Seven years ago, on this day when everything seemed perfectly normal, something unexpected happened. It was on this day in 2013 that hundreds of textile workers in the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh lost their lives because of mismanagement. Despite knowing that the Rana Plaza building had a major crack, the managers forced the reluctant workers in. The resenting voices of the labourers were suppressed, consideration for human life was absent, value for fellow human beings lost and most of all greed for profit overtook over 1000 innocent and hardworking lives. The Rana Plaza located just outside Dhaka came crashing down on the workers in the matter of a minute.
Everyday millions of workers compromise on a safe working environment, human dignity and decent treatment just for meagre wage, barely managing to stay alive. The horrific image of a building literally crumbling on so many people who were forced against their will to be in it tugs at the heart strings, but the heartless capitalists can only see a loss of capital. Human lives have been reduced to units, mere numbers. Every person lost in the incident had a family, a story, a reality that they lived. Bearing hazards, threats to their lives, they looked forward to another day of survival. Labour laws across the world are so poorly constructed, loopholes are built in for producers to exploit. Numerous industrial accidents causing great harm to the labour force have been a part of history, yet there is little improvement in the situation.
Even if there are provisions for factory workers to insure themselves or claim basic rights, most of them are not aware or informed about it. While we comfortably sit in our homes with social security and steady income, labourers are out there with no insurance, pension or for that matter even a break for lunch.
The Rana Plaza incident sparked a huge wave of protest against the existing labour laws across the world. The Rana Plaza incident had captured the attention of the world media at that time but now it is just another relic in the vast tub of labour law violations. It is at such times that sustainable production gains more importance. Promotion of sustainable clothing and fashion is a potential solution to the misery of labourers. Sustainable fashion ensures ecological balance and social justice in the entire process of its production. Mass production of textiles is unethical in many ways, from the unfair treatment of workers to use of harmful chemical in the production process. In order to combat various issues, adopting sustainable production of clothing can make a significant positive impact. All the materials are organically sourced, and the artisans are given a fair price for their precious handcraft. Thereby leaving making a positive difference in the lives of so many workers and on the environment. Today, the Rana Plaza is functioning like it was before, the incident is a distant memory, but it stands to serve as a reminder to make a change. It is only a matter of time before another calamity befalls and an agitation begins. You can be that change, support sustainable fashion and raise your voice against unethical production.
We at Aamvi, pray with sincerity for the peace of all the lives lost in the Rana Plaza incident. Let’s strive to make the world a better place for millions of people and the earth today.
- Kodhai Narayan