International Women’s day was celebrated across the country, in Imphal, Mumbai, Delhi and many other places. The common thread that ran through the day’s rallies and meeting was the call for women to fight against this social and economic system that is at the root of their oppression, to get organized to end their marginalization from political power.
In Manipur, more than six hundred women and men from different communities from every nook and corner of the state marched to the MDU Hall in Imphal. The meeting was addressed by S.Leirangtombi (advisor of AMAWOVA), Dr. L. Pardesi, leader of COHR and of the Peoples Democratic Movement, and advisor to NECOHR, Lulu Kamei of Kabui Mothers Association and many others.
Dr. Pardesi, also a Vice-President of Lok Raj Sangathan, pointed out that women can never get rid of oppression and exploitation unless and until the people can hold political power in their own hands. He declared that the fighting women of Manipur are not aspiring for the same status as men who are oppressed and exploited under the existing social and political system but for the right to determine their own destiny. This right can only be theirs through the struggle to establish the local committees which are the political embryos to smash the status quo. This requires the joint struggle of men and women. All the speakers exhorted the women of Manipur to carry on the proud struggle of their ancestors for their freedom and to remain united as they have been despite all the machinations of the established political parties to divide them on the basis of religion, language, tribe, etc.
In Thane, Maharashtra, International Women’s Day was celebrated under the banner of Lok Raj Sangathan, Purogami Mahila Sangathan and Vignyaharta Mahila Mandal. It was attended by women, youth and children.The origin of International Women’s Day was presented by LRS activists that highlighted the role of women in struggle. Women had fought down the ages for their rights as workers, as equal members of the polity and against imperialist war. The participants in the meeting were mostly domestic workers living and working in very poor conditions but determined to organize themselves to fight for their rights
In Sanjay Colony in Delhi, the women and children came out in large numbers to participate in the International Women’s Day celebrations. Under a banner highlighting the slogan “Mahila Mukti ka rasta, apne haath mein satta” (Political power in our hands in the road to our liberation), the activists of Purogami Mahila Sangathan and the local Lok Raj Samiti presented a colouful programme of games for the women, skits, dance and songs. Renu Nayak of Purogami Mahila Sangathan (PMS) gave a stirring call to the women of the area to come together to resolutely fight for their basic rights and to end this socio-economic system that has so severely marginalized them that they are deprived of even the most basic facilities. Instead of getting fooled by this or that politician who offers them some sops, she said we should reject these frauds who claim to work for the “welfare” of women and get organized in our Samiti as the only way to empowerment.