‘Madurai Sungudi’ needs patronage for its revival

Talent:Women at work in a Sungudi tying unit in Madurai on Tuesday. - Photo: R. Ashok  

‘Tourists prefer it whereas locals are ignorant of its worth’

‘Madurai Sungudi’ was the first product from Madurai to be conferred the Geographical Indication (GI) mark by the Geographical Indications Registry in 2006.

Though the sari is a source of Madurai’s pride, the Sungudi production and manufacturing units here are plagued by several issues such as the lack of patronage and shortage of labourers.

The Sungudi units are kept alive by less than 300 artisans and weavers of Sourashtra community, who migrated from Gujarat and settled in the city a few centuries ago.

“Almost all those who are involved in the ‘Madurai Sungudi’ production belong to Sourashtra community of this area. The making of Sungudi textiles requires a lot of patience and is completely dependent on manual labour. The tech-savvy youngsters of the community are now attracted to the information technology sector, putting the future of our units in doubt,” says P.S. Motilal, secretary of Madurai Sungudi Manufacturing and Sales Association.

Getting workforce for the tying and dying units has become a difficult task, say the manufacturers.

“It takes 10 to 15 days to manufacture a traditional Sundgudi sari. The womenfolk from our families run the tying units and we outsource the saris for dying,” says A.K. Ramesh, secretary of the Federation of Tie and Dye Associations (FTDA).

Sustaining in the competitive market is not an easy task for the Sungudi manufacturers .

They are consistently introducing innovative and creative patterns in their textiles

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