THE MAGIC OF THE LOOMS By Saqlain Akhtar
“Hum kalakar hain, apni marzi ke malik…ye humari dhorohar hai aur hum dil se issey sanjoye rakhte hain…” (We are artists. We work with our heart. This art is our heritage and we want to preserve it whole-heartedly)
- Chirai, A Banarasi Saree Weaver.
One of the magicians who contribute to the field of art and embroidery, Chirai continues the legacy of his ancestors by weaving Banarasi Sarees. Being in the presence of a weaver with a legacy, we felt humble and inspired.
Chirai was born in a small town of Banaras; his whole family indulged in the art of silk weaving. Looking up to his grandfather and father weaving silk sarees, he too got interested in it and joined them. He started learning how to weave the legendary silk brocades of Varanasi, the magical iridescent kadwas, kimkhwabs, rankats, katans, janglas, jaamwars, mashrus, jamdanis, nilambaris and pitambaris by rolling out the handlooms.
Later on, he himself continued his ancestral work and started weaving Banarsi Sarees which were adorned with intricate designs and zari embellishments making it popular for traditional functions and weddings. Embroidery on sarees were often done with threads of pure gold which made it expensive and signified royalty. Banarsi sarees are relatively heavy from other sarees. Today, all Chirai wants is to just continue this legacy of weaving and employ such passionate weavers and bring them forward. This is certainly a man of golden heart, and our Khoj team is proud to meet such magicians in India.
The forecast for the handloom industry in India is positive. Growth, both within India and internationally, is predicted for this sector. The burgeoning middle class in India has more disposable income and is willing to spend more on handcrafted, artisan products. Therefore, there are real opportunities for the Banarsi community or weavers like Chirai to move forward in life. And certainly people like us is blessed to have such gems. Khoj too appreciates such art and thus, we are proud of collaborating with such people as we are in a search for more kalakaars so that we can bring you amazing handcrafted goods easily!