People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 19, 2006
Saga Of 25 Years Of Struggle
Papa Umanath releasing a booklet listing some of the important AIDWA-led campaigns on various issues
THE 25th anniversary of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), which has the distinction of being the largest women’s organisation in the country with a membership of more than 90 lakh in 22 states, was celebrated on March 12, 2006 on the V P House lawns.
After hoisting the AIDWA flag, president Subashini Ali paid homage to the many martyrs of the organisation who laid down their lives in the struggle against terrorism, against anti-national separatists, against landlords and capitalists goons and in the course of struggles to improve the lives of poor women and their families. Their struggles and their sacrifices have inspired the innumerable leaders and activists of the organisation all over the country.
AIDWA founders, Papa Umanath, a veteran of militant working class movements
before and after independence who spent many of her youthful years in prison and
has been in the forefront of the women’s movement for decades and Mallu
Swarajyam, a heroine of the pre-Independence Telengana armed peasants struggle
and an indefatigable fighter for the rights of women and of the poor were
present on this occasion. Pappa Umanath released a small booklet, brought out
especially for the occasion, listing some of the important AIDWA-led campaigns
on issues like food, water, employment and land. She presented the first copy to
Dr Vina Mazumdar, one of the pioneers of the Women’s Studies movement in the
country who had inaugurated the founding conference of AIDWA in Chennai,
Tamilnadu in March 1981.
from the national women’s organisations with whom AIDWA has a long and rich
history of co-operation – Jyotsna Chatterjee (JWP), Mary Khemchand (YWCA),
Primila Loomba (NFIW), Suman Krishnakant (MDS), and Syeeda Hamid (Muslim
Women’s Forum) – extended their greetings on the occasion. Representatives
of CITU, AIKS, AIAWU, DYFI and SFI greeted AIDWA on this happy occasion.
Karat, who was a most inspiring and path-breaking general secretary of AIDWA for
several years and who is now its vice-president and MP, gave a stirring key note
address highlighting AIDWA’s understanding of the women’s question and of
the challenges that would have to be addressed in the future. She emphasised
the great need for joint actions in the face of the assault of
imperialist globalisation and the renewed danger of communalism and the
multi-dimensional violence that they engender. She assured the meeting that
AIDWA would take all steps that were necessary for this.
the well-known street-theatre group, staged a play “Aurat” which depicts the
inequalities and exploitation faced by women in different stages of their lives
and demonstrates that collective and organised struggle is the only way to
Sundararaman, general secretary of AIDWA, reiterated AIDWA’s commitment to
challenging the status quo, and
fighting for justice with interventions at various levels. She thanked all those
who had come to the meeting for their participation and support. The meeting
ended with a group song performed by the group Parcham. (INN)