Bangles: Behind the scenes

Published August 20, 2012
The cone enters roller machine to take shape of a raw glass bangle. Cone gets lengthen like a thin wire to revolve around a fast moving roller. It then becomes a roll of bangles which are later separated.
The cone enters roller machine to take shape of a raw glass bangle. Cone gets lengthen like a thin wire to revolve around a fast moving roller. It then becomes a roll of bangles which are later separated.
A factory worker busy making cone of melted glass so that it can be used for making a roll of glass bangles through another machine.
A factory worker busy making cone of melted glass so that it can be used for making a roll of glass bangles through another machine.
After 'sadai? home based workers work on ?joorai?. Women connect two ends of a bangle through ?joorai? by keeping it before a flame which emanates from a small gas pipeline. Air generated from a machine help lengthens flame otherwise ?jooria? won?t take place.
After 'sadai? home based workers work on ?joorai?. Women connect two ends of a bangle through ?joorai? by keeping it before a flame which emanates from a small gas pipeline. Air generated from a machine help lengthens flame otherwise ?jooria? won?t take place.
After 'sadai? home based workers work on ?joorai?. Women connect two ends of a bangle through ?joorai? by keeping it before a flame which emanates from a small gas pipeline. Air generated from a machine help lengthens flame otherwise ?jooria? won?t take place.
After 'sadai? home based workers work on ?joorai?. Women connect two ends of a bangle through ?joorai? by keeping it before a flame which emanates from a small gas pipeline. Air generated from a machine help lengthens flame otherwise ?jooria? won?t take place.
For a bunch of 365 bangles a worker is paid just Rs8 percent and that too if contractor of worker is honest.
For a bunch of 365 bangles a worker is paid just Rs8 percent and that too if contractor of worker is honest.
Different varieties of fancy bracelets are in great demand as well besides glass bangles. They look fascinating and attract buyers.
Different varieties of fancy bracelets are in great demand as well besides glass bangles. They look fascinating and attract buyers.
While sale of bangles continues throughout year but occasions like Rabiul Awal and Eids are considered special. Eid celebrations are meaningless without bangles. Bangles? sale reaches its zenith on 'Chaand Raat' night.
While sale of bangles continues throughout year but occasions like Rabiul Awal and Eids are considered special. Eid celebrations are meaningless without bangles. Bangles? sale reaches its zenith on 'Chaand Raat' night.
Rolls of bangles arranged at a shop ready to be sold.
Rolls of bangles arranged at a shop ready to be sold.
A shopkeeper arranges rolls of bangles as customers browse through the various assortments of designs and colours.
A shopkeeper arranges rolls of bangles as customers browse through the various assortments of designs and colours.
A woman factory work collects broken glasses from a heap that are to be used in the furnace which marks the first stage of bangle making. The broken glass is melted in the furnace before it heads for another process. Bangle goes through 28 different process of manufacturing and value addition before it reaches consumers.
A woman factory work collects broken glasses from a heap that are to be used in the furnace which marks the first stage of bangle making. The broken glass is melted in the furnace before it heads for another process. Bangle goes through 28 different process of manufacturing and value addition before it reaches consumers.
The melted glass is being rolled onto a rod inside the furnace by a worker. Factory owner Mohiuddin says that furnace is fired up at around 1300 degree centigrade to melt the wastage of broken glasses collected from different cities.
The melted glass is being rolled onto a rod inside the furnace by a worker. Factory owner Mohiuddin says that furnace is fired up at around 1300 degree centigrade to melt the wastage of broken glasses collected from different cities.
The melted glass is being rolled onto a rod inside the furnace by a worker. Factory owner Mohiuddin says that furnace is fired up at around 1300 degree centigrade to melt the wastage of broken glasses collected from different cities.
The melted glass is being rolled onto a rod inside the furnace by a worker. Factory owner Mohiuddin says that furnace is fired up at around 1300 degree centigrade to melt the wastage of broken glasses collected from different cities.

The glass bangle industry finds its origin in Ferozabad in Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

After partition families of Ferozabad associated with this work also migrated to Pakistan and largely settled in Hyderabad.

They started this industry here. The glass bangle industry’s tentacles are growing wider. It involves a large number of women who work as home based workers under no legal cover of labour laws to earn a living.

They are exposed to safety hazards as well during different stages of bangle work. They suffer from poor eyesight vision and other ailments.

Their wages are poor given whereas factory owners, dealers and retailers make most gains. Around 30 odd factories exist in Hyderabad where according to labour rights leaders bangle workers are not governed by Sindh Employees Social Security Institution or Employees Old-Age Benefits Institutions (EOBI) regulations as these institutions look the other way.

Bangles go through 28 different processes before reaching the buyers.

Most of the work is done in homes and home-cum-factories where bangles are cut, designed and coloured.

This kind of work is now taking place in other cities besides Hyderabad. The finished product reaches buyers all over the country from wholesale markets of bangles in Hyderabad.

The wholesalers, factory owners and retailers don’t share actual profit margins they earn.

While customers may have other products to consider, it's unlikely that glass bangles will ever lose their charm for most women.

-- Photos and Text by Muhammad Hussain Khan

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