Comrade Vinayak Gaikwad, member of the CPI(M) Maharashtra state committee, secretary of the Party’s Buldana district committee, state vice president of the AIKS and former state president of the SFI, passed away at his home on June 22, 2011 due to a sudden heart attack. He was only 58 years old and leaves behind his wife Manda and daughter Sneha.
Vinayak Gaikwad was born in a peasant family on March 10, 1953 in his village Durgadaitya in the Sangrampur tehsil of Buldana district in the Vidarbha region. He did his MA in Political Science at Khamgaon in the same district. While a student, he founded the SFI in Buldana district in 1978 and successfully organised its second state conference at Khamgaon in 1979. He led several victorious student struggles and was elected state president of the SFI in the period from 1987 to 1990. He was also elected to the SFI central executive committee for two terms. He was among the SFI-DYFI delegates to the World Youth Festival held in Moscow in the then Soviet Union in 1988.
After working in the DYFI in the state leadership during the early 1990s, Vinayak joined the AIKS and led several struggles of the cotton growing peasants in Vidarbha. Along with his comrades, he was arrested on several occasions in the course of these struggles. During one such militant struggle of cotton farmers at Malkapur, the police resorted to a severe lathi-charge, in which an arm of the veteran AIKS leader Krishna Khopkar was fractured. Vinayak was among those who played a major role in the successful hosting of the 31st AIKS national conference at Nashik in January 2006. In 1999 he was elected AIKS state joint secretary and in 2009 as AIKS state vice president.
Vinayak Gaikwad, along with Mangala Singh Thakur, Dr Virendra Kavishwar, Dada Raipure, Prof Sadashiv Kulli and Narendra Kavishwar (another CPI(M) and AIKS leader who also passed away two months ago) took the lead in the formation of the CPI(M) in Buldana district in 1978. In the early 1990s, after leaving Khamgaon at the end of his SFI tenure, Vinayak went back to live in his village and, through painstaking efforts, built up the Party from scratch in his own Sangrampur tehsil and also in the adjoining Jalgaon Jamod tehsil. In 1995, Vinayak was elected district secretary of the CPI(M) and later the same year, he was elected to the CPI(M) Maharashtra state committee. He was elected a delegate to the 19th Party Congress held at Coimbatore in 2008.
Vinayak was known and loved for his simple, selfless and straightforward nature. He built up a dedicated team of young Party activists throughout the district. He had a fine political grasp and sharp organisational sense, with an uncanny ability of observing and correctly evaluating cadres. In spite of coming from an extremely backward rural background, Vinayak always consciously opposed religious and obscurantist rituals and also all forms of caste, communal and gender discrimination.
On June 23, thousands of people and Party activists from all over the district came to his village and bade him a tearful farewell. A condolence message sent by CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury, with whom Vinayak had worked in his SFI days, was read out. Among those who addressed the condolence meeting were CPI(M) state secretary and AIKS CKC member Dr Ashok Dhawale, CPI(M) state secretariat member Manohar Muley, CPI(M) state committee member and AIKS state general secretary Kisan Gujar, CPI(M) Amravati district secretary Subhash Pandey, AIKS Nagpur district secretary Arun Latkar, CPI(M) Buldana district secretariat member and AIKS state vice president Dada Raipure, renowned physician Dr Virendra Kavishwar, CITU district leader Punjabrao Gaikwad, journalist Narendra Lanjewar, leaders of the PWP and other political parties.
The CPI(M) and AIKS Maharashtra state committees pay heartfelt homage to the memory of Comrade Vinayak Gaikwad, an excellent, selfless and dedicated Communist fighter.