The jute mills of Bengal had witnessed communal violence as well as bursts of working men's unrest even in the late nineteenth century. In the eyes of the employers, however, they were merely localized and disorganized flashes of protest, which could be typically nipped by the arrival of the Scottish mill manager and his entourage of Nepali darwans. A quick arbitration by the sahib under the peepul tree, liberally laced with pidgin Hindi abuse, was followed by the protector's judgment. Some would be happy with the verdict, others would remain aggrieved while the bara sahib, after a few words with the European assistant and the native sirdar, would imperiously stride back to his office, acknowledging numerous salams on his way. With such powerful ma-baaps, the mills rarely felt the need to report what they considered were piffling matters to the local police or the district magistrate. Thus, in February 1886, the Indian Jute Mills' Association could rule that ‘all hands whose work stopped during the days the mills were closed [for short-time working] should cease to be paid for that time’ without the slightest fear of serious protest from the labouring people. And in the late 1920s, in spite of the Rowlatt satyagraha, the Khilafat and the non-cooperation movement, the Chairman of IJMA could note with great satisfaction that ‘for many years the jute mill industry has been more or less immune from industrial disputes’.