Thursday, April 05, 2018

The art of spinning tales with scroll painting

The art of spinning tales with scroll painting

R. Avadhani

BADAMPET, MARCH 27, 2018 00:06 IST

UPDATED: MARCH 27, 2018 00:06 IST

30,000 families continue the legacy of a 15th century craft

A picture speaks a thousand words, they say. And if you come across Dhanalakota Vaikuntam Nakash’s scroll paintings, you will see colours and figures fusing to spin elaborate stories.

The native of Cheriyal in Siddipet district is among the torch-bearers of an art that dates back to the 15th century, when Vijayanagara empire was ruled by Srikrishna Devaraya (a scroll painting from 1625 A.D. was reportedly found with an art collector called Jaagdeesh Mithal). At present, there are about 30,000 families who are continuing the legacy of scroll painting and Vaikuntam’s family is among them.

They paint on canvases as big as 40 to 60 feet, depending on the story, and it takes two to six months to complete one. All natural colours are used in the process and the focus is mostly on Kula (caste-based) Puranas.

They have eight Puranas for reference — Adi Purana for Madigas (the story will be told by people of Dakkali community), Gurram Mallaiah Puranam for Malas (Gurrapu), Bhaktha Marakandeya Puranam for Padmashali (Kunapuli), Kantha Malleswara Puranam for Goundlas (Yenuti/ Jetti), Madelaiah Puranam for washermen (Patam), Nayibrahma Addam Puranam for Nayi Brahmins (Addam), Maha Bharata Puranam for Mudiraj (Kakipada) and Katamaraju Puranam for Yadava (Mandahechhu community to tell the story).

“The life of these paintings is about 150 years and we are sure that more than five generations will enjoy them,” says Vaikuntam, who was here to participate in a programme organised by Kudali, a learning centre for farmers. He and his family members had painted a scroll on the current farm crisis which was unveiled last month at Kudali.

“We interacted with farmers before working on the painting,” said Vaikuntam’s son, Rakesh

Six amazing strategies Amazon India is using to bring every local artisan online


Six amazing strategies Amazon India is using to bring every local artisan online

Binjal Shah     posted 7 hours ago78

During a workshop at Khamir, near Bhuj, Amazon India reveals the ways it is gaining the trust of rural artisans and helping them sell online.

At the sprawling Khamir campus, about 15 kilometres from Bhuj, the spirit of optimism and curiosity overpowered anxiety, and the sense of promise trumped uncertainty, as 50-odd handloom and handicraft artisans from Kutchi villages gathered to potentially make a paradigm shift in the way they did business – with Amazon India playing pied piper to their closeted ambitions.

“Gujarat has two crore internet users. Will those many people ever visit your store in Kutch? A majority of Amazon’s sellers are based in Tier-II and III cities, rather than larger metros. We even have tribal artisans who have moved to online selling. And you Kutchhis are much more advanced - you use the internet, WhatsApp, Facebook, have PAN and Aadhaar cards. Why are you lagging behind?”

This was Amazon’s call to action to the iPhone-wielding Kutchi artisans, who had paradoxically resisted when it came to letting the digital storm permeate their professions and truly make a difference to their lifestyles.

With an aim to get every artisan on the worldwide web in order to ensure  their crafts get the necessary audience and appreciation, Amazon India is employing the following six strategies to gain their trust:

Viraj Thakkar plays liaison at Kalahaat's Kutch leg, at Khamir.

Deploying foot soldiers

Amazon India’s way of demystifying an intangible internet giant is by providing exactly what was missing – a touchable, approachable entity – a face, if you will.  Amazon goes a step further and deploys foot soldiers in every single cluster – which is just Amazon-speak for ‘region’ - they have identified.

Viraj Thakkar, Sales Executive at Prione (which is Amazon’s JV partner to enable Indian small and medium businesses (SMBs), and offers their cluster enablement services to Amazon’s Kala Haat program) is the face of Amazon in Kutch. Stationed there since September 2017, since much before the seminars, his job as a liaison entails on-boarding artisans as sellers on, in a way that safeguards the interests of both parties.

But the beauty of this role – his role – lies in his attention to detail. His camouflage is airtight – dressed in a hand-woven khadi ikat shirt, he is on a first-name basis with most artisans in the region. He speaks the vernacular of the region – so much so that he could fill in for any of the sales people at their retail studios, answer questions about the origins of the fabrics, the printing and production techniques, and rattle off the contents of every shelf. By truly understanding their crafts and appreciating their heritage and history, he has ensured that the artisans see him as one of their own. Furthermore, by speaking for the artisans at the conference, he proves his allegiance.

Breaking the fourth wall, and coming face to face with artisans

While this was not necessarily the case with Kutchhi artisans - all of whom had email accounts - many of the artisans from other clusters were internet debutants. Therefore, as part of their “Kalahaat” initiative, Amazon India decided to tour the country to directly communicate with local artisans – to ease their doubts and fears about entering the online space, and more importantly, speak about the world of opportunities that lies on the other side of that screen, through workshops. They have reached 11 Indian states so far.

As for the workshop conducted at Khamir, the 50 artisans in attendance sat through a presentation detailing how to go on-board and sell products online, fetch an appropriate price for their one-of-a-kind hand-crafted products - in their case, everything from bags to keepsakes and apparel, market one’s products online, the extent of Amazon’s network, the seller support they offer, how to maximise their reach to Amazon’s vast audiences, and logistics. The presentation encompassed every what-if possible, visibly pacifying traditionalists.

In the Q&A that followed, the artisans voiced several other concerns – about the requirement of a GSTin for Amazon, if they were eligible for an exemption, what percentage of revenues goes to Amazon, how product listings and photoshoots need to be conducted, if internet training and education can be provided to artisans who are not yet internet users, etc.

They were, in turn, informed that they only needed four things to become sellers – the artisan ID card, access to the internet, a bank account, a PAN or GST Number.  Furthermore, et on that while Amazon charges a 17 percent cut, because they were working with the government, anyone with a valid artisan card proving their artisan status, would only be charged 8 percent.

Madhavi Kochar, the Head PR for Seller Services at Amazon India, said: “We're not looking at this as something that earns us money.  How much money we earn out of this is not important right now; we just want to make it sustainable.”

Turning insiders into evangelists

From among the artisans who came to Bhuj for the workshops from nearby villages like Ajrakhpur and Dhamadka were also a few who had already made seller accounts on Amazon India, and had been running their online stores for a while. They included Dr. Ismael Mohamed Khatri, a world-renowned master of the traditional Ajrakh block printing process, a family run practice for the last 300 years and currently run by the eighth generation; and Abdul Gafur Khatri, the last surviving custodian of traditional Rogan Art. They attended the workshop to share their success stories and encourage more artisans to embrace ecommerce.

“Not only did my products sell extensively, and my name crop up on Amazon. Aapka maal bikega ya nahi bikega woh kismat ki baat hai, par aapka brand banega,” said Rizwan Khatri, another Rogan artisan, who is also an Amazon Seller, to the inquisitive crowd that sought reassurance from one of their own.  “When I got my first order, I got an SMS as well as an email. However, I didn't have what they had ordered in stock. But I could communicate with the buyer, and sold him another painting from my stock instead. I even received the payment from Amazon in five days, instead of seven,” he added.

Starting a ‘Handloom & Handicraft’ store on Amazon

“Have you wondered how your products will be visible amongst three crore products?” We've created a separate page for handlooms - which has another special section, “Crafts of Kutch,” says Aditya.

All products listed by artisans and weavers are available through the ‘Handloom & Handicraft’ store on Launched in 2016, the store aims at bringing the rich Indian heritage of handicrafts and handlooms - across categories such as sarees, jewelry, handbags, shoes, and more- to Indian consumers’ doorsteps.

“We will make sure that your products are at par with Fab India - so an Amin, or an Ismail are the same as Fab India on Amazon,” says Aditya, adding, “And with all your products, we have added an elaborate description about how it is made, and what the story is behind each product.”

Some other nuances are also incorporated into the listings. For example, the charm of some products like bandhani lies in the fact that it is delivered tightly twisted and bundled up, and is to be opened and either draped in that crimped state or ironed out by the wearer. An open piece cannot be sold again, and, hence, cannot be taken back. The listings of all such products state that the item is not returnable.

Aditya Agarwal taking the crowd through the motions of online retail

Working with NGOs and quasi-governmental bodies they already trust partnered with local NGOs like Kharmir and Shrujan - that strive to grant better access to artisans –to tap into their extensive network and expertise.

And yet, some of the no-nonsense, frank questions that the founders of the two NGOs directed at Amazon during the event - “How will you promote Kutchi art specifically?”  “How will you create awareness that Amazon is doing handlooms?”  “Why can’t a new handlooms tab be incorporated into Amazon’s home page itself? – reassured the artisans that they had their best interests at heart first, and that of their corporate partner, Amazon later.

Amazon has also established strategic tie-ups with government bodies like DC Handlooms and Gujarat Tribal Development Department, to onboard over 1,100 weavers, cooperatives, and artisans in 11 states through 35 workshops so far, impacting more than 1.5 lakh weaver and artisan households.

Working with their respective governments, Amazon has joined hands with APCO and Lepakshi in In Telangana, Tantuja, Jute Corporation of India and Boyanika in West Bengal and Orissa, Cauvery Handlooms and Loomworld in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, and even worked with central government agencies like TRIFED & Craft Cottage Industries Corporation to enable UP Khadi and Handlooms to enable khadi societies in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

Handholding them through the journey from offline to online

Understanding that the most daunting bit for artisans is the specifics, the “how” of things, Amazon detailed a step-by-step process on what it takes to create product listings, and start a store.  They offered to provide various services such as cataloging, imaging, technical guidance, and support – even stating that they would do the photoshoot of the artisans’ first 40 products free of cost, immediately after the workshop, in order to demystify the process further.

Launching other logistical services that would help make the transition even smoother for first-timers, has various initiatives and offerings, from Fulfilment By Amazon (a pay-as-you-go fulfilment service wherein packs, ships, and delivers products to customers, manages returns, and does customer service on behalf of the sellers), to innovating Easy Ship (an assisted shipping service that makes it easy for sellers to ship products across India), launching Seller Flex (bringing Amazon’s flagship FBA experience to the seller’s doorstep by implementing the FBA technology at sellers’ warehouses). The Global Selling Programme helps Indian businesses to transcend geographical boundaries and take their authentic regional selection to buyers all over the world. The retail giant is also building the largest storage capacity in ecommerce in India for sellers

Govt plans 40% subsidy to handloom workers

Govt plans 40% subsidy to handloom workers

THE HANS INDIA |    Apr 05,2018 , 12:27 AM IST

 Gadwal: The state government is planning to provide 40 per cent subsidy to all the handloom workers, master weavers and handloom weavers Associations for buying fabric, dye and colours required by the weaver community through a scheme called ‘Cheneta Mistra’ in the district. 

For this the government is providing 40 per cent subsidy to the waver community who buy the fabric, dye and colours through TSCO.Earlier under the Cheneta Mistra which was launched in 2017, the government was providing a subsidy of 20 per cent to the weavers, however this year the government has enhanced this subsidy for enabling the weavers’ better profits.

According to district officials of Gadwal this is in addition to the 10 per cent subsidy provided by the Central government.  For this purpose, the State government has allocated Rs 120 crore funds for the year 2018-19 and the same should be utilised by the weavers’ community, said MD Zaheeruddin, Assistant director Handlooms and Textiles Gadwal. 

The District Collector has called for more awareness on the various schemes provided by the government for the weavers and urged them to avail the subsidy and get benefited

New Social Movement to Save Handloom


New Social Movement to Save Handloom

New forms of social organisation to sustain handloom

 In late September, young women from the small village of Heggodu, Karnataka joined a padyatre that ended in Arsikere in Hassan district, fighting the inclusion of handloom and handicrafts under the Goods and Services Tax. Workers from different states, environmental activists, and unusually, even consumers came together in what they call the Tax Denial Satyagraha. The padyatre was one among the many protest demonstrations that the community of rural artisans and consumers have put forth to the state and central governments ever since the announcement of the GST rates.

Great contradictions between the government’s pompous projections and their policy implications can be found even without looking closely. While the talk is big on ‘Made in India’, there has been no change in how small producers across sectors receive minimal support. In fact, before the revisions recommended by the GST Council in November 2017, the rise in prices would adversely affect handloom producers.

Susheela who has worked for over two decades in Charaka Women’s Multipurpose Cooperative Society based in Sagara Taluk, Karnataka, speaks about the cost of production that was predicted by the cooperative. “From about 2 lakh rupees that we used to invest every year earlier, we would have to invest 5 lakh annually,” she explains. “And when compared to large scale powerloom production, what chance do we stand when the prices of the products sore up?” she asks.


Since mid 2017, one of the founders of Charaka and prominent theatre practitioner Prasanna, along with the Grama Seva Sangha (GSS), a group constituting mainly urban consumers, are leading the Tax-Denial Satyagraha. At the Arsikere protest the workers of the Charaka Cooperative Society sold their handloom products, publicising that the sales would take place without imposing GST on customers.

“We made 25,000 rupees worth of sales without GST that day and Prasanna sir was arrested,” shares Soumya, one of the participants at the rally and a worker at one of the Charaka units in Sagara. “The larger movement is on-going. The demand is that all handmade, organic items like baskets, pots, handloom cloth should be exempted from GST,” she says. In the wake of the newest changes brought in by the GST Council, 29 handicrafts items are put in the 0% tax slab, perhaps a great milestone for the movement.

Abhilash C.A., Convener, GSS, shares the beginnings of the group, how it was founded to mobilize members of different sectors on to one platform. The group set out to find ways to bridge the gap between people behind the constructive work at the rural end and the urban consumers. “The GST is only a current matter we are addressing to take our main objective forward. It’s a political issue to come together to raise economic concerns,” he says.


Social movements have long been seeing different groups of people with diverse backgrounds coming together for a common cause. This New Social Movement to save handloom is witnessing rural working and middle classes and urban middle class citizens working in different capacities if not equal ones. The workers groups not only constitute communities from across the state of Karnataka whose caste occupation is weaving, but also women for whom the skill of weaving is an alternative, full time wage possibility. These women, shareholders in the Charaka cooperative society, have been participating in rallies and national conventions for years to draw the attention of the larger citizenry on how handloom can be a sustainable model of production.

Although initially trained under an old employment scheme by the Textiles Department, the women in the villages of Sagara Taluk had been working on personal looms in their own houses, making negligible or no profit, with the government functioning as both supplier of yarn and lone buyer of woven fabric. What the founders of Charaka and a few women from the village managed to do was organise the women into one workforce, gradually into a cooperative.

The garments tailored at Charaka from the cloth that is woven in various units across the state of Karnataka, are sold under the brand ‘Desi’. The nominal rates of the clothes and the nature of minimal marketing are in contrast with big handloom brands across the country that have a market both online and offline. These big sellers, the centres of the handloom universe, tend to frame for the consumer the identity of the invisible worker who is perhaps at the margins of the same universe.


At Charaka, the women are in consistent interaction with urban consumers as visits to the units are common. “It builds our confidence when people from cities want to come here and learn how we make the clothes everyone wears, we can explain to anyone… even if we don’t speak each other’s language,” says Kavita, who works in the tailoring section.

Class distinctness or the consciousness of it certainly does not go away with these interactions. But they function as a kind of feedback mode. They also ensure that the workers are not completely alienated from the produce and their own market. In most households, gaining employment in the processing units within the villages is a sign of pride. A chance for upward economic mobility through a job which does not require migrating to nearby towns or cities.

Many young women working in Charaka speak of financial independence of a kind other interventions seem to have been unable to create. Revati who is part of the quilt making unit at Charaka believes that Self Help Groups (SHGs) are simply traps and no longer provide training or assistance for skill development. “My mother has been part of a SHG but I don’t want to be a member of such sanghas. We may just get stuck in a cycle of debt,” she says.

Where SHGs have failed to stabilize women’s finances, an assured monthly salary has made approaching private banks a preferred option for young women in the region. This kind of basic access to credit is an important outcome of the interventions by Charaka and a number of similar ventures that have taken birth after it. Such cooperatives seem imperative, given the vulnerable condition of labourers in the larger context of a neoliberal economy. But instead of the necessary encouragement by the state in material terms, the GST affects private cooperatives with annual turnovers of more than 20 lakhs rupees, implying that only unorganised artisans are exempt from GST.

Even as PM Modi, in his widely heard Mann Ki Baat, spoke of the unprecedented growth in Khadi sales during the 2017 Diwali, the picture is quite the contrary for private sector handloom producers. In fact, they experience a setback as government bodies, on the indications of the PMO, place orders with public sector entities alone. Many manufacturers of handloom fabric, shawls, sarees, continue to remain in the unorganised sector, away from the possibility of such bulk orders that can help improve situations. The demands by GSS for policy change are posed in this context: to raise the cap to 50 lakh rupees for all producers and to exempt rural federations and cooperatives entirely from GST.

Systems such as Charaka are emblematic of entrepreneurship, indeed of a new form of labour organisation. However, here lies the danger of tying handloom with tradition and culture. As distanced urbanites, saving handloom might well be an act of empathy towards livelihoods. But it would never fall upon the urban activist to carry on a labour intensive system. It is hence all the more important to further the association between workers and urban middle class consumers to seek a sustainable model. A model that does not reproduce old identities of the struggling handicrafts worker or one that does not rest on the exploitation of such a worker.

Abhilash brings clarity to the fact that the Tax Denial Satyagraha is mainly a consumers’ movement. “We are taking the help of artisans and workers to understand what they want. If they completely enter the protest mode, we know that the production will take a hit,” he admits and adds: “The idea is to not burden the rural further.”

This kind of social association has the ability to assert claims for increased support from the state. But can we also expand our understanding of entrepreneurial endeavors to include alternative occupation initiatives? Can we, in our demands, create a shift in the nature of labour in handmade production where the workers have not just incentives but also greater claim on their products? Perhaps only when new technologies are sought with a view to remove the burden of sustainability from the marginalised, can the centres and margins of the handloom world truly converge.

(Names of some of the sources have been changed to protect their identity).

(Shraddha N.V.Sharma is with the Advanced Centre for Women's Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

Weavers explore direct market option

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Weavers explore direct market option

THE HANS INDIA |    Apr 02,2018 , 05:24 AM IST

Weavers explore direct market option

For the first time in Telangana, the women handloom weavers are given an opportunity to involve in direct market sale while avoiding the role of the middlemen.Creative Bee, which is into natural-handwoven textile &fashion, has introducedwomen weavers hailing from Pochampalli and Koyalagudem to the entrepreneurial world and has given training on techniques to sell their work directly to the customers, under Disha, a project held in collaboration with the United Nations Development Project (UNDP) and supported by IKEA Foundation. It is a key to change, to empower women and eventually improve their livelihood.

Many women are expecting more such chances to gain exposure of the real market that helps them to draw better profits. “I have been into weaving sarees form the past 10 years. We feel this is a great opportunity for women like us that helps us to earn the full amount of sale instead of receiving mere amounts after the middlemen and the retailer makes huge profits,” saysSaraswati, Koyalagudem.

Another weaver, Lavanya, shares, “We are always neglected and do not receive money immediately after the sale to the retailers or the middlemen. They usually pay us after a week or, so, which hinders us to meet our daily needs.”

Speaking to The Hans India, Bina Rao, director, Creative Bee, says, “It is a pilot project that involves nearly 2000 women undergoing training on how to go about with the direct sale of products. The initiation has attracted many designers showing interest to give orders to them and many companies are approaching us to support these women weavers underCorporate social responsibility activity.And I think any positive response is a great fillip to do better.” 

Collaborative training for Telangana women weavers

Collaborative training for Telangana women weavers

Sangeetha Devi Dundoo

MARCH 27, 2018 16:11 IST

UPDATED: MARCH 27, 2018 16:11 IST


As part of a programme called Disha, UNDP, Creative Bee and IDF will help women weavers step up the quality of handlooms and form a cooperative movement

Government-mooted schemes meant for the betterment of weavers and craftspeople have benefited some pockets of the State, but there are many other regions where weavers struggle to make ends meet, relying on daily wages to get by. Some of these villages in far-flung areas see women making barely ₹500 to ₹1000 per month, after spending 15 to 20 days weaving a sari. “It’s heartbreaking; the women hold on to their craft because they don’t know anything else, but they haven’t been able to leverage their skill to better their livelihood,” says Bina Rao of Creative Bee.

Rao has been travelling extensively in the interiors of Telangana and has just wrapped up a training programme for 140 women in a village near Pochampally. The training is a part of a year-long programme called Disha. Training modules will be held in villages across Yadadri, Nalgonda, Warangal and Siddipet districts, with the support of IKEA Foundation, IDF (research body India Development Foundation) and government of Telangana.

The prime objective is to promote entrepreneurship by equipping women weavers and craftsmen to understand changing market needs and learn the ropes of direct marketing. At the end of the programme, Disha will function as a women’s cooperative body. Disha is a pan-India initiative by UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) in collaboration with several government and local bodies to conduct training in textiles, agriculture, handicrafts, education, women empowerment, and more.

In Telangana, UNDP is working with Creative Bee and the focus is on textiles. Creative Bee is harnessing its two-decade experience in the textile sector to help 2000 women weavers learn direct marketing and step up their production quality

Indian Weavers’ Alliance Opens its First Outlet in Guwahati

Indian Weavers’ Alliance Opens its First Outlet in Guwahati

G PLUS FEATURE | APRIL 04, 2018 18:38 HRS


The Indian Weavers' Alliance (IWA) has opened a one of its kind retail store that deals with fashion products made by the local artisans of Assam. Not only are these products 100% handloom and made from natural fibre, they're equally fashionable.

The retail store was inaugurated on April 1 at Roodraksh Mall, Guwahati.  The event was attended by eminent personalities of the fashion industry, including Vikram Rai Medhi, Adityam Saikia, Medha Saikia and the finalists of Mega Miss Assam 2018. Lifestyle grooming expert Meghali Das and fashion photographers Pranjal Pratim and Kunal Lakhani also graced the occasion.

The IWA describes itself as not just a company but a movement, with the aim to show to the masses that 'handloom is as fashionable as you'. Members of the IWA directly deal with the weavers, cutting chances of any middlemen and thus increasing the payroll of the actual workers. Mr Saumar J. Sharma, CEO of Indian Weavers' Alliance believes that if the economic conditions of our weavers can be improved, they are capable of doing more work.

The handloom products sold by IWA are not only fashionable, but comfortable and classy too. And, they can be bought without digging a big hole in the pockets.

As a step to help our weavers, they have built a socio-economic model where every weaver will get work at least for 240 days. Thus, guaranteeing job for the weavers and in return producing multiple varieties of fabric using all forms of natural silk and other fibres

Union Ministry of Textiles Approves 51 projects handloom projects to support weavers

02/04/2018 03:20pm

Union Ministry of Textiles Approves 51 projects handloom projects to support weavers

Union Ministry of Textiles Approves 51 projects handloom projects to support weavers

New Delhi, Apr 2 (KNN) Under National Handloom Development Program (NHDP), Union Ministry of Textiles has approved 51 handloom projects out of 56 from Chattisgarh.

The projects approved have been sanctioned with a projected cost of Rs 16.68 crore.

According to government official reports, during 2016-17, total of 940 weavers had been benefited under the Village Industries Department’s Integrated Handloom Development Program in the state.

With a view to support and develop handloom weavers, this scheme was initiated by the government under which economically weak weavers of rural areas are divide into groups of 20 and are provided weaving training of 4 months to make them more dependable and employable.

In order to meet the market demands for making designs, weavers are provided 2 months of skill improvement training.

Further to lend support to those who don’t have their own looms, government provided them financial aid of Rs 25,000 for loom and Rs 3000 for other necessary equipments.

Also, weavers cooperative societies are provided financial aid of Rs 20 lakh each for infrastructure development.

Under Prime Minister Employment Generation Program (PMEGP) sponsored by Central Khadi and Village Industries, a total of 8500 persons were provided employment in Chhattisgarh during the last eight years.

During the financial year 2015-16 the PMEGP had provided funds of Rs 17.56 crore to 830 cottage industry units for starting their works and further these units have provided employment to 948 persons.

According to the information provided by officials, under this scheme, for setting up of cottage industry, projects costing upto Rs  25 lakh is sanctioned.

And also for beneficiaries of general category margin money of Rs 25 per cent is provided by the Board, while for beneficiaries belonging to the female category, ST, SC and OBC class, 35 per cent margin money is provided as grant.

The loan availed from the bank has to be returned over a period of seven years, officials said.

The project in Chhattisgarh is being run by Chhattisgarh Khadi and Gramodhyog Board and mainly Poha Mill, mini rice mill, crusher plant, lack production, bamboo and cane production center, pottery business, pulses mill, flour mill and many more production unit and others are financed under the program.

The Chhattisgarh Khadi and Village Industries Board aim is to foster capable youth through its various training programs from rural areas with complete knowledge of availability of raw material, marketing and financial management to run their units  and to provide them easy access to bank loans.

Further, Chhattisgarh government has also established an Apparel Training & Designing Centre each in Bilaspur,  Raipur, Bhilai and Rajnandgaon, officials stated.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

National handloom expo begins today

THE HANS INDIA |    Mar 21,2018 , 09:53 PM IST

National handloom expo begins today

Vijayawada: Additional Director, Commissionerate of Handloom and Textiles K Srikanth Prabhakar has informed that the National Handloom Expo-2018 opens here on Thursday. It will be open at Sathavahana Degree College here till April 4.

Addressing the media here on Wednesday, Prabhakar said that the expo would be organised keeping in mind the festival, Sri Rama Navami.He informed that about 130 lakh handloom workers earn their livelihood by depending on 38.46 lakh looms. Handloom was the second biggest sector after agriculture for the people of India to earn bread and butter, he said.

He explained that about 10 lakh people earn their livelihood directly and indirectly on 2.79 lakh looms across 13 districts of Andhra Pradesh. Out of various cloth manufacturers in the country, handloom contributes 18 per cent and about 15 percent handloom produce were exported to other countries.

Director, Ministry of Textiles K Ravindra said the 15 days National Handloom Expo was planned to encourage and create opportunity for the handloom workers from across the country to sell their products. 

There were 48 handloom clusters in the state and each cluster would have 225 members on an average. Around 63 stalls were provided at the expo for the participants coming from AP, Telangana, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Rajastan, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Orissa and other states.

He said handloom produce like silk, furnishings, carpets, wide range of handloom saris like Uppada, Jamadani saris, Venkatagiri, Madhavaram, Dharmavaram, Pochampalli and Gadwal saris would be available for sale at the expo.

A poster was released on the occasion.Commissionerate of Handloom and Textiles joint director Maheswara Rao, Regional deputy director M Naga lakshmi, assistant directors D Isaah and A Chalapathi were present

What makes Dharmavaram Silk Sarees so special?

What makes Dharmavaram Silk Sarees so special?

By UdaipurTimes Team on March 21, 2018

The prized possession of every woman, the traditional Dharmavaram silk saree got its name after the mother of Vodavaru Swamy- Dharmambai. The history of these sarees can be traced from the year 1153-54 AD.

The story

More than 120 years ago, the weavers in the small and quaint town of Dharmavaram village in Anantpuram district started weaving magic in the form of yellow-maroon sarees. Fondly called- the bridal sarees, these become an essential part of wedding trousseau.

The double shades of the saree were intentional and crafted to make it look special as a wedding gift. These shades later on became its identity, lending it a distinctive appearance.

The twist of the pallus exhibiting solid colours make you look like a million bucks. The broad borders are the trademark of Dharmavaram sarees, which usually showcase motifs of the Lepakshi temple and Latha Mandapam. The carvings etched on the sarees usually include temple borders, elephant designs and peacock motifs. Often referred to as the bridal saree or rajwadi saree, a Dharmavaram saree exudes and exhibits a charm meant for the elites.

The dual-shaded pallus in mute colours are yet another signature style of these sarees. The interwoven zari borders enhance the beauty of saree. The royal aura of this saree is unmatched and unmissable. Etched with beautiful patterns on border and pallu, Dharmavaram silk sarees hold a special foothold in the domain of silk sarees. Not to mention, the special place in our hearts!

The price-y swag!

Quite a few factors make Dharmavaram sarees a prized possession. Of course the royal charm and interwoven gold zari border pitch in to make it a costly affair. Besides, the human effort and perseverance that the saree needs in order to be unique and special, make it quite a grand affair. Your saree love is incomplete without a Dharmavaram saree in your closet. The purest form of Dharmavaram saree can cost you more than a lakh and is a heirloom to be possessed and boast of! The unmatched beauty and exclusivity of intricate patterns can make you gasp in awe and disbelief to having witnessed such an art!

With time, the craft of making Dharmavaram sarees has also evolved. Without losing out the dependability on the traditional touch, the weavers have included sequins, pearls, gold brocade pattern and crystals to the artwork to woo the larger audience and sustain the art form. Much commendable, indeed!

Style it up!

The regal style of the saree is well-complemented with diamond jewellery or traditional gold jewellery. Team it up with a ‘veni’ or ‘gajra’ to complete the look.

The yarn woes

Despite crafting out the exquisite and festive look for you, the weavers of Dharmavaram face uncertain future due to the unorganised structure of trade and lagging behind power loom industry in the means of productions and prices.

The sarees are sold under different brand names and go through several middle channels to reach you. Bharat Sthali is an endeavour to give the weavers a way forward.

We sell Dharmavaram sarees as Dharmavaram sarees only and the sarees are sourced directly from the weavers and artists

Odisha’s First Handloom and Handicrafts Museum – ‘Kala Bhoomi’

By Bureau

 March 23, 2018 

Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated Odisha’s first handloom and handicrafts museum – ‘Kala Bhoomi’ at Pokhariput here, on Thursday.

The crafts museum, spanning across 13 acres is divided into two blocks – handicrafts and handloom. The
handicraft section will exhibit unique artworks of Odisha craftsmen, the handloom section will exhibit traditional textiles and weaves.

Items such as terracotta, paintings, dhokra and bell metal work, Pattachitra, wood carvings, household objects, ornaments, mythology/folklore depictions, palm-leaf paintings, etching, applique work, stone and wood carving and tribal art will be displayed in eight separate galleries.

The museum will be open for public from March 25 from 10am to 5pm.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Handloom censuses : Decline in number of Weavers

So far, three handloom censuses have been conducted by the Ministry of Textiles which indicates that there has been decline in the number of weavers engaged in the handloom industries. As per first handloom census (1987-88), there were 67.39 lakh handloom workers across the country which was reduced to 65.50 lakh during second handloom census (1995-96). Further, these declined to 43.31 lakh, during third handloom census (2009-10). State-wise statement is annexed. However, share of full-time weavers to total weavers increased to 64% from 44% and share of idle looms decreased to 4% from 10% in third handloom census as compared to second handlooms census. 

(c) & (d): To Government has made a strategy to promote production and marketing of high value good quality handloom products for increasing earnings of weavers. To implement this strategy, the following schemes are under implementation:-

(i) National Handloom Development Programme (NHDP)
(ii) Comprehensive Handloom Cluster Development Scheme (CHCDS)
(iii) Yarn Supply Scheme
(iv) Handloom Weavers Comprehensive Welfare Scheme.


Status of Total Handloom workers as per 1st, 2nd and 3rd Handloom Census

S. No. State Name Nos. of Total workers (1987-88) Nos. of Total workers (1995-96) Nos. of Total workers (2009-10)
1 Andhra Pradesh 469,086 490,616 355,838
2 Arunachal Pradesh 47,400 53,473 33,041
3 Assam 2,079,238 2,322,268 1,643,453
4 Bihar 241,298 167,707 43,392
5 Chhattisgarh 8,191
6 Delhi 19,727 6,708 2,738
7 Goa 109 25 0
8 Gujarat 69,320 57,936 11,009
9 Haryana 37,640 22,810 7,967
10 Himachal Pradesh 55,387 65,099 13,458
11 Jammu and Kashmir 53,503 51,847 33,209
12 Jharkhand 21,160
13 Karnataka 188,749 177,562 89,256
14 Kerala 78,595 63,153 14,679
15 Madhya Pradesh 79,473 56,106 14,761
16 Maharashtra 147,478 80,901 3,418
17 Manipur 336,954 462,087 218,753
18 Meghalaya 13,612
19 Mizoram 43,528
20 Nagaland 147,617 126,228 66,490
21 Orissa 247,071 246,782 114,106
22 Pondicherry 9,207 7,369 2,803
23 Punjab 24,423 13,160 2,636
24 Rajasthan 84,769 71,915 31,958
25 Sikkim 568
26 Tamil Nadu 758,722 607,675 352,321
27 Tripura 138,886 291,761 137,177
28 Uttar Pradesh 657,987 420,684 257,783
29 Uttarakhand 15,468
30 West Bengal 766,808 686,254 779,103
Total 6,739,447 6,550,126 4,331,876 

The table (1995-96) excludes 3 States viz. Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim & 3 new States Chhattisgarh, Uttrakhand, Jharkhand.

August 7th , declared National Handloom Day

August 7th has been declared National Handloom Day vide Gazette Notification No.2 (14)/2015/DCH/P&E dated 29th July, 2015. The 1st National Handloom Day was celebrated on 7th August 2015 at Chennai and 2nd National Handloom Day is being celebrated at Varanasi. 

(b): For development of Handloom Industry as well as to boost export the following schemes are implemented by the Ministry of Textiles through Office of the Development Commissioner for Handlooms:-

i) National Handloom Development Programme (NHDP)
ii) Yarn Supply Scheme
iii) Comprehensive Handloom Cluster Development Scheme (CHCDS)

For promotion of export of handloom products, Handloom Export Promotion Council (HEPC), Chennai is nodal agency to explore the international market and organize participation of exporters therein.

Ministry is laying special emphasis on skill upgradation of handloom weavers and on linking handloom products with fashion.

Comprehensive Handloom Cluster Development Scheme

Source: Parliament

The Comprehensive Handloom Cluster Development Scheme (CHCDS) aims for integrated & holistic development of mega handloom clusters. Under the scheme, 08 mega handloom clusters have been taken up. As per the approved Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the mega clusters, various interventions i.e. technology up-gradation, product development/ diversification,Skill up-gradation, value addition, Marketing, Corpus Fund for Yarn Depot etc. have been sanctioned.In the Budgets, Mega handloom cluster has not been announced for State of Madhya Pradesh,a statement showing cluster-wise amount released as on 31/01/2018 is as under:-

(Rs. in crore) 
Mega Handloom Cluster-wise funds released under Comprehensive Handloom Cluster Development Scheme (CHCDS)
No.Mega Handloom Cluster(State)Amount released 
1.Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh)48.62
2.Sivasagar (Assam)21.63
3.Murshidabad (West Bengal)16.04
4.Virudhunagar (Tamil Nadu)36.14
5.Prakasam & Guntur Districts (Andhra Pradesh)25.92
6.Godda & neighbouring Districts (Jharkhand)15.56
7.Bhagalpur (Bihar)4.01
8.Trichy (Tamil Nadu)16.26

(c):Hathkargha Samvardhan Sahayata (HSS) aims to provide financial assistance for technological up-gradation (looms/accessories) to improve quality of the fabric and productivity.Under Hathkargha Samvardhan Sahayata, financial assistance to the extent of 90% of cost loom / accessoriesis borne by the Government India while remaining 10% is borne by the beneficiary.

(d):Under the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY), benefits available under these Schemes are as under:- 

S. No.ComponentsBenefits under PMJJBY & PMSBY
(i)Natural DeathRs.2,00,000/-
(ii)Accidental DeathRs.4,00,000/-
(iii)Total DisabilityRs.2,00,000/-
(iv)Partial DisabilityRs. 1,00,000/-

The scheme has been recently appraised for continuationduring the period 2017-18 to 2019-20 throughout the country, including Madhya Pradesh.

The AamAdmi Bima Yojana (AABY) implemented by Office of Development Commissioner (Handicrafts) for artisans through Life Insurance Corporation of India is under merger.

(e):The Government of India, Ministry of Textiles is implementing following schemes fordevelopment of handlooms & welfare of weavers:


NHDP aims at development of thehandlooms and welfare of handloom weavers through various interventions like cluster programme, marketing assistance, concessional credit etc. 


Yarn Supply scheme is meant to make available yarn at Mill Gate Price to the eligible handloom weavers so as to facilitate regular supply of basic raw materials to the handloom sector and help utilize the full employment potential of the sector. The scheme is implemented by National Handloom Development Corporation, a Government of India Undertaking. Under the scheme, the freight is reimbursed and depot operating charges @2% is given to depot operating agencies. Further, 10% subsidy on cotton, domestic silk and woolen yarn is provided with quantity restriction. 


The Comprehensive Handloom Cluster Development Scheme (CHCDS) aims at the integrated and holistic development of mega handloom clusters, having at least 15000 handlooms per cluster, with financial assistance up to Rs. 40.00 crore per cluster.


Ministry of Textiles has signed Memorandums of Understanding with Indira Gandhi National Open University(IGNOU) and National Institute of Open Schooling(NIOS) to secure educational facilities for the weavers and their families. NIOS offers Secondary and Senior Secondary level education with specialized subjects on design, marketing, business development, etc. through distance learning mode for handloom weavers, whereas IGNOU offers continuing education programs through accessible and flexible learning opportunities relevant to the aspirations of handloom weavers and their children for career progression. 

Ministry of Textiles is providing reimbursement of 75% of the fee towards admission to NIOS/IGNOU courses in case of SC, ST, BPL, and Women learners belonging to handloom weavers’ families.


This scheme has the following two components:-

(i)Mahatma Gandhi Bunkar Bima Yojana(MGBBY) for providing life insurance cover to the handloom weavers, in case of natural / accidental death, total / partial disability due to accident. Handloom weavers in the age group of 18 – 50 years have been migrated to Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana w.e.f. 1st June2017, whereas handloom weavers in the age group of 51-59 years continue to get coverage under MGBBY.
(ii)Health Insurance Scheme (HIS) for providing health care facilities to the handlooms weavers in the country has been subsumed in the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana since 29th March 2016.

(f):The quantum of export of handloom textiles during last 3 years and current year is as under:-
(Rs. in crore)
2017-18 (upto Sept’ 2017)1242.51

Skill training in handloom

Skill training in handloom
Source: PRO Cell IGAR(s) *

Imphal, March 23 2018: In an endeavour to provide job opportunities to the local youth, a Handloom Vocational Training Centre established by 39 Assam Rifles under aegis of 28 Sector Assam Rifles was inaugurated by Major General Virendra Singh, VSM, Inspector General Assam Rifles (South) on 23 March 2018 .

Mr.Surchandra Singh, MLA, Kakching assembly constituency and many other VIP dignitaries from the State machinery were also present during this inauguration ceremony.

A total strength of 300 people which included ward members, village chiefs and local youths were present for witnessing the inauguration ceremony.

The mega event started with ribbon cutting followed by inauguration speech by Major General Virendra Singh, VSM, Inspector General Assam Rifles (South) .

This enterprising endeavour was aimed at reaching out to the local populace and providing them job opportunities by imparting them skill training in the domain of handlooms.

The inauguration ceremony was followed by media interaction and tea and refreshment.

The overwhelming response and bonhomie shown by the local population reflects about the changing perception and affinity of local populace towards Assam Rifles

Weavers turn plastic bags into compassion

Weavers turn plastic bags into compassion

Jeremy Ervin | Times Herald11:54 a.m. ET March 23, 2018

After they're used to carry home things like milk and eggs, many plastic grocery bags never get used again. They wind up stuffed in kitchen cabinets, recycled, or worse, thrown in the trash and sent to a landfill. 

But one group in town is collecting the bags to help people who need a better way to sleep. 

Mats That Matter organizer Nancy Klemmer works strands of plastic shopping bags around a loom ...more

Brian M. Wells/Times Herald

Members of the Blue Water Rug Hooking Guild are weaving plastic shopping bags into sleeping mats for the area's homeless population. On Wednesday, the group met at Lakeshore Presbyterian Church in Fort Gratiot to work together on the mats. 

Nancy Klemmer is helping lead the project. She said she prayed for a task she could do to help people in need, then saw the idea for the plastic bag mats on Facebook the next day from the group 1 Million Women. 1 Million Women is an environmental and social action group that started in Australia. 

So Klemmer got to work. The project started about a month ago, but is looking to expand.

"The more bags we get, the more work groups we get," Klemmer said. 

A completed mat constructed out of plastic shopping bags sits on the floor of the Lakeshore ...more

Brian M. Wells/Times Herald

Plastic shopping bags wait to be turned into mats for the homeless by Mats That Matter March 21. ...more

Brian M. Wells/Times Herald

First the bags are collected and prepped. The handles and bottoms are removed and recycled, leaving the rest of the bag a rectangular sleeve. These sleeves are tied together to make lengths of plastic "yarn," that is used to weave the mats. The mats can be crocheted, but the Blue Water group uses a loom. This method doesn't leave the small holes that crocheting does, keeping the mat tightly woven. 

The mats are insulating, waterproof and the plastic material is unfriendly to insects, Klemmer said. It takes about 700 bags and four hours to make one mat for an adult person, Klemmer said. Mid City Nutrition is distributing the mats.  

Mid City Nutrition Executive Director Dawn Jackson said she knows of at least 12 regular users of the soup kitchen who sleep outdoors. Sometimes they try to sleep near a dump or junkyard, where they can find an old mattress to sleep on, Jackson said. The mats are meant to provide a better solution. 

"It gives them a cleaner option and gets them off the ground," Jackson said. "There's many who won't speak up and ask for help until they really need it." 

Colonial Woods Missionary Church Pastor Ann Harrington, left, cuts the ends off of a plastic ...more

Brian M. Wells/Times Herald

Ann Harrington, Colonial Woods Missionary Church director of ministries, has offered up the church as a place to drop off and store bags, and other groups in the church are going to start helping. Harrington said the church likes to get behind people who have innovative ideas for service projects. 

"A lot of it will be us cutting up the bags and getting our kids serving the community," Harrington said. 

Anyone wishing to help or contribute bags can contact the Mats that Matter Facebook page at Colonial Woods Missionary Church accepts bag dropoffs; the church is located at 3240 Pine Grove Ave., Port Huron and can be reached by phone at (810) 984-5571. Mid City Nurtrition is located at 805 Chestnut St., Port Huron and can be reached on Facebook at

Contact education reporter Jeremy Ervin at (810) 989-6276 or Follow him on Twitter @ErvinJeremy


Weavers’ loans availed from 2010 to be waived: KTR

Weavers’ loans availed from 2010 to be waived: KTR

In a release, Handlooms and Textiles Minister K T Rama Rao said weavers who had repaid their loans during the said period will also get their loan amounts reimbursed under the scheme.

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By AuthorTelanganaToday  |   Published: 23rd Mar 2018  8:52 pm Updated: 23rd Mar 2018  8:56 pm

File photo of Municipal Administration & Urban Development K T Rama Rao speaking at the Telangana Legislative Assembly.

Hyderabad: In a major relief to weavers, the State government has pushed back the eligibility date for  scheme from January 1 of 2014 to April 1 of 2010. Thus, weavers who availed loans from April 1, 2010 to March 31, 2017 will get waiver of loans up to Rs 1 lakh availed by them during the period.

Though the government had set June 2, 2014, as retrospective cut-off date for implementation of all its schemes, Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao considered the loan waiver of weavers as a special case following repeated pleas from weavers that the previous Congress government did not implement loan waiver scheme for weavers after 2010. Hence, fresh orders were issued on Friday pushing back the eligibility date to April 1 of 2010.

Also read

Telangana issues guidelines for waiver of loans upto Rs 1 lakhTelangana to waive off loans taken by Dubbak weavers

In a release, Handlooms and Textiles Minister K T Rama Rao said weavers who had repaid their loans during the said period will also get their loan amounts reimbursed under the scheme. He said that about 8,500 weavers will benefit from the latest decision taken by the State government which would cause a financial burden of Rs 40 crore on the exchequer

Our handloom is threatened with extinction. Govt must act

Our handloom is threatened with extinction. Govt must act


Published : Mar 14, 2018, 1:54 am IST

Updated : Mar 14, 2018, 1:55 am IST

Weaving in India dates to 500 B.C. and flourished during the Mughal period from the early 16th to mid-18th centuries.

 India is one of the few countries that still have a significant sector which employs artisans who weave for a living and produce almost 40 per cent of the cloth in the country.

India has been home to a variety of arts and crafts which have won it a coveted place in the cultural heritage of the world. Handloom is one of the most exquisite textile traditions of India, and weaving was once the largest income generating activity in the country. The weavers’ craft is threatened with extinction by power looms which offer a cheaper and faster way to produce the same goods; it can take the weaver weeks to create what the machines can produce in a day. Moreover machine products have a more sophisticated finish. As a result, many weavers’ clusters across the country are languishing.

Weaving in India dates to 500 B.C. and flourished during the Mughal period from the early 16th to mid-18th centuries. For centuries India was a hub for the silk trade. It is tragic that what was once an abiding symbol of India’s glorious cultural legacy has left many of its tradition bearers in a state of penury. It is time for the government, businesses and entrepreneurs to infuse new economic oxygen before these traditions become extinct. Ironically, the most authentic connoisseurs of Indian arts and crafts are foreigners who are genuinely interested in patronising them so that they withstand the onslaught of the changing state of affairs.

While the origin of handicrafts is rooted in history, we have to link their future with the dual realities of culture and economy as they are not just the interpreters of India’s art but are also valuable earners of foreign exchange. They evoke the myths, legends and history of the people.

The traditional Indian saris have been abiding allies in women’s attire: The patchwork riot of intricately hand-woven coloured silk for winter, the shimmering brocades for a big wedding and the pastel chiffons made for important occasions. It is a challenge today to use traditional skills, techniques, resources and personal creativity and imagination without retarding the creative process involved. The shimmering threads twisted on rickety frame of sticks and string, takes months to emerge into a complete sari. The weavers are too poor to invest in power looms, and too naive to bypass the exploitative middlemen and build links with the market. According to an estimate, most weavers don’t get five per cent of the price tag of the goods they produce. Middlemen take away a huge chunk.

Handloom is an important sector in our country, employing over 6.5 million families. The industry is expected to employ 17.8 million by 2022. Indian handicraft is also witnessing huge demand in domestic as well as international markets, with exports alone amounting to $3.5 billion in fiscal 2017.

One of the earliest acts of the new government in India after the country attained freedom was to set up a national board for the identification of and development of crafts. It was natural that the ideal master-craftsmanship with its emphasis on quality and excellence should be reinstituted. In place of the warm patronage of dynastic rulers, and the sustenance provided by the guild, the new state regime had to step into the void. Competition from the power looms in the late 1950s further hastened the end to their already precarious livelihood. Realising the predicament faced by the weavers in the post-Independence period, the All India Handicrafts Board stepped in to provide a buffer to the weavers. In 1965, the board instituted national awards to craftsmen. They were a public recognition of talent, skill and above all, the creativity of these flag bearers of a hoary tradition.

The reason for the present local cooperative being in bad shape is the poor working conditions. Poor wages have led to dwindling of the original strength of enrolled weavers. Only those unable to find work elsewhere continue to remain here. The guilds need to follow in the footsteps of Sholapur, where handloom weavers have kept abreast with newer innovative designs and diversification on an extensive scale. The designs and quality of wall hangings, and bedspreads unprogressive centres like Sholapur in Maharashtra are unsurpassed, and the handlooms are selling faster than corresponding mill-made products.

Weavers have traditionally been organised into communities that have sustained their art and skill by preserving their traditional knowledge through oral traditions. Their craft is both an artistic tradition and a source of income and livelihood. The weavers and the workers who engage in this art are traditionally skilled and have been doing the same work for generations; it is a matter of culture and pride for them.

One-fourth of the total cloth production in the country is from the handloom sector. In terms of employment, it ranks next to the agricultural industry. India is one of the few countries that still have a significant sector which employs artisans who weave for a living and produce almost 40 per cent of the cloth in the country. Handloom production is also eco-friendly, has a small carbon footprint and is easy to install and operate. If it is revived and made lucrative, it would lead to a slowdown in rural migration. Also, 75 per cent of workers are women, and 47 per cent are from below poverty line (BPL) families.

The artisan is not only a repository of a knowledge system that was sustainable but is also an active participant in its recreation. To celebrate a craftsman’s perception of design, one must view some of our indigenous craft tradition which has evolved through an instinctive knowledge of the functional needs of a community. While the artisan continues with his craft, marketing remains a paramount problem. Though several crafts have been saved from near extinction, the grouping of artisan communities into modern-day guilds or cooperative societies has helped only in a limited way — it has just turned despair into a sense of hope.

A plan for the promotion of a craft can yield concrete results only if it is a sincere exercise in which the craftsmen remain the key focus. However, more often than not, such efforts are generally short term. They provide only a cosmetic treatment and are a mere band-aid, the critical issues air brushed. Indian crafts have suffered primarily because of a lack of a visionary approach from the cultural administrators. An equally important issue is the preservation of the dignity of the craftsmen. It is no wonder that the population of craftsmen is dwindling. Official surveys published by development commissioner (handlooms) report that the number of weaver families reduced from 124 lakhs in the 1970s to 64 lakhs in 1995, and further down to 44 lakhs in 2011.

The problems range from high raw material cost to the slow process of weaving that increases the price of the cloth produced by the handloom as compared to the power loom. It is very difficult for the buyer to distinguish between a machine-made and hand-made product in the absence of an authentication mark. According to a report, 70 per cent of the fabrics sold as handloom are actually made on power looms. The government owes it to the country’s hoary traditions to protect the handloom sector, cut back on taxes in it and save the endangered artisans and hand-weavers from power-looms and marauding market forces.

A women craftsmen, a moulder of icons was once asked from whom she learnt her knowledge. She replied “from time as the most ancient, the parampara. We are the holders of sight and skill. We carry it in our wombs”.

The writer is a well-known banker, author and Islamic researcher. He can be reached at

Weaving traditional handlooms is now easier, thanks to this serial innovator

Weaving traditional handlooms is now easier, thanks to this serial innovator

Shruti Kedia     posted on 22nd February 201898

With widespread use of devices like these, the dying art of traditional handloom weaving will receive a fillip, and the legacy of weaving communities will continue to flourish, thanks to innovators like Dipak.

Traditional handlooms are dying. According to this report, the growth in power looms, now supplying more than 70 percent of Indian textiles, has come on the heels of a systematic destruction of the handloom industry.

But there are some like Dipak Bharali, a traditional weaver who soldier on. He weaves on silk which is an intricate art, and requires hours of manual hard work that involves intricate threadwork that is done by tying knots.

Dipak is a muga silk weaver from Assam, who has not cowed down to the dictates of modern weaving. He still follows the traditional path and does not use any modern machinery.

Circumstances however, have compelled him to innovate. To cut down the time taken in weaving and to make the process easier, he invented a device that has made his and the lives of other silk weaver easier. For his invention, he also won the 5th National Grassroots Innovation Awards in 2009.

Carrying forward a tradition

Dipak hails from Assam’s Kamrup district, popularly known as the ‘Manchester of the East’. The economy of his village is primarily dependent on weaving of muga silk using traditional looms.

Dipak’s family has been engaged in production and trading of silk goods for decades. His father was a distributor of silk items. After completing his graduation, and following the death of his parents, he decided to continue the family business.

He started with his first loom in 1998 by weaving plain cloth without any form of design on it. Using the looms himself, he wove the cloth and learnt about various aspects of production. After nine months, he installed his second loom and diversified into producing silk with designs.

By this time, he was looking to expand by increasing production and adding more looms. He found that this idea was fraught with many challenge. Hiring skilled workers was expensive, and only people from his community were adept at the art of muga silk weaving.

“An average fabric has 30 rows of lines and 14 designs in a row with each design requiring at least 3 knots. This meant that a total of 1260 knots would require almost 10 hours, assuming the weaver takes 30 seconds to make each knot,” he explains.

Also production of designer handwoven silk require handling of five or more threads simultaneously which only a few skilled weavers possessed.

The hard work involved is deterring many from joining the profession, and most third and fourth-generation weavers are leaving the trade. Another deterrent is the low pay.

To increase production speed, automate and cut down the repetitive process in routine tasks, Dipak decided to create a dedicated fixture style attachment that could be attached to the standard loom.

Image Credit: Drawing-in, The Morning News

The most common weaving machine available and in use today is the Jacquard loom, a machine invented by Joseph-Marie Jacquard. Dipak’s device does not eliminate the Jacquard loom but enhances its production capacity and reduces the time taken to weave by one-third.

Making the weaving process easier

The device consists of three components - a base frame which acts as a shaft holder, the magnet bearing shaft and the specially designed bobbin. The attachment facilitates the loom to not only automatically select but also lift the threads for design making.

The magnetic shaft is integrated into the base frame.

“In a normal Jacquard loom each thread is connected to a bobbin. Here, the device is placed in such a way that the bobbin’s attached surface faces downwards and each bobbin falls in between two sets of lifted threads,” he explains.

Image Credit: Pinterest

As the magnet fitted shaft moves from one side to the other, it also drags along the bobbins attached to it from one side to other. In the process, the simultaneous crossing of all weft threads for design making takes place.

The device has resulted in an increase in productivity by 60 per cent, ease of use and better fabric quality. Further, this attachment also allows unskilled workers to enter the industry and produce elaborately designed fabrics.

Currently, this device is receiving product development support from IIT Guwahati and financial support by the National Innovation Foundation.

The making of a serial inventor

The seventh child of his parents, Dipak was curious child and had a keen eye for detail, from a young age.

He recalls a particular incident that happened when he was a child. While pulling out an old cycle tyre from a ditch he observed that the inner sides of the tyre were lined with different types of small fish. He was intrigued, and as an experiment dropped another tyre into the ditch and noticed that after few hours this tyre, too, was filled with fish. Since then, this become his unique technique for catching fish.

Every available object, even discarded bearings, is utilised by him to invest daily utility objects, including model cars.

Weaving a future of convenience

Dipak has set up the preliminary device in his nineteen looms, now supervised by his younger brother. Since 2013, he has immersed himself completely in refining the model of this invention and make his device accessible across India and neighbouring countries. Currently the device is also available for order and is priced at Rs 7,000. Further the central government has also subsidised his device and is helping him promote the device across different states.

Dipak dreams of making his device available to the power loom sector as well.

“Generally, in power looms the insertion of extra weft (criss-cross threads) is done by using shuttle (a tool designed to neatly store a thread holder). The unused portion is cut abruptly. Such cloth normally looses its demand in the market.”

Supported by his family members in developing new tools and devices for silk production, Dipak today runs 19 looms successfully.

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Sircilla weavers get Bathukamma sari orders worth Rs 250 cr

Sircilla weavers get Bathukamma sari orders worth Rs 250 cr

Nearly 15,000 weavers would get employment directly and another 5,000 would get indirect employment for six months from April to September.

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By AuthorTelanganaToday  |   Published: 20th Mar 2018  12:40 am

Representational image ( File Photo)

Rajanna Sircilla: The State government on Monday issued orders for the production of Bathukamma sarees worth Rs 250 crore to the Sircilla weavers. Nearly 15,000 weavers would get employment directly and another 5,000 would get indirect employment for six months from April to September.

About 30,000 looms would be engaged in the production, Assistant Director, Handlooms and Textiles, RS Ashok Kumar told the Telangana Today. In order to provide employment opportunity to Sircilla weaving community, the government had decided to distribute sarees to women on the occasion of Bathukamma festival.

Last year, out of 6.11 crore meter cloth was required for Bathukamma sarees, 3.75 crore meter was produced in Sircilla and the remaining 2.36 crore meter was brought from Surat, Gujarat. To put an end to shortfall of time and produce the entire cloth in the district itself, the government has decided to start the production process well in advance.

In the wake of opposition parties’ criticism that cheap quality sarees were distributed to women on the occasion of Bathukamma, the officials of handlooms and textiles department are taking special care in finalising clothes, design and others.

Last year, officials could not secure the required powerlooms as they were already engaged with other work. Initially, they had engaged around 4,500 powerlooms to produce the cloth. Later, it went up to 15,000 powerlooms.

The most important thing is that the income of weavers had doubled with bulk order. Weavers those who used to earn Rs 8,000 per month had managed to obtain Rs 16,000 to Rs 20,000 per month for three months before Bathukamma festival. Weavers, who would usually earn Rs 1.90 per meter cloth, got an additional amount of Rs 3 per meter

Jagan promises succour to handloom weavers


ONGOLE, MARCH 11, 2018 23:53 IST

UPDATED: MARCH 11, 2018 23:53 IST

SCS issue dominated his walkathon in Prakasam

YSR Congress Party president Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy endeared himself to a group of weavers at Epurupalem by trying his hand at a shuttle-pit loom on Sunday.

Mr. Reddy promised to provide subsidised inputs and help them find market for their products if his party was voted to power in the next elections.

Mr. Reddy was continuing his Praja Sankalpa Yatra that entered the 109th day.

He promised to consider favourably the demands of health workers, lawyers, and fishermen, who poured out their woes during the padayatra in the district covering nine of the 12 Assembly constituencies.

Special Category Status (SCS) for Andhra Pradesh dominated the political discourse.

Roping in political strategist Prashant Kishor, who had helped several politicians romp home at the hustings in other States, Mr. Reddy, who had lost the 2014 elections by a thin margin, adopted a micro-targeting strategy to reach out to different sections of people at the grassroots level.

Padayatra enters

Bapatla today

Staff Reporter in Guntur adds: Mr. Reddy would enter Bapatla in Guntur district on Monday.

Mr. Reddy’s walkathon spanned 109 days so far in which he covered 1,465 km spread across six districts.

Mr. Reddy, who completed the padayatra in Prakasam district, would camp at Stuartpuram village and resume his walkathon on Monday morning.

The week-long padayatra would cover Bapatla, Ponnur, Prathipadu, and Chilakaluripet Assembly constituencies in the district

A Search in Five Directions: An homage to skills of traditional weavers, dyers and printers


A Search in Five Directions: An homage to skills of traditional weavers, dyers and printers

Gargi Gupta | Updated: Mar 18, 2018, 08:18 AM IST

In the ten years between 1981 and 1991, Indian handloom textiles guru Martand Singh curated seven 'vishwakarma' (master artisan) exhibitions to showcase the best of Indian textile arts – weaving, painting, printing, resist-dyeing from across the country – and to explore the contemporary relevance of these inherited skills. Singh travelled across the country, looking up long-lost traditions, meeting craftsmen, pushing them to look up old pieces, try out new things. 'A Search in Five Directions', on at the Crafts Museum in the capital now, showcases pieces from those exhibitions, as a tribute to Singh who died last year. It has been curated by three of his acolytes –sari expert Rta Kapur-Chishti, who worked with on all the Vishwakarma exhibitions, designer Rakesh Thakore and Calico Museum director Rahul Jain. Seen today, just 35 years on, these impossibly pieces speak of a virtuosity that's rarely, or never seen today.


A rare ikat sari with a verse, or bandha, by Oriya poet Upendra Bhanj woven into it. The bandha is a kind of circuit verse, which ends with the same letter that it begins with, and the weaver depicts it graphically by placing the letters in the body of a winding snake. The bandha is also a puzzle, with a beej, or key, to decipher it. Here it's the exchange of secret messages between lovers, and the sari, conjectures curator Rta Kapur-Chishti, was probably meant as a gift, probably to the wife, or groom's mother, at the time of a wedding. So complicated was the design that it took the weaver about a year to complete the sari.


A magnificent kalamkari tapestry depicting a bamboo thicket. Note the uncharacteristic use of straight lines by the artist –kalamkari prints are usually sinuous designs, full of winding creepers, flowers, leaves, etc. Clearly, the piece, made at the Weavers' Service Centre in Hyderabad, was an exercise in pushing the boundaries of the kalamkari art. But, the curators note, the artists didn't quite succeed in achieving the exquisite, delicate effects their ancestors could – perhaps the materials and tools had changed, were not as fine before, they speculate. Lay viewers, however, can only marvel at the results.


This large tapestry of birds was made as a tribute to the birdman of India, Salim Ali. It's been blockprinted using blocks made from designs from 18th and 19th century chintz cloth. What's noteworthy, according to the curators, is the large scale of the bird-motifs, and the use of several blocks to colour each bird. The background is formed of the same birds, printed in a lighter colour.


Conservation was as much a focus of Martand Singh, as revival was. To that end, he commissioned 'directories' of the blocks used by major printing and weaving centres – Pethapur (Gujarat), Bagru and Sanganer (Rajasthan), Kanchipuram, etc – both as a sort of ready reference for printers, and a historical record. This one, executed in 1986, of Sanganer pattern blocks has 700 unique designs; an earlier, late 18th century 'directory', now in the textile museum in Washington had 1,038 patterns


This sari, made in 1981, recreates a nearly lost heritage textile associated with the royalty of Tanjore, and many Maratha kingdoms. The Kodalikarrupur saris, named after the village in Ariyalur district in central Tamil Nadu, are made using a combination of weaving and dye-printing, which today seems excruciatingly painstaking and intricate. First the cloth is woven using an extra thread - in this case, gold or silver zari - in the weft, to create a brocade-like effect. The weaver does not cover the entire sari in zari, he leaves out bits in the middle which will form the design. These bits are then resist dyed – that is, the entire cloth is covered in wax, leaving out just those parts that are to be coloured, before being immersed in a dye vat. In this specimen, the intricate white pattern comes from a second dyeing where the printer must have worked the details using a kalam (thin pen). Note the 3D embossed effect that it gives the sari.

The weaver’s song

The weaver’s song

Priyadarshini Paitandy

MARCH 22, 2018 17:31 IST

UPDATED: MARCH 22, 2018 17:32 IST


Paheli by Weave in India showcases a curated collection of the country’s different weaving traditions

Weave in India’s new capsule collection is as diverse as the colours of the rainbow. Titled Paheli, the curated collection does not just focus on one theme or colour, but on different weaves. “Each weaver has his own style and ethnicity. He can weave a couple of different styles,” explains Mandira Bansal, who started Weave in India in February 2017. “This collection includes Benarasis (kimkhab, brocade, kadhwa,) Patan patolas, bandhinis, Chanderi, linen, Gadhwals, real zari muslins, Kanjeevarams, handwoven silk, Paithani and jamdani,” says Bansal, as she opens up a linen sari in seafoam green. The other sari, in glossy silver, is a complete contrast. “This is made of real silver,” she says, adding, “brides-to-be often prefer something like this.” The collection also comprises handwoven pure silk lehenga panels in pink, red, royal purple, peach and in pastels.

Not just saris, Bansal also has an array of innovatively designed blouses. What first catches the eye when you enter the store is an elaborate blouse made of pearls encased in gold threads. Then there is another in jute with mirror work, and a full sleeved one with 70s style frills, traditional zardozi ones, and regal jackets with hand embroidery. “A lot of clients who buy from us also want us to style them,” she says.

In addition to its Spring Summer and Autumn Winter collections, Weave in India also comes up with capsules. “We are out with our capsules four times a month. We go to Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Nagpur, Raipur, Kolkata, Coimbatore, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Dubai,” says Bansal. Paheli has around 300 saris and garments, including menswear. “The men’s collection is a playground of textiles. It is made of handwoven fabrics, mostly Chanderi. We’ve created intricate surface textures such as appliqué and cut work. For the men who want something a little bit out of the ordinary,” says Bansal. There are bandhgalas, draped kurtas, printed pants, breeches. The lotus is a recurring theme in most of Weave in India’s creations. You’ll also find different forms of birds and floral motifs.

“Our weavers are from Varanasi, Ahmedabad, Kanchipuram, Patan, interiors of Kolkata and Paithan. The time taken for weaving is anywhere between 15 days to three months. These Patan patola saris take four to six months and they have GI certificate,” adds Bansal. The idea is to do something fresh every season. Paheli is the label’s first concrete collection for a look book. It captures 12-15 styles and showcases the various ways these weaves can be styled and worn.

(Weave in India will showcase Paheli at a pop-up on March 23 and 24 at its flagship store at 29 Chitharanjan Road, Alwarpet