For Indian weavers in Varanasi, their craft is in danger of extinction because of the increasing prevalence of power looms. After all, why put all the time into creating masterfully by hand when you can speed up the process with massive humming machines?
The New York Times writes: “The jobs of the Varanasi weavers, once estimated at a half million men, may have been fading out back then, but on a trip in late 2013 I discovered that efforts were underway by two companies — the socially conscious New York fashion label Maiyet and the Mumbai chain Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces — to reinvigorate the ancient skill by employing the weavers and inviting tourists to visit them as they work. About 700 people have taken Maiyet’s tour; more than 650 have gone on Taj’s.”
Can we continue to find ways to include heritage in more than just luxury and continue to support artisans in other countries that have such incredible skill?
Ashok Kumar Maurya, 35, whose family have been weavers for more than a century told New York Times writer Shivani Vora, “Five years ago, we were totally dead, without work and without food, but now we have a purpose again,” he said. “My son is getting an education, I earn more than enough to run my home well, and my wife is happy that I can buy them clothes.”
Read the full (beautiful) New York Times story here.
Image: Public Domain Use