Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis left for a five-day Russia tour early on Tuesday where he will unveil a statue of veteran social reformer and writer Annabhau Sathe, besides dedicating a portrait of Sathe to the Indian embassy in Moscow. Speaker Rahul Narwekar has accompanied Fadnavis on the trip.

Born into a Dalit community in Sangli district’s Wategoan village on August 1, 1920, Sathe fought against oppression and injustice. Since childhood he had witnessed and experienced socio-economic prejudices and atrocities against the oppressed and the poor. He was deeply influenced by Marxism and later Ambedkarism.

“Annabhau Sathe’s work shows his struggles and sacrifice for the upliftment of poor, backward and oppressed sections of society. Unveiling his statue and dedicating the portrait in Moscow is itself a great honour for all of us in Maharashtra. It is both historic and a moment of pride,” Fadnavis said.

Sathe also participated in the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement along with communists and socialist leaders such as S A Dange, S M Joshi, Prabodhankar Thackeray and Amar Shaikh. A noted Marathi writer, Sathe has to his credit 35 novels, 12 film screenplays and ten ballads. His novel Fakira, which was later made into a film by the same name, is widely acclaimed. Sathe was also closely associated with the Indian People’s Theatre Movement.

He dedicated his life and work to the upliftment of the oppressed classes. He was at the forefront of agitations, strongly raising his voice against injustice through street protests and his writing. Sathe also strived for higher wages and dignity of labour. He spent some years in Russia and his works have been translated into Russian over the years.

Fadnavis is also scheduled to hold an interactive session with NRIs in Russia on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he will unveil the statue of Annabhau Sathe at the State Library for Foreign Literacy. It will be followed by dedicating an oil painting of Sathe to the Indian Embassy in Moscow.

The deputy chief minister will participate in events organised at the Indian Council of Cultural Relations, Lomonosov Moscow University, Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Science, Russian State University for the Humanities, Pushkin Russian Longway Institute and St Petersburg University. During his stay in Russia, Fadnavis has also scheduled a few business meetings to attract foreign collaboration and investments in Maharashtra.

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