The Introduction of Railways and the Genesis of Modern Workers in Colonial India (1860-1906)

in Articles


Sanjay Pramanik

Research Scholar,
Department of History
Santiniketan,Birbhum, West Bengal

Abstract:The introduction of railways in India in 1853 had brought massive changes in the history of emergence of working classes in India. The Indian railways were financed by the British capital and built by the Indian workers. It required million of workers with different kind of skills. Railway led to the genesis of wage earning classes who from the beginning of this project had to fight against the discriminatory measures of the management. They protested against low wages, racial discrimination, long hours of work and so on. The railway working class followed several kind of technique in their protest to express their grievances against the European authority. Their technique of protest was expected to guide the workers movement in other sector. In latter phase the strike of the railway working class felt strong impact on the society and economy of India. Though strikes are not the only form of workers protest but strikes are highly historically documented than other form of protest. Nationalist leaders also realized the significance of railway working movement and merged them in national upsurge against colonial rule. National leaders came ahead to guide them and they gradually organized themselves for the sake of their own.

Key Words:Capitalism, Communalism, Discrimination, European Authority, Railway