July 19, 2020

AIDWA Begins Newsletter

Mariam Dhawale

THE All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) has in the month of July 2020 taken two new initiatives, as per the decisions of its central secretariat.

First, AIDWA has started its online bi-monthly newsletters in English and Hindi to propagate AIDWA’s campaigns, struggles and views on various current political, economic, social and legal issues in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown. The first newsletters were circulated on July 1, 2020. Due to the present restrictions, it is not possible to publish Equality and Samya, the AIDWA’s English and Hindi magazines respectively. AIDWA has been taking up the problems arising due to the pandemic, especially related to hunger, work, health, domestic workers, self help groups and violence. The newsletters will be very useful in sharing the experiences of our activists working at the local level.

Second, AIDWA has just published on July 7, 2020 a booklet titled, “Covid-19 Pandemic and the Modi Regime: The Invisible Despair of Women”.

The Covid-19 pandemic and the thoughtless lockdowns have pushed the people of our country into unprecedented hardships and chaos. Crores of poor, marginalised people and especially women have faced untold and unimaginable suffering during the last three months. The loss of livelihood and employment has led to many of these households, as well as peasant women, women workers, women in self-help groups, domestic and home based work becoming more indebted to meet their daily needs.

Women’s burden of unpaid domestic duties and family care has increased phenomenally. The exponential increase in the hours of women’s labour within the house has not been taken into account. With schools being closed, the women also have to put in extra time to pay attention to children’s education. In the rural areas, the collection of dry wood for fuel and fetching of water from wells, bore-wells or rivers is added to the above labour. More fuel and water has to be provided for the entire family.

On the other hand, they face the challenge of providing food for the family with reduced or no incomes, welfare measures often remaining out of reach, a targeted and exclusionary PDS in operation, their work in the unorganised sector taken away from them with no hope of compensation for losses. The invisibility of what women are facing is shocking. The patriarchal system has ignored this gender aspect of nearly 50 per cent of the population!

The main reason for the unspeakable suffering rests squarely with the bankrupt and heartless policies of the BJP central government led by Modi. It has left no stone unturned to hurt the common people in every possible way and, to shower benefits on its crony corporates through its single-minded pursuit of neoliberal policies. Its communal and authoritarian thrust has become even more accentuated in this period.

In stark contrast is the silver lining provided by the CPI(M)-led LDF state government of Kerala led by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. AIDWA is proud that the health minister in this government is its leader KK Shailaja. The LDF state government of Kerala, by being the only state government in India to bring the Covid menace under control, has received international appreciation. It has also taken every possible measure to actively help every section of society in and out of Kerala, like its guest workers, to face this crisis.    

AIDWA is confident that this booklet and its newsletter will help in raising the gender aspect of the various issues confronted by women during these difficult times.