Global recession may spell doom for Banarasi saree industry

November 5th, 2008 - 9:31 pm ICT by ANI  

By Girish Kumar Dubey
Varanasi, Nov.5 (ANI): It appears the global meltdown being witnessed prominently in the financial markets is all set to devastate the famous Banarsi Saree industry, which is currently facing a tough time.
At one side the prepared saris are not getting sold off in abundance like before, on the other side the export orders appears to face a downward trend in near future.
The Silk industry, which was facing a tough time due to other factors, is likely to face a major jolt in the days to come leading to literal starvation of several people.
Be it handlooms or power looms both methods of preparing sarees are threatened by crisis following the present situation in which the people related to this industry are failing to get work even for whole month. They just work for 15 days these days, which affects daily wages of a lot of people here.
Exporters are also facing a tough time due to skewing demand for the Banarasi Sarees
“Business of Banarsi sarees has come down due to economic recession around the globe in many ways. Because all the fabrics made here are luxury items. All those who purchase these are the ones who are rich, either from India or from abroad. Among the most influenced are of the same class. People, who buy the stuff eventually, are actually influenced by this financial crisis. And therefore this influences us,” said Maqbool Hasan, a Banarsi saree Exporter.
In the recent past, Banarsi sarees have been among the most sought after articles by women across the globe. The Banarsi fabric is an essential material, traditionally used for bridal and party wear clothes. .
Initially, Banarsi fabric used to be woven with real gold thread called Zari. The artisans, who designed the floral motifs as well as the full ”pallu” of the sarees, cherished authority over intricate designing as well as colour combinations.
But these artists are today afraid of facing perhaps the toughest phase of their professional life. The suppliers are unable to meet the demand due to rise in inflation rate.
It is also feared that if nothing is done on time for survival of the artisans here, these already poverty-stricken people may have a real impossible time to carry on in this work.
“The business is not doing well. We work for 15 days and there is no work for another 15 days. Initially the labour was 500 rupees today, it is only 400 rupees. The inflation has come up and we have only 15 days work,” said Javed, Weaver.
Business of Banarsi sarees had already been facing crises for different reasons for a few years and the recent global setback to business centers proved a body blow to the industry here.
“The market is not responding well, and the conditions here are not good. The prices of raw material are rising and material is not being sold. Hence, people are turning to other businesses. The art is facing threat of extinction,” said Abdul Salam, a Banarasi Saree wholesaler.
The local artisans complain that though they length of the sarees has increased by one metre of late, meaning almost double work, but their wages have not increased a bit.
Today, the weavers and the artisans don”t get enough work. There were times when they were remain heavily occupied for entire month. But presently they dont have work beyond 15 days a month. (ANI)

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