Living with Precariousness: Survival in Small Manufacturing Enterprises

Raghav Mehrotra, Maansi Parpiani | 2022


These are the narratives of multiple men who migrated to Mumbai from eastern Uttar Pradesh (UP) in the 1990s and 2000s in search of a source of livelihood. Through linkages of family, kinship, village, and friendship, they ended up in an industrial neighbourhood called Vishesh Nagar1 in the city’s central-eastern suburb (in the municipal L-ward of the city). Three decades later, many of them run small manufacturing units, now the employers of other and newer migrants who work for them. Vishesh Nagar is a hub for recycling, manufacturing, and finishing of metal parts, garments, stationery, and toys, marked by a spatial division into compounds. Each compound has 30–50 production units of varying sizes and typologies. Most business owners of these units identify themselves as Muslims and some as Yadavs and Vishwakarmas.