April Newsletter 2021


April 2021

LOKAYAT - forum for a new world!

The second wave of COVID-19 pandemic wreaks havoc across the land. Now is the time to help those who are in need, but without muting the voice of resistance to the unjust system, which has created the crisis in the first place. While the focus of our activities in April was relief work and ensuring delivery of services to people, we managed to hold discussions, campaigns and talks online. Here is a brief report of the same.

Relief Work during the Second Wave of COVID

This month we distributed ration kits to more than 150 workers who have lost their livelihood due to the lockdown restrictions, including single women, elderly, domestic workers, HIV patients, migrant workers, tempo drivers, rickshaw drivers, carpenters, painters.

We appeal you to contribute to this effort.

Contact: Vishal: 8007325963; Shakuntala: 9850254679

Programs organised in support of Farmers' Movement

Taking forward the legacy of the Non-Cooperation Movement and the Dandi Yatra organised by Gandhiji, various socialist organisations came together to organise the Mitti Satyagraha Yatra from Mumbai to Delhi, against the unjust farm laws and in solidarity with the farmers’ protest at the Delhi borders. Several organisations also organised similar yatras in various parts of the country. The main Yatra began from Mumbai on March 29. The Yatra passed through five states - Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab - to reach Delhi border on April 6. Meetings and protests were held in various towns and villages along the way – including historical sites such as the birthplace of Sardar Patel, the Sabarmati Ashram and the birthplace of Shahid Udham Singh. In each place, the locals handed over a kalash (urn) of soil. On April 6, all the yatras converged on the protest sites at the border of Delhi. Soil from more than two thousand villages of 17 states was offered in solidarity and homage paid at the shahid smaraks (martyr memorials) set up at all the protest sites in honour of the farmer martyrs. Four of our activists participated in the main Yatra from Mumbaito Delhi. It was a great journey, made richer by the experience of travelling with and meeting comrades from various groups in the movement, hailing from so many different places.

Public Programs

14 April: Online Cultural Program

Celebrating Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Jayanti

Kafila & Lokayat organised an online live program of songs and poetry as a tribute to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar on his birth anniversary, which got thousands of views on facebook. You can watch the program on our youtube channel.

डॉ. बाबासाहेब आंबेडकर जयंती | सांस्कृतिक कार्यक्रम

3 April: Online Panel Discussion
Swacch Bharatachi Aswacch Kahani

As part of our campaign to confront systemic casteism we organised a panel discussion on the topic of manual scavenging and sewage workers. This also marked the 7th anniversary of the supreme court judgement ordering state governments to abolish manual scavenging. On the panel was Com. Uday Bhat of AICCTU, Lokayat’s Alka Joshi, joined by two workers of the PMC sanitation department, Vaishali Baraye and Sanjay Rasge. The workers shared their experience of the hard, dangerous job they do for the city and the discrimination they have faced. Various aspects of this issue were touched upon in the hour long discussion – especially the role of caste in perpetuating discrimination and bias against cleaning workers.

स्वच्छ भारताची अस्वच्छ कहाणी | ऑनलाईन चर्चासत्र

11 April: Online Talk
Budget 2021: What's In It for the People?

Lokayat’s annual union budget analysis talk, delivered by Neeraj Jain on 11th April. Besides Lokayat’s own social media, this talk was streamed by 11 progressive organisations on their facebook pages youtube channels and got a good response. The regressive budget of the Modi government, continues to favour the super wealthy in spite of the economic and health crisis created by the pandemic and the budget reflects this.

केंद्रीय बजेट 2021-22: यात जनतेसाठी काय आहे?

25 April: Online Talk

Modi Govt’s Response to the Second Wave of COVID

The Modi government is putting profits over people and political partisanship over public interest once again. This is reflected in the carelessness, hubris, denial and blame game which has characterised the BJP government’s response to this deadly second wave of COVID-19. In this talk, our activist Neeraj Jain, analysed the economic and operational response of the government in detail. More than 100 people attended the talk over zoom and hundreds more watched it online on the 12 platforms. These platforms included facebook pages and youtube channels run by us and our friend organisations.

कोरोना के दुसरे दौर में मोदी सरकार का रवैया

Programs organised by Abhivyakti

3 April: Abhivyakti Monthly Meeting
Does Liberty for Women mean Wantonness?

Last month’s meeting was held over Zoom. More than 50 members attended, including activists from Nasik and Nagpur. A very stimulating discussion took place. The topic Does Liberty for Women mean Wantonness? was debated and many new volunteers found it quite enlightening.

Online Campaign
Does Liberty for Women mean Wantonness?

It's an often repeated statement that if women get freedom and equal rights then the morality of society suffers, or the institutions of marriage and family break down. Such statements are all defences and excuses of patriarchy, their fallacies are apparent if we consider women as equal human beings and understand how the unequal and unjust system of patriarchy works. This campaign aims to start a conversation on exactly these lines. We appealed to people on social media to send us messages in the form of selfies, videos, expressing their views. The response was heartening. Many people shared their posts which can be found on our Facebook page.

Online Discussions for Women

In these weekly discussions, we talk about a different aspect of patriarchy every week, and try to construct the overall picture of the system. This months topics wereDiscussion on Film Clippingsand Women and Superstition. Many women from throughout the state attended these online sessions and found them quite enlightening.


14 April: Online Campaign
Celebrating Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Jayanti

Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar is often wrongly bracketed as the leader of Scheduled Castes, or even more narrowly, of his own caste. Our online campaign “Sarvanche Babasaheb” (Babasaheb belongs to all) aimed to counter exactly this view. We appealed on social media and numerous people posted their messages about the various contributions of Dr Ambedkar which have impacted all the people of India and not just one particular caste. You can see the various posts about this on our facebook page.

28 April: Online Campaign for
Free Universal Vaccination

Lokayat and Abhivyakti carried out an online campaign demanding that the central government fund universal free vaccination, stop the super-profiteering by vaccine makers and ramp up production by involving public and private sectors on a war footing. This extensive program can be funded by a progressive wealth tax on the super-rich of India. We appealed on social media and numerous people posted messages raising these demands.

9 April: Street Campaign against
Rising Prices of Fuel

Before the second wave of the pandemic hit, we carried out physically-distanced street campaign on petrol-diesel price rise. Groups of 2-3 activists stood with posters and talked to passers-by at two jogging tracks.

Collaboration with Rickshaw Panchayat

Pune Municipal Corporation and Maratha Chamber of Commerce jointly started a free vaccination drive for Rickshaw Drivers. PMC allotted five hospitals in the City in different area and a time slot for the same. Lokayat Activists along with the Rickshaw Panchayat Drivers who are taking initiative in this; are facilitating and coordinating this drive in respected areas. They inform Rickshaw drivers about this facility and ask them to avail it. To make sure that the drive benefits all without any hurdles our activists visits the hospital or a vaccination centre and try fix the issue wherever required.

Collaboration with Anganwadi Karmachari Sabha

Even though Anganwadis are closed, Anganwadi workers were not allowed to do clerical work from home in the first weeks of the lockdown. Two workers from Hadapsar died due to COVID-19. Anganwadi workers protested at the Collectorate against this policy of putting them unecessarily in harms way or to provide safety equipment and medical insurance, in addition to various pending livelihood issues. A petition was also submitted to the state Women and Child Welfare commission. We participated in this protest in solidarity. Since the protest, two of the workers’ demands have been met.

Other Programs

Inculcating a Culture of Reading

We hold a collective reading session once a week. Activists read various books related to social, political issues and discuss them. We encourage new activists to participate in these activities. This month too, we observed “reading day” every week in small decentralised teams.

Social Media Activities

We held a collective poster and content making sessions for our social media channels once a week.

We also collaborated with multiple social media platforms to spread the word. Following is the list of platforms which streamed our live content together:

  • Facebook Pages of Ram Puniyani, B.G. Kolse Patil, Paigam Network, Sarkari Nokri Ayushyachi Bhakri, Congress (Hatkanangale), RSD (Ichalkaranji), Jana Jagran Abhiyan (Orissa), Madhu Sudan, Yuva Biradari (Mumbai), Yuva Janata Dal (Mumbai), Janata Weekly, LDSF (Gujarat), Informer Live, Working People's Charter.
  • Youtube Channel of Workers Unity and Maharashtra Jivan News.

Do volunteer for poster making activity if you are interested.
Do contact us if you want to host our program on your channel.

Contact: Shubham: 99673 75492

New on Youtube

✊🏾 "हम मेहनतकश" ✊🏾  सांस्कृतिक कार्यक्रम 🎭
केंद्रीय #बजट 2021-22 | "पोषण संबंधी योजनाएँ और पेंशन" | भाग 7 | नीरज जैन | लोकायत

Cultural Program
on the Occasion of May Day

Series on Analysis of Central Budget 2020-21

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Lokayat is group of Social Activists based in Pune. We work on organizing people for various social, political, economic and environmental issues.

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"Lokayat Hall, Opposite Syndicate Bank, Law College Road, Near Nal Stop, Pune-4".
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