Bhagwan Das (1927-2010)
Bhagwan Das (23 April 1927–18 November 2010) legendary Ambedkarite and historian of the dalit movement passed away on 18 November 2010 at the age of 83.
Here’s a short bio:
1943, Shimla. Bhagwan Das, all of 16 and a keen member of the Scheduled Caste Federation, waited seven hours to meet the man his father called ‘Ummeedkar’, the Harbinger of Hope-Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar. That meeting defined the trajectory Das’ life would later take in his single-minded pursuit of Babasaheb’s ideals. After serving in the Royal Indian Air Force as a radar operator during World War II, Das worked with Ambedkar as a research assistant in the last years before Ambedkar passed away in 1956. Six years later, Das began to compile and edit Ambedkar’s speeches in the four-volume Thus Spoke Ambedkar. After four decades of dedicated activism, Bhagwan Das, supported by a coalition of dalit organisations, testified on untouchability in August 1983 before the UN Subcommission on Human Rights in Geneva, much against the wishes of India’s official delegation at the conference.
The bio is from the blurb of In Pursuit of Ambedkar, Bhagwan Das’ memoirs published early this year by Navayana. Navayana also published a collection of Ambedkar’s speeches edited and selected by Bhagwan Das. Round Table India has dug out an old interview of Das.