THE Maharashtra state committee of the Democratic Youth Federation of India organised a three-day study camp for its leading cadre from April 22-24 in Mumbai. Kumar Shiralkar, well-known writer and activist, inaugurated the camp which was attended by 160 delegates. Inaugurating the camp, he exhorted the youth to rally against the communal forces and also come out in struggle against the ill effects of neoliberal policies. Rural distress, unemployment and price rise should be taken up for intense struggles, he said.
Former leaders of the DYFI in Maharashtra, Mahendra Singh and Ashok Dhawale delivered lectures in the study camp. In his presentation, Mahendra Singh spoke on the subject “rising unemployment and commercialisation of education”. He said there is increasing link between the push towards privatisation of higher education and authoritarianism of the university administration. School education is also at cross roads. Government schools are shrinking and government is not taking any interest in implementing the RTE Act. Jobs which are available are more in the casual sector and is increasing discontent among youth. Democratic youth movement has a vital role in resisting this agenda. DYFI must organise the youth against growing unemployment and commercialisation of education, Singh said. His lecture was followed by a power point presentation by research scholars Saqib Khan and Arvindhan Nagarajan quantifying various factors of education and unemployment respectively.
Ashok Dhawale delivered two lectures. One, on the “history of Indian freedom struggle” and the second, on “ideology and politics of communalism”. He spoke in depth on the various streams of Indian freedom struggle and also dwelt at length on the history Hindutva in India. Maharashtra has been a fertile ground for communal forces. They played the role of serving British imperialism by trying to disrupt our freedom struggle. Similarly in the sixties and seventies, they served the capitalist classes to disrupt working class movement. The real resistance to communalism has to be led by Left forces. DYFI as the platform for progressive youth has a major role to play in this task, said Dhawale. The inspiring session was followed by the Mumbai Youth march.
Dr Uday Narkar, in his lecture “rightwing offensive in the cultural domain” explained how right wing ideology has captured the common man’s perceptions of culture. Hindutva world-view is the most backward looking ideology, it stands for perpetuation of caste structure, it accords inferior status to women, it is against spreading scientific temper, he said. He said that extreme commercialisation has also disrupted all possibilities of public art.
DYFI national president PA Mohammad Riyas gave a presentation on the organisational aspects of building the democratic youth movement. The camp ended outlining a clear path forward for developing consistent struggles and expanding the democratic youth movement rapidly in Maharashtra.