Archives of Indian Labour

"Archives is to society what memory is to human beings."


Integrated Labour History Research Programme

The Integrated Labour History Research Programme (ILHRP) is a specialised research programme on labour history research, set up in collaboration with the Association of Indian Labour Historians (AILH), a body of professional historians and scholars interested in history of labour. The overall aim of the ILHRP is to initiate, integrate and revive historical research on labour in India and is the first of its kind in the country. The programme has three mutually reinforcing components such as digital archiving of Indian labour; writing labour history of India; and interdisciplinary research. The archive systematically collects and preserves various documents and material concerning the working class in digital form, through collaboration and networking with various stakeholders (such as trade unions, NGOs, governmental departments and business houses). Networking with similar agencies (national and international) involved in digital archiving is also a crucial aspect of the archive. So far, the archive is the country's largest digital repository of labour documents, with more than 15 gigabytes of data on the World Wide Web, for public access. The collections for the archives are generated through commissioning and monitoring research and collection projects on prioritised areas of labour history, which involves negotiation and networking with experts and agencies, both within and outside the country. The programme also organises regular academic discussions, seminars and colloquia on the prioritised areas of labour history. The programme has so far more than 50 completed/ ongoing research and collection projects. Since year 2000, the programme has published 18 working papers and organised around 85 seminars/discussions, including 10 international seminars on labour history.

ILHRP has recently launched a project titled, "History of Dalit Movement and Labour Movement in India". The Project aims to document and research dalit movement in India focusing specially on the movement's interface with labour movement. The project attempts to fill the glaring lacunae in contemporary scholarly and political discourse by researching the sociological and historical intersection between labour and dalit movement. The activities undertaken in the project will trace the emergence, track the turning points and analyze the regional dimensions of both these movements.

International Conferences on Labour History

One of the most significant contributions of the ILHRP has been the 10 major International Conferences on Labour History organised to deliberate on significant themes like 'Towards Global Labour History: New Comparisons', 'Expanding the Frontiers of Labour History', 'Work and Non-Work: Histories in the Long Term', and 'Labour History - A Return to Politics'. These conferences provide an important platform for historians, social scientists and scholars to deliberate upon varied dynamics of labour history, furthering the historical understanding of the conditions on labour and labouring people. Scholars from around 20 countries across the world have been participating in the conferences on Labour History.

Joint Advisory Committee

The programme is continuously advised and monitored by a Joint Advisory Committee, which is constituted of nominees and representatives from both the Institute and the AILH. The current JAC Members of the Programme are:

Centre Co-ordinator

Dr. S.K. Sasikumar, Senior Fellow