Dr Narendra Dabholkar’s killers do not know the mind of a progressive society. They will find that his sacrifice will give birth to several Dabholkars, who will not hesitate to lay down their lives for the cause he espoused: eradicating superstition.
Dr Dabholkar quit his medical practice and started working to eradicate superstition under an umbrella organisation called Buddhipramanyavadi Chalval (movement of the rational). And thus started a struggle that will not cease even though people who painted him anti-Hindu murdered him on Tuesday.
Dr Dabholkar was not only a fighter on the streets but also a writer par excellence, who edited one of the finest magazines, ‘Sadhana’, that has been educating society for several decades.
He felt that religious tyrants, who thrived on the commoners’ ignorance and blind faith, should be checked by way of laws. I do not want to name people who worked behind the curtains to paralyse Dr. Dabholkar’s movement by demanding endless debates in the legislature. They are staunch supporters of the organisations that would stoop the lowest while criticising Dr. Dabholkar.
The government did respond to his efforts, and it has reiterated its commitment to pass the anti-superstition law. Enacting the law at the earliest would a fitting tribute to Dr. Dabholkar’s martyrdom.
Dr Dabholkar and I were close friends; our strong belief in democratic socialism had brought us together more than four decades ago. I had quit practising medicine to work fulltime in the Yuvak Kranti Dal (Yukrand) and he and his wife were practising medicine in Satara. He led the Samajwadi Yuvak Dal and felt that his group and Yukrand could work together. We continued to work together even when I joined ruling political parties only because I did not relinquish democratic socialism. Our closeness remains.
As told to Dharmendra Jore
(Dr Mahajan is a former chairperson of Maharashtra State Planning Board and was a close friend of late Dr Dabholkar. He is also a senior Congress functionary.)