Issue #008, 2021 ISSN: 2581- 9410
A New Model for Handloom Revival
Mubarakpur is located in the district of Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh. Historically, fine cotton fabrics have been woven here since the 14th century and it finds ecstatic mention in the diaries of Berber traveller Ibn-Batuta. Ornate silks and brocades began to be woven here towards the 17th century under the patronage of Raja Mubaraksha. Today, there are about 30,000 families engaged in handloom weaving here but the cluster has not received much recognition in recent times and always lived in the shadow of neighbouring Banaras.
In fact over the past few decades, Mubarakpur has become a cheap outsourcing destination for low grade, synthetic zari sarees that are bought by traders from Banaras and sold in small towns across Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
From a socio-economic perspective, the weavers of Mubarakpur are severely disadvantaged. The rate of literacy is low; each household has about 10-11 members while the average monthly income is about Rs 4,000 per household. The weavers are severely indebted to the gadidars who exploit the situation by lowering the wages paid even further. In fact, a large number of weavers are able to survive only due to the food subsidy received from religious institutions in the region. The situation was further ag...