Change and Development in Industrial Society

Change and Development in Industrial Society


Read the given passages carefully and answer all seven questions given at the end of the Passages.

Jayprakash Bhilare, ex-millworker, General Secretary of the Maharashtra Girni Kamgar Union: Textile workers were getting only their basic wage and DA, and no other allowance. We were getting only five days Casual Leave. Other workers in other industries had started getting allowances for travelling, health benefits, etc. and 10-12 days Casual Leave. This agitated the textile workers...On 22 October, 1981, the workers of Standard Mills marched to the house of Dr. Datta Samant to ask him to lead them. At first Samant declined, saying the industry was covered by the BIRA and he did not know enough of the textile industry. These workers were in no mood to take no for an answer. They kept a night-long vigil outside his home and in the morning Samant finally relented.

Lakshmi Bhatkar, participant in the strike: I supported the strike. We would sit outside the gate every day and discuss what was to be done. We would go for the morchas that were organised from time to time...the morchas were huge - we never looted or hurt anybody. I was asked to speak sometimes but I was not able to make speeches. My legs would shake too much! Besides I was afraid of my children—what would they say? They would think here we are starving at home and she has her face printed in the newspapers.....There was a morcha to Century Mills showroom once. We were arrested and taken to Borivali. I was thinking about my children. I could not eat. I thought to myself that we are not criminals, we were millworkers. Fighting for the wages of our blood.

Kissan Salunke, ex-millworker, Spring Mills: Century Mills was opened by thre RMMb barely a month-and-half after the strike began. They could do this because they had the full backing of the state and the government. They brought outsiders into the mill and they kept them inside without letting them out at all....Bhonsle (Chief Minister of Maharashtra then) offered a 30-rupee raise. Datta Samant called a meeting to discuss this. All the leading activists were there. We said, “No, we don’t want this. If there is no dignity, if there is no discussion with the strike leaders, we wll not be able to go back to work without any harassment.”

Datta Iswalkar, President of the Mall Chawls Tenant Association: The Congress brought all the goondas out of jail to break the strike like Baby Reshin, Rama Naikt and Arun Gawli. They started to threaten the workers. We had no alternative but to beat up strikebreakers. It was a matter of life and death for us.

Bhai Bhonsle, General Secretary of the RMMS during 1982 strike. We started getting people to work in the mills after three months of tie strike....Our point was, if people want to go to work let them, in fact they should be helped....About the mafia gangs being involved, I was responsible for that...These Datta Samant people would wait at convenient locations and lie in wait for those going to work. We set up counter groups in Parel and other places. Naturally there were some clashes, some bloodshed....When Rama Naik died, Bhujbal who was Mayor then, had come in his official car to pay his respects. These forces were used at one time or other by many people in politics.

Kisan Salunke, ex-millworker: Those were very difficult times. We had to sell all our vessels. We were ashamed to go to the market with our vessels so we would wrap them in gunny bags and take them to the shop to sell...There were days when I had nothing to eat, only water. We bought sawdust and burnt it for fuel. I have three sons. Sometimes when the children had no milk to drink, I could not bear to see them hungry. I would take my umbrella and go out of the house.

Sindu Marhane, ex-millworker: The RMMS and goondas came for me too, to force me back to work, But I refused to go....There  were rumours going round as to what happened to women who went to stay and work in the mills. There were incidents of rape.


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