The Purogami Mahila Sangathan organised a meeting on the theme, “Socialism is Necessary for the Emancipation of Women”, in Thane (Maharashtra) on 19th March and invited the Communist Ghadar Party of India to make the main presentation. The invitation generated tremendous curiosity among young women and men, who did not know much about the achievements of the USSR, as well as among activists of various organisations. The response was very positive with people coming in not only from different part of Thane district, but also from Mumbai, Pune and even from Vadodara in Gujarat!
The presentation established that the deplorable status of women is not natural and that men, religion, caste, country, province, or race are not responsible. The truth was revealed – that the problems of women are due to the exploitative nature of today’s capitalist society and that it is in the interests of men as well as women to fight for their emancipation. The fight for women’s emancipation has to be an integral and necessary part of the fight of the working class for socialism.
The second part described the glorious epoch of socialism in the USSR, when the ills of capitalism, like exploitation, poverty, unemployment, and oppression were eliminated, and when the state of the workers and toilers took special measures to ensure that women became equal partners with men in the progress of society. Who would not give one’s all to defend such a country from the brutal Nazis who invaded it in 1941? Men, old and young, women of all ages and even children played their death defying part. 8 lakh women soldiers were deployed on the Eastern Front, and many times that number had volunteered. The 588th regiment of the Soviet Air Force, consisting of pilots, navigators and mechanics, was composed entirely of women, most of them barely twenty years old. Every night they relentlessly bombed the front lines of the enemy. The Germans soldiers were so scared of them that they started calling them “Night Witches”. From 1942 to victory in 1945, they flew more than 24,000 missions and dropped about 23,000 tons of bombs. Each pilot flew more than 800 missions. Thirty of these women died defending their motherland, and twenty three of them were awarded the medal of “Hero of the Soviet Union”. Their valour was brought home to the audience in an enthralling video clipping.
When the USSR fell and capitalism restored, all its ills were reborn. People were moved by various video clippings that brought to life the experience of women in those glory years. An old woman, reminiscing about the past that was so beautiful, and describing the sorry state of affairs in the Russia of today! She went on to wrap herself against the harsh winter and joined her contemporaries in a demonstration that asserted that they would not let the past be forgotten. The young comrade who made the presentation called on the youth at the meeting to take up the task of studying the history of the establishment of socialism and drawing the lessons from it.
Leaders and activists of Lok Raj Sangathan, Kamgar Ekta Committee, and All India Station Masters’ Association and many others present expressed their views. They agreed that a fundamental transformation is indeed the need of the times.