New experiments in Sualkuchi- a photo story by Anu Boro
Assam’s silk village Sualkuchi has been preserving the centuries-old tradition of weaving unique Golden Muga silk and mulberry silk products. Rise in cost of yarn and longer time consumed in production as compared to machine-made and adulterated silk products, the traditional silk production activities of this village have become highly non-remunerative. The owners and about 18,000 functional traditional looms employing about 25000 weavers in the silk village have been desperately looking for solutions to overcome such market challenges.
However, innovative experiments of improving the traditional loom and product diversifications have brought smiles to many loom owners and weavers in the silk village. Chaneki, a low cost device innovated by Dipak Bharali of the silk village reduces weaving time to one-third. While working on traditional looms the weavers are required to manually insert weft threads and tie the knots to make different motifs which is not only cumbersome but also time consuming. They need not to do it manually on looms fitted with Chaneki.
Hiralal Kalita, another young entrepreneur of the silk village has been able to attract attention of global tourists and buyers to Sualkuchi with his range of diversified products such tie, stole, curtains, bags made of Muga and mulberry silk.
(Anu Boro is an independent photojournalist based in Guwahati and travels to different parts of the North East region as part of her professional work.)