People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 47

November 30, 2008



VETERAN freedom fighter, one of the leaders of the Hyderabad liberation struggle against Nizam rule, former member of the CPI(M) Maharashtra state secretariat, the first chairman of the CPI(M) state control commission, former president of the Maharashtra Rajya Kisan Sabha and former CPI(M) Lok Sabha MP elected from Beed district in 1977, Comrade Gangadhar Appa Burande passed away last month at the ripe old age of 89. With unflinching faith in Marxism-Leninism, he had served the Party and the communist movement selflessly for over 65 years.

Appa, as he was fondly and respectfully called by all, was born in the Moha village of Beed district in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra on November 19, 1919. He took his education in Ambajogai, Nanded and Hyderabad. While in Hyderabad, he came under Marxist influence, became an activist of the AISF and joined the Communist Party in 1942. He plunged into the freedom struggle and later into the Hyderabad liberation movement. Along with his contemporary comrades like V D Deshpande, C D Choudhari, R D Deshpande and others, Appa established the CPI in the Marathwada region.

After independence, Appa’s main sphere of work was Beed district. Under his leadership, the Communist Party and the Kisan Sabha led several militant struggles of the peasantry and agricultural workers. For nearly 20 years from 1956 to 1974, he was elected the Sarpanch of his Moha village. In the sixties he was elected to the Beed Zilla Parishad. In 1960, he established the ‘Maharashtra Shikshan Sanstha’ which now runs several schools and hostels in Beed district that have helped thousands of poor students get an education.

With the split in the Communist Party in 1964, Appa had no hesitation in coming over to the CPI(M) and he was elected to the state committee and the secretary of the Beed district committee. He was responsible for getting other veteran communist leaders from Marathwada like Vithalrao Naik, Imamuddin Yakeen and Gundappa Jirge into the CPI(M). His biggest contribution was in building up an entire team of young and dedicated cadre of the Party in the Marathwada region in subsequent years.

The AIKS also underwent a split and the first post-split conference of the Maharashtra Rajya Kisan Sabha was held at Moha in Beed district in 1969 and it was guided by the then AIKS general secretary and stalwart Hare Krishna Konar. Godavari Parulekar was elected president and Appa was elected vice president of the state AIKS.

Since he had come to the Party through the student movement, Appa took the initiative to form the SFI in and around Beed district. The first state conference of the SFI in Maharashtra was held in 1975 at Kalamb in Usmanabad district and it was guided by the then SFI president Prakash Karat.

During the freedom struggle, then from 1962-66 and again during the Emergency from 1975-77, Appa spent several years in jail. In the historic general election of 1977, Appa was elected to the Lok Sabha from Beed district. Ten years earlier in 1967, another legendary communist leader, Krantisimha Nana Patil, who had earlier led the renowned Satara ‘Prati Sarkar’ (Parallel Government) against British rule for nearly four years from 1943-46, had also been elected to the Lok Sabha from Beed district.

In 1982, at the 11th state conference of the Party that was held at Parali Vaijnath in Beed district, Appa was elected to the state secretariat and he capably served in this post for the next 15 years till the 16th state conference at Aurangabad, where he was elected the first chairman of the state control commission.

With the election of Godavari Parulekar as president of the AIKS in 1986, Appa was elected president of the Maharashtra Rajya Kisan Sabha and he continued in the post for over a decade. He was also elected to the AIKS CKC during this period.

Thousands of working people and leaders of all political parties attended his funeral at his village Moha. Condolence messages from CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat, Polit Bureau members Sitaram Yechury and S Ramachandran Pillai were read out by state secretariat member Dr Vithal More. Another state secretariat member Dr D L Karad, all state committee members, district secretaries and several district committee members of the Party from all the eight districts of the Marathwada region attended the funeral.

Comrade Gangadhar Appa Burande’s unflinching dedication to the Party, his strict discipline, caring nature, simple living and his life of struggle were his characteristics that will always be remembered and cherished by the Party and the Left movement in Maharashtra. The CPI(M) Maharashtra state committee and the Maharashtra Rajya Kisan Sabha paid respectful homage to this great and selfless leader in their meetings.

(Ashok Dhawale)