FOR the first time Ernakulum is going to host the all India conference of the Democratic Youth Federation of India, from February 1-5. On February 2nd morning, former Supreme Court judge, Justice Gopal Gowda will inaugurate the delegate session. The conference will be attended by 700 delegates from across the country. Eminent scientist Prof. Pushpa M Bhargava will deliver the keynote address in the inaugural session, through video conference from Hyderabad. He is unable to attend the conference due to his failing health. Other eminent guests at the inaugural session include Magsaysay award winner and an activist fighting against manual scavenging, Bezwada Wilson, Prof. Megha Pansare and Dr Hamid Dabholkar daughter and son of Govind Pansare and Dr Narendra Dabholkar, great intellectuals killed by Hindutva forces and our former president MA Baby, student leaders from various eminent universities and institutions like JNU, HCU and FTII, Pune. The venue of the delegate session will be named after Rohith Vemula and venue of public meeting will be Fidel Castro Nagar.
The slogan of the tenth all India conference is ‘Dream a new India, fight for employment, secularism and democracy’. It is a fact that DYFI dares to dream a new India when all the values, principles and other fundamentals of our secular democratic state is facing an unprecedented attack in the history of independent India. The current government, led by Modi and controlled by RSS is engaged in a relentless onslaught to systematically dismantle the economic sovereignty, cultural diversity, political unity and the secular democratic foundations of our country. The conference will deeply analyse the economic, political and cultural attacks, its impact on youth and the strategies to effectively challenge it.
The greatest impact of these policies, as far as the youth is concerned is worsening unemployment. At the time of 2014 Lok Sabha elections, BJP had promised to create two crore jobs over five years. When this government has passed the half way mark of its term the employment scenario in the country reveals the picture of a blatant betrayal of the promise.
This feature of jobless growth and massive unemployment under Modi government has already led to large scale discontent, particularly among the youth. It is this discontent which is reflecting in the form of agitations by Jats in Haryana, Patidars in Gujarat, Marathas in Maharashtra and Gujars in Rajasthan demanding reservation in employment and education. Shrinking overall employment opportunities have forced people to take to streets and try to secure a bigger portion of declining opportunities through reservations. Under the neoliberal regime employment opportunities in public sector have seen a consistent decline. Whatever limited opportunities arise are mostly in private sector. However, because of the absence of reservation in private sector youth belonging to SC, ST and OBCs are the biggest losers. That is why DYFI is raising the demand for reservation in private sector about which the Modi government is silent. Instead its ideological mentor, RSS is continuously raising its demand for ending even the existing reservations.
DYFI has been in the forefront of struggles against unemployment. Apart from all India levels struggles like ‘Occupy Parliament Street’ we had conducted many agitations in various states. The 10th all India conference will examine the experiences of the struggles and will formulate concrete slogans to intensify these struggles. The conference will also chalk out a plan for massive campaign to expose the failure of this government to generate jobs as promised and also the hollow claims of slogans such as Make In India, Digital India, Start up India etc.
Politically, this government is acting as a tool to implement the RSS project of ‘Hindu Rashtra’ by dismantling our secular democratic republic. The Hindutva forces, emboldened by the Modi government, are relentlessly engaged in activities to aggravate communal polarization and are infiltrating public institutions. Controversial appointments to various institutions like the ICHR, FTII and various other institutions are examples of this infiltration.
Attacks against scientific temper, rationale thinking, freedom of thought and expression are indications of growing authoritarianism undermining the very spirit of our constitution. Those who dare to question this authoritarianism are being physical eliminated. This authoritarian regime has now developed a deadly combination between communalism and pseudo nationalism. This is helping them to create a new polarisation between the so called nationals and anti-nationals. All voices of criticism are being snubbed as anti-national. DYFI firmly declares that we are and will continue to fight RSS brand of Hindutva nationalism. Our patriotism is based on our commitment to the idea of India which is secular, democratic, multicultural and plural in character. Our notions of nationalism are derived from the glorious legacy of freedom struggle and martyrdom of great revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh, Udham Singh, Rajguru and Azad. Our source of patriotism emanates from these great martyrs. That is why the close associates and comrades of Bhagat Singh, Comrade Shiv Varma, and Pandit Kishorilal were present in the founding conference of the DYFI in Ludhiana in 1980. They saw DYFI as the true inheritors of their legacy. Our legacy is not that of cowards like Savarkar who repeatedly begged time before the British for clemency. It is based on this firm conviction that the DYFI has stood steadfast with the students, artists and intellectuals who were dubbed as anti-national.
DYFI has taken an uncompromising position against honour killing and moral policing. Its interventions in issues like the brutal killing of Ilavarasan in Tamil Nadu are examples. The conference will take decision to strengthen our struggles along with other like-minded organisations to fight khap panchayats and for an exclusive law to effectively deal with honour killings.
Under the Modi government, violence against women is rising. DYFI has taken up this issue of violence against women as our priority. Several interventions like ‘Night Assembly’ got appreciation even from sections who have never been sympathetic to the DYFI. Violence against women continues to be our prime concern and is going to be a major point of our discussions.
The two and half years of this government have seen a proliferation of communal and caste violence. Not only minorities but dalits and adivasis are also subjected to this violence. Rohith Vemula is a victim of this caste oppression and the RSS agenda of silencing all dissenting voices in the campuses. His institutional murder had evoked militant, spontaneous protests in the country. DYFI too joined hands with the protesting students, expressing its solidarity and support to their struggles. It has made several interventions and is also in the process of building a broad platform against caste discrimination.
An important agenda is a focused session on strengthening organisation, attracting more youth, formulating appropriate slogans and adopting innovative methods for building the organisation. For this purpose a separate, focused resolution on organisation will be placed for discussion. Another exclusive session will be held against ‘discrimination’ to be attended by Prof. Gopal Guru, Radhika Vemula and Raja Vemula (mother and brother of Rohith Vemula) among others. There will be a seminar on ‘Union Budget and the Youth’ on February 2nd evening. Kerala finance minister Dr Thomas Issac, Prof Prabhat Patnaik and Prof Ramkumar will be the speakers. International session is scheduled on 3rd evening.
The Kerala DYFI and the reception committee are working with great enthusiasm for making the conference a huge success. A concrete action plan will emerge out of the deliberations of the conference to build a vibrant youth movement on All India level and to unleash a wave of relentless struggles to fulfill the dream of a New India.