Brief History of Industrial Labor in India

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Brief History of Industrial Labor in India


writings on the history of Indian industrial labour, besides many cases on the process of westernisation, or Now more commonly called modernization, it also includes a mass of useful descriptive material on industrial labor recruitment, migration and living conditions, etc. The great transition was a phase from a partially complete to all ideal type of society, from a pre-industrial to a modern urban one. Industrial society, the writers who speculated about industrialization, emphasized its various aspects, they were looking for a formula for successful industrialization, ingredients missing from a traditional society, which the industrial country had to rely on entrepreneurship, efficient management. To make India, change in social values, achievement orientation or committed labor force should be added. This happened when non-industrialized countries lagged behind, at various points on the path of development marked by developed countries.


Divergence of interests of employees and employees can be appealed if we consider the objectives for which employees and employers come together in an organisation. The objective of the employer is to invest the capital profitably, to run the organization most economically and productively by ensuring that the policies and regulations made by it are enshrined. The worker however has to earn livelihood for himself and his family to meet his physical needs like food, clothing and shelter. He also seeks satisfaction of his social needs like companionship, self-esteem etc. These psychological needs like self development, self experience, self aspect also have to be fulfilled at work. The employer and the employee have certain objectives that have hardly anything in common. In fact most of them run opposite to each other. The need for higher wages by employees to improve their standard of living runs in conflict with the objective of keeping employee costs down and maximizing profits.


Structure of the Labor Market:


1) India has traditionally been an organized agrarian society. Characterized by a complete division of labor and the employment of a wide range of skills, many of which were transferable to the new industrial pattern where modern institutions began to intrude. In India in the 19th century, they did not take root mainly in a completely new environment. Elements of literacy were highly present for a modern bureaucracy, a sophisticated system of banking and commerce was in operation. And there was a substantial tradition of workmanship. As new industries gradually grew in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, they found that the land was partially prepared.


The emergence of cotton mills in Bombay and steel mills in Jamshedpur depended largely on the labor pool drawn from Surat’s traditional shipbuilding industry. By the end of the 19th century traditional ironworking skills had a lot



This modern skill from the railways found its way into the railway workshop and was eventually adapted into private industry in Jamshedpur. In earlier days factories had less trouble finding both skilled and unskilled labor, as they were found almost everywhere in supply, they were either trained in traditional crafts, or some of them were literate adaptable workers. Who sooner or later can acquire the necessary skills. But the workforce of those early industries was unskilled and mainly illiterate. Sometimes

Sometimes people used to travel long distances in search of work. Employers’ complaints of shortage of manpower, and instability in disciplined work and frequent return forces to villages, which is not justified by the needs and figures. When there was a high labor turnover, as in the cotton mills of Bombay, this level was a result of management and working conditions. The workers moved for better pay and maintained their village ties as their only security.


Indeed, the ground was prepared for the development of modern industries, but enthusiasm was dampened by the disastrous first effects of colonialism, which hit India at a time when the imperial power itself was industrializing. Modern industries came to India as a result of colonial rule and not intentionally. Rural industries included the work of artisans, native weavers who made cotton cloth, potters and goldsmiths. The same craftsmen working for the minor market, but better organized, lived in towns. Urban artisans, like blacksmiths of brass and copper, could make artistic

As well as normal utensils. There was another group of workers mainly from local industries who lacked the specialized knowledge that was so necessary. In some heavy industries such as iron smelting, where the products find their way across the country, the method employed was generally crude and uneconomical. All the industries there were already languishing for various reasons, one of them being the pressure of imported goods.


Craftsmen and artisans decided to return to the land they could own or as tenants or landlord laborers. The craft industries were not gradually replaced by factories. It took about two or three generations for industries to develop in India. Then the urban workers of modern India did not come out of the category of artisans, but were landlord farmers or agricultural laborers. According to some authors such as Morris Oho, it is not clear whether large numbers of artisans were forced to become landowner laborers as part of the major shift from agriculture to industry in the 19th century. The character and social composition of the work force depend to a large extent on how the region’s industrial workers are recruited into the main industries. As in the earlier English factories their manpower was unskilled and drawn mainly from poor farmers and landless laborers in the countryside, but not with an overwhelming proportion from the lower centres. It was difficult to say how many of the early migrants to Mumbai were artisans




Especially rather than agricultural families. But R. Das Gupta (1976) has examined census and other material on the industrial work force in eastern India in the jute mills and engineering industries around Calcutta, which required skilled labour. The census of 1911 shows that ruined artisans, workers who failed to find adequate employment and subsistence in the rural economy, traders, ad farmers, artisans and laborers all unbalanced by the changes taking place in the agrarian economy, became destitute to work in the jute mills. Ad paupers were the highest among the workers.


There was considerable ‘industrial migration’ of weavers, iron workers, computers and others who were displaced from their traditional occupations. He learned new skills easily and soon became technically fit. A minority of traditional artisans went directly into the ranks of skilled and better paid workers. While men of unskilled labor were of very mixed social origin.


2) Rural migrants started working as jobbers. The jobber’s role was very important, and he was seen as a very important person in the chain of work in the factory because of the experience he had working in the factory. He was responsible to the Supervisor of Labor White. He had to keep the machines in working order and provide technical training to the workers. His role as a recruiter of labor earned him a good income in the form of bribes called ‘dasturi’. Dasturi was also paid to a hierarchy of employed people. During strike the jobber is very active, runs in search of workers. He was considered an indispensable person by both the employed and the labourers.


Job acted as a protector for the laborers as well as our oppressor according to the situations. He protected their rights and provided them with great security and at times he could prove to be an oppressor, either way he was before the employer as well as the worker. Many times he lends money to workers for interest and receives commission from various other sources. After 1930, the jobber’s role gradually diminished. According to Morris, the jobber played the role of middleman. Employers rejected the system because it was largely beneficial to the jobber himself; Those who made the most of the situation, because this was the maximum level to which an industrial worker could rise, had no chance of rising.


3) After independence when stronger unions and new laws emerged, a clear division could be seen within the labor force between those working on the payroll of registered factories and other individual workers employed on less favorable terms in smaller factories The terms were not favorable. who were



not registered. This was the time when the jobber’s role was being gradually phased out.


till now contract labor

had emerged as a different type. When workers are scared, often a contractor is hired. The contractor paid the workers, or sometimes the management paid them and debited the contractor’s account. In some cases the contractor supplies only labour, which is paid for by the factory management. Some of the best organized industries in the country, such as cotton and jute factories, engineering workers, etc., are recruited on a large scale, which is not known even in other countries. So there almost like subordinate employees are seen working for the factories. what does one see in such situations



A factory has two types of workers during certain jobs, before the machinery earns very different wages. The ‘contract’ workers do this work without any privileges. While even without legal protection against dismissal, the ‘regular’ worker was separated from all other categories of contract, temporary or cloud workers.


If one were to study the evolution of the industrial workplace in India and the study on the living and working conditions of the labor force has become an important area of study, the situation is comparatively no worse in any industrial city in the world. As much as it is in Mumbai.


4) Labor market study about how many natives get jobs, how many friends or relatives to help in this venture to get jobs Mumbai provides a cross section of jobs with a mix of old industries and technologies does. In other cities that have developed in the last thirty years.


Mumbai being a city of migrants, waves of migration from various sectors to various industries were set up, things there leave their marks in the composition of the workforce after booms and busts. In recruiting workers, the management relies heavily on their relatives, thus making one’s entry difficult. Thus employment in factories becomes the right of particular families or social groups. The worker says that a key factor in finding a job is access to ‘contracts’ for relatives or friends with ‘influence’, this is a common agreement.


Scarcity and insecurity compel migrants to maintain their original ties to the village in order to maintain the village base and assets if they lose their jobs or earn little. To avoid the labor hassle and to get a better hold on their laborers, the employees used the simplest and safest recruitment methods to recruit the workers through their current workers. He always keeps a list of his laborers, along with the names of the people who brought them. In firms large and small, most employees who come with recommendations are relatives or friends of the current




staff. The chance to bring in relatives is a significant benefit of regular employment. In large firms this is often formalized in written agreements with the union, which are determined.


The practice of taking on relatives and friends of employees as replacements or new workers has given rise to groups of people from a particular center or village or language, the group often having the same occupation in the same industry.


5) The female workforce in industry goes to semi-skilled work or casual labour. As women are as neat and delicate in their work wherever there is careful handling of equipment, they are needed and preferred more as they can tolerate the monotony of the production line. Women are not only fighting for their rights with men, but they are also found competing for jobs with equal pay as men. Nowadays most of the clerical work is done by women. It seems that employers recognize that women are best suited for the most boring assembly jobs.


Some factories are hesitant to employ women because the Factories Act states that if there are more than 30 married women, arrangements have to be made for crèches, separate toilets, dressing rooms, etc. Meet by automatic machinery. Between 1961 and 1971, the employment of unskilled women in Mumbai’s mills was about 40%. Whereas mainly educated women like teaching, public administration, medicine and nursing, commerce and banking, pharmaceuticals (as packers) and postal and communication (telephone operators) etc. Women are mostly engaged in home-based work (sewing and making buttons, electronic assembly, incense sticks etc.). Most of the poor class working women are represented in units with very low wages and poor working conditions. Most women workers live in households where the main breadwinner is a man, although women work in different departments or occupations, the network through which they get employed is an extension of the men’s network.


Factors Affecting the Labor Market in India


India was a country of many castes and religions. The life of its people revolved around the caste system. But today things have changed. Cast system is losing its importance due to modernization and industry. Today you can find a daily wage laborer even a low caste Harijan. Harijans are involved in almost all kinds of work, mainly in the education system and government employment opportunities.

Due to financial discrimination which has helped a new confident Harijan middle class.



Industrialization has brought many changes in social and economic aspects. Industrialization has given rise to urbanization. It has influenced our lifestyle, relationships, food habits and dress. In the olden days, we had a joint family system, but due to industrialization and urbanization, this system is slowly disappearing. people mo

Urban migration in search of work.


Before the disparity between the caste system, Brahmins were the upper caste while Shudras were the lower caste. But today due to industrialization there has been a difference in the class system. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.


Industrialization has affected our society. It has brought permanent changes in our social structure, social institutions and social relations. Some of the social consequences of industrialization are as follows:-


1) Impact on the community: There is a close relationship between the industry and the communities or it has changed the existing relationship. Industries generally come where the raw material is advertising power. So when a new industry comes up, people tend to settle around the industry to provide their services. Hence people from all walks of life would come down and settle down giving birth to an urban community. It leads to mixed people of different ethnicity, social religious and racial background. who come together for a common cause of earning livelihood.


Industrialization has also reduced the intensity of caste preferences, as people of all castes come together and find employment in factories. So Brahmins and Shudras will work together. That’s why all castes come in contact with each other in factories, hotels, markets, trains and buses etc.


2) Effect of industrialization on family and kinship: The traditional joint family system is ending due to industrialization. The family was an important institution in traditional societies, with joint families forming the basic institution of a self-sustaining agricultural economy. The joint family was the center of the production and consumption unit. In a joint family, two or three generations of members have a relationship. Properly owned and jointly cultivated. Industrialization has completely changed the face of the family environment. Values like discipline, authority and respect for elders have changed for ideas like equality, freedom, equal rights, justice etc. Home has become a place of comfort and joy. High standard of living has become a characteristic of urban families. This has been happening in India.



The feeling of unity has weakened. Industrialization has increased material needs. People have become selfish and want more. People are not as satisfied as before. Youth are linked to rural and hence agricultural productivity is affected. Now a days, the youth are demanding equal rights in the family property, while he no longer contributes to the common pool. The traditional family can no longer keep the youth connected to their soil.


People are understanding the importance of nuclear family. Both the parents go out to work. New gadgets and advanced technology help the couple take care of their homes. Women are getting wiser and equal to their husbands, and can no longer tolerate their nonsense. And with the easy availability of divorce at their stand, family instability has become a problem in today’s time.


Industrialization has wreaked havoc and eroded the respect and status of elders. Children work independently and this has reduced the power of the head of the family. With the help of modern technology, children have been exposed to computer and TV. ‘s guide. Earlier the wife and children took care of the father’s emotional needs. It all seems counterintuitive now; It is the father who has to attend to the delicate emotional needs of the wife and children.


3) Change in caste system and social structure: In the olden days the caste system was very rigid with Brahmins at the top and Shudras at the bottom. There were restrictions regarding business, marriage and food and drink and social order. When people of different castes started migrating to the cities in search of new economic opportunities, it was not possible to maintain the ban. Due to industrialization the caste system started losing its hold. It became economically independent, leading to a steady decline in upper caste monopoly. Technological progress, industrialization, urbanization, commercialization were attempts by the Indian government to create a casteless society, increasing economic hardships, and the desire of the lower castes to lower their position in the caste hierarchy through “sanskritization” were some of the efforts that led to this. were responsible. Bringing change in the caste system.


“Lower caste people wanted to enter the higher class by learning Sanskrit and even wanted to marry into what was previously considered a separate and higher class.


Thus caste was always to some extent a code for economic class difference, and could be changed with changes in the reaction and power of groups that one might call class. Learning to differentiate between regional cultures and patterns of industrial development a

Second settlement and political movement


In particular cities, industrial workers, like other Indians, think of themselves as members of the centre, and usually marry their children within the boundaries of recognized castes or religious minorities such as Muslims and Catholics, who sometimes- Sometimes divided into caste-like groups.

In towns and cities caste is no longer a cohesive group, but a network of relationships with particular people to whom they have a claim, but who are also pulled in other directions by obligations and loyalties and interests that have little to do with castes. There is nothing to do with it. ,


4) Industry and Caste: It is a moral obligation to help your relatives in the job market who are bound to be of your caste. But nowadays in this competitive world a person with excellent qualification has more job opportunities even if he/she does not belong to your caste. It may be possible that someone may give you priority when looking for a job or a place to live because he or she trusts someone who grew up with the same values, or he or she feels that caste members should treat each other with respect. should help.


When caste falls between these two extremes, the society is divided into their blocks, a large block consisting of all middle castes and religious minorities, and two other noticeable smaller groups.

Means Brahmin at the top and Harijan at the bottom. Both the three groups suffer, Harijans in worst jobs but not Brahmins by any means.


politics of regionalism

Hindu customs and values, especially caste which is inseparable from Hinduism, prevented the emergence of ‘modern’ capitalism for innovation and new markets. Restrictions or contacts between castes in early times prevented merchants and artisans from coming together, and such an attitude prevented rapid adaptation to change and new demands of occupation.


The web of customs and rituals, as well as the firm belief in karma or reincarnation, which bound Hindus at every point in this life, created a ‘traditionalist’ attitude that largely came in the way of economic development. So as we all know that the traditional form the division of labor took in India was none other than caste. In a caste theory, which most people probably believed and many still do, each person is born with an aptitude for a type of work that is in his nature his dharma. Various types of functions, the lowest as well as the highest are all necessary for a social organism which is part of a universal organism.




There has been a close relationship between Indian trade unions and politics. Political parties and leaders have shown great interest in the formation of trade unions. Trade union politics has given rise to bitter rivalries between different work positions. They have the support and political patronage of political parties. Workers join a trade union because they realize that they are personally helpless. Unity and strength can be undermined if workers are divided into multiple unions based on diverse or conflicting ideologies. However, the involvement of trade unions in politics can turn workers towards issues related to their employment and working conditions. So it can be argued that politics can do more harm than good.


But in a civilized society it is difficult for any person to stay away from politics. The state affects every aspect of our lives. It passes laws to regulate behavior. So when trade unions have to protect the rights of workers they have to not only protect them against their employees but also try to influence the state to pass laws for protection. In this regard, the participation of trade unions in politics is not only desirable but necessary.


By 1991 India’s economic backlop was such that some bold measures were needed to change it. India cannot remain a mere spectator in the changing world. With a view to strengthen the economic base and its superstructure, there is a need to take radical reforms especially. In July 1991, the New Economic Policy and with it the New Industrial Policy were announced. At that time there was mixed reaction from different sections of the society. The effect is long lasting.

Factories and small workshops but in between and among people in casual labor (unorganized sector)


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