Who was activist-author Annabhau Sathe, whose statue Devendra Fadnavis unveiled in Moscow?

Source: The post is based on the article “Who was activist-author Annabhau Sathe, whose statue Devendra Fadnavis unveiled in Moscow?” published in Indian Express on 15th September 2022.

What is the News?

Maharashtra’s Deputy Chief Minister is in Moscow to unveil the statue of Annabhau Sathe at the All-Russia State Library for Foreign Literature.

Sathe’s work was immensely inspired by the Russian Revolution and the Communist ideology. He was a member of the Communist Party of India (CPI) and featured among the selected authors from India whose work was translated into Russian.

Who was Annabhau Sathe?

Tukaram Bhaurao Sathe who later came to be known as Annabhau Sathe was born in a Dalit family in 1920 in Maharashtra. In 1930, his family left the village and came to Mumbai. 

During his days at the Matunga Labour Camp, he got to know R B More, an associate of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar in the famous ‘Chavdar Lake’ satyagraha at Mahad, and joined the labour study circle. It was during these study circles that he learned to read and write.

About the organizations formed by Annabhau Sathe

He formed Dalit Yuvak Sangh, a cultural group and started writing poems on workers’ protests, and agitations. The group used to perform in front of the mill gates.

In 1943, he formed the Lal Bawta Kala Pathak. The group toured across Maharashtra presenting programmes on caste atrocities, class conflict, and workers’ rights.

What are the famous literary works of Sathe?

The prominent Dalit novel in Marathi Fakira (1959) is among his best-known works and bagged the state government’s top literary award in 1961.

Some of the other notable works include Stalingradcha Powada, Majhi Maina Gavavar Rahili, and a travelogue titled Majha Russiacha Pravas (My Travel to Russia). 

Another notable work Bangalchi Hak (Bengal’s Call) on the Bengal famine was translated into Bengali. It was later performed at London’s Theatre Royal.

Sathe also used folk music like ‘powada’ (ballad) and the ‘lavani’ folk dance of Maharashtra to further popularize his work. In 1939, he wrote his first ballad, Spanish Powada.

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