Published on 5th March 2013

Varanasi Weavers - The stories behing the saris

  • Most weavers send their children to the local Madrasa in the hope that their children's education will ensure a better future for them. However, most children will drop out of school to work by 7th grade.

  • Mehraj Anwar takes an hour long break from his hand loom on Saturday to come to feed the fish in the Ganga.

  • Most weavers send their children to the local Madrasa in the hope that their children's education will ensure a better future for them. However, most children will drop out of school to work by 7th grade.

  • Many weavers bathe in the Ganga. Often the pollution compounds their fragile health due to under-nourishnment.

  • Shabana waits for her brother so they can walk to school together in the morning.

  • Saina Parveen does her Friday prayers in spite of the constant activity around her.

  • Women prepare the thread for the men to weave with. Usually, this work is unpaid.

  • Naseem Ahmed (10) dropped out of school to work as a weaver's assistant and look after goats.

  • Due to malnourishment and unhygenic living conditions, many weavers develop TB, and lose their meagre livelihood.

  • Weavers are at the mercy of the erratic power supply of Varanasi. Often, they work late into the night as that is when they receive electricity.

  • Parveen Ansari (30)
    has been married to an ex-weaver (who now drives an auto) for 10
    years. She has 6 children, 12 siblings and lives in a house of 40
    family members! Due to meager wages, the family does not get enough to
    eat, and their immunity is compromised. She was diagnosed with TB in
    September, and is too weak to work, or look after her 2 month old -
    who is being fed bottle milk. Her niece, Husna Banu (13) found out she
    had TB 4 months ago.

  • Afreen Mahto cuts the threads from saris after school. No one in her community wears saris, but depend on them for their survival.

  • Jameel Bhai has rented this room for his family of 5. Their home lies 2 feet below the road, so during the monsoon it gets totally flooded.

  • The thread is prepared for the hand loom on a field, where their space is shared with children playing, goats and garbage.

  • Noor Fatima is 7 years old. She cuts the threads from the woven saris once she returns from school. Her family with receive Rs.25 - Rs.40 for this work, per sari.

  • Young boys watch TV in their aunt's room, before they have to go to work.

  • Seven month old Mohammed Shahid was born with cataracts in both
    eyes and the doctors felt that he will go blind unless he was quickly
    operated upon. His father left his job as a weaver to sell vegetables
    and earn money daily, without the hassle of waiting for his wages, but
    still can not afford the operation costs.

  • Faggu Ram, a Dalit weaver, comes every morning to bathe in the Ganga.

  • Noor Jehan, Jameel Bhai's wifeof 25 years, lost 2 children because they could not afford to treat their illnesses. Now she tries to ensure her 3 children remain disease free by keeping her home clean.

  • Ramadhaal Kumar (52 years) started weaving at the age of 7. Despite his failing eyesight, he still manages to weave.

  • Many weavers have moved out of Varanasi into rural areas to avail of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. Sadly, a lot of people don't receive their compensation from the government for months.

  • Most weavers send their children to the local Madrasa in the hope that their children's education will ensure a better future for them. However, most children will drop out of school to work by 7th grade.

  • Din Mohammed leaves for work at 7am. He returns from his hand-loom at 9pm. He is 16 years old, and has had this routine for the past 8 years.

  • Taufiq Mahto dropped out of school to help run his father's power-loom.

Varanasi Weavers - The stories behing the saris


Tagged with:
  • varanasi
  • benares
  • india
  • weavers
  • sari
  • silk
  • handloom
  • powerloom
  • children
  • school