I started this project after seeing a photograph of chitra.I wanted to meet her,share how i felt and wanted to help her financially for her operation.However,When i went to meet her,her mother asked me to leave immediately as I was not the first one to take photos of her and make promises of help.It took me hours to convince her and meet chitra.I now have a friend from sivakasi and a reason to do a story on the life in the factories of sivakasi.
For the past 3 months, I have been documenting the life of workers of Sivakasi Crackers Factories. On Sep 5, 2012 when I heard about the fire accident, in which around 30 people were killed and many injured, I had to go there immediately to document the horrible plight there. Fortunately, for me, Arun Titan came with me to document the incident. This is the first time in my life I found myself in a mortuary with many dead bodies around me and also they all were very much disfigured. I experienced shivers and found it difficult to get even a single steady shot. Had I gone alone without him, I would’ve been very difficult for me.
Sivakasi is a town in Virudhunagar District in the Indian State of Tamilnadu and is the capital of India’s Fireworks Industry. It was called by the Jawaharlal Nehru as Little Japan. There are around 800 fireworks factory in Sivakasi as per the records. It is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. The major production of crackers is for the Hindu Festival Diwali which is celebrated by bursting crackers to drive out evil. Diwali commemorates the return of Lord Rama, along with Sita and Lakshmana, from his 14-year-long exile and vanquishing the demon-king Ravana.
Sivakasi experiences very less rainfall and the land is not very fertile for agriculture. Working in fireworks factory is the major job of the people over there. The children who lose their parents in fire accidents take the same job and this continues as vicious circle. Nearly, 10000 people are directly or indirectly dependent on the manufacturing and sale of fireworks. Every year around 150 people gets injured in fire accidents and many get killed. Lack of proper safety precaution and overloading the workers with tight deadlines are one of the main reasons for such accidents. There are several human rights violations and violations of law passed by Indian Government in this industry. The accident which occurred on Sep 5th 2012 is one of the major accidents in past years. Around 53 died in the accident and many were injured.
This is my effort to document the working condition of the people in Fireworks Factory and the accident that shook Tamilnadu in the recent times. Hope these factories become a safer place to work and the people living in the cities realise that there are lives behind these fire crackers.
Note: As there are lots of misinterpretations I am making this clear,this documentary is not about fireworks industry,not about celebrating Diwali and I strongly condemn turning it into political.This is just an attempt to emphasize that factories in sivakasi should be made a safer place to work.
******Contains disturbing content******
He got severe burns when the accident took place while he was disposing the waste from factory.The accident took place as the bullock cart carrying the waste from factory caught fire due to friction on 2nd August 2012
Fireworks industries gives contracts to the villages for making roll caps,sticking the materials where a large number of children work at homes after coming from school.
This is one of the most dangerous substance used to manufacture fireworks.
He suffered head injury when he went inside the factory to rescue people.He is now serious condition and experienced shock like this every 5 minutes
He lost his child Aravaindhan, when the accident took place at his home.The lighted candle accidently fell on the threads used in fire crackers.Aravindan was burnt to death.The paint on his nails signify that he has changed his job.
She suffered burns all over the body and is one of the survivor of accident which took place 5 years back.