Com. Umrao Mal Purohit (01.03.1928-27.02.2014)
Tribute to a Great Leader of Indian Trade Union Movement
On this day in the year 2014 we lost one of the pioneers of Indian Trade Union Movement in general and World Transport Trade Union Movement in particular, Com. Umrao Mal Purohit the then President of All India Railway Men’s Federation. The demise of Com. Umrao Mal Purohit left unfillable void in trade union movement of India. Words won’t be enough to commemorate his contribution towards the rights of working class.
Umraomal Purohit was born in Jodhpur, Rajasthan State, India. He started his career in the railways and was involved in union work from the beginning. At the age of 30 he became the general secretary of the Western Railway Employees Union. In 1962 he was elected as the assistant general secretary of the All-India Railway men’s Federation (AIRF) and became its president in 1980, a post he held until his death. Com. Purohit was general secretary of the Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), a leading national trade union centre, from 1985. He also represented the nearly five million central government employees of India at the joint consultative machinery as a Secretary of Staff Side.
After 1974 Strike, Com. Umrao Mal Purohit successfully negotiated the issue of Bonus for Railway workers. His negotiating skills made the Government to accept the demand of Railway Employees in respect of Bonus. Com. Umrao Mal Purohit placed genuine demands of Central Government Employees before Several Pay Commissions during his stint as President of All India Railway Men’s Federation and Secretary/Staff Side of NCJCM.
Com. Purohit was associated with the ITF for over 40 years and was elected president of the organisation at its 39th congress, held in New Delhi in 1998. He was re-elected for a further four years at the ITF Vancouver congress in 2002, before retiring from the post in 2006.
“Umraomal Purohit was not just a defender of Indian workers’ rights but a defender of rights of workers world over and will always be greatly missed. He was a gentle and humble leader who dedicated the whole of his long working life right up to his passing to furthering the interests of his members and the wider trade union and labour movement. Sh. Suresh Prabhu the then Minister of Railways inagurated Com. Umrao Mal Purohit Research Center in New Delhi in his memory in 2016.
In the loving memory of Our Com. Umrao Mal Purohit, I salute his contributions in trade union movement and vow that AIRF would always continue to follow the path enlightened by great leaders like Com. Umrao Mal Purohit of our Federation.
Long Live the memories of Com. Umrao Mal Purohit! Long Live AIRF!
Shiva Gopal Mishra/General Secretary/AIRF