People's Democracy

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


No. 42

October 21, 2012





Com Godavari Shamrao Parulekar Bhavan Inaugurated In Talasari

Huge Rally Held in Thane District



                        Ashok Dhawale


A meeting of the CPI(M) Maharashtra state committee was held on October 9-10, 2012 at Talasari in Thane district. It was attended by CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury, MP, and central secretariat member Nilotpal Basu, ex-MP.




On October 10, the Talasari state committee meeting culminated in a massive 50,000-strong Thane district rally at Dapchari near Talasari. The maidan could just not accommodate the huge number of people who had come from ten tehsils of Thane district, and also a sprinkling from the neighbouring Umbargaon tehsil of Gujarat and from the Union Territory of Dadra & Nagarhaveli. Hence they overflowed into three adjoining fields and also near the national highway behind the maidan. The gathering was so huge that some mass circulation daily newspapers in their reports the next day estimated the rally to be 70,000-strong. An overwhelming majority of the participants were adivasis, with women and youth being present in huge numbers. The people had come from all over the district by hundreds of trucks, tempos, jeeps, motorcycles, cycles – and also on foot.


The rally commemorated three historical events – Comrade P Sundarayya Birth Centenary Year, Comrade Godavari Parulekar death anniversary and Martyrs Day in Thane district.


Comrade P Sundarayya had a special relationship with Maharashtra. His wife Leila hailed from Maharashtra. Comrades Shamrao and Godavari Parulekar were very close to Comrade PS and it was under his guidance that they joined the AIKS. He, along with other leaders, attended the foundation conference of the Maharashtra Rajya Kisan Sabha that was held at Titwala in Thane district on January 12, 1945 and also the 13th national conference of the AIKS held at Dahanu in Thane district in May 1955. Comrade PS once also addressed a large district-wide public meeting at Mahalaxmi village in the adivasi belt of Thane district after the demise of Joseph Stalin in March 1953 and paid homage to his memory.


When Shamrao Parulekar, a member of the first Central Committee of the CPI(M), died of a sudden heart attack on August 3, 1965 while still in detention in the Arthur Road jail in Mumbai, Godavari Parulekar, who was also in the same jail at the same time, was completely shattered. All the other leading comrades from Maharashtra of the newly-formed CPI(M) were also in jail. It was at such a time that Comrades PS and Leila, in an exemplary gesture of true comradeship, came to Mumbai and stayed with Godavari for over a week to console her and give her the strength to tide over her great loss. It was thus in the fitness of things that the Comrade P Sundarayya Birth Centenary rally was held in Thane district.


October 10, 1945 was the day when the first five martyrs of the renowned Adivasi Revolt, including Comrade Jethya Gangad, were killed in wanton firing by the British police at Talwada, a village which is now just across the border in Gujarat. After that, there have been a total of 60 martyrs of the Red Flag in Thane district. The latest martyr has been a woman, Comrade Mathi Ozare, who was brutally killed on February 27, 2012 by BJP goons, only because she campaigned sincerely for the CPI(M) in the just-concluded local body elections.


By a remarkable coincidence, October 10, 1996 was also the day when Comrade Godavari Parulekar was cremated at Talasari in the presence of tens of thousands of people. That is why October 10 has always been observed by large rallies in Thane district, both as Martyrs Day and also as Godavari Parulekar’s death anniversary. Every year, a call for struggle on people’s burning issues is given by the Party on that day.  




The rally this year was addressed by Sitaram Yechury, Nilotpal Basu and CPI(M) Gujarat state secretary and Central Committee member Arun Mehta. It was presided over by CPI(M) Thane district secretary and state secretariat member Rajaram Ozare, MLA, and was also addressed by state secretary and Central Committee member Dr Ashok Dhawale, Central Committee members K L Bajaj and Narsayya Adam ex-MLA, state secretariat members Mahendra Singh, J P Gavit, ex-MLA, Ajit Abhyankar, Lahanu Kom, ex-MP, Mariam Dhawale and state committee member and Talasari tehsil secretary Barkya Mangat. All the state committee members of the Party were on the tastefully decorated dais, which had photographs of Comrades P Sundarayya, Shamrao Parulekar and Godavari Parulekar.


Preparations for the rally were on for a month in Thane district. 50,000 leaflets were distributed, 7,000 printed posters and 100 large flex banners were put up. Hundreds of meetings were held in the villages. Activists of all the mass organisations – AIKS, AIDWA, DYFI, CITU and SFI – put in their best efforts.


To commemorate the Comrade P Sundarayya Birth Centenary Year, from September 4 to 30, an intensive Party education campaign was conducted and 14 study camps of two days duration each were organised in ten tehsils of Thane district. Over 2,000 Party members participated in these camps. The subjects taken were ‘What is Marxism?’, ‘Glorious History of the Red Flag in Thane district’, ‘Current Political Challenges and Issues of Struggle’ and ‘Principles of Party Organisation’. The classes were taken by Dr Ashok Dhawale, L B Dhangar, Lahanu Kom, Rajaram Ozare and Mariam Dhawale. These classes had a salutary effect and helped immensely in activising comrades for the great success of the rally.


Hundreds of red volunteers – young men and women in red dresses – formed a double cordon at the venue to welcome Party leaders. The entire area of the rally had been turned red – with red flags, red banners, red buntings, red shirts, red caps, red sarees and red scarves.    


In this rally, over 2,500 copies each of a special issue of the state Party weekly Jeevanmarg commemorating the life and work of Comrade P Sundarayya, and the second edition of a booklet on the life and work of Comrades Shamrao and Godavari Parulekar, written by Dr Ashok Dhawale, were sold by DYFI-SFI activists. The total sale proceeds of over 5,000 copies of these two publications in the rally exceeded Rs 51,000.


Three tehsil committees of the Party in Thane district – Dahanu, Talasari and Jawhar-Mokhada – that had succeeded in ensuring the maximum participation of Party members in the September study camps, were honoured by presenting them with large red flags at the hands of Sitaram Yechury, Nilotpal Basu and Arun Mehta respectively.


Sitaram Yechury in his speech congratulated the CPI(M) Thane district committee and the participants for making this rally a magnificent success. The Forest Rights Act, he said, was passed after six decades of independence by the UPA-1 regime only because of the pressure exerted by the Left parties. But its implementation is in the doldrums in most states, and the need is for a militant struggle to ensure tribal rights over forest land and forest produce.


Sitaram flayed the Congress-led UPA-2 regime for its anti-people steps like the steep price rise of petrol, diesel and cooking gas, permission to FDI in retail trade, insurance and pension funds, and its disastrous drive to dismantle food security and privatise education and health services. A government that says it has no money for social welfare schemes for the poor, shamelessly doles out tax concessions of five lakh crore rupees to the corporates each year, and indulges in massive corruption scams that loot the government treasury by lakhs of crores of rupees. He called for an intense and determined mass struggle on these issues. At the same time, he stressed the need for a concerted campaign against the communal conspiracies of the RSS, BJP, VHP and their ilk. Finally, he asserted that building a strong Left and a strong CPI(M) was the only way to change the current situation for the better.     




The same morning on October 10, the new elegant and spacious office of the CPI(M) Thane district committee, called the Comrade Godavari Shamrao Parulekar Bhavan, was inaugurated by Sitaram Yechury in an enthusiastic function that was chaired by L B Dhangar and conducted by Lahanu Kom, both veteran leaders who had worked as Party whole-timers for several decades under the guidance of Comrades Shamrao and Godavari Parulekar. L B Dhangar had contributed historically invaluable old photographs of the movement in Thane district from his collection and these were attractively framed and put up in the new office.   


The foundation stone for this new office had been laid exactly two years earlier on October 10, 2010 by CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar, who had also addressed another massive rally on that occasion. The Party’s Thane district committee had conducted two large fund campaigns among the common people, the peasants and workers, to raise the amount for building this office which can seat over 1000 people.   


The enthusiastic inaugural programme was attended by the Party’s state and district committee members and by over 2,000 students and staff of the Senior and Junior College run by the Adivasi Pragati Mandal, an institution set up by Comrades Shamrao and Godavari Parulekar in the early 1960s. Sitaram Yechury expressed the confidence that this new Party office named after Godavari Parulekar would give a greater fillip to the Party, the mass organisations and the revolutionary movement in Thane district in the coming days.


On the previous day, October 9, a hall meeting of school and college teachers, small traders and small entrepreneurs was held at the Comrade Godavari Shamrao Parulekar Senior and Junior College of Arts, Commerce and Science, which is being run in Talasari along with several schools by the Adivasi Pragati Mandal. Sitaram Yechury and Nilotpal Basu addressed the gathering on the current political challenges and the way out.




The state committee meeting began by paying homage to Captain Laxmi Sehgal, A K Hangal, Eric Hobsbawm, Mrinal Gore and Party activists in Maharashtra. After the political reporting of the current international and national political situation by Sitaram Yechury, the state committee discussed and adopted the political and work report.


The political report incorporated the following sections: (a) Neo-liberal policies of the central and state governments and their disastrous impact on the people; (b) Manifold corruption scandals engulfing leaders of bourgeois parties; (c) The threat of communalism and regional chauvinism; (d) Current political trends in the state.


The work report included: Mobilisation of 40,000 people in 20 districts in the state as part of the Left-led nationwide stir for food security from July 30 to August 3; Bringing 33,000 rural poor in 19 districts on the streets on May 14 at the independent call of the CPI(M) against the severe drought situation in the state; Hartal against price hike of petrol on May 31 and against price hike of diesel and cooking gas and against FDI in retail trade on September 20; Struggle against repression on the working class movement in Nashik; Reporting of the 20th Party Congress and the 20th state conference in Party general body meetings in 25 districts; Publication of the documents of the 20th Party Congress in Marathi; the Party state committee meeting in Solapur in July along with another 50,000-strong massive rally; District Party classes and state-wide study camps for the student, women and kisan fronts; and state conferences of the Youth and Anganwadi fronts.


The state committee decided on future struggles and campaigns on issues of food security, FDI in retail, high level corruption at both central and state levels, the joint trade union struggle, and agitations on burning peasant issues. It finalised the priority constituencies to be fought in the coming Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections in 2014.


The state committee concretised the organisational tasks for the observance of the Comrade P Sundarayya Birth Centenary Year. A state-level three-day Party class will be held in Mumbai from November 19-21, and the various subjects in the class will be taken by CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat, Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury, and Central Secretariat member Nilotpal Basu. Along with it there will be a half-day state workshop that will concentrate on the coming tasks in Maharashtra. It was decided to hold two-day party classes in each district to cover all Party members, one-day classes for branch secretaries in each district, and one state-level class for the remaining three mass fronts.


A call was given to collect a Rs 50 lakh Party whole-timers fund by March 2013. Rs 40 lakh was collected by the Party in the state for the same purpose in 2007-08, from which the number of whole-timers and their wage was increased. The first state-level class for Party whole-timers was held in Mumbai in November 2011 and a Resolution on Whole-Timers was adopted by the state committee. Now it was decided to hold regular monthly meetings of Party whole-timers in each district to review and guide their work.


It was also decided to launch a concerted state-wide campaign in the months of November and December 2012 to double the circulation of all the Party papers. Finally, it was decided to hold the next meeting of the Party state committee at Surgana in Nashik district in January 2013, to be accompanied by another huge mass rally.