PHOTO PROMPT -© Vijaya Sundaram
Prince had recently been brought to Delhi as a child labor by a local tea vendor from Sivkasi in south of India.
On Diwali – day he waited impatiently for the sun to set as he had heard tales of fireworks and lighting in the northern parts of the country. The day was hectic because he had to serve innumerable rounds of tea to the nearby shops.
There was a great boom and a sparkler bloomed in the reddish hue of the setting sun. Prince watched with stars in his eye and thought – perhaps it is the one I made!
Words ~ 101
Background of the story ~ Sivakasi is a hub of the fireworks industry, believed by some to be second only to Liuyang, the Chinese fireworks city, Sivakasi in southern India’s Tamil Nadu state with its 800 odd fireworks units, is synonymous with child labour, a reputation it finds difficult to shake off.
Ideally suited for fireworks manufacture thanks to a dry climate and low rainfall, Sivakasi caught the public eye when activists exposed the rampant child labour employed in its factories.
There was less noise in the fireworks hub in 2015. At a time when Sivakasi should be crackling with preparations for Diwali, at least 100 fireworks units are up for sale. Work orders have come down and workers in many of the small units are jobless. While workers are worried about their daily wages, employers are struggling to save the Rs 2,000 crore industry. Of the 800 fireworks units, 150 units, mostly small factories, have turned sick and 40 have closed operations. Some 100 units are up for sale with owners looking for prospective buyers with not many in sight.
The weak economy, Chinese competition and environmental activism has taken its toll on this industry.
Thanks for the prompt Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. SHALOM.