Lok Raj Sangathan has been actively organizing and mobilizing among its members and friends, among the activists in the Lok Raj Samitis in different areas and among the people in these communities, to participate in these programs to mark the centenary of International Women’s Day.

This year being the centenary of the declaration of International Women’s Day, Lok Raj Sangathan, together with other organizations, is organizing many programs to mark the event. Women from different walks of life – domestic workers, women from the slums who daily battle the odds of lack of water, sanitation and basic amenities, teachers, doctors and other professionals, school and college students, young working women – are all expected to participate in large numbers in these programs.

Lok Raj Sangathan has been actively organizing and mobilizing among its members and friends, among the activists in the Lok Raj Samitis in different areas and among the people in these communities, to participate in these programs to mark the centenary of International Women’s Day.

In Mumbai, since the last week of February, in the Worli BDD chawls, some interesting programs have been organized to draw out the women and girls of the community. Competitive games such as ‘memory competition’ and ‘balancing race’ were organized in the grounds among the chawl buildings, in which many women took part.

A huge celebration is planned for March 7, at 6:30 p.m. in the Ambedkar Maidan opposite BDD Chawl in Mumbai. A cultural program – in five languages, Marathi, Hindi, English, Gujarati and Telugu – is being prepared. Winners of the games will be awarded prizes. Representatives of the participating organizations – Purogami Mahila Sangathan, Lok Raj Sangathan, Kamgar Ekta Chalwal, Ladaku Garment Mazdoor Sangh, Jagrut Ghar Kamgar Sangathan and Communist Ghadar Party of India – have been invited to address the gathering.

In Delhi, women and girls in the resettlement colony at Madanpur Khadar Vistaar in South East Delhi have been coming together in groups to discuss the manifold problems women in India face today, particularly poor women from the working class. Under the guidance of Purogami Mahila Sangathan and LRS, these women are working on a cultural program through which they aim to draw the attention of the people to the oppression of women and the need for women and men to fight shoulder to shoulder to end this oppression.

On March 28, women in the Madanpur Khadar Vistaar area are planning a big political-cultural event to mark 100 years of International Women’s Day. Purogami Mahila Sangathan, Lok Raj Sangathan, Hind Naujawan Ekta Sabha, Lok Raj Samiti Madanpur Khadar Vistaar, Mazdoor Ekta Committee and Communist Ghadar Party of India are among the participating organizations.

Women in Sanjay Colony, Indira Camp, Transit Camp, New Sanjay Camp, Giri Nagar and other slum colonies of the Okhla-Kalkaji-Govindpuri area of South Delhi got together on February 21 to try and understand the source of the oppression of women and how this oppression can be ended. In these discussions organized by Purogami Mahila Sangathan, activists of LRS played an active role. Many of the women who took part in these discussions are active fighters in the Lok Raj Samitis of their own areas. They are leading the struggle in their areas for ration cards for the residents, for toilets and basic civic amenities as well as against price rise.

College and school girls as well as young working girls in Shashi Garden, a resettlement colony in East Delhi, are animatedly discussing the issues of exploitation and harassment of women and the need for united struggle. They are working on a short skit to explain these issues. These actions are being guided by Lok Raj Sangathan.

Throughout the last one year and more, nearly 30 organisations as well as many individuals have come together under the banner of ‘Centenary Committee to celebrate International Women’s Day’. The Centenary Committee has been holding press conferences, seminars, discussions, demonstrations and rallies in various parts of Delhi, to highlight the oppression of women and bring women and men together to raise their voice against this. In August 2009, a power point presentation and discussion was organized on the ‘marginalization of women in the present political process’, while in September 2009, the issue of ‘economic and political systems that engender the exploitation of women’ was hotly debated in a day long program held at Delhi University. Women from many parts of the country, such as Orissa and Chhattisgarh  came up to describe the horrible atrocities they face every day. Discussion meetings were also organized in Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Milia Islamia University. In July last year, following the brutal rape and killing of two women by the armed forces in Shopian, Kashmir, the Centenary Committee held a militant demonstration at the Jammu and Kashmir state headquarters in Delhi and demanded an impartial inquiry into the incident as well as strict punishment for the guilty. The Centenary Committee has been organising street corner dharnas with banners and posters, in different parts of Delhi, denouncing the harassment of women and crimes against women in the city.

Under the banner of the Centenary Committee, a demonstration is being organized on March 8 in Delhi, from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar. At the rally planned at the culmination of the demonstration, representatives of the participating organizations will address the issues of price rise and food security, health care, rights and opportunities for women, violence on women including state organized repression of women, marginalization of women under the present political process and the road to empowerment of women. Women from different areas will also be performing songs and street plays. Purogami Mahila Sangathan and Lok Raj Sangathan are actively participating in this program.

To discuss the source of oppression of women and how the struggle for ending this oppression is also the struggle for Lok Raj, a meeting has been planned for April 11, at the Indian Social Institute in Delhi. Purogami Mahila Sangathan, Lok Raj Sangathan and Communist Ghadar Party of India are the main organizers of this event, in which hundreds of working women and girls are expected to participate and highlight their experiences and struggles.

Sucharita

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