Monday, December 20, 2010


(New Series No. 268, October 2010)

Twenty year old worker

I get up at five o'clock in the morning, in the middle of sleep...

Since I was 12 or 13 years old, I always got up at five in morning to milk the cows. We had two cows. Then I went three and a half kilometres on my bicycle to deliver the milk to a place outside of our village. Back at home, I would eat and then go and graze the cattle. After having washed and returned the cows, I went to school at about ten o'clock. My parents fought a lot with each other. Since I was in seventh class, my father stopped sending money to us. We lived in Eastern Uttar Pradesh. My father worked in Pehowa, Haryana, painting and plastering houses. For one month, I worked as a helper for the manager of a brick kiln. But selling milk was our profession. When my father did not send any money during all of 2004, I left school. Everyone said, "How long will you survive by grassing cattle, go and learn some work..."

In 2005, I arrived in Gurgaon. I stayed with the son of a relative. I was 15 years old then. For ten days, I had to sit idle. I learned how to make rotis and started to make food for those who went to work at four in the morning. I found my first job in N.K. Rubber factory in Nakhrola. The personnel manager interviewed me. The contractor said that I was still young, but that it would work out. The workers -who had come from Orissa to find a job - filled out my job card, stating that I was 18 years old.

I had to get up at half past four in the morning. I prepared food. Then I went one kilometer on foot. I began work in the factory at eight o'clock. They ran two 12hour shifts. We manufactured soles for shoes. It was assembly line work. You had to stand upright for 12 hours, only half an hour meal break. I hardly managed to keep up. The supervisor got angry. My feet would swell up from all the standing.

During nightshift, you get very tired. I snuck away to get some sleep. The supervisor screamed and the guard went to find and wake me up. Although I had already worked six hours at that point, they cut 12 hours from my wages. I had difficulties sleeping during the day. During the nightshift week, I used to get so very tired by Wednesdays... Now on nightshift week, I often take Wednesday off.

There are six people now sharing the room. From my first wages, I used 1,000 rupees to pay the food bill. With 250 rupees, I bought a thin mat and blanket. With 300 rupees, a gas cooker and some cooking utensils. Then I went to get a different room in Nakhrola. With another one of the guys, I paid 700 rupees rent. The guy left and I spent two months on my own.

The winter began. You leave at half past seven in the morning and return at eight o'clock at night. For fifteen days, you do not see the sun. A thin mat, a blanket, a sheet - I had no proper bed, I slept on the floor. I also had no sweater, so I slept with my jacket on... I could not get any sleep at night. When the morning came...I can still remember how cold it was during winter in 2005. In the factory, it smelled really bad, but it was warm...There, sleep came very easily.

I had been working at N.K. Rubber for four months when the message of the death of my grandmother arrived. I went back to the village. Cutting wheat, thrashing wheat, storing the straw. Cutting arhar, digging out garlic, cutting coriander. Preparing the paddy field, preparing the rice plants and planting them. Go and fetch the cows for grazing, grazing them. At home, there was a lot of difficulty because of the heavy burden of all the work. But if you don't do it, what will you eat? Suffering at home continued. There was a lot of fighting between my uncle and my father. Because my mother had been staying in the village, we got hold of three bighas of land during the re-distribution.

My earliest memories are from Pehowa in Haryana. They sent my older sisters to a government school and me to a private school. After a year, my sisters returned to the village to stay with my mother. I stayed back with my father. After having prepared food in the morning, my father went to work and I went to school. One day on the playing field, a kid threw a stone and it hit my head. I bled a lot, but there wasn't anyone to put a bandage on, so I kept my head in some cloth. When my father came from work at eight o'clock, he bandaged my head. I was very sad. I was alone. I missed my mother and my older sisters. My father went back to the village. I had my exam coming up. He had left me in Pehowa, so the neighbors gave me food. I developed a fever - now I think it was because of the stress. I was good at math. My father wanted me to keep on studying in Pehowa. I would go back to the village during holidays. It was a private school so, the holidays were very short. After the marriage of my two older sisters, my mother was left only with my younger sister. I went back to the village and my mother would not let me go back...

When I arrived at Gurgaon the second time, I started again working at N.K. Rubber - this time in the packing department, where I stayed for four months. I also went to Perfecti factory, but nothing came out of it. In order to learn how to run CNC machines, I started at Moog Automotive for a low wage. The supervisor was a cousin of mine. I stopped after twelve days. There was too much quarreling because the cousin kept on screaming at me. I went back to the village. In 2006, I spent the whole winter in the village. Then I went back to Gurgaon. It took 15 days to find a job. I spent a lot of time running around IMT Manesar. I had job interviews at many places.

They hired me at Vishal Retail factory (Plot 16-17, Sector 5). They hired me as a press man - it was the first time that I worked at a steam press. I became a record keeper and then a small supervisor. I learned how to sew. Wages were delayed. The first day after the supposed pay-day, workers stopped working for a while. The next day workers stopped working at eleven o'clock. The general manager said that wages would arrive at three o'clock. Workers started working. The wages did not arrive. Workers stopped again. At eight o'clock at night, people were finally paid. I worked there for a year. Then the factory closed. The contractor disappeared. One year of contributions to the PF lost...

I was ill for 15 days. I had chicken pox. I did not eat, I could not walk, neither sleep. Because he was afraid of infection, one of the roommates left. I was upset about that. I used to cook for him. The other roommate took 15 days off. He cooked food, prepared the medicine, and washed the clothes.

After Vishal retail had closed down, I started at Orient Craft (Plot 15, Sector 5) as a tailor. You had to work from half past nine in the morning till one o'clock at night every day. On Sundays, they made you work from half past nine in the morning till four o'clock the next morning. They paid double for overtime. They sacked me because I took a Sunday off. They said that data was lost on the computer. I had to go to the office again and again to get my outstanding wages. After twelve days working at Orient Craft, I worked seven days at Gulati Export (Sector 4).

Then I started at STI Zenho (161, Sector 40). The company manufactures break pipes for Maruti, Suzuki, and Honda cars. I learned how to operate a bending machine. Most of the supervisors there were women. The behavior of our supervisor was not good. You had to ask in order to go to the toilet. Even after having finished the target, you had to keep the machines running, making extra-pieces. You were not supposed to make pieces which would be 'rejected'. You were supposed to work eight hours daily overtime. For two or three days, I was concerned with the fact that a woman was my supervisor, then I got used to it. You are forced to work, so you have to listen. After seven months, I took holiday and returned to the village. My sister was ill. At the time of return, I also got news about the work accident of my supervisor cousin. He was kept in the Delhi Jay Prakash Trauma center, got a blood infusion and had to stay for fifteen days. He then had to be looked after by relatives for another ten to fifteen days. After all this, I started again at STI Zenho. After five months, they gave me an enforced 'break'.
I started at AG Industries (Plot 8, Sector 3). About 100 permanent workers work on three shifts and another 500 workers hired through contractors work on two 12 hour shifts. They manufacture fiber side-covers for Hero Honda motorcycles. The permanent workers wanted to establish a union. So, in January-February 2010, the company kicked out eighteen of them. On March 20th, all workers gathered and stopped working. The police came in two bus loads, they entered the factory, started beating us with lathis and kicked the workers out. One had his hand broken, several others had bleeding heads. At six in the morning, some workers went back inside and started working. The managers also worked. Workers were brought in Hero Honda buses from Gurgaon, from Dharuhera and also from Ghaziabad. New people were hired at the gate. On March 26th, the unions had a demonstration in Gurgaon, with ten thousand people, with speeches. Then again, nothing. After signing the 'good conduct conditions', the permanent workers went back inside on the 2nd and 3rd of April, leaving the eighteen other workers outside. After four months of working there, I had an argument with the supervisor. I left the job and went back to the village.
When I told them that I would go back to Gurgaon, my mother and sister cried. I stayed for three more days. When I left, I didn't tell them. I borrowed money for the travel from a friend. I looked for a job for eight days. I started at Kumar printers (24 Sector 5). Two 12 hour shifts. At every machine, at every corner cameras. There are 50 permanents and 225 workers hired through two different contractors. They do industrial printing. During the Commonwealth games’ trouble, 50to 60 workers left because they were afraid of being harassed by the police. Due to the lack of workers, the remaining workers had to work from eight in the morning till one at night. They also brought 30 workers from Bhiwadi in a bus every day. I haven't fixed a date yet, but I will go back to the village...

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Whenever and wherever, life is equivalent to death. Then and there, there is nothing to fear for acquiring life. Why fear in taking new steps?
Bond with us. Everyone is acquainted with the symptoms. Every person is contending with them. Most people in their own ways want to do at least something for a better society. But because of this or that constraint, our good desires and efforts are strangled. During these past several years, we have also acquired some acquaintances, ideas, and experiences from many generations and from different parts of the world to create a better society. Around this Majdoor Samachar, there has been more than twenty years of acquiring experiences and exchanging ideas. We have also turned many a corners as a result of the worldwide churning and our participation in it. In the context of "what to do?" and in the process of preliminary sum-ups, we are at another turning point. Helplessness is borne out of isolation. But in the confinement to small numbers or limited reach, we are faced with becoming merely a cog in the machine by trying to become extensive and expand our reach. It seems to us that forming bonds and coordinations seems to be a route to go beyond these two dead-ends. To dismiss the present and create a new present, we are requesting here for varying kinds of bonds, and many, many new coordinations.
It has been more than fifteen years that 5,000-7,000 years copies of this Majoor Samachar are being distributed free and its readers have some acquaintances with our desires-aspirations-practices. Those who want to coordinate with us can and should meet us any day in the Majdoor Library 11-12 or 6-7 p.m. Those who live far and want to form bonds and coordinate with us can write letters. The sum of means will increase the capacity of all of us.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


(New Series Number 250, April 2009)
Emergence of I

‘Who am I?”

In a single I,
there are many I’s

Beyond I
*In all living species, there are many kinds of relations between its unit and the collective-community. In the human species also, that was the situation for a long time. Only a few thousand years ago, in small scattered areas of the earth, ‘I’ emerged amongst humans. Despite the efforts of human beings, in other species, the‘I’ did not progress/advance.

*In a species-community’s unit, togetherness is common. But now and then, conflicts do take place. Mutual conflicts are not fatal. They are the basis of the species' existence. It is inherent in each species that conflict not be fatal.

In a fight, the death of anyone is an exception. In the human species, during 95% of its existence, this has also been the case.

Now the murder of an human by another human, murder of humans by other humans, singles out the human species from all other species...

*Accumulating a part of their activities in material skill and knowledge-forms are normal activities of living species. To stay alive, expand for a better life such accumulations are seen on a wide scale. In every living species, relations in a generation and amongst generations gains fragrance from these accumulations.

Until 2,000 years ago, this was also the case in the human species.

Now, developing mountains of accumulation in material-skill-knowledge-forms for destruction-bitterness-worsening life separates the human species from all other living species.
It is necessary to reevaluate worm, animal, wild-uncivilized versus civilized.
It seems that in the near future, the destructive dance of identity politics will increase greatly. Good desires of human one-ness and fraternity have suddenly been rendered incapable of stopping this destruction. Often, they have become tool-weapon of this or that politics of identity. Very deep urges emerge in each one of us which is exploited by a specific person sitting on or desirous of and wishing to sit on the pyramids of heads and shoulders.
As in other areas of social life, in the politics of identity and institutions has become dominant. To overcome the means and professional methods of institutions we have begun this discussion as a contribution.
*Efforts of the past to dominate the whole constitute the chains of civilization. The earth is a common planet of the solar system and the sun is the common star in the universe…During 95% period of its existence, the behavior of human species has been as a part of nature.

But during these 5-7,000 years, the human species increasingly refused the reality that it is a part of nature. Control, control upon control has become our obsession. While control over one’s sense organs, control over one's self has become one end of the spectrum, the grip/throttle of every ‘other’ lies at the other end.

*Although the control of humans is crossing the sky, ‘nathna’ (nose ring) is not in currency today. Nathna means to control. Making an hole in an ox's nose and taking a rope through it was called natha. The actual rope in the ox’s nose was called ‘nath.’ In the stages of gathering and hunting, our ancestors' behavior was chiefly that of being a part of nature. Controlling animals through nose-rings began changing many things.

-Putting nose-rings/controlling the ox, exploitation of the cow... This did not stop at animals. The owners of animals became the lords of slaves. And husband became the synonym of lord and nath

-In nature, such related capacity of a woman is equal to that of many men. One man cannot sexually satisfy one woman…Therefore, ‘nathna’, putting nose ring. Continuous conflict within man and woman. There are no limits to doubt-suspicion-cruelty. Anecdotes regarding a woman’s character. Today DNA tests exist to verify paternity…

It has been a synchronicity of weapon and text that nose-rings became the ornament of strength or power of market. It is the increasing weakness of man that is forcing woman also to become a wage worker. One politics of identity that places curtains on this reality presents it as woman's empowerment…Becoming of woman as wage-worker is seen-shown as a step on the path of emancipation.

Market-Money are making the individual the unit of a social construct. For the wage system, even a deformed community is a barrier. Therefore, while using deformed communities through various kinds of identity politics, market-money and wage system also continuously attack deformed communities. The making of the individual as an unit has rendered woman also a wage worker, transformed her into a carrier-vehicle of “I.”

* With the making of individual as unit, “I” becomes universal. "I" keeps gobbling the space for normal relations. The “I” of men was dreamed for lessening his pain through the continuance of his lineage. Now with the woman’s “I”, standing side by side with the man’s “I”, the individual in the continuity of “I” in lineage is put to an end.

This also is a reason for ‘don’t want children.’ Today, the certainty of death after birth is increasingly making ‘I” insane. Look at sexual relations in this context. In place of an easy, leisurable activity, it has become THE only relation. Be it woman or man, the hunger for intercourse is there all the time and many kinds of traders cash in on it. In this situation, in place of being a relief from pain, sexual relations have become a cause of psychic pain.

Be it woman or man, increasing loneliness is what confronts us. Regarding this, we will continue the discussion about ‘who am I’ and keep in mind that fact of our being a part of the whole.

Monday, October 25, 2010

On Schools

(New Series No. 168, June 2002)

*The aim of the institution in the form of school today is to assist in the molding of children according to the needs of the market by chiselling, thrashing, and placating them.
*Schools have taken the shape of factories. School is a factory and in it children are raw materials, teachers are machine operators, buildings-books-other employees are auxiliary materials. In the form of ready goods after education, those youngsters who cannot be sold are called unemployed-useless and those who get good rates in the market are praised. We send children to school to prepare being sold in the market.
*To make the life of children is the overriding tenet. Generally, no stone is left unturned in making life hell for children and for parents to 'create a life for themselves.' Those teachers who take 'making a life for children' seriously, they sometimes surpass parents in making life hell for children.

We know it, we repeat it like a chant that a wound by an axe gets healed but a wound caused by a sharp tongue always remains raw. But..the dance of the destruction and violence by words is thousands of times greater than the widespread physical violence against children. Generally, no restraint is exercised in giving innumerable wounds to the mind and soul of children by poisoned word-arrows because we put on the armor of 'making the life of children.'

Like almost every elder person, every child dies hundres of times every time. This is not news.

Look at the news: Children in increasing numbers are committing suicide in Japan; incidents of multiple murders by children inside schools in U.S.A. are increasing; to 'improve' the mind an psyche of children, expansion of medicines and psychiatrists is increasing.

In such a situation, instead of gulping, repeating the dominant meanings of making a successful life, it seems necessary to have extensive discussions on them in a critical fashion.

Success is a bad fruit

*To consider as success being one-up amongst those closest to us is not just widespread but has engulfed the routine activities of daily life. To be one-up vis-a-vis sister, brother, neighbor, co-worker, or fellow classmate in what all arenas, what all efforts have become a part of our daily life; gate or door of the house, clothes, and shoes' value, height of the son, the daughter's color, power position of the acquaintance, marks of the girl in the class, expenses on the birthday party, capacity to drink alcohol, expenses on tent, lighting, status, knowledge, articulation, approach, qualities of your son in-law...To be one-up amongst near ones, you go from shallow to even more shallow levels. This can be taken as an expression of the increasing significance of person in hierarchic social systems. By making a person's being or not being equal, the present social system has made one-upmanship into a psychotic condition. Social psychosis.

*Climbing up the ladder of hierarchy is in reality extremely scarce. but dreaming of it is very common...Those who do make it, their phony or real efforts for success become anecdotes or stories for the lower sections. It's also current to call real success the climbing up over the pyramid made of heads and shoulders.

*To maintain an hold on the upper rungs of the ladder in hierarchy is also called success. Becoming unstable due to the constant efforts of those below and the scramble to climb up does not leave anyone on top for long.

To be one-up always carries with it the fear of being tripped. Tension, guardedness, alertness, putting on a mask is the flipside of the coin of one-upmanship. And to see success in being one-up from one's nearby ones is a barrier to coordinations with those near us. Efforts to be one-up does not allow relations to be easy.

Efforts to climb up the ladder of hierarchy requires extreme stretching of body and soul. One dislikes being subservient to anyone. And efforts are made to impose subservience on others which shatters one's personality into peices. Manipulation, insidiousness, kissing up, lying, cheating become common activities. To hide the real emotion and put on an image is a compulsory aspect of climbing up the ladder of hierarchy. The higher one climbs, so much is one doomed to attempt personal solution of social poblems. 2,500 years ago, Emperor Chandragupta was doomed to change his room each night for security.

Eforts for success bind us, pierce us. Efforts towards success inflict innumerable wounds on body and soul. Efforts for success bloody relations between human beings. And today on acquiring success, what is it that is available? An even worse life than the confined, limited, narrow life of Emperor Chandragupta which consisted of doubting others, constantly hesitating, being devious, and cruel.

In view of success being a bad fruit, climbing up the ladder of hierarchy is a problem in itself. To sit on heads and shoulders is itself a problem. To identify control and management as the source of problems is a point of departure for the creation of a new society.

Let's return to the school.

Abduction of Whom?

Influence during nurturing-stories, anecdotes produce such emotions about education, school, and teacher-guru that one then comes face-to-face with these in the present. Often it is said and heard that education has now become a business. Schools have become licensed enclosures for business. In place of guru, servants have been given in the form of teachers. Pain bursts out in words. "In today's system, education has been abducted."

Rather, the very coming of education-school-guru is linked to the coming of hierarchic social systems. In the ashram, sage-guru used to give education to slave-ownes' sons- this education used to teach how to keep slaves under control and generate one-upmanship amongst slaveowners. An example of the negation is the thumb of Eklaya. (Eklaya was denied education by a guru...) In fact, school, guru and education had abducted the mutual easy relations amongst generations in the community. Education and school in essence are anti-community and feed hierarchy.

Schools have opened in large numbers because of the compulsion which masks extensive literacy as the requirement of the market. Sages and gurus have been transformed into specialists-reputed professors and these people create ever new logic and theories to maintain hierarchy.

Yes, in very large numbers, teachers have become educational workers. They have become wage-workers of the educational field. This is not something to regret. Rather, this is good news. It is the advent of a large group who have the capacity to lift the curtain from anti-community education-school.

Let's go beyond breast-beating and look at "Workers are shirkers." "Gov't employes don't work." "Teachers don't teach." In doing so, the emptiness of the present hierarchic, social system will be clearly visible. From this positive point, we will attempt to go ahead with the discussion of education, school, teacher, student.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Solidarity with Viva Global Workers

Solidarity with Viva Global Workers, London

Thursday, September 30, 2010


(New Series No. 267, September 2010)
A worker’s account of the Viva Global dispute, Marks & Spencer supplier. 413, Udyog Vihar Phase III, Gurgaon.

“Often there’s no water in the toilets because the pipe is bust. During the summer, drinking water is warm from the overhead tank. Workers on the 3rd floor must go to the 1st or 4th floor for drinking water since there’s none on our floor. It’s too hot on the shopfloor and workers faint. The annual wage increment is too low. Overtime is paid at single rates while we’re told to sign that we’ve received double. To overcome the problems faced by these regular workers, tailors took the initiative to start a union. Slowly 250 workers hired by the contractors were thrown out. Among these thrown-out workers there were 150 women (threadcutters and sequin/ bead sewers, repair workers) earning Rs.3,000 per month (significantly below the minimum wage). Since April the company has closed overtime and management started getting work done outside the factory. They began discriminating against permanent tailors by giving less work and then making allegations that they weren’t working. 20th August, some workers went with the union to the labour office and one representative from management came, carrying merely a letter. On Monday August 23rd, 14 workers were stopped at the gate and prevented from going into duty and told that they were suspended. Instead of the usual 3 guards, there were 7, as well as 8 others to bully the workers. 120 workers stood in the rain and arguing that these 14 should be let in, there arose a scuffle between the workers and guards. Then others arrived with hockeysticks from the company’s side. Male and female workers were beaten with hockeysticks and so forced away from the factory gates. They also took one worker away.

Workers went to the union office, then the union called the labour officer to the factory. But nothing happened. Since August 2rd, 120 workers have been sitting at the factory gate in a protest, with only 50 working inside. The union president and a tailor sat on a hunger strike to get the kidnapped worker released, which he was the next day, dropped beaten and injured, 500 yards from factory gate.
On 27th August, the police arrested three persons in relation to this case.

The factory makes goods from M&S. The buyer came from Bangalore. She made enquiries and called the union and management representatives for a meeting in a hotel. Then she left for Bangalore after saying that there would be a meeting on 28th August between management and union to reach an agreement. But until now (12 p.m., August 28th), management had not shown its face”.

Students comment on the protest
“2nd September labour commissioner himself came to the factory (from Chandigarh). He stayed for 2 hours with management. After coming out, he told the (non-suspended) workers to return to work, saying that an agreement would be reached. Then the workers roughly spoke to him and the union leader spoke in his favour. There was some discussion among the workers that they should negotiate for 6 of the suspended workers to stay out and for the rest to go in.”


(New Series No. 266, August 2010)

India Bulls worker- 448, 49, 50, 51 Udyog Vihar Ph V.
3,500 workers. Share market, electricity, real estate, finance company.
60 – cleaning
26 – security (‘Swift Securities’)
15 – maintenance, all hired thru contractors.

Security guards: 2x12 hour shift, no weekly off. Rs.6,200 for 30 days at 12 hours per day. July 7th, 8 a.m, all guards left their duty posts and by 8.30 a.m., management had offered Rs. 1,000 extra to all per month.

Bharat Export Overseas (garments)- 493, Udyog Vihar Ph III.
Production Dept: Work starts 9 a.m., finished at 8.30 p.m. daily required. 4 days per week, until 1 a.m.

Finish Dept- 1 a.m. daily is shift close and few times per month, work whole night (to 6 a.m.). For all these days they get Rs.25/ day for food. All overtime at single rates.

350 workers, none have ESI/ PF (only small ‘staff’).
Helpers on Rs.130 and tailors Rs.180, for 8 hrs.

16th July, production workers were collected in the basement and finishers on 1st floor and were told that buyers are coming next day (17th) and if they are asked, they must say that helpers get Rs.162/8 hrs and tailors Rs.270/ 8 hrs, there’s no overtime, and all workers have social security benefits…

Buyers came, saw, went and didn’t talk to the workers.

Toilets are filthy.

Hyundai Supron showroom- 255 Udyog Vihar Ph IV.
All workers (not staff) thru contractor, Rs.3,500-4,000.

2nd week July, labour inspector came, met officers and went away.

Libas Exports- 357 Udyog Vihar Ph IV.

Landlords: in Kapa Sera and other villages, landlords say that to stay in their house, worker tenants must purchase from their shops at higher rates.

Eastern Medikit- 196 Udyog Vihar Ph I.
Casual workers given June wages on 20th July. Permanent workers work in 3 shifts of 8hours, while casual workers have two 12 hr shifts. Overtime payment is less than single (Rs.15/ hr). May overtime was not paid until July 11th.

Graffiti Exports- 377 Udyog Vihar Ph II.
On July 10th, company closed all stitching work. 350 workers were total, now only 85 in finish dept remain. Helpers are paid minimum wage of Rs. 4,214 against 10.75 hrs instead of 8 hours. Shift is 9:30 a.m. to 8:15 p.m., and frequently to 2 a.m. This overtime gives helpers only 5 hours overtime (while checkers get 7 hours).

Few workers have ESI & PF.

Buyers include ‘White & Company’, ‘Nimi Mazi’, and ‘Noa Noa’. Wages paid only the 15th of every month. Drinking water is poor.

EEL- 402 Udyog Vihar Ph III.
8 a.m.-8 p.m., 11 a.m.-10:15 p.m. are two main shifts. 175 workers make machinery for cement plants. Overtime paid at single rates. Another factory at 509 UV Ph II(50workers the same 12 hr shift).

Rakheja Enterprise- 74 Udyog Vihar, Ph I.
Helpers’ wage: Rs.3,500
General checker: Rs.4,000
Tailors: Rs.4,500

Overtime less than single rate at Rs.16.66 per hour.

700 workers make garments for ‘Jack Jack’, only 3 of these have ESI & PF.
Second factory at 744 UV Ph 5, where helpers’ wages are Rs.3,000.
Dirty toilets.

Sarthi Security- Hanuman Mandir, Dunda Hera village, Udyog Vihar.
Guards work in two 12 hr shifts and no weekly off. After 30 days, paid Rs.5500.

Sargam Exports- 152-153, 210, Udyog Vphar Ph 1, 224 Ph IV UV & 540 Ph V, UV.
Payment of wages is according to minimum wage. Overtime at greater 100 hours per month all paid double.

Management is very abusive, and they take bribes of Rs.500 per month from helpers (arguing where else do you get such a good deal). Buyer is H&M.

Bhurji Supertec- 272, Udyog Vihar Ph II.
June wages not paid until 22nd July.

Premium Molding- 185, Udyog Vihar Ph I.
Making steering equipment for Maruti.

Helpers’ wage Rs. 3,500, 80 hours overtime per month, paid at 6 rupees per hour.

S&R- 298, Udyog Vihar Ph II.
9 a.m.-11 a.m. standard shift and if don’t work Sundays to 6 p.m., get thrown out.
Overtime paid less than single at Rs.17.5 per hour.

Can only drink water only at lunch and must go out of factory since none inside. Toilets are very dirty.


(New Series No. 264, June 2010)

Palam Export A-205 Okhla Ph 1:

9:30 a.m.-1 a.m. production workers, 9:30 a.m.-5 a.m. finishing workers. Production workers stay back 15 days per month until 1 a.m. and stay till 5 a.m. for 3-4 days per month.

Finishing – 100 workers. 9:30am – 5 a.m. daily. After closing at 5 a.m., they start again at 5 a.m. Male workers sleep in the factory while women go back to their rooms. 50 women workers with these hours for 30 days in a month, become like corpses. One young worker (20, male) did this shift and then failed to come to duty since April because the doctor diagnosed heart trouble. Workers have been making complaints to labour office.

On May 14th, 11 p.m., the labour office raided the factory and found 400 workers working. The officials stayed until midnight and threatened the management. After the raid, the management released everyone at 6 p.m., after which the old schedule returned.

A new manager has been brought in since May 26th and asks, ‘how can a worker work 90 days in a month?’. He has ordered that those workers who are being called for night shift must have their names pinned up by 4 p.m.

Those directly hired workers are paid correct wages. Those hired through contractors are either paid peice-rate (tailors) or are paid Rs.130 – Rs.150/ 8 hrs (helpers). This is true even for those working for 8 to 9 years. There is no Provident Fund or ESI for 150 workers hired by contractors and overtime is paid.

Wages are paid late. April wages were paid on 15th-25th May. But the tailors hired through contractors are paid on the 7th itself because if they’re not, they strike. [Unlike permanent workers, the tailors can easily leave.) Permanent workers get Rs.40for 1 a.m. shift, while contract workers get Rs. 25. For 5 a.m. shift, permanent workers are paid Rs. 97; contract workers ae pad Rs. 57. But here at least, there is 4 p.m. tea, 8 p.m. tea and samosa, 11 p.m. tea, and 5 a.m. tea.

About Baithaks:
Workers of Denso factory making auto parts in Guong Dhong province, China. In early July instead of beginning work at start of shift, the workers just roamed around the factory and continued for 8 hours. The management asked the workers to start work but no workers did. The next day, they continued with the same. The union repeatedly requested the workers to start work but they did not. No sloganeering, no speeches, no violence. Workers did not present anyone as their leader or representative. Workers did not use PC or mobile phone to put up their demand, to ensure the company/ government could not single out anyone. Workers wrote on bits of paper and pinned up their demands. The management, desperate, asked the union to hold elections so that there would be someone with whom they could negotiate. The silent and peaceful workers did not elect anyone. The company finally increased wages and the workers resumed their work.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


(New Series No. 263, May 2010)

Circle of Animal Lovers (NGO) Worker
(E-67, DDA Flats, Saket)

I work in the NGO. There are 30 of us employed here – doctors, drivers, cooks, helpers and office staff. The doctors get over 20,000 Rs per month for 8 hour days, the office staff gets 6,000 to 8,000 Rs. The drivers get 6,500 Rs for 12-hour duties. The cook and the helpers get between 3,000 and 5,500 Rs per month for 14-hours shifts. None of the workers get ESI or PF. The NGO is engaged in a sterilisation scheme for street dogs – which is part of the street-dog eradication program run by the Delhi government. Although officially the government has assigned the MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) for this task, but actually the big shots have decided to let cheap NGO workers complete the work. The MCD pays 445 Rs for the sterilisation of a dog, and besides provides other favours to the NGO management: the NGO gets water and electricity free. The vans are called ambulance and are in a bad condition – but because of the NGO name the police do intervene. The madam running the NGO swears at the workers and even lifts her sandal to threaten the helpers. The 15 workers who stay in the office take some of the restaurant food that was originally meant for the dogs, some of the donations meant for the dogs get messed with, too. The whole process of catching a dog, sterilising it and letting it free is very painful – several dogs die and are buried in the scrub-lands at night. But they are entered as completed sterilisations in the register. The two doctors have to perform 30 to 40 dog operations per day… a doctor let some younger helpers do the work. This increases pain for the animal and the likelihood of death.

Shahi Export, Plot 15a, Sector 28, Faridabad
…after days of overtime many workers collapse. On May 24th, 53 workers are brought to the nearby hospital. They have to be treated with oxygen. 41 workers remain in the hospital. Most of the collapsed workers are women…

NTL Electronics, Plot F-28, Sector 6, Noida
…after days of overtime six female workers collapse and fall unconscious…

Palam Export, Plot A-205, Okhla Industrial Area Phase I
…after having worked 19.5 hours a day for several month a 22 years old worker suffers a heart attack and 50 female workers collapse at work…

Sargam Export,-Plot 153, Udyog Vihar Phase I, Gurgaon
…during night-shift two workers collapse and fall unconscious…

Enexco Technology-157 Nourangpur, Gurgaon.
There is money for ESI and PF cut from the 175 casual workers’ wages, but only 15 got an ESI card, and the card is temporary. If people leave the job PF is not paid – the PF form not given. After several years of employment a casual worker said: “Actually we are hired through a labour supplier, through a contractor”. In the factory there are another 125 workers hired through contractor and 40 permanent workers.

Orient Craft Worker- Plot 15, Sector 5, IMT Manesar.
The 26 thread-cutting workers get 3,000 Rs per month, no ESI no PF. Official shift-times are from 9 a.m. till 6 pm, but they make you work till 2 a.m. Only if clients/buyers come to the plant workers are let go at 6 p.m. We work 60 to 70 hours overtime per month, but the pay-slip only shows 12 to 15 hours. Overtime is paid double rate, but on Sundays they are paid less than single rate. Some supervisors swear a lot at workers.

JNS Instruments Worker, -Plot 3, Sector 3, IMT Manesar.
There are 15 buses who bring and return people to and from work. They work from 8:30 am till 5:30 pm, those 200 who work till 8 p.m. are returned in smaller cars. The male workers work on two 12-hours shifts. The workers hired through contractors get less than single rate for overtime: 14 Rs per hours.

Kailash Ribbon Worker-403, Udyog Vihar Phase III, Gurgaon.
The helpers among the 400 casual workers get 2,700 to 3,300 Rs, the skilled tailors get 3,500 to 3,900 Rs – neither ESI nor PF.

Eltex India Worker-887 Udyog Vihar Phase V.
The workers employed in the plant work 200 to 250 hours overtime per month. Sometimes they make you work from 9 a.m. till next day 9 am and then force you to work another whole shift. The overtime is paid single, and 500 to 800 Rs per month are embezzled. The helpers hired through contractors get 2,800 Rs, neither ESI nor PF. The wages are always delayed, we haven’t received our March 2010 wages yet (24th of April 2010).

Sargam Export Worker -153 Udyog Vihar Phase I.
There are an abundance of little irregularities going on in this factory: there is always some overtime left unpaid; people who had worked January and February 2010 and left the job since then were not paid the 300 Rs DA; those who leave now are not paid the statutory bonus.

Dheer International Worker -299 Udyog Vihar Phase II.
People work 250 to 300 hours overtime per month. The payment is at single rate and 50 to 60 hours get embezzled per month. Wages are paid delayed.

Cosmy Worker -864 Udyog Vihar Phase V.
The helpers working in this factory get 3,000 Rs. The skilled tailors get 140 to 150 Rs per day. Wages are delayed. If you leave the job you have major trouble to get your outstanding wages. Workers who go to the local ESI office in Dundahera have to face a lot of trouble.

Mac Export Worker- 143 Udyog Vihar Phase I.
The 400 workers employed in the factory get neither ESI nor PF. The helpers get 3,500 Rs. When being hired the tailors are promised 175 Rs for an 8-hour day, actually they are paid 150 to 160 Rs. The normal shift runs from 9 am till 9 pm, but they make you work longer, till 1:30 am. Overtime is paid at single rate, every month 300 to 400 Rs get embezzled. Lack of drinking water is a major problem in the factory. The toilets are very dirty. The big boss swears a lot.

Asian Handycraft Worker- 310 Udyog Vihar Phase II.
The helpers are paid 3,300 Rs to 3,500 Rs, the skilled workers get 4,000 to 4,500 Rs.

Kis Export Worker -871 Udyog Vihar Phase V.
In the factory 450 workers are employed through two different contractors, they get neither PF nor ESI. The tailor helpers get 3,914 Rs and the tailors get 156 Rs per day. The 300 Rs DA statutory from January 2010 has not been added to the monthly wages. The thread cutting and bead-stitching women workers are paid 3,600 Rs. The daily working-times are from 9 am till 10 pm – 18 to 20 days per month they make you work till 1 am. About 100 women workers are send home at 9 pm, but a third contractor supplies 20 female workers who work from 9 pm till 1 am. There is no monthly day off. The male workers work 160 to 200 hours overtime per month, about 200Rs get embezzled. There is a lot of swearing on the shop-floor, there is a lack of drinking water.

Security Guard
The office of the company Swift Security is situated at Nihal Bhavan in Dundahera. The company employs 6,000 security guards, on 2×12-hours shifts. There is no weekly day off. If you work 30 days per month, 12 hours per day they pay you 4,000 Rs to 5,000 Rs. Even after three to four years of employment they don’t give you ESI. They cut 540 Rs in the name of PF – when people leave the job, some are paid double amount of the fund money, some are paid single, some are not paid out at all. Sometimes you have to work 36 hours on stretch – they won’t give you money for food, and the overtime is paid single. Wages are paid with delay. If we don’t have any security ourselves, so will we give anyone else security? We just wear uniforms and stand around.

Eastern Medikit Worker- 292 Udyog Vihar Phase I.
The 300 casual workers were paid their March wages late, on 20th of April. The company did not pay the new minimum wage, only 3,870 Rs. The April wages haven’t been paid yet – 15th of May. The company does not include the Dearness Allowance of July 2009 nor the Dearness Allowance of January 2010. The casual workers work on two 12-hours shifts, the overtime is paid at 14 Rs an hour – March overtime has not been paid yet either. The management would not let casual workers leave after 8-hours, no matter if the worker is ill, no matter if he or she might drop dead.

Bharat Export Overseas Worker - 493 Udyog Vihar Phase III.
None of the 300 workers employed in the factoryget ESI or PF. The helpers in the finishing department get 120 to 130 Rs for an 8-hours shift. Workers work 150 to 200 hours overtime per month, payment is at single rate. There are three faulty fridges for drinking water. The toilets are very dirty.

Oberoi Hotel Worker (Shankar Chowk)
The workers employed through Starling Vilasan work on the construction site of the five-star Oberoi Hotel. The 300 workers get neither PF, nor ESI. Their wages are below the minimum wage: 3,600 Rs.

Pearl Worker,- 446 Udyog Vihar Phase V.
Even if management makes you work till 1 a.m., they won’t give you extra-money for food. Only the first two hours overtime are paid at double rate – the rest single rate.

Radhnik Export Worker- 215 Udyog Vihar Phase I.
If you want to get drinking water or go to the toilet you have to take a token. If they make you work till 2:30 am they give you 30 Rs extra for food, though the food in the canteen is not good. We work 80 to 100 hours overtime per month, they pay single, but force us to sign double-rate. The 500 skilled tailors get neither ESI nor PF – officially they run as employees of Om Enterprise, but management says, that when clients/buyers come to the factory we are supposed to say we are Radhnik company workers.

Polypack Worker- 193 Udyog Vihar Phase I.
If you take one day of per month, they mark all four weekly days off as absent, even so you have worked. This means that you lose 720 Rs of your monthly wage. The daily shift times are from 8 am till 8:30 pm, they often make you work till midnight. They call any work after 12.5 hours shift ‘overtime’, and pay it less than single rate. The 50 workers hired through contractors are paid 5,400 Rs: for 26 days of 12.5 hours.

Taurus Home Furnishing- 418 Udyog Vihar Phase III.
The helpers are paid 3,000 Rs, the checkers 3,500 Rs and the tailors work on piece-rate. Out of 300 workers only 10 to 15 might get ESI and PF. The drinking water is bad. The toilets are dirty.

Countess Craft Worker- 6 Udyog Vihar Phase I.
The workers employed in the carpet show-room have not been paid February, March and April 2010. The company has not paid into the PF fund the last two years. Since three years the company has not paid the statutory bonus.

Crew Banks Worker- 199 Udyog Vihar Phase I.
Severe wage delays of two month now.

Gaurav International Worker - 198 Udyog Vihar Phase I.
The managers swear a lot at us. The female thread-cutting workers are paid only 3,000Rs, the male helpers 3,000 to 3,300 Rs, there is also physical abuse going on.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


(New Series No. 184, September 2003)

8 Months

Aged 19-20 years: A little farmland in the village. After graduation came to Delhi with a friend in December 2002. Joined Maharaja Prints near Badarpur border Delhi at 1,400 rupees per month salary. There's only one shift of 12 hours, from 8 in the morning till 8 at night. Payment for four hours in overtime at single rate. No ESI (health insurance), no Provident Fund. Left the job after four months and came to elder brother in Mujesar (village turned slum industrial area). Brother got a job in Khem Cardboard Factory in Sector 24, Faridabad through a contractor with 1,800 rupees per month for 8 hours duty. There were two twelve hour shifts in the factory. Overtime payment was at single rate. Correct payment was not given after deductions of this or that. 2,200 rupees per month. During summers, upset stomach for 5-6 days. Left the job. Joined Alfatoyo Factory in Sector 6 through a contractor. Rest only on Sunday, 1,400 rupees salary per month. Two shifts of 12 hours each and payment of overtime at single rate. Fight co-workers in the factory and beaten outside of the factory. Worked there for one month and then left the job. Trough a contractor's subcontractor joined Cast Master Factory in Sector 6. fr 8 hours per day for 30 days of the month, no Sundays off, 1,800 rupees salary. There was one shift of 12 hours, morning 8 to evening 8 and overtime payment was at single rate. There are 4 furnaces in the factory, worked on one furnace. Sieve aluminum scrap, remove ash. Liquify it in the furnace, take out the molten metal, and pour into moulds. Then remove the product and store it. During work, my ribs were burnt by molten aluminum. With the dwindling of orders from Yamaha company, work decreased and I was thrown out of a job on July 13. My June wages were paid on July 27th after making me run in circles quite a bit. Wages of 12 days July have not been paid till today. August 14 and I'm being made to run around again.

15 years
Age 33-34 years: After ITI (Industrial Training Course) years, I came to Faridabad and completed my internship at Escorts first plant. A friend got me employed in High Tech Gear Limited in Bhiwadi, Rajasthan. The management operation was so extensive, it's difficult for me to describe. There used to be half an hour lunch break and there was a shortage of plates in the canteen. There used to be a lot of push-and-pull for food, and you had to wash the shabbily-cleaned plate of another to have your own meal on. I soon left that job and came to Faridabad. I worked as a casual worker in different plants of Escorts Company. At that time, I was a young guy and used to think I was making a lot of money. Acquaintances explained to me how long would I remain a casual worker and I should try for a permanent job. In this situation, after I was again given a break, I went to Noida and in 1992 joined Yamaha Factory there. At that time in Yamaha Surajpur (Noida) there were 600 permanent and another 600 hired through cntractors. At the time of the contractors, there was no ESI and no health benefits and no Provident Fund. But there is to be no break-time. This way I worked in the factory continuously for 4 years. When the company removed the contractors, and by employing us itself, health insurance and Provident Fund laws were implemented. Luring us with promises of making us permanent workers, the company extracted massive amounts of work from us. There were more than 150 welding shops, 135 in machine shops, 100-150 in body assembly, 70-80 in engine assembly casual workers in the factory. At the time of union elections, leaders each time would make promises that casual workers would be made permanent. Of the 600 casual workers who were working in Yamaha Surajpur factory, 300 workers had been continuously working for 8 to 10 years like this. After Yamaha obtained a share in Escorts motorcycle, it put up a voluntary retirement scheme. But the workers did not leave their jobs. Then many were transferred to Faridabad from Surajpur. Even after that, 600 casual workers continued to work in Surajpur. And with the increase of demand from Yamaha workers for motorcycle, the company started C shift (night shift from midnight to morning/0 hundred hours to 800 hours) in the factory. And with the permanent workers refusing to work in C shift, the C shift was run by casual workers. Caught up in the snare of getting a permanent job or 10 years, I hardly took any leave. I forgot all about my brother, sister, father, mother. Work rubbed away my body. But facing problems in the market, the company dismissed casual workers. With the sale of Yamaha motorcycles continuing to fall, the company began single shift work in the factory. And then, 300 of us casual workers who had been working eight to ten years continuously in the factory were given work for 12 days each month. We met union leaders and told them that you have not been able to secure us permanent work, but at least get our monthly wages fixed. The leaders said you should look for work at some other pace. By making our monthly wage 1,000 rupees, the company forced us to leave the job. To feed my family, I joined a factory in Faridabad on contract. Before the months end, I was removed. In July on removal, the ideas of committing suicide on the rail line were shaking me but I stopped myself by thinking about my little daughter and my wife.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


(New Series No. 151, January 2001)
We get out of the factory after the shift ended. We got in the auto that we've hired on a monthly basis. We would talk every day. And talk and talk. The auto stopped at the red light. A car hit the auto and sped by. The auto overturned. Everyone became unconscious but since the auto had stopped, it was not fatal. As soon as they came to consciousness, those who were less hurt, one-by-one took other autos and went to their homes. Even after reaching home, they did not inform the family members of the girls who stayed in their neighborhood. Those who had suffered the major injuries and were unconscious were taken to the hospital by autodrivers.

We talk a lot yet we are not saying anything. This is merely an example of how we are just killing time.

-22 year old working girl: We seven, eight girls sit together. We talk a lot. About our girlfriends, about our families, about our guy friends. We tell lots of jokes. We recite couplets. We talk about fashion. Sometimes, we also back-bite. Sometimes, whne the discussion is about films, we talk about this or that film. Sometimes, when the conversation is about eve-teasing (harassing females), then we all curse men. There are conversations about the world. What kinds of people exist in the world. Seeing the poor and sad. Oh, we if we had something, we would give it to them. We talk about companies. We curse management and nickname managers and supervisors. Problems of the family and the problems with the neighbors. Difficulties in collecting water. Bickering about getting the gutter cleaned and the quarrels about the garbage in the alleys. Anecdotes about children. Our own childhood enjoyment. and mischeivousness of student days. We talk a lot amongst ourselves.

-12 class boy: When we were in 10th class, we used to get fed up sitting the whole day in the school and used to talk about not studying further but rather doing some course for employment. Now in 12th class, we talk about the future. We talk about food and games and laugh a lot. Till the final examination, the conversations are about books in the syllabus. We talk about girls merely to pass the time. We hardly talk about marriage or dating, In fact, people talk little. They hide their concerns because of jealousy towards one another. We do not talk openly to one another. Most of the discussions revolve around showing off. Discussions about material goods. T.v., fridge, house...So big...talks about jobs, fat salaries, big companies, deskjob, clean work...In conversations about neighbors and neighborhood, mostly it's about putting one another down. Discussing the household affairs of others in the neighboorhood. Between one another, there is tension. Fights break out even while collecting water.

-50 year old man: People talk only in their own circles. You don't talk to everyone. One evaluates and then talks. It seems as though lines have been drawn that one has to so much with this person and not about this with that person. Some of it is due to upbringing and some due to the fear of a fault of being found and then rebuked. Even with one's own brother, one's problems are hidden from him or to extract something out of him, they are inflated. It's a ritual to say that things are 'okay.' It has also become a tradition to present one's condition as better than another's. No one reveals one's own shortcomings. It happened because of this or that reason; it wasn't a failing on my part. One never talks about one's misdeeds. And if a mention does take place then by giving a presentation of the conditions, one tries to justify one's misdeeds. However much one may hide, still most conversations begin with personal discussions and then maybe move on to social discussions. Leader-type people never converse about themselves or their concerns. They straight-off talk about society, politics. Concerns about the family, about the neighborhood come in what's deemed as personal. Old people start their conversations about families with discussions about son, daughter, daughter in-law. Most people in the 50-6o year old age group are tired of family. They talk badly about their children.

30 year old man: Casting aspersions is widespread, downplaying the other is rampant. Not talking straight, hiding camaflouging. To down play others and to raise one's self up is dominant in conversations. Show-off and phony display amongst relations have become too pervasive. Back-biting has become a normal practice. This process of regurgitating whatever is on the radio, on t.v., in newspapers, throughout the day has unfolded.

-Around 50 years old man: According to me, people don't talk among themselves because people usually only talk to one another who serve a purpose and where that isn't there, they don't talk. Relations founded on love and respect are not existant today. This is because of the age we live in. People think only of their interest. People have become too clever from listening to the radio, watching television and films and talking on the telephone. We pick up the scum that is going on in the world.

-Around 40 years old: Superfluous discussions have become a problem. So much is spoken that is difficult to say anything. If we don't sift and select then we'll get bogged down in the marsh of conversations that feed the present system. If we don't, we'll sink into these discussions.

Listening to and telling one another's sadness, pain, problems, and difficulties is the point to begin from. The point of departure seems to be to focus discussions on what all we can do to lessen our difficulties.

Friday, September 3, 2010

On Schools

(New Series No. 165, March 2002)

"40-50 years ago in Garhwal (Himalayas) children 5 year old children got together in the village on the auspicious day of Vasant Panchami. With the beating of drums and flute etc., they were taken to be registered in schools. The father who used to plow the fields had the desire that desire his son should not plow. Therefore, his son should go to school. The paraphenalia of those who returned home from jobs on the plains motivated children to go to school."

"Earlier children used to be taught that they should be truthful and honest. But now, they are told that they cannot survive this way. They must be clever. If one is to survive in this society, then 'cleverness' must also be taught as a subject."

School is amongst the holiest of cows in the present social system. Extreme patience is requested for this discussion.

Discussions on the city often get reduced to its problems and suggestions for reforms. It is rare that the discussion be focused on a critique of the city itself. The same goes for wage-work. To talk about the school and education seems to be still more difficult.

But to raise questions on the axioms of city, wage-work, factory, office, competition, army, school etc. is to raise questions on the present social system. To overcome the present social system which deterioriates living, it's a primary requirement to discuss these subjects.

A Little History

In slave-owner and slave, fuedal lord and serf, hierarchic social systems, literacy (knowledge of the alphabet) was limited and remained limited. To confine reading and writing to the priest, the Father, the Imam, language different from ordinary people's language, Latin and Sanskrit were used. Only the sons of slaveowners, princes, and priests went to schools. It is obvious that to maintain these hierarchic systems, literacy was important. But it should also be kept in mind that for the famous Magna Carta document, the King of England put his seal because he did not know how to sign. The King of England was illiterate. And Emperor Akbar used to his thumprint as a signature. He was also illiterate.

Efforts to limit literacy in the past and efforts to make everyone literate today...seems to be a knot. What is this knot? We will focus on the Indian subcontinent.

Aimless Versus With Aim

Those who have different aims than oneself, it is a tradition to call them aimless. With victory in the war at Plassey, East India Company began taking over state power in the subcontinent. By calling the existing hierarchic social system aimless and barbaric, the East India Company furthered its victory campaign.

Even today ,children have to learn, by rote, the list of reforms to transform uncivilized persons into civilized by rote the list of reforms that were done to make the uncivilized into civilized ones. Opposition of sati (wife burning herself on her husband's funeral pyre), propagation and expansion of education...Some patriotic scholars used to or do raise sharp objection to Lord Macauley's education policy for producing clerks.

But it is without debate that the East India Company laid the basis for the expansion of schools, education, literacy in the Indian subcontinent. Isn't this fact enough to loosen the knot?

Taking of 1/4th produce=loot; Taking of 90% produce= legal

Taking of one-sixth of people's produce by the king or emperor was said to be just according to the law. Those moving up to become kings used to forcibly collect 1/4 of the produce. This was called loot. Generally, in the hierarchic fuedal system, labouring people's produce would be usurpsed by 1/6th to 1/4th. Taking more than that, while maintaining the system, was not possible. In the eyes of the new advocates of civilization, limiting collection to 1/6th or 14th was aimless. To extract more out of the labouring massess,the need for a new social construct, the necessity for new hierachic social system was presented.

On looking back, we find that the role of East India Company in the Indian Subcontinent was to prepare the basis for a new hierarchic social system. East India Company played an important role in laying a lasting foundation for production of the market. Transforming the production of peasants-artisants into production for the market prepared the ground for the present social system. The basic tenet of the market system for making more extraction possible- increase trade! School-education-literacy have an extremely important role in increasing the productivity of persons and thereby promoting the exploitation of geographical and social diversity through distant trade. The propagation, expansion of school-education by East India Company, then by the British government and then by the native government must be viewed in today's context where 95 to 98% of workers' production is taken away from them. Not only 1/4th but 1/6th was also loot. Therefore, it is necessary to discuss the holiest cows of the present social system where 98% of our production is swallowed up.

The Blindfold of Holiness

How much exercise seems to be necessary merely to begin a discussion on schools! It is hoped that it will be possible to have more natural conversations about the institution in the form of schools which aims to mold children as per the requirements of the market by molding-beating-thrashing-erasing-chiselling... Hopefully, it will be easier to discuss it by loosening or opening the holy blindfold of 'making children's futures'. What kind of future? The language of the present social system is the language of events. And if we stay within this language then the mass slaughter of Gujarat is only a cracker-sparkler in comparison to the bomb blasts which seem inevitable if the present social system continues...
Children as raw material, teachers as operators, other employees as helpers, school as factory...What kind of a picture is this? We prepare our childre to sell themselves on the market...What is this? Come, let us put a question mark on school, on the present social system.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


(New Series No. 175, January 2003)

19 year old worker: I've been working since 1999. At this time, I am a casual worker in Lakhani shoes factory. I stay in a shanty on rent at 250 rupees. There is no electricity. And fearing raids of officials, the neighbors don't provide us with a connection, so we have to make due with a lamp. My duty is in general shift. I get up at 5:30 a.m. I have to go out to defecate in a very dirty place. Then I get in line for water. My friend is also a casual worker and now after the break sells vegetables on the street. Just after getting up, he runs to the vegetable market. After collecting water, I prepare food for both of us. To prepare roti and vegetables for two on the stove takes an hour. After preparing the food, I take a bath and then I eat.

I leave for duty at 8 a.m. on the bicycle. Attendance is marked first at the factory gate and then in the department. Work begins at 8:30 a.m. There is no break for tea but 9:30 tea comes from the canteen and one has to buy it with one's money and drink it while continuing to work. It is very laborious work. You have to be at it all the time- oil it, count it, then pack in boxes, load them on the vehicle. The supervisor continuously scolds and abuses us. In Lakhani shoes, there is not even time to drink water or go to the bathroom. One has to hide and go.

There is some relief during lunchtime. We eat together and talk. We want to leave this job but where can we go? Ideas keep churning in each one's mind. On the days I don't have time to make lunch, I eat in the canteen and they give an half plate for 4 rupees, but it does not fill my stomach. I have to spend 8 rupees. I am not able to send money home, nor am I able to live properly.

After lunch, we have to work continuously for 5 and half hours, and there is no tea coming around. It seems as though we have been tied up. There is no overtime work for me. On the release at 5 p.m., I come straight to my room and make tea. After tea, I sit here and there for some time. I collect water at 6:30 p.m. and clean the utensils. I prepare food at 7 p.m. My friend returns at 9 p.m. and then we make dinner. Sometimes, I watch t.v. We wash dishes and sleep by 10:30 p.m.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


(New Series No. 160, October 2001) In hierarchic social formations, normal or ordinary life is extremely dull, boring, and painful. People sitting on pyramids made of heads and shoulders apply the ointment of splendour over their pain. Those on the lower rungs of the ladder, those who are oppressed and crushed, it becomes compulsory for them to oppose-rebel at all times.

To keep them oppressed, to maintain their grip, texts and weapons are the instruments of those sitting on heads and shoulders. War and the Book (Ved, Bible, Quran, Constitution, Marxism, Anarchism) are two ends of the swamp. War and the Book are two events, great events. By chiselling events, literary figures and artists lay the basis for identity-politics and contribute to the creation of events for a long time.

Weapons and warriors of those sitting on heads and shoulders bloody us. Texts and intellectuals instigate us against one another for bloodshed. The essence of texts is: those who are sitting on heads and shoulders, those who are oppressing, exploiting you are doing all this for your own good.

In the present hierarchic social system, oppression, exploitation has now come forward in the institutional form. Instead of a particular person, we are confronted by faceless institutions. Through zig-zagged paths, it is being increasingly understood that the source of the pain of body-soul-conscience is formless and rooted in social relations and emancipation in the creation of a new society. This realization of the people has brought every form of government face-to-face with death. In this situation to postpone death, governments have reared-created terrorism.

The event in America, understood as the event, and the reactions of those sitting on heads and shoulders, it becomes irrelevant as to whether the massive destruction was self-caused or was gotten done by the State or a mixture of self-caused and got done. Educated propagandists through radio-television-newspapers-magazines have spread terrorism's fear-fame worldwide. A very good harvest of self-made and government-created terrorists is imminent. It looks like this harvest will for the time being fill the treasuries of bankrupt governments with the justifications of security-danger. And in the coming days, in every part of the world, there will be massive increase in government terror. A glimpse of attacks using terrorism as a shield is that immediately after the event, airline companies dismissed 100,000 workers.

For effective opposition of oppress-exploitation, it is necessary to make dysfunctional the weapons and blunt the texts of those sitting on our heads and shoulders. To bring into being a society in which there is no discrimination, premised on our being unequals, it is necessary to overcome weapon-text...

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Being face-to-face and being in the entourage of officer and leader are both dangerous.

One way of dealing with management, government, and those perched on our heads is: yes sir/madam with the mouth, no sir/madam with the hands.

The mouth has to only deal with thirty-two teeth whereas we are encircled by thirty-two thousand swords-missiles-shastras-texts-treatises-theories...

Sunday, July 25, 2010


(New Series No. 160, October 2001)

The present has immensely shrunk the space and time for discussions, but still, everyone, somehow arranging some time and space, talks to each other, in their own ways. Conversations happen while coming to and going from places of work. People talk during lunch-time, during tea-time, while drinking water and going to the bathroom. Even while doing work, there are discussions. People do take out 10-15 minutes for conversations before the end of the shift. In the factory, discussions about what problems are there are the time of course take place- most of the talks are on that issue, and in that discussions different ideas emerge. Many a time, the atmosphere is such that no one directly asks what is happening. Rather, they come to the issue, covering it up with this or that, during discussions. Talks in the home and the laborhood, talks when going to buy vegetabless. Normally, all kinds of discussions take place. Still, it is heard from many workers:

"Workers are not saying anything"

Agreed, that our conversations in the sphere of my-my your-yours and which are meant to make us look superior or extremely inferior are harmful for us. And, back-biting, of course, is damaging. However, thine-mine interactions, our conversations, talks and practices of helping each other and close coordinations also go on. It is thus obvious that when it is said that "workers are not saying anything," it means something else altogether.

"Workers are not saying" really means: solutions are not forthcoming to the problem being faced. Rallies, demonstrations, speech-making are not happening. Nobody is directly saying things to management, touts, leaders. The desire for a brave savior is not being fulfilled.

Herculean labors to save others (Lifting Mount Govardhan on a finger)

In fact, we are all well aware of the present arrangments. Everyone knows that today s/he is extremely insignificant. What conclusions do we draw from this true recognition of reality? Our insignificance many a time encourages us to search for saviors in an avatar, a messiah, a superhuman. We worship and perform rituals, we fast, participate in religious singing groups, listen to religious discourses, run from pillar to post behind musclemen, leader, lawyer. The wait for a true avatar, a true prophet, a true guru, a genuine savior does not carry a halt/brake on our increasing suffering. What do our experiences of the quest for a messiah tell us? May it not be that we are waiting for the Ganges to flow in the reverse direction?

One mode could also be this: each one of us can pick up one pebble rather than trying to lift a mountain single-handedly. Each one's creativity and activeness can continuously go on as per one's own convenience and style. We insignificant, inferior, subordinate persons, through our close coordinations can soon enough lift the Himalayas, Mt. Govardhan is merely a tiny hill.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


At night, Whirlpool cleanses itself and by burning rejected plastics, paints, and chemicals in huge quantities, spreads wholesale pollution...

Thursday, July 1, 2010


(New Series No. 176, Feb. 2003)

Faridabad and New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (NOIDA) are planned industrial cities surrounding New Delhi, the capital of India. Factories are in the network of the plan. The living quarters of supervisors, managers, and government officers are also in the plan. But where will the workers who are being squeezed in the factories live? The plans are silent about this. In the plans for Faridabad and NOIDA, no space has been set aside for the living quarters of workers. Good people will call this the naievete of the planners, and clever people will call it their stupidity...But, neither the naieve nor the stupid can sit for long on pyramids made out of the heads and shoulders of others.

Behind the characterization of people's very being as illegal lies an entire political economy. The basic pillars of this political economy are to foster an army of middle-men to increase the grip of control and lower the standard of life for the purposes of greater exploitation.

*Lowering the expense of the worker's housing is a means of lowering the cost of workers altogether. This lust for cheap labor is what is hidden behind allowing the construction of "illegal" shantytowns. In the name of obligation and protection, various levels of middlemen and their henchmen extort money from residents. The system of oppression and exploitation gets in these goods their "policy officers" and "lawyers" almost free of cost. When the bosses feel a need for these lands, the residents can easily be characterized as culprits for living on illegal lands, and it is then not very difficult to get these lands vacated.

*Illegal migration is an open business. From Mexico to America, Turkey to Germany, Korea to Japan, India to the Gulf area, Bangladesh to India...Overall, the number of those living illegally in the world today is in the tens of millions. The label of illegality is used to increase the helplessness of the person. This is a fantastic prescription to increase exploitaton and decrease the opportunities for resistance. Illegal migration also increases the exploitation of the "citizen" worker, and when the need arises for the bosses to turn victims against victims, it almost never misses its target. In this context, terrorism is certainly an handy tool in the government's hands to further crack down on the workers.

*If we look at hawkers and street vendors in different cities, only around 2% of them have licenses. Ninety-eight percent are knowingly forced into illegality, so that the policeman on the beat, the goon in the area, the political machine can extort money and harvest votes.

*Declaring this and that as illegal and creating an atmosphere of fear by the strict implementation of laws is not a leisure activity for the bosses. By doing this, the boss of the bosses, the government of America has imprisoned 2 million citizens, and has put 800,000 people waiting for trials into jails. Prisons are being turned into factories and offices where 2.5 million are put to work for wages that have been cut to one tenth of the minimum wage fixed by the American government. To cover up the Himalayan-sized exploitation and oppression, you have space programs, mega-events, accidents...

In Faridabad, the acceleration of the government-sponsored demolition activity has raised extensive questions in the shantytowns: How do we oppose this? How do we fight? What are the paths to save ourselves from sinking further into these swamps or getting our heads bashed in? In our view, recognizing and discarding the mystification being bandied about by middlement is the point of departure. Now is the time to critique this political economy with body-mind-passion (mann). We have to go beyond shedding tears and breast-beating...


(New Series No. 176, Feb 2003)

Faridabad, India- Since January, there have been public anncouncements by government officials in several shantytowns ordering residents to vacate the land in 24 hours as the residents were illegal occupants. Many of the shantytowns have been in existence for 40 years. Though Faridabad is a planned industrial city, with space allotted for the housing of managers, supervisors, and government officials, there is no space in the plans for the hundreds of thousands of workers who work there. Workers were forced to build housing illegally on government land and are subject to extortion from all levels of officals. Now that the land has become valuable, they want it back. But where will the workers live?

There are 5,000 to 6,000 dwellings in each shantytown, many of which are pukkah (cement and brick) homes, rather than mud dwellings. Most of the residents are factory workers in companies such as Escorts, Bata, Goodyear and Whirlpool, or they are retrenched workers involved in petty trade.

In January, as soon as the announcement to vacate was made, thousands of residents blocked the national highway close to the shantytown. Police-cane-charged the crows and re-opened the highway. The crowd surged back and blocked the main railway tracks. The trains were stopped. Residents picked up stones from the tracks and threw them at the police. A few arrests were made and by nightfall, things quieted down. The next day, the police, civil administrators, and earth-moving demolition machinery arrayed themselves over a two-mile stretch of road facing the shantytown. That day, most workers stayed home, and thousands kept the police and machinery out. They were forced to put off the demolition. The exercise was illegal, even according to the existing laws. The state government assured the High Courts that it would follow the legal process, which is under way.

Since then, several shantytowns have been shut down. Legal experts and leaders, who claim that they are working to stay the proceedings, are very expensive and cost the workers a lot. One proceedings costs $4,000, when the average monthly salary of the resident is $40/month. By July, the lawyers, besides collecting their fees, started to file the same arguments for each resident, making it simpler for the designated collector to reject the complaints without a glance.

The demolition activities have intensified since July. On many occasions residents joined together spontaneously to save the shantytowns. Other times, the police took residents by surprise and succeeded in their demolitions. Still other times, the middle-men and leaders paved the way for the demolition crews.

These peices of land have become valuable because of development and their proximity to national highways. Shiny new offices, showrooms, bank and commercial enterprises have cropped up in the area, seeing the shantytowns across them as eyesores. Some of the land is also being used for construction of institutional areas and factories.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Many Straws Make a Nest: A Documentary about Proletarian Unrest in Delhi's Industrial Belt

Watch it here

Thursday, June 3, 2010


(December 2002, New Series No. 274)

The peasant-artisan prescription of labor for relief has itself become a disease…

Instead of one, two, three, four crops during less work in the villages, artisans-workers going to cities to slog; rearing cows and buffalo for selling milk; farming chicken and fish; daily rounds of the market for seed-medicine-fertilizer-cotton seed-animal feed for buying these, for repairing motor fan and for selling grains, vegetables, eggs, milk, butter; also open a small shop.... In attempts to somehow stay afloat, people's bodies are taut all the time. And...increasing numbers going bankrupt are being eaten up by the idle, empty, and endless time. Where to go? What to do? To tell the increasing army of unemployed that they don't "work hard" is to pour molten lead in their arms.

Disappearance of time, of leisure...Time, leisure becoming a burden. Both carry the turmoil for the soul. For peace of the soul, refuge in the sects is a mirage. Even a learned philosopher of those sitting on heads and shoulders had said 100-125 years ago that God is dead. It is true that even with the discoveries of science, technical means and management research being covered by mysterious paraphenalia, the incarnation of dead gods are still collecting crowds around them. But despite the use of all marketing techniques, the arenas and effects of sects and gurus are diminishing. The major modern networks of those sitting on heads and shoulders to tie up and pierce souls encourages the obsession for consumption and increases the army of degree holder psychiatrists. The lust for consumption and the hypocrisy of degree holders who blame the victims are one up on the gods. They are also very much fatal. Competition is swallowing normalcy and simplicity.
Again, the same question. What to do? In the present, each person is encircled and entrapped to such a degree that each one of us has to make innumerable compromises. Every day we have to bear such terrible things that our soul gets battered. Each day we ourselves commit such bad acts that we cannot speak about them. We cover these up in the garb of that which is forced upon us and try to placate our conscience. That which we felt was imposed on us, was it actually forced or was it put on? Should I have done this or should not have accepted that? Conflicts of this type churn inside us...

Whatever claims of being all-powerful we may be making on the outside, it is usually the case that at all times we find ourselves helpless. Generally, it is knowing that one is helpless that makes us fall in our own eyes. To look at oneself degradingly, lack of respect of a person for him or herself is very wide today and only increasing. And this lack of respect for oneself is expressed in disrespect for others.

More or less, such is the situation with each one of us. Therefore, those whom we come in close contact with, those whom we know intimately, towards them open or camouflaged disrespect is very large. Those who are far away, those whom we come into contact only once in awhile, those whom we know very little, with them it becomes easier to produce the sentiment of respect rather than actual respect. It is very fatal for the victim to blame him or herself in his or her inner thoughts or to find other victims as the culprits. This ensures our own entrapment and viscious encirclement. Disrespect for those near to us and looking down on one another are among the major obstacles towards coordination with those close to us. Coordination amongst nearby ones are the point of departure to break the encirclement.

That we contend- isn't it in itself the basis for respect? Aren't our souls yearning for truth, love, respect, adequate basis for respect? The issue is not of overlooking others misdeeds or one's bad deeds. Rather, instead of, cursing oneself, others, the issue is of taking such steps that people encircled by compulsions can easily take. The feeling of helplessness of person is a strong basis for efforts to create a new society.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


(December 2002, New Series 174)

There was a glimpse of life in the city, with fragments of life in the village.

* People are getting split into groups. If you sit with us, then don't sit with them.

*People lose their temper on minor issues. Sitting together is decreasing. Even those who smoke hookah fill up their hookahs and go and sit in their own homes.

* What can one do? One is not able to finish one's own work. How can one help one's brothers? One doesn't get nutritious food. Bones are visible in the youth. Trusting others is decreasing. The load of exchange is falling on women's heads. Men are falling for drinking and gambling. To meet the expenses of the house, women are facing increasing difficulties. Tensions, quarrels between husband and wife are increasing...

* Earlier more young women used to commit suicides. Now more young men have started to commit suicide. This is hardly reported to the police. Everyone gets together and performs the last rites. If you go to the police station, it creates another suicide. One can't by through farming or artisanship. There aren't any jobs. So, many people are opening shops. People are going insane. They keep telling any Tom-Dick-and Harry to secure them a job, any job.

* Lumpenization is increasing. After sunset, one does not go out of the home, afraid to come across a drunkard on the way. People are getting sucked into debts. Inability to refuse, forces one to loan money to relatives which is rarely returned. If agricultural land is mortgaged, then it is difficult to get it free. Tt gets sold.

* Hypocrisy is increasing. Superstition is increasing. People adopt ritualistic postures and take refuge in sects. Whichever sect one adopts, he or she calls it 'the best' and the rest imposters.

* Youth label the experiences of elders as 'barking'... The old, aged do not speak the truth...Falsely, they say that their time was great.

* Even only sons are living separately from their mother and father. In old age, husband and wife have started living separately. Mother with one son, and father with another son. Conversations between husband wife cease- they say they have bore it for long enough, no more now. No one takes objection to someone tying up the buffalo on the path which inconveniences everyone. When others do no object, why should I? People will change the path. People will bear the difficulty.

* One who dies is praised. The facts are not spoken of. At the time of a tragedy, everyone's sympathy bursts forth. In normal conditions, people are unconcerned.

* People are becoming strange. Even if it's not to my advantage, it should be to your disadvantage. Backbiting and pointing out others' shortcomings is an epidemic.

* People have become so weak that they hide their true opinions and intentions from everyone. In the village, many people simply go to vote so that they can tell the supporters of candidates that they voted for their leader. One talks of support, but tells a lie to the group.

* Personal occupation or control of common goods is increasing. Let common interest go to hell. Personal interests surpass everything.

* These days one is struck more by speech. Talking in very crude, vulgar terms is increasing.

Life in the city, life in the village are twins. They are copies of one another...

Saturday, May 1, 2010


(New Series No. 167, May 2002)

Human beings take work as something forced on them as a load to be borne. The process of human being's efforts to lessen work, to lighten it were turned upside down with the advent of hierarchic social creations. The processes of increasing workload on labouring masses began.

In this process, the factory-mode emerged. With the counting of every moment and endless increase of speed, factory modes beginning and end is work. By pushing seasons aside, the factory mode imposed work throughout the 12 months of the year. Through electricity, the limits of sunrise and sunset for work have been broken. People have been put to work not only during the day, but also at night.

It has not been a long time since factory-mode made a significant impact in production. It is only around 250 years. With the factory-mode, wage-work system became significant in production. With the firm-footing of factory-mode provided by steam and coal, the extensive expansion of wage-work system began. Together with production, factory-mode and wage-work system has been taking every area and arena in its grip, squeezing life out of it, making it synonomous with work. Sports, song, dance, discussions, advice, free-time, hospitality have all to a significant extent been transformed into work. Factory-mode and wages are erasing them. Retirement is like death.

The Return of What Was Rejected From the Beginning

Around 200 years ago, the visions of artisans, peasants, and new wage workers created by dire necessity or brute force were in some respects not as mesmerized as those today. They felt that factory-mode makes life something forced on us. Transforms life into a burden. Those artisans, peasants, and new wage workers opposed the premises of the factory-mode. They attacked factories, broke machines, burned down buildings. By making factory's fortress-like, and through hanging, and bullets, the initial use of the factory was crushed by those sitting on heads and shoulders.

Thereafter, questioning of the factory itself decreased. The opposition of factory-mode dimmed. Seeking relief in factory life, relief through the creation of more factories, and defining emancipation as capturing factories became significant. 8 hours working day, the independence of enslaved countries, and socialist revolution are symbolic of this shift.

Relief in the Factory

It is still common to describe the absence of factories or the decrease of factories in the area as the reason behind the bad condition of people living in an area. Even today advocates of factory mode are presenting the establishment of very large numbers of factories in the area as the prescription for the well-being of people in the area. In this context, for rapid industrialization, the process of forming new provinces, the creation of new countries has not stopped yet. The expansion of factory-mode and the worsening of labor masses' condition are two sides of the same coin.

In colonies, the lack of factory mode was said to be the reason for the bad condition of residents there. In the name of making people happy, the establishment and expansion of factories was said to require 'enslaved countries' 'independence' and a lot of noise was made for this. Sacrifices were asked from and taken for laboring masses. More than an hundred countries 'became independent.' In 'independent India,' in these 50 years, factory-mode, wage-labor system has been widely expanding at a rapid pace. Has there been any relief with the spread of factories? The relief of the expansion of factory-mode and the condition of labouring masses is going from bad to worse is in front of us. These same fruits of obtaining relif through factories has fallen in the lap of laboring masses of other 'countries that become independent.'

Emancipation in Taking Over Factories

The Communist/Socialist current through cuts-selections-and militancy reached a significant stage of success. The growing speed of work prepared the basis for emancipation. The takeover of extremely fast means of production was seen as the revolutionary step of emancipation, The takeover of factories was made a point of departure by the Socialist Revolution for the wide and rapid expansion of the factory-mode. Result: as far as the workers are concerned, Soviet Union (Russia) and America was merely that of label.

New Beginning

In view of the cruelty, murderousness of factory-mode towards life, there is an urgent need for new extensive opposition to factory-mode. Disassembling of factory-mode and its bases will be helpful in this. Some points are:

*Like other hierarchic social formations, in factory-mode based societies, a representative system is inherent- be it imposed or elected.

*Movements for relief in factory, relief through factory, emancipation by taking over factory be it non-violent or violent or a mixture of violent-nonviolent, are all are directed by representatives, leaders, and their networks. The workers' labouring masses acts as per order to ensure that there is need for an apparatus. The two extremes of organization in representative systems are loose- slimy apparatus versus a strict, efficient, alert apparatus. The deciding steps are taken through the measurement of the success of the apparatus.

*In the 19th century and in the early decades of the 20th century also, the question of real repesentation and phony representation was the subject of sharp discussions. But after seeing the result of relief through factory and emancipation by taking over factory, this question was rendered meaningless.

*The change of ownership had turned from the path of individual to joint stock to shareholding to loan-based. This has done away with the differences between militant and soft, honest and dishonest, reformist and revolutionary parties, and leaders.

*The yardsticks of measurement of a representative system has the task of hiding the importance of steps and attempts of ordinary people. Whereas, to give primary importance to the activities of ordinary people should be the basis of new paths. For this, very different yardsticks for measuring the effect-impact are necessary.

*As for one's capacity and facility, what steps should each worker take and which steps should not be taken? Without co-workers, what kinds of coordinations should we have? Going across the boundaries of factory, city, region, country, what type of methods for worldwide coordinations needed? By churning alone, will new kinds of effective and organized be decided? As alternative to factory-mode, come let's be participants in the churning for new society!