The weaving industry is the second largest employment sector in Telangana and continues to provide livelihood to thousands. With their intricate designs and durability, these handwoven products are the personification of the culture and traditions of the state. At first glance, this industry celebrates the heritage of the state and upon digging deeper, it is the only source of income for the weaving community.
Depending on complexity and style, handloom products take up to several days to make and weavers diligently work to produce the best in the market. Taking the days of labour into account, creating a handwoven fabric is no easy feat and countless people immerse themselves in the making of a product. As per government statistics, there are a total of 40,533 handloom weavers in Telangana. This number includes the ancillary workers. The number of powerlooms has been recorded at 35,762.
The weavers in the state have also come together and formed their own societies for mutual benefit and coordination. Currently, Telangana has 615 weaver cooperative groups, 157 powerloom societies, 122 garment societies and 336 Handloom Weavers Cooperative Societies. The majority of these societies are cotton societies. The silk and wool societies stand at 33 and 44 respectively. The rise of societies have given them a chance to connect with each other and are also an opportunity to market their fabric to middlemen and customers.
The handloom industry is an intimate reflection of Telangana’s culture. Their
skillful artisanship is clearly visible in their finished products. These weavers adopt a diverse range of techniques, patterns and colors to produce well crafted works of art. Some of their products have earned the attention of people spread across the country for their exceptional qualities. During festival season, people flock to exhibitions showcasing these handwoven goods.
Nestled in the Nalgonda district, Pochampally village has been credited as one of the best tourism villages by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. This village is known for its unique take on the Ikat fabric. Popular for Zari borders, the Gadwal village of Telangana is another weaver’s nest which draws eyes from all over the country. Whereas, the Narayanpet Sarees are known for their unique temple borders. Gollabhama sarees feature motifs of milk maids against the backdrop of different shades. In Spite of the splendour of the fabrics, their reach is still limited and weavers don’t make as much as they rightfully deserve in contrast to the hours of labour.
In addition to these fabrics, Telangana is home to many traditional arts and crafts but their potential remains untouched. Paintings such as Cheriyal Paintings, Nirmal Paintings and Batik Paintings have a wide scope. Nimral Bidiri Crafts, Pemberti Brassware and Dokra Castings belong to a class of their own. Decor products such as Black metal ware, Nizamabad Panel Wooden Carvings, Nirmal Printed Furniture, Red Sanders, and Nirmal Toys have barely touched their mark.
From the beginning of time, weavers have struggled to make ends meet. The issues they face have just intensified with globalization. Due to technological innovations, the weaving families have struggled to keep up with the race against their modern counterparts. Being cheaper, organizations adopting a modern approach have a clear edge over the weaving communities. Their ability to churn out products at an impossible speed has left these communities at a disadvantage.
Even in the face of such competition, weavers have tried their hardest to retain their standing, making use of the expertise passed down from their forefathers. The joy of creating magnificent handwoven goods which carry cultural significance is discolored by the fact that weavers often go to bed dreading what the next day will bring. While there’s no denying that their creations are an indispensable part of the historical splendour of Telangana, much needs to be done to support the weaving industry to gain a better footing in today’s fast paced world.