CHAPTER – IX
After I had made an exit from the Federation’s meeting, I got perplexed and could not fix up my mind as to my future programme of action. At the day’s end I tendered my resignation to the General Secretary, All India Postal and RMS Union which body had elected me as its representative to the P&T Federation. As I want to disassociate myself from the activities of Federation which was practically in the pocket of Dewan Chaman Lal whose bonafide of intention was considered doubtful by many , I had tendered my resignation . There were occasions to doubt whether Dewan Sahib and his associates were working for the benefit of the workers or their employers, but inspite he could manage everything in his own way and none could cope with him. The effects which I could detect in him in 1946, came to the notice of others after 8 years. The council of the All India Postal and RMS Union which met at night, refused to accept my resignation. There was only one vote recorded in favour of acceptance of resignation and that was my own vote. So I had no other way but to continue to serve in the Executive of the Federation.
Shortly after this, Shri.Raj Bahdur on his return to Mathura, his headquarters, issued a circular to all the Branch Unions in Uttar Pradesh, calling upon them to boycott the Adjudication, and copies thereof were circulated to other circle unions in India. This was encouraging. On behalf of Bengal and Assam Postal and RMS Union I also followed suit and issued such circular. All the Branch Unions endorsed my views but in spite Shri. Jathin Banerjee, the then Vice President of the All India Postal and RMS Union, Calcutta Branch, wanted to have his own way, proceeded to Delhi and appeared before the Adjudicator on the 26th of March, 1946 the day on which the Adjudicator commenced sitting. The Central Union called meeting of the executive for selection of three representatives to plead the case on behalf of the union before the adjudicator, and elected Sarbasree B.S.Kamble, Hari Narain and Raj Bahadur for the purpose and excluded Sri. Jathin Banerjee. It is interesting to note that Shri. Raj Bahadur who had advocated boycott of Adjudication, attended the Central Union meeting and got himself elected as one of the three representatives who would plead the case on behalf of the union. His playing of double game created discontentment amongst his members in Uttar Pradesh and some of them as well as Branch Unions in Bengal and Assam pressed that in view of the fact that the centre had taken a decision to take full advantage of the adjudication and in view of the fact that men like Shri.Raj Bahadur also changed his way, myself should also be present in the Adjudicator’s room during the days the Adjudication continue to examine the memorandum of the union and takes oral evidence of the post-31 employees who submitted their family budget pleading increase in their emoluments. Shri.Talpade, M.A.B.L , the then General Secretary of Bombay Provincial Union who was an eminent lawyer was elected to advocate the cause of the union.
The Adjudicator who held one day’s sitting at Delhi on the 26th March, 1946 again commenced sitting at Simla from the 24th April,1946, continued for more than a month and examined a large number of post -31 employees who had separately submitted memorandum together with family budget in support of their claim for interim relief and took their oral evidence. The budget submitted by Shri. K Ramamurti was perhaps the lowest.
Amongst those who took prominent part in preparing family budget and educating the employees to give oral evidence and pleading the cause of the workers, were Sarbasree V.G.Dalvi, Dewan Chaman Lal, Dr.G.Noronah, P.C Chatterjee, B.S.Kamble, Raj Bahadur, K.S Pitkar, M.A.Jabbar, K.Ramamurti, S.Banerjee, Jatin Banerjee, Basant Singh and others. I too had my share in the matter.
It was previously stated that the Govt. had appointed the adjudication to examine and report as to what extent interim relief could be given to the new entrants pending the proposed Pay Commission has functioned and submitted its recommendation regarding revision of pay scales of pay for them. The Adjudicator’s Award was not to the satisfaction of the employees. They could have pleaded and placed the case in a better way before the Adjudicator and satisfactory results achieved had not a section of the leaders and their ardent followers played a double game and had not the different unions placed contradictory demands in their respective memoranda. For obvious reasons their names are not mentioned there. But I shall be failing in my duty if I do not say with all emphasis at my command that some of the to-most leadership betrayed the cause of the employees. Undoubtedly, they came in the field for the purpose. That such a thing would happen was already foreseen by me in the article under caption “More light please” by “ploughman” which appeared in the March, 1946, issue of the Labour.
Adjudicator’s Award which was given with a ceiling of Rs.15/- only created dissatisfaction amongst the employees specially those who were low paid officials.
It was strange enough to find on the 3rd day of the sitting of the Adjudication, Dewan Chaman Lal suddenly got agitated and asked all to boycott the Adjudication and managed to walk out of the Adjudicator’s room along with the entire persons present. I had to follow them but in the meeting which met shortly after I held a different view and opposed the very idea of boycotting the adjudication and all present upheld my views. Next day as usual, all attended the Adjudicator’s Court. I could not believe that Chaman Lal would be actually for boycotting the adjudication. Many of us could not find out the real reason for his suddenly adopting such tactics. Perhaps, he wanted to create a crisis and then come to the rescue of the Govt. Next day, he was granted an interview by the Viceroy. We however could not as to why the interview took place. It will not be out of place to mention here with two days after this, Dewan Chaman Lal expressed a desire that I should accompany him for a little walk. I agreed. He took me to the big bungalow “Retreat” and produced me before Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, and suddenly introduced me by saying that he is Mr. Ghosh from Bengal who wants a strike. I could understand his game. Moulana Azad told me that it was not good to go on strike. I replied “We want bread from the Govt. If it does not come, we would have no other way but to adopt the course”. It is worth mentioning here however that on the 5th day the entire Postmen staff of Simla had struck work for an hour. The Postmen Union of entire Punjab was under the control of Com Suraj Prakash Anand and Com. Mukhtiar. (To be continued)