June 18, 2023

Maha: Memoirs of Narasayya Adam

M H Shaikh

ON June 1, 2023, the 300-page memoirs in Marathi ofNarasayya Adam, titled 'SangharshaachiMashaalHaati' ('Torch of Struggle in Hand'), was released on his birthday in a 15,000-strong public meeting at Solapur by CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury. Most of those who attended were from the unorganised working class, especially beedi, powerloom and other workers. There was a large contingent of working women. 78year-oldNarasayya Adam is a former state secretary and former Central Committee member of the CPI(M), former state president of CITU, and three times elected CPI(M) MLA from Solapur.

Along with Sitaram Yechury, those who spoke on the occasion were CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and AIKS president Ashok Dhawale, CPI(M) state secretary and Central Committee member Uday Narkar, CPI(M) state secretariat member and CITU state general secretary M H Shaikh, and Narasayya Adam himself.

Sitaram Yechury began by recalling the glorious anti-imperialist history of Solapur, whose working class had thrown off the yoke of British colonial rule for a few days in 1930; as response the British imposed a terribly repressive Martial law, and hanged four valiant leaders of this struggle. Solapur also has the legacy ofDr DwarkanathKotnis, who died while selflessly serving the people of China in their bitter battle against Japanese fascism.

Yechury said that the Party and CITU in Solapur, led by working class leaderlike Narasayya Adam, carried forward these great legacies. The publication of the memoirs of Narasayya Adam, which throw light on the several intense struggles of the working people over the last five decades, will be a source of inspiration for the younger generation. Yechury then explained the current grave political challenges before the country, came down heavily on the anti-people, pro-corporate, communal and authoritarian Modi regime, and stressed the urgent need to defeat the BJP in 2024,to save the country and change it for the better.

Ashok Dhawale and Uday Narkarrecounted the remarkable journey of Narasayya Adam as the son of a mill worker father Narayan Adam and a beedi worker mother Laxmibai Adam. He was drawn into the working class movement by his father, who was one of the founders of the Communist Party in Solapur. Several bitter struggles of thousands of mill workers, powerloom workers and beedi workers were led in Solapur, and many of them ended in victory. It was as a result of these struggles that Narasayya Adam was first elected to the Solapur municipal corporation, and then thrice as the CPI(M) MLA in 1978, 1995 and 2004. His studied and aggressive speeches in the state assembly in defence of the working class and the peasantry have been acclaimed even by his political opponents.

Along with these struggles, over the last few years, a remarkable achievement was the struggle to build 40,000 cheap houses for unorganised workers with a small contribution from the workers themselves, along with amounts from the central and state government. The first scheme of 10,000 houses which was completed a few years ago is called the GodutaiParulekar Housing Complex, and the second one of 30,000 houses which is in progress is called Ray Nagar. Adam rose to be thestate president of the CITU and state secretary and Central Committee member of the CPI(M).

In his speech, Narasayya Adam, while recounting some memorable instances in his life, attacked the anti-working people policies of the BJP central government and called for a radical change in these policies, stressing that these can only come about through struggles.    

Three journalists from Solapur who helped Adam in writing his memoirs – Balkrishna Doddi, Datta Thore and Santosh Pawar– and three other journalists of SamakalinPrakashan, Pune, which edited and published the book – Suhas Kulkarni, Gauri Kanetkar, Anand Avadhani and their team – were felicitated in this function.

Yusuf Shaikh Major welcomed the gathering. M H Shaikh made the speech of introduction. Anil Wasam conducted the meeting and proposed the vote of thanks.