Impact of Rail Labour Movement in Bengal (1906-1975)

in Articles


Dr. Jayati Nag

Assistant Professor
Department in History
Diamond Harbour Women’s University
Diamond Harbour,West Bengal,India

Abstract: The railway workers of Bengal emerged as a new force in the socio-political scene that greatly affected the destiny of the wage-earners of our country. For consolidating such gains, they were subjected to severe hardships and punishment. Their wages were very low but their working hours were too long. They operated in an alien enterprise under the conditions of colonial submission, discipline and race domination. There were generally two types of Indian labour classes. One was the illiterate non-Bengali labour class and the other, though few, local Bengali rail labour. These workers mostly migrated from their villages and took up railway jobs as a temporary support. As soon as the opportunity offered itself they went back to their villages. There was no proper class consciousness among the workers. The migratory nature and village nexus prevented them from realising the need of trade unionism in the beginning. Once their local grievances were redressed or partly redressed, the unity of the labour association ceased to exist or became non-existent.

Key Words:Labours, Migrated Workers, Modernisation, Nationalism, Wokers, Struggle