Varanasi Weavers in crisis




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Published on Oct 16, 2006

The Varanasi Silk Sari (Banarasi Sari or Brocade) has been an emblem of Indian Culture since ancient times. These beautiful saris woven using handlooms have intricate designs and patterns made from gold and silver thread. Over the years, the demand for these coveted saris, worn both by Hindu and Muslim brides, has reduced.

To make matters worse, Chinese "fakes" made on powerlooms are now available. Exploitation by middlemen and these factors have led to a major decline in the industry. There are approximately 500,000 silk weavers in Varanasi. It is estimated that 60 % of the handlooms are closed. There is starvation and malnutrition. There have been several deaths and suicides reported. Due to lack of work, many highly skilled weavers have chagned professions.

This is an issue of poverty, child labor, human rights, unfair trade, intellectual property rights and threat to cultural heritage. One of the most important reason for this crisis is unchecked and insensitive globalization in developing countries.

This is a video report highlighting this issue. Made by PVCHR ( People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights - a human rights organization working in Varanasi) and (AHRC) Asian Human, Rights Commission, it features the report by Paul Mason of BBC.

Through this video, we hope to spread awareness of this issue. Please let your friends know about this issue by sending this video.

For more information about the issue and what's going on check out

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