- May Day 2023 marks a hundred years since it was first commemorated in India on May 1, 1923, in the city of Madras.
- M Singaravelu Chettiar, a nationalist figure, and an early cobmmunist associated with the anti-caste movement introduced May Day in India.
- By introducing May Day in India, Singaravelu sought to connect the struggles of Indian workers with the global-level resistance of labour against brutal exploitation and dehumanisation.
About International Labour Day:
- May Day is also known as International Workers’ Day and as Labour Day in different parts of the world.
- It is an occasion that commemorates the contributions of workers and the historic labour movement.
- While observed as an ancient northern hemisphere spring festival, May 1 became associated with the labour movement in the late 19th century, after trade unions and socialist groups designated it as a day in support of workers.
- It was decided to do so in memory of the Haymarket affair of 1886, in Chicago in the United States.
- The US recognised Labor Day as a federal holiday in 1894, where it continues to be celebrated every year on the first Monday of September.
- In 1889, The Second International, an organisation created by socialist and labour parties, declared that May 1 would be commemorated as International Workers’ Day from then on.
- In 1916, the US began to recognise eight-hour work timings after years of protests and uprisings.
- After the Russian Revolution in 1917, the celebration was embraced by the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc nations during the Cold War.
May Day in India:
- In India, May Day was first celebrated on May 1, 1923, after the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan initiated and Comrade Singaravelar (Singaravelu Chettiar) helmed the celebrations.
- The Comrade passed a resolution stating the government should allow everybody a national holiday on Labour Day.
SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB