People's Democracy

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


No. 37

September 11, 2011



AIDWA State Conference Calls For

Intensifying Struggles

U Vasuki

THE 13th state conference of the Tamilnadu unit of the All India Democratic Women’s Association held in Tirupur on August 20-22, got to a rousing start with tributes offered to the departed leaders who guided and nurtured the movement. Earlier, the flag brought from Ponmalai in memory of the founder general secretary Papa Umanath and the torches in memory of founder president K P Janakiamma, Leelavathy, Kasthuri, Shazadi and Veerammal from Madurai rural, Madurai urban, Theni, Cuddalore and Coimbatore districts respectively were handed over to the senior leaders of the organisation amidst thunderous slogans from more than 500 delegates who arrived from all corners of the state. The white flag of the AIDWA was hoisted by our veteran leader Mythily Sivaraman.


Bright digital boards depicting women in work were erected in many places. This was the first conference being held without our great leader, Amma Papa Umanath. But we could see her on the badge, banner etc and felt her in the whole conduct of the conference. After saluting at the martyrs’ column and passing the condolence resolution, Professor Manonmani, as the chairperson of the reception committee welcomed everybody to the city of Tirupur which has witnessed many class struggles and recalled the sacrifice of the great freedom fighter Tirupur Kumaran. The presidium consisted of Amirtham, Mallika, Rani, Angulakshmi and Khursheed Begum. Despite the ensuing Ramzan, 13 delegates from minority community took part in the conference. While inaugurating the conference, AIDWA national vice president Subhashini Ali came down heavily on the neo liberal policies that are burdening the common people, especially women. She explained how retrograde practices like dowry benefits trade and business and ends up being promoted.




In the inaugural session, Gomathi who was jailed for fighting for statutory wages under the MGNREGA, Latha, ex-MLA who faced police brutality in which her uterus got ruptured since she had dared to lead the dalits into a temple, Kalaivani, a plus one student from an agricultural worker’s family, who scored high marks in tenth class with the help of our KPJ Trust and Murugalakshmi, a single woman driven towards suicide six times but ultimately stood up, Palaniammal who was ostracised by the khap panchayat for approaching the protection officer under Domestic Violence act  were felicitated. In their speech, all of them referred to the AIDWA as a pillar of strength in the time of crisis. Fathima, a young girl with disability touched the hearts of the delegates by sharing how she met the challenges and directed a film Ma. Film director S P Jananathan also was facilitated for his film Peranmai which portrays women as strong persons who fight for the nation. He said that he considered this felicitation as the highest award.


A photo exhibition  tracing the growth and struggles of the AIDWA in the state was put up. Comrade Papa’s rousing speech was brought out in a CD which was released by general secretary Sudha and received by D Chandra and Gomathi. All the 2000 copies were immediately sold out.


Representatives from the AIAWU and NFIW greeted the conference. Poet Sugirdha Rani spoke powerfully on the issues faced by women on the basis of gender and caste and narrated how she, as a person belonging to scheduled caste, was discriminated in the school both as a student and as a teacher. She pledged her support to the AIDWA and expressed her desire to be addressed as a comrade and not as a poet.




The political, work and organizational reports were placed by general secretary U Vasuki and accounts by treasurer Jhansi Rani.  67 delegates participated in the deliberations for six and half hours. The level of the discussion was good and it covered all aspects. Group discussions were held on the issues of migrant workers, media being used as a political weapon, health in the neo liberal framework, child sex ratio, absence of law on victim protection, honour crimes and micro finance institutions.


Mythily Sivaraman, patron, AIDWA was present despite her illness. A brief session was held recalling her role in the growth of both the AIDWA and the Working Women’s Co-ordination Committee. Her contribution in making AIDWA a multi faceted movement, her stress on its independent functioning and scores of many other things were appreciated. In her usual inimitable style, Mythily brushed aside the accolades and promised to continue to work for AIDWA.


National vice president Jagmathi shared her experience in dealing with honour crimes. Sudha Sundararaman, general secretary, AIDWA, in her concluding address, appreciated the pioneering role played by Tamilnadu unit of AIDWA on many issues but pointed out the need to increase membership and improve mobilisation. The conference elected an 85 member state committee which in turn elected a 25 member secretariat. N Amirtham has been re-elected as the president, P Suganthi and R Brinda were elected as  general secretary and treasurer unanimously.




The credential report brought out many important dimensions of the delegates. 39 per cent have come from less than 40 age group. If we see the social background, 26 per cent belong to dalit community and more than 50 per cent come from most backward and backward communities. Out of 515 delegates who submitted the forms, 13 Muslims and 38 Christians are included. 65 have stated that they have no religion. Regarding the class background, 50 per cent have come from working class, 26 per cent from peasantry and agricultural workers and 17 per cent belong to middle class. 280 delegates did not give dowry during their marriage. 57 delegates have stated that they are not in favour of self choice marriage, which is bad! On sharing household work, 419 delegates answered in affirmative. In 158 households, husband does the sharing, in 176 families children help out and in 85 families others pitch in.




The conference gave a call for picketing in front of central government offices against the fraudulent BPL census on September 16 and for observing November 25– International day against violence – as the day for protecting girls from harassment in educational institutions.


An impressive rally and public meeting were later held  and thousands of women from across the state participated. The conference was a resounding success in many ways and the delegates have pledged to intensify and carry forward the tradition of struggle in the coming days.


We are rivers of ideals

We neither stagnate  nor flow backwards

Progress is the only way