The Maharashtra Council of Lok Raj Sangathan decided to organize a series of programs in different places this year to celebrate International Women’s Day. The emancipation of women is possible only in a society where there is Lok Raj – i.e. where sovereign power is in the hands of the people, women as well as men. The first program was organized on 5th March in a housing complex in Bhivandi.More than a hundred men and women participated in this meeting.Members of Lok Raj Sangathan (LRS) from Matkyacha Pada – a village near Bhivandi, also participated. This was the first time that such a program was being organized in this complex, and the organizing committee, consisting primarily of home makers, spent many days meeting, planning and practicing for the event. Several young men also came forward and readily helped with all the arrangements. The program started with a beautiful group song rendered by the “Nari-Shakti” group. This group is of the women resident in the complex.This was followed by an audio visual presentation, “Towards the Emancipation of Women” that was prepared by a team of LRS including a large number of young members. It started with a video that presented the crux of the question and grabbed everyone’s attention. This was followed by some statistics on how poor the condition of women in India is today in terms of nutrition, safety, maternal mortality rate, literacy, etc. even after over 65 years of Independence. A young mother from Matkyacha Pada presented a touching song about the harassment that women face over the issue of dowry. It had been composed by her along with her friends. Is it natural for the women to be secondary citizens? No! The presentation went on to explain the importance that women had during primitive times all over the world. The status of women got demeaned when, with the development of productivity, private property arose and the society was divided into classes. Examples of women participating in movements, particularly in the freedom struggle against the British, inspired the audience. This part was presented very passionately by one of the young men of LRS. The second part pointed out that though women today are oppressed all over the world, men are not the source of the oppression. The vast majority of men themselves are exploited and oppressed. It was explained that this is because people as a whole are marginalized from power, which is concentrated in very few hands. Women all over the world including from our country have always raised powerful voices against problems faced by society as a whole as well as those that are specific to women. This was illustrated with many examples from India’s glorious past, including the Bhakti movement, as well as from the present.Today, women are a powerful contingent fighting against war, against black laws in our country and abroad as well as against army rule, against unjust economic policies as well as against violence and other social evils. A famous poem, “The Mill Mother's Lament” was read aloud and translated. This was applauded not only by the women but also by the men in the crowd. The meaning of International Women’s Day is grossly distorted today. The presentation talked about the history of this Day, stressing that it is meant to commemorate the struggle of women fighting for equality, as well as to end all forms of exploitation and oppression. The presentation also talked about the development in the status of women in the USSR and made the point that it was possiblebecause the complete strength of the socialist state was in the direction of people's empowerment. The first two sections concluded by bringing into focus the fact that the current system,and not men,is the basisfor the exploitation of women today. In the third section the need for Lok Raj, was explained. It is only after prolonged and difficult struggles that several laws are passed in favour of women. However, these remain largely on paper, because there is no adequate machinery for their enforcement. Reservation for women in legislative bodies is an issue that is widely talked about. It was pointed out that this is no solution, because those elected are not answerable to the people. Further, we have had several Chief Ministers, as well as a Prime Minister and President who were women. But that did not improve the condition of women! Besides, why is the condition of men so bad despite having so many men in legislative bodies? Questions like what is LRS, how does it function, the principles of LRS and how LRS has been participating in movements and spreading its understanding were talked about. The program ended with songs by the 'Nari-Shakti' group. All who participated in the program were inspired and enthused and determined to participate in the struggle for Lok Raj.