This is a guest post from Faridabad Mazdoor Samachar (FMS), a monthly workers’ newspaper published from Majdoor Library
This appeared in Hindi in August 2015, New Series 326 and has been translated into English by Pratik Ali and Sheena Jain.
In the early hours of 31st July, Comrade Chintamani passed away.
Saathi Chintamani was born in the village Mustafabad Saraiyya of Kadipur tehsil, Sultanpur district in eastern Uttar Pradesh. He studied till class 12th. Rejected tempting offers for converting to another religion, he joined as an impounding official in the Department of Agriculture, Uttar Pradesh government. While he was on duty once, realizing dues, he thrashed some people for insulting him over his caste. To avoid upper-caste backlash, he left his permanent job and moved to some relatives at Faridabad. After working for a month or two each at Bata, Goodyear, Dabur, Escorts, etc., he became a permanent worker in Gedore Tools. Together with the job, he was active in politics of caste of the Ambedkarite current. Long conversations with Com. Vijay Shankar of neighboring Babripur village strengthened his grip upon the new reality of having become, and of being, a wage-worker.
In 1977 wage-worker stirrings intensified greatly in Faridabad, and Saathi Chintamani was very active in them. He lent special support to the militant workers of Usha Spinning and Weaving Mill and the Bharatiya Electric Steel Factories. He was among those who left eighty unions to form Majdoor Sangharsh Samiti (Workers’ Struggle Committee). In 1979, many workers were killed in police firing in Faridabad. After internal emergency was lifted in 1977, Com. Vijay Shankar was dismissed from his job for his role in the Delhi Faridabad Textile (DFT) strikes. Wage-workers from Bata, Gedore, Poritts & Spencer, Electricity Board, Handa Steel, East India Cotton Mills, Orient Steel, Leatherite, etc. got together with Com. Vijay Shankar at Azad Nagar jhuggi (shanties) and Mujesar for collective study of Karl Marx’s book, ‘Capital’. Saathi Chintamani was among them.