JULY 9, 1952
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—I have a letter from a gentleman in India who points out that I was incorrect, or rather left an incorrect impression, when I wrote a column on Etawah, India. I am sorry to have been inaccurate and I hereby correct it immediately, but I also wish to say that in a short column it is very difficult many times to tell the whole story about anything.
The project of Etawah was started by the Indian government. Mr. Albert Meyer, an American architect who is building the new capital of Upper Punjab, was responsible for the early recommendations on what was to be done and has continued to watch over it with interest. The government had engaged Mr. Horace Holmes, an American extension agent, and he worked in India for two years before our Point Four program came into the picture at all. Later Mr. Holmes was kept on under the Point Four arrangement.
This information was kindly sent me by Prem Narian Agrawal, M.A., who is an author and journalist of Ajitmal, Etawah, India. I am very grateful to him that he corrected the wrong impression that I had inadvertently created. I have mentioned Mr. Meyer on several occasions. He has been interested in and guided much on the building in this area and in other Indian areas.
Now let us turn to something which I find frequently brought to my attention. Living in a farm community, every summer I hear discussed the question of migratory labor.
Somehow as we see these people working the fields we know that here is a question we have never completely solved. Here are families moving from the south to the north and back again, staying not more than one or two months in any one place. This makes them a problem for any settled community they live in. They have children; there is a question of schools; there is a question of child labor; there is the question of living conditions and health conditions. Usually a group of people is managed by a foreman. Sometimes he does a good job; sometimes there is a great dissatisfaction.
Some farmers have built accommodations for the people who work for them during short periods of time and these structures are more or less permanent housing. But in many places the farm workers and their families live in tents, and conditions are anything but good.
The National Consumers League has just passed some recommendations as a result of the President's commission on migratory labor and the hearing before the Humphrey subcommittee on Labor and Labor Management Relations. These two groups brought out the need for a program of legislation in behalf of migrants. Their recommendations are quite lengthy but I think it would be well for everyone employing migratory labor to read them.
It is not just employers of migratory labor, either, who should be interested in the conditions under which these people live. Many of the children of these migratory farmers may find themselves in entirely different work later on and what they do as citizens will be important to any community in which they live.