August 29, 2021

MAHA: Talasari Naka Named After Godavari Parulekar on Her Birth Anniversary

Barkya Mangat

ON August 14, 2021, the 114th birth anniversary of the legendary leader of the famous Warli Adivasi Revolt from 1945-47, one of the co-founders of the Maharashtra Rajya Kisan Sabha in 1945, a member of the CPI(M) Central Committee for over 25 years, and the first and only woman president of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) from 1986 to 1989, Comrade Godavari Parulekar, was celebrated through various programmes held at Talasari in the Palghar district of Maharashtra.

Firstly, the name of the main square in Talasari town was officially named Comrade Godavari Shamrao Parulekar Chowk, through a resolution adopted by the Talasari nagar panchayat, which has a big CPI(M) majority. The nagar panchayat has also decided to name another square in Talasari after the legendary adivasi freedom fighter of Jharkhand, Birsa Munda, who died fighting the British imperialists.

The new board on the chowk bearing Godavari Parulekar’s name was unveiled by CPI(M) Central Committee member and AIKS president Ashok Dhawale, and by CPI(M) MLA from Dahanu-Talasari and CITU state secretary Vinod Nikole. Among those present were AIKS state president Kisan Gujar, CPI(M) district secretary Barkya Mangat, Talasari nagar panchayat president Smita Valvi and vice president Suresh Bhoye, Talasari panchayat samiti president Nandkumar Hadal, president of the social welfare committee of the Palghar zilla parishad Ramu Pagi, director of the Thane District Central Co-operative Bank Laxman Dombre (all the above are leaders of the CPI(M) and various mass fronts), and several other comrades.

It may be recalled that the Talasari nagar panchayat which was newly formed five years ago, the Talasari gram panchayat before that, and the Talasari tehsil panchayat samiti, have all been won consistently by the CPI(M) for the last nearly 60 years since 1962. Similarly, the Dahanu (ST) assembly seat (which was the Jawhar ST assembly seat before delimitation in 2009) has been won by the CPI(M) in nine of the ten state assembly elections held since 1978.

Secondly, a large function was held at the Comrade Godavari Shamrao Parulekar College at Talasari. It comprised the teaching and non-teaching staff of the colleges and schools run by the Adivasi Pragati Mandal in Talasari and Dahanu tehsils. The Adivasi Pragati Mandal was formed by Comrades Shamrao and Godavari Parulekar in 1962, and its first directors included luminaries like progressive actor Balraj Sahni and firebrand journalist Pralhad Keshav Atre.

Today its president is 84-year old Lahanu Kom, ex-MP and ex-MLA, one of its vice presidents is 94-year old veteran AIKS leader L B Dhangar, and its secretary is Barkya Mangat. Lahanu Kom has played a seminal role in the expansion of numerous educational institutions for adivasis in this area. The Comrade Godavari Shamrao Parulekar Senior and Junior College of Arts, Science and Commerce, affiliated to the University of Mumbai, has won several awards for excellence, and also runs graduate and post-graduate courses of the Yashwantrao Chavan Open University in Maharashtra.   

After garlanding Comrade Godavari Parulekar's portrait, the gathering was welcomed by principal B A Rajput. Ashok Dhawale, Kisan Gujar, Barkya Mangat, Vinod Nikole and AIDWA state general secretary Prachi Hatiwlekar addressed the gathering. They also released the annual magazine of the college, which is called 'Godavari'.

While commemorating the life and work of Godavari Parulekar, Ashok Dhawale said that her inspiration lay in Marxism and all her activities were centered around the struggle against imperialism, feudalism and capitalism. Remembering her in today’s times meant intensifying the struggle against and ensuring the defeat of corporate communalism, being pushed by the BJP-RSS government at the centre, which is by far the worst regime in post-independence Indian history. That is precisely what the historic nationwide struggle of farmers and workers has been focusing on for the last nine months. The latest massive nationwide actions of lakhs of people on August 9 had underlined the importance and sweep of that struggle.   

After this programme, CITU state secretary Vivek Monteiro and Geeta Mahashabde held an instructive workshop for Mathematics teachers, for new and simple teaching methods for Class 1 to 8 students in the period of the Covid lockdown. These methods have been developed by 'Navnirmiti' and have been successfully used in Kerala, Tripura and other states.