Saturday, October 3, 2020

Dr. Namdeo Nimgade ,a Comited Ambedkarite

Dr.Namdeo Nimgade ( May 1, 1920 to November 23, 2011) By: Er. H. R. Phonsa Dr. Namdeo Nimgade ,a Comited Ambedkarite was a Agricultural Scientist, writer, author, social activist. By obtained his Doctorate in agriculture Scientist from University of Wisconsin USA, perhaps second Indian Dalit after Baba Sahib to earn this honour from that country. He was humorous silent social worker of repute. He kept struck to welfare of his Dalit Samaj, by all possible silent means, and so remained unsung hero of Dalit movement in India . In his youth he came in contact with Baba Sahib Dr. Ambedkar and learnt social work techniques from him, a life time crusader against suppression, neglect and ill treatment of a major chunk of Indian population called Untouchable. So Nimgade imbibed a human heart from the world class worker’s well wisher. Around Baba Sahib there was an atmosphere of always thinking to extent helping hand to those to whom even God have abandoned as not His responsibility. Nimgade enjoyed Baba Sahib’s guidance and patronage. Namdeo Nimgade was born in village Sathgaon, in Hingna Tehsil of Nagpur district Maharashtra . He was born in a landless bonded labour family of Mahar an untouchables. He was born (self declared date) on May 1, 1920. During those times Mahars, say all untouchable, were not admitted in schools, where in majority teachers were orthodox Brahmins . He used to graze cattle in his childhood. The Brahmin created untouchability based caste system, which aroused hate among officially declared low caste Hindus . Entry to schools, water sources, worshiping places, Dharamshalas etc. Stood completely banned to untouchables. Although the Maharashtra government had issued directive instructions in 1923, to throw open all public places like water bodies, schools, parks, courts, offices , health dispensaries, Dharamsalas , worshiping places, to untouchables. This was on the basis of accepting terms of resolution moved by S.K. Bole in Bombay Legislative Council and passed early same year. But no heed was paid by implementing authorities to get orders implement on ground in letter and spirit. S.K. Bole, a Brahmin social activist, again moved a resolution on 5th August 1926, it was carried in the BLC, to stop government aid to all public institutions ,which were not allowed to be used by untouchable . Dilly dying on this issue by authorities forced Baba Sahib to launch historic Mahad Tale (water Tank) Satyagraha in 1937 to take water from it and to exert for getting his people human rights. Namdeo Nimgade was admitted to school at the age of 14 years in a distant village school. Being untouchable he had to face all odds of caste monster. He had to stand in an open hot veranda in school away from high caste students. He had to see black board and listen lesson from his teacher through a window. No water to drink in school, no safe roof to save him from rains. He faced all possible types of caste hate problems, humiliation including body beating, but he did not lose heart, so continued with his studies. He had read about Dr. Ambedkar’s tale of difficulties he had faced during his school days. However Nimgade moved steadfastly towards his set goal of higher education. Nimgade passed his Graduation from Nagpur College. Thereafter in 1950 he moved to Delhi for studying and later serving as an associate, at the Indian Agriculture Research Institute Delhi. Nimgade was taken to Baba sahib at Delhi by his brother in law Khobragade. In Delhi Namdeo Nimgade and Bhagwan Dass (23.04.1927 -18.11.2010) picked up friendship . Bhagwan Dass was also an important hero of Dalit movement in India and writer of “In Persuit of Ambedkar” and some other books. Both Nimgade and Bhagwan Dass used to go to Dr Ambedkar at his 26, Alipore Road residence in Delhi in the 1950s . Both used to spend a lot of time with Dr Ambedkar rendering all possible help to him. Nimgade got married in 1953 to Madam Hira ( Kamal) Sontakke. The couple was blessed with three children named Rekha, Ashok and Bhim. Nimgade remained steadfastly committed to the path shown to him by Baba Sahib Ambedkar through out his life. He also embraced Buddhism at Nagpur when Dr. Ambedkar got Buddha Dhama Dixsha on 14 October 1956. Thus Nimgade left the evils of the caste system for good. Nimgade’s burning resolve for higher study and social cause coupled with simplicity and strength of character engrossed help from many people. Nimgade’s wish to achieve higher education was full filled when he was awarded Rockefeller Foundation Award to study further in Wisconsin USA University . Baba Sahib also gave him, a recommendatory letter for Wisconsin USA University. The recommendatory letter was written on 9th September 1956 just 2 months before Baba Sahib’s death on 6th December, 1956. Thus he did his PhD in Agriculture Sciences in 1961. He excelled in his studies in the university. His love for his country and his people forced him to come back to India. He returned to New Delhi 1962. He got service in the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, among the cadre of Scientists. Here he rendered great help in the bringing Agriculture Green Revolution, to tide over the hunger problem. People from the Nagpur region would come to New Delhi, seeking jobs and education. Nimgade rendered all possible help to hundreds of his people by giving them meals and a place to stay. Besides he helped them to get jobs also to make them self supporting. Being an agriculturist scientist he probed into the family - names attached with his people and said, these names have plants and trees as their origin. He said his name Nimgade was based on all healing properties tree Neem , Khobragade refers to Coconut —Ambagade refeering to sweet mango, Jamgade to sweet Guava and Borkar to Barries. These people were all peace loving so were previously Buddhists, before they forced to be part of lowest of low among Hindu castes. Their change to Buddhism was no conversion but returning to their age old roots. Nimgade loved learning from books, from all religious traditions, sources, beside company of other people. He was gifted public speaker. He presented research papers internationally; at one conference, the Australian newspaper headline read: "An Untouchable has won World Status." A lover of values he kept in contact with Madison friends for 50 years. He wrote an important world acclaimed Book “In The Tiger’s Shadow”, having about 300 pages. In this book Dr Nimgade wrote a moving, humorous and powerful account of his life. This is an Autobiography of an Ambedkarite. It is an inspiring story of a Dalit told by himself. The writer recorded story, how he rose from a village cattle grazer to an agriculture Scientist with PhD degree from American University. The writer have vividly describes the life and times of an intellectual giant Dr. B. R. Ambedkar to whom met a number of times, enjoyed his company and patronage. Book contains a unique treasure in the form of author’s memoirs of Dr Ambedkar. Besides numerous references, one entire section (out of six) of the book is devoted to Dr Ambedkar. It provides valuable insights into the personality of the world acclaimed great man. This book is a commentary on Dr Nimagade’s inspiring study tour in USA and his service with the government of India . As writer his tone is light and humour is sharp. Nimgade’s impressive rise against all oppressions when he began his education only in his teens shows his remarkable acumen. He has described all his life ladder steps and achievements. His narration are most interesting but some tragic times in the history of Nagpur, when riots between caste Hindus and Mahars broke out. The way Mahars created a terror among the castiest goons by striking with strength at every act of oppression is vivid in its description and frankly speaks volumes of the bravery depicted by a society rejuvenated by Baba Sahib’s ideas and courage. Other interesting reading in the book is author’s pursuit for his studies in USA in a free atmosphere . He has also mentioned about an encounter in forest area, of his great grandfather GABA with a tiger. Some of his other interesting life stories are also described in the book. He retired from service in 1985, and moved to Nagpur in 2005 with his wife Hira . His sad end with his death at an age of 90 years came on 22 November 2011 at Nagpur. He is survived his wife Hira , son, Bhim of Madison; daughter, Rekha Doraiswamy (Krishna) of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania (Pa); son, Ashok (Paola Grassi ) of Boston and Italy; and grandchildren, Karuna, Rahul and Nicolo. Words 1453 Dated 3-9-2020

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