A doctor, he adopted an anti-Vastu Shastra stand and built his house facing south, going against popular belief that it is an inauspicious direction for entrance.
“Following in his footsteps, many of us preferred to stay in houses facing south in order to propagate scientific yardsticks and non-acceptance of any belief that went against rational thinking,” said Vinod Shirsat, executive editor of Pune-based Sadhana weekly of which Dabholkar was the chief editor.
Dabholkar, who led a simple life, campaigned against lavish marriages that showcased vulgar display of wealth in a society ridden with disparities.
“He saw to it that his son Hamid and daughter Mukta were married in a simple manner without any pomp and fanfare and returned home after formal registration of marriage. The dates selected for tying the knot too did not follow the common practice of consulting the almanac to decide the auspicious days for such occasions,” Shirsat recalled.
The activist even refused to attend the ceremonial reception arranged by the family of his daughter-in-law.
“He named his son after the prominent Muslim social reformist of Maharashtra the late Hamid Dalwai, raising eyebrows among the orthodox,” Shirsat said.
Dabholkar’s cremation was performed without any religious rites by his family. His daughter, and not son, lit the pyre.
“But his wish to donate body could not be honoured because it was subjected to autopsy after he fell to the bullets of those who could not defeat his thought and spirit,” Shirsat said.
Dangerous Superstitions: a pan-Indian menace