People’s Democratic Front of India founded
The Fight to Save India!
The big hall of Shah Auditorium in New Delhi was alive with shouted slogans.
“Let Us Build a Resistance Movement against Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization!”
“Down with Imperialism!”
“Resist oppression of nationalities and minorities!”
It was July 30, 2006, and the eve of the 66th anniversary of the martyrdom of Shaheed Udham Singh.
The people gathered in the Shah Auditorium were there to witness the first conference of the People’s Democratic Front of India (PDFI), a day-old amalgamation of 165 organizations and more than 100 Indian democratic leaders.
The PDFI encompasses organizations and individuals from all walks of Indian society. It includes, among others, Maoists, Gandhians, Dalits, peasant and laborer organizations, a large number of students, professors, teachers, civil liberties activists, filmmakers, writers, singers, sculptors, legal experts, doctors, environmentalists, and journalists.
Some important members worthy of mention are Medha Patekar, a major spokesperson for the Save Narmada Movement, human rights activist and Supreme Court lawyer Nandita Haksar, activist and professor of Arabic S.A.R. Geelani, B.D. Sharma, President of Bharat Jan Andolan, the Indian People’s Movement, Thomas Mathew, a former United Nations official from India, and P. Varavara Rao, an eminent revolutionary poet of Andhra Pradesh.
The PDFI’s slogan is: “Build a Self-reliant People’s Democratic India.” It encompasses a number of popular struggles. Its program and constitution specify that:
“it is an open-ended process for all those people’s organizations and individuals who join this platform to enrich it with their struggles and ideas for the fresh construction of a new egalitarian social order.”
According to Darshan Pal, one of the conveners of the 51-member executive committee:
“the PDFI will wage a struggle to create a genuinely democratic space in our suffocating caste/class society. Real democratic social relations are yet to be established in our country.”
He further explained that: “Unless an anti-imperialist and patriotic movement addresses itself closely to the questions of patriarchy, caste, nationality, and ethnic/tribal and religious minorities in our society, it cannot hold out the promise of affording equal rights and opportunities to all sections of the people.”
Medha Patekar of the NBA said: “India today is experiencing a great economic, political, and cultural onslaught by the world’s imperialist powers and leading to the degradation of human relationships and even our basic infrastructure. Social values and social relations are on the verge of collapsing.” ………….
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The Fight to Save India!