Statuette  of Annabhau Sathe,

Statuette  of Annabhau Sathe,

 Why it is in news ?

Recently , statuette Activist-author Annabhau Sathe is unveiled by Devendra Fadnavis in Moscow.

The unveiling of the statuette is a part of the celebration of 75 years of independence of India, and also to celebrate India –Russia’s relationship.

 Who was Annabhau Sathe ?

  •  Annabhau Sathe, who was originally named, Tukaram Bhauro, Sathe. 
  • He was born to a Dalit family in wategaon village, of Satara district of Maharastra on 1st August 1920.
  • 10 years later in 1930, he along with his family moved to Mumbai, where he did some odd jobs like a porter, a hawker, and also a cotton mill helper. 
  • In 1934, he participated in a worker’s strike, under the leadership of  Lal Batwa mill workers Union, where he met an associate of Dr. Ambedkar in the famous “Chavdar lake Satyagraha” at Mahad, R.B More.
  • Under his influence, he joined the labour study circle, where he first learned to read and write.

His journey from a laborer to an author.

  • He developed his interest to write poems when he was in the labour camp.
  • His 1st poem was on the menace of the mosquitoes in the labour camp.
  • Then he formed a Dalit Yuvak Sangh, a cultural group that used to perform in front of mill gates during worker’s protests, on the poems written by him
  • At the same time, the progressive writers association was formed, with writers like Premchand, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Manto, Ismat Chugtai, Rahul Sankrutyayan, and Mulkraj Anand as its members.
  • The association would translate the Russian work of Maxim Gorky, Anton Chekhov, Leo Tolstoy, and Ivan Turgenev into Marathi, by which Sathe got inspired.
  • It put an ideological impact on him, and he got the inspiration of writing street plays, stories, and novels. Etc.
  •  He wrote his first ballad (a long song or poem that tells a story, often about love) ‘Spanish Povada’, in 1939

The popularity of his work

  • He lived for 49 years, he began to write when he was 20 years old.
  • In just 29 years, of his writing, he penned about, 32 novels, 13 collections of short stories, four plays, a travelogue, and 11 Povadas(ballad).
  • Along this, he and his group traveled across Mumbai campaigning for workers’ rights.
  • Several of his works like ‘Aklechi Goshta,’ ‘Stalingradacha Povada,’ ‘Mazi Maina Gavavar Rahili,’ and ‘And Jag Badal Ghaluni Ghav’ were popular across the state. Almost six of his novels were turned into films and many were translated into other languages, including Russian. His ‘Bangalchi Hak’ (Bengal’s Call) on the Bengal famine was translated into Bengali and later presented at London’s Royal Theatre. His literature depicted the caste and class reality of Indian society at that time.
  • Many of his works like ‘Aklechi Goshta,’ ‘Stalingradacha Povada,’ ‘Mazi Maina Gavavar Rahili,’ and ‘And Jag Badal Ghaluni Ghav’ were well-liked across the state.
  • About 6 of his novels were turned into films and many of them were translated into many other Indian languages and foreign languages, including Russian.
  • One of his famous literary creations,  Bangalchi Hak’  on the Bengal famine was translated into Bengali and later presented at London’s Royal Theatre.
  • His works depict the caste and class reality of Indian society at that time.
  • In 1943, he formed the  Lal Bawta Kala Pathak, along with Amar Sheikh and Datta Gavhankar.
  • The group traveled across the Maharastra, presenting awareness programs on caste atrocities, class conflicts, and workers’ rights.
  • He dedicated his most popular novel “Fakira” to his Idol Dr. Ambedkar.
  • He was also associated with the formation of the Indian People’s Theatre Association in 1943 and became the president in 1949.
  • His works were highly influenced by Marxism, but he also portrayed the harsh realities of the caste system

The Russian connection of Annabhau 

  • Sathe was greatly stimulated by Gorky’s ‘The Mother ‘and the Russian revolution, which can be seen in his writings.
  • So once Annabhau was called Sathe, the Maxim Gorky of Maharastra by The Famous Marathi Poet Baburao Bagul.
  • As per Associate Professor of Russian Head, Department of Foreign Languages, Shivaji University, Kolhapur, Dr. Megha Pansare, Annabhau’s literature has a very close resemblance to the then Communist Russian literature which was a mixture of reality and art.
  • In that era, Russia use to invite representative Indian literature translated into Russian.
  • Some of the writings of Sathe’s like Chitra and his famous Stalingradcha Povada based on the battle of Stalingrad battle were translated into Russian.
  • In 1961, Sathe visited Russia.
  • ‘Maza Russiacha Pravas’ (My Travel to Russia), his travelogue,in which he wrote about how workers of India has come to see him off and how the worker wanted him to go and see slums to Russia and describe them after he returned back to home.
  • He was well known in Russia because of his translation and received a warm reception there.

What was the reason behind the statue in Moscow?

  • Sathe hails from a Dalit community called Matang.
  • The failure to negotiate Annabhau’s artistic legacy, Sathe is now confined as a symbol of a separate community.
  • The ruling party is aiming to get the credit for making the Sathe global icon.
  • Installing Sathe’s oil painting at the Indian consulate in Moscow also shows that the central; government, utilized this occasion to increase cultural dialogue between the two countries.

Sources :

The Indian Express (https://bit.ly/3QPwPNI)(Who was activist-author Annabhau Sathe, whose statue Devendra Fadnavis unveiled in Moscow?)

Plutus IAS current affairs eng med 17th Sep 2022

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