We recently celebrated Baliraja Utsav – with intellectual, ideological festivities. NT-DNT, Adivasi, Bahujan youth from 5 locations in Thane District came together and actively participated and took a lead in this full-day celebration. As we know, Baliraja is revered as a great ancient king known for his egalitarianism, justice and the prosperity of farmers, labourers, women and common people in his kingdom; who is till date remembered and celebrated by women, farmers and Bahujans as their leader.

Celebrating him, the youth at this event read, discussed, presented their thoughts, and asked questions – guided by the words and writings of pioneering researchers, leaders and activists Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, Tukoba, Janabai and other great leaders.

Learning about the feminist, democratic, agriculture-respectful, labour-respectful ideologies of Baliraja was like gaining access to great intellectual treasures.

It is very important especially for youth to learn the depth of our country’s history of democracy, human values, and enlightenment. The books and writings of Mahatma Phule. A. H. Salunkhe and other courageous researchers of Maharashtra were referred to, to learn about Baliraja’s true history and Baliraja Utsav. It was a day filled with intellectual, emotional experience sharing.

On the same day, we also had another very interesting discussion session “Mann Boli” – in which youth expressed their thoughts about Youth Mental Health through art. Two of them were especially thought provoking – one connected mob lynching, caste violence, atrocities and sexual attacks with Mental Justice, and other described the cycle of issues faced by LGBTIQ and cis youth which affect their mental health.