Social Scientist. v 8, no. 93 (April 1980) p. 12.


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C S KRISHNA

The Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway Strike: <9J?-?-<9JJ

THE Madras and Southern Mahratta (M S M) Railway strike of 1932-1933 was a major event in the history of the Madras Presidency. The workers in the railways were the best organized in the presidency next only to the textile mill workers. And railway transport was by far the most important industry in India, at least so far as the volume of business was concerned. It employed the largest number of men. According to the Census of India, 1931, there were 20 railway workshops in the presidency employing 15,267 workers.1

The railways were ^a bulwark of British imperialism and directly of the British government in as much as 4 out of the 9 principal railways arc state-owned. The revenue from the principal railways constitutes one of the main sources of the colonial plunder of British imperialism, and British finance capital .... The earnings of the Indian Railways in 1930 with regard to their operating ratio (ratio of expenses incurred to revenue earned) were far superior to the earnings of the best foreign railways. In India in the year 1930 the operating ratio was 65.83 while nowhere else in the civilized world was it less than 70.68.'^

Jamnadas-Mehta, president of the All-India Railwaymen's Federation, while addressing a meeting of the M S M Railway



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