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R. B. More

(1903 – 1972) – (Maharashtra)

Ramchandra Babaji More (Aged 69) born on March 1, 1903, came from a Dalit/Scheduled Caste family of agricultural workers in the Ladavli village of Mahad Tehsil, in the Indian state of Maharashtra. He was a political leader and activist, with a particular focus on the struggle against the caste system and class exploitation in the Indian subcontinent. At the age of 11, he began his fight against untouchability by sending letters to the British government, with the help of social reformers, after being denied admission to Mahad High School despite being awarded a scholarship for completing his primary education.

More was the primary organizer of the Mahad Satyagraha, which took place on March 19-20, 1927, and was led by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. More wrote a detailed account of the Mahad Satyagraha in Marathi. The struggle of Dalits in Mahad for asserting their rights to access the public tank, the Chavadar tank, was arguably the first civil rights struggle in history. More also organized another convention in Mahad, Manusmriti Dahan Din (Manusmriti Burning Day), which was also led by Babasaheb Ambedkar. This convention took place on December 25-26, 1927, where thousands of Dalits gathered to publicly burn a copy of the Manusmriti. Ambedkar also addressed a separate meeting of Dalit women, asking them to shun social practices that perpetuate inequality.

Although more joined the Communist Party of India in 1930 under the influence of Marxism-Leninism, he and Dr. Ambedkar continued to maintain mutual admiration for each other’s work. More consistently raised the issue of caste discrimination prevalent in Indian society at different forums of the Communist Party. He also participated in the freedom struggle against the British and the working-class movement with great vigor, remaining “one of the most respected leaders of the CPI (M) till his death on May 11, 1972”.