ALL INDIA DEMOCRATIC WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION
Leaflet for the December 6, 2020 campaign
Let us march forward unitedly and drive away the dark shadows engulfing us...
On this Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s Mahaparinirvan Day, we look around us, and what do we see? The Covid pandemic is stalking our people relentlessly and bringing along unprecedented levels of hunger, unemployment and price rise rarely seen in post Independent India. We have a BJP Government which looks on benignly, while the wolves of hunger, unemployment, and poverty are attacking the common people with ever greater viciousness.
And if you are a woman in this society, the suffering gets further multiplied. The gross injustice being meted out to our sisters spares none – neither the home makers, nor the working women, neither the young, nor the elderly. Their oppression both in urban and in rural India has increased. Is there any acknowledgement of their distress? The NCRB data is a wake up call to take action against gendered violence. The ruling regime has not uttered a single word of concern regarding this growing poverty and violence. Even the PM’s Mann ki Baat stays silent on this issue. Instead, victims are being subjected to humiliation, and stigma. They are punished for speaking out, because the law of the land is changing. It no longer protects them or their families, it does not stand with the weak and vulnerable any more. The blind-folded goddess holding the scales of justice has truly become blind!
This is the New India, where those in power are out to shake the foundations of our Constitution, and destroy the basic rights that had been won through so much struggle and sacrifice by our freedom fighters. This is not just coincidence – nor is it spontaneous. It is part of the devious and dangerous project of pushing India into medieval times which is being ruthlessly pushed by the rulers occupying the seats of power of the country at this moment.
BJP/ RSS in power- what it means
The forces wanting to control the country in the name of the Hindu religion, along with the corporate power mongers, and godi media, have glorified Modi and the BJP so much that we are in danger of forgetting the true nature of this saffron party. The BJP is the political arm of a fascist organization with many toxic offshoots called Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Since its inception, the RSS has wanted to make India a nation with strong caste hierarchy on the basis of Manu Smriti – which it calls the Hindu Rashtra.
Before the BJP came to power, they campaigned for this continuously. But now, these forces are not just saying it openly, but trying to take the whole country in that direction. A “Hindu Rashtra” of their dream envisages a country and society which is strictly hierarchical, in which gruesome divisions and persecution in the name of caste and varna and gender are justified. Neither right to freedom of speech, nor freedom to live or work without restrictions as laid down by the Constitution will be accessible. There will be no equality, nor civil or political rights of any kind. Rather, privileges for the top few will be put firmly in place.
Among the worst victims of the “Hindu Rashtra” project are the women of this country. Their thoughts about women are no longer hidden. Whether it is the heinous nature of the Hathras crime, or the recent move by BJP ruled states to scuttle love marriages across caste and community and making them punishable offences, we are faced with an anti woman ideology that seeks to yet again enslave women in the name of religion.
Manusmriti- what it lays down for women
Propogation of such injustice is not surprising. It finds place in the Manusmriti, a black book in which Manu has laid down such codes which the Modi-led and RSS-controlled government now wants to implement. The Code was formulated around 1500 years ago on the basis of the varnashram principles. It has provisions to bring not just the Shudras but the entire society, into a system where caste rules supreme, and nobody can challenge the existing structures. Under this dangerously iniquitous system, the fencing of society divided up people, stunted the progress of Indian civilization pushed it into 1500 years of darkness. All discoveries, research and inventions stagnated. The divisions and repressive nature the socio-political structure made it easy for the British to enslave us for about 200 years. It had enslaved women devoid of any rights in the most oppressive and exploitative ways, even permitting their torture. The laws of Manu stated that “a woman should remain under the father in childhood, subservient to the husband after marriage and under the son in old age - she should never be allowed to remain independent”. Manu also upheld the right of men to rape and even murder her for transgressions. Allowing a man to marry more than once, he stated that "Even if husband is characterless, retarded and criminal, it is the duty of the woman to serve him." The woman who did not worship her husband as per the sacred scriptures was described as monstrous and her murder was described as a righteous task. The RSS wants to establish the dictates of Manu again in this country.
The current RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has termed marriage as a contract in which the woman's responsibility is to serve her husband and fulfil all his desires. If she does not do that, the husband has the full right to abandon her. That is exactly what Manusmriti says. The objectionable statements of RSS-BJP leaders uttered after the growing and cruel incidents of rape are not just personal statements. It is part of this demeaning and disgusting thinking that the whole world saw in the detestable brutality of government and administration in the case of the gangrape and murder of the dalit girl of Hathras. This is the basis for the anti-women thinking of the RSS-BJP which seeks to define domestic and family relations and determine the status of a girl and an adult woman. This thinking gives them shameless audacity to come out on streets in favor of the rapists Asarams, Ram Rahims, Chinmayanandas and the perpetrators of the Kathua atrocity.
It is not just a coincidence that the entry of women in RSS is prohibited. The organization, which describes itself as an organization of Hindus, does not allow Hindu women to come into their organization. This organization practically approves and implements the concept of putting women in the kitchen or in the bedroom – there is no independent role permitted to her.
RSS versus the Indian Constitution
The RSS was never part of the long and glorious battle of independence. They were working as subordinates of the British ruling class. The same RSS opposed the new Constitution which was being made for free India. As per RSS, the country should be governed according to the laws of Manu Smriti. It hates the Constitution because this is the first book in the written history of 5-7 thousand years of civilization of this country which talks about equality and parity. It universalized voting rights and created a democratic system for all citizens. It makes discrimination on the basis of caste, colour, language and gender a punishable offence. Despite its many limitations, the Constitution opens the doors to the possibility of achieving real equality by giving equality to all as a legal right. The Modi-led RSS-controlled BJP has targeted the same constitution and the democratic ideals enshrined in it. They are targeting one community or any one part of the population as their political strategy. Actually its real objective is to end the positive achievements of social development, where the rules of Manu have been challenged and broken, and many from the oppressed sections have been able to come forward, and assert their rights. Its agenda of Hindutva is pushing the country and society back into dense darkness.
Resisting Manuwaad, Remembering Ambedkar.
The present phase of its anti-India and anti-humanity destructive project was launched from Ayodhya on 6th December 1992, when the Babri Masjid was brought down. 6th December is also the Mahaparinirvan day of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, the great freedom fighter, whose fierce defense of people’s rights helped to shape the Constitution of India. We recall that it was Babas
aheb, who described the liberation of the woman from slavery as the pivot of the battle for social liberation. He exposed and opposed the brutal practices of child marriage, forced marriage within caste and depriving women from choosing partners of their own volition. He suggested ways to change the oppressive system. Taking inspiration from him, and so many other political and social reformers, generations of women's movements in this country rose up and broke countless shackles of slavery. The chains of bondage were weakened. The RSS and the BJP now want to take away all this achievement, and push women back into servitude. They are using the money of the Indian and foreign multinational companies, making common cause with corporate profiteers to loot the people, while at the same time facilitating RSS’s dream of converting our society to medievalism.
The BJP government is today going all out promoting the interests of the corporate lobby. Changes in the labour and agricultural laws and attack on democratic rights exposes the anti-people’s face of this cruel regime. The brutal repression of the farmer’s struggle shows its authoritarian character.
We will rise, torches in hand
But the women of this country will not give up their rights so easily. Along with other democratic sections of society, the resistance to the attack on our constitutional rights will be strengthened. The oppressors are always afraid that people will wake up, and demand their fair rights. That is why they use religion in politics to divide and rule. We, the fighting women of India, know very well how to light a torch. We will not remain silent.
The All India Democratic Women’s Association calls upon all citizens - Let us arise, on this Dec.6th, to speak out and together awaken the rest with our struggles.