Learn more about the Varanasi Sari

by kodysworld on Aug 25, 2007      Category: Arts & Culture Tags: arts human rights silk varanasi

There are about 500,000 weavers in Varanasi associated with the Varanasi Silk Industry. It is estimated that 60 % of the handlooms do not have any work. There is starvation and malnutrition. There are very few really skilled weavers and many of the younger weavers are changing to menial jobs to make ends meet. This art faces extinction. One reason is because of various reasons including Chinese copies. This video interview describes the various kinds of Varanasi Sari.

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nitiniitk's picture

Buyers of sarees could probably be clubbed into two segments:
1. Patrons of the art and beauty of these sarees
2. Common buyers who just need some kind of good saree and chose these.

I think if other alternatives (let's say imported sarees) become available, the number of people in category 2 is going to shrink. The numbers in category 1 should stay the same but they are not enough to provide work to half a million weavers! As Darin suggested in his talk, it is impossible to sustain that many weavers in this profession. At the same time, these weavers are so deeply rooted in this profession that they just can't do something else. So the question is how to allow these people to gradually learn other skills (may be related skills?) to provide them with a viable alternative.

In long term, I think the best of these weavers will continue to make beautiful sarees for category 1 buyers, and rest will start into other professions. But bringing about this change is certainly not easy!

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