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Varanasi Weavers in crisis


The Varanasi Silk Sari (Banarasi Sari or Brocade) has been an emblem of Indian Culture since ancient times. These beautiful saris woven using handlooms have intricate designs and patterns made from gold and silver thread. Over the years, the demand for these coveted saris, worn both by Hindu and Muslim brides, has reduced.
To make matters worse, Chinese "fakes" made on powerlooms are now available. Exploitation by middlemen and these factors have led to a major decline in the industry. There are approximately 500,000 silk weavers in Varanasi. It is estimated that 60 % of the handlooms are closed. There is starvation and malnutrition. There have been several deaths and suicides reported. Due to lack of work, many highly skilled weavers have chagned professions.
This is an issue of poverty, child labor, human rights, unfair trade, intellectual property rights and threat to cultural heritage. One of the most important reason for this crisis is unchecked and insensitive globalization in developing countries.
This is a video report highlighting this issue. Made by PVCHR ( People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights - a human rights organization working in Varanasi) and (AHRC) Asian Human, Rights Commission, it features the report by Paul Mason of BBC.
Through this video, we hope to spread awareness of this issue. Please let your friends know about this issue by sending this video.


Balance sheet of Jan Mitra Nyas:legal holder of PVCHR


Jan Mitra Nyas published its balace sheet under our social audit program of transparency:




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The present paper looks into the situational analysis of weavers of Banarasi saree, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. The life of weavers is characterized by abject poverty, chronic malnutrition, varied health hazards and even hunger deaths and suicides. In-put cost is unbearable for many and profit is taken by middlemen. Globalization has severely affected economically vulnerable small weavers pushing them below poverty line. State machinery is apathetic and whatever schemes and programmes exist, fail to do any good to weavers who are battling hard to keep this one of the finest legacies of Indian culture alive. Situation of women and children is worse. Women are engaged in mundane work of thread-cutting, zari-filling and the like and are paid merely Rs.10-15 per day for 12-16 hours of work. Children are denied schooling to speed up saree-production. Suggestive interventions are highlighted in the paper.

Weaver's family gets govt help only after hunger consumes four lives

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The tragic incident of hunger deaths in Bazardiha is a sad reminder of the prevailing harsh economic realities of a region and therefore the case of Abdul Khaliq’s family should not be taken as an isolated development, there are hundreds of families which are forced to live under similar poor economic conditions. This region urgently requires special development programmes targeting poverty to be launched jointly by the central and state government. Comprehensive efforts should be made to empower those reeling under abject poverty especially the weaving community in this region.

This would not only provide an opportunity for the weaving community to live with dignity but it would also honour in real sense their hard work and artistic abilities which created and kept alive the fame of Banarasi Sari all over the world.


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The life narratives, voices, and actual experiences on this website reflect the spiritual awakenings of personalities extraordinaire who desired to make a difference in the lives of others. The passion for social justice and meaningful activities, the dedication to compassion, the commitment and healing journeys of those ordinary individuals and their stirring stories is what we intend to showcase.

PVCHR founded in 1996 by Mr. Lenin Raghuvanshi and Ms. Shruti Nagvanshi in close association with Sarod Mastro Pandit Vikash Maharaj, Poet - Gyanendra Pati and Historian Mahendra Pratap. PATRON: Justice Z.M Yacoob Sitting Judge Constitution Court of South Africa & Chancellor of University of Durban, South Africa.