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Hanifa and Jamila Sumra

Ages: Around 30 to 35

Occupation: farm labourers and bandh makers.

No education.

Residence: Nagalpur.

Date of Interview: 16/02/12, Mandvi.

Interview Summary

Sisters Hanifa and Jamila both discussed their work during this interview although it was Jamila who took the lead in answering most of the questions. Tying is their profession, but their work has also become habitual and they find it hard to sit empty-handed. Jamila, boastfully, says that nine brothers in her family and rest of Nagalpur follow the profession and mainly work for Kadarbhai. Yet the women of the Sumra family also have multiple roles; they undertake a range of farm work such as doing niraj(clearing unwanted grass) and harvesting cotton. The men are also labourers, working both in construction and pulling carts that transport goods and raw material. At home, the daughters cook, and sometimes work half-days for wages (aadhmoll). They also do tying work whenever they have a spare hour.

A piece of work is usually completed in five days. Jamila adds that though the bandhmaking is very painful and results in numerous cuts on their fingers, they have no option but to continue. They are often in severe pain from doing this type of work. They are from underprivileged backgrounds and given the choice, they would not be engaged in tying. The girls continue to do bandhaniwork even during Ramadan, when they also find time to read the Quran and do rosary. Tying work remains an integral part of their daily life throughout the year.