International Women's Day was celebrated in the resettlement colony of Madanpur Khadar located in the eastern part of Delhi on 31st March 2012. The meeting was jointly organised by the Purogami Mahila Sangathan (PMS) and the Lok Raj Sangathan (LRS). The participants included housewives, boy and girl students of schools and colleges, young men and women and political activists. The meeting commenced with a presentation by PMS on the historical struggle by working women for their rights.
In the presentation made by PMS, Renu explained that 100 years ago women of the United States and other parts of the world came out in struggle demanding their rights. Their demands were for definite hours of work, decent wages, and equal pay for equal work, crèche facilities at the place of work and right to vote in elections. Winning the right to vote for women throughout the globe was a significant outcome of this struggle. Women played a very important role in the Russian revolution too. Girls and students listened to the presentation with great concentration and appreciated the content.
Dharmendra Kumar addressed the meeting on behalf of the LRS. He said that our country was a democracy only for the capitalists. The government only listened to them and made laws to benefit only this class. People of the whole country are suffering due to high prices but the government is trying to eliminate subsidy on food by saying that it does not have the necessary funds. At the same time, the government readily gives out lakhs of crore rupees in the name of bail-out packages to bring the capitalists out of the crisis. However, the government pretends as if it is working to benefit all. He explained how the task of the main political parties like the Congress Party and the BJP is to fool the people and carry out the work of the capitalists in the name of democracy.
He further explained that the representatives we elect are representatives of parties and not of the people. After winning the election, they are answerable to their party and not to the people. We have to change the system so that we can select who stands in the elections from our midst. Only then we will be able to effectively exercise the power to recall representatives who do not work for their constituencies. We will have to demand that the elected representatives make a periodic report to us of their work and of the income and expenditure. This way people will be informed about what work is going on. For this we will have to make people's committees among the workers, peasants, and youth and in residential colonies. Only then is it possible for us to take political power in our hands. We cannot expect any change in our conditions for the better merely by voting once every five years.
Poonam from the PMS addressed the meeting and said that the Delhi government was playing a cruel joke in the name of women's empowerment. It is like a drop in the ocean of needs of the people. Even this is not really available to the needy. If you are entitled for some subsidy, then various certificates are required which most people don’t even have. She concluded that only by getting organised can we hope to solve our problems.
Comrade Lokesh of the Lok Raj Samiti of Sanjay Colony, Delhi said that the government is the least bit interested in making ration, water supply etc. available to the people. People have to wait for hours for the tanker of water and even then they do not get clean water. The government is winding down the rationing system. Many people do not even ration cards. Those who have ration cards have been divided into APL, BPL and Antyodaya. He reminded the people that hundreds of ration cards have been allotted thanks to the struggle led by LRS. He appealed to the people to accelerate the task of building Lok Raj Samitis.
Giving the concluding speech, Comrade Santosh said that women's day is a matter of great pride for the women of the world. The right of women to vote was due to a lot of sacrifices made by women 100 years ago. Their struggle was for improving their economic condition and social security and to take the reins of their destiny in their own hands. In actuality, it is the struggle of men and women to build a socialist society.
The meeting ended with a song that talked about the impending change in conditions of people as reflected by the changing hues of the sky.