Freedom 75
Celebrating Freedom75 in Mumbai
by Ajit Patil

A year back, after the sad demise of Comrade Gail Omvedt, a delegation from our party led by Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya, went to Kasegaon in the Satara district of Maharashtra to pay our respects share the grief with her partner Com. Bharat Patankar and her daughter Prachi. Bharat narrated her political and social journey with a communist family who was a part of the freedom struggle and the ‘Prati Sarkar’ in western Maharashtra.

Com. Bharat Patankar played a key role in bringing together left parties, young activists and artists for a week-long celebration under the banner of ‘People’s Freedom 75’ which took place in Mumbai. The programme was based on the concept of the dream of the toiling masses to oust the British colonialist’s rule from India as also to end class, caste, gender and religious exploitation and oppression. These masses continued their fight to achieve their remaining dreams even after independence. Our celebration of ‘People’s Freedom 75’ was to be inspired by all the struggles to achieve our dreams. At the same time, the basis of celebration was not limited to the Constitution, but was mainly focussed on the dream of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar who envisaged a "proposal of constitution for United States of India", which was going beyond attaining equality in terms of 'one individual – one vote’, but encompassed the realization of social and economic equality for all.

The week-long program started with an art exhibition at Bhupesh Gupta Bhavan on  August 7th which continued till August 13th, and displayed paintings, photographs, sculptures and installations of 70 artists  from across the country. It was interspersed with a ‘Kavi Sammelan’, story-reading, rap performances, revolutionary songs, cultural programme, etc. Young women rappers left everyone spell bound, and a group of rappers who are also environmental activists agitating to save Aarey, also performed with special percussion instruments of the Aadivasis. Com. Anupam participated on behalf of our party. Whereas, on August 9th – on the occasion of the Quit India Movement – a silent march was organised to the August Kranti Maidan and homage was paid to the martyrs of the freedom struggle. On August 13th, a programme was organised at the Shivaji Mandir Auditorium which included cultural performances, speeches by various political parties and other progressive organisations, including the Dalit groups and women’s groups.