February 18, 2024

Comrade Shankarrao Danav

Ashok Dhawale

Enable GingerCannot connect to Ginger Check your internet connection
or reload the browser
Disable in this text fieldRephraseRephrase current sentence

WITH the demise of Comrade Shankarrao Danav at the age of 75 on January 31, 2024, the CPI(M) and AIKS in Maharashtra have lost a dedicated and effective leader. Hailing from the Yavatmal district of Vidarbha region, he was a member of the CPI(M) Maharashtra state committee and vice president of the AIKS Maharashtra state committee for the last 25 years.  

Shankarrao Danav was born on October 30, 1948. His father was a school teacher. Danav studied up to the tenth standard, never did a job, and rebel that he was, plunged directly into people’s struggles. On January 2, 1972, when he was 23 years old, as the secretary of the Anti Price Rise Joint Action Committee, he led a large agitation against price rise at Wani, his small home town in Yavatmal district. There was brutal police firing on it and nine people were killed. Danav was arrested under several serious charges and was jailed for several months. Then he was forced to remain underground in the nearby Adilabad district for over a year.    

Danav was first active in the CPI. But he had strong differences onthe CPI’s support to the Emergency, and this led him to join the CPI(M) in 1977. His resolve to join the CPI(M) was strengthened by his meeting and discussion with the legendary leader Godavari Parulekar, who had then come on a tour of Vidarbha. Danav then started work under the guidance of two senior leaders of the Party, Ramchandra Ghangare of Wardha (who was elected MP by defeating senior Congress minister Vasant Sathe in the Lok Sabha election that took place just after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991), and B P Kashyap of Nagpur. Later, Party leader Udayan Sharma of Amravati used to regularly visit and guide Yavatmal district. Danav was the founder of the CPI(M) in Yavatmal district and its first Party district secretary.  

Danav first began CITU work among coal mine workers, but later he shifted to the AIKS. His work in the AIKS as a whole timer was truly remarkable. Yavatmal is a big district with 16 tehsils. It is infamous for being the district with the largest number of farmer suicides in Maharashtra due to indebtedness. It also has a large number of adivasi peasants in several tehsils who face serious problems as regards the implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA). On both these issues, the AIKS led by Danav put up constant and effective resistance. Large and bitter struggles of adivasis were led by the AIKS for saving their forest lands from the attacks of the police and the forest department. Danav and others were arrested several times. But through grit and determination they managed to save their lands.

In all the state-level struggles and agitations of the AIKS in Maharashtra, like the huge one-lakh strong rally of the 31stt AIKS national conference at Nashik in January 2006, the massive joint state-wide farmers’ strike in June 2017, the iconic AIKS-led Kisan Long March in March 2018, and, of course, the nationwide SKM-led victorious struggle against the three farm laws in 2020-21, Yavatmal district under the leadership of Danav played an important role.

At the same time, Danav built up the CPI(M) in several tehsils, and created a team of dedicated cadres. Danav was elected municipal councillor twice from Wani on the CPI(M) ticket.

Despite indifferent health due to age in the last couple of years, Danav attended both the CPI(M) Maharashtra state conference at Nagpur in March 2022, and the AIKS Maharashtra state conference at Akole, in Ahmednagar district in November 2022. In both these, he stepped down from his posts due to age and health reasons, but considering his valuable contributions, he was retained as a special invitee on the state committees of both.

Hundreds of peasants and workers attended Danav’s funeral at Wani on January 31. Among them were CPI(M) state control commission chairman Udayan Sharma, state secretariat member Arun Latkar, state committee member Subhash Pande, district secretary Kumar Mohrampuri, and many others. On February 21, a large condolence meeting to pay homage to Danav will be held at Wani, which will be attended by CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Ashok Dhawale, state secretary and Central Committee member Uday Narkar, state secretariat member Kisan Gujar, and other Party leaders from Vidarbha region and Yavatmal district. Leaders of other fraternal and friendly political parties will also pay their tributes.

The CPI(M) and AIKS Maharashtra state committees have paid their respectful homage to Comrade Shankarrao Danav, and shared in the grief of his wife and three children.







Enable GingerCannot connect to Ginger Check your internet connection
or reload the browser
Disable in this text fieldRephraseRephrase current sentenceEdit in Ginger×