Of Despair and Hope
Faiz Ullah
THE SONG OF THE SHIRT: CHEAP CLOTHES ACROSS CONTINENTS AND CENTURIES by Jeremy Seabrook Navayana, New Delhi, 2015, 288 pp., 495
February 2015, volume 39, No 2

In The Song of the Shirt: Cheap Clothes Across Continents and Centuries Jeremy Seabrook makes the despair of the garment workers of Bangladesh convincing. In searing prose he stitches together a coarse yet sobering portrait of the lives of an increasingly dispossessed lot of workers making use of archival sources, contemporary media accounts, and interviews with workers, activists and scholars. Seabrook discusses, in 52 short, angry chapters, vagaries of nature, immiserating rural life, powerful employers’ lobby, industrial terrorism and culture of fast fashion—forces that, in various measure, shape the lives of the workers who earn less than Rs.4500 INR a month toiling in dehumanizing, life-threatening conditions.

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