Dutta Samant

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Dr. Dutta Samant (also Datta Samant, and popularly referred to as Doctorsaheb, 1933-January 16, 1997) was an Indian politician and trade union leader, who is most famous for leading 200-300 thousand textile mill workers in the city of Bombay (now Mumbai) on a year-long strike in 1982, which triggered the closure of most of the textile mills in the city.

Trade union and political career

Samant grew up in Deobag on the Konkan coast of Maharashtra, hailing from a middle-class Marathi background. He spent much of his early years in the locality of Ghatkopar in Mumbai, in the state of Maharashtra. From the early 20th century, the city's economy was characterized by major textile mills, the base of India's thriving textile and garments industry. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over India were employed in working in the mills. Although a trained medical doctor, Samant was active in trade union activities amongst mill workers. Samant was deeply influenced by communism, but he joined the Indian National Congress and its affiliated Indian National Trade Union Congress. Gaining popularity amongst city workers, Samant name was popularly known as Doctorsaheb.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the Mumbai-Thane industrial belt witnessed successive working class strikes and protests, with multiple trade unions competing for the allegiance of workers and political control. These primarily included George Fernandes, the Centre for Indian Trade Unions . Samant rose to become one of the most...
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