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Gherao, meaning "encirclement," is a word originally from Bengali, and is a typically South Asian way of protest. Usually, a group of people would surround a politician or a government building until their demands are met, or answers given. This principle was introduced as a formal means of protest in the labour sector by Subodh Banarjee, the PWD and Labor Minister in the 1967 and 1969 United Front Governments of West Bengal, respectively.

Owing to its popularity and intensity as a new method of labour action the word “gherao” got inducted into the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, Eleventh Edition, 2004, on page 598 has the following entry: “Gherao: n (pl. gheraos). Indian; a protest in which workers prevent employers leaving a place of work until demands are met; Origin: From Hindi” and Subodh Banarjee was referred to as the Gherao minister. In usage, the past tense of the verb, gheraoed, is more common.


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