The handloom and weaving production of Kerala is dwindling due to lack of funds and ill fate of the weavers. The centuries-old tradition is gradually vanishing due to various reasons. As per the report from TNM, K Sudhir, Director of Handlooms and Textiles, depicted that only 20,000 weavers are left to keep the tradition alive.
Before 2000, there were as many as 2,00,000 weavers which considerably reduced by 90% due to improper payments, lack of funds and boost from the government, and very low-profit margin. This date, more than 10,000 looms stay idle.
TV Vinod, Managing Director, Kerala Artisans Development Corporation, said “We had quite a large number of weavers and looms a few years back. In the recent past, the numbers have reduced drastically. According to the data available with the government, close to 19,000 looms are idle in the state.”
The loom experts are paid INR 2500 to 3000 per month only which is not sufficient to meet both the ends. They had to suffer a lot as they cannot meet the daily needs properly. Most of them are old. Omana, an elderly weaver said, “My wages vary according to my work. For weaving one meter which takes about 2 hours a day I am paid Rs 40. Some days I can weave up to 3 or 4 meters. Many a time, I can weave only 2 or 3 meters a day. At this age, I am exhausted easily.”
More than 40% of the weavers are above 50. Due to very low profit, it is implausible to pay more wages to the weavers. Spinners are also suffering a lot more than the weavers as their monthly wages vary around INR 1000. If this is the case, one day, this remarkable art and tradition will be lost.