Banaras Brocades & Sarees

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Background:
Varanasi is renowned for Banarsi silk saris. The silk sari makers are specifically weavers’ community and their livelihood is completely depending on handloom weaving. The introduction of power looms coupled with enormous influx of Chinese silk traders has steadily overturned this community from their traditional livelihood but above all most of the families are hitherto struggling for their survival and existence.
Historically the Banaras was famous for its socio-economic and religious importance. It was famous as the religious city of the Hindu religion due to presence of Vishwanath Temple on the bank of river Ganga. The city is equally important as a Brocade weaving centre. It is believed that the weaving industry flourished during the Vedic period and touched its climax with the introduction of Mogul pattern of designs during early 16th century.
Varanasi is renowned for ‘Banarasi Saree’ which is a world famous, most elegant and prestigious Indian costume woven by the laborious weavers’ community. This is also a symbol of an age old Indian Tradition. If we look some 12 years back, a handloom saree weaver was known for his traditional skills, uniqueness, social recognition and financial soundness. For example, marriages of a girl in Indian villages are still much more depend on the social and financial status of the head of the family of the boy (regardless of the education, employment etc of the boy); this set of beliefs were always implicated with the weavers of Varanasi. Being a weaver was the only requisite for marrying one’s girl in the family. But at present the poorest father don’t want to marry his girl in a weaver family. There are majority of weavers who owned 10-15 handlooms at a time and they had regular orders for preparing Sarees but at present struggling for their bread and butter. There are several examples where a weavers were fulfilling the need of whole family of 5-6 members by the income of one loom (though there were several kinds of discriminations for wage), married their girls and boys and maintained their own houses for living. The Union Government of India still accepts that Indian handloom is the largest handloom industry in the world; it produces 16% of total cloth production in India (which is no doubt a substantial quantity). It is also widely accepted by Government that handloom Industry is second largest employer in the country fallowed by the Agriculture sector. There are some 65 lakh of low income group people are directly or indirectly employed in this sector.
Varanasi is one of the largest weaving clusters in Indian that posses more than 50 thousand handlooms and some 2.5 lakh weavers.). Saving –credit groups of the weavers formed to empower them socially and economically and further these groups were linked to clusters as per their geographical distribution for creating a wider platform for sharing and strategic planning.

Crisis in weaving sector:
Due to globalization the trade boundary become free and projected towards the deterioration of this sector, the duplicate silk, duplicate silk fabric and machine made craft and textile are flooded in the market and the consumers are getting these products in the name of handmade product, due to this the weavers and artisans are using their traditional craftsmanship, and the other site, consumer has cheated in the name of original and unique handmade product and the consumer is paying premium price, because there is no labeling, branding and legal guarantee, awareness about original and GI registered product
Advantages of GI (Geographical Indication):
If the consumer will aware about logo of GI, handloom mark, India handloom and IPR, then both will be benefitted.
It prevents unauthorized use of registered Geographical Indication goods by third parties. It boosts Exports, promotes economic prosperity of producers and only an authorized user has the exclusive rights to use the Geographical Indication in relation to goods in respect of which it is registered due to this the producers will increase their livelihood opportunities with protection and promotion of traditional art and craft for the consumers at global level . GI is an important legal tool to fight against poverty and recognize as Intellectual Property Rights of the country.

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