Dear comrades, friends and well-wishers,
One wishes to have something cheerful to say as the seventy-fifth anniversary of our Independence comes to a close. Some silver lining among the dark clouds? But no, I have been wracking my brains and the only thing that cheers me up today is the resolute efforts of thousands of grass root activists of our organization to come out of the Slough of Despond in which they were thrown in the pandemic years and to resuscitate their close contacts with the masses. Indeed, the latter are also in dire need of our organized force to stand up against the evils heaped on them.
We want no more Indra Meghawals to die for having touched a pitcher reserved for ‘upper castes’, but we want them to come to schools freely, to have the best education, to have free mid-day meals and to be united in resisting hooligans posing as teachers lording it over the school campus. We want no more Bilquis Banos to lose their children, born and unborn, through the attacks of rapists and murderers; we want them leading our movements and striking out for dignity and justice for women irrespective of their religious faith. Dear comrades, what is the worth of our organized power if we cannot ensure this in our country?
We need to be united against our torturers and exploiters who seem to have a special genius for destroying whatever they touch. ‘We are many, they are few’ and it is only because we are so divided that they exert their power of destruction to make our lives intolerable. The mythical bhashmasura had been endowed by the gods with the power to turn to ashes whatever he touched. Look at our modern Bhashmasuras rampaging across the country!
They touch the fields full of crops and they wither; they touch forests and rivers and they dry up. They touch the Indian railways, BSNL, steel factories and they fall into shambles. They bulldoze people’s homes, they destroy our heritage in literature, science, art and architecture. They have but to bring out a policy on education and schools and colleges where our children went are closed down. They are unscrupulous incendiaries destroying love, friendship, trust and courage wherever they reach out. How can we tolerate their arrogance and self-congratulatory attitude even as they are wrecking our country?
Unlike the original Bhashmasur we cannot even expect them to be reduced to ashes involuntarily by touching their own heads. We cannot sit trembling expecting them to wither away one day when their term is over. Let us fight them face to face and vanquish them!
President, All India Democratic Women’s Association