28 November, 2020

Boomtown Brats... Six Days A Wick

Teenagers and women take the place of child labour in the fireworks units of Sivakasi

Boomtown Brats... Six Days A Wick
The Change Is Within
  • As demand for fireworks escalates, Sivakasi is raking it in. Turnover has nearly doubled in 7 years.
  • The anti-child labour campaigns ensure under-14s are going to school.
  • Over-14s, who are legally allowed to work, and women, are in demand. It's twice as costly to employ men.
  • Prospects for the mechanisation of the fireworks factories and alternative career opportunities spell hope.


It's a rite of passage every girl should go through—celebrating sweet sixteen and all that it means. But for Shrishakti, a

cheerful and feisty 16-year-old, and others like her who work in the 620 factories and 3,000 match units around Sivakasi (and another 6,000 unlicensed units), it means working from 8 am to 6.30 pm so that others can blow up fireworks to celebrate events like Diwali.

Since the millennium, it's not just Diwali that is the festival of light and sound. Ganesh Chaturthi, Dussehra, even...


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