MIA: Encyclopedia of Marxism: Glossary of People



Ghandy, Anuradha (1954-2008)

Ghandy Anuradha Indian writer, activist and a founding member of the Communist Party of India-Maoist and the first woman in the CPI's Central Committee, elected to the position on the occassion of the Ninth Unity Congress of the CPI Maoist.

Anuradha was born to parents active in the communist movement of India. Her father had defended the insurgents of Telangana, while her mother was involved in social work. She attended Elphinstone College in Mumbai, having graduated with a degree in Sociology. During her studies she was associated with the Progressive Youth Movement and civil liberties groups opposed to The Emergency. She was one of the initiators of the Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights.

Anuradha Ghandy, alongside her husband Kobad Ghandy, was instrumental in the creation of People's War Group in Maharashtra at the time when Naxalites were spreading across India as the social conditions worsened. The war in Bangladesh had just finished and India saw an influx of refugees, while draught stalked Maharashtra between 1970 and 1973, while led to a prolonged famine. Upon graduating, she moved to Nagpur; the hotbed of Dalit politics. She wrote a two-part essay on the question of caste entitled The Caste Question in India and The Caste Question Returns.

In Nagpur, Anuradha taught part-time at Nagpur University, while dedicating the majority of her time to the Dalit Black Panther movement,dalit and trade union politics. She participated in the Worli clashes with Shiv Sena, as well as the strike at Khaparkheda thermal power plant.She worked on organizing the unorganized sector workers.

In mid 1990s, she went underground and joined the guerrillas in Dandakaranya jungles of Bastar.The region suffered major draughts and famines, which reflected on the physical well-being of the guerrillas. Anuradha had frequent bouts of malaria and developed stomach ulcers. In the jungles, Anuradha took up the issue of women's rights and held community meetings with tribal and village women, educating them on the ideology of the movement. She also raised the issue of women participation in Party leadership. She was involved in disseminating and translating Party literature.

It was during the community lectures in Jharkhand that she contracted cerebral malaria. Anuradha died in April,2008.

Compiled by V. Potic