Skip to main content

#IfWeDoNotRise campaign on January 3 in support of protesting women farmers

By Our Representative
An ‘If We Do Not Rise…’ or ‘Hum Agar Uthhe nahi toh…’ campaign, aimed at “uniting voices against targeted attacks on the Constitutional rights of the people of India” begun on January 3 with the participation of women’s groups, LGBTQIA+ communities and human rights collectives in order to celebrate the 189th birth anniversary of Savitribai Phule, who along with Fatima Sheikh, “fought for the rights of women, girls, Dalit and bahujan communities.”
The celebrations, which are proposed to continue for about a week, began amidst civil society groups, taking part in the campaign, alleging that India’s democracy and Constitution are facing an unprecedented crisis, with last few years experiencing a steady decline of democratic institutions in the country.
A statement by the If We Do Not Rise group, which consists of 540 people's organisations across India, even as stating that “the independence of the judiciary and other institutions” have come under “serious cloud” and the functioning of Parliament “has been gravely compromised”, alleged, “The dilution of the Right to Information Act has hit at the fundamental democratic right of citizens to question the government and hold it accountable.”
Contending that despite “oppression and intimidation”, the country has witnessed a “strong peoples’ movements against injustice and tyranny”, the statement, forwarded by Anhad, a human rights group, cited how in December 2019, “people all over India rose up in a unique, women-led movement to protect the Constitution when religion was made a basis for giving Indian citizenship through the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR).”
“Exactly one year after these protests shook the country, millions of farmers have taken to the streets and congregated around Delhi to protest against the anti-people farm laws passed by Parliament without any consultation or discussion with farmers”, it underlined, adding, “In support of the historic farmers’ protests, we stand shoulder to shoulder with the women farmers who, once again, are leading from the front.”
Ensuring mobilization of support to “repeal the three regressive farm laws, the electricity amendment bill and demand legal guarantee of Minimum Support Price”, the statement insisted, “These three farm laws are a major move towards corporatization of agriculture and dismantling the Public Distribution System. They affect not just farmers but everyone, irrespective of whether they live in rural or urban areas.”
A painting in support of women farmers
The statement said, “We oppose the patriarchal and communal agenda of the current regime which attacks the agency of women and the right to choice by passing laws like the UP anti-Conversion law”, calling it “anti-Constitutional” aimed at “targeting religious minorities while denying women the choice to decide their life partners.”
“Taking forward Savitribai and Fatima Sheikh’s pursuit of Education for All, we challenge the deeply problematic New Education Policy and assert the right to education of all, especially girl students and other students from dalit, adivasi and other marginalized communities, whose right to education, reservations, scholarships etc are being curtailed”, the statement asserted.
Regretting that voices of dissent have been “systematically silenced”, as seen in the murder of woman journalist Gauri Lankesh, the statement said, “Instead of acting against those who incite communal tensions and violence, women and people who work for justice, unity and peace, like Ishrat Jahan, Sudha Bhardwaj, Shoma Sen, Natasha Narwal, Gulfisha, Devangana Kalita, Annapurna and Suguna are being arrested and incarcerated under draconian laws like UAPA.”
As part of the 'If We Do Not Rise' campaign, postcards and emails have begun being sent to the President of India demanding that Parliament be immediately convened to repeal the three farm laws; videos, posters, animation, memes, songs and performances are being shared in solidarity with the farmers’ struggles; and poetry sessions and webinars are being organised in their support.

In one of the webinars, those who participated included journalists Arfa Khanum and Bhasha Singh, RTI activist Aruna Roy, economist Jayati Ghosh, National Alliance of People's Movements leaders Medha Patkar and Meera Sanghamitra, Lok Sangharsh Morcha's Pratibha Shinde. 

Odisha campaign

As part of the campaign, the Odisha Shramajeebee Mancha said, “As India celebrates Savitribai Phule’s 189th birth anniversary, who was the oldest flagbearer of women’s rights and girls education, members of by Mahila Shramajeebee Mancha, Odisha, Odisha Shramajeebee Mancha and Atmashakti Trust organised a webinar to reflect upon Savitribai Phule’s contribution towards society, especially against brahminical patriarchy.”
It said, “Despite the social injustices that were barriers for her, Savitribai was unwavering to have all women educated. She started 17 schools in the country during her time. Until 1851, she had set up three schools that taught 150 girls. She was addressing two social evils at once, while most schools were only for upper-caste students, Savitribai and Jyotirao started schools for the lower-caste and Dalit students as well.”
It added, “Women’s education was not the only thing Phule wanted to be taken up in our country. She also fought against social injustices of the time like Sati, child marriage and the still prevalent caste system and was also one of the first advocates for women’s rights in the country.”

Campaign among Delhi sewerage workers 

On the occasion of the birth anniversary of Savitribai Phule, the Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch (DASAM) organised programmes among communities at the “margins of the society at various settlements in Delhi like sewer workers, nut community, domestic workers and laborers etc.” about the contributions of Savitribai.
Programmes were with the support of sewer worker Sher Singh, who was hit by poisonous gas while cleaning the sewer two years ago, but survived, though two of his companions could died of asphyxiation. Held at Mundka, Sukhdev Vihar and Brar Square (Delhi Cantt), sewer workers, domestic workers and laborers participated in large numbers at the program organised. At Kalyanpuri, too, where there is large presence of the Nut community, several programmes were organised.

Comments

TRENDING

North Gujarat gram panchayat bars villagers from dealing with Muslim hawkers, traders

By Our Representative  A gram panchayat in North Gujarat has barred its residents not to buy anything from Muslim traders and hawkers. An order of the Waghasan group gram panchayat of Tharad taluka of Banaskantha district dated June 30 states that the decision has been taken in the wake of beheading of a Hindu tailor after he posted a derogatory writeup on Prophet Mohammad in Udaipur. The gram panchayat resolution says, anyone seen buying or selling any commodity from a Muslim hawker or trader would be fined Rs 5,100. Bringing this to light, Mujahid Nafees, convener, Minority Coordination Committee, in a letter to Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel, says, the state government should take legal action against the panchayat chief who has signed the “unjust” order. The letter says, the act of the sarpanch and other signatories is a violation of rule of law of the state and threat to peace, pointing out, the move is in violation of Article 15 of the Constitution, which says that none

Unlike Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India: Ukrainian scholar tells 'Indian friends'

Counterview Desk In an open letter to "dear Indian friends", Anastasia Piliavsky, born in Odessa, Ukraine, studied at Boston and Oxford Universities (on a Rhodes Scholarship), and now teaches at King’s College, London, has said that she faces "deep moral dilemma", personally and professionally, over the "astonishingly unified Indian response to the war in Ukraine." Based on her interaction with a "number of thoughtful and caring Indian friends", in this letter, she says, she is "reeling at the ubiquitous silence at, justifications of or outright support for Putin’s terror, which now prevails in India, at the ubiquitous #IStandWithPutin and #istandwithrussia hashtags." She insists, India must understand, "Unlike the Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India. Soviet leaders, beginning with (the Ukrainian) Nikita Khrushchev – who declared hindi rusi bhai bhai – built up deep political and cultural exchange with India." Text : I

Technocratic globalism, tyranny? Health Ministry warned: bill to 'enslave' Indians

Sandeep Pandey, Tushar Gandhi By Rosamma Thomas*  Union of Concerned Citizens, a group comprising Magsaysay Award winner Prof Sandeep Pandey, human rights activist Tushar Gandhi, former judge of the Bombay High Court BG Kolse Patil, pediatrician Dr Jacob Puliyel and several renowned Indian citizens have written to the Union Health Minister cautioning him against tabling the draft Public Health Bill in the Monsoon Session of Parliament. “The Public Health (Prevention, Control And Management Of Epidemics, Bio-Terrorism And Disasters) Bill, 2017 and a Prospective Bill of 2022 as discussed in news articles, is straightforwardly violative of Fundamental Rights of the citizens of India and therefore, Ultra Vires of the Indian Constitution. It contravenes several International Treaties and Conventions including the Nuremberg Treaty of 1947 which was enacted to ensure that no country would repeat such inhuman medical atrocities on fellow human beings”, the 12-page letter reads. “Strangely, t

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Chennai residents 'suffering': Faulty design, implementation of storm water project

By NS Venkataraman*  The Greater Chennai Corporation is now implementing storm water drainage project in 559 roads, covering a distance of 1033 kilometres, which cost around Rs 4,070 crore. For this massive project, which is targeted to be completed between April and September this year, huge loan has been availed from World Bank, Asian Development Bank and others. Several technocrats have pointed out that the project has been designed with outdated technology and quality of the implementation is so poor that the residents have been put to great hardships. As part of the project, digging of the road has been done to around 5 to 6 feet deep and width of around 4 to 5 feet. The drains are being constructed using steel reinforced cement concrete with two walls on either side with provisions for manhole, chute etc. This has been done in front of several houses leaving little space between the gate of the house and that of the drainage structure. As the work has been going on for mor

'Drop all falsed charges': 150 citizens demand early release of AltNews co-founder

Counterview Desk  About 150 concerned citizens have demanded the release of Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of the fact-checkng newsportal AltNews, arrested over a 2018 tweet which allegedly hurt religious sentiments, even as booking for criminal conspiracy and having received foreign funds in violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). Denied bail last weekend and sent to 14-day judicial custody, the concerned citizens, in a statement, regretted that while the Delhi High Court issued notice to the Delhi police on a petition filed on behalf of Zubair challenging the legality and propriety of his police remand and the seizure of his electronic devices, the “frivolous case” continues. Excerpts: The illegal arrest of Mr. Mohammed Zubair happened on June 27, 2022, by the Delhi Police for allegedly hurting religious sentiments and promoting enmity over a tweet from 2018. The IPC Sections included 153(a) (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race,

Prime Minister's 'affordable' housing policy fails to help Gujarat slum dwellers: Study

By Rajiv Shah  A new study on the implementation of one of the major policy initiatives for the urban poor by the Narendra Modi government after it came to power, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), has said that in Gujarat, which happens to be the Prime Minister’s home state, has quoted state officials as “confirming” that no progress towards tenure regularization, a key requirement for providing housing to the state’s slum dwellers. Stating that this particularly true of smaller town, the study, carried out by the non-profit Homes in the City (HIC), which is based in Bhuj, district headquarter of Kutch that saw a devastating earthquake in 2001, says, the failure to provide affordable housing is there despite the fact that there has been “significant demand” in all the 83 out of 153 Gujarat municipalities studied by experts involved in the study. According to the study, out f a total of 1.41 lakh demands for housing under the Beneficiary Led Construction (BLC) category, 94,232 (66.7%)

Electricity Bill: Centre's reform measures contain 'carrot and stick package' for states

Counterview Desk  The Peoples’ Commission on Public Sector and Public Services (PCPSPS), claiming to be a network of eminent academics, jurists, erstwhile administrators, trade unionists and social activists, seeking consultations with stakeholders with those who are against the government’s decision to monetise, disinvest and privatise public assets/enterprises, has said that the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill-2022 will have far-reaching impacts on the finances of states. Insisting that the proposed Bill would lead to “assault on India’s federal structure”, in a statement, it says, it would weaken the finances of states’ power distribution companies, have adverse impact on utility employees, cripple the states' finances, impose a heavy cost burden on the smaller subsidized consumers (especially farmers), and benefit only corporate business houses. “States cannot afford to ignore the far-reaching implications of the Bill on their economy, finances, agricultural and industria

'Highly abnormal': AltNews journo's arrest suggests 'deterioration in media freedom'

By Bharat Dogra*  Leading media organizations have come out in strong support of recently arrested journalist Mohammed Zubair. These organizations include, among others, the Editors Guild of India, the Press Club of India, the Delhi Union of Journalists and DIGIPUB, a platform for several important digital media organizations. All these organizations have condemned the recent arrest of the noted journalist and demanded his immediate release. While leading human rights organizations and political parties have also made somewhat similar statements, the strong support of media organizations is particularly important as the effort of the authorities has been to try to present the arrested journalist as someone who has been indulging in irresponsible journalism.  In such a situation the support of those media organizations who are familiar with his work and who are most capable of judging the quality of his work is very important. In this context it is important that some media organization

Majoritarian silence helping Hindutva forces 'handover' national resources to corporates

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The majority of Indian citizens are witnessing the persecution and everyday violence against their fellow citizens who are Muslims and religious minorities. The growing assaults on reason, science, secularism, Indian democracy and constitution are going to be landmarks in Indian history of diminishing democracy and citizenship rights. It is clear that Hindutva ideology is directly promoting sectarian politics of hate which is dangerous for the unity and integrity of India, peace and prosperity of Indians. The majoritarian silence helps in empowering Hindutva and their electoral dividends. From witnessing the persecution in the sidelines to the active participation and cheering loud or silence accelerates violence against our neighbours and our fellow citizens. How and why do majority of Indians stay silent and contribute to the persecution of their fellow citizens who are Muslims and religious minorities? The question baffles me as an Indian because I have gr