I finally moved out of my comfort zone and ventured out among the waves of striding crowds at Purano Paltan and Muktangon in Dhaka. It was hot and dusty, but the atmosphere was amazing. They came in waves — decked in red sarees, salwars, kurtas. sarongs, jeans, bright red T-shirts, red bandanas on their heads, carrying red flags and banners.
Dhaka’s own paprara bands, floats, loud speakers on rickshaws, provided the background music while the ubiquitous street sellers did quick business, selling cool water, tea and coffee from side stalls, raw mangoes (I think with a salty pickle like sauce), cut pineapple and even whole cucumbers to munch as you marched stridently.
Many Bangladesh workers out in full force on rallies in Dhaka today might not know that roots of May Day was in Chicago or about the uprising and the prolonged fight for an 8 hour day. Most probably work on average much longer than an 8 hr day in poorly paid jobs. But the spirit that launched the worldwide International Solidarity Day for the workers was very much alive and kicking here.