The silk industry in Varanasi is almost as old as the world’s oldest living city. It is the world’s most ancient cottage industry, dating back to over 2,500 years. Buddhist literature records that the Buddha’s body was wrapped in the cloth woven at Kashi, now called Varanasi.
It is also the world’s largest cottage industry, covering not only Varanasi but its neighbouring districts of the Purvanchal region, and employing over five lakh people. It is a perfect example of the so-called ‘Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb’ (Ganga-Jamuna culture), with a rich mix of Hindus and Muslims amongst the weavers.
Despite such strengths, the industry is ailing. People engaged in it are leaving; weavers have become labourers and traders are shifting to other modern forms of businesses. The culture, craft and tradition of Banarasi silk is under threat of extinction.
Governments and their institutions have recognised this — but they are not responding to the issues of the industry. Mere piecemeal solutions have been attempted.
At best, these have tried to address specific symptoms and not the root causes of the problem. In the absence of any holistic solution, the industry struggles to survive.
There has also been limited application of modern machines, technology and process in its supply chain. The business has failed to forge alliances with value chain partners.
It is our mission to try and find a global market for the weavers of Varanasi thru this e-commerce portal as we would also be introducing exquisite ensembles made from Varanasi silk to be available exclusively on dollyj.com
Team Dolly J
2 November, 2015