So, what am I reading currently? Books ofcourse, and blogs, but also a lot more about the weaving community – one which I have been inspired by and amazed at for a long time now! I have posted about my love and respect for this community and their work many times before, but it has increased manifold after my visit to Dubbaka, which is about 110 kms from here, on the 7th of this month.
The tales of revival of this weaving community from having seen about 125 deaths in the 1990s owing to lack of market, and the work of the NGO Swadeshi Jagaran Manch towards reviving the same, left us impressed and inspired. We have been working with them in marketing their goods here and getting khadi bags made by them which we are promoting as a replacement for plastic for quite sometime now, but this is the first time I actually got to visit the place. *thank-god*
A village which once had about 10000 handloom weavers, is now left with only a couple of hundreds doing so :(, but still high in spirit! There was so much demand then that the weavers actually worked in shifts!!!! Am sure this is the story of many other weavers too and can only be completely revived by people going the hand-made way. What joy it is to know that something you are wearing is actually made by someone with love and not just as a means of earning a few bucks!:)
Here’s the story in pictures!
Weaving has traditionally been passed down almost like a heirloom for many generations. Unfortunately, for the last few years, the youth have taken to the more lucrative beedi rolling or migrated to the cities, leaving the older weavers as the last generation 😐
They don’t want to stop it though. It is not just their source of livelihood, but LIFE itself.
She is 80 years old and has been doing this since she was 12!
Look at the curved back 😦
One person spins 5 spindles a day and gets Rs 25 in total! 😦
A towel, sold at just Rs 120/- takes about 1.5-2 hours to be ready. And what does the weaver make out of it? – Rs 20/-
A saree can take anywhere between 2 to several days depending on the detailing. They make between 80-200 rupees per saree. (Sarees are sold at about 800-1000)
Imagine how physically intensive this must be!
Sometimes, the looms occupy almost the entire room and all they have is some space to sit and work. We were sweating even during just the 15 min we spent there and they work there all day long! – hard physical work at that!
What we have got to learn from them is their dedication to work, their whole-hearted love and respect for what has been passed on to them, and ofcourse the unbeatable hospitality of people in these small towns and villages.
We were welcomed home with a traditional Aarti and fed a sumptuous lunch on banana leaves by one of the families here!
The entire village is one family! You visit one home, but many more are there to welcome you, greet you and bid you good-bye, expecting nothing in return!!!
And each one of us could help in empowering this community – prefer things made by the hand, from the heart! That is all they ask for!:) But ofcourse, their originality and beauty are unbeatable.