Glass apart: the story of 200-year-old Firozabad’s glass industry
Suhagin ladies pehnati hai hain yahan ki chudiya…poore Hindustan main mashoor hain Firozabad ki chudiya…tabhi to ise suhaag nagari bhi […]
Anushruti Singh October 31, 2018
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Suhagin ladies pehnati hai hain yahan ki chudiya…poore Hindustan main mashoor hain Firozabad ki chudiya…tabhi to ise suhaag nagari bhi kaha jata hai…”(Married ladies wear glass chunks made here, Firozabad glass bangles are famous all over India, that’s why it is also called Suhaag Nagari) says Salimuddin, one of the workers of a bangle factory, while sipping his tea on a roadside stall. He and his colleagues are on a break and everyone is keen to share their story. “Since childhood, I have been working in bangle factory. My father and his father also did the same,” adds Salimuddin. Another worker, who wants to remain unnamed, says, “Yahan karigar bahut jyada garmi main kaam karte hain, koi aam aadmi kaam nahi kar payega. Uss hisaab se majdoori bahut kam milti hain roz ka 250 se 300 rupaiye…” (Workers work in so much heat and high temperature that a normal person can’t work. We do not get the wages according to the environment in which we work, people earn between Rs 250 and Rs 300 daily.) Firozabad, a district in Uttar Pradesh, about 40km away from Agra and 255km from Delhi, is a home to many Jain temples but mostly it is known as glass making hub which is a biggest industrial cluster in this sector. Famous for all sorts of glass work, not only in India but also globally, Firozabad glass industry has a fair share in the sector: in 2012, according to ASSOCHAM, it was estimated to be around Rs 150 billion. “This city is also known as Suhaag Nagri and is famous for its glass handicraft and mouth blown glass work. Now challenges are huge, plastic industry has almost made some of us shut shop, but we are fighting,” says Sanjay Agarwal of General Traders who also represent the UP Glass Manufacturers’ Syndicate as its secretary in Firozabad. City is home to at least 200 organised manufacturing units out of which 130 units are manufacturing bangles, about 40 are practicing mouth blown technique and rest are automated, either manufacturing bottle or glass tumblers, Agarwal tells us further. There is less written on how this small town became world famous for glass making. The city gained the district title on 5 February, 1989. According to district records, city was associated and de-associated several times and finally got attached to Agra in 1833. The glass industry hadn’t established itself then. “I don’t know the exact history of how glass industry started in this town, but it is at least 200 years old. I am doing this business, my father and his fore fathers were also in this business,” says owner of the Nav Bharat Bangle store, one of the bangle sellers in the famous Gali Bohran area.