People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

Vol. XXX

No. 37

September 10, 2006

CITU Literacy Drive Gathers Momentum


BENGAL CITU decided in its council meeting held at Bishnupur that no member of any workers’ union affiliated to the CITU would remain bereft of functional literacy. The basic aim of the CITU is to spread at least functional literacy among the workers.


The drive received a boost recently when a Hindi literacy camp was started under the aegis of the Port and Shore Mazdoor Union at the Kolkata. Biman Basu, secretary of the Bengal unit of the CPI(M) and working president of the Bangiya Sakhsarata Prasar Samity inaugurated the camp. Dr M K Pandhe, president of CITU, sent in his felicitations to the union. 


Present on the occasion were Bengal CITU president Shyamal Chakraborty, CITU state general secretary Kali Ghosh, and Port and Shore Mazdoor Union leaders Hemlal Chatterjee and Subhas Chakraborty.


Biman Basu drew examples from history and said that both Lenin and Ho Chi Minh emphasised literacy among the toiling masses in particular. Biman Basu exhorted upon the TU workers to take part in the literacy movement going on in Bengal.


After the November Revolution, Lenin asked the Party and the mass organisations to organise night schools across the country. Ho ran literacy centres and Party schools even while war was raging in the peninsula. 


Biman Basu pointed out that the literacy drive initiated by the CITU was always very welcome to literacy activists in particular because one ought never to forget that nearly 1.73 crore of the population of the Bengal yet remained bereft of literacy. 


The CPI(M) leader was very critical of the UPA union government for not bothering to increase the 3 per cent budgetary allocation for education: the rate should be at least 10 per cent said Biman Basu. 


Shyamal Chakraborty elaborated on the four-point programme that the Bengal CITU undertook from its Bishnupur council meeting. He said that the programmes included:


Of the social awareness programmes thus far undertaken, the organisational aspects were being taken care of by the unions and by the CITU centrally and districtwise. Health camps have started to run across the state. AIDS awareness programmes are especially but exclusively focussed on TUs associated with transport workers, seamen, and construction workers. Training programmes were going on.


As far as functional literacy was concerned, said the CITU leader, the emphasis was on mobilisation of local resources by the unions. In addition, the CITU in its central functioning chipped in with infrastructure and expertise. The state centre of the CITU and the district units, and the unions affiliated to CITU have started to set up and run literacy centres, often in buildings of school that had no classes during the evening.


Shyamal Chakraborty pointed out that literacy camps would be run in languages like Bengali, Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, and Telugu. Help would be solicited from the Bangiya Sakhsarata Prasar Samity for knowledge base and training.


Kali Ghosh said that social reform movement was a part of the class struggle. The exploiting classes and the scions of the ruling classes would always seek to keep the population devoid of literacy for their own class interests. This was the reason the CITU had taken up the literacy movement among workers and their families in a big way. (BP)