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Meghan Markle’s baby shawl is made in Indian sweatshop factory

Meghan Markle was seen with baby Archie wrapped in an Erawan Cotton Dohar, a traditional Indian summer blanket, at the King Power Royal Charity Polo Day this month (above)

Workers making the organic blanket the Duchess of Sussex wrapped baby Archie in during his first family outing are being paid as little as 37 pence per hour, MailOnline can reveal.

Eco-conscious Meghan cradled her son in an Erawan Cotton Dohar, a traditional Indian summer blanket, while watching Prince Harry play polo earlier this month. 

It is sold by a Hong Kong based brand called Malabar Baby, which specialises in organic baby clothes and accessories for affluent mothers.

MailOnline visited the homes of some of the workers who make the blanket and the factory where it is manufactured in Bagru, a shabby town about an hour away from the city of Jaipur in the western Indian state of Rajasthan.

The blanket is manufactured by a textile company called Nayika which also produces the remainder of the Malabar Baby range.

Aruna Regar, who works as a seamstress at the Nyika factory and helped add the finishing touches to what has been dubbed ‘the Royal blanket’ produced pay slips showing that she has an average take home salary of around 6,000 rupees per month – £70 – for a 48 hour week. This equates to 37 pence per hour.

The minimum wage for a skilled worker in Jaipur is 31.125 rupees per hour, which is 36p.

Mrs Regar, aged 50 almost fainted with shock when MailOnline informed her about the cost of the blanket and the royal connection to her handiwork. She admitted that she had never heard of Meghan, Archie or Prince Harry but did know about the Queen.

She said: ‘The blanket almost costs what I earn in two weeks and that’s difficult for me to believe. We struggle to make ends meet and life is very difficult for us. Our conditions in the factory are good and we are not treated badly.

The blanket the Duchess of Sussex chose is manufactured in Bagru, a shabby town about an hour away from the city of Jaipur in the western Indian state of Rajasthan (above)

The blanket the Duchess of Sussex chose is manufactured in Bagru, a shabby town about an hour away from the city of Jaipur in the western Indian state of Rajasthan (above)

Workers at the factory - visited by MailOnline - earn an average take home salary of around 6,000 rupees per month - £70 - for a 48 hour week. This equates to 37 pence per hour

Workers at the factory – visited by MailOnline – earn an average take home salary of around 6,000 rupees per month – £70 – for a 48 hour week. This equates to 37 pence per hour

Textile staff at the Indian sweatshop clock in at 9.30am and finish at 5.30pm six days a week with a 25-minute break for lunch

Textile staff at the Indian sweatshop clock in at 9.30am and finish at 5.30pm six days a week with a 25-minute break for lunch

The blanket is manufactured by a textile company called Nayika which also produces the remainder of the Malabar Baby range. Pictured: The Nayika factory in Bagru where it is made

The blanket is manufactured by a textile company called Nayika which also produces the remainder of the Malabar Baby range. Pictured: The Nayika factory in Bagru where it is made

‘But our biggest problem is the money that we earn, it’s a pittance. I’m very happy that such an important person is using my blanket because it means there will be more orders for the company and continued work for us.’

Mrs Regar lives in a decrepit, half-built brick house on the outskirts of Bagru, an area which specialises in textile hand printing. She shares it with her husband, two sons, their wives and two grandchildren. It cost £7,000 to build but there was not enough money to complete construction. 

The family of eight live in two rooms, which are poorly lit due to intermittent electricity while there is also a limited water supply. A hole in the ground passes for a toilet while the bathroom is composed of a bucket and tap. The half-paved roads surrounding their home have been flooded lately due to the monsoon while pigs and cows rummage through rubbish searching for food.

Meghan and Prince Harry, who pride themselves on their social activism and philanthropy, will be disturbed to learn of the pay and living conditions of those who made Archie’s organic blanket. It has also been reported that the couple, who have championed a number of green initiatives to help save the planet, are keen to raise their son in an eco-conscious way.

Staff at the factory said they were delighted that Meghan and Harry (pictured) had chosen the Malabar Baby Indian blanket to cradle baby Archie because it resulted in 2,000 more orders

Staff at the factory said they were delighted that Meghan and Harry (pictured) had chosen the Malabar Baby Indian blanket to cradle baby Archie because it resulted in 2,000 more orders

The duchess was pictured with the £33 dohar, sold by a Hong Kong based brand called Malabar Baby

Malabar Baby specialises in organic baby clothes (above) and accessories for affluent mothers

The duchess was pictured with the £33 dohar which is sold by a Hong Kong based brand called Malabar Baby, which specialises in organic baby clothes and accessories for affluent mothers

Mrs Regar, who is affectionately known as Aruna Devi amongst her colleagues and friends, said: ‘You can see how we live. It is a basic existence. We work all the hours that God sends because we have to.

‘We do not understand things about saving the planet or what is or is not organic. For us it is all about work and survival.’

Malabar Baby was founded by wealthy Indian-American Anjali Harjani-Hardasani in 2014, after she moved from New York to Hong Kong

Malabar Baby was founded by wealthy Indian-American Anjali Harjani-Hardasani in 2014, after she moved from New York to Hong Kong

Mrs Regar’s husband Ram Gopal also works at Nayika where his duties include cutting the organic cotton for the blanket Archie was wrapped in. As a master cloth cutter, he earns more than his wife, taking home around 15,000 rupees per month (£176).

The couple start work at 9.30am and finish at 5.30pm, six days per week. They are only given 25 minutes for lunch and are not provided with any formal contracts.

Their salaries may seem low by western standards but in Mr Gopal’s case, he earns above the national average monthly salary of 13,000 rupees (£154). 

His wife however falls below this threshold meaning their combined income is barely enough for a family of eight. Neither of their sons are in full-time employment and have just started their own hand printing business from home. 

The family survives on a mainly vegetarian diet of rice, lentils and vegetables, which have increased in price in recent times. A kilo of lentils, for example, can cost anything up to 200 rupees (£2.37) while most vegetables are less than half that. The average price of a bottle of beer is also 200 rupees.

Mr Gopal, aged 55, said: ‘Even though by Indian standards my salary is just above average as a family, if you combine our income, we are poor and things are very hard. We do not know about the world of the rich and famous who buy the things we make. We do not even know which countries it is being sent to. 

‘My job is very demanding and requires a lot of skill but it is not very well paid. Sadly, it is all I know, this is the only thing that I’ve done all my life.’

When shown a picture of Meghan holding baby Archie in the blanket he helped make, Mr Gopal beamed with pride. He added: ‘I do not know who these people are but we had heard that somebody very famous was using our dohar. This must be them.

Businesswoman Harjani-Hardasani (right) posted this photo of her with one of her Indian workers Aruna Regar, 55, who she called 'inspirational' to celebrate International Women's Day

Mrs Regar (above), who is affectionately known as Aruna Devi amongst her colleagues and friends, lives in a half-finished brick house with her family. It cost £7,000 to build but there was not enough money to complete construction

Businesswoman Harjani-Hardasani (left) posted this photo of her with one of her Indian workers Aruna Regar, 55 (right) who she called ‘inspirational’ to celebrate International Women’s Day

Mrs Regar (above) lives in this decrepit house on the outskirts of Bagru. She shares it with her husband, two sons, their wives and two grandchildren. They live in two rooms, which are poorly lit due to intermittent electricity while there is also a limited water supply. A hole in the ground passes for a toilet while the bathroom is composed of a bucket and tap

Mrs Regar (above) lives in this decrepit house on the outskirts of Bagru. She shares it with her husband, two sons, their wives and two grandchildren. They live in two rooms, which are poorly lit due to intermittent electricity while there is also a limited water supply. A hole in the ground passes for a toilet while the bathroom is composed of a bucket and tap

Mrs Regar's husband Ram Gopal (pictured together) also works at Nayika where his duties include cutting the organic cotton for the blanket Archie was wrapped in. As a master cloth cutter, he earns more than his wife, taking home around 15,000 rupees per month (£176)

Mrs Regar’s husband Ram Gopal (pictured together) also works at Nayika where his duties include cutting the organic cotton for the blanket Archie was wrapped in. As a master cloth cutter, he earns more than his wife, taking home around 15,000 rupees per month (£176)

Mrs Regar, a seamstress, helping add finishing touches to what they have dubbed 'the Royal blanket' produced pay slips showing she earns an average of 6,000 rupees per month (above)

Mrs Regar, a seamstress, helping add finishing touches to what they have dubbed ‘the Royal blanket’ produced pay slips showing she earns an average of 6,000 rupees per month (above)

‘Perhaps they might want to come and visit me one day to see how I made it? I might be poor but I feel very proud that royal people are using this blanket.’

When MailOnline visited the Nayika factory, workers were busy hand block printing reams of organic cotton which form the outer layers of the dohar. These are then stuffed with mulmul, fine, soft cotton and then stitched to complete the blanket. 

Since Meghan appeared in public with Archie wrapped in it, orders have gone through the roof and around 2,000 are currently being made to meet demand. 

The hand-crafted blanket has sold out on the Malabar Baby website and is available for pre-order only. It is described as being ‘simple but chic,’ and makes ‘cuddle time lots of fun at home or on the go.’

Conditions at the factory are better than at many within the Indian textile industry. Workers are paid a fixed monthly salary, as opposed to each item they make, child labour is strictly forbidden and there is a high level of cleanliness. While concerns have been raised over salaries, employees describe the management as ‘fair.’

Conditions at the factory are better than at many within the Indian textile industry. Workers are paid a fixed monthly salary, as opposed to each item they make, child labour is forbidden and there is a high level of cleanliness. Pictured: Malabar Baby's Indian Summer blanket piled up and ready for collection

Conditions at the factory are better than at many within the Indian textile industry. Workers are paid a fixed monthly salary, as opposed to each item they make, child labour is forbidden and there is a high level of cleanliness. Pictured: Malabar Baby’s Indian Summer blanket piled up and ready for collection

Nayika has a total of 100 employees and was founded by Meenu Tholia, a well-known local textile designer who also comes from one of Jaipur's richest families. She also runs an exclusive boutique in the city selling clothes and accessories made under her own label. Pictured: Workers inside the factory work on their sewing machines for another delivery

Nayika has a total of 100 employees and was founded by Meenu Tholia, a well-known local textile designer who also comes from one of Jaipur’s richest families. She also runs an exclusive boutique in the city selling clothes and accessories made under her own label. Pictured: Workers inside the factory work on their sewing machines for another delivery

Factory manager Farid Mohammed told MailOnline that there had been a four-fold increase in the number of blankets they are making for Malabar Baby since its royal association. Pictured: Staff at the Indian factory block print material

Factory manager Farid Mohammed told MailOnline that there had been a four-fold increase in the number of blankets they are making for Malabar Baby since its royal association. Pictured: Staff at the Indian factory block print material

Nayika has a total of 100 employees and was founded by Meenu Tholia, a well-known local textile designer who also comes from one of Jaipur’s richest families. She also runs an exclusive boutique in the city selling clothes and accessories made under her own label.

Factory manager Farid Mohammed told MailOnline that there had been a four-fold increase in the number of blankets they are making for Malabar Baby since its royal association.

He said: ‘Meghan and Archie have been the best advertisement for this product and it has become a global hit. We make all the Malabar Baby range and ensure that this is done to a very high standard.

‘We were very shocked to learn of the royal approval for our product. We told all the workers about it but I don’t think they really understood the significance of this. But we are delighted that the Royal family of Great Britain are using something that we have made. It is a true honour.’

When asked about the meagre wages of some of the workers, Mr Mohammed replied: ‘These are industry standard rates. We do not set them.

‘Our workers enjoy good conditions, much better than you’ll find at other factories. We pay them the correct rate and treat them well.’

Malabar Baby was founded by wealthy Indian-American businesswoman Anjali Harjani-Hardasani in 2014, after she moved from New York to Hong Kong. She came up with the idea after being unable to find baby wear and accessories that she felt were affordable and of high quality.

She named the company after the exclusive area of Mumbai where he family lives.

During a visit to the Nayika factor earlier this year, Anjali posted a photograph of herself with Mrs Regar on social media to celebrate International Women’s Day but incorrectly called her Anita. 

Malabar Baby has been approached by MailOnline for a response. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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