Chanderi – The Silk mine

Madhya Pradesh, If you have ever visited Chanderi a town of large sized state of India, you can never return without getting touched by the sheen and richness of handlooms which are still on the trail of weaving since centuries. The urbanisation has not yet given its taste, where the weavers are creating magnificent master pieces with their magical fingers and art they inherited from their forefathers. As we go further about this art with sheen of silk, it’s vital to understand the history of origination of this art and how it is impacting the environment as any other creative industry.

Chanderi is a small town located in Ashoknagar District of Madhya Pradesh. The city is believed to be established by the king of Chad, Shishupal, who was also the cousin Lord Krishna.

 The History of sarees goes back to 13th or 14th Century AD, When The Silk of Chanderi was at its pinnacle during Mughal Period. King Akbar was mesmerised by its sheen and texture. The cloth was like a brooch for royal families only. The queen of Baroda sponsored a piece of land for weavers to take this art further for upcoming generations. The high quality turbans exclusively were woven for the Maratha Rulers. Over the period of time, the Motifs, the beautifully articulated floral border on the sarees created their own signature of identification.

India is blessed to have extremely diversified weaves, prints and textures of fabrics. In the current scenario where the purity of environment is striving to have a delicate balance with the manmade achievements of technology, the weaves are also equally part of the entire graphology.

The fabric mainly has cotton and silk. The businessmen society purchases cotton from Madras, Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The Silk yarn is sourced from Kashmir and Bangalore. The Government owned bodies such as MP Handloom Weavers Cooperative, MP Handicraft Development Corporation and The State Textile Corporations now provide the weavers with marketing support, in order to keep the heritage of Indian handloom breathe in the modern technical world.

A tiny smart phone has enabled today’s weavers to reach out directly to the market of consumers. It is very common to see them showcasing their handmade product on social medias such as Instagram. This not only shortens the gap between the consumer and weaver but also a sense of identity on a global platform

There are various schemes such as IIUS ( Industrial Infrastructure Upgradation), Which enabled a linkage to international market. Which further provides tourism doorway. There are about 4000 families which are still surviving on this ages old skill of weaving. They covered under Pradhan Mantri Surakhsha Bima Yojana( PMJJBY) and Mahatma Gandhi Bunker Yojna( MGBBY) for those in the age bracket of 51-59years). 7th August 2015 was inaugurated as National Handloom day.

The waste created while making of the sarees is not to the extent that it would affect the environment the reason for that is the production is not on a very large scale being an exclusive product.

Though Dyes are mostly chemical based, it can be replaced by natural and bio dyes, if they are promoted on a massive level. Especially, People inheriting from the field, entertainment and textiles can tout it, by wearing themselves to invite the masses for its usage and let it be part of our lives.

The weavers and their families are the signature of this heritage, just like it’s been taken forward by their each generation, People of our country especially the women should take it ahead and be proud of such richness of culture and creative product.

—Turf Of Sunita—–

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