Annabhau Sathe (Devanagari: (अण्णाभाऊ साठे) (1 August 1920 – 18 July 1969) was a social reformer and writer from Maharashtra, India.
Sathe was born in the village of Wategaon near Sangli in a family belonging to the Dalit Mang community. (The community has been identified by the Indian government as a scheduled caste.)
Poverty had prevented Sathe from obtaining formal education. His brother Shankarbhau recounts in his biography of Sathe, titled Majhe Bhau Annabhau, that the family members worked as laborers at the site of Kalyan tunnel when it was being constructed.
Despite lack of formal education, Sathe wrote in Marathi 35 novels, one among which was Fakira (1959). Fakira, which is currently in its 19th edition, received a state government award in 1961. There are 15 collections of Sathe’s short stories. A large number of his short stories have been translated into many Indian and as many as 27 non-Indian languages. Besides novels and short stories, Sathe wrote a play, a travelogue on Russia, 12 screenplays, and 10 ballads –powade(Marahti).
Sathe wrote directly from his experiences in life, and his novels celebrate the fighting spirit in their characters who work against all odds in life.
Lok Rajya, a Maharashtra state government fortnightly, published on November 1, 1993, a special commemorative issue concerning Sathe. The state government also issued in 1998 a collection of his works under the title Lokshahir Annabhau Sathe Nivadak Sahitya.
To generate social awareness, he organized stage performances of powade and tamasha, ethnic dances chiefly performed by women, which are popular in rural Maharashtra. He produced 14tamasha shows. In the late 1940s, the then Home Minister of the Bombay state government Morarji Desai had banned tamasha shows, but Sathe courageously defied the ban by renaming them as lokanatya. People in Maharashtra conferred the epithet lok shahir on Sathe.
On the issue of a postage stamp of Anna Bhau Sathe at Chembur, Mumbai inister Pramod Mahajan called Ann as a saint of Maharashtra.
Sathe was an important mobilizer in the Samyukta Maharashtra movement. He used the medium of powade to great effect in that movement.
Sathe was attracted to communism and had visited USSR. He was a founder member of the Lal Bawta Kalapathak of the Communist Party in Maharashtra.
Sathe lived a life of destitution. After spending 22 years in a Ghatkopar slum, Sathe moved to a modest house in Goregaon which the state government provided him in 1968, one year before he died.