India polls: India silk weavers hang on by thread, plead for rescue
Published on May 4, 2014 1:19 PM
VARANASI, India (AFP) - Its saris have been a byword for sartorial elegance for centuries and even the Buddha was laid to rest veiled in a brocade of silk hand-woven in India's holiest city Varanasi, according to local legend.
But bosses and craftsmen say the Banarasi silk industry is hanging on by a thread and could be killed off within a generation by mass-produced garments and Chinese competition, unless India's next government steps in.
"I've been doing this job for more than 40 years now and my fathers and forefathers were doing it for around 250 years before me," said Sardar Hafizullah as he wove a green and gold sari on the ground floor of his home in Varanasi's Old City.
"But it seems that it is a dying art. It's only people like me keeping it alive," added the 65-year-old.
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