Hundreds of women, men and youth from nearly 20 different organisations, as well as a large number of teachers, health workers, lawyers and activists from different sections, marched from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on 8th March2019, on the occasion of International Women’s Day. They marched with banners of their respective organisations. They carried banners and placards bearing slogans which highlighted their demands.
Participating organisations included Action India, AIDWA, AIPWA, AZAD Foundation, BDS India, CBCI Council for women, CSW, Jagori, JWP, NFIW, NNSW, Nazariya, Nirantar, Purogami Mahila Sangathan, Saheli, and Swastika Mahila Samiti.
Throughout the march, the participants militantly raised slogans expressing their determination to take forward the struggle for their emancipation. “Down with oppression and exploitation of women!”, “We shall not tolerate injustice against women!”, “Give us employment and proper wages!”, “We shall end exploitation and oppression and bring in the new society!”, “With political power in our hands we shall end oppression and injustice!” – these and many others reflected their fighting spirit. At Jantar Mantar a public rally was held, which was addressed by speakers of all the participating organisations.
Speakers condemned the growing attacks on the livelihood and rights of women and men. They denounced the economic policies of privatization, liberalisation and globalization, which have been systematically pursued by successive governments. As a result of these policies, the gap between the rich and poor has been widening, they pointed out. Speakers highlighted the massive concentration of wealth in the hands of the biggest monopoly capitalist houses. The economy is oriented towards fulfilling the greed for maximum profits of the biggest Indian and foreign monopoly capitalists, not towards fulfilling the needs of people, women and men, they asserted.
There was widespread opposition to the deliberate and systematic spreading of hatred, anarchy and violence by politicians of the ruling class, the open incitement to mob violence and lynching, targeting definite communities and peoples with the full backing of the authorities. In particular, there was much condemnation of the recent spate of violence, incited by the authorities and the corporate media, against Kashmiri youth and people in various parts of the country. All representatives unanimously condemned state terrorism, the torture and incarceration of those fighting for the rights of the people, labeling them “anti-national”, “terrorists”, “urban naxals”, etc.
Leaders of the women’s organisations expressed grave concern at the war mongering and war hysteria being spread by our rulers at the present time. “We must not allow the rulers to divert us from our struggle for livelihood and rights, by beating the drums of war”, this was the overwhelming sentiment being expressed. Pointing out that war only leads to death and destruction, they called for the governments of India and Pakistan to sort out all outstanding issues through discussions. They called upon all participants to actively advocate the cause of peace in South Asia.
The march and rally on International Women’s Day 2019 reflected the aspiration of our women and men for a new society free from all forms of exploitation oppression, in which we will be the masters of our own destiny and the rights of all will be guaranteed.