May 2021

LOKAYAT - forum for a new world!

The second wave of the pandemic has scorched our land worse than any May sun, while the Nero of the Central Vista is fiddling away. We hope this nightmare ends soon. We hope that the spirit of democracy – which has handed a resounding defeat to the fascists in three states and which is leading to powerful people's movements in so many lands from Chile to Palestine – persists, gets strengthened and digs deeper roots into Indian soil. With this hope, we have continued our work, both online with campaigns and programs, and on the ground with relief for those in need. Here is a brief overview of our activities in May 2021.

Relief Work during the Second Wave of COVID

In addition to monetary contributions by many of our friends and well wishers, our farmer friends have contributed substantial quantities of rice, dal and onions. Some citizens have contributed entire ration kits. We distributed ration kits to 210 families this month, chiefly to workers from the unorganised sector whom the lockdown restrictions have hit the hardest.

We appeal you to contribute to this effort.

Contact: Vishal: 8007325963; Shakuntala: 9850254679

Public Programs

9th May: Online Talk
Vaccination Policy of the Modi Government

Lokayat and Pune City Congress Committee organised a talk on Vaccine Policy of the Modi Government. The talk was delivered by Neeraj Jain, and clearly showed how the hubris and the pro-corporate nature of the Modi government is responsible for India’s failure to vaccinate all its people speedily and in an equitable manner. Do listen to and think about the arguments made. The video is available on youtube.

भारत की टीकाकरण नीति का विश्लेषण |  नीरज जैन | #Lokayat #Covid

30th May: Online Talk
Buddha’s Dhamma and Annihilation of Caste

On the occasion of Buddha Poornima we organised a talk on Buddha’s Dhamma and the Annihilation of Caste. The talk was delivered by Bhadanta Vimalkitti Gunasiri, senior monk and founder president of the Buddhist seminary Mahanaag Sakyamuni Vijjasana. Bhante-ji spoke about the anti-caste aspects of Buddha’s doctrine, the egalitarian life in the sangha, which enabled those coming from oppressed caste backgrounds to transcend their past experiences and become full human beings. He also expressed his opinion on why the caste system persists today. The response was overwhelming – more than 100 people came to the zoom meeting, and the capacity was filled up. We had to apologise to latecomers for not being able to accomodate them and requested them to watch the talk on Youtube and Facebook live – which apparently more than 450 did! This response inspired us to continue our anti-caste campaign and activities with renewed vigour.

#बुद्धधम्म आणि #जात्यंत | Annihilation of #Caste | #भदन्त विमलकित्ती गुणसिरी

Programs organized by Abhivyakti

1st May: Abhivyakti Monthly Meeting
Role of women in the working class struggle

Abhivyakti held its monthly meeting on May Day. Besides planning the activities of the month, a special discussion was held, highlighting the unique and important role of women in the working class struggle with reference to historical and contemporary movements. 25 women attended this meeting online, from various parts of the state.

Online Campaign
Free Vaccination for All &
Commemoration of Menstrual Health Day

Abhivyakti organised two campaigns on social media this month. The first demanded that the government conduct free universal vaccination and the second was organised on the occasion of Menstrual Health Day to break the stigma around menstruation. Both campaigns, especially the latter, got an excellent response from all over Maharashtra. People expressed their views via poster-selfies, short videos, poetry, articles, songs and paintings.

Online Workshop
For developing our activists' understanding of gender issues

Two workshops were conducted. How the government has responded to the second COVID wave was the topic of the first. The second was an analysis of the gender politics of Hindi film songs and music videos. We also held a reading session of Tagore’s short stories, followed by discussion. 25-30 women participated in all these workshops.

Activities in Pune Slums

Besides relief work, our team conducted informative sessions for the activists and residents of the vastis. Topics include vaccination procedure, vaccine myths and facts, how to get the rations that you are entitled to including a short discussion of the economics and politics of the Public Distribution System. The team also created and circulated media posts with helpline and COVID center phone numbers, contact details of hospital-bill verification officers, hospital bed search and oxygen search portals, etc. 

Programs organized by Kafila

1st May: May Day Program

On the occasion of May Day, that is, International Labour Day, Kafila presented a cultural homage to working people. It included songs, poetry, a short story and even a discussion on iconic paintings depicting the history, struggle and spirit of the working class and of revolution. This program was broadcast live on twelve progressive facebook pages and viewed by 1800 people on that day itself. This was a new experiment of conducting a cultural program online, with various participants being in physically distant locations.

✊🏾 "हम मेहनतकश" ✊🏾  सांस्कृतिक कार्यक्रम 🎭

23rd May: Eid get-together

It is our tradition to celebrate the festivals of our country by celebrating the unity and syncretic culture of our people. Current circumstances compel us to celebrate our festivals without physical gathering. But that does not mean we cannot get together spiritually. On Sunday, 23rd May, we held a zoom get together on the occasion of Ramzan Eid. People presented poetry, songs and expressed their thoughts. It was a day of remembering the friends and comrades we have recently lost and a day of expressing hopes for a happier future.

Two Online Workshops

Kafila organised two workshops this month: 
i) To mark the birth anniversary of Pete Seeger, Kafila held a discussion about his life and music. 

ii) We also realised that collective reading of powerful short stories can go a long way in sensitising people. So we organised weekend practice sessions for those volunteers who wish to develop this skill.


India with Palestine

The recent events in Palestine are well known. We stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine, their struggle to end the illegal occupation of their country. We condemn US imperialism which is the root cause of Israeli occupation and also the fundamentalist ideology which has made Israel an apartheid state. We responded to the call by the India Palestine Solidarity Forum for an online campaign. Dozens of posters, selfies, and video messages were contributed to this campaign. Activist Feroze Mithiborwala of the India Palestine Solidarity Forum, delivered a short talk in our Weekly meeting about this issue, followed by a discussion. This session was enlightening for many new activists who learned about this issue and its various dimensions for the first time.

In Support of Farmer's Struggle 

In addition, in response to the call by the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, the Shetkari Bachao Sanyukta Kriti Samiti Pune also organised an online campaign – condemning 7 years of pro-corporate and fascist Modi regime – as well as expressing solidarity with the Farmers’ Protests at the capital’s borders, which have completed six heroic months of struggle. A small protest, by 10 people, representing various organisations of the Samiti, was held outside the Pune Collectorate. Scores of people expressed themselves vocally and creatively in this campaign. You can see these posts on our facebook page. We appeal to you to participate in the online campaigns – it’s our main public awareness activity during the lockdown.

Universal Health Care & Vaccination

We held an online campaign demanding that the government stop giving freebies to the corporate class from our tax money, and spend it on ensuring universal, equal healthcare and universal, free vaccination against COVID-19. 

Collaboration with Rickshaw Panchayat

Tragedy befell the union this month. In addition to members succumbing to COVID, Bapu Kamble, a dedicated and untiring activist of the Rickshaw Panchayat, died of injuries inflicted in a road accident. A memorial service was held for him. The state government has announced financial aid to all auto-rickshaw drivers in the city. Rickshaw panchayat union members have taken the initiative to ensure that all drivers are registered on the government portal to avail this scheme. So facilitation centers have been set up at more than 20 rickshaw stands in Pune. Drivers are helping their colleagues overcome the digital divide this way. Another initiative by the Panchayat is providing assistance to families of drivers who have lost their earning member to COVID, and female drivers are spearheading this. Our activists are also volunteering in both these tasks.

Collaboration with Friday's For Future, Pune

Friday’s for Future, Pune organised a talk on the link between the climate crisis and the pandemic. An online discussion was held to discuss various aspects of the government's decision to open up thousands of hectares of the Buxwaha forest to diamond mining companies. An online protest campaign was also held. Many students and teachers participated in these activities. Our activists also helped to organise these.

Other Programs

Social media activities

Our social media team not only makes political posts on current issues but also strives to make quality progressive content everyday, on a variety of themes - historical, artistic and scientific topics. Every weekend an intense two-hour brainstorming and content creation session is held. We held 6 such sessions this month. Do volunteer for this activity if you are interested

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

#IndiaWithPalestine | We Shall Over Come | हम होंगे कामयाब | Lokayat | Kafila

In Solidarity with Palestine: 
We Shall Over Come 
हम होंगे कामयाब

मीना और शबाना कहेती है, कोरोना की कुछ खास बातें

Video on Vaccination myths: 


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".
You are most welcome to join us in our meetings!

शेतकऱ्यांचा लढा हा आपलाही लढा आहे!

दिल्लीत सुरु असलेल्या शेतकरी आंदोलनाच्या पार्श्वभूमीवर या लहान पुस्तिकेचे प्रकाशन लोकायत मार्फत करण्यात आले आहे. शेतकरी आंदोलन आणि त्यातल्या मागण्या या केवळ शेतकऱ्यांपुरत्याच नसून विविध अंगांनी सर्व सामान्य जनतेच्या हिताच्या आहेत, याबाबत मांडणी करणारी ही पुस्तिका!