"If your hands are dirty, then your money is clean."
This famous quote applies to all the labourers out there who have been behind the greatest infrastructural feats of the world.
Do you love Statue of Liberty? Who's behind it? Who's behind the Eiffel Tower? And our very own majestic Taj Mahal and Akshardham Temple? You get the answer. At a more personal level, who's behind your office and your home?
Yeah, right. You just spoke that in your mind. I know. They deserve respect for hard toiling labour in the burning, scorching sun and bone-breaking physical exertion. A grand salute to them!
Join me in celebrating the labour force throughout the world.
Throughout the world, Labour Day is celebrated on 1 May except for the US and Canada that celebrate the day in September first week. And why 1 May? It is to celebrate the Haymarket Affair in Chicago which took place on May 4, 1886, when a huge group of people were marching to demand an 8-hour workday.
The idea behind that was 8-hour sleep, 8-hour recreation and 8-hour work. Indeed a great idea and the intention was clear-cut. But someone from the rally threw a bomb at the Police. This led to firing by the Police where 3 people died, including a school kid, a rally participant and a man who was feeding his chickens. The next day there was another rally where 7 people were killed by the state militia. (Figures according to Wikipedia)
It was when labourers won the hard fought battle to have a balanced life. The story is traced back to 1860s when industrialization in the western countries was gaining momentum. A lot of workforce was giving up farming and taking up jobs in Industries. There were no labour laws then and labourers were made to work for 12-14 hours at a stretch.
Due to overwork and depleting health of certain labourers and even deaths, the workers got united and started forming Labour Unions to tackle this problem. Subsequently, they started taking out rallies and protested against difficult working conditions. The rallies intensified in the first week of May 1886 and after a tough battle, the authorities agreed to grant an 8 hour work-day. Nothing is easy in life, right? It's important to 'earn' things rather than 'get' them.
Labourers deserve respect. What they are doing is honest and pure hardwork.
The philosophy working behind the May Day is that Marxist, Communist and Anarchist ideologies always fought for the rights of labourers and poverty stricken masses. It's because of their efforts that May Day came into being and is now celebrated all over the world with zeal and gusto. There are rallies throughout the world which celebrate the idea of 'being labourer'. Cool, eh? Someone rightly said that real criminals come in Ties and real men come in torn trousers. You get the gist? You want to see a fighter and survivor? Look into a poor man's eye.
There are May Day rallies in India also to protest and demand for worker rights. But if we compare the situation of Indian workers to their western counterparts, the situation is grim. Indian labourer is still bonded and is paid very low wages. Indian daily wage labourer is paid somewhere between 400 and 500. They are not paid if they don't go to work due to bad health. They don't get offs, they work on Sundays. And they work in the worst ambience surrounded by dust and filth. They work at the places where we fear to tread. That's why labourers die early at an age of maximum 45-50. (Check Tribal Studies at Google). And what about child labour? That's another topic. I will write a story on that too.
Looking at the current grim scenario, we can just hope that condition of labourers improve with each Labour Day.