ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Labour and Closure of a Mill

In Kanpur, JK Cotton Spinning and Weaving Mills Company, the flagship of the erstwhile undivided JK Group, has been closed since 1989. The mill was closed while it was undergoing an ambitious modernisation programme with financial aid from several national financial institutions of India. The case has been under the purview of the Board of Industrial and Financial Reconstruction since 1991. The workers of JK Cotton have neither got any remuneration nor any compensation since 1989. This study is an attempt to understand the effect of the closure on the workers of the mill and the changes in their lives in the years since the mill was closed.

Labour and Closure of a Mill

Lives of Workers of a Closed Factory in Kanpur

In Kanpur, JK Cotton Spinning and Weaving Mills Company, the flagship of the erstwhile undivided JK Group, has been closed since 1989. The mill was closed while it was undergoing an ambitious modernisation programme with financial aid from several national financial institutions of India. The case has been under the purview of the Board of Industrial and Financial Reconstruction since 1991. The workers of JK Cotton have neither got any remuneration nor any compensation since 1989. This study is an attempt to understand the effect of the closure on the workers of the mill and the changes in their lives in the years since the mill was closed.


uggilal Kamlapat Cotton Spinning and Weaving Mills (henceforth referred to as JK Cotton) has been in a state of closure since May 15, 1989. JK Cotton, set up in 1921 by Juggilal Kamlapat Singhania was the first Indian-owned textile mill to come up in Kanpur [Chakrabarti 2003]. It also heralded the growth of the JK group of companies, which went on to become one of the largest business groups in the country. Over the years the JK group has set up several companies in diverse sectors ranging from jute textiles, cotton textiles, steel, oil, cement, artificial fibre, etc. The headquarters of the group was in Kanpur and many of the mills were set up in and around the city. The group also started several institutions in other sectors like health, education and hospitality. JK Cotton, the first manufacturing venture of the undivided JK group (there were splits in the parent organisation in the 1970s) had been a profitmaking concern for over 65 years, till its closure in 1989. According to the Industrial Finance Corporation of India’s (IFCI’s) draft report on rehabilitation of JK Cotton, the company’s working had been quite satisfactory till the year ending December 31, 1987 with a cash accrual of Rs three to four crore per year [IFCI 1992]. Significantly, JK Cotton was in the last stages of a massive modernisation programme when the mill was closed down. In the third stage of the modernisation plan, which started in 1987, J K Cotton proposed to replace 108 plain looms by an equal number of air jet looms besides acquiring balancing equipment worth Rs 2,524 lakh. The modernisation process was abandoned in 1989 after incurring an expenditure of Rs 1,830 lakh, which had been financed completely by the financial institutions (FIs) (IFCI op cit). In the same year, the textile workers of Kanpur staged a demonstration against the K K Pandey Award1 by immobilising all railway traffic going through Kanpur. This demonstration disrupted trains on important routes and the government was then forced to roll back the Pandey award after four days of a ‘chakka jam’ (personal interviews with trade union (TU) leaders, 2005).2 The working class in Kanpur then hoped for at least the continuation of mill operations in the textile industry, if not a revival of the industry to its earlier glory. But neither the government nor the private owner – the JK group – shared the enthusiasm of the workers. As is evident from the course of events in the ensuing decade, the victory of the workers in forcing the government to withdraw the Pandey award actually

persuaded the employers to systematically work towards the closure of all the textile mills of Kanpur. Predictably perhaps, the first mill to stop production was the JK Cotton Spinning and Weaving Company – the only mill under private ownership; though none of the other parameters of the mill, as stated above, indicated such a turn of events. Just two days later, on May 17, 1989, the lockout declared illegal by the authorities, and yet the fact is that, the mill was not reopened until March 2006 (personal interviews with TU leaders, 2005). Since 1989, several events have taken place – the stakeholders of the company including the management, the workers and their leadership, the financial institutions and the government have tried to influence the fate of this mill according to their individual or collective interests. There have been several rounds of blame and counterblame that have been flung by each of these stakeholders at the other actors holding them responsible for the course of events leading to the closure and also for the period that has elapsed since then. Several kinds of claims and counterclaims have also been made by these actors towards future possibilities for the company. Regulatory agencies like the Board of Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR), the judiciary, the state and central governments, city administration and the labour commissioner’s office have also been involved at various stages to resolve this issue in a just manner. Numerous facts, analysis and reports which have been brought out at the behest of the government machinery in the interim period indicate those responsible for this outcome, and yet none have been prosecuted in all these years. The state of affairs concerning JK Cotton probably illustrates some defining features of the current industrial environment of the country and also the ineffectiveness of judiciary as well as of the state machinery in general in enforcing even its own rulings on the powerful. To substantiate the above assertion let us look briefly at the “inefficiencies” of the individuals and institutions responsible for the present state of affairs in JK Cotton.

(a) Management of JK Cotton: JK Cotton was a profit-making company and had been in business for over seven decades and hence its management could be assumed to be astute in business. And yet, it made the mistake of passing on almost all the mill’s produce to unreliable dealers apparently without checking their credentials, continuously for several years. This subsequently led to the accrual of a bad debt of Rs 40 crore. According to the special audit report by the chartered accountants Khanna and Annadhanam, [Khanna and Annadhanam 1991] done at the behest of the IFCI, to scrutinise the transactions between the company and the six dealers against whom there was an outstanding to the tune of Rs 40 crore, the following features were highlighted: (i) there was no formal agreement between the management and the dealers (they had been dealing with the company for over 20 years), (ii) no security was taken and (iii) no limits were fixed for the credit allowed to the dealers.

The report claimed that practically all of the sales were passed on to these dealers – in 1986, of the total sales of Rs 46.85 crore, Rs 45.98 crore was passed to these six dealers, in 1987, Rs 51.52 crore out of Rs 52.26 crore, in 1988-89, Rs 39.17 crore out of Rs 41.31 crore, and finally, in 1990-91, Rs 3.38 crore out of Rs 3.64 crore. The amount outstanding from these six dealers kept increasing over these same years from Rs 24.51 crore in 1986 to Rs 39.72 crore in 1990-91 [Khanna and Annadhanam, op cit]. Further, according to the same report, at one go in 1989 all the accrued debt was declared as bad debt by the company. And not even a part of it was recoverable from any of these six dealers as apparently none of the dealers had any material assets except for ancestral houses under joint ownerships. Khanna and Annadhanam’s report evinces extreme surprise at this lapse in even preliminary business practices by an organisation as established as JK Cotton.

From the summary it will be noticed that none of the dealers had any material except Sundry Debtors. We are also furnished copies of letters received from the partners of the dealers firms…..indicating that they did not own any immovable property except in one or two cases wherein the parties owned are said to be ancestral house at Kanpur in joint ownership with others. This fact was also noted by the directors in the meeting held as late as on 30.03.90 only. It is therefore not understood as to how such huge credits were allowed to the dealers without adequate securities. The past performance of the dealers (the plea used by the management for this lapse) is no indication of the creditworthiness of the parties and we do not understand why the management did not take steps to stop supplies, made prompt enquiries as to the worth of the dealers, and/or to recover the amounts outstanding (p11).

Mismanagement, therefore, compelled the company to close down. In the Annual Report for 1989-1990 (AR, JK Cotton, No 67, 1990) the management provides no explanation for this extraordinary process of debt reassessment (converting in a single year all debts accrued over several years to non-recoverable debt), and instead, blames labour “unrest” for the closure.

  • (b) Financial institutions: Several big and reputed financial institutions have been providing credit to JK Cotton for decades. According to IFCI’s draft rehabilitation report of 1992, there were outstanding debts to the tune of Rs 70 crore due from JK Cotton as on March 31, 1991. The BIFR’s Draft Rehabilitation Scheme for J K Cotton drawn out in 2002 shows the accumulated outstanding (including the principal and the interests) of the company as around Rs 435 crore from several financial institutions and banks, including IFCI, ICICI, UTI, LIC, BSB, State Bank of Travancore, Grindlays Bank, State Bank of India, etc, [BIFR 2002]. It is difficult to understand as to why these institutions provided enormous amounts of public money to JK Cotton without making adequate provisions for the recovery of the same.
  • (c) The BIFR: When the BIFR was constituted in 1981, it had the specific mandate to study “sick companies and recommend
  • appropriate remedies, which included determining the nature of sickness and expedite the revival of potentially viable units or closure of unviable units”. But in the case of JK Cotton, in spite of being under the consideration of BIFR for over 15 years nothing tangible has been done towards the above.

  • (d) State machinery: The state machinery – including judiciary, labour commissioner’s office and the local government – has not been able get its act together and has failed to implement even its own directives on the management of JK Cotton. To list a few – not being able to vacate the closure in spite of it being declared illegal, not being able to get the workers their due wages and other benefits, etc, (personal interviews with TU Leaders, 2005).
  • (e) Workers of JK Cotton: The main losers of the closure of JK Cotton have been the workers of the organisation, unfortunately, for no fault of their own. JK Cotton had around 4,000 workers at the time of the unexpected closure in 1989. These workers have got no compensation towards their wages for the last 18 years, except for a month’s wage in June 1989, and a month’s bonus in the period 1990-91, while the tripartite talks were being held regarding the issue (personal interviews with TU leaders, 2005). Thus from having a secure employment, they were all of a sudden left with no wages during the uncertain period of all-round industrial sickness and closure of the 1990s. Further, none of their accrued dues over long term, like gratuity and provident fund, were given to them to tide over the crisis. In the mid-1990s their health benefit through the state health agency ESI was also withdrawn. The union says several workers have committed suicide on account of this, not being able to face the economic and social humiliation of having lost their jobs and also their inability to find an alternate employment to maintain their pre-closure lifestyle.
  • Meanwhile, the case is still undecided because of the collective failure of several stakeholders including the management of JK Cotton (together with the owners), the financial institutions, the BIFR, the state machinery and the judiciary, the government their, and the ineffective leadership of the workers which has sometimes done more harm than good for the cause. The workers have collectively paid the price for this. The following account is an attempt to capture (largely qualitatively) the changes in the material lives of the workers of JK Cotton during the 16 years following the factory’s closure in 1989. There are several excellent studies in recent times which deal with similar situations in different parts of the country – like Bremen’s (2003) work on the life of ex-mill workers of Ahmedabad, Joshi (2003), on the decline of Kanpur’s mill industry, Menon and Adarkar’s (2004) account of mill workers of Bombay, to name a few. The present study is an effort with similar concerns.

    Research Objective and Methodology

    The objective of this study is to present a qualitative understanding of the changes in the material conditions of the life of workers in J K Cotton between the closure of the factory in 1989 and November 2005. The study is very partial in nature, since we have been able to interview only 49 workers of a total of over 4,000 workers who were employed in the factory at the time of the closure. Since 1989, several hundred workers have moved out of the city, some have got other jobs and some others, who have a little land and an extended family, went back to their villages. According to the workers interviewed, around 500 to 600 workers have died since 1989, a large number of them probably due to inadequate medical attention, ensuing from the lack of resources because of the loss of their jobs.

    Hamare 500-600 saathi to mar hi gaye hain aur kaho usse zyada 1,100-1,200, kise khabar aur kiske pas time hai pata lagane ka, aur jo hum jee bhi rahin hain woh bhi marne ke barabar hi to hai. (Five to six hundred of our comrades have died, may be even more, say, 1,100 or 1,200, who knows and who has the time to find out, and even though we are living, it is same as being dead).

    –A worker A group of workers under the banner of the TU organisation ‘JK Cotton Mill Karmachari Audyogik Utpadak Sahkari Samiti’ have been camping on the premises of the labour commissioner’s office on an in definite ‘dharna’ since June 2004. They are rallying around the demands to reopen the mill and an early settlement of all the dues of the workers, including the lost wages for 16 years. Except for a group of six to seven workers, who camp there for 24 hours, most other workers come to the site according to their convenience. The labour commissioner’s office has been largely ignoring the effort, and yet, every evening the leadership of the agitation holds meetings at the dharna site for daily updates as well as to discuss strategies and tactics for future course of action. The attendance at these meetings is slightly higher than in other times of the day, as some workers join the group after finishing their daily routine, but still is only around 15-20 persons on any given day. Only on the days of special occasions like the dates for meeting the labour commissioner, is there a larger attendance. The interviews for the present study have been conducted at the site of the dharna. I have made in all seven visits to the interview site over the months of August, September and October of the year 2005. There were in all 49 interviews – 22 short ones and 27 detailed interviews. The long interviews lasted anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour. Besides the formal interviews, I also got a chance to interact with several groups of workers and the understanding through these interactions has also been incorporated in the report. I have also spent several hours with the current leadership of JK Cotton Mill Karmachari Audyogik Utpadak Sahkari Samiti, (the union spearheading the dharna) to understand the present situation of the struggle. Except for two interviews which were of widows of the ex-employees of JK Cotton, all the others were of male employees of the mill. The age of the respondents ranged from 48 years to 75 years with the median around 58 years. All the data presented in the study is based on the interviews. The findings of the study are presented under five subsections. It starts with a brief

    Table 1: Nature of Employment of Fathers of Respondents

    Sr Category Number No

    1 Total number of respondents 27 2 Respondents whose fathers* worked and retired from the

    mill industry/urban manufacturing sector 16 3 Respondents whose fathers worked on the land 11 4 Of Category 3 the number of respondents whose fathers,

    siblings and/or any member of the immediate family has done a

    stint in the mill industry 09

    Note: * I have used the term father as a representation for the main earning member of the family.

    Source: Detailed interviews with JK Cotton workers.

    understanding of the economic background of the workers interviewed followed by an analysis of the changes in material conditions of the workers and their families over 16 years. In the third subsection the changes in social status of the respondents in the time period under study have been explored. In the subsequent section, I have attempted to understand the nature of medical contingencies faced by the workers and their families followed by a brief analysis of the effect of the job loss on the women of the household. And finally, the report touches briefly on the implications of closure on the offspring of the workers. The last section is a summary of the findings of the study.


    Background of Workers

    The majority of workers who were interviewed belonged to the families of mill hands, i e, their fathers were also mill workers. At least in one case both parents were mill workers in two different mills. Several male members of the extended families also worked in mills (mostly textile) in Kanpur.

    As is shown in Table 1, of the 27 detailed interviews, there were 16 respondents whose fathers had retired from jobs in a mill. Of the remaining 11 as well, there were nine cases in which the male breadwinner or a member of the immediate family had worked in mills for a stint during their productive period. Further, for most of the respondents, the job in JK Cotton was not their first mill job. The usual practice seemed to be of working for short periods ranging from six months to a couple of years as apprentice in one mill and then joining as a paid operative in another. Inter-mill mobility in pursuit of better wages and permanent positions was common. The existence of a thriving mill industry in the city during the 1960s and 1970s, when most of the respondents joined the mill industry, helped to absorb temporary setbacks, both at the mill level and at an individual level. Loss of employment for a particular worker due to indifferent performance of the mill (for a variety of reasons on both the supply- and demand-side), or due to individual performance was not considered as a catastrophic occurrence because of the ease of obtaining an alternate employment in other mills. But in 1989, when JK Cotton was closed down by the management, the macro context of the mill industry in Kanpur had altered drastically. Almost all the textile mills were producing at much below their capacity, and were on the verge of permanently closing down. Actually all the cotton textile mills of Kanpur stopped production during the decade of 1990s [Joshi 2003]. Thus unlike earlier times, the city mill sector did not offer a buffer of alternate employment opportunities. None of the 49 respondents could secure a job in any other mill after the closure of JK Cotton. The education level of the respondents in general, was very low, with only three or four of them had finished high school, so it was difficult for them to secure an alternate employment. The effect of this altered context was more drastic for the next generation – as would be evident from the analysis of the (present) nature of employment of the sons of these mill workers. Though a few of them had been able to secure employment in the organised sector, including in JK Cotton itself before the closure, post-1989, not even one of them could find any employment in the organised sector. Around one-third of the 27 respondents interviewed at length went back to their villages to draw sustenance from the land. As one respondent (RN -5)3 succinctly put it:

    Hamare baap dada zameen chodkar bhage rahin sahar ke taraf

    – aur hum fir munh latkakar waapis aa gaye. Hamari agli pidhi ka to bhagwaan hi maalik. (Our ancestors had left the land and had fled to the city and we have to go back in shame to the same land, what would happen to our next generation, god only knows.)

    Material Conditions

    A look at the changes in the material condition of the 27 respondents suggests that there have been only marginal changes since 1989. But this observation unfortunately does not capture the real situation to any extent. The material reality of the city has changed significantly. Thus, whereas owning a TV was a rarity in 1989, it has become a veritable necessity in today’s context. But six households of the 27 interviewed not having even “rented”4 electricity connection and even basic electrical amenities like a ceiling fan. In 1989, seven households out of the 27 interviewed were not having electricity. Nine of the 27 households still do not have access to private toilet facilities. Though there are some communal toilets available in some localities, most still avail of the open space along the railway tracks. In 1989, only nine households had gas connections, today 17 households have it, but 10 households still use the ‘chulha’ or (‘lakdi ki burada’). The summary of the changes in material status of the 27 respondents are given in Table 2.

    Though the material conditions of a few households have improved to that of any average middle class, as RSSC (7) elaborated on his material possession “jo bhi eik madhyam vargiya ghar mein saman hota hai – TV, fridge, washing machine, cooler, mixie, gas, motorcycle, ityadi…ityadi…” (whatever any middle class family has TV, fridge, mixies, motorcycle, etc, etc). The condition of most of the respondents has remained nominally at the same level as that in 1989. Except for a few respondents, as mentioned above, most of them have no assets of any value

    – the total earning of the family goes towards the routine expenses of food and clothing.

    We observed an interesting social phenomenon while trying to understand the issue of shelter. Most of the 27 respondents, barring four or five, live in the same accommodation today as they did in 1989. In 1989, 11 of the respondents owned their own houses and a further 11 lived in the houses which were, as we have them practically own (PO). The city houses several thousand inhabitants in accommodation whose rents are as nominal as Rs 10-15 a month. Some of them are “labour colonies” which when constructed had been at the outskirts of the city, but as the city expanded they have come to be right in the middle of elite localities, like the Shastri Nagar. At present these spacious living accommodations house mostly middle class and upper middle class households. They exchange ownership on payment of enormously high ‘pagdi’5 which reflects the actual value of the land and the built-in space. But several labour colonies also house workers who have been living there over generations and treat the space as their own.

    Besides there are some ‘hatas’ which have been donated to temples much like land being donated in feudal times to religious institutions. The rents from these hatas go to the temple. But over decades there has been no increase in the rent and the inhabitants of these hatas believe that these houses belong to them.

    Thus whereas on the one hand the city population seems to have plunged in to a state of acute economic despair with the closure of the whole mill industry including the JK Cotton ostensibly because of market forces, these social interstices which are not dictated by market forces have contributed to the resilience of a large section of the population.

    Though many respondents have a bank account, there is practically no credit balance to speak of, actually most of these accounts are from the time when they were employed in JK Cotton and have not been operated since its closure. Eight respondents draw a nominal pension (of about Rs 350-450 per month) which has necessitated the opening of an account (Table 2).

    The earnings from J K Cotton for the 27 respondents ranged from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,800 per month when the mill closed in 1989, with the medium income being Rs 1,500 as is shown in Table 3.

    This was barely enough to keep their families together as is apparent from the state of houses, material belongings and the education level of their children. As one of them put it ‘kisi tarah dhakiyay-fakiayay chalta tha’ (could barely manage by cutting corners). The terms of work in JK Cotton were not very good and most workers worked under extreme uncertainties. Working as temporary workers for several years before being awarded a permanent position was common. As RK (21) said shuru se hi bahutere muskil dekhe rahi – teen rupya ka kaam shuru kari rahin, aur phir thoda badi, shuru- shuru ka pakhwara pakhwara baithki rahin (There were lot of problems right from the beginning, had to work at three rupees a fortnight and then it increased

    Table 2: Comparative Summary Statement of Material Possession of the 27 Respondents for the Years 1989 and 2005

    1989 2005 Item No of No of No of No of Respondents Respondents Respondents Respondents Who Possessed Who Did Not Who Possessed Who Did Not Possess Possess

    House 22 05 22 05 Electricity 20 07 21 06 Gas18 09 10 17 Private toilet 19 08 19 08 Ceiling fan 19 08 21 06 Television 11 16 19 08 Bank account 18 09 17 10

    Source: Detailed interviews with 27 respondents of JK Cotton.

    Table 3: Comparative Range of Monthly Incomeof the Respondents in 1989 and 2005

    Range of Monthly Number of Range of Range of Numbers of Income of the Respondents Income of the ‘Real’ Income Respondents Main Breadwinner Family** Adjusted to in 1989 in 2005 1990 Value*

    Less than Less than Less than

    Rs 1,250 05 Rs 2,000 Rs 740 05 Rs 1,300 to Rs 2,000 to less Rs 740 to

    Rs 1,550 15 than Rs 3,000 Rs 1,111 12 Rs 1,600 Rs 3,000 to Rs 1,111 to

    to Rs 1,800 13 Rs 4,500 Rs 1,667 8 Above Rs 1,800 01 Above Rs 4,500 Above Rs 1,667 02

    Notes: * We have deflated the earnings in 2005 using the Consumer Price Index – Industrial Worker (CPI-IW) deflator (issued by the Labour Bureau of India) for Kanpur which works out to a factor of 2.7. ** since many of the respondents at present provide only supplementary income if any towards family expenses we have considered the total family’s income – of all those who stay in the same house.

    Source: Detailed interviews of 27 respondents.

    slightly, in the beginning were given ‘baithki’ (forced sitting from work) every other fortnight). Thus the job in JK Cotton was not necessarily enough to ensure a decent living for most of the respondents – unless they had additional support from extended families or land. The workers had several kinds of complaints against their employers on the issues of wages and working conditions. But still it was a steady and certain source of income, and when even that was not forthcoming due to the closure of the mill; these households had to face unprecedented uncertainties. AL (23) commenting on the inadequacy of the wages from JK Cotton to run the family expenses said, chal hi nahi pata tha – par phir to baad me woh bhi gaya (we could not manage by the income from the mill but later we lost even that security). The median income of the respondents at present is around Rs 2,000-3,000 per month – and even that is very uncertain. The amount itself is much lower than what would have been due to them in case of indexed7 income from the mill. It is very difficult to make any concrete assessment as to what the income from the mill would have been at present if it had been working. The value of the rupee has depreciated substantially. Thus according to one estimation of the real income of the respondents (which we have attempted to do by deflating the current nominal income by the official CPI-IW figures of these 16 years of Kanpur), the median income has slide down to Rs 900 in 2005 from Rs 1,500 in 1989.

    None of the 49th8 respondents have any steady employment and are dependent on the unorganised service sector for their living. A sixth of them are street hawkers (eight respondents), another sixth (nine respondents) earn their living by selling their labour either by rickshaw pulling (four) or directly from the labour market (five). Ten respondents have gone back to land for sustenance. Five respondents have street corner shacks for miscellaneous articles like pan masala, cigarette, bidi and one respondent is a roving cycle repairer. Seven respondents are totally unemployed; of them two are vagabonds, as is shown in Table 4.

    The precariousness of their existence makes the lost employment from JK Cotton much more lucrative than what it probably actually had been. We came across several accounts in which the street corner shacks of the respondents have been repeatedly pulled down by municipal authorities. The hawkers are regularly harassed by the policemen in the locality and a bribe has to be given on a regular basis to both the state representatives and the local hoodlums (dadas) to be allowed to merely run their small outfits. Though much of these hardships may not have been averted by the continuance of their employment – but assertions by several respondents suggest a belief that all the ills that have befallen their lives are due to the closing of the mill. For example, the death of BK’s (26) son because of uncertain reasons have been attributed to the mill closure (Box 1).

    Table 4: Present Occupation of the 49 Respondents Interviewed

    Nature of Occupation Number of Respondents
    Hawker 08
    Shack/street corner vendor 06
    Physical labourer (rickshaw-puller and unskilled
    labour in the labour market 0 9
    Unemployed/vagabond ,etc 0 9
    Factory 01
    Retired 03
    Land-peasant 10
    Others 03
    Total 49

    Source: 49 interviews with workers of JK Cotton.

    The handful of respondents who seemed to have improved their condition since in 1989, have support from their home village, specially in the form of land. Produce from land supplemented with cattle wealth is the reason for their material well-being. Even they lament the loss of employment in JK Cotton, because it signalled the loss of potential employment for their children. It is significant that none of the off-spring of the 27 respondents interviewed have employment in the organised sector.

    Social Status

    The most palpable loss caused by the mill closure, as voiced unanimously by all respondents, is the social status of these individuals. As ML (1) put it,

    Aurat ka aadmi hota hai uska aadmi, usi se uski izzat aur shan hai, aur us aadmi ka aadmi hota hai naukari, woh gai to samjho uski wazood chala gaya, uske baad to bazaar me baithna hai.

    (The woman’s husband is her husband, she gets respect due to him, and her husband gains respect because of his job. If that goes it is like he has lost his identity, after that it is like selling yourself in the market place.)

    Loss of their jobs in JK Cotton had compelled several members of every family to enter the monetary economy to contribute to the family earnings, accompanied by a serious marginalisation of the male bread earner’s position in the family itself.

    Ladke bachhe izzat nahi karte, kahte hai budhau baithe raho tumhare bas ka kono kam nahi . rishtedaar pahle tamam aavbhagat karte – aab kanni katte hain. Phone par hi sidhe aane ko mana kar dete. Teej tyohar me tohfe nahi le jate to pani bhi pochana bhool jaate. (Children do not show us any respect,

    Box 1

    B K (26), is 58-years old and was in the drawing department – he was a designer. BK had four children – three daughters and one son. The eldest daughter graduated with BA and got married in 1985. The second daughter did her MA and got married in 2000. She works in a school. The third daughter has done her MA, BEd and is a teacher in a private school and earns Rs 3,000 per month. She has cleared the exam for the position of a government teacher and will be posted shortly. His son studied up to Mcom, BEd and was working as an accountant in a firm. He died under mysterious circumstances in 2004. One day after work he disappeared and about four days later the family received a message that his dead body was found near the railway tracks of the Tundla station – nearly 350 Kms from Kanpur. Neither the family nor the police could come up with any plausible reason for his death. BK was in tears while relating this hum na kahte the aapko ki mill band hone se hamara sab kuch lut gaya, waldiyat likhane ke liye koi na raha, wansh kaise badhega, itna sab jod ke rakha tha kiske liye, log kahten ki ladkiyan bhi barabar hoti hai par woh to parayi hoti hai, jitna bhi padhao, likhao, naukri bhi kare sab kuch sasuraal chala jaata hai, mill ne hamain kahin ka nahin choda ( Didn’t I tell you that we lost everything because of the mill closure, nobody is left to carry on the family tree, how will the dynasty survive, people say that daughters are equivalent to sons and yet they belong to some other family, however much you educate them, even get them a job, everything would go over to the in-laws, the mill has left us with nothing).

    I did not feel like asking how the mill was responsible for this piece of misfortune, as the family seems to have done quite well, but instead realised and not for the first time, the tendency of attributing everything to the one publicly acknowledged misfortune. Life in this city is not easy with or without the job in JK nowadays. It is uncertain and hostile and often just invoking this collective disaster which everybody has undergone, to account for all the misfortunes, contributes to a level of collective camaraderie.

    they say you old people are good for nothing, relatives used

    to extend a warm welcome earlier, but now they too avoid us.

    Some ask us on the phone itself not to visit them, during

    festivals as we cannot give any gifts anymore they forget to offer

    us even water.)

    –ML (1)

    A lot may be just the perception of these individuals but it is shared by the majority. SR (18) is a ‘bhagat’9 whose wife had died several years back, has no children of his own and used to support his nephews from his earnings from the mill. These nephews have apparently cheated him from his share of the family land. He too laments the loss of job in JK Cotton. When I asked him what would have done with the money since his worldly spending was so little, he elaborated Bhatijo ko dete – woh hamari izzat to karte, ab to dutkarte hai (I would have given it to my nephews

    – they would have respected me, now they treat me openly with contempt).

    For some the job loss may not have made any material difference, but the trauma has caused a sense of loss of identity and mental disorder. R (17) could not give an interview because he was mentally unstable; his colleagues assert that R was well off and yet, lost his mental balance because he could not adjust to the loss of his job at JK Cotton. Individuals whose material condition has improved since the mill closure and who have been able to climb several rungs in the social order, also have not been able to secure an alternate social circle (see Box 2).

    Site of Dharna

    The site of the dharna is the social meeting place for the section of workers of J K Cotton who were interviewed for the present study. It is situated in the parking lot of the labour commissioner’s office. With the closing down of most of the organised mills and factories in the city, the activities of this office have come down drastically and the parking lot is usually empty except for a few stray cycles and an occasional car. Visitors to the office are also few and far in between. As has been mentioned earlier, a handful of workers are parked there permanently – they eat,

    Box 2

    RSS (7) was in a staff position in JK Cotton – he was a railway clerk and used to receive delivered parcels both by rail and road. He was born in 1957. When I met him, he was playing cards, but seeing the resigned, expression on my face deigned to speak to me despite his colleagues urgings to continue playing. In 1989, he used to stay in a rented accommodation in Kidwainagar on a monthly rent of Rs 350. The flat had two rooms, a kitchen and a latrine, bathroom. Soon after he lost his job he bought a house in the World Bank colony in Barra from his own savings (around Rs 35,000) and with substantial assistance from his father. This house is larger and has the possibility of building more storeys. At present, his house has the following amenities ‘jo bhi ek madhyam vargiya ghar mein saaman hota hai sab hai- TV, fridge, washing machine, cooler, mixies, gas motorcycle, ityadi ityadi’ ). He has inherited 18 bigha of land and he earns about Rs 40,000 of net revenues from the produce.

    Thus his material condition definitely seems to have improved since the closure, though not because of it, and today he belongs to a social strata that is much above his erstwhile co-employees of JK Cotton. But the fact that he comes everyday to the labour commissioner’s office to be with his colleagues sitting on a dharna and play cards for hours on end suggests the social displacement of these individuals, wherein they find it very difficult to make new friends.

    cook and sleep at the site. But besides them there are several batches of workers who visit the site at several hours during the day and spend some time before dispersing. Usually members of these groups have an understanding and assemble at predecided times. There are a faithful few who come in the morning and sit through till late evening. On the occasion of my first two visits (the workers had been briefed about me and the purpose of my visits) I found a group of 10-15 workers sitting earnestly on a ‘durry’ apparently discussing the struggle. On my first visit I was informed by a person in the leadership about the activities of the assemblage “we make strategies and tactics in a group, as to how to take the movement forward”. All the workers present had solemnly nodded in agreement. One man of 70, while eloquently emphasising the influence of the current leadership of the struggle, thundered in a quivering voice.

    Hum to vohi karenge jo Tiwari ji (the current leader) kahenge

    – woh kahen to hum unko kaat dalenge, poochenge nahi koi sawal aur kahenge to sau lathi ke baad bhi chup rahenge (We will do whatever Tiwariji tells us, (pointing at two unknown young men going past in a motorcycle), if he asks us to strike them down dead we will do it without asking a single question and if he tells us so, we would not let out a single word in protest even after we are struck by a stick a hundred times).

    A score of grey, and stooping heads nodded in agreement. By my third visit these men had reverted to their usual routine which made me realise the actual significance of dharna. The men usually spend their time playing cards for no or very low stakes, usually culminating in a round of tea from the wins of the session. A transistor keeps playing bawdy/raunchy Hindi songs, which seemed particularly lewd given that the average age of the group is around 60. Someone or the other was always stretched out for a snooze on the durry, oblivious of the surrounding noise. I had to coax them repeatedly to be able to get them to talk, I suppose, because even watching the ongoing game was more exciting than answering some irrelevant queries about their lives. It was not as if they were oblivious to the irrelevance of their dharna, especially, given the fact that their presence was largely ignored by the authorities:

    Arre pichle dedh saal se to hum hi daten huy hain – kai commissioner ko aate-jaate dekha hai par koi hamare taraf akhen uthakar bhi nahi dekhtha, mano hum koi kude ke dher hai – naak dhakkar udhar muh pher kar nikal jate hai. Haan ek baat achhi hai ki ab tak hamen police se nahi khadeda (For the past one and a half years we have been a permanent fixture here, many commissioners have come and gone, but nobody even looks at us, as if we are a heap of garbage, they hurry past us with averted eyes and nose covered. The only thing good about it is that they have not yet driven us out.

    – A worker, whose name I could not coax out of him, made this comment while still lying supine on the durry and then promptly turned to the other side to continue his afternoon siesta

    Table 5: Serious Medical Ailments Suffered by Respondentsand Their Immediate Families from 1989 to 2005

    List of Ailments Number of Cases Reported

    Tuberculosis 10 Mental Illness 5 Gynaecological 5 Cancer 1 Miscellaneous (serious) 6 Accident (fatal or near fatal) 3

    Source: Detailed interviews of 27 respondents.


    Health problems aggravated by inadequate medical attention seem to be one of the serious issues faced by the respondents and their family at present. Many respondents along with one or more members of the family suffer from tuberculosis. The families can neither afford the diet nor the medicine for its cure. There are several instances of mental illness which are largely ignored. Actually most aliments are ignored till they precipitate into a crisis. A summary of the serious ailments suffered by the respondents and their immediate families are given in Table 5.

    Several women suffer from gynaecological problems including severe bleeding, prolapsed uterus, etc. Women – wives and daughters seem to be the main victims of indifferent medial attention (see Box 3). The discontinuance of ESI support has further aggravated their problems. Expensive private medical healthcare coupled with doubtful integrity of the medical practitioners affordable by the workers make the situation almost irredeemable. One important factor responsible for the drastic increase in the need for medical attention since 1989 seems to be the general aging of the respondents and their spouses. Malnutrition, extreme hard work, unhygienic living conditions (especially for women) are also responsible for ill-health.

    Condition of Women/Spouses

    The women of the households have had to bear the maximum brunt of the altered adverse situation caused by the mill closure. As RSC (6) repeated several times during the course of our interaction:

    asliyat samajhni hai to aapko ghar ki mahilaun se bat karni hogi. Namak roti dono time unhi ko akhni padti, bachoon ki bhook bhi unhi ko saheni padti, bimari bhi jhelni padti ….. hum log to paise unke hath mein thamakar bas dus-pachas to kabhi bilkul phanka

    ((I)f you really want to understand the reality you have to talk to the housewives. It is primarily their responsibility to provide at least salt and bread twice a day, they have to endure the hunger of children, and suffer their illnesses too. We, menfolk absolve ourselves of our responsibilities by just putting the money in their hands – sometimes Rs 10 or 50 and sometimes absolutely nothing.)

    Most respondent talked about ill – defined illness of which their wives have been suffering for extended periods.

    The two women I interviewed during the study, GS (20) and RK (21) were widows of employees of JK Cotton. Both of them were illiterate and had no clue as to what the current agitation could offer them in concrete terms. Further, not having much knowledge of the nature of their husband’s job, they were unable to handle the deluge of incomprehensible paperwork which fell on them after the death of their husbands and had to seek assistance, which also was often not easily forthcoming. All this effort had to be made to draw a pension worth Rs 400 per month. Some of these women have been forced to enter the job market as domestic help, and have also been compelled to accept a segregated and often neglected existence in their sons’ households. The indignity of their situation is captured by RK (21) (see Box 4). Men usually find it convenient to be away from the house the whole day to avoid unpleasant confrontation (see Box 5). But the “house” wives are not only bound to the house, but are also compelled to enter the market in search of menial and ill-paying employment for sustenance.


    The children of the respondents interviewed, who are mostly in their 20s or even older, seem to reflect the actual enormity of long-term implications of the closure of not only JK Cotton, but the mill industry in the city in general. Though the education received by this generation is more than the earlier generation, still at least 12 respondents reported that their children had not studied beyond primary school. MH elaborated on how he shifted his son from an expensive English medium school to a government school of a different standard (see Box 6).

    In spite of a comparatively higher education, the job possibilities have considerably reduced in the last two decades. None

    Box 3

    G S (20), (looked around 55 but may be younger or older) – and when I asked, she said ab apahi kuch samajh ke likh do, byah to karna nahin ki chotan badhan hui jai – par fir bhi paintis ki to huibe kari, kaho challis paintalis bhi ho (now you only guess and write down something, after all I do not plan to get married where you cannot afford to have mix-ups, and yet I must be definitely thirty-five, or maybe forty or even forty-five, who knows). G S has been suffering from a big boil on her chest which she claims is very painful. She has shown it to some doctor but does not have the resources to even get the diagnostic tests done let alone the treatment. She vehemently refuses to go to the government hospital (we are sitting almost next door to the hospital) nahin hamre khatin nahin hai haalat woolat, jab kabhi subidha hoi to piraivate karaibe, nahin to bhagwan maalik (No not for me is this Haalat Woolat (disfiguration of the name of the government hospital – hallet), when I have the means I will go to a private doctor, otherwise leave it to god). One of her daughters had also been very unwell and used to suffer from low-grade fever for months. She was treated but G S has no idea as to what was her ailment. UK (11) was a temporary worker at JK Cotton for seven years till 1989. He is a peasant of moderate means and he and his sons and their families live off the produce of the family land. A few years back, UK’s wife had an accident . A huge stone slab fell on her head. Though she did not show any symptoms immediately of anything seriously wrong except for a surface wound and severe headaches, a few years later she started having convulsions. The doctor attributed it to the accident and that she needed treatment for the next five years at Rs 50 per day city skan or baaki ultra main jo hazaron jhonka uska to hisaab hi nahin (I have not even taken account of the thousands I spent on CT scan and ultra sound). UK attributed this mishap and its aftermath to the mill closure. When I probed him to elaborate on the connection, he could not say anything except for reiterating ‘haalat bahut kharab chal raha hai’ (times are very bad). Of course, what he did not choose to see was the fact that women’s health is very low on priority in most households and is usually neglected till the point of break down.

    Box 4

    R K (21) looks around 60 years of age but may be younger. Her late husband was a weaver in JK Cotton. After his death, RK had been supporting the family by working as a domestic help. The admission of this fact to me was extremely humiliating for RK. When I asked her how she supported the family she was quiet for sometime and then in a tear-choked voice said logon ka ghar chouka bartan kari, inke rahte kabhi ghar se bahar nahin nikle, ghunghat kaare rahte, par pet ke khatin, bachchon kae khatin karni padi (I work as domestic help at other people’s houses, as long as he (her husband) was alive I never had to go out of the house, I would live in a purdah (indicating that she had much higher dignity) but for one’s stomach and for the children I had to do this.) She was speaking so softly that I had to strain my ears to hear her.

    of the respondents or any of their children have been able to secure any employment in the organised sector. Most of the sons are employed in petty positions like shop assistants, tailor, shack/ gumti owner, cycle repairer, car mechanic, electricians, etc, in the service sector. Actually their relatively higher education make them reluctant to seek employment involving physical labour, they seem to prefer being underemployed or even unemployed.

    The daughters seem to be even worse off as many of them are not married even though they are well past their marriageable age. In a few cases the daughters have been able to secure education and employment through a lot of hard work and initiative like GC’s (2) daughter, who has studied till postgraduation and is the main breadwinner of the family. Probably because of the fear of losing the only source of secure income, GC has not actively arranged his daughter’s marriage as yet.

    The pain and hardship of breaking down of social norms, and in fact, even contributing to it even though unwillingly, because of losing employment in JK Cotton seems to be the most serious cause of anguish of the male respondents of the present study. Sub barbad ho gaya, kitni bahu betian ghar chodkar nikalne par majboor ho gai, kitni shadian jati ke bahar hui- …hum log kahin ke nahi rahe (Everything has been ruined, many wives and daughters have had to leave the house in search of a better life, many have run away, many alliances have taken place outside the socially accepted norm, we have been deprived of our social identity.) It is difficult to ascertain the veracity of these assertions but the concern seemed to be shared widely.

    MH (3), with six daughters (mentioned earlier too), and a very mild demeanour said, bus inhi logo ke liye hum bandh gaye varna is samaj ko thokar mar diya hota – baghi ho gaye hote (we are constrained by the societal norms because of our daughters, otherwise we would have rejected this society and would have become rebels.) The loss of employment and the real and perceived hardships in both the material as well as social domain seem to have split families too. The position of the male earning members (workers in JK Cotton) has slid down, a sentiment shared by many as is captured in this assertion koi hamar nahi sunta na bacche na biwi aur nahi naate rishtedaar (nobody listens to us, not wife, nor children and nor relatives either). Besides, the children have remained conspicuously uninvolved in the struggle for reopening the mill. In all the seven visits made during the course of the data collection not even a single off-spring, male or female visited the dharna site. When asked specifically the reasons, the response ranged from kamate khate hai unko iski jarrorat nahi, kaam kaji hai yeh sub karne ki fursat nahi hai – yeh to bus hum hi jute huye hain and a few said sub nalayak hai – baap ki izzat nahi karte (“they earn a living hence they do not understand the significance of the movement”, “they are busy with their work and do not have time for this”, “they are all worthless and do not respect their fathers”). The attitude of the children (both sons and daughters) seemed to be that, since the fathers had failed to adequately provide for the family during their growing up years they had consequently forfeited the right to intervene in their lives. The loss of job and the feeling of fall of grace seem to have not only marginalised the workers from larger society and their extended family, but also from their immediate nuclear family.


    From the events leading to the closure of JK Cotton in 1989 and the subsequent happenings, it is apparent that several powerful stakeholders involved in the events leading to the closure of JK Cotton have bungled, and have procrastinated on the whole process about deciding the future of the organisation. And yet, they have not been able to come to any concrete conclusions regarding JK Cotton. The closure does not seem to have seriously affected the lifestyles of the various powerful stakeholders involved; otherwise, a conducive solution would not have been so elusive. One is not in a position to judge whether justice by government-instituted machinery should take eight years and more to resolve such a case. It is also not possible from the present study to decide on the blame which should be apportioned to the various actors involved – the management/owners, the financial institutions, BIFR, the state government, the labour

    Box 5

    HL, (4) was a trolley man in JK Cotton and is 58 years old. While being interviewed he was impeccably dressed in a white trouser and a shirt, but immediately after that he took off the shirt and tied an angocha (a piece of handy cloth) around his neck and sat down to play cards – he looked very different and gelled completely with the other workers already at the game. He had come promptly at 11 in the morning and he told me that he stayed there the whole day. At present he does not contribute anything towards the family’s expenses and the family relies on the income of the children, which is around Rs 300-400 per week. The rent for the house is outstanding for 16 months. He also has a debt of about Rs 12,000. He had some savings which have been spent completely. Roz ghar main chik-chik hoti hai, isiliye bhaga rahta hoon, subah paani mila to woh peekar bhi nikal leta hoon aur din bhar yehan pada rahta hoon aur shaam ko ek niwala mile to who khakar so jaata hoon. Aapke paas kuch naukri ho to batayiye hum to aaj bhi sahi kaam karne ko tayyar hai – mill khulne pe sab pahle jaisa ho sakta hai (There is bickering everyday in the house, that’s why I keep away from home, if I get only water in the morning I just drink it quietly and leave the house and then stay here (the dharna site) the whole day, and in the evening I make do with one mouthful of food and go off to bed. If you can provide me with any employment it would be very nice, I am ready to work even now, only if the mill reopens everything would be fine again.) His clothes and his health did not corroborate his claims and I suspect that though the condition of the family must be as he describes it, he sticks around the dharna site to avoid contributing his share to the family kitty. At his age he may not be very keen to put in hard physical labour and no easy options are available to him.

    Box 6

    M H (3) was a weaver in JK Cotton. MH is a fair, bespectacled slight man with white hair and very dignified looking; he is 53 years old. MH has seven children – six daughters and one son. In 1989 when the mill closed down all his children were studying. The eldest, the only son, was studying in St Martin English School in Jasodanagar. As he said,

    fees to bahut zyada thi par kamate the aur the bahut saare armaan apne bade ladke ko lekar isliye bharti kar diya (the fees was very high but /I was earning and had a lot of aspirations). Actually when I asked where his children were studying, he only mentioned St Martin school. When I probed whether all seven of them studied there, he said, that the others (basically the six daughters) were studying in Islamia School Babupurwa and Lallu Junion High School. There seemed a desire to associate with the middle class aspirations of good schooling and its associated possibilities. After loss of steady income the children had to shift school. The eldest son managed to finish BA but did not do too well. As he commented ‘pitaji ki naukri chali gayi par unki that nahin gayi aur BA karne ke baad to we hum jaise majoori to nahin kar sakte the –yeh unke liye neecha kaam tha par kahin office main naukri bhi nahin mili’ (father lost his job. But the son has not yet changed his lifestyle. After his BA he is not prepared to do any menial jobs, but has not yet got any white collar job).

    commissioner’s office, the leadership of the workers, etc, etc. But one aspect that can be probably asserted firmly is that the workers should not have to pay for it as they have been the ultimate victims. One might argue that the loss of so many productive years of employment and its consequences can never be monetarily compensated, but not even a token attempt has made in this direction. In an uneven field of power and financial wealth, the powerless always seems to become the sacrificial pawns. But as concerned citizens, we must demand an end to this; the powerless have paid enough and should not have to pay any further.

    The present state of affairs cannot be fully appreciated unless it is put in historical perspective. Because of the peculiar scope of this study, the workers and their agitation come across as “powerless” and “ineffective” to change the current scenario. But this is an incomplete and inaccurate comment on the working class of Kanpur. The mill workers of the city have a legacy of class conscious movement (they spearheaded the nationalist movement too in the region), spanning a period of over 80 years. Starting from the 1920s, they have repeatedly organised themselves to secure better working terms and conditions and also higher negotiating power. Thus, in different times and under different circumstances, often not more conducive than the present one – for example, under the colonial regime – the mill workers of Kanpur have been able to achieve more dignity at work and favourable legislations through collective actions [Chakrabarti 2003; Joshi 2003; Pandey 1970]. Hence, the present situation does not signify an irreversible decline but actually a trough in the continuous wave of the working class movement. The crest is likely to be round the corner.




    1 The award followed the recommendations of a committee headed by

    K K Pandey which was constituted by the government to refurbish the

    flagging textile industry. The award was perceived to be anti-labour by

    the working class and its leadership and there was a widespread

    understanding that the award would lead to wide-scale retrenchment in

    the industry and also substantially increase the workload of the workers.

    2 I have had extensive discussions with the current leadership of a section

    of workers under the TU organisation ‘JK Cotton Mill Karmachari

    Audyogik Utpadak Sahkari Samiti’ as well as some individuals who have

    been in the leadership position in the past in the period since the closure

    of the mill.

    3 For quotes the source is indicated by alphabets and a number where the alphabets indicate the abbreviation of the name of the respondent and the number indicates the number of the interview.

    4 This is another interesting and ubiquitous practice in the city. A majority of the residents of Kanpur do not have legal electricity connections for complicated reasons. But many of them draw electricity from a legal connection by paying a rent to the legal user.

    5 A form of payment for an asset which is not shown in the legal deed for transfer of property, a transaction in black money.

    6 A concentration of very small accommodation, often with common toilet facilities built near large mills, which houses the mill-workers and their families.

    7 Indexed to the rise in living expenses and the norms of the sector. 8 We have the employment data for 49 respondents – including the 27 detailed interviews and 22 short ones. 9 Somebody who has renounced the world and lives on alms and donations given for singing devotional songs in temples.

    10 On September 30, 2005 JK Cotton held their annual general meeting to update the stockholders of the group activities in Merchants’ Chambers of Commerce Building, Kanpur. The workers had requested an audience with the group head Padampat Singhania to discuss their issues. They had also sought police permission for the same. But, in spite of promising to meet them after the meeting, Singhania tried to get away in his car without doing so. When the workers tried to stop him they were lathi charged by the armed security. The next day there was a small mention of the incident in the local papers.


    Bremen, Jan (2003): ‘The Making and Unmaking of an Industrial Working Class: Sliding Down to the Bottom of the Labour Hierarchy in Ahamedabad, India’, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

    BIFR (2002): ‘Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction’, Case No 81/90 Re: M/S JK Cotton Spg & Wvg Mills Co Ltd Bench–II, Draft Rehabilitation Scheme, New Delhi.

    Chakrabarti, M (2003): ‘Industrialisation Process of Kanpur City: 1900 to 1945’, unpublished thesis, Kolkata.

    IFCI (1992): ‘Draft Rehabilitation Scheme: JK Cotton Spinning and Weaving Mills Co Ltd Case No 81/90’, Industrial and Financial Corporation of India, New Delhi.

    JK Cotton (1990): Juggilal Kamlapat Cotton Spg and Weaving Mills Co Annual Report and Accounts 1989-90 (67), Kanpur.

    Joshi, Chitra (2003): Lost Worlds: Indian Labour and Its Forgotten Histories, Permanent Black, Delhi.

    Khanna and Annadhanam (1991): ‘JK Cotton Spinning and Weaving Mills Co Ltd’, Special Audit, Directions of BIFR, New Delhi.

    Labour Bureau Annual Report (2001, 2006): Consumer Price Index (Industrial Workers).

    Menon, M and N Adarkar (2004): One Hundred Years. One Hundred Voices: The Mill Workers of Girangaon, An Oral History, Seagull, Calcutta.

    Pandey, S M (1970): As Labour Organises: A Study of Unionism in Kanpur Cotton Textile Industry, Sri Ram Centre for Industrial Relations, New Delhi.



    March 10, 2007
    Social, Economic and Educational Conditions of Indian Muslims – Rakesh Basant
    A Comment on the Analysis in Sachar Report – Steven Wilkinson
    The Condition of Muslims – Ghanshyam Shah
    Indian Muslims: The Varied Dimensions of Marginality – Rowena Robinson
    Conditioned Lives? – M A Kalam
    For copies write to: Circulation Manager,
    Economic and Political Weekly,
    Hitkari House, 6th Floor, 284, Shahid Bhagatsingh Road, Mumbai 400 001.

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