|STRUGGLE unites women even when religious fundamentalists of all hues seek to divide them, and the ongoing commodification of women and commercialisation of social relations must be stopped forthwith.
These were some of the ideas that have cropped up during the course of women’s struggles in Delhi to survive the onslaught of deteriorating living conditions, increase in crimes, growing consumerism, and the degrading, offensive and adverse media portrayal. Their resolve to unitedly fight to improve their condition came out strongly. This militant mood of women, even as they grapple with the brutality of everyday life in the capital, was more than visible in discussions, spread over two days, in the course of the eighth state conference of the Janwadi Mahila Samiti (JMS).
The JMS is the Delhi state unit of All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA). It is the largest organisation of women in Delhi, and has been in the forefront of the struggle for equality and democratic rights for women in the national capital for nearly 25 years.
Nearly 250 elected representatives participated in the deliberations during the state conference of the organisation. The issues covered were the growing threat of fundamentalism, and by imperialism as was reflected during the US war against Iraq, the everyday impact of globalisation and privatisation as is visible in the spiralling cost of electricity and water even as these scarce resources are less and less available to the urban poor in the capital city. The participating women demanded that the new government at the centre should desist from pursuing anti-poor economic policies.
A significant component of the delegates was of young women aged between 16 and 25. This section voiced serious concern at the security situation and the lack of avenues for educational and professional advance.
The discussion focussed on the need to link with nationwide struggles on the right to food and for peace and development against war. In the context of the mainstream political developments, the tone of the discussion was set by AIDWA president Subhashini Ali who inaugurated the conference. AIDWA general secretary Brinda Karat made the concluding statement at the conference that elected a new 49 member state committee. The team will be led by Kirti Singh as president, Sonia Verma as working president and Ashalata as secretary.