Ganpat Rai Bheel (Author Bio)
Ganpat Rai Bheel (39) is an organic intellectual, a columnist, translator and an Ambedkarite anti-caste activist. Bheel has published about 210 essays/articles in local newspapers in Sindhi and Urdu languages on the problem of caste among Dalits and Muslims, Dalit politics and activism, and actively defends a Dalit cause. He has also edited and got published an autobiography of Mama Faizoo (Faiz Muhammad Sheedi), an Afro-Sindhi who had been a member of several splinter local Black and Dalit associations during his lifetime. In 2016, he also translated B.R Ambedkar’s biography from Urdu to Sindhi and published it from the platform of Pakistan Dalit Adab Forum. Some of his essays have been translated in Urdu, Hindi and English. He also co-authored a Dalit Manifesto in 2016 for Dalit Sujaag Tehreek, a group of anti-caste activists who strived to the mainstream anti-caste narrative. In addition to that, he published and edited Dalit Adab consistently from 2007 to 2018. Owing to financial constraints, Bheel could not have published Dalit Adab, and SCFP is also now almost a dormant organization. Nonetheless, he continues to influence local Dalit activism through his essays in newspapers, and social media blogging. He has also edited and published other Dalit organization’s literature such as Kolvansh, a newsletter of Pakistani Kolhi Itehad, and the newsletters of Bheel Intellectual Forum (BIF); the local caste-based associations of Dalits. Presently, Ganpat Rai Bheel is translating the works of B.R. Ambedkar, and writing a book on ‘Being Dalit in Pakistan’ in which he mounts the critique of Sindhi nationalist politics from the Ambedkarian perspective. In his writings, Ganpat Rai draws parallels between Sindhi nationalism and Hindu nationalism and shows how the empirically existing problem of caste is buried under Ashrafiya-Savarna hegemonic ideology. No wonder, Bheel’s essays have been neglected by the dominant intellectual lobbies, and his perspective on Sindhi nationalist politics has been derided as archaic, and destructive of Sindhi national whole. The writing and publication of this book will be a great booster for local Dalit activism to negotiate issues of political representation with conviction and certitude. Ganpat Rai is a school teacher at government school in Mithi, a town in the middle of the Thar Desert in Tharparkar, Sindh. Son of an elementary school teacher, he was born and raised in a Dalit family in a far-flung village in Tharparkar. In the mid-90s he developed an interest in politics after perceiving that oppressed castes can be redeemed from the scourge of caste through class struggle. He joined ‘Tabkati Jedojahad’, a Trotskyites’ group, and began writing for social injustice and for the rights of poor class in general. In the late 90s, he came to know about Dalit struggle through BBC radio programs and some early columns of VT Rajshekhar that were passed to him by Khursheed Qaimkhani.