On the morning of 8th March, 2015, the Central Park in Connaught Place, in the heart of New Delhi was the scene of a massive human chain -- women, men and youth from diverse walks of life -- raising spirited slogans, reaffirming their commitment to continue the struggle for a society that guarantees justice, equality and dignity for all. The human chain then marched through the busy streets of Connaught Place, culminating in a huge public rally at Jantar Mantar, near the Parliament.
More than 40 organisations -- representing women industrial workers, professionals, domestic workers, lawyers, women fighting for land rights, hearing impaired, human rights activists, victims of communal violence and state terrorism, political and social activists -- jointly organized the celebrations on International Women's Day in Delhi this year. They marched together under the banner of "Together for justice, diversity, equality and dignity -- aath March, saath March".
They carried colourful placards and banners on which were inscribed slogans such as "The liberation of women is the condition for the liberation of the whole society!", "Capitalism and imperialism are our enemies!", "Attack on women is an attack on the whole society!", "No to labour laws that discriminate against women!", "Revoke fascist laws - AFSPA and UAPA!", "Long live the struggle for women's emancipation!", "International Women's Day Zindabad!", "With political power in our hands we will wipe out oppression and injustice!", " Let us get organized, become the rulers and change society!", etc., reflecting the common sentiments of the participants against the oppression and injustice they constantly face in this society.
The stage at Jantar Mantar was decorated with attractive banners affirming the demands of the participants. Banners on all sides declared the determination of the women and men to take forward the struggle for a just and humane society.
Representatives of several organizations addressed the rally. These included representatives of AIDWA, Purogami Mahila Sangathan, AIPWA, Rashtriya Gharelu Kamgar Union, NFIW and many others.
Speakers at the rally unanimously denounced those in power for their blatant anti women stands and activities. They denounced the justification for rape of women given by the ruling class, in Delhi and elsewhere in the country as well as in other parts of the world. They boldly pointed out that our main enemies are -- the present capitalist system, based on super profits for the biggest national and global monopolies and inhuman exploitation of working women and men, as well as imperialism based on war, aggression and violation of the rights of nations and peoples. They recalled the numerous struggles women in India and the world over have waged and continue to wage, since the declaration of International Women's Day more than a hundred years ago. They called on women and men to join hands in the struggle for a new society in which our rights and freedoms will be ensured and protected. The representative of Purogami Mahila Sangthan boldly declared that in order to being in this new society, we all have to get organized, come forward in the struggle to take political power in our hands and become the rulers. With political power in our hands, we will build that new society we yearn for, she affirmed.
Activists of Jagori, Nirantar, Deafway Foundation, Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression and several other organizations demonstrated their anger against the system and their determination to fight for change through drama and songs.
The militant and enthusiastic participation of women and men, including large numbers of youth, in the program on International Women's Day clearly showed that our people are not willing to tolerate the attacks by the rulers on our rights and livelihood. It showed the growing consciousness among our people that we need to change the orientation of the economy towards fulfilling the needs of the working people, we need to reorganize the whole political system and process in order to empower women and men and guarantee justice, dignity and rights for all.
The organizers of the International Women's Day program in Delhi this year included: YWCA Delhi, Women against Sexual Violence & State Repression, Women for Water Democracy, TARSHI, Swastik Mahila Samiti, Stree Mukti Sangathan, Sex Workers Allies South Asia, Society for Labour & Development, Sangat, Sama, Samarthyam, Sashakt Nari Parishad, Saheli Women’s Resource Centre, Rashtriya Gharelu Kamgar Union, Rashtriya Dalit Mahila Andolan, Purogami Mahila Sangathan, Partners for Law in Development, Positive Women’s Network, Pension Parishad, NoMore Campaign, Nirantar, National Federation of Indian Women, National Alliance of People’s Movements, Nari Shakti Manch, Mahila Pragati Manch, Maitri, Joint Women’s Programme, Jagori, Human Rights Law Network, Feminism in India.com, Delhi Solidarity Group, Deafway Foundation, Citizens’ Collective against Sexual Assault, Centre for Health & Social Justice, Centre for Advocacy & Research, Breakthrough, Aql ka Dhaba, All India Progressive Women’s Association, All India Network of Sex Workers, All India Democratic Women’s Association, Anhad, Action India and many individuals.