(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
September 26, 2010
Mahila Samiti (JMS), an affiliate of All India Democratic
Association (AIDWA), held its tenth state conference in
Ambedkar Bhawan in the Jhandewalan
The conference started with flag hoisting, salute to the martyrs and adoption of a condolence resolution in memory of Comrades Kalindi Deshpande and Shanti Bua of the JMS, Comrade Jyoti Basu and all those who lost their lives in the course of the democratic movement.
The presidium consisted of JMS president Sonia Verma and the vice presidents.
AIDWA president Subhashini Ali inaugurated the conference. Greeting the delegates, she spoke about the government’s vacillation regarding the passage of women’s reservation bill in parliament. She also pointed out the lacunae in the laws relating to women.
Anusha Rizvi, director of the feature film Peepli Live, was the guest of honour during the inaugural ceremony.
On this occasion, JMS brought out a souvenir, which was released by AIDWA general secretary Sudha Sundararaman.
JMS general secretary, Sehba Farooqi, placed the report that noted with concern the increasing violence on women in Delhi and the near collapsing public distribution system. The report also emphasised the need to strengthen the organisation by focussing on strengthening the secretariat, the state committee and the district committees, and on expanding the membership base, expanding our work among the Muslim and dalit women, and developing young activists.
When the delegates spoke, most of the discussion centred on the dismal public distribution system, spiralling rise in prices of all commodities, increasing violence on women, and local issues in the colonies. They also expressed the need to build the organisation at all levels.
The conference adopted resolutions demanding 33 per cent reservation for women in parliament and state assemblies, thorough curbs on price rise, action against increasing violence on women, and in support of home-based women workers.
commissions were set
up to discuss the issues in depth --- one on the public distribution
Public Distribution System (PDS): With prices spiralling sky high, the question of food security has become the most important issue for our people. Everyone of the delegates who were part of this commission wanted to speak on PDS --- the issues and problems --- whether it was about the difficulty in procuring a ration card, the dwindling number of fair price shops, corruption or inadequate supply of grains. All of them were against the targeted PDS and demanded universalisation of PDS --- no APL and no BPL but ration for all.
Self-Help Groups, delegates spoke about the need to strengthen the
relationship. There was emphasis on expanding the Himmat base in
for Mission Convergence, the
The delegation was a mix of new and old membership; there were 65 delegates who have joined the organisation in the last six years. There were very old associations too --- one delegate, the outgoing vice president Ashalata, was in the organising committee of JMS 30 years back and two delegates had attended all the JMS conferences since its inception.
About a third (57) of the delegates were office bearers at the unit level.
While many delegates (63) were working class women, there were 24 middle class women too.
Most of the delegates (113) were between 31 and 60 years of age. The youngest delegate, Shalu, was a 15 year old girl from Jahangirpuri and the oldest was the JMS vice president Jamila (73) from Mongolpuri.
There were four scholar delegates (who had PhD degrees) and many who were graduates. There were, however, 26 delegates who were non-literate. While this was an issue of concern, the number was less than in the last conference which had 73 non-literate delegates.
The conference also had an artiste (an actor) among the delegates.
More than half of the delegates (88) were married.
There were 19 Muslims, one Buddhist, 36 SC and 32 OBC delegates.
There were five delegates who had only one child that was a girl.
organisations greeted the conference: Mohanlal from CITU, Puranchand
and Roshan from SFI. Representatives of several women’s organisations
There were lively songs and dance presented by the delegates every night and in all the breaks. On the second day, feature film Peepli Live was shown, which the delegates enjoyed watching.
Following are some of the future tasks the conference has set for the organisation:
Strengthening all the committees – unit, district, state and the secretariat.
Intensifying the membership drive.
Focussing on training activists.
Developing young activists.
Expanding membership among the minorities, dalits and other backward sections.
Campaigning for PDS and for the rights of home-based women workers.
This time the conference elected more compact committees --- a 37-member state committee (as against 45 in the last conference) and a 13-member secretariat. Re-elected were Sehba Farooqui as general secretary, Sonia Verma as president and Anjana as treasurer. Asha Sharma was elected working president.
While delivering the valedictory address, Sudha Sundararaman emphasised the need to strengthen the organisation. She said the JMS needs to reach out to women in the universities and expand among the working women.