Textile Industry of Mumbai Essay

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Girangaon (Marathi: गिरणगाव, literally “mill village”) was a name commonly used to refer to an area now part of central Mumbai, India, which at one time had almost 130 textile mills, with the majority being cotton mills. The mills of Girangaon contributed significantly to the prosperity and growth of Mumbai during the later nineteenth century and for the transformation of Mumbai into a major industrial metropolis. [1] Girangaon covered an area of 600 acres (2.4 km2), not including the workers’ housing. The mill workers lived in a community, and they fostered a unique culture which shaped Mumbai at the turn of the twentieth century. This textile industry flourished until the early 1980s, after which most of the mills were shut down, as the owners deemed them unprofitable and declared they were incapable of paying their workers’ wages. Origins It was in the late 17th century when cotton trade between Mumbai and China began.. The riches derived from selling the Chinese opium during British colonial rule, was later used to finance the cotton trade. Cotton trade really took off with the establishment of a rail link to Thana in 1853 and then to Deccan in 1863.

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[12] The windows were kept closed to keep out the stench of the gutters and to keep dirty water from flowing into the house during the monsoon season. Due to this overcrowding, the distinction between home and street was blurred; Girangaon residents spent more of their time on the street than in the home. There was great participation in communal festivals likeMoharram, Ganesh Chaturthi and Gokulashtami. Local shop keepers and mill owners were often coerced into contributing to such festivals, and adjoining localities competed with each other in the grandness of their contributions. [14] The local liquor shop or gymnasium was a common meeting place. The workers of Girangaon patronized arts like poetry, theatre and dance (tamasha). [15] Several notable actors first found fame here. Protests In late 1981, Dutta Samant was chosen by a large group of Bombay mill workers to lead them in a precarious conflict between the Bombay Millowners Association and the unions, thus rejecting the INTUC-affiliated Rashtriya Mill Mazdoor Sangh which had represented the mill workers for decades. Samant planned a massive strike forcing the entire industry of the city to be shut down for over a year.

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[19] In February 2009, the NTC decided to auction another nine mills, covering an area of 90 acres, for about Rs 4000 crore. [20] The Shrinivas Mills of Lalbaug, covering 16 acres, are being redeveloped into World One[21] – Asia’s tallest residential building. There are conservation efforts underway to preserve the old mills as museums. Such a museum was opened at the United Mills in Lalbaug. [22] A popular play, Cotten 54, Polyester 64, has been written, based on Neera Adarkar and Meena Menon’s book, One hundred years, One hundred voices. The Millworkers of Girangaon: An Oral History. A festival was organized by an NGO Pukar to celebrate the culture and people of Girangaon in November 2008. [15] Seven mill structures were granted heritage protection status by the Government of Maharashtra.

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