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19184Homage to Dr. Mukul SIinha

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  • parmanandpandey
    May 13, 2014

      This morning when I read the news of the demise of Comrade Mukul Sinha, I became deeply sad. I could not read the newspaper and my mind got flooded with the memories of Dr. Sinha. Born to Bengali parents in Chattisgarh, Gujrat was his sasural and karmabhoomi. He was a brilliant student from the IIT Kanpur and became a scientist in the Physical Research Laboratory of Ahmedabad (PRL). However, as the destiny would have it, the management of the centre victimized a promising scientist and forced to become a trade union leader. Thus, what was the loss of the Physical Research Laboratory of Ahmadabad became the gain of trade union. Dr. Sinha never looked back and he got himself engrossed in the trade union activities in solving the problems of the working class. Later he turned to law and became a celebrated labour lawyer in the Gujarat High Court.

       Our newspaper employees of Ahmedabad found a messiah in Dr. Mukul Sinha and he prepared a new crop of the trade unionists. Number of young persons got training under Dr. Mukul Sinha about trade union and human right activities. It is our privilege that Dr. Sinha became the President of the Confederation of Newspaper and News Agencies Employees Organisation. He was very closely associated with the Indian Federation of Working Journalists (IFWJ). The credit must be given to the IFWJ President Comrade Vikram Rao who spotted Dr. Mukul Sinha and requested him to head the Confederation of Newspaper and News Agencies Employees Organisation.

      Dr. Sinha was a scientist by training and temperament he was very meticulous in work. However, he was unable to gauge the tricks and techniques of the newspaper managements in dealing with the workers. Contract employment of the newspaper employees had started from the Times of India newspaper of Ahmedabad and he was wondering as to why the newspaper employees had been accepting the contract employment? Knowing little that the management on them was forcing it and they had no choice but to accept that. More than two decades ago, the IFWJ had its National Council session at Haridwar, the delegates of the Confederation and National Federation of Newspaper Employees (NFNE) attended the session in large numbers. The government had notified Bhachawat Wage Board but there were many glitches in the implementation because newspaper managements were refusing to implement it. Dr. Sinha had proposed in the meeting for an All-India strike in the newspaper industry. Overenthusiastic delegates overwhelmingly supported the proposal of Dr. Sinha and it was accepted. He also sent the notice to the government and all state labour commissioners. The IFWJ office at the Kasturba Gandhi Marg of New Delhi was used for the purpose.  I along with the then office secretary of IFWJ the late comrade Ram Prasad and friends like the late M.C. Pathak, the late M.C. Kaoopr, Shri Rakesh Sharma, Shri K. L. Monga, Shri Damodar Das and others we made elaborate arrangements for observing one day strike in the industry. However, I regret to say that barring a few newspaper most of the newspapers of the country did not respond to the call for the strike. Dr. Sinha got disappointed with the indifference of the newspaper employees I told him to realize the reality but was determined to keep himself away from newspaper industry.

       Dr. Sinha and I remained in touch with each other. I was also hounded out from the newspaper and became a full-fledged lawyer in the year 1995. Dr. Sinha used to come to the Supreme Court to conduct the cases of the workers and when I became an Advocate-on-Record in the Supreme Court he invited me to join his company but somehow it could not materialize. Of late Dr. Sinha had become more a human right activist than a labour leader. He was a vehement critic of Dr. Narendra Modi,the Chief Minister of Gujarat and he had taken up the responsibility on behalf of the riot-victims of the Muslim community. He used to say that the blood and blots of Gujarat riot could never wipe out the stains from the hands of Shri Narendra Modi even if all the perfumes of Arabia were applied to it. My last meeting with him was more than a year ago in a seminar at New Delhi,which he had organised for providing the relief to the Gujarat riot victims.

       He was a man of honesty, integrity and sincerity of purpose. He was fully transparent and anybody could make out with the expression of his face whether he was liking or disliking the cause or the person. A talented person that he was Dr. Mukul Sinha has left a huge number of his friends, followers and admirers. I am one of them, although I had some differences and reservations with him on many counts. The lung cancer that was detected six month ago took his life.

      What  an irony that Dr. Sinha left this world on the day when the exit polls started predicting that Narendra Modi is set to become the new Prime Minister of the India. He was an atheist and did not believe in the God. IFWJ pays its tributes to one its former leaders. RIP Comrade Sinha.

      Parmanand Pandey