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Baba Adhav

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Dr. Babasaheb Pandurang Adhav (born 1 June 1930, Pune, Maharastra, India) also known as Baba Adhav is an Indian social activist and trade unionist. He has worked to create social reforms for unorganized and underprivileged populations in Maharashtra and parts of India. He helped get India's unprotected laborers social security and legal protection.[1][2]

Some of his key social reforms include establishing an unorganized workers’ trade union called the Hamal Panchayat, introducing minimum wages for head loaders and laborers, the creation and implementation of Maharashtra Mathadi Hamal and Other Manual Workers Act[3] and instigating the Ek Gaav, Ek Panavtha (translation One village, one pond) movement to ensure Dalits/untouchables get access to water in rural Maharashtra [4]. Baba has played a key role in pursuing the state authorities to enact progressive legislation like the Slum Rehabilitation Act [5], Dam and Project-Affected Rehabilitation Act [6], and the Devdasi Rehabilitation Act [7]

Career[edit]

In 1955, Baba began his efforts to organize the Hamals, to form the first unorganized labor union – Hamal Panchayat.[8]

In 1963, Baba was elected as a Municipal Councilor (corporator) of Bhavani Peth, Pune constituency. The municipal election was fought under a front Nagarik Sanghatana (translation: Citizens Forum). As an elected member he worked for the underprivileged and resolved many issues for slum dwellers and their rehabilitation.[9]

Career Timeline[edit]

1930 - Baba Adhav born in Pune June 1st, 1930.[10]

1952 - Goes to jail for the first time protesting high food prices and continued working for Nagarik Sahakari Bhandar (subsidized food rations) started by his elder brother Ramchandra Adhav, for people affected with a severe famine.

1953 - Starts medical clinic in Pune’s Nana Peth.

1955 - Organizes Hamals and forms Hamal Panchayat, the organization of head loaders is still active. This union helped organize and unionize head loaders for the fight against their exploitation by their employers and get them appropriate wages for their work along with provident fund and gratuity that they deserved. Along with financial security, this org brought social respect for their work and credit to these poor exploited Hamals/head loaders.

1955- Participation in Goa Freedom struggle as a Doctor.

1956 - Participation in Samyukta Maharashtra movement (Unify Maharashtra)

1956 - Hamals/head loaders are successful with their first-ever strike for minimum wage and decent working conditions.

1959 - Organized movement to eradicate slums and rehabilitate slum dwellers, he is working for this cause.

1960 - Starts Maharashtra Arogya Mandal's hospital with Dr. Dada Gujar, Dr. Sundhu Ketkar, Dr. Martand Patil, and Dr. Gopal Shaha with a primary objective of providing affordable medical service to the poor rural population. And quits his private personal medical practice.

1962 - Baba forms group to fight for the rehabilitation of people, farmers displaced due to construction of Dams. Forms Maharashtra Rajya Dharan and Prakalpa Grasta Shetkari Punarvasan Parishad (the union representing Dam Oustees: farmers and people who lost their lands, houses, livelihood under construction of large dams and raising water levels as an effect.[11]) . In one of the Satyagrah's for Kukadi dam project, he lost eyesight in his one eye due to police brutality. "Rehabilitation first before construction of Dams Movement" was established and the Dam and Project-Affected Rehabilitation Act was enacted by the Maharashtra state gouvernment.

1966 - Baba marries Sheelatai, quits his personal medical practice to become a full-time social activist

1966 - Establishes Credit Union for Hamals and helps them get much-required credit/loans which other banks denied, and personal lenders exploited. Today this credit union is a nationalized bank and operates for unprotected labors to provide then much required credit accessible.

1968 - Initiates project to build a community center for Hamals and other laborers. In 1977 Hamal Bhavan, a three-storied community centre was constructed )funded by Hamal Panchayat).

1969 - Made Maharashtra government pass first social security legislation for unorganized labor – Maharashtra Mathadi, Hamal and Other Manual Workers Act. It has become the rallying point for dozens of other unorganized labor movements seeking social security legislation

1970 - Under Baba and Bhai Vaidya's guidance, Muslim Satyashodhak Mandal was established. This organization worked to provide a status of equality and justice to muslim women, fight against muslim fundamentalism, and worked towards national unity and peace for different religions. Under Baba's leadership, the group met Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and requested abolishment of verbal divorce, Talak (a common practice at that time among muslims).

1970 - Dr. Anil Awachat, Baba's friend and ally converts Baba's personal clinic to provide an affordable medical practice run by his wife Dr. Anita Awachat. This dispensary was financially supported by the Hamal Panchyat. Medical services were either free or a nimomal fee (1 INR) was charged for medical equipment usage.

1972 - Launches Ek Gaav, Ek Panavtha (translation One village, one pond) initiative to ensure Dalits/untouchables get access to water. He walked with his supporters within the state of Maharashtra in the attempt to educate, and inspire people to open their hearts and minds against caste discrimination and abolish untouchability.

1972 - A community kitchen that makes affordable and nutritious meals for workers set up on a no-profit no-loss basis – Kashtachi Bhakar (translation: hard-earned food) started on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti. From one eatery in 1974 in Pune has now 12 branches and also spread across Maharastra.[12]

1975 - Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared an emergency and locked up all the opposition leaders, Baba was jailed for 19 months

1977 - Forms Vishamta Nirmoolan Samiti, movement and a group fighting against cast, untouchability, and gender discrimination. The group successfully lead many movements to eradicate caste discrimination in Maharashtra noticeably in Warkaris to unify them.

1977 - Formed the Pathari Panchyat, a union working for the upliftment of street vendors and hawkers to give them social security and life of dignity

1978 - Forms Devadasi Nirmoolan Parishad, a group fighting to eradicate Devadasi custom and their rehabilitation. Devadasis are destitute women left on the mercy of god mostly forced towards prostitution. This awareness and movement helped play a role in pursuing the state authorities to enact legislation the "Devdasi Rehabilitation Act".[13]

1979 - Lays foundation of Hamal Nagar: affordable housing for daily wage Hamals/head loaders. Bhai Vaidya then the home minister of Maharashtra helped Baba get the land for this housing complex at a very affordable rate from state government. Today this social housing scheme hosts more that 400 multi-story apartments in Pune city.

1982 - Forms a group, Rashtriya Ekatmata Samiti after the communal riots in Pune, Mumbai, and Gujarat with the primary objective of bringing unity amongst religiously diverse communal sects in India.

1986 - Along with Dr. Narendra Dabholkar, Dr. Sriram Lagoo, Nilu Phule, Dr. Ram Apte forms Samajik Krutadnyata Nidhi, a social gratitude fund. This fund was aimed at expressing gratitude towards social activists across the state by raising funds for them; well-known activist Medha Patkar was one of the beneficiaries.[14]

1989 - Inspires Dr. Narendra Dabholkar to form Andha Shradhha Samiti, Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti an organization dedicated to fighting superstition in India, particularly in the province of Maharashtra.

1993 - Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat , a waste picker’s collective, mentored by Baba formed by Laxmi Narayan and Poornima Chikarmane in Pune; primarily to supports waste pickers, their families and their collectives. The support ranges from direct financial assistance to indirect support in the form of training, facilitation, and research.

1993 - Forms Bandhkam Kamgar Panchyat, a union for unprotected construction works.

1994 - Forms Rikshaw Panchyat, a union for the Pune's auto-rickshaw drivers with the objective of bringing social security to these drivers, improve their living standards.

1995 - Baba initiated a Satyagraha for social security to protect unorganized daily wage laborers in India.

2000 - Builds Hamal Panchyat Kashtakari Vidyalaya and library. A school for grades/years/class 5 - 10 mainly for the children of unprotected laborers and Hamals.

2000 - Starts movement to remove Manu's Statue, a symbol of inequality and casteism, installed in front of Jaipur high court. Thousands walked alongside with Baba from Mahad to Jaipur, this was a fight for equality.

2005 - Leads a bicycle rally (at the age 75) from Mahad, Maharashtra to Delhi from 20th March till the 1st of May. The 20th March signifies Dr. B. R. Ambedkar's Pani Mukti Andolan (translation: Water for Everyone) movement that took place in Mahad in 1927. The cycle rally instigated protests in 5 states including: Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi. The goal was to increase awareness and demand for a comprehensive legislation ensuring social security and employment guarantee to the unorganised sector workers across India.

2007 - Baba along with his team, travelled by motorcycle from Pune to Delhi; addressing several meetings en route to organize a Satyagraha of some 5,000 workers representing 20 trade unions and organisations across the nation; outside Parliament of India on August 13, 2007. The intent was to press demand for the introduction of the Social Security Bill.

2007 - In Delhi, Baba, Aruna Roy and Elaben Bhat of SEWA, Ahmedabad, led a delegation to Sonia Gandhi, met parliamentarians and got 60 eminent people, including writer Khushwant Singh, Supreme Court lawyer Indira Jaising, human rights activist Swami Agnivesh, economist and former minister Yogendra Alagh, actor and social activist Shabana Azmi and historian Ramachandra Guha to sign a petition in support of the legislation for Social Security to unprotected workers.

2008 - Goes to jail for 53rd time, for again protesting high food prices.

2012 - Baba along with leader of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatan and RTI activist Aruna Roy, holds Pension Parishad: a press conference that raised the demand for the universal pension rights to India's large unprotected informal workers.


2013 - With Aruna Roy continues the national movement and Satyagraha for pension and social security to India's unprotected daily wage workers. Out off the 400 Million workers in India, less than 20 million are protected by some form of labour legislation. They have work security, minimum wages, an eight-hour working day, a weekly off, paid leave, sick leave, annual bonus, provident fund, pension and so on. The remaining 380 million workers have been ignored. These include porters, headloaders, landless labourers, construction workers, domestic workers, brick-kiln workers, quarry workers, cycle/rickshaw pullers, waste-pickers, hawkers and vendors.

References[edit]

  1. Sep 22, TNN / Updated; 2011; Ist, 14:24. "Baba Adhav: A working-class hero and his labour of love | India News - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2021-06-03.
  2. Narayan 2018, p. 53.
  3. "REHABILITATION OF AFFECTED PERSONS. THE MAHARASHTRA PROJECT AFFECTED PERSONS REHABILITATION ACT, 1999" (PDF). Prologue. Gouvernment of Maharashtra.: 7–39 1999. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  4. Adhav 2005, p. 5-7.
  5. "Experiences of Resettlers and Refugees. Experiences of Resettlers and Refugees, World Bank 2000" (PDF). Prologue. World Bank.: 315–317 2000. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  6. "State-Formation From Below': Social Movement Of The Dam-Evictees' and Legal Transformation' Of The State In Maharashtra (India), 1960-1976". Prologue. National Research University Higher School of Economics: 10–12. 2014. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  7. "Livelihood Models of Rural Development" (PDF). Prologue. University of Kolhapur: 13–16. 2018. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  8. Deshpande, Rajeshwari (1999). "Organising the Unorganised: Case of Hamal Panchayat. Economic and Political Weekly". Prologue: 34–39. JSTOR 4408452. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  9. Narayan 2018, p. 27-31.
  10. Narayan 2018, p. 2.
  11. [1], Brahme, Sulabha. “Drought in Maharashtra.” Social Scientist, vol. 1, no. 12, 1973, pp. 47–54. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3516345. Accessed 31 May 2020.
  12. [2], Umbrajkar, M. (n.d.). Kashtachi Bhakar, an eatery for labourers and weaker sections of the society, completes 40 years: Pune News - Times of India. Retrieved May 31, 2020, from https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/Kashtachi-Bhakar-an-eatery-for-labourers-and-weaker-sections-of-the-society-completes-40-years/articleshow/44713450.cms
  13. [3], “When a Devadasi Cuts Her Hair, It Becomes a Rebellion against Tradition.” The News Minute, 3 Aug. 2015, www.thenewsminute.com/article/when-devadasi-cuts-her-hair-it-becomes-rebellion-against-tradition.
  14. [4], “A Legend Remembered - Indian Express.” Archive, archive.indianexpress.com/news/a-legend-remembered/488834/.

Sources[edit]

  • Adhav, B. (2005). Ek Gav Ek Panvatha. मौज प्रकाशन गृह. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png


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