Short Essay on a Visit to a Mine

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During the last Christmas holidays, I had a chance to pay a visit to the Jharia coal mines. An intimate friend of mine works there as a contractor. He had often invited me to pay a visit to the mines but for one reason or the other I could not do so for several years. Last winter the invitation was very pressing and I could not but go.

On the third day of my stay with him, he took me to the scene of his activities. There were big mounds of coal as far as the eye could see. Thousands of coolies, both men and women, black from head to foot, were at work. There was a great stir and activity on all sides. We went to the mine where coal was actually being dug.

I was let down into it in a big basket by means of a strong steel rope which was slung round a pulley. I went down and down into the abyss. The basket, at last, stopped on the floor of the mine. The floor was well lighted with electric lamps.

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I had a good look around. There was nothing but coal and coal all round me. There were mountains of coal. Hundreds of coolies were wielding the pick-axes. They were covered with coal dust from head to foot. They hardly looked like men.

Their fate was hard, very hard indeed. It was very stuffy inside the mine. I went round the mine. The miners were busy digging big lumps of coal from the walls. Some were busy loading the dug coal in small trucks standing on rails. The loaded trucks were being drawn up by electric engines.

I was feeling almost choked. I was anxious to be in the fresh air again. I got into a basket and it was pulled above. I inhaled plenty of fresh air. I felt some relief. I met my friend who was waiting for me outside. I related my experiences to him. I was told by my friend that coal was essential for many industries.

I was full of sympathy for the poor coal miners who worked for long hours in the foulest atmosphere, at the risk of their lives. They richly deserved liberal wages and maximum amenities and privileges at the hands of their employers.

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