- Live Stories
- Young Minds
Kausalya Baisantri, the first Dalit woman autobiographer, who fought a ‘double curse’
Kausalya was inspired by the Ambedkarite ideology from an early age.
Kausalya Baisantri was an activist, writer, educator, and a gem of the Dalit community. Born as Kausalya Nandeshwar in Maharashtra’s Nagpur on 8 September 1926, Kausalya was the first woman from the Dalit community to share her bittersweet experiences of life in Hindi through her autobiography, Dohra Abhishaap (The Double Curse), published in 1999.
Her father used to oil the machines at Express Mill in Nagpur and her mother was employed at the textile department of the same mill. Courage and hard work were something that she picked up from her parents who worked hard to sustain and educate their six girls and one boy.
Kausalya was inspired by the Ambedkarite ideology from an early age. She emerged as a youth leader in Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s student agitation. She studied at Jai Bai Chaudhary’s school for some time as well. Her mother was deeply influenced by Jai Bai’s work in Maharashtra. A powerful leader of the Dalit community and feminist movement, Jai Bai Chaudhary fought for the education of young Dalit girls. Kausalya had a positive impression of the great revolutionary leader. She wasn’t just efficient in her studies but had an artistic leaning as well. Kausalya’s hobbies and interests included home decor, reading, music, sewing, embroidery and painting. She was very sensitive and considerate towards women’s rights from an early age.