GUWAHATI: When the country is observing ‘National Handloom Day’, thousands of weavers and handloom entrepreneurs continue crying for a living due to the depressing markets caused by the lockdown as well as night curfews imposed in order to contain the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.
Kashailya Hazarika, a master weaver from eastern Assam’s Dhemaji district said, “In one hand, there is the flood. On the other hand, markets, festivals and social events are on hold due to the coronavirus. Earlier, I used to get an order of gamusa (traditional scurf) worth Rs lakh besides other traditional attires. However, starting from the emergence of the anti-CAA movement, there is no order to date for any of the products I weave.”
Bijuli Lahan, an entrepreneur from Darrang district said, “Government announces a lot in the name of supporting the weavers and entrepreneurs involved in the handloom sector. However, nothing happens in reality.”
Lahan alleged that even the department shortlists the beneficiaries for various handloom and textile schemes only to those who are loyal to the ruling party. “We have no words to describe the present situation. We are simply struggling to survive. Neither there is any government support nor are markets open to reach the clients on our own.”
However, expressing pleasure over the occasion, Vice President of India M Venkaiah Naidu said, “Today we celebrate the 6th National Handloom Day in memory of the Swadeshi Movement launched on this very day in 1950. From Pashmina to Kanjeevaram and Bandhani to muga silk, India is home to exquisite forms of handloom textiles created by master weavers.”
Union Home Minister Amit Shah said, “Modi government is committed for the holistic development of our weavers’ community. Prime Minister Modi’s mantra of ‘Vocal for Local’ will surely boost the morale of handloom sector.”
Minister of state for youth affairs and sports Kiren Rijiju said, “Let’s be vocal for handmade and boost to Aatma Nirbhar Bharat. Today I pledge to support the handloom sector. Our ancient craft has truly been modernised under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi.”
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal said, “The creation of weavers brings alive the colours of nature on their products. On national handloom day, let’s encourage them by promoting and using handloom products. Let’s be vocal for local. Assam’s diverse and heritage handloom products form an important part of our rural economy. Let us pledge to promote them, support the dreams of the weavers and build an Aatma Nirbhar Bharat.”