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The Archives of Indian Labour was set up in July, 1998 as a collaborative project of V.V. Giri National Labour Institute and the Association of Indian Labour Historians. The Archives of Indian Labour is dedicated to the cause of preserving and making accessible the fast depleting documents on the working class with the belief that,


"Archive is to society what memory is to human beings"


The Archives was instituted in order to address the urgent need for preservation of rapidly decaying documents and material on labour and to provide for greater public access to the same. It has long been felt that documents and data on Indian Labour now and in the past, are being irretrievably lost. 


This was primarily due to neglect and lack of an organised initiative to preserve these documents in India. Hence to overcome this lacuna of adequate documentation of the life and labour of the working class, the Archives of Indian Labour was constituted with the long-term objective to act as a specialised repository of records and voices of the workers, and contain textual, visual and oral records on labour in India.


The archive, apart from being a repository of sources and documents also builds collections and initiates research in the field of labour history. The collections are generated through projects commissioned at the programme and institutional documents donated by various organisations. Documents related to labour movement (generated by workers' organisations, state and business enterprises) are preserved at the archive, in addition to personal narratives, memoirs and video and audio material. The archives combine this effort with an effective public dissemination system of which the offline and on-line access to the digital archives is a major component. Seminars, working papers, film shows, and publications ensure effective ways of disseminating information generated by the archives and other research programmes. The core activities of the archive are, thus:

  • The Digital Archiving

  • Research and Collection

  • Public Interface and Dissemination

The unique features of the Archives are:

  • Full-fledged digital structure: The documents and material on labour related issues are stored and made available in digital form. This is the first fully digital archives in the country and aspires to be the prime repository of labour related records.

  • Integrated Multimedia Storage and Retrieval System: The Archives is enabled to store records and material in different media formats- such as printed material, audio, video and digital forms and provide access to these through an integrated delivery system.

  • Enhanced Public Access: Digital access system installed at the Archives enables fast and meaningful delivery of documents through different access modes- such as offline networked PCs at the Archives, through CDs, and now over the World Wide Web. This enables a far greater access directly to the documents right to the level of page of a document or a tagged audio and video clip than a traditional archival system. A much wider public now can have access to basic information on condition of labour over time.

  • Integration of historical and contemporary records: The digital archives enables simultaneous access to records of both historical and contemporary period. Organised around special collections, this provides both historical depth to contemporary issues and situates historical changes from a contemporary perspective.

  • Focus on Records of the Unorganised sector labour: The archive has through special collections focused on the activities of the workers of the unrecorded sector. A large number of interviews of workers and labour activists and documents of labour movement in the sector have been stored and can be accessed.

In total 34 special collections comprising 1,70,000 printed pages, 400 hours of taped interviews are stored in digital form. In addition several special reports and articles on labour history of India, a detailed inventory of material and sources on labour history and papers on technical aspects of digital archiving are included in the online version of the Archives of Indian Labour.



You Can Help Us


Archives of Indian Labour preserves any kind of resources on issues related to labour, including:

  • Personal Correspondence and Biographical Material of Labour Leaders

  • Documents of Trade Unions

  • Journals and Newspapers Addressing the Labouring Poor

  • Pamphlets, Leaflets and Posters Issued by Trade Unions

  • Relevant Papers of Employments' Organisations

  • Relevant Documents of Business Corporations

  • Oral Testimonies, Personal Narratives of Participants in Labour Struggles

  • Photographs, Video Tapes and Films on and of Labour

  • Work Songs and Other Similar Material of Workers' Culture

  • Trial Proceedings in Courts of Law

  • Records of Individual and Collective Labour Disputes

  • Papers on International Working Class Bodies

  • Records of the Ministry of Labour, National Commissions on Labour and other Government Agencies

The prospective social partners, in building up the archive, include:

  • Trade Unions

  • Employer's Organisations

  • Documentation Organisations

  • Libraries

  • Government Departments

  • Journalists

  • Research Institutes

  • Individual Researchers

  • NGOs

  • Social Activists

You could help us by contributing valuable data to the Archives of Indian Labour. Please feel free to contact us at:


Archives of Indian Labour
Integrated Labour History Research Programme
V.V.Giri National Labour Institute
Sector 24, NOIDA
Uttar Pradesh, PIN: 201 301

Tele: 0120-2411469
Fax: 0120-2411469

E-mail: ilhrpnli@gmail.com

Web Site: www.indialabourarchives.org