ON January 3, 2018, the birth anniversary of the great social reformer and pioneer of women’s education Savitribai Phule, was observed by the AIDWA in various parts of Maharashtra.
The largest programme was organised by the AIDWA Thane-Palghar district committee. A meeting of over 1500 women from seven tehsils of the district was held at Comrade Godavari Shamrao Parulekar Bhavan in Talasari in Palghar district.
Its special attraction was the staging of the renowned one-actor play 'I Am Savitribai Speaking' written and performed by the renowned stage artiste Sushama Deshpande. The concept of this play that Savitribai herself is narrating her story itself was so impressive that it took the women, mostly adivasis, to the pre-independence era of social reforms. Sushama mesmerised the crowd with the dialogues, expressions and correlation of today’s pathetic situation of women with those in the 19th century.
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AIDWA national general secretary Mariam Dhawale was the main speaker in the public meeting. In her speech, she lambasted the current state and central BJP government for enforcing regressive social and economic policies and dragging the country back to the 19th century, the era of Savitribai Phule and other social reformers. She felicitated 22 gram panchayat members of AIDWA who were elected in the recently held polls in the district and in her speech advised them not to forget the legacy of the women’s movement and our predecessors like Godavari Parulekar and Ahilya Rangnekar. It is because of their relentless fight for years that we could win 50 per cent reservation for women in local bodies.
This meeting was also addressed by district secretary Lahani Dauda and other secretariat members Heena Vanga, Talasari panchayat samiti chairperson Savita Dawre, zilla parishad member Sunita Shingada and Mary Ravte, Talasari municipal panchayat chairperson Smita Valvi and others. District president Prachi Hatiwlekar presided over the meeting. Veteran AIDWA leader Hemlata Kom felicitated Sushama Deshpande.
In Mumbai, three meetings to mark the occasion were held in Worli, Bhandup and Ghatkopar. Over 150 women took part. They were addressed by AIDWA state secretary Sonya Gill, district president Pramila Manjalkar, district secretary Saroja Swami, state committee member Sugandhi Francis and district secretariat member Trishila Kamble. CITU leader Dr Vivek Monteiro spoke in Bhandup on “Women, Superstition and Science”.
In Raigad district, two meetings of over 200 women were held in Uran tehsil. They were addressed by AIDWA state vice president Hemlata Patil and state committee members Amita Thakur, Jyoti Mhatre and Usha Mhatre.
The AIDWA in all these meetings condemned the January 1 attacks by Sangh Parivar hoodlums on dalits at Bhima Koregaon and extended its full support to the Maharashtra bandh called that day by Ambedkarite and Left forces. In fact, it was because of the bandh the same day that these programmes could not be held in many other districts. These meetings also called upon women to take forth the call of the AIDWA Delhi national convention to launch a concerted campaign against regressive, patriarchal, communal and casteist forces.