Noted Dalit poet Shankar Parmar, popularly known as Shankar Painter, died of age-related complications at a hospital in Ahmedabad on Tuesday. He was 74. Known for his powerful poetic expression of caste-based oppression, Painter was a native of Varshila village of Sidhpur tehsil in Patan district of North Gujarat. He is survived by his wife, three sons and a daughter.
One of Painter’s sons, Rajesh said, “For the past sometime, he was admitted at hospital owing to age-related complications. And he breathed his last today morning.”
Known Gujarati writer and poet Raju Solanki called Painter’s contribution to Gujarati Dalit poetry as a significant landmark.
“He was not as literate as some of the other known Dalit poets in Gujarati. He started working as a painter in the oil and gas company; and subsequently he started writing poems by the name Shankar Painter. His poems mark a powerful expression of caste-based oppression; that too in a typical Mehsani dialect (of North Gujarat),” said Solanki.
“He was creating poems on the basis of folk songs in Mehsani dialect and that was his signature style,” said Solanki, adding that Painter came into prominence as a poet in literary circles after the 1981 anti-reservation riots in Gujarat.
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