KARNATAKA

Symbol of handloom sector’s struggle

A secluded village which came to the fore during the pre-Independent days when khadi and charakha gained currency, Badanavalu, which is close to Nanjangud, is once again symbolic of another ongoing struggle: to revive the fortunes of handloom in India.

The village is the seat of a satyagraha inherent in which is not only the struggle for the survival of handloom but the concepts of sustainable living and development. he Badanavalu satyagraha has been launched as the sector has taken a hit with the government favouring power looms for procuring fabrics which will affect the livelihood of lakhs of weavers.

With them were supporters from all walks of life who gathered at the village on Sunday. The heat and dust of the peak summer did not deter participants from all over the State arriving at the village. They included bureaucrats, theatre artistes, environmentalists, students, NGOs, farmers and the handloom workers themselves.

There were rallies which converged from different parts of the region in support of the satyagraha. The organisers have resolved to spread the satyagraha to other villages and make it a more broad-based mass movement.

Badanavalu has a history associated with the Freedom Struggle and was known for its khadi centre established in the 1920s. The visit of Mahatma Gandhi in 1932 gave a fillip to the units but the post-Independent India saw its decline.

Today the khadi centre is run by the Khadi Gram Udyog Sangha. There are 10 looms and about 15 to 20 weavers all drawn from the local village apart from 45 spinners.

But the centre is barely surviving in the absence of any major initiative by the government to revive it. engaged in spinning the wheel all their life but get no government support. A case in point is Mahadevamma who has been spinning the charakha for 20 years but barely manages to sustain herself. Lack of government and societal patronisation is one of the main reasons for this predicament.

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