The Bombay Textile Strike of 1982-1983 is a watershed moment in India’s labour history. It was one of India’s longest strikes involving more than 200,000 workers who collectively stopped work for more than eighteen months. However, there are relatively few studies that have analyzed the strike from the workers’ perspectives. Based on a interpretive grounded theoretical analysis of interviews of former textile workers and residents of the textile mill district, this paper analyses the meanings produced by the workers surrounding the strike within a long-term historical process of working class formation in Bombay. The paper supports the idea that a critical analysis of labour conflicts in India must go beyond the workplace, taking into account the social context of the neighborhood.
Bombay Textile Strike, Mumbai, Working Class, Girangaon, India