After I took over as acting Secretary followed subsequently by my election as President, AISBISF, I took it as a mission , inter-alia, to see that different representatives from different Circle Unions are given due patronage in times of need with a view to securing them the desired confidence as I never wanted them to suffer like I myself had to do on many an occasions.
An emergency meeting of the All India State Bank of India Staff Federation was held on the 15th August’1975 at Tourist Hotel, New Delhi. Grave situation alarmingly telling upon the very existence of trade union movement in the Country was elaborately discussed. My suggestion to valiantly counter the threats of the Government/ Bank by quitting the service to exclusively look after trade union work safeguarding the workers interest did not find favour with others in the meeting. Decisions taken however included that the directions of the Government of India to pin down the leaders of different Unions to desk be defied.
What followed was a painful amazement. The very stalwarts, who had tabled the proposal as a compromise to my proposal of quitting the service to serve the members , were the firsts to rush back to their place of work to join their duties as “obedient servants” of the Bank. Another instance of utter chagrin that followed was that a rival union from Andhra which was granted entry to the fold of the Federation only some time back hurriedly fell into the lap of INTUC as their “bonafide” affiliate unhesitatingly taking cudgels against All India State Bank of India Staff Federation (AISBISF). Such a move against AISBISF/ employees through their Government was obviously to secure strength only to INTUC. This sabotage dragged Federation to a situation compelling it to have affiliation with the INTUC itself.
Sticking to whatever decision was taken in the said meeting at New Delhi, I had to suffer loss of wages for several months and also the wrath of my seniors then in the organisation who instead of extending due recognition to the service I was rendering involving sacrifice after sacrifice chose to remark as if my efforts were directed to appease the people. Appeasement was never my approach but certain amount of satisfaction I did draw when I saw beaming faces of the aggrieved members and their families on cases being decided in their favour bringing them back to service in the Bank. A mental setback that continued haunting me for several years thereafter was that possibly I was in an island where convenience based flexibilities and not a committed mission counted. Whether I was fluttering my wings in vain to flow the Ganges into Thames was the question hitting my mind very often. My mental faculties had a clash on the point as to how like a stupid I was trying to assume the role of a Hamlet trying to set right a world that was without joints. No, I was convinced within myself, it was not utopian on my part to go by the convictions and commitments if not as a matter of the Ten Commandments, atleast as a matter of routine ethics on earth -an ethics relating to good or bad, right or wrong. Maybe, it sounds like I am trying to talk good of myself on certain self acquired parameters but here again let facts and not the individual(s) be the basis.
Narrations like this are unending and there is no purpose also in giving them an exhaustive coverage. What is mentioned as a cursory reference is relevant just from the point of view of situational variance. Interested quarters opened a flood gate of rumour mongering against me even after I completely withdrew myself from the main stream in the context of the Supreme Court Judgement. Needless to mention that it was an alround pressure on me from the quarters that counted not to step down but to contest the judgement. Circle Committee had already given full authority to me to incur whatever amount was needed for the purpose and in the event of funds with SBISA falling short, authority was also given to me alongwith the Circle Treasurer to raise funds including borrowings. It is a different matter that some of the persons who most emphatically joined the above decision chose to talk astray later on with a remote control applied on them by certain individuals who all along wanted to see SBISA in shambles. (..tobe continued)