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A common thread running in the Indian society is that great writers, visionaries and mahatmas is that these were often ignored and overlooked by the society of their respective time. The great writer Annabhau Sathe was no different – he too was overlooked and ignored. The specialty of these great personalities is that the society realizes their greatness with the passage of time and the future generations learn that these writing and thoughts can serve as a guidance. Only those literary authors who are fearless can pen revolutionary thoughts against established practices. Annabhau Sathe was one such great literary who lit the spark against established social practices, traditions from a humanitarian angle.
Tukaram Bhaurao Sathe (1 August 1920 – 18 July 1969), popularly known as Annabhau Sathe, was a social reformer, poet, and writer from Maharashtra, India.Annabhau Sathe was a Scheduled caste born into the untouchable Mang community, and his upbringing and identity were central to his writing and political activism.He was a Ambedkarite mosaic, initially influenced by the communists but he later became Ambedkarite. He is credited as a founding father of ‘Bahujan Literature’.
Annabhau Sathe’s literary career spanned a little under 30 years, during which he wrote 35 novels, 14 short story collections, 24 loknatyas or people’s plays, 12 screenplays, two proscenium plays, one travelogue, and innumerable songs and poems. Sathe’s emergence as a key icon in contemporary Maharashtra owes as much to his oeuvre as an artist as it does to the churnings of caste-based social order and the possibilities opened up by the Constitution that provided for affirmative action for the oppressed sections of society.
Anna Bhahu Sathe is a dominant literary figure in Bahujan Literature in
Maharashtra. A self educated/ lettered without any formal education and swam deep into the ocean of literature to bring out many literary unique diamonds. Being unlettered, yet penned down many novels and plays in Marahti literature, is probably the rarest of rare example in the universe, unfortunately unexplored by the mainstream literary readers and
Annabhau Sathe is the founder figure of the most powerful Bahujan novels and short stories in Bahujan literature.Initially A. B. Sathe was influenced by communist ideology and his literature reflects most inclusive philosophy of Humanism. Later Anna Bhahu Sathe left communism and attached to Ambedkarian ideology and wrote abundantly. He penned for the downtrodden, disregarded section, and the working class people. His stories project life of Scheduled caste and workers. Anna Bhahu Sathe inaugurated the first Scheduled caste Sahitya Sammelan (Literary Conference) held at Mumbai in 1958.
Inspired with the charismatic leadership of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar a lot of young Scheduled caste writers like “Anna Bhahu Sathe, Shankarrao Kharat, Baburao Bagul N. R. Shinde, Daya Pawar, Waman Howal, Keshav Meshram, Arjun Dangale Yogiraj Waghmare, Bhimsen Dethe, Ravindra Hadsankar, Urmila Pawar dedicated themselves to the cause of depicting Dalit life closely, effectively so as to shape social sensibility and thereby finding emancipation of Scheduled caste.
Anna Bhau Sathe and Baburao Bagul are such visionary writers, like many others mentioned above, envisaged the future of Scheduled caste and Scheduled caste movement in most comprehensive way.
‘Fakira’ the prize winning novel of Annabhau successfully depicts the social reality of how historically untouchable occupied the social periphery, and have been excluded from the core of politics and economy. It is the most encouraging, moving, realistic delineation of the untouchable life, troubles, tortures, their exploitations by the upper caste so called authorities in the villages and yet the intact moral values among untouchable, the strong fervor to live life and not to give up hopes are the aspects of novel ‘Fakira’. Though the upper castes here have piled up inflictions, exploitation and torture Annabhau’s characters love their country, India, is the notable aspect of Fakira. The story Fakira happens in Vategoan and has a rural setting. The people in Vategoan strongly believe and practice the tradition.
Overall the novel Fakira is a finest example of Scheduled caste expression and a great lesson and model reflecting the rarest grit to live even in an utmost adversity. The Mang-Mahar unity is one of the most salient features of Annbhau Sathe’s masterpiece novel ‘Fakira’. In an entire plot of the novel Scheduled caste stands unified to wrestle adversities of their lives. The misfortunes are tackled as an intimate group with deepest faith and belief. Fakira, the protagonist, distributes the looted wealth of Besadgoan equally among all Scheduled caste underscores the Bahujan brotherhood. Annbhau’s heroes are morally upright and ideal individuals. They fight against injustice be it against them or be it even for others. Fakira, Sattu, Vishnupant, Ranba are all Annbhau’s dominant characters stand apart as a class of their own in the entire Bahujan literature and demand further deliberation by the critics. They demonstrate anger, rejection, rebelliousness, sacrifice for community and humanity hence are the epitome of morals and values. The fight against Britishers and pillaging their, actually Indian, wealth for the sake of poor peasants, workers is a huge venerable and courageous act they put on display
Annabhau’s woman centric novels include ‘Chitra’,’Vaijayanta’,’Avadi’, ‘makdicha maal’, ‘Mangala’ , ‘Maturi’, ‘Tara’, ‘Rupa,’ Chandan’,’ Alguj’, ‘ Murti’, ‘ Ratna’, ‘Phulpakharu’,’Sangharsha,’Dole modit Radha chale’. Sixteen out of 33 novels are woman centric. These novels not only outline woman’s issues but also try to offer a solution. The woman portrayed in the novels are seen fighting against injustice, brave, defiant, not bowing to the situation, dynamic, magnanimous, simple attitude and doggedly fighting against all odds. Today, women are literate but not safe. There are those who come forward to protect them but these are few and far between. Therefore, it is necessary for today’s woman to inculcate the brave and forthright attitude of the heroines of Annubhau Sathe’s novels. Fr this, they should read Annabhau’s works, especially the woman oriented ones. They should deeply reflect upon these while reading and should try to emulate the Durga portrayed in ‘Makdicha maal’ , emulate the Chitra portrayed in the novel ‘Chitra’, Avadi from the novel ‘Avadi’ and try to rebel against the injustice and exploitation being meted out and bring to justice the perpetrators.
All of his writings are socially oriented, they not only bring out the sufferings of men and women from the discriminated background but also brings out the positive force that sustains them in their fight against the social and economic oppression. His struggle is forcing him to express and expresses his intention to change the world not through the violence, but through the force of his powerful mind that has a tremendous capacity to express through all the medium possible. This ability to express freely is the hallmark of the mind that has understood the true freedom (Azadi): the freedom of human mind free from all the barriers.
Annabhau Sathe was a revolutionary figure who gave a revolutionary slogan “Yeh Azadi Jhooti Hai, Desh Ki Janata Bhooki Hai”:
This Freedom Is contradictory, The citizens of the country are hungry.
Then Annabhau Sathe summarizes his methods encapsulated in the poetic metric “Jag Badal Ghaluni Ghaanv, Saangun Gele Mala Bhimarao”:
Transform the world with powerful energy,Bhimrao (Babasaheb Ambedkar) taught me this synergy.
All his life, Annabhau Sathe worked with a single purpose to remove the poverty and discrimination in India. His life was fully dedicated to the cause of India’s downtrodden who suffer from the twin problems of social exclusion and systemic starvation. Annabhau Sathe read widely and he was working closely with like-minded movements and organizations to build alliances to fight the social and economic evils, but his method was to transform minds through his writings, speeches, and literary work. His mind was very fertile and creative. He wrote many short stories, novels, poems, dramas, and ballads. There is no literary genre which he did not venture into.
Disclaimer : Article compiled from the writings of Bahujan Writer like Mangesh Dahiwale ,Dr. B. N. Gaikwad , Dr. Ujjwala Hatagale . TOR extracted some part from each article to give the final shape.