I was shocked to read the news of the death of Lalit and that also here in US. He worked for me when I joined Harig Crankshafts, Noida as President after retiring from Hindustan Motors in 1997. Harig Crankshafts had undergone a severe labour trouble with lockout and suspension. Lalit was hard working, smart and pushing. I developed a natural liking for him, because he was from IIT, Kanpur. After some time, he left to head that Italian gear manufacturing company. As reported, Lalit was managing director of Oerlikon Graziano Transmission India in Greater Noida. What an end for a CEO! As reported, a group of agitating workers gete-crashed and killed him brutally.
Unfortunately over all these years the institution of trade union has not matured. Union activists in West Bengal invented the violent agitation treating the management staffs and officers their enemy and made ‘gherao’ of officers and executives a part of labour protest. And it evolved into assaulting the executives to create a fear psychosis and pressurize the management to agree to whatever they demand. I myself faced assault in early 70s in Hindustan Motors and escaped narrowly.
Unfortunately, Indian trade unionists could never convince their followers for the Gandhian manner of nonviolent protest and agitation. Hooligan elements in protesters started taking the leadership that believed in making the management afraid of them. Over the period the West Bengal’s way of violent trade unionism has spread all over India. The story of Greater Noida is a cruel example of the mobocracy that is taking over the democratic right to protest and agitate.
Lalit was carrying out his duty as the CEO of the company, and had to sacrifice his life. The company will soon have another person to head the organization and forget Lalit’s contribution in building up the plant. Some few will just shed crocodile tears and go away.
The brutes will hardly have even a sense of guilt. Trade union leaders will hardly denounce the act. It will never mature. The police as usual will find so many excuses and one day blame Lalit himself for the incident. Hardly few can appreciate the agony of the family, of the wife and the parents.
Each such news tests my optimism about the country’s potential and strength. I would have loved to be with the family of Lalit. Let God give them strength to bear it.
PS: What a reaction from the government! Union minister advises India Inc the need to show compassion to workers. I doubt if he has any experience of what going on in the name of democratic agitation in industry. I don’t say that the management is clean. However, the violence can’t be the way to solve any problem. It must be treated only as crime and the criminals must be severely punished. It is good that the whole of industry has denounced the incident. As usual, CM Mayawati has taken the routine action of enquiry and suspension to pacify the aggrieved. And naturally because of her pressure, a large number of people have been arrested. But who will bear the pains of the family, particularly Mrs. Lalit and her son?
It has shocked the whole of manufacturing world. We must change the way of working.