Saturday, 18 June 2016

FB Discussions - Handlooms and weavers.

"Handloom weaver makes 3000-4000 Rs per month working 8 hrs a day. Even that 3000 or 4000 doesn't reach them immediately after supplying the products to societies. It takes months before they receive the money for the products supplied." (via Sridhar Lakshman)
This is the state of weavers. Farmers are worse off. What does a corporate worker make ? And why ?

Komakkambedu Himakiran Anugula We need to dump the damn WTO...all it has done is dump cheap products from outside and kill local production. We don't value the local because of this.
Aparna Krishnan Too late isnt it ?  This is what the local communities need to get together on and demand. Are the groups that claim to be mobilizing and working with these communities focussing on this understanding as a primary issue. It needs a lot of work. Because my village people certianly like cheap China phones !
Komakkambedu Himakiran Anugula never too late..the whole problem is resignation..accepting the situation as is...small revolts will coalesce into a larger revolution...economic resistance is the key...
Aparna Krishnan the monster of consumerism is so powerful. people are hooked onto items that can be affordable only is it comes from china and not from local artisans who get a living wage - that monster needs to be taken on - and i think only moral power can counter it.
Aparna Krishnan if manchester cloth could be taken on then, it means there are possibilities. But how now ?
Komakkambedu Himakiran Anugula think local in everything....get people to connect to their local SMBs especially rural ones...
Aparna Krishnan I mean, the TV teaches them to consume more and more (which means cheaper and cheaper industrial, maybe chinese, stuff). And we wish to counter this mainstream wisdom !!
Zakeena Seethi What if they were to do away with middle men n sell directly? Handloom is not cheap at all when we buy from outside..
Komakkambedu Himakiran Anugula cooperatives is the way to go...with ecommerce and logistics, markets are there...   need dedicated work in this space.. Sunny Narang will be able to suggest best practices...
Sunny Narang Its a very complex system. There is no one "handloom" , even a banarsi silk saree is handloom , as well as a small towel . The problems are different at different products and price points . Earlier local sarees or fabrics were bought by local people ,...   There is nothing "pure" handmade today , its all hybrids , chemical dyes also come from corporations , they define everything from colours to fastness . As do the big buying houses . It is only in local retail does anyone have their own design and production flexibility .
Sunny Narang When we say "handloom" we speak only of the weaver , there are many pre and post weaving processes . Earlier it was a big ecology of communities, slowly those communities vanished leaving only the weavers . Good dyed yarn is as essential , who will do the dyeing and washing and follow the pollution rules with ETP ?  Here is one example but then everything handmade and natural dyed will be what is now called "sustainable luxury" . It is a fact that if we pay even Rs.150-300/- per worker for all assorted processes by hand , nothing will be cheap .

WomenWeave is handloom store where you will…
Aparna Krishnan
Aparna Krishnan Thats because every environmental cost of modernity is externalized. Till that is included, no artisan can make a living.
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Sunny Narang
Sunny Narang That will not happen . Look at Malkha , paying everyone fairly , even cotton fabric will sell at about Rs.350-400/- a metre. The only way handloom will survive is by subsidy or purchase by the state for uniforms or luxury design and branding .  And many such enterprises are there now in every part of India  
Aparna Krishnan Unless corporate is made to pay for both the real cost of petroleum's non-renewability, and the cost of polluting (were such a cost even definable !) - handlooms can never make economic sense.
Aparna Krishnan Seems a catch 22.   
Zakeena Seethi thank you Sunny Narang, for enlightening. but do the buyers really have to pay 350-400/ mtre, to break even for the weavers? that is shocking to me. i thought it's the middlemen and the unreasonable profit taken by the shops, that push the prise to this extend. 
this is not at all affordable to the common it?
Aparna Krishnan Zakeena Seethi I used to buy yardage from the footpath i earlier years for salwar kameez. I used to like to think I was buying handloom, but it was all powerloom stuff. At that cost it could not have fed a weaver minimally also !
Aparna Krishnan My sarees, now I go to Co-optex or some standard place, and pick from the lowest cost shelf. Its all 600/- at least.
Zakeena Seethi you mean to say ma'am, that this industry can only cater to the rich? and at 300/mtre, a saree will cost 1500, not 600..
Aparna Krishnan Malkha factors in much else (Sunny Narang can you explain) and its coslier. Co-optex, APCO are cheaper.  
Zakeena Seethi and i have a problem with the dye they use too....most of them run very badly..
Aparna Krishnan But yes Zakeena, the way industrial products have been subsidized, good stuff like handlooms which are sustainable and livlihood friendly have been made non viable. And that is the struggle needed.
Ramanan Jagannathan market them as work of Artisans and use technology to sell directly to end buyers. that is the only way it can survive and flourish.
Aparna Krishnan They were once items of local daily use. The potter's market was the entire village. To put the items as \art items' for a fickle urban crowd it the road to their damnation.
Ramanan Jagannathan cotton grown at a certain period in time was short yarn till mechanization came and we even had colored cotton. every part of cotton was used from the cotton plant post harvest as cattle feed to cotton seed oil for lamps. once this cycle got broken and...
Aparna Krishnan I agree. We need to act in the present realities. But I'm afraid the premium decorative niche is too small to be useful. And too fickle.
Ramanan Jagannathan look at it the other way. any skill set has a context. i would be lost in a forest and a tribal in the city. if the context is no longer there, what is the point in having that skill set and why should we bemoan the loss of that skill set ? why cant we re skill people and help them move on ? while we sit and discuss these things, do the skilled craftspersons really want this kind of life ? smile emoticon
Aparna Krishnan There are sustainable skills that a civilizations needs. But a perverted economics has made it non viable. Dont worry, all the children of the artisans are 'schooled', and 'unemployed' ... and the skills are fast dying out. Matter of time.
Ramanan Jagannathan on a different note, i was discussing this topic of making handloom sarees accessible to people in the city, with another friend few weeks back. if a working model, using technology can be found, i will be more than happy and contribute using my wallet . 
Sunny Narang Aparna , Malkha is also mostly natural-dyed and Local machine spun yarn . You know what the great Ponduru Khadi costs ? Almost Rs.600/- a meter and it sells . And its production has gone down as there are fewer spinners . It should be costing maybe eve...  
Sunny Narang All Govt handloom stores get government subsidy . So they are cheaper . You have no idea about what dyes and how well are they doing the dyeing . Also many times now coops themselves mix polyster . Haven't you heard of Polykhadi ! Also Khadi denim "Kha...
Sridhar Lakshmanan I heard one person in raipur has developed a loom which makes it easy to make cloth and learning faster on how to operate a loom. Many companies including reliance but from him. He is from chattisgarh and i plan to go there in April.
Ramanan Jagannathan The 4 yard dhotis that I wear at home are bought from khadi and they definitely don't come cheap.
Sridhar Lakshmanan There are many issues, powerlooms are eating into handlooms, pls go though wats happening to loom bill. Also let's look at other ways to aid weavers.
Sridhar Lakshmanan's photo.

Sridhar Lakshmanan The bag that you see above is made from kandangi weave a very coarse weave worn by women in karaikudi, chettinad. Now coarse weaves are not in vogue this NGO has made them into bags with the border in place and exports it to Netherlands. Hence the orange color. Net realisation is significantly higher
This is one of the biggest NGO in the country.
Sunny Narang That is right Sridhar smaller products have the highest margins . The wedding and festival/religious market again . Look at Pure Ghee set up by a woman who ran operations at Dastkaari Haat Samiti once . Delhi NCR has many such enterprises . Design, Craft , Textiles , in terms of combination Delhi NCR is a huge exporter .

Sunny Narang Rajasthan is the other biggest centre of using fabrics from all over India , as Jaipur Agra Delhi is known as the Golden Triangle and the world comes here including top designers and Hollywood . They make everything from bags to quilts to cushion cove...
Sunny Narang Yes shopping bags is a big winner , even for higher end stores as they can charge clients easily . Even good paper bags can cost from Rs. 10/- to Rs.50/- or more .  

Aparna Krishnan  how does one take on the sheer economic logic of industrial cloth versus handlooms. I have started feeling sensitive about handlooms because in my village only I wear them, and the other women would love to wear them, but it is beyond their affordability.

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