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Netaji was Tata workers` union chief for nine years

Last Updated: Sunday, January 24, 2010 - 18:08

Bhubaneswar: People are aware of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose` heroic deeds, but few know that he was the president of the Tata Labour Association, Jamshedpur, rechristened later as Tata Steel Workers Union, for nine long years.

This little known fact can be learnt from a letter Netaji had written to the then managing director of Tata, N B Sakalatbala, way back on November 12, 1928.

The `confidential` letter, written by Netaji who was the president of the union from 1928 to 1937, throws light on his deep concern for Indian workers in industries at a time when
Britishers were occupying key positions in all sectors.

On the occasion of Netaji`s 114th birth anniversary yesterday, a litho copy of the original letter was handed over to Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at a function held in
Cuttack, birth place of the freedom fighter.

As the company was largely dominated by Britishers at that time, Netaji was made the association`s president on the advice of national leaders, including Mahatma Gandhi, to speed up the process of `Indianisation`, according to Tata sources.

"I feel sincerely that the future of this industry - including peace in the labour world - depends largely on Indianisation," he said in the letter.

"This is a point which foreigners - however good they otherwise may be - cannot sufficiently appreciate," Netaji said in the letter, a copy of which was released here.
"I have no doubt that if you go ahead with your policy of Indianisation, you will be able to ingratiate yourself with your Indian employees, your countrymen as well as with public leaders of all shades of opinion," he said.

Highlighting the importance of Indianisation for the company, Netaji`s letter had said that public opinion on the question was very keen.
The three-page letter underlined the need to remove antagonism and discontent by pursuing the policy of Indianisation


First Published: Sunday, January 24, 2010 - 18:08

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