Early Life of Narendra Achyut Dabholkar
Narendra Achyut Dabholkar was born on 1st November in the year 1945. His parents were Achyut and Tarabai. He was the youngest of ten siblings of Achyut and Tarabai. The eldest son of the couple was the late educationalist, Gandhian and socialist Devdatta Dabholkar. Narendra Achyut Dabholkar did his schooling at New English School Satara and Willingdon College of Sangli. Narendra Achyut Dabholkar was a qualified medical doctor, having obtained an MBBS degree from the Government Medical College, Miraj.
Early Career of Narendra Achyut Dabholkar
Narendra Achyut Dabholkar was the captain of the Shivaji University Kabaddi team. He had represented Indian Kabaddi Team against Bangladesh Kabaddi Team in a Kabaddi tournament. He won the Maharashtra government's Shiv Chhatrapati Yuva Award for Kabaddi in his young age.
Narendra Achyut Dabholkar as a Social Worker
In the early phase of his career, Narendra Achyut Dabholkar worked as a doctor. After working as a doctor for 12 years, Dabholkar became a social worker in the 1980s. He became involved with the movements for social justice, such as Baba Adhav's One village - One well agitation.
Narendra Achyut Dabholkar with Akhil Bharatiya Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti
Narendra Achyut Dabholkar started focusing on abolition of superstition and joined the Akhil Bharatiya Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (ABANS). In 1989, Narendra Achyut Dabholkar founded the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS) "Committee for Eradication of Superstition in Maharashtra" or "Maharashtra Committee for Eradication of Blind Faith". This non governmental organisation campaigned against superstitions, confronting dubious tantriks and claimed holy men who promised "miracle cures" for ailments. Narendra Achyut Dabholkar criticised the "godmen", self-styled Hindu ascetics who claim to perform miracles and have many followers.
Narendra Achyut Dabholkar with Parivaartan
Narendra Achyut Dabholkar was the founding member of Parivartan, a social action centre located in Satara district that seeks to "empower marginalised members of the community to lead lives of security, dignity and prosperity".
Narendra Achyut Dabholkar with Sadhana and Indian Rationalist Associations
Narendra Achyut Dabholkar was closely associated with the Indian rationalist Sanal Edamaruku. Dabholkar was the editor of a renowned Marathi weekly from Maharashtra "Sadhana", which was founded by Sane Guruji. He also served earlier as a vice-president of the Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations.
Narendra Achyut Dabholkar with Dalits
Narendra Achyut Dabholkar also fought for Dalits and untouchable people of India. Between the years 1990 to 2010, Narendra Achyut Dabholkar was active in a movement for the equality of Dalits (untouchables) and against India's caste system and caste-related violence. Narendra Achyut Dabholkar advocated renaming the Marathwada University after Babasaheb Ambedkar, who is often called the author of India's constitution and fought for the equality of Dalits.
Books by Narendra Achyut Dabholkar
Dabholkar wrote many books on superstitions and their abolition. He had addressed over 3,000 public meetings. He had taken on Asaram Bapu in March 2013 over an incident during Holi in Nagpur, when Bapu and his followers used drinking water from tankers brought from the Nagpur Municipal Corporation to celebrate the festival. They were accused of wasting it while rest of Maharashtra faced drought.
Narendra Achyut Dabholkar and Anti-Superstition Law
In the year 2010, Narendra Achyut Dabholkar made several attempts to get an anti-superstition law enacted in the state of Maharashtra. Under his supervision, MANS drafted the Anti-Jaadu Tona Bill (Anti-Superstition and Black Magic Ordinance). It was opposed by some political parties and the Warkari sect. The progressive political parties like the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena opposed it claiming it would adversely affect Hindu culture, customs and traditions. The critics accused him of being anti-religion.
Personal Life of Narendra Achyut Dabholkar
Narendra Achyut Dabholkar was married to Shaila. The couple is blessed with two children, Hamid and Mukta Dabholkar. His son was named after the social reformer Hamid Dalwai. He criticised extravagant marriage ceremonies and arranged for his own children to be married in simple ceremonies.
Death of Narendra Achyut Dabholkar
Narendra Achyut Dabholkar was murdered on 20th August 2013, while he was out on a morning walk. He donated his body to a medical college. But, the post-mortem made essential by his murder left his body unfit for educational purposes.