March Newsletter 2021


March 2021

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The pandemic drags on. While the month began with many outdoor activities and life seemed to be returning to normal, it was clear by the third week that severe restrictions would again be in place. So this month saw both outdoor, physical campaigns as well as online campaigns. We organised many campaigns against caste and gender inequality as well as against the rising prices of fuel. Activities in the vastis and follow up of government officials for solving problems of drainage and ration, also went on in parallel. Here is the full report:

Programs organised in support of Farmers' Movement

The Sanyukta Kisan Morcha called for Bharat Bandh on the 26th of March. In support of the same, more than 20 small protests were held in city squares, by carrying banners in support of the farmers. This bandh was organised jointly by all member organisations and parties of the Shetkari Bachao Sanyukta Kriti Samiti. We participated in this campaign with all our strength.

Programs organised by Abhivyakti

7 March: Film Festival organised on
International Womens' Day

Abhivyakti organised a film festival to celebrate 8th March – international womens’ day. We showcased documentary films on the history of womens’ day, the rising domestic violence under the lockdown, womens’ struggle for equality in employment and various other issues. Attendance was restricted due to COVID restrictions, but the hall was filled to its permitted capacity, with good participation by the youth. The films were followed by a discussion.

20 March: Session with Women at Tadiwala Road

Abhivyakti has started conducting sessions for local women on issues related to gender equality and empowerment. The first such session was held in Tadiwala road on 20th of March.

#GaaliBand Campaign
Against patriarchal demeaning language

Abhivyakti campaigned against the use of patriarchal and demeaning expletives in our languages. This campaign is getting a good response on social media too. We also held a workshop for new volunteers, who found it very enlightening to understand that something as fundamental as language is also influenced by patriarchy.

23 March: Story Reading and Discussion

A session of reading and discussion on stories by feminist authors was held online by Abhivyakti on 23rd of March.

Programs organised in Pune Slums

Struggle for PDS grain

Following up of officials for provision of PDS grain to all entitled families is also going on. Meanwhile, we confronted the local ration officials as well as MLA’s regarding the recent GR further restricting PDS eligibility. It turns out that both administration and public representatives are confused on what the GR actually means. We will be monitoring this situation. Our activists who have studied the PDS and have been active on this front conducted a workshop about the technicalities and politics of PDS for new volunteers and locals of the vasti where we are working. It was a short, crisp discussion and everyone got essential knowledge about this issue.

Organising People in Vastis for
Improved sanitation facilities

We are organising citizens living in Wadarwadi and Indiranagar slums to struggle for better drainage and sanitation facilities. Two signature campaigns were held in various parts of both vastis. We also met the PMC officials in charge of the areas. Hopefully, improvements will be made soon.


20 March: Street campaigns against caste system

On 20th March – on the occassion of the anniversary of the Mahad Andolan, we carried out a street campaign against systematic casteism. At three spots around the city, small teams of 3 or 4 activists stood with placards and pamphlets and discussed the various dimensions of the caste system with passers-by. This was our second campaign on this issue and it got a good response from the public. We also found that compared to a few years ago, more people today acknowledge the existence of systematic casteism and a will to struggle against it. We plan to continue this campaign on a regular basis.

Campaigns against Rising Prices of Fuel

This month we also held five street campaigns explaining the real reasons behind the recent hike in petrol-diesel and LPG prices – namely the shifting of tax burden to the people in order to continue to give tax benefits to corporates. The topic itself as well as the attractive posters we used in this campaign ensured a good response.

Collaboration with Rickshaw Panchayat

Regular meetings of the union were held and the survey of rickshaw drivers at auto-stands continued. Through the rickshaw panchayat WhatsApp group network, we were able to help the Police track down two stolen auto-rickshaws and return them to their owners. Those who helped find the vehicles were gifted a set of books and felicitated in a short ceremony. Issues of vital importance to the union, such as the new vehicle scrapping policy are being discussed in the union meeting. Efforts to make a collectively owned auto-rickshaw hailing app have also been revived.

Collaboration with Fridays for Future, Pune

As part of the Fridays for Future movement we organised an online poster campaign on 19th of March, speaking out against the role of the global capitalist order in perpetuating the climate crisis. Many students from Pune colleges also participated in this campaign.

Other Programs

18 March: Workshop on Caste System

Our activists conducted an online discussion about the various aspects of the caste system – cultural, economic and political. Fifteen members attended this discussion. The aim of this session was to equip volunteers with facts and figures for the street campaign as well as to sensitise new volunteers to the issue.

11 March: Solidarity with MPSC Students

When MPSC exams were postponed yet again, thousands of students gathered in central Pune to protest the decision. Although we understand that the state government may have had its practical reasons to postpone the exams, we don’t condone the action of adding more uncertainty to the lives of lakhs of youth who are already facing the grave unemployment crisis. Therefore, we lent our support to non-partisan students among the protestors, mainly calling for an overall solution to the unemployment crisis.

Watch Video

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 collective poster and content making sessions for our social media channels. Do join this activity if you are interested. To join, call Shubham: 99673 75492.

New on Youtube

केंद्रीय #बजट2021 - "GDP का वास्तविक विकास दर" | भाग 1 | नीरज जैन | लोकायत
डॉ. बाबासाहेब आंबेडकर जयंती | सांस्कृतिक कार्यक्रम
स्वच्छ भारताची अस्वच्छ कहाणी | ऑनलाईन चर्चासत्र

Series on Analysis of Central Budget 2020-21

Cultural Program on the occasion of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Birth Anniversary

Panel Discussion on the problems of Sanitation Workers

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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.

We meet every Sunday from 5 to 7:30 pm
"Lokayat Hall, Opposite Syndicate Bank, Law College Road, Near Nal Stop, Pune-4".
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