Friday, Sep 19, 2014Friday, Sep 19, 2014
Asia
 

India polls: India silk weavers hang on by thread, plead for rescue

Published on May 4, 2014 1:19 PM
 
In this photograph taken on April 22, 2014 an Indian labourer weaves a sari, the traditional dress of Indian women, at a handloom factory in Rajapura Varanasi. 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 competition from China unless India's next government steps in to save it. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

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.

 
If you are not a subscriber, you can get instant, unlimited access here

Videos