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Unrest in Uniform: Ramanand Tiwari & The Inquilabi Sipahi Dal in Jamshedpur

Ramanand Tiwari

The Police force is indeed one of the major pillars of a government, let it be the present or the past when India was under imperialistic control of the Britishers. Policemen, even though so important for the sustenance for the system, the Britishers seemed to care very less about them and the same was by the Indian Government after Independence.

In Bihar, police officers faced severe economic hardships, receiving inadequate wages to support their families, leading to strikes in 1921 and 1946. Both strikes were rooted in the officers' compromised economic conditions, with the latter being more militant. Ramanand Tiwari, who led the 1946 strike, aimed to establish a police trade union. He formed the "Inqalabi Sipahi Dal" in 1941, uniting constables across the province. Ramanand Tiwari later went on to become Police Minister of Bihar.

The police force in Bihar during this time was characterized by discipline but also by docility and exploitation. The policemen had grown accustomed to enduring their hardships and indignities in silence. Their primary expectation was simply a "living wage." However, when they could no longer tolerate their situation, they went on strike, first in 1921 and then again a quarter-century later in 1946-47. Economic grievances were at the core of both strikes, with other factors playing a more peripheral role. The two strikes differed in several ways. The earlier strike was more of a plea, lacking any sense of defiance. In contrast, the later strike, led by Ramanand Tiwari, was assertive and had clear demands.

Tiwari consistently opposed collecting subscriptions from policemen for the War Fund. An altercation with his Sergeant Major over this matter led to his transfer from Hazaribagh to Jamshedpur in December 1941. In Jamshedpur, Tiwari established the "Inqalabi Sipahi Dal," a covert organization for constables. When the Viceroy visited Jamshedpur in June-July 1942, constables from various districts were called in for duty, providing Tiwari with an opportunity to influence them. He encouraged them to demand better living conditions and respectful treatment from their superiors, and these constables returned to their districts carrying Tiwari's message.

During the total strike in Jamshedpur in August 1942 following the arrest of national and labour leaders like M. D. Madan and Shah, the constables observed a 24-hour fast. Immediately after the arrests, the policemen also went to strike parallel to the worker's strike. This was the first time something like this ever happened. Jamshedpur lacked any form of activities, whether they were civilian or military. Under the charismatic leadership of Constable Ramanand Tiwari, the Jamshedpur constables were prepared to challenge the government. The Police strike had three main demands, an increase in pay, grant of War Allowance and increase in daily allowance from three to eight annas.

Tiwari's primary aim was to unite the constables under one banner, so he drafted demands related to leave and salary that affected all of them. On 15th August, the soldiers at Sakchi, Bistupur, Golmuri, Jugsalai, Barmamines police station including District Camp Collectorate and Police Line at Sakchi took down the Union Jack of the British Government and hoisted the tricolor and Jamshedpur was declared independent on the same day. Self. A parallel government was also formed under the leadership of Tiwari. On August 22, he marched with the constables to the Superintendent of Police's bungalow. Although their demands were not met, it gave the constables a common cause. When TISCO factory workers went on strike the next day, the constables were lenient toward them, avoiding arrests and baton charges. Since their demands were not addressed, the constables decided to strike on September 3.

On the night of September 2, Tiwari received transfer orders to Chaibasa. As the news spread, constables left their posts and gathered in the Police Lines. They marched to the SP's bungalow again, but the Superintendent of Police, himself an Indian, claimed helplessness. The Inspector General of Police, Creed, flew in from Patna and engaged in discussions with Tiwari, offering both incentives and threats. Creed left without success. Later that night, British troops surrounded the barracks and arrested Tiwari and 32 others. They were welcomed as heroes when sent to Hazaribagh Central Jail. In October, they were tried at Chaibasa, convicted, and sentenced to various prison terms, leading to their dismissal. Tiwari was transferred to Gaya.

Later Tiwari was jailed and was released in 1946 and was again arrested a couple more times after that. By the beginning of 1947 Tiwari and his lieutenants had succeeded in establishing a nucleus of policemen's union in most districts. In Independent India, he still continued his struggle for the policemen's living conditions under the newly formed government. He then went on to form the Bihar Policemens' Association and was the President of the Union. He also became the Police Minister of Bihar in 1967 under the Samyukta Vidhayak Dal, a coalition, Government and took some important steps for the better lifestyle and treatment of Policemen.

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