FOR the first time, CITU has decided to conduct a ‘samuhik jagaran’ programme all over the country on the night of August 14, 2018.
This was to remember the sacrifices made by thousands of workers, peasants and common people who made immense sacrifices in the struggle for freedom from British colonialism and to rededicate to the fulfilment of their aspirations.
Our independence was not attained through the efforts of one individual or one party. The toiling people of the country, the working class, peasants, adivasis etc were in the forefront of the struggle in many parts. Along with their struggles against economic exploitation and feudal oppression, they also fought colonial rule which was reinforcing such exploitation and oppression. They sacrificed all they had, their jobs, their earnings, their families and their lives, with the belief that an Independent India, free from colonial exploitation and oppression, would make great strides wiping out illiteracy, poverty, inequalities, unemployment and oppression of any kind; an India where all citizens will have equal rights and opportunities irrespective of their caste, creed, religion or gender. They had the huge advances made by the Soviet Union under the socialist system before their eyes. The youth symbolised by Bhagat Singh and his comrades-in-arms and all progressive sections who participated in the freedom struggles aspired for a similar society in India.
But the path of development that the ruling classes chose after independence belied all their expectations. The advent of neoliberalism made matters worse. Even the little gains made and the rights won are being snatched away from the toiling people. The ascent of the RSS and the BJP poses a grave threat to the unity and democratic and secular values of our country.
Thus today, it becomes necessary for the working class and all sections of the toiling people to once again remember the vision of their forefathers who fought for independence and take the pledge to continue the fight to realise their dreams. It was with this objective that the CITU general council decided to observe ‘samuhik jagaran’ all over the country on the night of August 14. It has noted that such programme being observed by Karnataka state committee of CITU since the last couple of years, had evoked good response, particularly from the young workers.
It was decided to involve, in addition to workers, people from different walks of life like intellectuals, artists, and progressive people and also organise various activities including cultural performances to carry the message. Though there was initial hesitation among the leadership of several CITU state committees on the feasibility of organising such a programme, almost all state committees of CITU made efforts to implement the decision of the general council.
As per reports, samuhik jagaran was held in over 396 centres – mainly state and district headquarters but also taluk/mandal headquarters in a few states – in more than 232 districts in 17 states. While in many centres, the jagaran was held throughout the night, in many others it was concluded after midnight. Altogether over 52,202 people, most of them young workers, and large numbers of women, participated in it.
It could not be held in Chattisgarh due to the death of the governor, in Kerala because of the grave flood situation, in Jammu and Kashmir, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh.
In Andhra Pradesh, the samuhik jagaran was held in 19 district headquarters. Hundreds of workers participated with their families in each of these centres. Cultural programmes were conducted in all the centres while in some, competitions were conducted and prizes were distributed. The programmes ended after midnight with all the participants taking pledge.
Despite the difficult situation in the states, samuhik jagaran was held in Karimganj district of Assam in which around 100 workers participated. In 34 places in 24 other districts, flag hoisting was done and the purpose of the programme was explained. Around 5000 people participated in these programmes.
Delhi state committee of CITU organised the programme in Ghaziabad and Noida. Women and children participated in good numbers. Janam performed a street play. Candle light procession was held in one centre. The programmes concluded at 11.00 pm.
The participants in the samuhik jagaran, which was held in the main centres in six district headquarters in Gujarat, were mostly anganwadi employees and ASHAs. Around 200-400 participated in each centre with the total participation of 1,900. Peasants also participated in one centre.
The programme was held in 18 district headquarters in Haryana. In addition, in one district it was held on August 15. In Himachal Pradesh, it was observed throughout the night in Kullu while in Shimla the programme had to be wound up before 9.00 pm because the police did not allow.
In Jharkhand, CITU observed the programme in 12 major cities in 12 districts by conducting discussions, debates, seminars etc on different topics related to the vision of independence and the situation today in which many intellectuals, students, youth and women participated. Slide and film shows, competitions for children and other cultural programmes were held. Pledge was taken at midnight.
Samuhik jagaran was observed in 60 centres in 25 districts in Karnataka. It had to be cancelled in another district due to heavy rain. However, despite the rain which threatened to disrupt the programme, 9,190 workers participated all over the state. While in the state capital Bengaluru and some other district headquarters, it was held throughout the night, in many others the programme had to be concluded by midnight because of the rain. In some centres, it had to be held as an indoor programme. An 102 year old freedom fighter was felicitated in Bengaluru. Despite the heavy rain, which lashed the city in the evening, around 1,500 participated and most of them stayed throughout the night. Cultural programmes were held in all places.
Full night jagaran with cultural programmes, speeches etc was observed in three places in three districts in Madhya Pradesh in which 650 workers participated; in five other districts it was observed well past midnight.
The participation in each of the six centres in Maharashtra ranged between 600 and 1,500, with a total participation in the state being over 5000. Workers, many of them with their family members, enthusiastically participated in the jagaran and the cultural programmes which were held up to early hours of August 15. Children participated in cultural programmes. This has also created an opportunity to bring out the different inherent talents among the workers. In general, it was highly appreciated by the common people.
In Rourkela in Odisha, the programme started in the morning of August 14 with a marathon with the slogan ‘I will run for the nation; to save our independence’. Different cultural and sports activities were held throughout the day followed by quiz and essay competitions, debates, seminars, patriotic song competition, sports and other cultural events. Night long programme was also held in Paradip. Samuhik jagaran was held in more than 11 districts.
Samuhik jagaran in Punjab was marked by torch light and candle light processions along with beating of drums in over 15 centres in 10 districts. The programme continued till the market places closed for the night. In Hoshiarpur, candle light march and jagaran were held in front of the house of the industries minister. The village chowkidars and transport workers marched beating tin boxes and held meetings in 100 villages.
In Rajasthan, night long jagaran was held in two districts in which around 3,500 workers participated; in 14 others it was observed till past midnight. Altogether around 8,500 people participated in the programme all over the state.
8,096 workers and 3,216 others including peasants, agricultural workers, women and students participated in the programme in Telangana, which was held in 140 centres in 29 out of the total 32 districts in the state. Songs and other cultural performances interspersed speeches at all centres.
In Uttarakhand, jagaran was held in eight places in three districts. A candle light procession was organised which went round the capital city of Dehra Dun and held meeting in two places. 465 workers participated in the programme all over the state.
The programme evoked great enthusiasm and wide spread appreciation in West Bengal. Around 1,600 workers from 12 districts gathered in Kolkata and stayed awake throughout the night. It was held in four more centres with the participation of 700 – 4000 workers in each. In all the centres, the programme was held from dusk to dawn. Eminent persons from the cultural, literary, sports fields and professionals participated. Documentaries of tea workers’ struggles were presented in the programme organised in Darjeeling. People contributed for the entire expenditure of the programme in Malda; they also provided food to the participants.
On the whole, the innovative programme of samuhik jagaran was successful in attracting attention of the young workers to the aspirations of the common people who fought for independence and the need to continue the fight today to realise their dreams.