Author : Aura Staff

Shantabai Kamble, the first Ambedkarite woman autobiographer passed away on 25th January 2023. She was renowned for having written Majya Jalmachi Chittarkatha, an autobiographic narration of her life and the struggle for education in a highly stratified world. She was also the mother of Dalit Panther Arun Kamble.

She was born in Mahud Budruk of Solapur, Maharashtra. Her parents had a desire for education despite their abject poverty. She faced a lot of discrimination in her educational journey, even being made to sit outside the class along with other Dalit students. Nevertheless, she finished her education and became a teacher at Women’s College, Pune.

She joined Dr BR Ambedkar’s movement of liberation from untouchability and the caste system, embracing Buddhism with her husband and seven other villages nearby in 1957.

Her autobiography was serialised in a magazine and was televised on Mumbai Doordarshan as well as translated into multiple languages.

She lived a life of great dignity and died at the age of 99. Many other Dalit women went onto write autobiographies in the years after her, and she inspired generations of writers, thinkers and activists to challenge the inequalities of society around them through their art and words.


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