01 December, 2020

Lives In Rust

The story of a 52-year-old who is bitter ever since Hindustan Motors, or ‘Hind Motors’, makers of the iconic Ambassador car, “suspended work” on May 24, 2014.

Photograph by Sandipan Chatterjee
Lives In Rust
outlookindia.com
2019-03-15T12:00:45+05:30

Ramesh Yadav wears a hopeless look, but a core of anger glows within. He is angry with the political system and the apathy of the trade union he was part of for over 25 years. The 52-year-old is bitter ever since Hindustan Motors, or ‘Hind Motors’, makers of the iconic Ambassador car, “suspended work” on May 24, 2014. It was a nadir of sorts in the 40-year process of the flight of big industry from Bengal, an exodus driven by militant trade unionism fuelled by political cynicism and myopia.  

Five years on, sitting outside his squalid two-room home at the unlit, careworn workers’ line at the abandoned Uttarpara factory—a scary, post-industrial wasteland—about 20 km from Calcutta by the Hooghly, Ram­esh says, “Over 600 workers of the 2,500-strong workforce have not opted for the VRS offered by the promoters.” With the latest NSSO report pegging India’s unemployment rate at a four-­decade high of 6.1 per cent, Ramesh and his compatriots are part of India’s burgeoning mass of unemployed...

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