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Annabhau Sathe was denied education due to his caste. 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(Marathi).
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 1 November 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. Amartya shinde and Aditya Shinde, Nerul Navi Mumbai 706 also having good information regarding Annabhau Sathe and his relations with famous film actor Balraj Sahani.
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 14 tamasha 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 minister Pramod Mahajan called Anna 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 lived a life of destitution. After spending 22 years in a Ghatkopar (west), chirag nagar slum, Sathe moved to a modest house in Goregaon which the state government provided him in 1968, one year before he died.