Tiruchirapalli

Handloom weaving in dire straits

REMAINS OF THE DAY: One of the few senior weavers who stillkeep the loom running in Woraiyur. Photo: A.Muralitharan

REMAINS OF THE DAY: One of the few senior weavers who stillkeep the loom running in Woraiyur. Photo: A.Muralitharan   | Photo Credit: A_Muralitharan

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Handloom weaving – a once thriving, profitable profession is now in dire straits due to poor wages and onslaught from the power loom industry. The Devanga Handloom Weavers Cooperative Society in Woraiyur, which once had 602 members, is a case in point. The society now has only a few members left – all octogenarians.

P.Rathinavelu (84), one of the weavers, said a majority of handloom societies in Woraiyur had become defunct due to dwindling income. A few members of the society have turned into daily-wage labourers or taken up jobs as watchmen at marriage halls or hospitals in and around Thillai Nagar.

However, Mr.Rathinavelu has been sticking to the profession for more than one reason. “Working at the loom keeps me fit even at this ripe age. But more importantly, I’m happy to weave a sari on the loom used by my father,” he says. Mr. Rathinavelu, who was the former president of the society, said that he used to weave 20 to 30 saris a month, depending on the length (measured as ‘gajam’) of the sari. Now, he could make only two saris a month. When the times were good, the society’s monthly turnover stood at Rs.42 lakh, he reminisces.

Traders of Woraiyur, who used to source their stock from local weavers, now source their goods from other parts of the State. “We now place orders at the weaving societies in Sirumugai and Thottampalayam both in Coimbatore district,” says R.Ravi, one of the designers-cum-traders.

These new designs are received well by the consumers outside Tamil Nadu, particularly in Hyderabad, he says.

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Printable version | Jan 30, 2020 1:33:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/handloom-weaving-in-dire-straits/article6577793.ece

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