28 Nov 2009

Giran Gaon (Mill Village)

The Call.

In 1982, over 2,00,000 mill workers of Mumbai ignored the sirens of the Mills they worked for and stayed away from work demanding more wages and better working conditions. Led by a charismatic leader named Dr. Datta Samant, the Great Mill Strike of 1982 probably hastened the end of the textile mill era in Mumbai. They set out to change the way they worked, hoping that built-to-last mills will provide employment for generations to come. But by the end of the strike and over the next two decades, the mills died one by one.

What followed the strike was one of the most brutal eras in the history of Mumbai. The escalation of gang wars fought by mobsters who worked for and against the mill workers and owners during and after the strike. The thousands of unemployed and their children in the Giran Gaon belt who became easy prey for the criminal gangs. And the violence reached its climax with the riots of 1992/93.

It's a trait that all cities with significant number of mills share. Ahmedabad has seen its social fabric torn. The Manchester of the South - Coimbatore was rocked by the same intense violence. Manchester itself had its own share of troubles. But luckily, Mumbai has been able to reinvent itself and has adapted itself slowly to a new world. And there's enough money and people to fill the space left by the mills with malls.

See the full series of images: Spinning Stories.

Interview with Datta Samant
Swadeshi Mills Story in Frontline


Space Bar said...

this is an absolutely fantastic series. thank you.

Lakshmi said...

and all the mills have become malls ..just a spelling change :) nice perspective in the pic

radha said...

Nice commentary.
Malls... they seem to be a necessary (?) evil in most cities. They occupy good open spaces that could have been left as parks and only add to the traffic woes.

Mumbai Paused said...

Thanks. Changes are very important and we are allpart of this change too. Let's see where we all go...

Abhijit Dharmadhikari said...

Nice theme and a lovely shot!

Flaneurbanite said...

Very nice, and loving the shot!

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