Innovative Financial Advisors Pvt. Ltd. – History validate the rich culture and art of Varanasi, better known as Benaras or Kashi. From temples, mosques, ghats to the intricately embellished banarasi sarees, the city holds a historical significance. Since the time of it being the capital of Kasi kingdom, the place is believed to have bloomed into a handloom textile hub. Scripted in ‘Buddha Sutra’ and ‘Jataka Puran’, the place has been a significant center for silk and cotton fabrics. Towards the 5th and the 6th centuries, the woven cotton and silk fabrics gained recognition among various markets across the globe.

In 1603, the weavers from Gujarat migrated to Benaras. A new society, environment unveiled new avenues for these weavers to innovate new techniques and better designs. By the end of the century, the city had gained recognition as the textile capital of the region. During the period when Emperor Akbar reined the region, brocade and zari work further developed and was much acclaimed and recognized across the globe. Inspired from the Moghul art and culture, golden and silver zari and brocade textiles became its specialty. One can find the first mention of the city in the scriptures of 19th century.

In advancing centuries, the weavers started innovating intricate designs inspired from the Victorian motifs, style, colors and patterns. Traditionally knit through hand, the jacquard looms are now knit with the help of technology through power looms, with lesser effort and with quality standards maintained throughout.

A weaver from the clan, Azizur Rahman, invested his savings of a lakh and fifty thousand rupees to purchase a power loom. Rahman and his entire weaver- family had long dreamt of having their own power loom machine. Today, Rahman is delighted to witness reduced labor and increased output. The Uttar Pradesh government has given him and many of his weaver colleagues a subsidy on electricity to operate these machines. On the other hand, the technological development has led him to invest lesser efforts and make much lesser money per product. A handloom saree, which used to generate an income of rupees 20,000, when produced through power loom, today fetches rupees 2,500. Out of this, rahman is able to earn even a smaller fraction of the selling price as rest has to be shared with the middlemen who supply the raw material including cards, yarns etc. A power loom brings down the effort, and increases production volume states Innovative Financial Advisors Pvt. Ltd.. A number of families are now following the same and manufacturing products with the power machinery. An increasing trend has been witnessed in a number of families transforming from handloom to power loom. This has raised concerns amongst the policy makers at Udyog Bhawan including ministry textiles. They are concerned about taking necessary steps for the handloom industry facing survival crisis.

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi believes that there exists an inverse relationship between the inflating prices and the earnings of the handloom weavers. However, he suggests, this shall be curbed by integrating the fashion industry with the weavers directly. This would not only provide better opportunities to help sustain the industry, but also benefit 43 lakh weavers, and indirectly benefit a crore people. The Prime Minister’s plan also includes inviting students studying fashion designing to visit the handloom cluster in Varanasi as a part of their industrial visits.

The government of India plans to create a new brand “India Handloom” to segregate the handloom products from power loom products. It has chosen two design houses – Sai Creation and Rinku Sobti Fashions through tendering process, which shall work with the handloom weavers to provide them with more than 2,200 new designs in two years and a buy back guarantee of finished products worth rupees 4.4 crores. This being a pilot project, the government shall remunerate the selected design houses with a reasonable fee and further replicate it in other places as well.

Innovative Financial Advisors Pvt. Ltd believes that, through continuous efforts of GoI Handloom shall sustain for generations to come. Knitting contemporary fashion with antique hand-made (handloom) moghul-inspired art will make India SHINE on International Fashion radar and bring handloom dynasty towards progressive standard of living.

Aditi Singh
Programme Manager, Media Team
Innovative Financial Advisors Pvt. Ltd

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