The Face of Closing Factories and Financial Crisis

Madhuben - factory workerby Madhuben Bhagwandas Parmar

“How can I pay rent, when there is no money to spend on food?”

I am a widow, 41 years old. My husband was employed in a textile mill. However, he was addicted to liquor and died 8 years back. Life ran into a difficult phase since then. I have a daughter and a son who is 21 years old. My son is married. There are now five members of our household and we are staying in Gomtipur, Ahmedabad. 

I used to work in Vasant factory at Gulab Nagar in Ahmedabad city. I had worked there for 7 years and was earning Rs50 as daily wages. My job involved the winding of bobbins. In addition to earning wages, I was also getting money on account of overtime. Work at the winding factory was going on well until the prevailing financial crisis affected its operation.

As my husband is not here anymore, and my son too is not working, life has become like hell. I am able to get work for only 10 days in an entire month. I have to support five family members at home with insufficient earnings of Rs570 (USD 11.80). During the first two months there was no work at all. It was very difficult to run the household, especially during this phase when everything is very costly.

The financial crisis has affected our eating habits. We are having food that is literally made in water. We are able to eat chapattis once in 4 days only. Most of the time, we have to skip lunch and sustain only on breakfast. During evenings, we eat Khichdi (an Indian food preparation made from rice and lentils) and chillies. On some days, we go to sleep at night without having any meals. We are unable to have two meals, as we were having in the past. “How can I take care of my son and daughter?” This is a big question before me.

I do not wish to live anymore, however as my children are small, I cannot think of ending my life. Earlier, I used to purchase new clothes and now, I wear old clothes. The thought of mandi (recession) makes me go into depression. I have already borrowed Rs3000 for my treatment. My house rent is Rs200.

“How can I pay rent, when there is no money to spend on food?”

We avoid social functions like weddings, and do not participate in any festive celebrations. And, in functions where our presence is essential, only one of us attends on behalf of all. I pray to God that such situation should not be experienced by anyone else.

Many factories have closed down - so many people have become jobless!!!