We all have heard about the Pashmina. What makes it so unique.What makes it stand out among the rest. Not only Pashmina but also the Phulkari of Punjab and the Kancheepuram of Tamil Nadu. All these have one thing in common which is their production by skilled artisans without the use of machinery. Handloom has always been one of the rich traditions of India until the British Rule.
The use of Powerlooms ,import of machine made clothes and high cost of the handloom yarn were some of the reasons which led to the decline of the art of handloom fabric and resulted in the loss of livelihood for thousands of people connected with the handloom industry. Despite of several revival strategies like the Swadeshi Movement, handloom industry couldn't really find its golden age in the Indian market. Handloom industry is the identity of the rich tradition India had in the area of handwoven fabrics which marvelled the world. On the 7th of August when we will be celebrating the 7th national handloom day here is a deep insight in the benefits of supporting this timeless tradition of India.
The benefits of supporting the handloom industry
1. Livelihood of thousands of weaver
Because of the high cost of the handmade cloth, people have shifted towards the cheap imports which has made the life of the weavers difficult. The wages of the handloom weavers have remained frozen for the last decade or two and many have also been pushed into extreme poverty. Handloom industry is India's second largest source of employment after agriculture contributing to more than 65 lack jobs and if we don't support this industry then it will lead to many people wandering jobless and thus a would help India escalate its problem of creating jobs and unemployment.
2. Following our rich tradition
Every country is distinguished and recognised by its own tradition. Tradition and culture is what sets one country apart from another. It not only gives the country recognition throughout the world but also boost tourism. Handloom fabric has always been a rich tradition of India and it is our duty to carry on the tradition ahead. It will help Indian skill of weaving to be recognised throughout the world, boost tourism, and also the economy overall
3. Because it is really special
Hand woven fabrics are really beautiful and it is said that no two fabrics are alike. Every fabric, every cloth is unique. The quality of the fabric depends on the skill and the mood of the weavers. Our weavers are really master craftspeople. Even at our traditional ceremonies these type of fabric is considered auspicious. In Punjab, the birth of the daughter child was considered auspicious and the mother and the grandmother would start embroidering Phulkari dupattas upon her birth .Also, often handloom sarees are worn by women in during the wedding ceremonies.
It is said that India makes 95% of the world's handloom cloth is produced in India. India is thus a major exporter of this type of cloth. Handloom fabric has already marvelled the world. Now our job is to famous it and make it reach as much people as we can.This can be only achieved if we increase the production and support the industry. These exports would bring a lot money in India and help India achieve its economic dream.
5. Women empowerment
Many a times the whole family is involved in the handloom business including the women in the family. Handloom industry is one of the few sectors in India having a large presence of women working for an income. There has even been many success stories of women who have managed to make a living through weaving. Supporting the handloom industry would mean encouraging more women to work.
In the recent history many efforts has been made to support and revive this industry. Many schemes have been launched by the government like the National Handloom Development Programme (NHDP),Comprehensive Handloom Cluster Development Scheme (CHCDS),Handloom Weavers' Comprehensive Welfare Scheme (HWCWS),etc.
But each citizen of the country plays a vital role in the revival of the industry. We must change our preferences and move towards our own traditional cloth than the cheap imports. Spreading the beauty and elegance of this fabric is also the need of the hour. We must appreciate the skill and the ability which our very own weavers possess. Just like 3d printing can't overpower clay modelling, handloom cloth can't be overpowered by the machinery cloth.