Source: Textile Review


Assam, the state having highest number of handlooms in India is unique with its silk weaving culture, as the handloom sector. Fly shuttle handlooms and 120 hook jacquards are benignly used in the Assam for silk weaving. Traditional designs and products still are the major type of fabrics woven for the domestic market. Presented here is an overview of silk weaving in Assam detailing the sericulture in the state, hand loom industry, structure of the silk handloom sector with a special emphasis on Kamrup district, the issues hindering its growth and the interventions needed for the improvement of the same.


Handloom history in India can be traced back to Indus Valley civilization. Several era of Indian history mentions the flourishing trade of textiles in domestic as well as export markets. India is currently the world's largest producer of handloom products with a total production of more than 5,000 million meters in the year 2005. Among the products produced in India, the most celebrated ones include Jamdani, Ikkat, Kota, Banarasi and Patola. It is estimated that there are about 12.5 million people dependent on hand loom weaving in India. In the entire country, there are more than 38 lakh hand looms. In northeastern states alone, there are more than 15 lakh handlooms. Detailed statewise distribution of 470 handloom clusters across India is provided by the 1995-96 survey as given in the following table 1. It is worthy to note that among the 20 major clusters of India (with handlooms more than 50,000) 14 of them are in Assam state.



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About the Authors:


C.M.Bajpeyi is associated with Regional Development Office, Central Silk Board,Guwahati ,Naveen.V.Padaki and S.N.Mishra are associated with Regional Silk Technological, Research Station, Central silk board,Guwahati


Originally published in Textile Review: February 2010