In the Tiger’s Shadow

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The Autobiography of an Ambedkarite

EverBlue Edition

Namdeo Nimgade

  • Binding: Paperback
  • Number of Pages: 308
  • ISBN: 9788189059309
  • Size: 5.5 x 8.5”

A Navayana Everblue 20th anniversary edition

This is the story of the first dalit to be awarded a PhD from an American university after Babasaheb Ambedkar. Namdeo Nimgade starts schooling at the late age of fourteen in Sathgaon. He has to stand on the ‘hot verandah and listen to lessons through a window’. From the Chokhamela Hostel in Nagpur, he journeys to the University of Wisconsin to study soil science in the 1950s. Serving as one of Ambedkar’s attendants on occasion, Nimgade offers a ringside view of the Ambedkarite movement. He writes with candour and humour—whether recounting his great-grandfather Ganba’s combat with a tiger or his ‘forbidden’ love for a non-dalit woman. This is an inspiring story of triumph against the odds.

Outcaste in Vidarbha to scientist in Wisconsin


Namdeo Nimgade (1920-2011) was an agricultural scientist at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute. He was born into an ‘untouchable’ family of landless bonded labourers in Sathgaon, in western India.





‘Our family name Nimgade probably derives from the neem tree, which is known for its healing properties and health benefits. Many people from our untouchable community bear names referring to trees or plants, such as my brother-in-law, Khobragade—which refers to a coconut. There’s similarly Ambagade, referring to mango, Jamgade to guava and Borkar to berry. Quite likely, these arboreal names derive from the peaceful Buddhist period in Indian history, and are cited as further evidence that many of India’s untouchables were previously Buddhist.’

‘This book must be read not only by all those who want to understand the dalit universe but also by those who enjoy a good Indian book in English’DNA

‘Nimgade is a tiger for change … an extraordinary pilgrimage from dust to destiny’—Christopher S. Queen