Six decades ago, a workers’ uprising changed Darjeeling’s tea gardens. It’s time for change again

On this day in 1955, workers of the Margaret’s Hope tea garden led a revolt against unfair management practices. Things are not very different today.

June 25, 1955 was an unusually bright day in Darjeeling hills, and the idyllic Margaret’s Hope tea estate basked in the sunshine after a long spell of monsoon rains. The otherwise quiet garden that produced the celebrated brand of Margaret’s Hope tea had been a flurry of activity since morning, and the warm air was rent with slogans of workers’ rights.

Twelve-year-old Kali Limbuni, resplendent in her red khada, or stole, printed with the sickle and hammer symbol of the Communists, joined hundreds of tea workers gathered at Control Danra, less than 50 metres from the manager’s bungalow.

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