Red Salute to Com.M.K.Pandhe, the leading light of the working class, on his 9th death anniversary.
The life of Comrade Madhukar Kashiram Pandhe was completely dedicated to the working class and toiling masses. His active public life started from the student days. He became the Secretary of the Sholapur Students Union as early as in 1943 when he was only 18 years old. He joined the undivided Communist Party in the same year and also was elected as the Secretary of the city Committee of Sholapur.
Com. Pandhe was very active in the trade union front from the start. He functioned as the Secretary of AITUC in the 1960s. In the formation of CITU, he took an active part. Com. Pandhe was the General Secretary of CITU from 1990 and became its President from 1999 which he continued till 2010. In uniting the Central Trade Unions to fight against the anti-working class policies of the government, he took a leading role and was one its architect.
Comrade Pandhe was respected by the trade union leaders world-wide. Even though CITU did not affiliate with WFTU until its Congress at Athens in 2010, Com. Pandhe was treated as one of the top trade union leaders globally. His speech was heard with rapt attention in all the Congresses of WFTU.
Comrade Pandhe was elected to the Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) in the 16th Party Congress and continued as PBM till his death.
He was friend, guide and teacher to the trade unions of the Central, State Government employees and others. As the General Secretary of the All India Telecom Employees Union as also BSNL Employees Union later, I had the fortune to be in contact with Comrade Pandhe for a long period, who guided me and other comrades and taught how to strengthen the union and serve the workers to protect their interests. The BSNL Employees Union from its humble position became the biggest union in BSNL as also the only recognised and representative union within a short time. Comrade Pandhe had a big share in this growth.
Com. Pandhe was always available even to the ordinary workers. On each and every issue he could guide and advise comrades like us from his long trade union experience. His vast knowledge in the trade union and all matters was a special phenomena.
In forming the BSNL-DOT Pensioners Association as well as the BSNL Casual and Contract Workers Federation, he gave very valuable advice to us.
Even 10 days back befor his death, he took a class for the BSNL workers despite his failing health. He spoke in detail about the tasks on the trade union front for about one hour which was inspiring and most educative. He always stressed the need for the democratic functioning of the union. Many times he discussed about the failing health of BSNL and the need of the Unions to take initiative to improve the services to the people and strengthen the company. He pointed out how certain other PSUs improved after a steep decline.
At this stage, when we are remembering Com.M.K.Pandhe, the situation in the country is grave with pandemic Covid 19 spreading all over the world. The people all over the world are fighting against this epidemic. In our country, attacks are going on against the working class by increasing the working hours, reducing the gains achieved through continuous struggles. The memory of Com.Pandhe will give us strength and inspiration to continue our struggle.
Red Salute to Comrade M.K.Pandhe!