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Chittaranjan Das and the Railway Workers’ Strike in Chandpur, 1921

North 24 Parganas, West Bengal

January 25, 2023 to January 25, 2024

On 24th and 28th May 1921, the Assam-Bengal Railway staff went on strike in solidarity with the tea plantation workers of Chandpur (North 24 Parganas, West Bengal) who were shot at and mistreated by colonial police for striking to demand an increase in salary. The famous freedom fighter Chittaranjan Das along with the Railway union leader J. M. Sengupta played a vital role in the organization of the strike.

The strike, which took place against the heated backdrop of the Non-Cooperation Movement which had gathered steam nationwide, soon spread to Laksam, Chittagong, Noakhali, Dacca and other parts of East Bengal where mass meetings were organized and financial support was raised. The whole town of Chandpur, which had recently witnessed the barbaric actions of the colonial police forces stood in solidarity with the strikers. On 3rd July 1921, in a public meeting at Chandpur, C R Das praised the workers as they entered a strike without a call given by the union. He reiterated that the strikes were inspired by the prevailing national sentiment and not just by their personal demands. In early June 1921, the strikers blocked the land and water routes to East Bengal. C R Das supervised this action, and the workers carried it out in a remarkably organized manner. Even when some political leaders expressed their discomfort at the spontaneous strike, Das stood with the workers and worked hard to raise financial assistance for the labourers who were facing economic hardship.

Chittaranjan Das’s intervention gave the strike national attention which was instrumental in the further spread of the agitation to other parts of Eastern India.

Source: Indian Culture Portal