New Delhi: Vira Sathidar, a cultural activist and actor based in Nagpur, passed away in a hospital on Tuesday morning. He was suffering from COVID-19.
Sathidar was an active participant in the Ambedkarite movement in Maharashtra and convenor of the Indian People’s Theatre Association. In 2015, he acted in the National Award-winning Marathi film Court. Sathidar had played the role of teacher and social activist Narayan Kamble.
Chaitanya Tamhane, the director of Court, told the Indian Express, “Right now I am shocked and totally speechless. He was one of the nicest people I have met and we were blessed to have him as the face of Court. I am still processing the news, it is just extremely sad.”
In an interview to The Hitavada, Sathidar had talked about his struggles against casteism from an early age. “I wanted to come out of the vicious circle, but not alone. I wanted everyone like me to stand up and speak for what is right. People did not eat or drink if people of our community touched it. We were treated as lesser mortals. All this was rooted in through early childhood experiences,” he said.
The acclaim that Court brought him, Sathidar had said, would help him further his activism. “Court has given me recognition and everything I never thought I will have. It gave me a platform to continue my activism which will now reach a large population. It made things easy for me. Movies are a medium to pick social issues and I will use it to the best. I am an activist and I will remain one.”