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People, Politics & Protests I: Calcutta & West Bengal, 1950s


Academic year: 2023

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One such aspect is how the refugee movement became part of the popular movements in West Bengal in the 1950s and 1960s. I am a pure Ghoti (a term commonly used to describe people from this side of Bengal), so how did I become the leader of the refugee movement”. Sen was also a founder member of the Mahila Atma Raksha Committee (MARS), which was formed in the 40s.

This section clearly shows that the activists and leaders of the refugee movement were not isolated individuals. Hiranmoy Bandyopadhyay and other members of the State Refugee Rehabilitation Committee were also present in the meeting. In many meetings, he showed full support to the refugee movement on behalf of the Krishak Sabha.

In this meeting, the speakers unanimously criticized the refugee rehabilitation policy of the government and administration of the Cooper's Camp. The government's violent suppression of the food movement by police force and army was also criticized. Banerjee and Chakrabarty therefore urged the refugees to unanimously condemn this step of the government led by the VCRC.62.

The government's refugee and rehabilitation policy has been repeatedly criticized and identified as a bone of contention. 2 Sandip Bandyopadhyay, “The Riddles of Partition: Memories of the Bengali Hindus,” in Reflections of Partition in the East, ed. 7 Samir Kumar Das, “The Refugee Crisis: The West Bengal Government's Response,” in Refugees in West Bengal, ed.

Tram Movement and Teachers’

Movement in Calcutta: 1953-1954

The Anti Tram Fare Enhancement Resistance Movement

The Shiksha Sankat Committee called for a student strike on July 6 in support of the Tram Movement. Journalist associations in various parts of the country and Pakistan condemned the police action against press reporters. The students' strike on 6 July was a success as “students from most of Calcutta's schools and colleges participated in the strike and took out processions.

Writing many decades later, Dhritikanta was now sarcastic about the movement and perhaps also amused by the incident. Their natural propensity for adventure and their left-wing ideologies made them dangerous in the eyes of the government. Bijoygarh Refugee Colony and College Ground Bijoygarh became a frequent venue for public meetings of the Resistance Committee.

The general sympathy of Calcutta's educated middle class was also evident in the letters they wrote to the editors of the newspapers. From the beginning of the strike, the company had said that the financial loss caused by the move would prevent them from paying the bonus to its employees. It had begun with a demand for certain risk benefits from the workers at the beginning of the year.

This step was criticized by leftist parties who demanded the immediate nationalization of the tram company. But tram cars became the exclusive symbol and target of the movement.33 When the boycott phase began, one of the popular slogans of the protesters was "Bus e jabo, hete jabo, tram e jabo na" [we will travel by bus. or we will walk but not take the tram]. This was evident in the estimates provided by the tram company agent that the protesters had vandalized 60 trams in the first 6 days of the movement.34 This number increased as the movement progressed.

They could link several issues together and could bring a cross-section of society. The movement for trams died down when the tram company, on the advice of the West Bengal government, agreed to postpone the fare hike, at least for the time being. As the winter session of the Assembly began, Manikuntala Sen moved a resolution demanding a debate on the tram movement and the government's crackdown on protesters.

The people of the entire state of West Bengal protested against such a move and rightly so. Except for a few supporters of the company and the government, there was no one who was in favor of increasing the fares. 38.

Teachers’ Movement

The Teachers' Strike, like the Tram Movement of the previous year, was successful in generating mass support in Calcutta and elsewhere. On the first day of the strike, no classes were held in at least 130 schools in Calcutta. Food was sent to the teachers on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce Employees Union [and] Metropol Hotel Workers.

Some of the teachers and the wider public expressed dissatisfaction with the “ethics”. Among supporters of the Teachers' Strike, there was always a tendency to emphasize the difference between a teacher and a worker, even though both used the strike as a form of protest. For example, when a representative of ABTA said that even the carrier (chaprashi) of the Writers.

After about 15 minutes of protest, all opposition MPs, with the exception of three, walked out. 60. But the disputes were not over, as the events of the following day would reveal. Inside the Assembly, the opposition leaders demanded a statement from Roy about the arrest of the teachers.

He did not want to make statements about the release of those arrested, saying that the court would decide on that. The violent turn in the movement was criticized by a section of people who were otherwise sympathetic to the teachers. Many blamed the government's attitude and police aggression for the riots on February 16.

For the next few days, the major issue for agitation and mobilization was the police atrocities on the protesters and the arrests of the teachers. Writers' building was the eye of the storm in last year's "battle for 1 paisa" and the same is the situation now with the Teachers'. But they were very intense in nature, able to mobilize a large part of the city's population in their support.

There has always been an attempt to expand the reach of the teachers' movement, to shape it in the way of the Tramway movement and to take it beyond the place of the teachers' sit-in. Some of the sympathizers of the Teacher Movement were uncomfortable with the extent of student participation in this struggle.


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