Welcome to Bengal Handlooms!
In these pages I’ll take a tour through the fascinating, if somewhat tragic world of Bengal handlooms and the immensely gifted artisans who create one wonderful weave after another.
You are invited, too!
The seemingly idyllic world of the weavers famous for weaving Bengal handloom sarees is at a crossroad today. On the one hand, they face competition from the organized sector– large scale textile mills producing sarees. On the other, the entry of small scale powerlooms in recent years with their handloom – lookalike sarees threatens the very livelihood of a majority of the weavers.
Wage rates are getting abysmally low. It’s a matter of shame that many Bengal weavers get paid less than what even unskilled labourers earn. The situation is so alarming that there is an exodus of Bengal weavers to other jobs, sometimes to other states as well.
On the other hand, there are pockets of successful weaving communities that have carved out their niche and are getting a fair price for their efforts. So have many other weavers of Indian handloom sarees.That gives me hope that better days may come yet.
As a textile designer who’s been wearing sarees since the teens, and having seen some gorgeous sarees that are almost heirlooms in any Indian household, it’s painful for me to witness the decline of the weavers of the magnificent Bengal handloom sarees. It is my professional obligation as well as an emotional one to be of some help.