February 20, 2019
State project revives Baluchari silk in Bangla
Baluchari is a quintessential silk sari of Bangla, made using richly dyed silk, with intricate motifs depicting Indian mythology woven onto its large ‘pallu’. The textile found a home in Bishnupur of Bankura district after its place of origin, Baluchar in Murshidabad, had succumbed to nature’s vagaries.
Even in Bishnupur, the designs, looms, weaving techniques and threads used, which mark the originality of the textile endured severe changes over time.
The launch of Bangla Government’s Baluchari project has revived the textile via a sharp spike in sale across the state.
The project, Baluchari is a collaboration between the West Bengal State Handloom Weavers’ Cooperative Society (Tantuja) and the State Directorate of Textiles. This project aims to revive the Baluchari textile by blending old and new designs while acknowledging the current trends and demands of the consumers. This new approach is responsible for the major success of the project. The project includes helping farmers in the cultivation of silk.
The project’s first manifestation was the opening of an exclusive showroom on Park Street, Kolkata in 2017. The store is also named Baluchari. The annual turnover of the showroom now runs into crores.
The store on Park Street sells not only sarees but also other articles with Baluchari patterns on them, like shoes, bags, wallets, belts, and also silk furnishings. The leather articles have silk patches with Baluchari weaving stuck on to them.
Baluchari sarees are sold through Tantuja outlets too, the primary brand of the Handloom Weavers’ Cooperative Society. Tantuja has 83 sales outlets across India. A significant amount of sales also happens through online platforms like Amazon and Flipkart.
The handloom fabrics for weaving Baluchari are procured from cooperative societies and artisans through 12 procurement centres and two training-cum-production centres.
Regarding the cultivation of silk, the other important component of the project Baluchari, the State Government runs 59 sericulture farms which cultivate superior-quality seeds. These seeds are then given to the farmers at a subsidised rate, who then produce the raw silk. The farmers earn good revenue from selling the raw silk to weavers.
Source: Millennium Post