Sivakasi, The firework hub of India, is a small town situated in the Virudhunagar district of Tamil nadu in India ( Until 1985, Sivakasi was a part of Ramanathapuram district, When ramanathapuram ditrict was trifurcated Sivakasi became the part of Viruthunagar district), which has developed into a biggest industrial center of India, spanning an area of 7.57 square kilometers with a population of 72170 (in 2001) and accounts for the 90 % of the fireworks , 80 % of the safety matches produced in India. The global market for the Sivakasi fireworks is growing at the rate of 10 % per annum. Sivakasi is the one of the highest sales, excise and custom duty paying town in India. With nearly 450 firework Industries around Sivakasi, it directly employs over 40,000 people with an estimated turnover of 20 billion rupees (340 million USD) and about 1 lakh people indirectly employed in paper tube making, wire cutting, box making, etc.
The saga of Crackers manufacturing in Sivakasi began in the year 1922, when Mr. P Ayya Nadar and Mr. A Shanmugha Nadar went to Calcutta and learnt the art of safety matches manufacturing from Mr. Das Gupta’s Safety matches manufacturing Industry, On returning back to Sivakasi, the established the company ‘ The south India Lucifer Match Industry’, which marked starting point of modern industrialized Sivakasi. After their success with the safety matches, color matches and star matches, they began their venture of making sparklers, most popular item of firework industry imported from UK and Germany at that time. The first seed for modern family fireworks was sowed in the year 1934, when the central duty on matches was enacted. During the second world war, from 1938 to 1944, fireworks and firecrackers import was obstructed. This gave the boost to the indigenous fireworks industry at Sivakasi, which was in its initial stage of development.
With the Indian Explosive rules enacted in the year 1940, a system of licensing was introduces for manufacturing, possession and sale. Thus, the first organized factory with several precaution and safety measures came into being in Sivakasi. With the end of the second world war, the gateway for the import of raw material was opened and the industries in Sivakasi began their expansion pace. Behind broadening their efforts, several new units were established, among them National fireworks, Kaliswari fireworks and standard fireworks became the prominent fireworks producers in the year 1942 and they marketed their throughout India. What began as 1 to 2 industries in 1923, became 450 factories in Sivakasi alone by the end of the 2001. The expansive range of cost effective products with the adherence to the safety measures, legislation and highest quality standards has made Sivakasi, as the major supplier of special range of fireworks and explosives to Indian air force, Indian army, Indian Navy and Government Ordnance factories.
The semi-arid tropical monsoon climate type of Sivakasi was the another lead factor for the growth of cracker industries. It has a high mean temperature and a low degree of humidity with the temperature ranging from 200C to 370C. Thus the scanty rainfall and a dry climate prevailing around Sivakasi contributed to the Non-stop production of crackers and functioning of fireworks industries.
The people of Sivakasi are work conscious and highly enterprising in nature. On witnessing, the industriousness of the people’s of Sivakasi, the first prime minister of India, Pandit Jawarhalal Nehru aptly named it as “Mini Japan” (fondly called as “Kutti Japan” in Tamil and “Chotta Japan” in Hindi).