the walls of his home: Ambedkari Ekta Jindabad (Hail Ambedkarite Unity). His songs continue to live on.

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