Discussion: Resisting the onslaught on weavers
The All India Federation of Handloom Organisations, Hyderabad, has decided to launch a nationwide Satyagraha, in order to resist the onslaught on the handloom, in India. The Handloom industry of India is being mechanised in a systematic manner, by government agencies, for decades now. Last year, the Central government introduced a proposal to formally redefine handloom.
This will effectively mean that the powerloom industry, for instance, can now claim the status of handloom. It might as well be a quiet end for the handloom sector as far as state support is concerned.
Handloom weaving which gives a livelihood to lakhs of women and men from across castes and religions has the potential to be a industry which is sustainable economically and ecologically. It is an industry which has a growing market and offers to the weavers a livelihood where they do not have to dependent capital and costly technological upgrades. The industry has potential to prevent migrations from the rural areas, creating skilled employment opportunities in the villages. Handloom is something that should be supported on its own merits and not as a burden of heritage to be carried into the 21st century.
In their mis-guided move to mechanise handlooms, the state has been citing arguments such as, pitiable condition of the handloom weaver, as also the drudgery involved in hand held processes, as reason for this policy shift. History however shows that the various schemes floated by the Department of Handlooms in the name of upgrades have never yielded any positive result for the weavers. As a result, handloom weavers who switched over to powerloom are also struggling to make their livelihoods today.
At this juncture , it is important for all of us to show solidarity with the weaving community – handloom weavers as they fight the adverse circumstances facing them.
In this context we have called for a meeting in Bangalore on Saturday, the 11th of January between 11.00 am and 1.00pm at SCM House. Members of Left parties, Workers Unions, Dalit groups, Womens organizations, Desi Trust, Gandhian H.S.Doreswamy, Writers Dr.Vijayamma, Siddaliangaiah, Agrahara Krishnamurthy and Mavalli Shankar (DSS) and others are expected to participate in the discussion.
We request you to please attend the discussion and share your thoughts.
For more details – Please contact Vinay – 98805 955032, Krishna - 74111 20862