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Working Lives & Worker Militancy  -  The Politics of Labor in Colonial India
Working Lives & Worker Militancy - The Politics of Labor in Colonial India

Working Lives & Worker Militancy - The Politics of Labor in Colonial India

by Aditya Sarkar

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9789382381211 - Year: 2013 - Pages: 328



Aditya Sarkar
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Author: Aditya Sarkar
Shahana Bhattacharya/Several Contributors
Translator(s)/ Editors(s): Ravi Ahuja
Publisher: Tulika
Year: 2013
Language: English
Pages: 328
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9789382381211


In contemporary India, work for wages expands substantially as a mode of subsistence, while 'labor', at the same time, and suffers a dramatic depreciation as a political force and as a target of state policy. This is a reversal of an earlier, little understood process that originated in the late colonial period but fully unfolded only in the years of Nehruvian rule.

The six essays of this volume reconstruct this now marginalized political history of an 'age of labor' from various angles using previously inaccessible police records, rare autobiographical documents and other neglected material.

They examine how political conflict, militancy and trade union activism were rooted in the everyday lives of construction workers and artisans, of 'untouchable' tanners and sweepers, of seafarers, railway staff and factory laborers, throughout the late colonial period.

They analyze how transformed politics of caste intersected with the late colonial upsurge of labor politics. They reassess the complex relationships of nationalist mobilizations and labor movements, of elite politicians and an emergent group of 'organic' worker-intellectuals and proletarian militants. They provide meticulous reconstructions of how incidents of labor protest unfolded in India’s varied industrial spaces.

They argue, in sum, for a reappraisal of Indian labor history as an eventful political history. The volume is rounded off by the political memoirs of Bashir Ahmed Bakhtiar tracing his metamorphosis from militant worker to trade union leader. The memoirs, originally published in Urdu, are made available in English translation for the first time and provided with a detailed introduction.

About the Editor

Ravi Ahuja is Professor of Modern Indian History at the Centre for Modern Indian Studies, University of Gottingen, Germany. He works on various problems of social history, including labour, urbanism, infrastructure and war.





The City, Its Streets, and Its Workers: The Plague Crisis in Bombay, 1896-98 by Aditya Sarkar

Rotting Hides and Runaway Labor: Labor Control and Workers’ Resistance in the Indian Leather Industry, c. 1860-1960 by Shahana Bhattacharya

A Freedom Still Enmeshed in Servitude: The Unruly ‘Lascars’ of the SS City of Manila or, a Micro-History of the ‘Free Labor’ Problem by Ravi Ahuja

The Rowlatt Satyagraha and the Railway Strike of 1920: Radical Developments in the Language of Plebeian Protest in Colonial Punjab by Ahmad Azhar

‘Dirty Work, Filthy Caste’: Calcutta Scavengers in the 1920s by Tanika Sarkar

‘Various Paths Are Today Opened’: The Bengal Jute Mill Strike of 1929 as a Historical Event by Anna Sailer

The Making of a ‘Genuine Trade Unionist’: An Introduction to Bashir Ahmed Bakhtiar’s Memoirs by Ahmad Azhar

The Labor Movement and Me by Bashir Ahmed Bakhtiar

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