Indian Democracy in the Mirror of the Bhilai Movement

April 3, 2014

By Lok Sahitya Parishad

The following article, reproduced from the Shankar Guha Niyogi – CMM Archive at Sanhati reflects on the state of Indian democracy from the perspective of the Bhilai movement. -Eds

This essay uses real life examples, contemporary in the years 1990-1992, to highlight the inefficacy of law and the Indian constitution of looking after the rights of laborers and workers. Using specific arguments the author demonstrates the severe limitations of the constitutional rights to only those who can afford it. Be it the right to work: even after decades of working in the same factory workers remain daily wage earners under illegal contractors, whose main purpose remains oppressing any demands of lawful wages by the workers. Freedom of speech and the right to assemble peacefully and form unions is also discredited as most newspapers are owned by industrialists and express only their view points. Many workers’ unions, comprising thousands of workers, are not recognized by the industrialists. This type of coercion is supported, not opposed, by government officials meant to be looking out for workers’ rights. Justice for all is another right that only caters to the rich as poor laborers are robbed off their earnings, dignity and sometimes their life should revolt against the oppression. The owners have the police as well as their own band of goons that act of freely to suppress any activists, like Com. Guha Niyogi, and hold them in jail or even devise their assassination. The essay underscores the irrelevance of most rights and laws in the lives of the adivasis of Chattisgarh and Jharkhand as they fall prey to industrialization of their land and sponging off of their natural resources by the government in cahoots with the industrialist.

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