Handloom forms a precious part of the generational legacy and exemplifies the richness and diversity of our culture and artistry of the weavers. Tradition of weaving by hand is a part of the countrys cultural ethos. It represents an ancient craft with rich heritage providing a great source of sustenance for millions of artisans. It is estimated that handloom industry provides employment to approximately 65 lakhs workforces directly or indirectly and about 35 lakhs of handlooms in numerous varieties are scattered all over the country. The element of art and craft present in Indian handlooms makes it a potential sector for the upper segments of domestic and global markets. Handloom sector has been catering fully to the domestic niche and cheap markets, as well as value-added exports in the international markets and are still playing a vital role owing to its indispensable performance for the special quality of products mainly either of silk or of cotton fibres with adequate aristocracy. Handloom is unparalleled in its flexibility and versatility, permitting experimentation and encouraging innovation. However, in the present context of globalization and rapid technological developments, handloom sector is beset with many challenges and the handloom products are being replicated on powerlooms at much lower price. There is a need to strengthen this sector given the employment potential and market demand for handloom products. Hence product diversification through innovative printing is very much essential for the survival of this rich cultural heritage of India. Innovative and novel designs can be produced on handloom cotton fabric by adopting different innovative printing methods without involving costly infrastructure to create fancy effect on the handloom products for the ever changing fashion market.
Handloom textiles constitute a timeless facet of the rich cultural heritage of India. Handloom sectors have been acknowledged by everyone as the biggest source of employment and is a traditional profession being practiced in India for centuries together. This sector occupies a place second only to agriculture in providing livelihood to the people. It is estimated that handloom industry provides employment to 65 lakh workforces directly or indirectly and there are about 35 lakh handlooms spread all over India. The production of handloom fabrics is estimated to be approximately 6536 million square meters during 2006-07 (Annual Report 2007-08, Ministry of Textile) and contributes 16% of total textile production in India. The element of art and craft present in Indian handlooms makes it a potential sector for the domestic niche and cheap markets, as well as value-added exports in the international markets. It is expected that with increasing population and prosperity, the domestic and international market size will expand and per capita consumption will increase. The sector has an edge over the powerloom and mill sectors in its ability to commercially produce the goods in small volumes, openness to innovations, switch over to new designs, adoptability to suit suppliers requirement and creation of exquisite design. However, in the present context of globalization, the sector is beset with manifold problems and challenges. With the technological developments, the handloom products are being increasingly replicated on powerlooms at much lower cost. Hence product diversification through weaving and innovative printing is very much essential for the survival of handloom sector. Weaving on handlooms is predominantly cotton; the future yarn consumption pattern is expected to be equality shared between cotton and other fibres.
About the Author
Dr. Maulik holds M. Tech in the field of Fibre Science & Technology from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and completed his PhD (Engineering) from Jadavpur University, Kolkata. He has a rich experience of almost 13 years of industrial, research and teaching experience in the field of Chemical Processing of Textile. He also had published 30 research and review articles in different international and national level journals and presented his research findings in different national level conference and seminars. Presently he is attached to Visva-Bharati University as Lecturer.