Bihar: Handloom weavers seek govt support to revive ‘dying art’

Bhagalpur (Bihar): Bihar is known all across the world for its beautiful Bhagalpuri silk, which is known as the ‘Queen of all fabrics’. Radha Nagar village in Bhagalpur is the centre point of handloom silk work and is prominent for the exceptional silk texture.

In this village, sarees are made from Bhagalpuri silk and crafted in a unique style, using excellent quality of embroidery, fabric, and technique. One common thing to be seen in these sarees is their elegance.
Despite all the prominence, the handloom silk workers in the village do not want their children to be in the same industry due to lacklustre earnings.

In Radha Nagar, around 150 families are indulged in the profession of making silk sarees for years. According to the weavers, the craftsmanship of Bhagalpur ‘silk city’ is blurring due to the ignorance of government.

Here, workers’ families work for 18 hours on a saree and earn only Rs 150. For a bright future, they want the government to support this art which, they claim, is at the verge of dying.

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“We do not get any profit in weaving clothes as it is not a machinery work. It needs two persons to weave a silk saree and it takes around 18 hours. For one saree, we get Rs 150, which is not even Rs 100 each. We do not get any profit even after investing this amount of time. If the government provides us capital and market for selling our handloom products we can start our own business,” handloom artist Zafar Ansari told ANI.

“If the government will not support us then this art will die soon,” he added.

Expressing similar concern and urging the government to allocate proper funds for their upliftment, another local Mohammad Hasnain Ansari said: “We have learned that the government provides fund for us but we have never received any. Government should take the issue very seriously. We are not getting recognition for our work as new machines have been introduced that can easily weave sarees from silk thread.”

“I am in this profession for the past 15 years. Every day, most of my family members work with me in weaving one saree and what we get is Rs 150. Here, we have no other source of income and we are totally dependent on this job,” said Aklima Khatoon.

Polling in Bihar is being held in all seven phases of elections. Counting of votes will take place on May 23.
Bhagalpur will go to polls in the second phase of polling on April 18.