There is a colony named Hasanpura near the coal market in Banaras. Thousands of families of weavers ' community live in this colony with very narrow lanes and open drains

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There is a colony named Hasanpura near the coal market in Banaras. Thousands of families of weavers ' community live in this colony with very narrow lanes and open drains. The family of Mohammad Morals is also one of them. Morals are among the selected weavers who still make famous Banarasi sarees called the identity of Banaras using handloom.
There was a period when the sound of handlooms of skilled weavers was kneing in the street of Banaras. But over time, that voice of handlooms was lost somewhere in the noise of powerloom. Today, the situation is that out of about two thousand weavers living in Hasanpura, there are barely 10-12 weavers like morals, who are still using handloom. All the other weavers of this locality have adopted powerlooms except handloom. Coming to the whole of Banaras, ten per cent of the total population of weavers are now those who run handloom.

Out of about 2,000 weavers living in Hasanpura, 10-12 weavers are left, who are still using handloom.
The hand-made Banarasi saree costs up to thousands and lakhs of rupees, which is the big film actresses who wear, why are the weavers who are constantly getting away from handloom, which is discussed in weddings in the country's largest rich houses?

In response to this question, Mohammad Morals says, "A sari on handloom is ready in ten to twenty days, while in powerloom, three sarees are ready in a day. Secondly, a saree on handloom costs at least ten thousand rupees, while the same saree on powerloom becomes only three hundred rupees. However, sarees on powerloom are of fake silk and there can be no comparison with handloom sarees even in workmanship, but there are fewer people. If the customer looks at the cheaper goods, the demand is high. The weaver only gets wages. Even on expensive hand-made sarees, he gets the same wages as the cheap sarees of powerloom. '

Social activist Manish Sharma, who is constantly active for the rights of weavers in Banaras, also blames governments for the elimination of handloom. They say that it is the responsibility of the Government to protect the small scale industry like handloom. It is not just a matter of saving skills but also a question of employment. The large population of the country is dependent on small scale industries.

Manish says, "The prime Minister of Atal Bihari began to break the waist of handloom. In that era, 1400 such products were allowed to be made to big capitalists who could have been made only in the small scale industry till earlier. Banarasi saree on handloom was also one of them. With this decision, the work began to be done on powerloom. This increased the production of sarees, but millions of weavers who knew handloom skills were forced to leave their ancestral work. The situation of a handful of weavers who are still doing these things has also become very alarming. '


What is the situation in which weavers like Mohammad Morals, who are still doing handloom work, are in position today? On this question, morals do not respond and quietly open the door of the room where their handloom is kept. This room is answering all the questions. The three handlooms of the dust sheet are here, which have become spiders ' nets. A half-made sari is still draped with a handloom that morals started making in March. But the lockdown affected his work to such an extent that he could not muster up the fabric of the whole of this unfinished sari.


A large population of weavers working in Banaras is leaving handloom and adopting powerloom. Because the sarees on the powerloom are low and it takes less time to make them.

Many people may not be aware that the word ' warp-weft ' is actually derived from handlooms. The silk threads that seem to be straight and stem on this loom are called warp and the threads that weave them together are called bana. A strong saree or cloth is prepared when you sit in a precise texture between warp and weft. The word ' warp-weft ' from the handlooms became the idiom, but in fact the whole fabric of the handloom-run is almost shattered.


In the last twenty years, a large population of weavers has left the work forever and has been forced to make modest wages. There is also a large population who left handloom and adopted powerlooms. But now these people have also come to a crisis of existence. The lockdown has already worsened the condition of weavers, the Uttar Pradesh government has decided to abolish the power subsidy to weavers. Says Manish Sharma, "If the subsidy is exhausted, decide that the weavers ' community will be destroyed forever. '


Abul Hasan showing his weaver card. They have 7 powerlooms. Their work has been stalled since March.

According to some reports, there are about 1.25 lakh weavers in Banaras today. In Uttar Pradesh, Mulayam Singh Yadav's chief minister started getting electricity exemption to weavers in the year 2005. This was the same period when the powerlooms were rapidly beating the handloom and the weavers were adopting powerlooms one by one. "There was a flat rate of electricity for weavers," explains Abul Hasan, who is a weaver in Banaras.


Initially, the rate was Rs. 65 per month of a machine. In between, it has also been growing and today it is about Rs. 150 per month. But now the government says that from January, all weavers will have to pay electricity bills according to the unit and a rate of about Rs. 7, one unit. If the government does not withdraw the decision, we will have to leave the work. '


Abul Hasan has a total of seven powerlooms. The electricity bill from January to March has come to Rs. 1.25 lakh and their electricity has been cut since March. "My power was cut off the very next day of the people's curfew imposed across the country," explains Abul. From that day on, all the work has been stalled. '


Anir-ur-Rahman has seven powerlooms but all are completely closed. They are putting a pan shop at the door of their factory to run the house expenses.

The streets of Banaras, which had the voices of powerloom all day, get almost a silence in all those streets these days. Some powerlooms are still running, but their numbers can be counted at the fingertips. The power of many weavers has been disconnected and there are many who have come to the electricity bill from two to three lakh rupees. Even the big weavers who earn more than 25-30 thousand of the month will pay such a hefty bill, even when the work has been stopped for the last several months, they do not know themselves.


The weavers of Bakkarpost, Anir-ur-Rahman, have seven powerlooms but all are completely closed. To run home expenses, Anir is now putting up a pan shop at the door of his factory. "We don't even have the money to buy raw materials," he explains. The work is completely closed since the time of lockdown. Now, after the rate of electricity that has been fixed, there will be no wages in this business. All these powerloom machines would have to sell us junk prices if the government did not withdraw the decision on the electricity bill. '

Apart from these, there are those who have inherited the skill of landing the design made by the maps from their ancestors on the cardboard that soars on the handloom and so that the design descends on sarees. Then the silk-coloured ones are different, different from the warp-weft and the repairs when the handloom is bad. After all, the traitors are different who buy the weavers ' goods and convey it to the common customer. All these people can be called the fabric of the society which prepares Banarasi sarees. The whole society is reeling under the existential crisis today.


There are about 1.25 lakh weavers in Banaras today. Of these, there are now ten per cent who run handloom.

"Handloom was scrapped in the first planned manner," says Manish Sharma. Handlooms are now found somewhere by finding a lot. Now, powerlooms are also being eliminated for the interest of big capitalists. The decision will not only eliminate millions of weavers in one stroke, but will wipe out the identity of the centuries-old Banaras forever. A whole culture is standing on the cusp of extinction today and if the people do not raise the voice of weavers, the weavers of Banaras will be taught only in history. '



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