Hundreds of women & men celebrated International Women’s Day in Worli , Mumbai on 11th March’12. The celebration meeting was organized by Purogami Mahila Sangathan and the Lok Raj Sangathan.
The celebrations were organized in the backdrop of the recently concluded elections to the Mumbai Municipal Corporation. During these elections, none of the ruling class parties raised real issues faced by the people. Instead they sought to get votes by making caste based , region based, language based , religion based propaganda, and used money and muscle power to get votes. On the other hand, Worli was one of the constituencies where the people put up their own candidate through a process of selection and election. This process was conducted by the local Lok Raj Sangathan Worli Committee which has been working hard to organize the working women and men of the area for their rights. A local resident was selected by working people from more than 14 Worli buildings as their candidate. This candidate declared that she would fight for better health facilities, clean and adequate drinking water, for good quality and adequate supply in ration shops for all citizens ,against contract labour, and for the redevelopment of Worli BDD chawls strictly by the government in such a way that each present resident gets good quality housing. She declared in public that she would resign if the electorate at any point felt she was betraying their interests. During the campaign the Worli residents supported her unifying campaign enthusiastically and collected money towards the election expenses. The work of the LRS committee ensured that the unity of the Worli workers and their organization came out stronger after the elections.
Many cultural programs like dances were put up by the children. Worli committee members also sang militant songs saluting the fighting women of India. A well known Shahir, Comrade Sambhaji Bhagat and his troupe presented militant Shayari saluting the working women of India.
The leader of the Worli committee addressed the gathering. Saluting the heroic history of fighting working women of India, she said that the struggle of women of Worli along with their men folk for their basic rights is part and parcel of that heroic struggle. She explained that unless the political power of India is in the hands of its people, there would not be Lok Raj; hence the need to fight for Lok Raj while at the same time fighting for our day to day issues.
The speaker of Purogami Mahila Sangathan highlighted the fact that the struggle of women against exploitation cannot be viewed as a ‘fight against men’ but in fact is a part and parcel of the struggle of all the working people against exploitation and hence needs to be waged united with men. She also exposed that the reservation for women in the parliament is in fact meant to divert the struggle. The lady who contested as People’s candidate also addressed the gathering and explained that she has learnt immensely from Lok Raj Sangathan and called upon all the people to join with the Worli Committee of the Lok Raj Sangathan, which would continue the fight for all the issues which were raised by it in the elections.