Labour Day in India is the only internationally recognized national day of celebration for workers. It was established by the British colonialists as a way to galvanize support for their rule over the country and is celebrated every year with great fervour all over the world. It is celebrated on the first Sunday of May every year. The reason why this national day has become so much of a part of the Indian social calendar is not immediately obvious. However it does have a significant link with the history of the Industrial revolution in England and the impact that it had on the Indian economy.
Since the industrial revolution in England and the accompanying rise in wages and working conditions for English workers there was a tremendous increase in demand for manual labour in the country. This increased competition prompted many people to leave their jobs in England and return home to India to work for their maharanis (cheap manual labour) in India. However, the British authorities did not permit a huge influx of workers from abroad. That’s why the first Labour Day in India was held on the very day that William the III came to India and established the British rule over India.
Thus, the very first Labour Day in India was created as a way to honour all those workers who had left their home country to find better paying jobs in India. But India was a very young country and lacked the necessary infrastructure to be able to house and employ large numbers of workers, let alone celebrate any national event of scale. So the Indian government decided to create a separate institution to celebrate this day. However, it was a very gradual process and the first Labour Day in India was celebrated with great pomp and glory on the very first Sunday of May, duly celebrated with great gaiety in all the major cities of India. The celebrations got a boost along with the formation of the All India Labour Union (AELU) and its affiliate organizations, which later became the vital centre of Labour Day celebrations in India.
The central government gave wings to the AELU and on the very next day, announced that all the registered organisations of the AELU would participate in the Labour Day celebrations in a big way. On that very day, the first Labour Day celebrations were organized in the famous Rashanagar park in the capital of Madhya Pradesh. The celebrations included a lot of entertainment activities such as dance, music, plays and folk music.
At that time, India was still relatively a developing country and so the government was reluctant to introduce a single universal social program on that day. But the central government was more than happy to introduce a single scheme ‘Mann Ki Baat’ or Happy Birthday card scheme to mark the start of the new year.
Happy Labour Day Messages
1. Our workers are the inspiration for all of us…. Their hard work and dedication always motivates us to work for the growth and development of our nation…. Sending best wishes to you on International Labour Day 2017.
2. We have seen them work day and night, summers and winters….. We have seen them give their best against all the odds…. Let us take inspiration from them to face the toughest challenges of life…. Wishing you a very Happy International Workers’ Day.
3. Today is the day to acknowledge and celebrate the amazing efforts of all the workers who have given their sweat and blood in building our nation a great land…. Let us honor their efforts and salute their hard work…. Warm wishes on Labor Day to you.
4. As we celebrate another International Workers’ Day, it is time to honor and celebrate the work of every person who has taken a step forward in making our country a better place to live in… Wishing you a very happy and blessed International Workers’ Day.
After that, the government encouraged other organisations and trade unions to celebrate the day with similar gusto and enthusiasm. This led to the very successful establishment of many new organisations and trade unions. Even today, you can see a lot of worker participation in most of the programmes and events organised around the world. With the support and help of the trade unions, the working conditions of the workers have been improving steadily over the last few decades. Today, the working conditions in most of the industries in India are much better than before.
The fact that the celebrations have been internationally recognised is a feather in the cap of the Indian workers as well as their organisations. The world is celebrating the day as it signifies the efforts by the government and other actors in ensuring that the workers have got some days of peace, comfort and joy. The global economic slowdown has also ensured that people are looking for ways and means to save money during the festive season. So, coming up with schemes and plans to organise a Kids Picnic, BBQ in the Garden and a Home Party is a great way to do just that. All these efforts have helped to organise a fantastic Kids Picnic Party in India, that is also celebrated in a grand way around the world!