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Laborers’ toil hard for us, let us celebrate a day for them

Laborers’ toil hard for us, let us celebrate a day for them
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The Labour Day is a special occasion when people worldwide celebrate the true spirit of the working class

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Vinod Chandrashekhar Dixit

May 1 is known as ‘May Day’ or International Labours’ Day. It is an annual holiday to celebrate the economic and social achievements of workers. Labour Day has its origins in the labour union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.
May Day is celebrated to pay tribute to the contributions, workers have made to make the world strong and prosper. This day is dedicated to the workers for their economic and social achievements.
The history of the Labour Day dates back to May 1, 1886. In India, the first Labour Day, or May Day, was celebrated in 1923 in Chennai. On this day, labour unions in the United States of America decided to go on a strike with the demand that workers should not be allowed to work more than 8 hours a day.
This strike was followed by a bomb blast in Chicago’s Haymarket Square on the 4th of May. This led to the death of several people and police officers. In addition, more than 100 people were injured in the blast. Voltaire said, “Workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose except your chains but a big world to win.” These words were not to show pity to the working class but to remind them that they are being denied of their basic rights. The working class finally revolted and it paid off. May 1 become a day recognized around the world as a working class holiday, a day of solidarity between workers of all nationalities?
It was an extreme of cruelty that the workers usually worked in unsecured condition in industrial premises due to which the accidents were common. Similarly, there was no legal binding on exploitation and child labour. The common status of a worker was just like a slave in the eyes of his employer.
This injustice system compelled the Labour Union Movement to launch struggle against the employers for acceptance of its demand through eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest. During the 1860s, deaths, injuries and other horrific situations were very common for the workers, and people working during the whole working day were very unhappy until the eight hour workday was declared.
Labours do a lot of hard work but they cannot use their own good ideas to do the work. They are not given value by their seniors and society most of the time. They are stamped with a tag of labour for a lifetime. It reduces their ability of thinking and trying to some big things. Labours feel that they do not have a higher education so they cannot do any big things, business or job which will lead their life to a different way. But if you ask me, I think this thinking is wrong. It is never late for getting educated or to learn anything. A person can keep learning till the last breath. Any person who is a labour because of any reason behind it can change his/her life from a labour to a successful person.
It was an extreme of cruelty that the workers usually worked in unsecured condition in industrial premises due to which the accidents were common. Similarly, there was no legal binding on exploitation and child labour. The common status of a worker was just like a slave in the eyes of his employer. This injustice system compelled the Labour Union Movement to launch struggle against the employers for acceptance of its demand through eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest. The Labour Day is a special occasion when people worldwide celebrate the true spirit of the working class. It’s the day when workers get together and showcase their strength which indicates how effectively they can struggle to bring in positive reforms for the working class of the society.
It is to be remembered that only celebrating a single day in a whole year and then again treating them in a wrong way for rest of the year is not a good way of celebrating them. People should first understand the meaning of this day and then celebrate it with joy for a day and treat labours equally for every moment in life.

(The columnist is based in Ahmadabad)


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