Nagpur: LN Hardas, an ardent follower of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, had coined the term ‘Jai Bhim’ in 1935 in the latter’s honour. “One could call Hardas Ambedkar’s right hand man in the efforts to eradicate untouchability in the country,” said Shriram Bansod, an expert in Ambedkarite thoughts, on Wednesday.
Bansod was speaking at a special lecture on Hardas organized by Buddha Vihar Samanvay Samiti at Bhimjyoti Buddha Vihar, Pachpaoli. “Hardas was born in Kamptee on January 6, 1904. Having read Ambedkar’s newspaper ‘Mook Nayak’ the struggles of untouchable Dalits resonated with Hardas as an adolescent,” said Bansod.
“Before independence, Dalits were not allowed to venture out in the day as Brahmins believed their shadow would desecrate their paths. They were not allowed in temples either which led Hardas to organize the community to collect funds to build their own Hanuman temple,” said Bansod.
On January 6, 1935, during a meet of the Sangathan Samta in Kamptee, Hardas proclaimed ‘Jai Bhim’ as a new way of Dalits to greet each other. “The term Bhim was carried from Ambedkar’s first name Bhimrao. It became a symbol for Dalits to attain a status at par with the rest of society,” said Bansod,
Hardas was a staunch advocate of education and urged Dalits to read, learn and gain knowledge, said Bansod. “He also set up three schools. One of them, an English medium school in Kamptee, still stands today,” he said.
On January 12, 1939, at the age of 35 years, Hardas succumbed to tuberculosis at his home in Kamptee.
Bansod claimed that as a youth he faced discrimination for belonging to the Dalit community. “I did not understand it when I started working in a bank in the 1970s. In Mumbai, my colleagues, who were mostly Brahmins, used to avoid me. My brother then told me this was happening because I was a Dalit,” he said.
Courtesy : https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/hardas-aided-ambedkar-in-uplift-of-dalit/articleshow/61679076.cms