Maoriland Worker, Volume 8, Issue 301, 27 June 1917, Page 1
A recent number of tho "Times of India" describe th-3 horrible condition of the mill opeMtivce in Bombay. Wages are relatively high to what cau bo obtained irom the land, the smallliMs of which drives the peasantry to smlc work in the mills; yet at the iirst sign of raiji men will desert the, city in hundreds. Why is this? "So one who cares to penetrate tho slums of Bycnlla, Pairel, Wnril, Mazagaou, or Tarwadi, where the bulk 'of the mill population finds its abode, -will be long , at a loss for ivn answer. On the land life may be hard, but even the poor«>t has his own hut and his own hearthstone. In Bombay liity there were nt tho last census only 37,932 occupied homes to shelter a population of 979,145, . . . . It is a grim fact, and one not so well known as it should be, that 75 per cent, of the families living in Bombay are boused in a single room or portion of a room .... "The effect of this state of things is clear. .It is unmistakably revealed in the census figures. Of ilia total population of the city, G40,258 ore males, as against 339,157 ,I'emnles. The average birth-rate is 18,."J(W, as against an average dnalh-rate of 41,471. The worker conies to Bombay, but he leaves his" family in the inofussil, whenever lie can. Living no doubt is cheaper in tho country, but thai- consideration alone would not keep him from bringing his iumily to d city where women and even children cau earn gorfd wages. What ho recoils from are the mean and dishonouring conditions iunlnr which his wife must live, and the terrible risk to which his children will be exposed. In the Bombay Presidency the rate of infantile mortality in 1914 was reported to be 198 per LOCO. Th,-.l: iigure is auuiciently shocking enough. In Bombay City, however, the deathrate among infants was no less than 385 aer 1.000.- It is, of course, among the lower classes that things are worst.
No worklnan witn a spark V pride oi independence in his character, would expose his family to such <jfos66'mforf and danger."