Shaheed Diwas commemorated by People’s Movements and Trade Unions; Thousands march to commemorate the lives of Bhagat Singh and his comrades.
New Delhi: On the occasion of Shaheed Diwas (Martyrdom Day of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru , under the banner of SANGHARSH 2014, various peoples’ movements and trade unions came together to commemorate Shaheed Diwas and assembled at Shaheed Park, Feroze Shah Kotla ground. More than 3000 people marched to Jantar Mantar, where the rally was concluded and the day-long public meeting was held.
In today’s political context and on the eve of the General Elections 2014, the importance of masses coming together to commemorate Shaheed Diwas should not be missed. The huge gathering at Shaheed Park had an air that reflected the strength and the positive spirit of dalits, adivasis, forest working people, fishworkers, handloom weavers, domestic workers, street vendors and hawkers, women’s groups and organisations that have been working in the country for social and political change. They came together from all corners of the country to commemorate the day and assert their collective political demands.
After garlanding the statues on this 83rd year, representing the section of academia that has worked on the legend of Bhagat Singh for years, Prof. Chaman Lal spoke about the relevance of the ideas of these leaders in today’s times, their continuing relevance in Indian people’s struggles and the significance that the 23rd of March holds. Com. Ashok Choudhary of AIUFWP reflected on how peoples’ movements and trade unions are the people who know the importance of Shaheed Diwas and the relevance of a militant display of mass strength on a day that marks the collective revolutionary vision.
Trade Union leader and ideologue, Com. D. Thankappan of NTUI stated that this day in 2014 has become a historic one because of the rally of masses to assert the politics of Bhagat Singh and comrades. “The existence of social movements and trade unions dates back to the history of the Left movement in India itself. The mass organisations and trade unions in the country, affiliated to a party or otherwise, have played very important role in deciding the future of government formation at the centre and the states. Today, the Movements and Trade Unions have taken this as a historic opportunity to assert our militant unity and re-emphasise the importance of social movements and political views outside of the electoral politics…” he added.
Com. T. Peter of NFF stated that it is indeed a historical moment that the forest people, the fishworkers, the agricultural workers, etc. are forming a new and meaningful alliance on the eve of the Lok Sabha elections. He warned all political parties that despite their dreams of being in power, inside the Parliament house, they will fail in their ambitions if they do not heed to the demands of traditional, natural resource based communities.
Sanjay Garg, Former Minister, Uttar Pradesh reflected on the current political situation and said that today’s political leadership revolves around the hunger for power whereas, the kind of politics that our revolutionary leaders went by was based on a selfless vision.
Speakers at the public meeting reiterated this spirit of independence of movements and decried efforts at branding mass organisations and movements as fronts of one or other political parties. Community leaders asserted that decades old struggles of social movements & trade unions and centuries old struggles of natural resource-based traditional communities – especially Dalits & Adivasis, have a collective strength that is rooted in the politics of being in the opposition, asserting the rights of people in the fight against the state which must not be diluted.
Speakers included: Roma, Munnilal (Uttarakhand), Lalti (Sonbhadra, UP), Biranchi Bariha (Odisha), Matadayal (Uttar Pradesh), Nabada (Lakhimpur Khiri), Govind (Darjeeling), Jairam (Gujarat), K. N Tiwari (Uttar Pradesh), Anil Sadgopal (Bhopal), Gautam Mody, Members of Delhi Young Artists Forum and others. It was stated at the public meeting at Jantar Mantar in front of the Parliament House that masses of this country recognise the importance of alliance building and unity of slogans. It was asserted that we are not pleading for legislations or to have our people in parliament or for our demands to be heard but we want a political dialogue on each of these issues and will soon work towards drafting a people’s charter on these lines.
The meeting and cultural gathering of the day concluded with the assertion that political initiatives like this will strengthen the roots of new political formations, which will be able to take forward the struggles of the historically oppressed majority. Activists from across the country pledged to continue and intensify battles against global capitalism / imperialism, feudalism, communalism, caste discrimination, patriarchy, jingoistic nationalism and brahmanism! A political activists meeting will be held on the 24th March 2014 to take forward specific election related campaigns of movements and unions.
The event was jointly organized by All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP); New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI); National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF);, National Hawkers’ Federation (NHF); National Handloom Weavers’ Federation; Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) – Assam; All India Tribal Youth Movement – Gujarat; Voices of Youth – Gujarat; Delhi Solidarity Group (DSG), Delhi Young Artists Forum.