People's Democracy

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


No. 42

October 20, 2013






AIDWA State Conference Concludes with Determination


Madhu Garg


THE All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) held its ninth Uttar Pradesh state conference from September 5 to 7, started with the ceremony of flag hoisting by the AIDWA’s national vice president, Subhashini Ali, amid thundering slogans, while the presence of the AIDWA’s patron, Brinda Karat, on the occasion ignited the revolutionary spirit among women. The flying of an AIDWA banner along with a hundred balloons conveyed the resounding message that the organisation would continue its struggle for equality and emancipation from the ground through the heights of sky. To convey her greetings to the conference, Delhi state secretary of AIDWA, Sehba Farooqi also attended the event.




The conference hall was artistically decorated with posters and banners, sketches and progressive poems. The inaugural session began with the presentation of revolutionary songs by popular singer of democratic songs, Atamjeet Singh. The hall having a capacity of one thousand was overcrowded as Subhashini Ali, in her inaugural address, appealed for an expansion and strengthening of the democratic movement. She emphasised that as the state of Uttar Pradesh is the largest state of India and as it sends 80 members to Lok Sabha, any fundamental change can be brought about in the country only by strengthening the democratic movement in the state.


While speaking on the deteriorating situation in the state, she underlined that the graph of violence against women is continuously moving upwards. It is a matter of grave concern that within a period of one year about 24 thousand cases of violence against women have been lodged. Slamming the popularly named schemes of the state government, she said that several slack schemes are being run with the changed names by the state government but the basic need of availability of cheap foodgrains is being ignored. It is despite the fact that several state governments are providing cheap ration funded from their own budgets. She further said that the political scenario in UP is getting dominated by the identity politics which is breaking the unity of masses and that organisations like the AIDWA have to identify the real issues of masses and bring common people in the struggle.  It is only then that the larger unity of masses can be realised.


Remembering the heritage of AIDWA’s founder member and valorous captain of Azad Hind Fauz, Captain Laxmi Sahgal, the AIDWA patron, Brinda Karat said that had she been alive today, she would have been be very happy to witness the evolution of her heritage of struggle. Putting women’s movement in a larger perspective, Brinda Karat said that the movement can bring a change for betterment in the lives of common women only when the women belonging to all classes and communities come together and struggle in unison. Strongly condemning the sexual violence against a minor girl by Aasaram, she came down heavily up on the Vishwa Hindu Parishad for supporting the self-proclaimed godman. She said that protecting criminals in the name of religion is a very dangerous signal.


Referring to the recent amendments in criminal law, wherein the offences committed by police or government officers have been considered to be more serious and harsher penalties have been provided against such offenders, she demanded that the people who call themselves god and breach the trust of innocent followers should be punished with double penalty for committing such heinous crimes. Flaying the Vishwa Hindu Parishad for dividing the people, Brinda Karat said these people misuse religion to get into power and promote their vested interests. As the general elections are nearing, they have started their well known theatrics by organising an 84 kosi parikrama, even though it is against the parikrama tradition. She blamed the government for not utilising the Nirbhaya fund declared by the central government. She appealed to the UP state committee of AIDWA to work for expansion and deepening of their movement.




The second session of the conference was the struggle session when four persons of the state were honoured. Despite adverse circumstances, these fighters emerged victorious through their struggles and are still continuing to fight. First among them was Arunima Sinha from Azamgarh district, who made a record for climbing up the highest peak of the world, Mount Everest, with her amputated leg. Arunima was a national volleyball player and two years ago she was thrown away from a running train while resisting eve-teasing by rouges. Arunima thus lost one of her legs while the other leg was fixed with a rod. But she had to suffer much more when police and administration blamed her and even declined to accept her as a national level player. It was then that she decided to prove herself by making an extraordinary record. She showed her spirit to the world on May 21, 2013 by winning over the highest peak. Arunima delivered a very inspiring speech on this occasion and shared the ups and downs of her struggle.  


Mahvish from Bulandshahar district was the second person to be honoured. Her husband, Abdul Haqim was, murdered in the name of family honour in last November. He was given death penalty by the inglorious village panchayat for opting for a love marriage. Mahvish received a compensation of Rs four lakh after the AIDWA built up pressure over the state government. She is still living under a threat to life. However, along with her in-laws, she is facing the situation very bravely. Mahvish came to participate in the conference with two little daughters. They narrated their pain and agony before the conference. 


The father of the gang rape survivor of infamous Ashiyana case was honoured for his courage and fighting spirit. The five out of six accused in the case have already been convicted but the sixth one is still left. The father is a poor kabari (junk trader) whereas the accused is nephew of an ex-MLC of the Samajvadi Party as well as ill-known mafia with a lot of muscle and money power. Still he could not break the courage of the survivor’s family. They were honoured for their courage and determination.


Sakshi, belonging to Kanpur, was sexually assaulted by way of deception by a police officer two years ago. She came on the dais to share her struggle. She said a survivor should not hide her name and face. Rather she should come out in open and fight for justice as she has not committed any wrong. Sakshi was honoured for her grit and resolve.


The struggle session, which was highly inspiring and motivating, was followed by a cultural event of one hour. In the event, along with democratic songs, a dance composition on a revolutionary poem and a skit with the central message against female infanticide were presented. The cultural event was conceived, composed and presented by the students of Shia P G College.




The delegates session was greeted by Sahba Farooqi, Delhi state secretary of AIDWA. Leaders of several fraternal organisations wished the success of the conference and the democratic women’s movement. Dina Nath from Kisan Sabha, R S Bajpai from CITU, Dharmendra Yadav from DYFI and Akhil Vikalp from SFI greeted the conference.


The conference was attended by 180 delegates from 15 districts. Out of these, 31 delegates participated in the debate over the report presented by state secretary. The debate primarily focussed on the experiences of struggles in various districts since the last conference. Rekha from Saharanpur and Salma from Mirzapur narrated their experiences of struggle against non-availability of work under MGNREGA. In Saharanpur AIDWA fought for issuance of insurance cards for the labourers working under MGNREGA and won. Delegates from Mirzapur and Chandauli narrated their experiences of intense struggles for land and forest. Foola and Dhansera from Chandauli told about the battle of poor masses at Bairath farm --- against the conspiracy to dislodge the people in possession of the land for 20 years, by the supporters of ruling party on the behest of Kashi Naresh.  


The delegates from Chandauli, Gorakhpur and Lucknow shared about their campaigns and struggles on the issue of ration. Delegates from Sultanpur, Kannauj and Agra stated about their interventions in the cases related to violence against women and difficulties they faced at police stations. Delegates from Lucknow, Gorakhpur and Kannauj gave detailed accounts of movements launched on local issues such as electricity supply, water, sewer, sanitation etc. Some women belonging to sections like domestic workers or home based workers also shared their experiences. Domestic worker delegates had come to take part in the conference from Lucknow and Kanpur districts. They apprised about the exploitative conditions that they face and affirmed their conviction to strengthen their fight by organising their sisters. Home based workers, Ruksana and Neelam, mentioned the hardships in works like chikankari, zardozi, brush making, dot printing and painting etc. Their hardships have increased manifolds during the last few years as inflation has gone skyrocketing whereas their wage remained almost stagnant.


Anju Rawat who was representing the committee of young women, spoke about the challenges young women and adolescent girls face. She said in the present day scenario, the public space for young women is getting insecure day by day. The safety and security of young women has become a prime concern and women cannot dream about a meaningful and dignified life without these. According to her, organisations like the AIDWA give assurance, confidence and strength to women.


On the second day of conference, AIDWA general secretary Sudha Sundar Raman released the souvenir.




Seven resolutions were moved in and passed by the delegates session after thorough discussion. These were on the issue of food security and provision of cheap ration for all, against self-proclaimed godmen and superstitions, against female infanticide, against increasing violence against women, on the issues of home based women workers, to demand proper wage for domestic workers, and against communalism.


The conference set some future tasks of priority for the organisation. These include continued struggle on the issue of food security, intervention in cases of violence against women, taking up class issues and expansion of organisation among home based woman workers and domestic workers, organising movements on local issues and intervention on social issues. A plan was chalked out to increase the membership and expand the organisation to new districts.


The conference elected a new 23 member state committee with 2 two places retaining vacant. The committee elected Madhu Garg as state president and Malti as state secretary with nine more office bearers. The new committee decided to intensify the movement and expand the organisation with a lot of enthusiasm.


With a big applause, the conference expressed gratitude to the team of volunteers who worked hard for the last few months and ensured success for the organisation of the conference.