Working-Class Conditions in Bombay

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    A SOMEWHAT lurid light is thrown upon the effect of industrialism and its attendant conditions on the ‘working classes’ of Bombay by an analysis of certain statistics published by Dr. G. S. Ghurye and S. R. Despande in the Indian Journal of Economics for October. The statistics were collected by the Bombay Labour Office in co-operation with the Young Women's Christian Association with reference to infant mortality. The number of individuals from whom the particulars were compiled was 2053. The subjects of the inquiry were mainly of agricultural class origin, and mostly from the Konkan. After migration to the city they had usually kept in touch with their place of origin and visited it at least once a year. Their wages are low; they are permanently in debt; and ninety-seven per cent of them live in one-room tenements which are dark and ill-ventilated. The factory hours for mothers range from eight to ten a day. The age-range of the women workers under consideration is 15-45 years and above, the highest percentage, 23-8, lying in the age-group 21-25 years, the next, 22-8 per cent, being in the group 26-30 years. The drop in numbers above twenty-five years of age, which becomes very marked above the age of thirty years, falling to 11-3 per cent, is generally due to the return of the women workers to their place of origin, permanently incapacitated by illness.

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    Working-Class Conditions in Bombay. Nature 129, 160 (1932) doi:10.1038/129160b0

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