Bagul, Baburao (1930–2008) By Jaaware, Aniket
A major inspiration to a younger generation of Marathi ‘Dalit’ authors, Baburao Bagul’s literary and critical writing is somewhat atypical of what subsequently became famous as ‘Dalit’ literature (literature of the oppressed) after 1972. Bagul was also actively involved in the discussions that would lead to the founding of the Dalit Panthers. Having published stories in magazines earlier, he published his first volume of short stories called Jevha Mi Jaat Chorli Hoti (When I Hid My Caste, 1963). He reinforced his reputation with his short story collection Maran Swasta Hot Ahe (Death is Becoming Cheaper, 1969). Most of his stories explore ‘lumpen’ characters and the ethical implications of their actions as they fight to survive the unrelenting misery and poverty of urban modernity. His characters are ones who survive (or not) in limit situations of hunger and criminality, in dwellings without any civic amenities, and often exploit or violate other characters in similar circumstances.