Friday, December 11, 2009


Gujarat, India

10th December, International Human Rights' Day was observed spiritedly in Ahmedabad. This year , this programme is observed by Lok Andolan Gujarat ; a people's forum emerged on 9th August this year on Quit India Movement Day in a convention held at Gujarat Vidhyapeeth to carry forward the people's movement through out the state and co – ordinate and unite all the minor and major peoples movements for a consorted action and to lead the people's movement to its logical end taking the spirit of NavNirman Movement of Gujarat and the JP movement in the country. The main motive for its formation is to co-ordinate sporadic movements going on in different corners of the state on various people's issues, be it on SEZ, or of Government Employees' pay scale, or on Hooch Tragedy victims' compensation and punishment to culprits or issues of atrocities on Women and Dalit, education movements, movements of diamond and power loom workers, movement against electricity tariff hike or on questions of drinking water, sewerage, road etc. or on plights of migrant workers, manhole workers, etc. It was felt intensely the inevitability of a joint platform for action to ensure graceful life to all citizens irrespective of language, caste, creed, religion, race etc. There was an appeal to all citizens to participate in 10th December, people's convention at Sardarbag to advance a step further in this direction. The main slogan of this Convention was WE DEMAND PEOPLE'S POWER. LAND, WATER AND FORESTS BELONG TO PEOPLE.

It is important to recall that for last ten years Movement for Secular Democracy (M.S.D.), took initiative with Peoples' Union for Civil Liberties (P.U.C.L.), AWAG and other voluntary organizations and the citizens to spread the message of Human Rights on 10th. December and observed the day very spiritedly. As a result the human rights day has been celebrated widely and the voices for the Human Rights are becoming strong .
The Human Rights Day was celebrated at Sardarbag, Lal darwaja, Ahmedabad this time, under the auspices of Lok Andolan Gujarat. A people's conference was organized, where the fighting people and the concerned citizens and the voluntary organization all over the state joined the conference to express solidarity and to take pledge for a prolonged(suggestion: sustained) peoples movement.
A presidium was formed with Shri Prakashbhai Shah, Ms. Ilaben Pathak, Shri. Chunibhai Vaidya, Shri. Natubhai , Prof. Babubhai Desai, Prof. Kishorebhai Desai, , Mr. Dhiru Mistry, Prof. Ashwin Karia, Mr. Manishi Jani, Mr. Gautam Thaker, Ms. Damyantiben Parekh .

The Conference was addressed by leading citizens and activists. plays, songs, speeches were placed. Among the speakers, some important names were Shri Prakash N. Shah, Shri Ilaben Pathak, Shri Chunibhai Vaidya, Mr. Manishi Jani, Shri. Mansoor Ali Saleri & others.
Other activists coming from different parts of the states who spoke were Ms. Zoharaben Cyclewala , Shri. Ratibhai Desai, Shri. Vinubhai Amin & others.

To summerise all the speeches , the focal point of care & concern was that,
When more than half of the population is starving, 47% of infants live miserably under malnutrition, the real figure of farmers' suicide exceed horrifically the official figure, farmers and farm labourers-daily labourers are thrown out of their land to hand it over to private corporates, daily one rape and unnatural death of 15 women take place, salt labourers' children remain void of education and still over 80,000 people in this modern era are engaged in most heinous job of carrying human excreta on their head, how can we call our Gujarat a Swarnim(Golden) Gujarat?

The whole Conference was conducted by activist Ms. Meenakshi Joshi .

It was decided in the conference to make people to people contact throughout the state by month of March, to make it to converge on 1st of May - 50th foundation year of Gujarat in alternate and true sense. It is to be observed on large scale basis to take vow for the people's cause which is just ignored or given a cosmetic look with a 'human face' in the name of 'Swarnim Gujarat ' by the Chief minister Narendra Modi.

The Human Rights Day Celebration marked by the songs, plays by the youths and the students.
Plays on reality of Swarnim Gujarat, on female foeticide and on marketisation of education were done by students of different colleges and universities of the state. Songs like Danko Vagyo…, the song of 1942 movement, Jaago jag Na kshudharth… (Gujarati translation of international working class song by National poet Jhaverchand Meghani), keva keva bandhan… a song on enslavement of women, etc. were sang. The slogans of the conference were, "jal jamin jungle kona? Junta Na bhai junta Na"(land, water and forest belong to people), "amari chhe ek j vaat, junta nu raj divas raat"(we demand people's rule, day and night), "navi duniya, nyayi duniya" (new world, just world)

The conference was concluded with the Mass Song Ham Honge Kamyab (We shall overcome)

The highlights of the Human Rights Day were the big Human Chain over the Nehru Bridge followed by the Candle light.

Report by:

D. N. Rath

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