People's Democracy

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


No. 11

March 14, 2010



Stressing Decisive Struggles with Proper Planning


Akhil Vikalp


ON January 21 and 22, the Students Federation of India held its 12th Uttar Pradesh state conference in Hadi Hall Auditorium at Pratapgarh. The venue was named in memory of the SFI�s former all-India general secretary and minister in the Left Front government of West Bengal, Comrade Subhas Chakraborty. The stage was named in honour of regional progressive poet Raghuvir Singh �Sahay.�

A total of 99 delegates from 9 districts, including the state committee members, participated in the conference. Before the conference, a procession came out from the auditorium to the Bhagat Singh statue at Bhagva Chungi. Hundreds of students from Pratapgarh joined the march. The route of the march covered the main academic centre of the city, the MDPG College, where the SFI has a strong unit. When the SFI�s all-India joint secretary, G Selva, garlanded the statue of Bhagat Singh, the students shouted slogans against commercialization of education and for carrying forward the revolutionary tradition of Shaheed Bhagat Singh.

After the flag hosting by G Selva, former JNU students union president Dhananjay Tripathi, former leaders of the SFI, leaders of the fraternal organisations and delegates paid floral tributes on the Shaheed Vedi in the memory of martyrs.

In his inaugural speech, Dhananjay Tripathi said the neo-liberal policies of the present UPA government and the preceding governments have created two countries in a single one. On the one hand we have the 'Shining� India, the beneficiaries of the neo-liberal policies. The number of billionaires is increasing. The other is the vast Suffering India whose reflection could be seen in the Arjun Sengupta's report which tells us that more than three-fourths of India is not able to earn more than 20 rupees in a complete day. He said due to the sharp decline in opportunities in education, employment and social security, indivisualism has engulfed the youth of our country, especially in the Hindi speaking belt where democratic movements are weak. In such circumstances, working in the SFI is a difficult task but the gathering and the enthusiasm of the students and delegates prove that students have taken the challenge to build a vigorous movement. He expressed the hope that the conference would give a new dimension to the student movement.

Reception committee chairman and trade union leader V P Tripathi welcomed the delegates and the guest on behalf of this committee.

A presidium conducted the delegates session; it comprised state SFI president Abhishek Tiwari, state vice president Shashank Pandey and state secretariat member Neetu Rawat. State secretary Radheshyam Verma placed the report covering the 23 months since the last state conference. The report highlighted the importance of organising local and decisive struggles with proper planning. As examples, he quoted the agitations on issues like the mid-day meal, scholarship and dalit hostels. After proper district level surveys, a state convention on these issues was conducted on November 27, 2009. It chalked out a concrete demands charter and the SFI began a campaign, observing December 22, 2009 as the Demands Day. The state government had to accept two of the demands. For every 25 students, one cook with a monthly salary of Rs 1,000 has been appointed now and there was an increase of 40 paise as the conversion cost. He congratulated the delegates on the victory and underlined the necessity to carry forward such agitations. However, he also criticised the lack of a campaign before and more so after the acceptance of the demands, by way of self-criticism.

As many as 21 delegates participated in the discussion on the report; these included three intermediate students and one girl student. The delegates shared their experiences and demanded more literature, among other things.

The conference expressed serious concern over the poor attendance of girl students. Only four girls including two state committee members were present. The conference also underlined the poor attendance of dalit students and minority students. To struggle for social justice, to fight against the communal, casteist and gender discrimination, and to bring more and more students from the minority, dalit and girl sections into the organisation and in leadership --- these are the guidelines for the organisation in the days to come.

The conference underlined the greater proportion of young students among the delegates. Students of the age group 15 to 20 formed more than half of the delegation. More than 80 per cent of the delegates were from the intermediate and graduation classes; 15 delegates were from the intermediate colleges. This was underlined as a positive trend in the organisation. However, the conference was not able to fill a vacant seat in state committee, meant for an intermediate college student.

After the reply back and inclusion of several points in the report, it was accepted by a majority of votes.

The conference elected a new state committee of 17 members, leaving vacant one seat for a girl student and another for an intermediate student. The new state committee elected Shashank Pandey as president, Akhil Vikalp as secretary, Neetu Rawat and Vikas Swarup as vice presidents and Ram Krishna Misra and Dinesh Tiwari as joint secretaries.

State DYFI president Dharmendra Yadav addressed the conference, stressing the need of mobilising students and youth on the demand of guarantee of education and employment. Former SFI state secretary and state committee member of the All India Kisan Sabha, Prem Nath Rai, also greeted the conference and talked about the agrarian crisis prevailing in India. He asked the students to make people aware about the neo-liberal policies which have created this crisis.

The conference relieved the SFI state committee members Kusum Mishra, Manvendra Vikram Singh, Ram Sajeevan, state joint secretary Piyush Mishra, state president Abhishek Tiwari and state secretary Radheshyam Verma. All of them were given a memento as a token of respect for their contribution to the organisation. In the farewell session, all of them said they had become a part of the student movement by joining the SFI and that now they were going to be a part of the democratic revolutionary movement for Independence, Democracy and Socialism --- the slogans of the SFI. As such, they still are very much with the SFI. They also said that the years which they had spent as SFI activists were the most glorious and memorable part of their life.

In his concluding speech, G Selva, observer from the all-India centre of the ASFI, emphasised the need of proper planning for organisation building. He underlined the need of forging the democratic movement ahead in Uttar Pradesh. He said big hidden potential could be seen in the activists present in the conference and that proper planning would go along way to forge a movement. He said Dr B R Ambedkar had given the slogan "Be Educated, Be United and Struggle," but Ms Mayawati was busy in building statues and parks and in spending money but her spending spree is not dalit hostels. The plight of the existing dalit hostels was lamentable. Ms Mayawati is not spending money on education while the SFI is continuously fighting for education to all. Thus it is not Ms Mayawati but the SFI which is carrying Dr Ambedkar�s struggle forward. He said this picture must be shown to dalit students to protect them from falling prey to the casteist forces. He said while the media are singing paeans of Rahul Gandhi as being the leader of dalits and the poor, he is a leader of the Congress which is pursuing anti-poor policies. The credit for the recent price escalations and starvation deaths goes to Rahul Gandhi and his Congress party. He emphasised on linking the local issues to the policy issues in order to politicise the students community. He congratulated the delegates for their healthy discussion and successful conference.

The newly elected state committee thanked the SFI district committee of Pratapgarh for its dedicated and hard work in the bitterly cold season.

Various committees were formed for proper conduct of the conference, like the funds committee with Pawan as convenor, campaign committee with Dinesh as convenor, decoration committee with Ashwani as convenor, lodging committee with Kapil as convenor, food committee with Shashwat as convenor and cultural committee with Nripendra as convenor.

The conference ended in a joyful and enthusiastic atmosphere with collective singing of the Youth International and the song "We shall Overcome!"