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Bombay Labour Once Again

THE history of Bombay textile labour continues to occupy the scholarly interest of professional social scientists.

Politics and Organisations of Urban Workers

The working class is an apparently privileged section. It has sained a more or less secure entry into the mainstream of economy, the sphere of organised production. In a society characterised by unemployment, poverty, scarcity and deprivation even wage slavery can be considered a privilege.

MAHARASHTRA-The Textile Worker in the Village

"First tell us why you're here — have you only come to tell us Datta Samant is power-hungry and that we should go back to work?" Textile workers, now back in their village homes three months into the longest strike in their history, are at first suspicious. From the beginning they have heard from their more well-known village leaders only anti-strike propaganda — workers are well off anyway and are causing damage to the nation by demanding too much, etc, etc. But once they find out that these visitors, organisers with agricultural labourers and toiling peasants in a nearby village, are different, are supporters of their strike, have been distributing pamphlets showing this support, their mood changes. A lamp is brought, friends are called, a meeting is held in a small temple in this poor peasant section of a prosperous and merchant dominated village in the foothills of the Sahyadris, and the process of organising the textile workers in Shiralapeth taluka of Sangli district has begun.

Capital and Labour in Bombay City, 1928-29

This paper attempts to study the historical specificities of class conflict and consciousness in colonial India in the industrial context. This attempt is made on the basis of a study of certain long-term trends converging towards an intensification of labour-capital conflict in the Bombay textile industry and a detailed analysis of a nodal point, the strike actions of 1928-29. The paper questions some current notions about the 'irrationality' of working-class behaviour faced with technological change.

Bombay Communists and the 1924 Textile Strike

The recent publications of many kinds of source material on the beginnings of the Indian communist movement, including hitherto classified intelligence reports, creates the impression that the communist movement in those early days was a very powerful political force. The fact that in 1924, there was both a major strike in the Bombay textile mills and the launching of the Kanpur Conspiracy Case reinforces this impression of a well-organised, secret communist movement posing grave dangers to the government, and both the government and Communist Party leaders, for different reasons, seek to establish a causal relation between the two.

Anti-Working Class Law

The Maharashtra Recognition of Trade Unions and Prevention of Unfair Labour Practices Act was passed in 1971 after consideration or the Report of the Committee on Unfair Labour Practices which was published in July J969. However, though the Act was passed in 1971, it was not enforced till September 8, 1975, i.e, after the imposition of the internal Emergency, when the working class movement was on the defensive. It is quite clearly a piece of anti-working class legislation and the working class should demand its repeal.

Non-Brahmans and Communists in Bombay

This paper studies the radical working class movement which emerged in Bombay in the late 1920s and which brought together, in curious fashion, an emerging communist leadership with the leaders of the largely peasant-based non-Brahman movement. The ambiguities and outcome of these contacts and conflicts were decisive not only for the development of social radicalism but also for the direction of the nationalist movement in Maharashtra.
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