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The Labour Day
“You are the only Lord of the universe,
Yet labourer is passing a bitter time here.”
With the verse quoted by the stage secretary the
whole auditorium resounded time and again. A group of
young and energetic boys started raising slogans. They
were purposefully appointed there for the same. The
hall was echoing sound of clapping.
“Live long the labourer of today.”
“We would snatch our rights” they were crying in
their full voice.
That group kept on emotionalising the people with
their rallying cry.
The quotation worked marvellous to enthral the
audience, as if someone had put fire to an oil tanker
and it had burst away. When the hall became silent and
the sloganeers stopped their task the stage secretary
recommenced his speech.
“Dear ladies and gentlemen as you know that today
this meeting is being held to celebrate solidarity of
the workers unity. It is to tell the labourer that he
is not forlorn for getting his rights. We are also
with him for his support. Our labour brother should
not think that he has to fight his war
single-handedly. This war is of truth and falsehood;
this war is of tyrant and tyrannised; this war is of
feudal and the farmer; this war is of mill owners and
Perhaps the stage secretary had become very much
emotional while addressing to the audience. He might
have forgotten about the purpose of that gathering. In
the speech, which he had to deliver, there were no
full stops and comas. He was practising his marvellous
oratory. His rhetoric had worked on the audience and
once again an emotional spirit woke up in them and the
hall was swinging with the sound of clapping and a
never-ending series of slogans.
Perhaps the young who were sitting in the corner were
very much sympathetic with the labourer, or it might
be that they had been very compassionate for the stage
secretary, that they were appreciating his oratory by
clapping and raising slogans. Because whenever there
were clapping or slogans all that started from the
same corner where those boys were sitting. And then
all this spread in the whole hall, exactly in the same
way when a stone is thrown into the silent water, the
waves over its surface spread everywhere. When all
this noise stopped, the stage secretary balanced his
uneven breathing. He should have been thankful to
those boys who always provided him an opportunity of
having a short break.
“Respectable dear ladies and gentlemen,” he
recommenced the speech after that short break, “I
would not keep you waiting, for a long period from the
Chief Guest. Just I’d take few moments in saying this
that the labourer of today is not a labourer: he is
our brother, he is from us. It is our duty to provide
him his rights. Gone is the time when a labourer was
exploited and was kept deprived of his rights. Today
everyone of us has to make a resolution that we would
prove a strong wall against the exploiting force, and
would keep on supporting the labourer to the end.”
“The 1st May” then he added, “reminds us the event of
1886, when in Chicago the labourers, sacrificing their
lives raised voice against cruelty. That plant, which
our labourer brothers had nourished with their blood,
has become now fully-grown ups tree.
“The blood which you tried to conceal in the
It has appeared in the corners and bazaars.
What to talk of cruelty,
What is the value of, brutality,
Tyranny is unjustness,,
It diminishes, when it increases.”
Once again there were slogans and clapping and in
silent gathering a storm of noise. in that turmoil
of clapping nothing could be heard.
“Dear audience, give a big hand” he enthralled the
audience, “ here comes the Chief guest: the most
respectable Miaan Kamal Din, Chief Executive, Rohi
The dying clapping once again became fast and the
auditorium was resounding with the nois slogans.
“Long live the labourer”
“Long live the labourer”
The chief guest also tried his best to impress his
audience with his magical and enchanting speech.
Perhaps he was of the views, when a castle is to be
built in the air then why not a big castle. When he
was to express something orally, why shouldn’t he make
big claims? He came with so many welcoming clapping
and went with endless chattering.
Everyone was talking about the successful meeting.
People were praising the arrangements made for this by
the organisers. How beautifully the stage was
decorated: the latest sound system was hired and the
precious carpet was spread over the whole stage. A
handsome amount was spent on the arrangements. There
was no reason for the failure of the meeting. The
elite of the city was invited to participate in the
meeting. No third-class person was allowed to pop into
the meeting. And it was strictly observed by the
guards to stop them coming in.
When all that came to an end everybody was gone and
there was no one on the stage except the stage
secretary and the chief guest. Ramoo, a labourer was
waiting for that moment. He wanted to talk to the
stage secretary something important, as his wife was
at the verge of death. When he came out of the house
his wife had stopped him to go out because she wished
he had been there with her. She told him that she was
quit well, it was coughing which disturbed her and
made her restless. She was gasping for breath. Then
she could have only a moment of breathing in coughing.
He had promised her that very soon he would be back
with medicine for her.
He had been working the previous whole night with
other labourers to decorate the stage, thinking that
he might be able to earn some money. He needed money
to purchase some medicine for his wife. He had been
waiting outside the auditorium for stage secretary, as
the guards did not let him go inside. Outside he was
praying for the early end of the meeting. He was very
much upset, as it was getting dark and the meeting was
lingering. He thanked God when the meeting ended. He
was, then waiting for the people move from the hall.
When that waiting also came to an end, he quickly
proceeded towards the stage secretary. He was going to
step on the stage when a thundering voice terrified
“Ok, ok! Be down stair. You needn’t come up stair and
make the stage dirty with your shoes. I don’t know
where you are coming from. You idiot nonsense”
Ramoo didn’t feel anything. Perhaps this was a usual
thing for him to be upbraided and abused by others. Or
it might be that he was mentally pre-occupied by the
misery of his wife, and he had become totally deaf in
her trouble that no harsh words were affecting him.
Perhaps the cries of his wife were louder than those
harsh words of the stage secretary.
Such a bitterness in the tone! It was the same stage
secretary that people were clapping for his sweet and
magical oratory. The same man_____ so sweet in
language and then ______so bitter in tone. What was
that contrast. Ramoo could understand nothing.
He came near Ramoo and said angrily,
“ Tell me what
was the matter that you’ve come for? Don’t you see
that the chief was telling something important to me?
But the idiots like you don’t have their proper
senses, you don’t have manners” and then he pressed
his fist as if he was going to hit him but he stopped
himself and controlled his anger.
And then said, “Isn’t it that you have come for the
wages for the work you did at night?”
“Yes, yes” Ramoo said bamboozling.
But before he completed what he wanted to say the
stage secretary interrupted, “ I haven’t said that you
would get your wages so soon. This is a governmental
affair, it will take a few week to prepare your wages.
Now go to home and be satisfied.”
“But my wife is dying and--------”
“O my simple brother” he said satirically,
wife is not our headache, she is not our concern. Now
get lost, and be off with your dirty face. Don’t think
to argue with me, otherwise----------”
And willingly leaving the sentence incomplete went
towards the guest with a smiling face. The chief guest
was also very pleased at the success of the meeting.
He thanked him for his efforts. He appreciated his
way of addressing to the people and his unique talent
Ramoo was still standing there totally lost in some
unknown thoughts. The poisonous harsh words of “Get
lost” by the stage secretary were still resounding in
his ear. The moaning cries of his wife were buried
very deep under those heart-breaking words of stage
secretary. He might have remained there lost in
thoughts, if his son had not come crying there to tell
“ Papa, mother has died”
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