‘Voice of the downtrodden’ passes away
Hari Narke, professor, passed away at a private hospital in Mumbai on Wednesday morning.
Pune: Hari Narke, professor and former head of Mahatma Phule Chair at the Savitribai Phule University of Pune, passed away at a private hospital in Mumbai on Wednesday morning.
The scholar, author, thinker and orator was 60. The last rites of Narke were performed at Vaikunth Crematorium at Pune.
He is survived by wife Sangita and daughter Pramiti.
According to the family members, Narke was suffering from heart-related ailments since past few months. On his way to Mumbai on Wednesday, Narke suffered a heart attack, causing his death at the private hospital.
Narke was born at a very poor Mali caste family at Talegaon Dhamdhere of Shirur taluka in Pune district on June 1, 1963.
According to those known to him, Narke completed his education by working at a graveyard.
Writer and editor of 56 books, Narke was considered a scholar on social reformers Mahatma Phule and BR Ambedkar.
Narke was the vice-president of Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in Pune that has one of the largest collections of rare books and manuscripts in several languages, including Sanskrit and Prakrit.
He was also the coordinator and conveyor of Prof. Ranganath Plathare Committee constituted by the government to stablish that Marathi is a classic Indian language like Sanskrit, Kannada, Telugu.
Narke was also the vice-president of Akhil Bharatiya Mahatma Phule Samata Parishad, founded by politician Chhagan Bhujbal in 1992, that works for the rights of OBCs.
Narke’s articles were published in various periodicals on issues about Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and Maratha Reservation. His book “Mahatma Phule Yanchi Badnami: Ek Satyashodhan” and “Mahatma Phule-New Way of Search” were widely read.
Six of the 26 volumes of Dr Ambedkar’s “Samagra Vangmaya” published by the Maharashtra Government were edited by Narke.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar tweeted, “Today we lost a bright scholarly personality. Marathi writer, learned researcher, orator and Marathi blogger professor Hari Ramchandra Narke passed away sadly...Today we have lost a bright intellectual personality with his demise.”
Chief minister Eknath Shinde in his condolence message said, “With his death, we have lost an intellectual who was a pillar of preservation and promotion of progressive ideology in Maharashtra.”
Deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said that with the demise of Hari Narke, Maharashtra has lost a scholar on Mahatma Phule’s literature and thought.
“Prof. Hari Narke always presented the thoughts of Mahatma Phule through his writings and lectures. With his death, the guide of the new generation has been lost. His work as vice-president of Samata Parishad is remarkable. He also did great work as a researcher. We share in the grief of his family. May their families find the strength to bear this suffering, a prayer to God,” Fadnavis said.
Bhujbal, a close associate of Narke, said the ideologue’s passing was a big loss for the progressive movements of the state.
“It’s an irreparable loss for those following the Phule-Shahu-Ambedkar path. He was a rock of support for the OBC community and Maharashtra’s progressive movement. He consistently advocated for the rights of marginalised and oppressed communities,” said Bhujbal.
With agency inputs