Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Spinning machine
The above photo is a part of the spinning machine, it is a stand on which a certain number of yarn spindles are mounted each contributing a single strand of thread that through elaborate systems of pulleys and hooks that delicately maneuvere each strand from the spindle to the end (right hand side of first photograph) where all the strands converge passing through a small mechanism that is again made of simple wooden pegs and metal rods that does the job of managing each strand and sending it to the desired position in a giant spindle specially prepared for a certain weave. The spindle is usually a drum made of metal or wood (2nd photo) onto which the threads get wrapped around tightly. Now the tough part is that this spindle is loaded onto the weaving machine which again takes each strand and weaves it into the cloth and so it is extremely important that throughout the spindle, it has to have every single strand or else it will give rise to an empty line in the cloth with that particuilar strand absent. A worker explained that in case a strand breaks they stop the machine rejoin the strand and then start the machine again, and this is so important that 'zindagi ka dhaga tootey tho chaltha hai, lekin mishin ka dhaga n tootey'.
Bhiwandi suffers a lot of power cut, power fluctuation, power surge and many other incentive packages provided by our schrizo govt. busy stamping SEZs all over the place, due to this power problems especially surges that are very common the tubelights have known to explode and ruin cloth, spindles or even some machines, till someone came up with the idea of having a bulb put in series with the tube (2nd photo). The bulb soaks the extra power and just glows very brightly for some seconds and in turn protects the tube. In some cases bulbs are also provided as their provide the required warmth for the yarn.

Starch machine
This process is required before the spindles of raw cotton yarn go for weaving so as to increase the strength of the strands and also make them slightly hard. This is a much bigger machine consisting of compartments that hold the starch powder and heat it so that it gets the desired consistency to be applied on the strands. The machine efficiently dips each strand of the spindle and coats it with starch before it is sent onto the drums that you see in the photograph to be dried, cooled and then spun again into the same spindle. This entire process involving coating of strands with starch give rise to a lot of heat, the entire galla was extremely hot with workers working in close proximity to these machines handling boiling hot strands with their bare hands. The floor superviser explained that in most of the labour here in bhiwandi was informal and got hired on a daily basis, but in many cases a workers often takes to a certain process or becomes comfortable with a certain machine and that is when 'aadmi aur mishin ek ho jathe hai'.

Dying machine
The yarn dying is an optional process, depending on what cloth has to be generated. A monochrome cloth is sent for dying after the cloth is woven but if the cloth is to have complex weaves visible from both sides of multicoloured threads then it is necessary that weaving process happens after dying of yarn. The process consists of mounting small spindles on a tray that has perforated vertical rods (as seen in the 1st photo on the left hand side) this tray is put into the dying machine which looks somewhat like a mini boiler (as seen on the right hand side of the 1st photo) that gets filled with a certain coloured dye and then sealed. I am not very sure what the right hand side photo machine does but it is a part of the dyeing process i think. The machine was again taking each strand and coating it with oil, i guess it was like adding finishing touches or something. The owner of this galla happened to tell us that 'Bhiwandi mein koi bhooka nahin sotha hai, sabko kam miltha hai' and explained that he had a strict policy that he employs almost anyone who comes and knocks on his factory gate (for that day).
Bhiwandi as an area has number of small and large gallas some legal and others illegal all working under the informal sector and employing a huge number of informal labour. There is complete absence of planned open spaces or housing for people who work and live here as entire area falls under industrial zone.


  1. how did u land up thr ??
    oh, have u noticed th striking similarity between u and anshuman's(mukul's bro) blog profile snap ?

  2. i visited Bhiwandi as a part of Touring Urbanism, which included a group of people visiting different places within our city that we usually are not aware of. Thane, Mulund, Bhiwandi and areas of Native town were some of the places covered.

    Yes i have.